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MDC MPs begin Ninth Parly impressively





While it could be too early to judge the performance of legislators in the Ninth Parliament, MDC parliamentarians have had a good start judging from the number of motions they have so far raised in the National Assembly.

Members of Parliament from the MDC introduced a number of motions which mainly touch on the country's ailing economy.

Some of the motions include the structural economic challenges affecting Zimbabweans, the disputed July 30 polls, the absence of holistic solutions addressing the issue of vendors, urban poverty and illegal urban settlements sprouting throughout the country.

The motion on the economy was raised by Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada who urged government to immediately bring sanity to the financial and liquidity situation by scrapping the bond note and strengthening the regime of multiple currencies.

"I think, at times policy bankruptcy can be a liability. If you have policy inertia, if you dither on policy, these problems will become unabated. I will give you a good example, removing a bond note does not require money; it requires a bold policy choice, a bold policy decision.

"Stopping government borrowing from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe requires an immediate policy decision to stop the budget deficit. Stopping issuance of Treasury Bills is a policy decision. Revenue collection, right now, do you know that, uncollected revenue is now $4 billion in the market, almost equal to the budget," Mashakada said.

The former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion minister said the solution is not to tax the poor to cover the mistakes of the rich.

He said the people who have caused the deficit — government — has to bear the brunt.

"How does it do that? It has to cut government executive expenditure. You cannot just pass on the burden to the poor people. The poor cannot keep on tightening their belt. That is a neo-classical approach."

He also added that Zimbabwe must adopt the rand and blasted the move to introduce foreign currency accounts (FCAs)

"The Monetary Policy Statement did two things. It created nostro-foreign currency accounts and real time gross settlement (RTGS) foreign currency accounts (FCAs) and said they were at parity one as to one. We have problems with the nostro-accounts because we are not sure whether importers will get this money on demand."

Contributing to the same debate former Finance minister Tendai Biti said there are structural challenges in the economy.

"One of the structural challenges that we have is the accumulation model. Hundred years after colonialism, it is regrettable that our economy is still extractive. We extract raw materials and sell them outside the country. Our biggest cash crop is tobacco but we sell it in its raw form.

"The greatest economists in the world are not the Paul Volckers of this world, they are not the Allan Crispers of this world, they are our mothers in Chiendambuya and in Binga who know that if my husband earns $10, I spend $10. Let me tell you something about economics. In economics, one minus two it cannot. Once you say one minus two is minus one, you have got a problem and that is the problem with these men on the left (Zanu-PF legislators)."

Other motions are yet to be debated in the National Assembly but the opposition legislators have been impressive also in terms of asking questions to the ministers.

Some of the MPs who asked impressive questions with notice to ministers include Highfield West MP Happymore Chidziva, Gweru Urban MP Brian Dube and Chitungwiza North MP Godfrey Sithole.

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