By Wisdom Mumera
The 9th Parliament goes into session against the backdrop of poor economic performance, acute cash shortages and intermittent shortages of vitals such as fuel. The government is saddled with a huge debt and is failing to access lines of credit. The socio-political scene has also lately suffered increasing fear of an international banishment.
This scenario sets the stage for a Parliament that has its work cut out and various bills are fundamental to the transformation of this state.
Cyber Crime and Cyber Security Bill
The bill has been a bone of contention accused by its opponents as a veiled instrument against freedom of expression. The President in presenting the legislative agenda said it’s aimed at “mitigating security risks and cyber-crime related threats”
The bill shall also be supported by the introduction of the Data Protection Bill as well as the Electronic Transactions and Electronic Commercial Bill.
Companies and Other Entities Bill
The Companies bill is meant both as a repeal and an update of the 1951 Companies Act which is now very outdated and seriously lacking in provisions suitable for the efficient dispensation of business.
Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency Bill
Poor performance on the Ease of Doing Business Index makes this a fundamental piece of law. It seeks to consolidate various pieces of legislation on investment which are currently spread under various Acts. It will also provide for the establishment of a one-stop investment centre, the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency.
Investor friendly laws will be half the job as Zimbabwe seeks for foreign investments to grow back the economy.
Mines and Minerals Bill
This bill had initially passed in both houses will also be re-tabled to address some reservations which the President has with it. It reportedly needs to address the issue of online registration of mining rights and title. With mining expected to account for 13% of the GDP, it’s important that a watertight law is enacted.
Gold Trade Bill and the Precious Stones Trade Bill
This bill seeks to curb leakages of precious minerals. According to the Mines ministry figures gold is the major foreign currency earner contributing $977 million in 2017 with small-scale miners surpassing primary producers of gold. Leakages have however stifled growth.
Consumer Protection Bill
With the economy upside down there are a lot of price distortions as unruly retailers seek to profiteer from this period. Government intervention through a law that protects consumers will be a vital step in to stabilize the situation.
The industry is also operating at very low capacity leading to gross importation of goods, some of which are substandard. The Consumer Protection Bill will be fundamental in stifling unfair trade practices and abuse by suppliers of such substandard goods.
The Labour and Amendment Bill
Against the calls for the empowerment of workers and increased remuneration, the Labour Bill will be brought in to harmonise the already ongoing ease and cost of doing business reforms whilst also seeking for balance between labour productivity and workplace harmony.
Though they are many other pending bills Parliament has these among some of the most fundamental bills to fine-tune as the country seeks for economic traction. An inability to provide a conducive legal environment may spell doom for the country.