Zimbabwe parliament adjourns

Parliament Building

HARARE – Parliament adjourned last week, with the National Assembly passing many Bills that are in line with Government’s reform agenda.

Some of the laws passed included the Maintenance of Peace and Order Act (MOPA), Companies and Other Entities Act, Consumer Protection Act and Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency (ZIDA) Bill.

MOPA repealed the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and provides mechanisms to regulate the conduct of demonstrations.

It also opens up democratic space protecting everyone’s rights.

The Companies and Other Entities Act makes the ease of doing business much easier by modernising the 1951 legislation.

Parliament also passed the Microfinance Amendment Act which reduces the types of institutions that can do microfinance business to credit-only micro financiers and deposit-taking micro financiers, omitting money-lenders.

The Zimbabwe Investment Development Agency Bill, which is designed to attract the much-needed foreign direct investment, is modelled along success stories in other countries like Rwanda and Botswana.

The ZIDA Bill is in line with the Transitional Stabilisation Programme, which is underpinned by the call to undertake structural reform measures to mitigate the challenges and risks faced by the economy, in particular, the low investment due to perceived bad laws.

It combines the mandates of three existing pieces of legislation that deal with investment, namely the Zimbabwe Investment Authority Act, the Special Economic Zones Act and the Joint Ventures Act, into one.

The Consumer Protection Bill is expected to provide for the establishment and functions of the Consumer Protection Agency (CPA), whose principal role is to protect the rights of consumers.

Functions of the CPA will be centred on the protection of consumers from unjust, unreasonable, improper and unacceptable, deceptive, unfair and fraudulent trading practices.

The agency shall also promote fair business practices by coordinating and networking consumer activities.

When Parliament adjourned for the festive season, it was considering the Marriages Bill, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill and the Freedom of Information of Bill.

Parliament will resume sitting on February 11 next year. – Herald