President Robert Mugabe officially opened the second session of the eighth parliament Tuesday saying the legislature must focus on aligning the country’s laws to the new constitution as well as reviewing and passing laws that will lead to economic development.
Mr. Mugabe, who spoke for less than 30 minutes, outlined several pieces of legislation which parliament is expected to consider during the new sitting, among them bills seeking to establish state universities in Manicaland and Gwanda, and a new income tax bill.
Mr. Mugabe, who has previously refused to sign an income tax bill brought to the House of Assembly by former Finance Minister Tendai Biti, said a new tax bill would be passed this session.
Some of the laws expected to be passed, are part of the government’s proposed economic reform agenda that would be supervised by the International Monetary Fund under the proposed new 15-month Staff Monitored Program.
These include the Debt Management Bill and the amendment of the Procurement Management Act to make it more transparent.
Mr. Mugabe pointed out that parliament would be expected to pass a new law to ensure quality health to the nation.
He added that the government would be launching a revised information communication technology policy that will be supported by the Electronic Transaction, Cyber Crime and Data Protection bills.
The president said he was worried that some local people were reversing the gains of the indigenization policy by fronting foreign investors.
He said government is aware of the difficulties and obstacles facing people intending to do business in Zimbabwe, adding his government is working to address the situation.
Most of the proposed pieces of legislation mentioned by Mr. Mugabe should have been handled during the first session of the eighth parliament but only a few bills were brought to parliament with the Electoral Amendment Act being the only major law that was passed.
The Act has been criticized by experts and the public as the government ignored contributions from ordinary people, the opposition and non-governmental organizations, among others.