Harare East MP Tendai Biti (CCC) says Parliament has been sidelined in key decisions that affect the country’s economic policies with existing laws giving more powers to the President and the Finance Minister.
Biti, who is a lawyer and former Finance Minister this week said parliamentarians should take back powers to act on policies that affect the economy as they have consequences for millions of people, mainly pensioners. Business Times quoted Biti as saying:
The majority and by far the majority of laws affecting the economy in Zimbabwe have not been made by Parliament but through Statutory Instruments.
Some of them by the President using the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Act.
Parliament has been reduced to being an innocent bystander. They are laws used to bypass Parliament.
We are watching from the terraces as Parliament.
Biti said the recent ruling in the High Court on the conversion of US dollar balances to RTGS following currency reforms a few years ago will benefit many if confirmed by the Constitutional Court.
High Court judge Justice Martin Mafusire recently ordered the Central Africa Building Society (CABS) bank to pay an architectural company, Stone/Beatie Studio US$142 000 deposited in its business account.
Biti represented business partners Penelope Douglas Stone and Richard Harold Stuart Beatie in the case, where CABS, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), and the Ministry of Finance were the first respondent, second respondent, and third respondent, respectively. Said Biti:
However, all balances that were in US$ became RTGS immediately and this meant, anyone with a bank account with US$ suddenly became a holder of a local currency account.
My clients said no, we deposited US$ and suddenly we cannot have a creature called the RTGS.
The case they presented in court was that if we leave you with my cow and ask you to look after it, you cannot give me a goat in return or mangoes.
Many Zimbabweans were saying the same thing. The court then ruled to say a cow is a cow.
Biti said to support their case, they attached a press statement by President Emmerson Mnangagwa in May 2022 that said people had to be compensated.
He said the judgement is now awaiting the Constitutional Court to confirm it and once done, a lot of people affected, mainly pensioners will benefit. Biti said:
We had pensions paid in US$. They (pensioners) woke up receiving RTGS balances and this judgement, if it is confirmed by the Constitutional Court, will benefit them tremendously.
There are people who made investments and bought shares in US$, this judgement will help them, and it will help a lot of people.
There are people who have been paying US$ pensions since 2009, they will also benefit.
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