MDC-T MPs oppose RBZ debt adoption

HARARE – Members of Parliament from the MDC-T have vehemently opposed the approval of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe debt assumption bill saying those who benefited from quasi-fiscal activities undertaken by the central bank during the hyper-inflation era must pay.

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MDC-T MP for Kuwadzana, Nelson Chamisa led the charge of MPs from the opposition to have the bill sail through saying this “was legitimatising theft and plunder of public resources” by a few.

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The MP said government, instead of taking over the RBZ, must force those farmers who received farming machinery under the programme to pay and an audit is carried to see how the $1.3 billion debt was incurred.

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“We can’t come here as MPs to approve something which was illegal and done for a few people and say let tax payers meet the burden, this is impossible. I will not be part and parcel of such a development,” he said.

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“Unless we have an audit and chlorinate this debt from chances of fraud, then we can find mechanism to have it resolved. Those who benefited from the programs financed by the debt must be known and made to pay.”

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The government had tabled a bill which seeks to authorise government to take over the RBZ debt so that tax payers can settle on behalf of the state.

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The debt which was incurred during the quasi-fiscal programmes which included, procurement of tractors – mostly distributed to Zanu PF chefs, payment of election related matters and funding of government operations.

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The then central bank boss, Gideon Gono, almost became the country’s prime minister after he sourced funding for the broke government and he had to borrow – through force and cohesion.

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Jessie Majome, another MDC-T MP, also spoke vehemently against allowing the state to take over the debt saying parliament was allowing people to go unaccountable for their actions.

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Backing adoption of central bank debt by the State … David Chapfika of Zanu PF

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But Zanu PF MP and chairperson for the Budget and Finance committee, David Chapfika said although ordinary people wanted those who benefited from the programme to pay, it would be wrong as the activities of the central bank were on behalf of the state.

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In his report to the national assembly, Chapfika said notwithstanding the refusal by ordinary people to pay for the debt, the Bill must sail through and tax payers meet the cost for the debt.

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“Any future debt must be contracted within the confines of the law … the public debt whose payment is guaranteed by the state must not exceed the limit of the law and not go without the approval of parliament,” Chapfika said.

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He said supporting the Bill will have an effect of the functioning of the central bank in carrying out its core business.

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Another Zanu PF MP who supported the Bill was Munyaradzi Kereke who said the debt was accrued during trying times and, as such, ordinary people must pay the creditors for the survival of the state and its people then.

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But his contributions did not go unchallenged as MDC-T MPs said he was part and parcel of those who engineered the debt when he was the advisor to the central bank chief, Gono, until their fall out in 2011.

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