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What Prince Dubeko Sibanda said about the proposed sin tax in full

Binga North legislator Prince Dubeko Sibanda has proposed a sin-tax to help fund the Health budget. The tax will be on alcohol and tobacco as well as all sugary food stuffs. Here is his contribution in full.

HON. P. D. SIBANDA: I am standing in for the Chairperson of the Health and Child Care Committee and therefore I am presenting the report, but before I do that, allow me to speak to two issues about the budget. Firstly Hon. Speaker, I believe that as Parliament, in terms of Section 119 of the Constitution, we are mandated to protect the Constitution and also democratic practices that are observed by the Constitution.

Hon. Speaker, I take note that in terms of the Constitution Treasury is supposed to provide resources to Provincial Councils and also local authorities. The Hon. Minister in his presentation of the 2018 budget he did not touch on those issues except to state that the Constitution has created monsters that are guzzling money from the fiscus. It is agreed that our Constitution has created a number of institutions that need funding. However, I believe that it is not entirely up to the Minister to decide not to allocate resources to institutions that have been created by the Constitution.

The moment the Hon. Minister does that, he approaches Parliament with dirty hands. I strongly believe that the Hon. Minister is supposed to do the allocations and come to Parliament and plead with Parliament to say that those institutions maybe should not be allocated resources rather than for him to decide on his own that he is not going to allocate resources. I believe that this is a serious violation, which this House should not allow to sustain.

Secondly, the vote on Parliament, Hon. Speaker, we agreed at the Pre-Budget Seminar that there are two votes that we were not going to allow to be reduced. Unless and until the Hon. Minister gives those two votes the required amounts of money, then the budget is not going to pass. One of them was the vote for Parliament. Let me just try to show you why it is important that Parliament should get the $98 million that it requires. Since 2013, I have been in this House. Towards the end of last year, I saw newspapers trying to assess the performance of Hon. Members in Parliament. Some Hon. Members were regarded as non-performers but I believe in that analysis, there was a gap that was left out.

Hon. Speaker, one of the methods in which a Member of Parliament can be regarded to be a performer in Parliament is to be able to speak. Now, not every Member of Parliament is able to speak in Shona, Ndebele or English. Some Members of Parliament only speak Xhosa, Tonga or Nambya. Now, because Parliament does not have interpreters in those languages, some Members of Parliament have been deprived of the right to participate and debate in this Parliament. Why Parliament does not have interpreters is because of lack of funding.

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