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Few Zimbabweans Attend Parly Outreach Program on Crucial Bills

  • Irwin  Chifera

Many residents say they there is need for more time to prepare for such meetings.

Many residents say they there is need for more time to prepare for such meetings.

Poor attendance in Masvingo and Midlands provinces almost crippled the country-wide outreach meetings organized by parliament’s finance and economic development portfolio committee.

Less than 30-people turned up in Masvingo for the provincial consultative meeting, rendering the committee’s efforts to have mass input on two draft pieces of legislation, namely the Public Debt Management Bill and the Joint Ventures Bill, meaningless.

Many residents say they there is need for more time to prepare for such meetings.

But lawmaker, Dorothy Mangami, standing in for chairman David Chapifika, who is moving around the country with another team member of the committee, said enough notice was given and residents were also expected to get the bills from parliament’s website and from the Government Gazette where they have already been published.

According to Mhangami, it was not parliament’s fault that the attendance was poor at the Monday meetings.

But city resident and former civil servant, Philip Chitsaka, said with such little representation of people, parliament cannot claim to have held consultations.

Masvingo United Residents and Ratepayers Association projects officer, Benias Tirivavi, said though he attended, he could not make any contribution as he did not have proper knowledge of the contents of the bills.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions Young Workers Council secretary general, Godfrey Mutimba, echoed the same sentiments.

The Public Debt Management Bill seeks, among other objectives to establish the Public Debt Management Office and put a limit to the amount the government can borrow, as well as compel government to furnish parliament with its debt management activities, guarantees and lending.

The Joint Ventures Bill seek to address the infrastructure gap in the country currently estimated at $10 billion by the African Development Bank by mobilizing private sector and foreign to finance government projects through joint ventures.

The two bills are already before parliament hence the public outreach meetings to get stakeholder and public input so that they could be included before they become law.

The outreach meetings are taking place throughout the country until Friday when the two teams of the committee will go back to parliament to table the views for consideration in the next stage of making them into law.