By Ntombi Mhlongo
Minister of Commerce, Industry, and Trade Manqoba Khumalo left Parliament full of smiles following the passing of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Bill.
No one could blame him as this is a bill that he has been advocating for since he assumed his position. Khumalo has always emphasised that the bill was crucial as it will cover what emaSwati should be getting from the Eswatini Government wealth as well as from parastatals in terms of benefits such as tax incentives.
The bill is also aimed at developing those involved in small businesses and ensuring that they are prioritised over foreign ones or those already established. The bill was passed by Members of Parliament after debating a report tabled by the portfolio committee of the ministry.
During the debate, the MPs submitted that such legislation is crucial as it will ensure the protection of emaSwati, especially small businesses. Now that it has been passed by MPs, the next step is for it to be passed by Senate after which it will receive the blessing of His Majesty King Mswati III who will assent to it and declare it as law.
Before passing it, MPs advised the government to see to it that all its provisions are implemented.
“We can pass it today, but the problem will be how it is applied. This is the law that will ensure that more emaSwati are prioritised,” submitted Ndzingeni MP Lutfo Dlamini.
Lobamba Lomdzala MP Marwick Khumalo said for such legislation to work properly, the government needs to consider amending the law that governs public procurement as it is the one that holds the key to ensuring that emaSwati are prioritised.
The MPs then urged the Speaker Petros Mavimbela to engage his Senate
counterpart, the Senate President, and advise that the bill be quickly debated and passed so that the whole process of enacting into law can be completed.