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National Peace and Reconciliation Commission is already three years behind

THE TEMPORARY SPEAKER : Order, order! Hon. Minister, he is requesting you to learnt your ears to this particular one.

HON. CHASI : I am sure the Minister is familiar with this problem. The Deeds office is a cash cow for the Ministry and the Government. Treasury allows them to retain 5% of the money that they make. That department is making efforts to computerize so that it is able to scan documents, deeds and other intellectual property related registration documents, that is where the money comes from.

The Committee highly recommends that the Minister considers either increasing the retention level or giving that department more money to enable it to make more money for Government. That discussion is a perennial one and we have asked and recommended that there must be a discussion which is based on a demonstration by the Ministry to Treasury as to how much they can make on the basis of the money that the Minister or Treasury can give to them.

I want to emphasise Mr. Speaker, that intellectual property rights are a very important aspect of our ease of doing business. People that will come and invest would want to know they are able to register their property rights and that they will be protected. So, this is a very critical element which Government needs to give huge priority.

Mr. Speaker, Zimbabwe houses the African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation in which we invested as early as 1983. We should, as a country, be able to capitalise on that investment in order to make sure that we get help in terms of improving our economic situation as a country.

Allow me Mr. Speaker Sir, to now turn to the Judicial Services Commission. This Commission has done very well. The work that the Commission has done throughout the country is visible for everyone to see. Many courts have been built throughout the country and the quality of those courts is also very good. Our concern with this particular Commission is the fact that magistrates have not received sufficient attention to their welfare. The distinction between the conditions of service or the welfare of magistrates generally and those at the superior courts is so glaring but apart from that, the problem is that the freeze on promotions and so forth has meant that magistrates remain junior and yet in terms of the law, they can only pass a certain sentence if they are at a certain level. So, the recommendation is that the Minister could look at that aspect in order to allow upward movement of magistrates so that we have more senior, regional magistrates and so forth, who are able to apply stiffer sentences when certain cases demand that position.

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