Parliament opens on low note

THE National Assembly yesterday sat for only an hour despite its Order Paper being full of notices of motion to debate issues afflicting the Zimbabwe economy.

There are about 21 notices of motions which MPs moved that they will introduce for debate in the House before it adjourned in April, but they have not done so despite the many changes that have happened in the economy while Parliament was on break; especially price increases.

Yesterday, the House only discussed two Bills, the Companies and other Business Entities Bill and the Tripartite Negotiation Forum Bill (TNF).

The House then adjourned with no further debate.

The Tripartite Negotiation Forum Bill which is currently in the Second Reading Stage was brought before the House by Labour minister Sekai Nzenza, who said if crafted, the law will provide a platform for engagement, negotiation, consultation and social dialogue between government, business and labour relating to social and economic policies.

“Its aim is to assist in finding solutions to socio-economic challenges facing the nation at any given time, and this TNF existed as a voluntary organisation. Socio economic development of the country can be fully harnessed if backed by legislation like the TNF law,” Nzenza said.

She said the law, if crafted will be in tandem with the Constitution which provides for the rights to fair labour standards, and International Labour Organisation convention 144 of 1976 which government ratified in 1998.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio on Labour Emma Ncube presented the committee’s report on the aBill which said the Bill, if crafted, would minimise strikes such as the January stay away which caused destruction of property and unnecessary loss of lives.

“In Mutare, members of the public said it will be a shame to leave out the informal sector considering it is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy, and it employs 80% while 20% are in the formal sector. Members of the public said they prefer that the post of TNF chairperson must be on a rotational basis by the three partners — business, labour and government,” she said.

Ncube said in Masvingo people suggested that the TNF should be chaired by a retired judge.

She said some of the shortcomings of the Bill were that it does not specify conditions or reasons for which each constituency can remove its members.

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