MIN­IS­TER TAKES BOND NOTES FIRE MPs grill Chi­na­masa on ‘dead rub­ber’ pub­lic hear­ings

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page - Zva­maida Mur­wira

THE Pres­i­den­tial Pow­ers (Tem­po­rary Mea­sures) Act pro­mul­gated by the Gov­ern­ment giv­ing le­gal ef­fect to bond notes was done ‘‘out of abun­dance of cau­tion’’ as there was al­ready ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion to sup­port the de­ci­sion to bring on board the sur­ro­gate cur­rency, a Cab­i­net Min­is­ter has said.

Fi­nance and Eco­nomic Development Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa said, the Re­serve Bank Act em­pow­ered the apex bank gov­er­nor Dr John Man­gudya to in­tro­duce the bond notes but the Gov­ern­ment went out of its way to pro­mul­gate an­other le­gal in­stru­ment as a pre­cau­tion­ary mea­sure.

Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said this in the Na­tional As­sem­bly yes­ter­day while field­ing a bar­rage of ques­tions from law­mak­ers.

Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, mostly from the MDC-T wanted to know why the Gov­ern­ment in­tro­duced bond notes at a time when par­lia­ment’s port­fo­lio com­mit­tee on Bud­get and Fi­nance was seek­ing peo­ple’s views on the is­sue.

Mutare Cen­tral MP Mr In­no­cent Gonese (MDC-T) said the views of the peo­ple would be made re­dun­dant as it was al­ready a fait ac­com­pli (mis­sion ac­com­plished), while Mab­vuku-Ta­fara MP Mr James Mari­dadi (MDCT) said the con­sul­ta­tions be­ing made coun­try­wide by the com­mit­tee were a “dead rub­ber” since the bond notes were al­ready in cir­cu­la­tion.

“The le­gal frame­work on bond notes is that they have been is­sued un­der ex­ist­ing leg­is­la­tion. In or­der to re­in­force it, we came up with Pres­i­den­tial Pow­ers (Tem­po­rary Mea­sures). If some­one wanted to chal­lenge it, we were stand­ing on two legs, the ex­ist­ing one and the Pres­i­den­tial Pow­ers Act. So the leg­is­la­tion is al­ready there but out of abun­dance of cau­tion we in­tro­duced the Pres­i­den­tial Pow­ers,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa.

The re­sponse did not, how­ever, go down well with leg­is­la­tors who ar­gued that it was a waste of re­sources for leg­is­la­tors to con­sult the pub­lic on an is­sue that had al­ready been de­cided be­fore the af­fected peo­ple’s views was heard.

Gu tu Cen­tral MP Cde Love­more Matuke (Zanu-PF) said his as­sess­ment had shown that the bond notes had not done enough to end queues. Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa said the cen­tral bank had is­sued $12 mil­lion into the mar­ket and would con­sider in­creas­ing it in a man­ner that was not in­fla­tion­ary. “We’re aware that the $12 mil­lion bond notes is­sued aren’t meet­ing de­mand. The RBZ didn’t want to cre­ate a sit­u­a­tion that is in­fla­tion­ary. Their needs will be met in due course,” said Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa. He said the Gov­ern­ment was aware that each time there was a new development, there would be teething prob­lems in the mar­ket. Min­is­ter Chi­na­masa was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Maron­dera Cen­tral MP Cde Lawrence Kat­siru (Zanu-PF) who com­plained that some shops were re­ject­ing the bond notes while oth­ers had a two tier pric­ing struc­ture. Ear­lier on, Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa said the cen­tral bank was em­pow­ered by the rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion to en­ter into agree­ments with mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions for the good of the coun­try. He was re­spond­ing to con­cerns on why the Gov­ern­ment had not brought to Par­lia­ment the $200 mil­lion Afrex­im­bank loan fa­cil­ity that an­chored the bond notes.

Vice Pres­i­dent Em­mer­son Mnan­gagwa

Min­is­ter Pa­trick Chi­na­masa

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