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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow First Session of the Eleventh Assembly arrow Debates -Thursday, 21st June, 2012 Friday, 31 October 2014  
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Debates -Thursday, 21st June, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 July 2012
DAILY PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES FOR THE FIRST SESSION OF THE ELEVENTH ASSEMBLY
Thursday, 21st June, 2012

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

__________

ANNOUNCEMENTS BY MR SPEAKER

INTERMITTENT RADIO COVERAGE IN LUSAKA AND SURROUNDING AREAS

Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House and the general public that, due to a faulty transmitter in Lusaka at the Twin Palm Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Transmitter, Parliament Radio is experiencing intermittent radio coverage of the live parliamentary debates in Lusaka and surrounding areas.

The National Assembly regrets the inconvenience caused by this fault and wishes to inform the House and the general public that necessary efforts are underway to restore normal transmission in Lusaka and surrounding areas.

PRESENTATION ON HIGHLIGHTS OF THE FIRST DRAFT CONSTITUTION

Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that I have permitted the Chairperson of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution, Hon. Mr Justice Annel M. Silungwe, SC., to make a presentation to hon. Members of Parliament on the highlights of the first draft Constitution. This will be done on Monday, 25th June, 2012, from 0930 hours to 1220 hours in the Auditorium, here at Parliament Buildings.

The key objective of the presentation is to afford the hon. Members of Parliament an opportunity to interact with the Chairperson of the Technical Committee on Drafting the Zambian Constitution so that they can raise any issues which may be of interest to them.

Hon. Members are, therefore, requested to attend this very important engagement.

Thank you.

__________

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

COMMUNICATION TOWER IN CHIEF MATANDA’S AREA

330. Mr Kalaba (Bahati) asked the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when a communication tower would be constructed in Chief Matanta’s area in Mansa District.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to construct a communication tower in Chief Matanda’s area this year. This is part of a programme covering 354 sites countrywide. Under the same programme, 171 sites were completed and commissioned by May, 2012.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, having been in this House for some time, I have come to learn that it is easy to say that something would be done in a particular year without making any effort to get it done afterwards.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: Sir, I would like the hon. Deputy Minister to be specific as to when the project will commence. The people of Chief Matanda’s area need me to take them that information.

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to state that this Government is not like any other government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are committed to delivering quality services to the people. Whatever we state, we will do because we were voted into office to serve the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Tell them!

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mukanga: It is for this reason that I want to say that we are committed to delivering communication services to the people of Chief Matanda.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: What we have done, so far, is to roll out a programme which will cover all the chiefdoms. By December, 2012, Chief Matanda will have a tower.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether Lukulu West is among the sites that will be covered under the programme which the hon. Minister is talking about. This is because, on two occassions, officials from the ministry have gone to the area without carrying out any works.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, even though the main question was about Chief Matanda’s area, I would still like to take advantage of that follow-up question to inform the House that I will soon make a comprehensive ministerial statement so that everybody understands what we are trying to do.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, my question has been taken care of.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, may I know whether the communication towers are constructed by either the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) or Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA). The Government has specifically given instructions to any of the two organisations to construct these towers.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I said, earlier, that I will soon be coming to the Floor of this House to make a comprehensive ministerial statement regarding communication towers.

Sir, to give the hon. Member a bonus answer, what we are trying to do right now is to ensure that all the service operators come together. For example, if we go to Kalomo and put up a tower, all of them will connect their terminals to it so that we avoid the situation of having a lot of them in one area.

Mr Speaker, we are doing everything possible to ensure that we roll out this programme in that manner.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, may I request that when the hon. Minister makes his ministerial statement, he includes a work schedule for distribution to all hon. Members of Parliament so that we follow-up on the work which shall be done.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

I will ignore that since it is not a question.

Mr Speaker gave the Floor to Dr Chituwo.

Brigadier-General Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the question which I wanted to ask has already been tackled.

SHOPRITE CHECKERS

331. Mr Kalaba asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a)how many stores Shoprite Checkers currently operated in Zambia; and

(b)whether there were any Zambians holding top management positions in the company.
The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mukata): Mr Speaker, Shoprite Checkers is currently operating twenty-one stores in Zambia. Of the twenty-one stores, five are situated in Lusaka, two are in Livingstone, while the rest are distributed in all the provincial headquarters except in Muchinga Province. In addition, Shoprite also operates eight Hungry Lion shops, which brings the total number of outlets to twenty-nine.

Mr Speaker, sixteen Zambians hold top management positions in the company. Eleven are working within Zambia and five are abroad. These operate at Deputy General Manager, Regional Manager, Divisional Accounts Manager and Credit Manager levels.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, Nigeria, with a population of 140 million people, has only one Shoprite Store, Tanzania with a population of 34 million has only one Shoprite Store. Why is it so convenient for Zambia, with a population of only slightly over 13 million people, to have all these Shoprite stores? Has the Government got intentions of compelling Shoprite Checkers to include Zambians in its shareholding structure before it increases its operations in the country so that they are empowered further?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, I think the proliferation of chain stores in Zambia is as a result of the conducive environment which the Government has provided for investment. Zambians are at liberty to secure shares in Shoprite because it is listed on the Lusaka Stock Exchange. It is not the Government’s policy to force partnerships between private entities, but it does encourage joint-venture business activities.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo (Shiwang’andu): Mr Speaker, we heard that Shoprite and its legal representatives had some unresolved issues regarding the company’s shares. Have these issues been resolved?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, to my knowledge, the matter was subjected to court proceedings. Additionally, I may not be in a position to comment on matters between private contracting parties.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker gave the Floor to Mr Zimba.

Mr Zimba (Kapiri-Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I have changed my mind.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: That is a very honest response.

Laughter

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, even though I appreciate the need for a liberalised economy, I still wish to find out whether the proliferation of retail outlets such as Shoprite Store is not a way of crowding a business area which can be taken up by Zambians.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, Zambia is a member of regional and global economic forums which promulgate policies of open-border trading and investment. On the basis of the principles of the economic forums which Zambia belongs to, it would not be advisable to squeeze out of business or fetter the activities of foreign investors who would like to set up entities in Zambia. We do encourage Zambians to open up similar entities or to create forward and backward linkages with such entities. For instance, those who grow tomatoes, vegetables and fruits are encouraged to supply them to the chain stores. We do engage these chain stores to open up markets to local Zambians. In fact, given the topography and the size of Zambia, it is encouraged that we have more chain stores.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that the people of Monze are very happy that Shoprite Checkers will be opening a store in the area. This is a move which is long overdue. Can he confirm that, please.

Laughter

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that what the hon. Member for Monze Central has said is correct.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, when responding to Hon. Chituwo’s question, the hon. Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry made reference to the World Trade Forum. His response seems to indicate that the proliferation of Shoprite Checkers in various parts of our country is an indication that Zambia has a low comparative advantage when compared to other countries within the region. Can the hon. Deputy Minister inform this House what is being done by his ministry to enhance the comparative advantage of Zambia in the area of retail trade so that Zambian businesses can stand against big commercial entities.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, the presence of Shoprite Checkers in Zambia, really, is as a result of the investment agreements seeking to promote regional integration and a just world order. We do not discourage investment that is within the parameters of the law. Let me put it this way: Despite the fact that you have Shoprite in this country, the foreign nature of that company is really in the origin only because 65 per cent of the products that are sold in its stores are actually Zambian.

Interruptions

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, I should be allowed to speak based on points of fact, not my colleagues, who are speaking on the basis of their gut feelings.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukata: Sir, hon. Members are free to confirm the correctness of the statistics which I am giving on the Floor of the House. Ninety-five per cent of the fresh produce you will find in Shoprite is locally sourced.

Mr Speaker, in terms of what is marketed in those shops, it is really Zambian except, perhaps, the ownership and origin of the company, which is foreign. Quite frankly, there is a benefit for our people. However, like I said, we are trying to encourage our locals, the Zambians, to rise to the occasion and set up similar entities. We are advocating for technological transfers and for Zambians to learn from our colleagues in other countries on how they are able to get to such levels. One way of doing that is by bringing them into our backyards to see how they do it so that we can learn from them and begin to compete.

Mr Speaker, in terms of investment, we are a member of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We encourage investment, back and forth. There is no barrier to Zambians investing in South Africa and Zimbabwe. Only recently, in fact, a hotel chain from Botswana took over Cresta Golfview Hotel and, I think, that is good.

However, if there are Zambians who are willing to compete and take over those entities, it is well and good. The idea of regional integration is to provide a common market for our smaller markets, then, put them up as a hub in the region to compete favourably with bigger economies, such as those of Europe. So, that is the whole idea.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) has been a very strong proponent of nationalism and empowerment of Zambians. Listening to the hon. Deputy Minister vehemently defending these foreign entities, now, makes me wonder if there has been a policy shift. Is that the case?

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, we should not look at the issue of Shoprite in an isolated manner. Only two days ago, we were talking about a shift from an import-oriented position to an export-oriented one. This should basically be grounded in the fact that we want to galvanise our rural masses to set up industries to extrapolate and roll out value addition activities. That is what will form a basis for us to ably produce commodities that we can then export. So, we want to shift from an import to an export-led economy.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister …

Hon. Opposition Member: Whether he is Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).

Laughter

Mr Mbewe: He is a very good hon. Deputy Minister. We exported quality …

Mr Speaker: Are you through hon. Minister?

Laughter

Mr Mbewe: I want to find out what deliberate policy the ministry has put in place to make sure that the local farmers who are supplying chickens and beef, are competing favourably with those from South Africa, because most of the produce in these shops is imported from South Africa.

Mr Mukata: Mr Speaker, I think, for starters, we have the ban on chickens. I know that, at one point, there was a chicken that was produced on the Floor of the House. Therefore, initiatives are in place to protect our market and people. However, beyond just a physical attempt to protect our industries in terms of banning certain foreign products, we are trying to prop our people to compete, in terms of quality issues. Even as we open our borders to trade across and compete, our people are having serious problems relating to the quality of their products. We cannot take our jam and put it on the shelves in Zimbabwe. Nobody is going to buy it because of quality issues.

Therefore, Mr Speaker, at the moment, we have a National Quality Policy Framework in place through which we are trying to get companies to rebrand. In fact, one of the initiatives under the National Quality Policy Framework and the Commerce and Trade Industry Policy is the ‘Buy Zambian Campaign’. The biggest problem we have, again, is our mentality. Zambians want to buy foreign products. When they go into Shoprite to buy coffee and find Munali Coffee and Jacobs’ Coffee, most times, they will go for Jacobs’ Coffee. Perhaps, we need to deal with our attitude first of all. Even as regards the suits we are wearing, we will not buy them from a tailor or that Indian in town. We want to go and buy from China or all these other countries.

Mr Muntanga: There are no sizes.

Mr Mukata: So, I think that there is a need for a shift in mindset to create that critical mass so that we support our local industries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Is the hon. Member for Kalomo Central speaking for everybody?

Laughter{mospagebreak}

MULOBEZI RAILWAY LINE

332. Mr Sililo (Mulobezi) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)who the owners of the Mulobezi Railway Line were;

(b)whether the Government was aware that the railway line was dangerous to the travelling public;

(c)when the railway line would be rehabilitated and new wagons for both passengers and goods procured; and

(d)what measures had been taken to improve the safety of the travelling public on the railway line.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, this railway line is owned by the Government, through the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, and is under the supervision of the Zambia Railways.

Mr Speaker, the Government is fully aware of the deplorable state in which the railway line is and the danger that it poses to the travelling public.

Mr Speaker, US$76 million is required to rehabilitate the railway line and, in the interim, the Government has engaged the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) to discuss possibilities of it handing back excess coaches and wagons so that they can be redeployed to the Mulobezi Railway Line

Sir, the Government is looking at ways of strengthening the railway line by using part of the materials in the form of steel sleepers that remained from the construction of the Chipata Mchinji Railway Line. These steel sleepers will shortly be moved to Mulobezi to try and provide an immediate solution to some of the challenges that the line is currently facing. Further, the ministry is looking for possible private sector partners to try and rehabilitate the line.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

    Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out …

   Mr Mulusa: On a point of order, Sir.

   Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

   Mr Mulusa: Mr Speaker, you know that I rarely raise on points of order.

   Mr Speaker: As a matter of fact, I know everybody does that.

   Laughter

    Mr Mulusa: I rise on a very serious point of order that borders on human rights and the protection of our women. On page 14 of today’s The Post newspaper, it has been reported that a male employee, who was previously an Assistant Commissioner at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), assaulted a human resources manager and the matter went to court and he was convicted and dismissed. He has been reinstated and that woman’s contract terminated. The woman has confirmed the termination of her contract and has refused to speak because of fear of not knowing what will happen to her. Is the Government in order to create an environment, in this country, that threatens our women, who are being assaulted and killed everyday? One had the whole head sliced off in my constituency. I request your serious ruling on this matter.

    Mr Mulusa laid the paper on the Table.

    Hon. Members: Hear! Hear!

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that we are a constitutional democracy and, as such, one of the basic tenets that we observe is the separation of powers. There is an organ which is specifically dedicated to the resolution of those matters and this organ is known as the Judiciary.

Therefore, any persons who feel aggrieved or whose rights have been violated, can resort to that very vital organ of the State for grievance resolution. This, certainly, is not a policy issue which requires constitutional guidance by the Speaker. That is my ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Choma Central may proceed.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister be specific about when, exactly, these so-called interim measures will take effect because the railway line in question is extremely dangerous to the extent that people are using wagons meant for goods to travel.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, when we say, interim, we simply mean, immediate. We have already engaged the RSZ and are looking at the possibility of transferring some of the excess wagons so that we help our people in Mulobezi because the current situation is not acceptable to the PF Government.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister clearly stated that the railway line is very dangerous. Would the Government then consider constructing an all-weather road from Livingstone to Mulobezi to assist the traveling public of this area.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, that was one of the possibilities we thought we could look at in the interim. However, we discovered that it is very difficult for us to do this because of the terrain. This is why we thought that the assistance of the RSZ would be a better option.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I want to know what the ministry has done about this matter, knowing too well that the agreement with the RSZ was such that it would control Mulobezi Railway Line and also have the power to sub-contract it to other operators. Revisiting this particular agreement has been a big problem. Therefore, has this Government revisited this agreement so that there is proper planning for the Mulobezi Railway Line?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would just like to put across the correct situation. The Mulobezi Railway Line is being run by Leon’s General Dealers. The provision in the Yellow Book will show you that there is always K360 million annually allocated to ensure that the operations of the Mulobezi Railway Line continue. The RSZ’s provision of a locomotive and fuel is not because it runs the line, but because it is helping to run it. That is how things are being done.

The problem that is there currently is that this railway line has existed for a long time without capitalisation. As a result, we have had many problems. We need to maintain and recapitalise it in order for it to operate in accordance with acceptable standards.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, the people of Mulobezi that use this train share wagons with livestock. I would like to know what measures the Government has put in place, in terms of health, to compel the operators to ensure that people are safe on those wagons.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the people of Mulobezi do not share wagons with livestock. The people in this area use a separate wagon and the livestock another. They may use the same locomotive engine, but do not share wagons.

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: There is no sharing of wagons. This is why, in the interim, we want to have excess wagons from the RSZ deployed to Mulobezi. Not only that, we sent …

Interruptions   

Mr Mukanga: What I am telling you is the correct situation.  Even the hon. Deputy Minister …

Interruptions

Mr Mukanga: You should listen, do not speak from without.

The hon. Deputy Minister went there on a fact-finding mission before this question was even brought to the House. This is because we, as a Government, want to provide a better service. We do not want to continue providing a service in a business-as-usual manner. We want to provide a change and a better service to the people of Mulobezi. The Mulobezi Railway Line is not economical, but there are still people in Mulobezi who need to be serviced. This is why we want to provide a good service.

If the US$76 million was available and we pumped it into this railway line, even if we privatised it, no one would accept it. However, as a Government, we are responsible enough to ensure that we do everything we can to provide a better service for our people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Therefore, it is not just a matter of saying people and livestock are sharing wagons. We know what is happening on the ground. I have got the document here.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister inform this House and the nation that his ministry is discussing with the RSZ on the possibility of it providing some wagons to be used on the Mulobezi Railway Line. The question that begs an answer is whether it is prudent for my colleague, the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, to consider discussing with a failed institution like the RSZ on a solution for the Mulobezi Railway Line. The RSZ has failed to manage the railway system in this country. Therefore, is it prudent for the Government to continue discussing with it on a solution for another railway line?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I do not know who else is in the business of locomotives or trains. However, I believe that if we want to do things faster, in the interim, the RSZ is the best we can discuss with because it might have excess wagons and locomotives. At the moment, the locomotive which is operational on this line belongs to the RSZ. Therefore, we need to engage it further.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, I was in Simonga two days ago. How old is the report the hon. Minister is referring to?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, in April, we sent the hon. Deputy Minister on a fact-finding mission. After that, a report was generated in May, and it is the one I have here. It is as a result of this report that we are actioning all the plans that we have.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, this railway line has been vandalised by scrap metal dealers. At the moment, some materials for the railway line are at Livingstone Central and Linda police stations. The question is: Why is the Government failing to prosecute the people who destroyed this railway line?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the Government is not failing to prosecute the culprits. This issue we are talking about was reported by the hon. Deputy Minister in Livingstone. That is how the truck was impounded. We are doing everything possible, as the Executive, to have the culprits prosecuted. The hon. Deputy Minister is the one who said that they should be prosecuted.

So, we are in control and we want to see justice take its course. We do not want to meddle in judicial affairs, but want things to be done correctly.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, interim and ‘temporal’…

Laughter

Mr Miyutu: The actual situation on Saturday, four days ago, reveals the opposite of what the hon. Minister is saying here. Humans and animals share cottages that are partitioned by sticks. This is what is happening on the ground.

Mr Speaker: What is your question?

Mr Miyutu: My question is: Should we rely on the April report or the Saturday incident of cottages being shared by goats and humans separated by sticks?

Laughter

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I want to make a correction. There are no cottages on the ...

Hon. Opposition Member: Coaches!

Mr Mukanga: Oh! You mean coaches? Alright, I understand.

We will investigate what you have just said. However, we are doing everything possible to correct the situation because we are not happy with it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister say that he will move some sleepers from Chipata to Mulobezi. In today’s newspaper, I was happy to read that the hon. Minister is looking for a partner to connect Chipata to Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA). Is he not considering leaving the sleepers in Chipata …

Laughter

Mr Mtolo: … and buying some from Lusaka, which is nearer, instead of Chipata, which is 567km away? I am a worried hon. Member of Parliament, Sir.

Laughter

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member should not be worried. As a Government, we have a plan for the Mchinji/Chipata Railway Line to be connected to the TAZARA Railway Line so that we can open that corridor. Already, a feasibility study has been completed and we are going to act on it. We are doing everything possible to ensure that you have quality service in that area. So, do not worry.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

USER FEES ON PRIMARY HEALTH CARE

333. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Health what benefits were accrued to the nation following the removal of user fees on primary health care.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chikusu): Mr Speaker, the Government decided to scrap off medical user fees because they posed a financial burden on the poor. The fees were first scrapped off in rural areas for all primary health care services in 2006. This policy measure was later extended to urban areas.

Currently, there is no comprehensive assessment that has been conducted on the impact of the removal of user fees in public health facilities countrywide. However, some assessment was done when the policy measure was only applied to rural areas. It was found that utilisation of services significantly increased, particularly among the poorest in the rural population who could not seek care at health facilities when they fell sick, partly on account of their inability to pay user fees. It was also observed that the increased utilisation of health services increased drug consumption by the population and increased the workload of staff in the health facilities.

Sir, to ensure that the scrapping of medical user fees does not compromise the quality of care in public health facilities, the PF Government has increased the budgetary allocation to the health sector so that it can achieve its desired objectives without necessarily relying on medical user fees.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the removal of user fees in rural areas has resulted in lack of medicines?

The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, as my colleague has said, it is true that there has been an increase in the utilisation of medical services in all the institutions that are involved in primary health care. This is a welcome phenomenon and we note that it has led to an increase in the number of pharmaceutical products that are needed. However, it is not a cause for concern, which should prompt us to go back to a situation where coverage was threatened. It is our intention to emphasise and achieve universal coverage. Whatever resources that will be required to do that will be mobilised.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, sentiments have been made and concerns raised by people, including the Medical Association of Zambia, that following the removal of these fees, other than drug shortages, other operational costs have been affected. What compensatory mechanisms have been put in place to mitigate this effect?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, yes, it is true that there are other components of care that have been affected by the increase in the demand for health services that has been caused by the abolition of user fees. We anticipated this and began measures to ensure that it does not last. There has been an increase in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Health for the purpose of addressing some of these difficulties.

However, that is not the end. We envisage that other mechanisms for mobilising financial resources will be developed.

I would like to assure the House that, in the course of this year, I will be able to present some of these mechanisms that we have developed for its information.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that there has been no assessment done, so far. When does the ministry intend to carry out a proper assessment so that appropriate interventions are developed?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, in fact, it is our practice to assess, monitor and, subsequently, evaluate all programmes. For us, it is not a matter of deciding that, on such a day, we shall determine, exactly, what has happened. We have in place mechanisms …


Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Members on the right are drowning the hon. Minister of Health.

Dr Kasonde: … and measures to prevent the drowning of the hon. Minister of Health.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: Those measures will be taken by the Speaker.

Laughter

Dr Kasonde: Sir, to conclude, yes, we intend to report our assessments to this House from time to time. However, I also wish to state that the actual exercise of assessment is a continuous process.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, recently, we heard on radio that, due to the clean leadership being exhibited by the hon. PF Ministers and Government generally, the donors are very happy to the extent, that the Global Fund has given the Ministry of Health some money.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, does this have a positive effect on some of the effects of overcrowding in hospitals, such as shortage of medicine, because of the increase in demand for health services? Is there a relationship between the two?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the former hon. Minister of Health for drawing attention to the value of the support that we get from our partners. I also agree with the hon. Member that the intention of seeking these resources from our partners is to achieve our commitment to the total elevation of the level of care in our health institutions. The answer to the hon. Member’s question is, therefore, yes.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}

NAKONDE BORDER

334. Mr Sichula (Nakonde) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning whether the Government had any plans to revise and extend trading hours at Nakonde Border to ensure that the public is served efficiently.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Sampa): Mr Speaker, just to guide the House, my ministry is actually called the Ministry of Finance, period.

Mr Speaker: I would advise the hon. Minister to confine himself to the business on the Floor.

Laughter

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, I am much obliged. I can confirm that the PF Government, indeed, has plans to extend trading hours at Nakonde Border. The House may wish to note that extending working hours from 0600 to 1800 hours at Nakonde Border will require the following fundamentals to be put in place:

(i)an agreement with the relevant authorities in Tanzania in order to maintain the synchronised hours of operations, taking into account that the two countries are in two different time zones;

(ii)increasing the staffing levels so that an efficient shift system can be implemented to cover the working hours, on one hand, and allow staff to rest, on the other;

(iii)completing the construction of the current border infrastructure to handle the anticipated increase that the extension of working hours would result in and to ensure that business is carried out in a conducive environment for both taxpayers and staff; and

(iv)the Government will need to ensure that security is in place so that all stakeholders are secure at all times.

Mr Speaker, I must state that there was a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in 2009 between the Government of Zambia and that of Tanzania to have a one-stop border post at Nakonde, which we will need to revisit.

Sir, finally, I wish to assure the House that the Government remains committed to ensuring that the necessary arrangements are put in place at Nakonde Border so that the public is served efficiently. We will, therefore, look to include, in the 2013 Budget, any financial requirement for the anticipated extension in trading hours at the border in question.

Mr Speaker, all factors being equal, this initiative should be implemented in the first quarter of 2013.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Sichula: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to raise this constitutional point of order. Is the Government in order to create a Ministry of Finance and start operating it without the approval of this august House? Is it in order, Sir?

Hon. UPND Member: Illegally.

Mr Speaker: As far as the Speaker and the House at large is concerned, what was brought for approval before the House was a Ministry of Finance and National Planning. That is the ministry that is known to the House and under the Constitution. You may proceed hon. Member for Nakonde.

Mr Sichula: Mr Speaker, I would like to know when the construction of the new offices will be completed.

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, I did mention that the offices are being worked on and we hope to open them in the first quarter of 2013.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, may I know the current trading hours at Nakonde Border Post.

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, at the moment, the border closes at 1800 hours. So, we are looking to extend the period of trading into the late hours as is the case at Chirundu Border.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether there is any consideration to create duty-free shops at Nakonde Border since the use of any foreign exchange has been banned and, so, that there is no black market for currencies there.

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, yes, those plans are in place to open duty-free shops. We want to do that through the public-private partnership.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, borders are points of collection of revenue. There have been concerns that the Nakonde Border has been porous for some time. Are there any plans by the Government to ensure that the loopholes are sealed so that we can collect as much revenue as possible?

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, that concern does not only relate to Nakonde, but also many other borders such as Mokambo and Livingstone. We appreciate that the borders are porous and that we are not collecting as much revenue as we should. So, we are looking to having more staff in those areas and to ensure that there are no loopholes for tax evasion.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has informed the House that the Government will be reviewing the MoU between Zambia and Tanzania as regards the creation of a one-stop border post between the two countries. What is the timeframe attached to this important activity?

Mr Sampa: Sir, that review was part of the plan that was in place since 2009, but there was no action by the previous regime. So, this Government will look into the implementation of all existing plans. We will develop our plans through implementation, monitoring and evaluation. I did mention that we will include the said review in the next National Budget, to be presented this year, so that we implement that activity in the first quarter of 2013.

I thank you, Sir.

ZAMBIA POLICE FORCE

335. Mrs Mazoka (Pemba) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)how often officers in the Zambia Police Force underwent firearms proficiency tests; and

(b)whether the Government was aware that Pemba Police Station did not have a holding cell for female suspects.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, routine firearms proficiency tests are conducted twice in a year, in June and December. The tests are also provided periodically to officers going for peace-keeping missions and those who undergo refresher and promotional courses. However, they have not been done consistently due to budgetary constraints.

Mr Speaker, the Government is, indeed, aware of the lack of female holding cells in some police stations, including at Pemba. Therefore, we plan to construct a modern police station at Pemba befitting its new status as a district. The modern police station will have all the necessary facilities, including female, juvenile and male cells. The construction of the police station will only be done once funds are made available, but not later than 2016.

I thank you, Sir.

Laughter

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, are our colleagues considering increasing the frequency of routine firearms proficiency tests from twice a year, which is in June and December, to, maybe, more than three times in a year?

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Sakeni): Mr Speaker, these tests are very costly. They involve taking police officers for routine range practice. At times, we are unable to meet the twice-per-year schedule because of cost limitations. As for the future, we will do the very best so that we continue improving the effectiveness of our officers in handling firearms. It is important that we do more tests but, unfortunately, our budget line cannot allow us to do that.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Sir, the hon. Minister has confirmed that there are no female police cells at Pemba Police Station and other stations. How are female suspects kept? Do the police officers keep them in their homes or offices?

Laughter

Mr Speaker: It is a leading question, but the hon. Minister can, nonetheless, answer it.

Laughter

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, normally, female suspects are kept just within the inquiries office. Most of them are not violent, do not run away and are user-friendly.

Laughter

Mr Sakeni: So, police officers are able to keep them within their operating environment. It is just regrettable, however, that, over the years, the previous Governments have not invested much in improving facilities at our police stations. The PF Government is, nonetheless, very determined to improve the status of our police stations. It is actually immoral to keep suspects at the reception or inquiries office. They need some kind of privacy because they are presumed to be innocent.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I want the hon. Minister to come out very clearly on how user-friendly female suspects are. Can he explain properly.

Interruptions

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, women are normally peaceful; not violent.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sakeni: When you keep them at the inquiries office, even if an officer is alone and goes to the bathroom, the female suspects will wait for him.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sakeni: If it is a male detainee, he will bolt. So that is our position.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I think he meant to use the word ‘friendly’ without ‘user’.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, as Chairperson of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters, I led your Committee on tours of a number of police stations and prisons in this country and what we found out is different from what the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is indicating to us. We actually found male and female suspects sharing the same cells in certain areas of this country. Can he confirm that because we witnessed it.

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, I have toured various police and prison facilities in the country. Personally, I have never come across such a situation. Needless to say, maybe, officers tend to hide the facts, knowing that the hon. Minister is enroute to their station and will not tolerate such a situation. I cannot allow men and women suspects to share the same cell.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Mazoka: Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by the one asked by the hon. Member for Chadiza.

Mr Speaker: Understandably so.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the issue of female cells at police stations was raised in this House some time back and we were informed by the Government then that a programme of building police cells for women would commence. I have now heard from the hon. Deputy Minister that the Government will only construct female police cells at Pemba when funds are made available. I am not sure whether the taking over of the Government by another party has stalled the programme of building these cells. What is the Government’s position?

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, when you look at our current police stations, they leave much to be desired. In certain police stations, officers have taken their own initiative to divide one cell into two so that they make male and female cells. In certain areas, it is difficult because of the space and funding. At the same time, as we have said, we will make sure that, when we put up new police stations, these issues will be taken into account. We will continue improving so that we can conform to the norms of society. You cannot be mixing people of different sexes in one cell.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker gave the Floor to Mr Livune.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, my question has already been taken care of.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I know you tried to save the hon. Minister. However, can he come out clearly on the use of the words ‘user-friendly’. My understanding of these words is that one has the use of an object. Did the hon. Minister mean that women are objects and the police officers are the users?

Laughter

   Ms Namugala: Can he come out clearly and state whether he meant that these women, once they are arrested, are objects for the policemen to use?

Mr Speaker: Well, for the avoidance of doubt, I will allow the hon. Minister to reiterate his position.

Mr Sakeni: Mr Speaker, I have explained. Your interpretation of my statement is totally incorrect and misrepresents what I said. Women, by nature, are not violent and, normally, when they are taken to a police station, there are very rare cases where you hear of them escaping from prison or an officer. That is what I literally meant.

I thank you, Sir.

BASIC SCHOOLS IN DUNDUMWEZI CONSTITUENCY

336. Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)when the Government would rehabilitate the following basic schools in Dundumwezi Parliamentary Constituency:

(i)Siabunkulu; and

(ii)Munyeke;

(b)how many schools were constructed by the Response Network Project in Dundumwezi Parliamentary Constituency as of 31st December, 2011; and

(c)what the total number of community schools in Dundumwezi Parliamentary Constituency currently was.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government recognises the dilapidated nature of schools in Zambia, including those at Siabunkulu and Munyeke in Dundumwezi Constituency. The Government will consider the rehabilitation of the said schools in the 2013 Infrastructure Plan, depending on the money that will be allocated to the ministry.

Secondly, Sir, the Response Network Project did not build any school in Dundumwezi. It is important for the hon. Members and the public at large to recognise that the ministry does not influence the decisions that non-governmental organisations (NGOs) make in terms of their investment in the community.

Lastly, the number of community schools in Dundumwezi is twenty-five.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe:  Mr Speaker, …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Just a moment, Hon. Muntanga.

Hon. Member for Dundumwezi, may you continue.

Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The point of order is appropriately raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order not to withdraw the words ‘user-friendly’, realising that, in the past, we have had cases at police stations in which women were raped by police officers? Is he in order to insist that the use of the words should still stand?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has been quizzed through questions to clarify what he meant by the use of that phrase and has been at pains to explain that it does not mean what has been, perhaps, understandably, supposed; that those who are remanded are abused, to put it mildly. That is not what he meant to say. He may not have appropriately chosen or employed his diction effectively, but, I think, for all intents and purposes, he has clarified the position. I think we should proceed on that basis. I hope that the House is assured that those female persons who are detained are, in fact, not, as a matter of policy, subjects of abuse.

Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that the Response Network Project has not constructed any school in Dundumwezi Parliamentary Constituency. Which institution, then, constructed Kantini School in Chamuka Ward?

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, the information that we get is from the province as well as the district leadership in the ministry. As much as we know, the Response Network Project, as an NGO, has an MoU with the ministry, and we rely on their collaboration with the district leadership. If, as the hon. Member reports, this NGO has done that fantastic work, we can only encourage other NGOs to do what the Response Network Project has done.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, of the twenty-five community schools, how many have qualified teachers?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, that is an important question, which needs a little more searching for answers from our archives. The question answered was about how many community schools were there in Dundumwezi Constituency and we have specifically mentioned twenty-five. That additional question will need additional research.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education whether it would not be prudent for him to revisit the issue of the construction of community schools in Dundumwezi, other than leaving the record as it is, that there were no community schools which were built by the Network Response Project in Dundumwezi.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, if I have created that impression, you will excuse me. The question was specifically asking about how many community schools there were in Dundumwezi Constituency and the reply we gave was twenty-five. As a matter of Government policy, we are working on reconstructing these community schools into primary schools. However, if this NGO, the Response Network Project, has done some work with any of these twenty-five schools, we can only commend it for its contribution to the provision of education to the people in the area.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, besides the school that has been built by the Response Network Project at Kantina, there is another school which was built by the same NGO at Muchindu Village in Dundumwezi. In view of this, would the answer given by the hon. Deputy Minister that the Response Network Project has built no school still stand?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, all we can say, as a ministry, is that we will search for this information and get back to the House. Looking at question (b), specifically, it reads:

“How many schools were constructed by Response Network Project in Dundumwezi Parliamentary Constituency, as of 31st December, 2011” and question (c) was “what is the total number of community schools.”

Mr Speaker, when we were searching for information in response to the question, we did not find it necessary to look for data on the community schools which have been constructed by the NGOs. Having stated that, let me reiterate the fact that we will search for more information and begin wondering anew as to why the hon. Member of Parliament asked a question he already had an answer to.

I thank you, Sir.

PHARMACISTS IN ZAMBIA

337.     Mr Chitotela (Pambashe) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    what the total number of pharmacists operating in Zambia, as of 31st March, 2012 was; and

(b)    of the pharmacists at (a), how many were serving in Luapula Province in the same period.

Dr Chikusu: Mr Speaker, as at 31st March, 2012, the total number of pharmacists active in Zambia was 367, out of which 198 were under the Ministry of Health establishment.

Mr Speaker, as at 31st March, 2012, the total number of pharmacists serving in Luapula was six. Two pharmacists were at the Mansa General Hospital and one pharmacist each for Luapula Provincial Medical Office, Mansa District Medical Office and Samfya and Kawambwa district hospitals.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, is my Government looking for modalities to scale up the training of these essential workers in the provision of medical services to Zambians?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, yes.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, may I know what mechanisms the Government intends to put in place to increase the number of pharmacists in the country?

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, the usual mechanism is, of course, to increase the output from the schools that produce pharmacists, namely, the universities. We have been in discussion with the University of Zambia which has a School of Pharmacy to increase the output at its school. We are also aware that there are two other medical schools which are in a position to do that. We shall be opening a medical school this year which will, at a later stage, also be capable of training pharmacists.

I hope that the hon. Member is satisfied with the adequate measures which we have put in place to increase the number of pharmacists in the country. We look forward to the hon. Member contributing to what we are doing by encouraging people to enroll in these very good schools which have been established.

I thank you, Sir.

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT STAFF COLLEGES

338. Mr Bwalya asked the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health:

(a)    what the status of the two community development staff colleges was regarding their affiliation to the Technical Education, Vocational Training and Entrepreneurship Authority (TEVETA); and

(b)    when the colleges would start offering diploma courses.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, the two colleges are affiliated to TEVETA and the lecturers are also accredited by the authority. The ministry has further collaborated with TEVETA in the development of the curricula for the certificate and diploma courses offered at the two institutions.

Mr Speaker, the two community development staff colleges in Monze and Kitwe, respectively, started offering the diploma courses in community development in 2011.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I would like to know how the graduates from these colleges are absorbed in the Government ministries.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, the people train in these two colleges are not employed by the Government immediately. They apply for employment and, if there are vacancies, they are employed.

Mr Speaker, our ministry is, at the moment, trying to work with the Public Service Commission to see how best most of them can be employed since most of our centres countrywide are not manned by trained personnel from community development staff colleges.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, Can the hon. Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health educate the nation on what the benefits of being affiliated to TEVETA are.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, the benefit is that the students who graduate from TEVETA-affiliated institutions are given diplomas and certificates which are recognised in the country.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

TEACHERS’ HOUSES IN SENANGA CONSTITUENCY

339. Mr Mufalali asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    when the Government would construct teachers’ houses at the following
    schools in Senanga Parliamentary Constituency:   

(i)Matauka High School;

(ii)Liangati Basic School; and

(b)when the Government would construct new classroom blocks at Matauka
High School.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the Government recognises the fact that many schools around the country, including Matauka and Liangati schools in Senanga Parliamentary Constituency have inadequate teachers’ houses. However, the Government has plans to include the construction of teachers’ houses at these schools in the 2013 Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education Infrastructure Development Plan depending on the money that will be allocated to the ministry.

Mr Speaker, we have received information from the Western Province to the effect that there is a 1 X 2 classroom block for laboratory exercises which is being constructed using Parent Teacher Association (PTA) funds at Matauka High School. Using the same funds, a 1 X 3 classroom block is also being constructed at the same school.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, is the ministry planning to build an ablution block for the teachers at Matauka High School, because, currently, they do not have one?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the construction of staff houses, VIP and other toilets is an on-going exercise. This is because we have a backlog, countrywide, of housing and sanitation facilities for our teachers. We are in the process of constructing 248 staff houses throughout the country using the K74 billion which was allocated to the ministry for that purpose in 2012. Even if Matauka High School in Hon. Mufalali’s constituency does not benefit from this exercise this year, it should not make him believe that our resolve to construct more teachers’ houses and sanitation facilities has diminished.  We believe that a lack of such provisions affects the lives and academic performance of our pupils.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has acknowledged the fact that there are no ablution blocks at Matauka High School. I would like to remind him that …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Is that a question or a reminder?

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, how does the hon. Minister expect the teachers at this school to answer the call of nature?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am glad that the hon. Member of Parliament has emphasised how desperate the situation is. Let me mention that this pathetic situation is not just obtaining at Matauka High School. There are many high Schools in this country which are in dire need of rehabilitation works. Efforts are being made to make life in these schools a little more bearable.

Sir, considering the limited financial allocations to the ministry, we are not able to look at all the challenges in our high schools at once. However, that does not diminish our resolve to improve the state of the infrastructure in our schools. Since the hon. Member of Parliament has brought the problems at Matauka High School to our attention, we will try and sort them out within our limited resources.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, is it advisable to let schools continue operating without sanitation facilities?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, there are no schools that function without sanitation facilities. Some schools have temporarily facilities, which may not be suitable for a high School. We need to find a better way of moving forward. The idea of closing schools down will have harsh consequences.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, if I heard correctly, the hon. Minister indicated that the Government is in the process of building more teachers’ houses and high schools. Is it not prudent for the Government to first consider finishing structures which are still under construction before embarking on building new infrastructure?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, that insinuation is not correct at all. I did not handle the question in that way. There are forty-five high schools throughout the country which are under construction and need to be completed. We are in the process of completing the construction of these schools so that they can open for enrolment next January.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister not worried that the Ministry of Health might close down the school in question?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am worried that such a situation might arise. However, since the hon. Minister of Health is next to me, here, ….

Laughter

Dr Phiri: … I will try to persuade him not to do that. We will do what we can to prevent him from closing down the school with the limited resources at our disposal.

I thank you, Sir.
__________

MOTION

THE COMMITTEE ON DELEGATED LEGISLATION REPORT

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation, for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2012.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Mweetwa: Sir, your Committee, in accordance with its terms of reference, scruitnised all the statutory instruments (SIs) presented to it and ensured that they were in conformity with the principal legislation.

Sir, your Committee thus strived to ensure that Parliament’s delegation of powers to other authorities or persons to make orders, regulations, rules, sub-rules and by-laws were being properly exercised. It also requested for explanatory memoranda from ministries and other bodies which issued SIs that were before the Committee.

Mr Speaker, let me, now, make specific comments on some of the SIs considered by your Committee. One item, which your Committee considered, relates to the zero-rating of accommodation in Livingstone City. This measure was in effect between 2001 and 2009, and was extended for a further period of twelve months to December, 2010. This incentive was issued under Statutory Instrument No. 5 of 2010.

Sir, your Committee is of the view that the incentive should be extended to other areas where the Government and other stakeholders have identified tourism promotion potential. This will no doubt spur growth in the identified areas and make our tourism establishments competitive, as accommodation is a major cost in holiday makers’ budgets. This incentive may also be extended to Livingstone City, which the Government has identified as a tourist capital for Zambia.

Mr Speaker, a related issue to the tourism industry, which your Committee also considered, relates to Statutory Instrument No. 96 of 2011, the Liquor Licensing (Permitted Hours) Regulations, 2011. This SI, as stated in the title, prescribes the operating hours for the establishments which supply and sell liquor.

Sir, in view of the recent complaints of the public on the apparent abuse of alcohol, your Committee welcomes this SI. It is important that the supply of alcohol is regulated in order for our people, especially the youths, to be disciplined. Your Committee is, however, worried that these regulations are not being enforced to the letter, as most establishments like bars and taverns do not observe the opening and closing times prescribed in the regulations.

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that most of the establishments involved in the sale of alcohol do not comply with the stated regulations due to lack of manpower in most of the local authorities, which are mandated to enforce these regulations. Your Committee hopes that the capacity of local authorities will be enhanced in order for them to monitor the supply of liquor.

Sir, related to the supplying and selling of alcohol is the impact of these regulations on tourism establishments. It will be important that, as these regulations are implemented, they do not negatively impact on the tourism sector by inhibiting access of tourists to drinks of their choice in tourism establishments like hotels and lodges.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also undertook a local tour of statutory housing areas in Lusaka and Kitwe. These related to Statutory Instruments Nos. 91, 92, 93, 94 and 95 of 2011. Your Committee noted the good intentions of these SIs, especially those which concern the upgrading of unplanned settlements, such as Chibolya Compound, in Lusaka, and Ipusukilo Compound in Kitwe.

Sir, it is, however, sad to note that local authorities have been helpless in dealing with unplanned settlements and illegal occupants of land, be it public or private. Illegal encroachment of land is widespread and does not …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the illegal encroachment of land is widespread and does not seem to be reducing …

Mr Chisanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to apologise to the hon. Member for Choma Central for curtailing his debate. However, I rise on a very serious point of order. We are discussing important issues that have come out of the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation.

Sir, is it in order for the Front Bench, on your right, including the Leader of Government Business in the House, to be outside, having tea, while the Chairperson of your Committee is presenting the report to the House? Only one hon. Minister is present to listen to the Chairperson.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

My ruling is that it is not in order for any hon. Member of Parliament not to be present at any appointed time after business resumes.

I note that there is this tendency to troop in late without hindrance. I would like to bring this unfortunate practice, firstly, to the notice of the Leader of Government Business and, secondly, to the Whips, both on the left as well as on my right. It is their responsibility to enforce discipline in the House. It is very inappropriate for the Speaker to take his seat and wait for hon. Members to troop in from their break. I think we need to observe the highest standards of discipline and decorum. I have noted this trend with a great deal of personal anxiety. I hope that we will move away from it and all maintain, discipline that is expected of us as hon. Members of the House. That is my will

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Choma Central continue please.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, during the tour, your Committee was shown an area in Kamwala South which was reserved for a play park, but had been illegally occupied and developed. The developments on this piece of land are, solid and immaculate so that it presents problems for the local authority to demolish them. Perhaps, this empathy is what has exacerbated the problem of illegal occupation of land.

Mr Speaker, another problem which your Committee noted was the lack of adequate infrastructure in the declared statutory housing areas. Save for Chelstone, which was well-planned with almost all facilities like good roads, markets, schools and clinics in place, the other areas did not have adequate facilities. Kamwala South, in spite of the good infrastructure put up by people, has very bad roads, some of which are sometimes encroached on. This situation should not be allowed to continue in future.

Sir, your Committee also recommends that the planned upgrading of Chibolya and Ipusukilo compounds in Lusaka and Kitwe, respectively, be supported by the Government. Political interference should be avoided and the local authorities should be left to carry out the exercise professionally.

Sir, finally, I wish to express your Committee Members’ gratitude to you for appointing them to oversee the portfolio of delegated legislation and for your wise counsel. Your Committee is also grateful to all the Permanent Secretaries (PSs) and other witnesses who appeared before it and submitted explanatory memoranda, on the SIs which were issued. Your Committee further wishes to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services rendered to it during the year.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Mr Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mr Mwango: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, which has been ably moved by the Chairperson of your Committee, the hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central. In this vein, I am in full support of his remarks, which I adopt as my own.

Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight a few issues which your Committee felt should be brought to the attention of this august House. Your Committee had the opportunity to study Statutory Instrument No. 85 of 2011, the Property Transfer Tax (Exemption) Order, 2011, which relates to the re-organisation of China Non-ferrous Mining Group (NFC). This measure was intended to enable the company to be listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in order to raise finances which would, in turn, be invested in Zambia. While your Committee appreciated this prospect, it was thought that the Government should inform this House and the nation whether this has been achieved and if, indeed, NFC was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and raised the desired finances. Furthermore, assuming that these finances have been raised on the stock exchange, in terms of investments, has Zambia benefited from them?

Mr Speaker, it is not that your Committee is suspicious of the exemptions given to the NFC Africa Mining Group. The exemptions were in order and according to the law. However, your Committee wishes to know whether the measures have yielded dividends not only for the NFC Africa Mining Group, but also for Zambia.

Sir, another issue I wish to touch on is merely for emphasis, as the Chairperson of your Committee has already made his comments on the same. I wish to emphasise that the confusion in the land administration arena in Zambia is most unfortunate. We can no longer condone a situation where persons can just alienate land to themselves without following procedures. This has to come to an end. This should go hand-in-hand with increased efforts to stamp out corruption among officials tasked with land administration.

Mr Speaker, finally, let me talk about the authorities to whom this House has given the power to issue delegated legislation. These authorities have to bear in mind that the authority to issue delegated legislation is delegated by this House. This House has given guidelines on the manner in which delegated legislation should be issued. One of the guidelines is that delegated legislation should be scrutinised by the Committee on Delegated Legislation, which should report to the House, stating whether the delegated legislation issued is in line with the stipulated guidelines. Unfortunately, in most instances, the foregoing has not been the case as a lot of SIs are not presented to your Committee. I, therefore, wish to appeal to the Secretary to the Cabinet to ensure that any ministry or department which issues the SIs is impressed upon to immediately submit the said SIs to the Committee on Delegated Legislation, together with the necessary explanatory memorandum. Failure to adhere to these regulations will force your Committee to ignore such SIs.

With these few remarks, I beg to second.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to debate the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly appointed on 19th October, 2011.

Mr Speaker, I would like to pay tribute to the mover and the seconder of the Motion for ably moving the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I would like to restrict my submissions to your Committee’s report as provided for under the heading, SI, No. 1, 2 and 3 of 2012, Revision of Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment.

Sir, I wish the hon. Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour was in the House to listen to what I am going to say.

Mr Speaker, when the PF Government was voted into office, the hon. Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour, Hon. Shamenda, informed hon. Members and the nation, on the Floor of this House that his ministry was urgently reviewing the minimum wage and conditions of employment in order to put more money in the pockets of the lowly-paid employees in this country. This was seven months ago.

From the time he made that pronouncement on the Floor of the House, his silence on this matter has been so loud that our workers are now shedding high definition (HD) tears.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, if you look at page 18 of your Committee’s report, you will note that the minimum wage of a domestic employee in this country is K250,000. This amount is less than the cost of a bottle of Green Label at Parliament Motel.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the majority of the voters in urban areas who voted for the PF Government fall within the category of people who are supposed to be provided with a minimum wage. They were looking forward to the protection which was assured on the Floor of this House. Alas, the Government is silent on this issue.

I have noted that His Honour the Vice-President is embarrassed that his hon. Minister has not moved on this issue.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, we are all aware that the prices of goods and services in this country are sky-rocketing, yet salaries are stagnant. The employers of these unfortunate citizens are taking advantage of the minimum wage and conditions of service.

Mr Speaker, we have also noted, with concern, that the former opponents of our colleagues, the Chinese, who are the major employers in the construction and road sector, are the culprits in this matter.

Immediately they became darlings of the PF Government, the Government has remained silent.

Mr V. Mwale:Mwaona manje, ka?

Mr Mwiimbu: Our people have been crying to the Government for protection from the oppressors, whom they were denouncing and condemning during elections. The silence on the side of our colleagues is deafening because they are aware that a large contingent, including hon.  Members of Parliament, are now in China.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: They cannot condemn the things they used to condemn at that particular time.

Hon. UPND Member: What has changed?

Mr Mwiimbu: We used to advise our colleagues that the same people they were condemning then would be the ones to provide them with steak. They are chewing the steak together and will not say anything against them.

Our people are not getting even the little money that they are supposed to get at the Maamba Mine. Why? They are not getting it because the Government of the Republic of Zambia, led by His Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia, who is in this House, has allowed the contractor company constructing that particular plant in Maamba to bring in 1,000 general workers.

Hon. UPND Member: From where?

Mr Mwiimbu: From China.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: This is to the detriment of our people who are supposed to get these meagre salaries. What has changed? Who is going to protect the rights of our people? You have changed.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: You have really changed.

Even the vocal hon. Members who were trade unionists before coming to this House, who used to raise issues everyday, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: … on matters of exploitation by the Chinese investors in this country, are loudly quiet. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mwiimbu: Our colleagues who are on the Copperbelt, in Nkana and Luanshya, are quiet. What has changed?

We thought that, with those so-called pronouncements that were made on the Floor of this House, the workers of this country would be protected. They were assured that there would be more money in their pockets. Unfortunately, even the pockets are now gone. There are no pockets anymore.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: There is no money anymore. They have now resorted to selling in the streets as a result of the failure by this Government to protect them.

Hon. Government Member: That is because you have buried all the money.

Mr Mwiimbu: That is the attitude of people who are irresponsible.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Address the Chair.

Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Address the Chair. The Floor does not require any running commentary. You will contribute to the debate, as long as you can catch my eye.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I heard one of the hon. Members on your right say that money is there on the streets. This is actually abusing our people. You know that there is no one who would actually wants to sell on the streets willingly. It is the conditions that have made our people to start selling goods on the streets. Most of those people whom you are praising because of selling on the streets do not even make more than K5,000 per day. They cannot earn a living. Those are the people who voted for you thinking that, when you come into office, you would redeem them.

Mr E. C. Lungu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr E. C. Lungu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to rise on a point of order. I rise on a very serious procedural point of order. My point of order is based on the Motion on the Floor, which is the Report of your Committee on Delegated Legislation. The Motion is that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2012.

Mr Speaker, I have taken the trouble of reading this report at home and I have also had the trouble of perusing through it very quickly whilst the hon. Member is on the Floor. I have found nothing really, to warrant him going at great length to deal with issues which are not covered by the report nor referred to in the Motion. I appreciate that hon. Members are at liberty to roam and wander, but he has really gone out of bounds of the expectation of hon. Members of this House.

Interruptions

Mr E. C. Lungu: I seek your serious ruling on whether he is in order to continue belabouring issues to do with the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour, conditions of service, the Chinese and other matters. 

Mr Speaker, I need your guidance.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central has singled out a particular piece of legislation which was promulgated under delegated legislation, and has pointed out that this particular legislation has not been changed …

Mr Ntundu: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I do not need that praise.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: … in order to reflect, firstly, the promises made and secondly the existing conditions. These pieces of legislation have a context. It is the context he is referring to. He is referring to issues of welfare, the very issues that we sit to discuss in this House as representatives of the people. So, the hon. Member is not out of order.

He may continue.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ntundu: Long live, Mr Speaker!

Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you, Mr Speaker. I note that my learned colleague has just arrived from Chama, where he is campaign manager. He is tired.

Laughter

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, I am appealing to my colleagues to honour their promises. Honour your pledges to the people of Zambia. You are the Government of the day and have a responsibility to protect the rights of the workers of this country.

Mr Ntundu: Tell them!

Mr Mwiimbu: If you do not protect the rights of the workers, the workers will protect themselves. As a result of the failure to protect the rights of the workers, we have witnessed wildcat strikes of late. The Government is not moving in to ensure that the rights of the workers are protected.

Mr Speaker, I wish to make an earnest appeal to His Honour the Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia to ensure that this issue is urgently addressed. There is no worker who can survive on K250,000 per month. That is my earnest appeal.

Sir, I have noted that my learned friend and superior, Hon. S. S. Zulu, has agreed with me.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: I assume you are engaged in telepathy, but I will not go in that direction.

Laughter

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, thank you for affording me this opportunity to debate this very important Motion of the Committee on Delegated Legislation Report.

Sir, I want to pick up from the concluding remarks of the seconder of this Motion, when he stated that there have been instances where the SIs have been issued without being brought before this House. In some cases, some of the SIs have had adverse effects on the welfare of the community. I have, in mind, the issuance of the SI to suspend councils.

In the previous administration, I noted that there were times when a council would be suspended by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing and the grounds for the suspension would be at variance with what the principle Act states. My understanding of the powers of the hon. Minister to suspend councils would be, specifically, when a council fails to perform its lawful duties. However, we saw a situation in which councils were suspended because they were represented by the Opposition. We had terms like “opposition council”, which was not correct. We also had a situation where, if a group of councillors in an individual council were involved in an illegal act, such as, allocating plots illegally, the hon. Minister suspended that council. Personally, I think that the power of the hon. Minister when using such an SI was appropriately used.

Mr Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to speak to those who are in the Government, today, that the powers of the hon. Minister to issue the SIs must conform to the principle Act. However, we have seen situations in which such powers are abused.

May I also use this opportunity to raise another issuem, specifically in the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Labour, where we have had problems relating to some of the statutory bodies like the Local Authority Superannuation Fund (LASF) and the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF). For example, the hon. Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour has powers to issue an SI to exempt such pension funds from not accepting new entrants. This power of the hon. Minister has never been used, and yet the principle Act gives the hon. Minister the powers to issue such an instrument.

Sir, many a time, we have had problems in the issuance of pension funds in the country. We would come on the Floor of this House and urge the hon. Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour to use his powers to issue an SI to exempt, for example, LASF and the PSPF so that they do not collapse. Unfortunately, the hon. Minister would just say, “We will do something about it.” As a result, you would find that one or two years have passed and the problem still continues.

I am using this opportunity, Mr Speaker, to suggest that powers to issue the SIs, especially if they are going to help or save another department of the Government, must be used quickly. It is unfortunate that the powers to issue SIs are only used for things that are not adding value to the running of the Government.

Mr Speaker, I hope that the new hon. Minister of Information, Broadcasting and Labour in the PF Government will quickly look at the issue of saving the two public service funds by way of exercising his powers which are embodied in the principle Act. Instead of having workshops and looking at the matter holistically, you have the power which you can use to save the two institutions.

My last point, Mr Speaker, is in regard, the Committee’s observations and recommendation on the illegal encroachment of land resulting in unplanned settlements, which your Committee believes has continued for a long time and is still prevalent. It goes further to say that this has been attributed to a situation in which the land agency was taken away from local authorities back to the Commissioner of Lands in the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, which was the principle authority for land allocation in Zambia.

Sir, I agree with your Committee on this matter and would like to appeal to the new Government to realise that it is important that power is shared. For as long as we continue to centralise power, we shall continue having problems in this county.

In this regard, the Commissioner of Lands, being the custodian of land on behalf of the President, should not be the one to allocate the land …

Hon. Member: Hammer!

Mrs Masebo: … just like the President, as the principle owner of land on behalf of the Zambian people, is not allocating land from State House. The President is not allocating land although the Constitution says he is the principle land owner on behalf of the Zambian people. So, why should the Commissioner of Lands, who is the principle person on behalf of the President, begin to allocate land from his office?

This is what brought problems to the last administration because pieces of land were being allocated from the centre, which is the commissioner’s office or the ministry, yet we have put in place regulations which state that the local authorities are the ones that are going to allocate land on behalf of the ministry. The final decider becomes the ministry so that, if Chongwe District Council does not allocate land properly, the people of Chongwe can appeal to the hon. Minister. If they are not happy with the decision by the hon. Minister or the Commissioner of Lands, they can appeal to the President. However, when we have a situation whereby land is being allocated by the principle land owner and a problem occurs, where do people go to complain? This is the case in Chongwe now. In the last administration, the problems of Lusaka filtered into Chongwe. We never had problems of land in Chongwe but, because of the Central Government taking power from councils and concentrating it in Lusaka, hon. Ministers and politicians started sharing land among themselves, at the expense of the community. That is the problem that we face today. Therefore, I want to say to the current Government that we should allow councils to make their mistakes. Let us give power and money to the local authorities because they are the ones in close contact with the people at the grassroots level.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Yes, they will make mistakes, but the job of hon. Ministers is to correct those mistakes by the councils. It is not the job of hon. Ministers, here in Lusaka, to be doing things on behalf of the people at the grassroots level. Why should the Government come up with the SIs just to give hon. Ministers more power? These are the things that have landed our friends on your left in trouble today. Most of them are spending a lot of time at the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I, therefore, want to give timely advice to my colleagues on your right. Let us share power and money.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: There will be problems which the people at the grassroots will bring to you and the President for solutions. Let us not have it the other way round, as it was in the previous administration.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo (Shiwang’andu): Mr Speaker, I would like to commend your Committee on Delegated Legislation for the wonderful work it did. I would like to just make a few comments in addition to what my colleagues have already talked about.

Sir, I know that the issue of the minimum wage is a very important one. We, who have been put in this Government by our people, have a responsibility to ensure that …

Interruptions

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I need to be protected. There are some hecklers who are disturbing me.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Members, let us allow free debate. Debate should not be hampered by running comments. I am able to see you from various positions as I am in a vantage position, physically.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: I can see all of you and I enjoy very wide discretion, but I have been very slow to resort to it, although I can.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I was saying that we, who have been elected by the people to represent them, have a responsibility to ensure that their welfare is promoted. Therefore, I am very comforted by this report, especially on page 2, where your Committee has noted that the Cabinet is advanced in discussing this matter of the minimum wage. So, I would like to just appeal to our people to be patient because, just as we have taken care of civil servants, we are going to take care of our people in various sectors. We know that they were neglected for a long time in the past. Now, we have seen the way people have been protesting because they know that they have a Government that can listen to them, ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: ... unlike in the past, where hon. Ministers, who were supposed to be resolving matters, ended up with money from the same people who were abusing their people. This is the same money we saw ending up underground. Since we are a very responsible Government, and, in line with what the report has noted, we urge our Cabinet to move swiftly and deal with this matter as soon as possible.

Mr Speaker, I am saddened by the issue of legalising plots that are illegally occupied. I do not think that is the best way to go about solving this problem. An example is the one the mover of the Motion talked about, stand No. 917, which was supposed to be a play park. How can one say that such a development should be legalised? People have built, on a play park, but the council is just looking at them without doing anything. It should have moved in before those structures came up. Now, people are talking of legalising an illegal settlement. Is that right?

Mr Speaker, I am appealing to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to make sure that this insanity is stopped because that is what was condoned by the people on your left. It is important that our hon. Minister moves in swiftly and deals with this matter.

Mr Speaker, another issue I want to talk about is alcohol abuse. You just need to take a snap survey to see how people are operating their liquor outlets without observing regulations. Bars open as early as 0800 hours and no one seems to care. So, just as the hon. Minister moved swiftly to stop the selling of tujilijili, the infamous liquor sachets, she should also move in and ensure that people running liquor outlets abide by the law. The laws are there. Therefore, why should we allow people to flout them with impunity?

Mr Speaker, finally, I would also like to talk about the Chibolya illegal settlement. This area is what one would call Armageddon. It is an illegal settlement and, if you go and see the activities there, you will be very shocked.  Our councils are unable to do anything about such situations because, as we know, they have been neglected for a long time. Yesterday, we heard a former hon. Minister confess that councils have workers who have not been paid for six years. Therefore, we understand that they do not have the capacity to monitor activities in some of these settlements. However, we are appealing to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, as she liaises with the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, to ensure that the backlog left by our colleagues, who did not care about the people, is attended to. This will enable councils to start discharging their functions properly and make sure that some of these areas are properly monitored and supervised.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I support the report.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Sir, thank you for giving me this chance to make a few comments. To start with, I support the report.

Sir, my first comment is on what Hon. Kampyongo talked about: that is the Legalising illegal settlements. He requested the hon. Minister to move in and correct the situation. Now, if I remember correctly, about two weeks ago, the hon. Minister moved in and stopped the construction of structures by developers without permits or proper documentation. This appeared in one of the newspapers. I do appreciate this stand and the hon. Minister must be very brave because this has been going on for a long time.

   It is a huge task to stop the illegal construction of structures throughout the country. I hope the ministry has the capacity to go and see if this construction that has been stopped was undertaken legally or illegally because it is so huge a task. It can take many years without people stopping the construction of illegal structures. It might even take more than five years. So, my worry on this is whether the councils have the capacity to go and check every construction that is being undertaken in the country. Otherwise, it is a very good move, to control illegal construction and acquisition of plots.

Sir, secondly, I note here that there was an SI that was issued in connection with the birth of the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ). We know that there is a new Act, now, which requires every player in the sector to be regulated. Before that, only engineers were allowed to register and be regulated, leaving technologists, technicians and clerks unattended to. Fortunately, all those, now, have been brought under one umbrella. Any product in the construction industry needs all these four categories of workers. It does not just need professionals like engineers. It is a very good thing that this way of doing things has commenced. I think that we have hope now that minimising poor workmanship.

Mr Speaker, the other issue I want to discuss is the National Council for Construction Act amendment, which was talked about on page 7. I think, contractors were being inconvenienced whenever they wanted to renew their registration. They were being asked for information which was already on the form which they submit to the NCC. Fortunately, this has, now, been stopped. I think we have to look after our contractors very well by supporting them.

Sir, two weeks ago, I read a Government Gazette which, contained the names of the contractors that are registered for 2012 throughout the country. There are about 2,000 contractors, of course, in different grades, there are, from one, and that is the big fellows, to six, the lowest. With such amendments, I think, we will support the contractors very well.

Sir, two weeks ago, I think, the Road Development Agency (RDA) issued a statement that the value of any contract of works to be given to an indigenous contractor has been raised to 20 per cent from 10 per cent. I was very happy that we had comments from politicians regarding that development. I think that is how it should be. These people need support from us, politicians.

Sir, I commend the hon. Member for ... I have forgotten his name, Mr Speaker ...

Laughter

Mr Mooya: ... Shiwang’andu as well as other hon. Members on your right, who supported this idea.

Mr Speaker, there is plenty of room for improvement. If we can support these people, then, there will be a lot of improvement. They have made many suggestions in the past ten years, but very few of those suggestions have been implemented. I think, it is high time we really supported them.

Sir, in short, I would love to see more amendments supporting the indigenous contractors.

Mr Speaker, after two days of deliberating on the same issue, the small-scale contractors supported this idea and went further to suggest that 20 per cent is very much welcome. However, there must be further consideration in that what is on paper is that, at the moment, it is up to the foreign contractors to choose a sub-contractor. That is what is contained in the current contracts. Now, with the RDA’s statement, we still have a problem, if my memory serves me right. Probably, we could bring further amendments to relax that requirement where the main contractor chooses a sub-contractor. The suggestion by the small-scale contractors is that, instead of the main contractor appointing a sub-contractor, let there be bids which consultants should evaluate. The guiding principle should be that good workmanship is not be compromised because, I think, that is the reason which makes main contractors want to choose sub-contractors. They want to sub-contract to those who they feel can work very well.

Mr Speaker, these are the few comments that I wanted to make. Otherwise, like I said earlier, I support the report.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me the opportunity to briefly correct some of the allegations and insinuations that were made on the other side of the House concerning, first of all, the minimum wages and, together with that, something to do with the employment of foreign workers in the Zambezi Valley in the Maamba area.

The impression was given that we have published an SI which has not changed the minimum wages for general and shop workers or for domestic workers. That is not correct. What is correct is that the matter has gone to the Cabinet as stated in the report. For the sake of bringing hon. Members up to date, let me state that the Cabinet has approved the SI, which is likely to be published before the end of this sitting. I will be very happy to receive congratulations and apologies as well as explanations of the meaning of such terms as ‘high definition tears’ which, to me, seem to be contradictory terms to how people will feel when the SI is published.

Mr Speaker, on the subject of employing foreign workers, specifically the Chinese, I have consulted with the hon. Ministers of Home Affairs and Mines, Energy and Water Development, and can assure the House that there is no such thing as a thousand Chinese general workers marching on their way to Zambia. If they do, they will be stopped at whichever airport they choose to try and enter the country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this is the truth of the matter which I thought I should place on record as I also state my support for the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Members of the House who have debated our report and the support they have given it. I also want to thank those who quietly debated and exchanged ideas about the contents of the report. It is our hope, as a Committee, that the Government will take the concerns raised on the Floor of this House and also those in the report seriously in our quest to better the lives of our people.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.

________ {mospagebreak}

BILLS

SECOND READING

THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES BILL, 2012
 
The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde) (on behalf of the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Dr Katema)): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Mr Speaker, the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012, seeks to domesticate the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and other international instruments on the rights of persons with disabilities to which Zambia is party.

The UNCRPD, among other things, promotes and protects the rights of persons with disabilities. These rights include the right of access to justice, participation in political and public life, education, employment and freedom of movement. The convention ensures that persons with disabilities are recognised before the law. It also prohibits the torture, exploitation, violence against and abuse of persons with disabilities. Zambia signed the convention in 2009 and ratified it in 2010.

Mr Speaker, it is worth noting that persons with disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups in society and encounter various challenges which the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012 seeks to address.

Mr Speaker, society has a negative attitude towards persons with disabilities. The Bill addresses this challenge by laying down the principles that apply to persons with disabilities and these include respect for the inherent dignity of persons with disabilities, independent living, non-discrimination, recognition as persons before the law and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity.

Mr Speaker, the Bill further requires every person to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities. It also prohibits discrimination against a person with disability on the basis of disability and the use of derogatory names on persons with disabilities.

Mr Speaker, the Bill enables persons with disabilities to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others in all aspects of life. The Bill further requires the judicature to provide procedural and other appropriate facilities to enable persons with disabilities to access justice and participate effectively in legal proceedings.

 Further, society views persons with disabilities as a homogeneous group with persons with physical disabilities having popular representation amongst persons with disabilities. This does not take into account the diversity of disability and the variety of needs of the different forms of disabilities. The Bill is structured in a manner that addresses the variety of needs of the different forms of disability. For instance, the Bill addresses the variety of challenges faced by persons with disabilities in the education sector. The Bill has also ensured that the categories of disability are well represented in the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities Board.

Mr Speaker, the current education system is not inclusive at all levels and persons with disabilities are, sometimes, excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability. The Bill requires the hon. Minister responsible for community development, in collaboration with the hon. Minister responsible for education to ensure that the education system is inclusive at all levels and also, among other things, prescribes rules to ensure that persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability and that reasonable accommodation of the individual requirements of persons with disabilities is provided for.

The Government is required to build special schools for persons with disabilities who, by reason of their disability, cannot be enrolled in mainstream education institutions.

Mr Speaker, persons with disabilities have limited access to employment because there are no safeguards in place to promote the right to employment for them.

Sir, the Bill requires the hon. Minister responsible for community development, mother and child health, in collaboration with the hon. Minister responsible for information, broadcasting and labour to prescribe safeguards to promote the right to employment of persons with disabilities. In addition, the Bill prohibits discrimination against the persons with disabilities with regard to all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, and safe healthy working conditions

Mr Speaker, persons with disabilities do not have access, on an equal basis with the others, to physical environment, transportation, information, communication and other facilities and services open or provided to the public both in urban and rural areas. There are also no measures to ensure that a person with disabilities moves with great responsible independence.

Sir, the Bill requires the hon. Minister responsible for community development, in consultation with the hon. Minister responsible for transport, works, supply and communication, to work towards enabling persons with disabilities to access on an equal basis with others, transportation, information, communication and other facilities and service’s open or provided to the public, both in urban and rural areas.

Mr Speaker the hon. Minister is also required to take effective measures to ensure personal mobility, with the greatest possible independence, for persons with disabilities.

In conclusion, Sir, the Government is committed to addressing the challenges currently faced by persons with disabilities. The Bill when enacted into law, will ensure that Zambia complies with international obligations and best practices. The Bill, will also ensure the promotion and protection of all the human rights for persons with disabilities.

Mr Speaker, this Bill is not controversial.  Thus, I have every reason to urge hon. Members of the august House to support it.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Brigadier-General Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, your Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare was tasked to scruitnise the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012.

Sir, the objects of the Bill are as follows:

(a)continue the existence of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities and define its functions and powers;

(b)promote the participation of persons with disabilities with equal opportunities in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres;

(c)provide for the mainstreaming of disability issues as an integral part of national policies and strategies of sustainable development;

(d)incorporate a gender perspective in the promotion of the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities;

(e)ensure accessibility by persons with disabilities to the physical, social, economic and cultural environment, and to health, education, information, communication and technology;

(f)provide for the regulation and registration of institutions that provide services to persons with disabilities and organisations of and for persons with disabilities;

(g)continue the existence of the National Trust Fund for Persons with Disabilities;

(h)provide for the domestication of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and its optional protocol and other international instruments on the persons with disabilities to which Zambia is party in order to promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms by person with disabilities and promote respect for their inherent dignity;

(i)repeal and replace the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1996; and

(j)provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

Mr Speaker, the House will be interested to know that all stakeholders who appeared before your Committee generally supported the Bill, but raised a few concerns which have been highlighted in the Committee’s report.

Sir, the stakeholders noted that, unlike the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1996, the Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2012, is much broader and better couched as it incorporates most of the concerns and challenges faced by persons with disabilities.

Mr Speaker, your Committee agrees with the stakeholders and commends the Government for the step it has taken to bring this particular Bill to Parliament. It is the Committee’s hope that this law will promote for the disabled equal opportunities in the civil, political, economic, social and cultural spheres.

Sir, in supporting the Bill, your Committee wishes to make the following observations and recommendations:

(i)although the Bill purports to incorporate the optional protocol into domestic law, Zambia has not yet ratified it. This means that, at the international law level, Zambia is not bound by the terms of the option protocol. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the optional protocol be ratified;

(ii)the Bill provides for the Director-General of the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities to be appointed by the hon. Minister under whose portfolio this Bill falls. However, your Committee recommends that the appointing authority of the Director-General be the board of the agency, not the hon. Minister, because the Director-General shall be subject to the direction and control of the board which, in turn, is appointed by the hon. Minister;

(iii)the Bill contains provisions which protect persons with disabilities from being discriminated against on the basis of their disability with regard to all forms of employment. Your Committee recommends that the Bill be amended to clearly state that a person with disabilities shall not be discriminated against on the basis of the disability with regard to all forms of employment, except where such a disability precludes such a person from practically carrying out the specified duties under such employment. The provision, in its current form, is not practical because there are certain forms of employment that will preclude individuals on the basis of various conditions, one of them being disability;

(iv)while this Bill intends to provide for penalties for breach of some provisions stipulated in the Bill, your Committee is of the view that many of the penalties stipulated are too harsh. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that most of the violations be punishable by way of fines, not imprisonment; and

(v)regrettably, the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities and related departments in the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, responsible for the delivery of services to persons with disabilities, have continued to receive low levels of funding, making it difficult for them to effectively implement programmes.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, therefore, appeals to the Government, through the Secretary to the Treasury, to prioritise funding to the agency and related departments in the ministry to ensure that programmes in all aspects of disability are adequately funded and implemented.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to express my gratitude to you for the opportunity given to your Committee to scruitinise this Bill. Gratitude is also extended to the stakeholders who gave both written and oral submissions, which greatly assisted your Committee in its work.

Mr Speaker, last but not the least, may I also thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee throughout its deliberations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for bringing out the Bill which …

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, as hon. Members of Parliament, I believe, we should only call others to virtues which we practise ourselves. Is the hon. Member for Mkushi South, Hon. Sydney Chisanga, in order to sneak out of this House immediately after raising a very serious point of order this afternoon? I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Sorry, I did not get the latter part.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member in order to sneak out of this House immediately after raising an important point of order on which you ruled this afternoon?

Interruptions

Mr Speaker: Well, I do not know why he has left the Chamber. There could be a multitude of reasons he has left.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: I think, it would be very unfair for me to rule him out of order in the absence of an explanation on why he has left. I would like to believe that he has left for a good reason.

Laughter

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank you, once again. Before the hon. Member for Shiwang’andu interfered with my thoughts, I was in the process of thanking Hon. Dr Kasonde for introducing the Persons with Disabilities Bill and also the Member for Mumbwa, Hon. Brigadier General Dr Chituwo, for the supplementary information that he has given as a result of interaction with stakeholders to bring this Bill to its current stage.

Mr Speaker, my comments will be very brief. I agree with the manner in which Hon. Dr Kasonde has always exercised his humility in bringing out issues that would improve the interests of the people whose aspirations we represent. I want to start by saying that the PF Government is required, as a matter of urgency, and to its benefit, to come out of the mode of believing that it is a new Government. Since I insist that it does this, it may be beneficial not only to itself, but also the entire country, if it moves at the right pace. 

Sir, I would like to state that charity begins at home and we always need to walk our talk each time we bring decent Bills, such as this one, to this House. What I mean is that there is an urgent need to operationalise an SI, if it already exists, and introduce it, if it does not, to compel every building owner and transport operator to facilitate for rumps for people with physical disabilities to gain access into these facilities. I think that it should begin from this particular House. This Chamber does not have facilities to enable people with disabilities to access it. It would not be doing anyone justice to say, “No, we are still organising rumps for people with physical disabilities to access the Chamber.”

Mr Speaker, I know that the Constitution provides for the nomination of eight hon. Ministers, according to the Head of State’s will. I imagine that the traditional reason this provision was put in the Constitution was to provide for marginalised groups such as people with one form of disability or another. Therefore, I think that we need to walk the talk, starting from Ndeke House where, I believe, the hon. Minister’s office is domiciled. There must be facilities to allow people with physical challenges to gain easy access, even without anybody aiding them, there.

Sir, coming to education, I am in total agreement with the statement by the hon. Minister save to say that there is a need for a policy shift. This is because, for many years, we have been working under the policy of Education for All, which was all inclusive. People with physical, mental and social challenges or other forms of disabilities were made to go through the learning process at the same pace with those who did not have any challenges. Therefore, one wonders how a person who needs to learn braille can work in tandem with a person who has got full sight. How does a person with a hearing impairment learn at the same pace with the person who can hear at 100 per cent? I think that those are issues that require examination on the part of the PF Government. The quicker these issues are addressed, the easier it would be for positive results achieved.

Mr Speaker, if you do remember, under six months ago, our colleagues, brothers and sisters, with physical challenges were seen on our television screens protesting about their representatives at the Zambia Agency for People with Disabilities having no disability of one kind or another. They advanced the need to have somebody of their kind, who understood the challenges that they face, to run this institution. I do not think that was a ridiculous demand. Therefore, I wish to urge the hon. Minister responsible that such voices, no matter how thin and far they may sound, require to be heard and responses made in order for everyone to move alongside all those who are gifted with no visible disabilities.

Mr Speaker, it is common knowledge that everyone is potentially disabled. Do not wait for you to be the victim in order to respond to the requirements. The example I can give is that most people who run Government affairs are potential prisoners. Therefore, when you are told to fix the prisons, do not refuse to do so because, one day, you may end up there. 

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

He has ended on a very sombre note.

Laughter

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate. I think that it is important that I add my voice to the debate on this very important Bill. I will be very brief.

Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I want to commend the Government for domesticating the conventions on disabilities. It is a very good step in the right direction. Many times, the Government has ratified international conventions, but domestication has been a big challenge. My colleagues, both on your right and left, will agree with me that, in the past ten or fifteen years, a number of conventions have been signed or ratified, but not domesticated. I, therefore, think that it is a positive move to walk the talk by actually implementing those treaties to which we become signatories when we go for these conventions or conferences. In my view, this is a landmark Bill. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the Government to take serious note of the comments by your Committee regarding amendments. I hope that the Executive will do justice to some of these issues that have been raised by your Committee. In particular, I was looking at the section which says that, when a person parks in a slot that has been exclusively reserved for persons with disability, he/she will be fined or imprisoned for two years or both. Can you imagine that I should be jailed for two years simply because I have parked in a person with disability’s slot?

Laughter

Mrs Masebo: I think that is a bit harsh. I hope that the Executive can look at those comments and bring the necessary amendments.

Mr Speaker, I heard somebody talk about old and new governments. It is important to make reference to this issue because it is why people vote for or against. However, it is important to help those who are in the Government, today, not to fall in the same pit-holes as others did.

Sir, I am interested in seeing how the PF Government will deal with and what the consistent policy will be on the issues of composition of boards of these agencies that are being established. I would like to know whether we are going to have a composition of a board of Permanent Secretaries who are not doing their work because, half of the time, they are sitting on boards simply because they are getting allowances. Are we going to have the kind of boards where hon. Ministers in respective ministries have completely no power and, when one goes to them to make an appeal, they say that there is nothing that they can do because it is up to the board? Are we going to run into the problem of creating boards which we will have no control of, as a Government, when some of these agencies are being established from the current departments of the Government? This is a point that I would like to see addressed.

Sir, I also note that, in this report, the PF Government has said that a number of board members are going to be appointed by the respective organisations and the chairpersons shall be elected from amongst themselves. Of course, I hope that the aspect of gender equality will also show its face. I hope that, when the hon. Minister comes to respond, he will guide us on what will be the actual policy on that matter.

Mr Speaker, the other issue that I wanted to raise is on the need to look at the issue of children that are being used to help some persons with disabilities. For instance, when you walk the streets of Lusaka, you will find children, as young as five years, leading a blind person to ask for money. I note that, in the report, there is a point that the Government will help with walking aids. I would like this issue to be fully implemented. When one walks around, even during the cold season, it is sad to see how young children are actually being abused because some persons with disabilities have no means of survival and receive no aid from the Government and, so, they have nowhere to go and somehow opt to make a living by using children. If my memory serves me right, Hon. Namugala, when she was hon. Minister of Community Development, tried to deal with this issue of children being used on the streets. However, we seem to have gone back to that situation. We have a lot of children being used as walking aids for elderly persons who have disabilities. I hope that, with the enactment of this law, this issue can be fully addressed.

Mr Speaker, it is one thing to make good laws and another to implement them. There are certain issues on which we can move, as a Government, which do not really need us to wait for so much work by Parliament. Certain things can be done to help our communities and one of the issues I would like the new Government to look at is that of children being used on the streets to assist disabled people as opposed to the Government doing this job.

Mr Speaker, I thank you and I support this progressive Bill.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate this Bill. I stand to support your Committee’s report. I also want to state that the old PF Government is doing well now.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: It should be stated that you cannot be new throughout. You cannot continue saying that you are new. You can only say “new” when you want to make reference to an old item. However, you are in existence on the saddle.

Sir, in fact, I am very grateful that this Bill has been brought before this House. It must be remembered that the disabled people came here to petition Parliament, but the then Government tossed the paper out. I am very happy that the hon. Minister of Health has moved this Bill. The former hon. Minister of Health, who had tossed the paper out, has accepted having done so.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: For us, we support when things are going well.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: I mean well.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member emphasised that we should make amendments, especially where there is general restriction on how persons with disability should be treated. If some amendments are not made, they will create problems. Imagine that a blind person applies to be a driver and, when turned down, he/she throws this paper, which says that you cannot discriminate on the basis of disability in your face. 

Laughter

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: What will you do? 

When the hon. Minister of Health is being asked to make amendments, he should be positive about these issues. This amendment should be made so that it does not cause a problem. We should accommodate everybody.

On the question of penalising people who park where disabled people are supposed to park, I would say that people should desist from doing wrong things. Even when there is a clear sign that says, “Parking is reserved for disabled people”, people who are able-bodied still park there. It is as good as saying you are able bodied, but you want to sit in a wheel chair and roll yourself in it, yet you can walk. Why should you do that? If they do it for fun, then it is not right.

Sir, it is for this reason that we need measures to be taken to stop people from being mischievous. It is being mischievous, for example, if someone parks where a disabled person is supposed to park, here, at Parliament. Why not park elsewhere? I think that it goes without saying that this particular right is good.

I wish to urge this Government to quickly make it mandatory for all buildings to have rumps. For example, here, at Parliament, we depend on the lift. I want to think that a disabled person comes up a lift that is very good. However, if, whilst he is doing business here, the lights go off and your generator fails to start, how do you take this person down in a building that has no rumps that provide for a wheelchair? Further, in case of a fire, you are not supposed to use the lift.

Sir, all we are saying is that we should make a provision for people in wheelchairs to manoeuvre properly.

I mean no harm, please. Do not look at me with very strong eyes.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: I simply want this done.

Mr Speaker: The Chair is not looking at you with strong eyes.

Laughter

Mr Speaker: I suppose you are addressing the Chair.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I have observed that there are people who look at others on your behalf.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: They do things on your behalf and we want to ask them to stop.

Laughter

Mr Muntanga: This particular Bill is very welcome and your Committee has recommended positive things.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kasonde: Mr Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to express my gratitude for the many contributions that have been made on this very important issue. I think, on this occasion, it should be correct to say that the contributions have been user-friendly.

Laughter

Dr Kasonde: Sir, I want to particularly note the reference that has been made to houses, vehicles and education being adapted to provide for disabled persons; to issues of parking and children on the streets as well as to the practical difficulties that have been pointed out by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central.

The issue of composition of boards was raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe. Let me assure the House that there are only two approaches and they always go together. There is, firstly, what is stated in the law as to who should be appointed, but there is also the issue of integrity and commitment of those who are entitled to guide the process. I can assure the hon. Members that this Government has definitely, the integrity and capacity to guide appointments on a fair basis.

Mr Speaker, I wish to thank your Committee for seriously analysing the issues and raising salient points.

Sir, I want to take this opportunity to inform the House that, in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice, we will look into the recommendations from this report and amendments will be effected accordingly and presented to the House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mwaona banzanu!

Dr Kasonde: Perhaps, I may be allowed to clarify one or two points. Firstly, with regard to the ratifying of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Last year, the Ministry of Justice commenced the preparations for ratifying it. We will ratify it after consultations have been concluded.

I would also like to inform the House that, in terms of the composition of the board, the rules are as I have described.

Sir, allow me to look at other salient points. There was a comment on penalties being harsh and perhaps in need of being reduced. The Government is of the view that, in other countries, penalties are even hasher. Secondly, this is an attempt to ensure that we quickly change the mindset and behaviour of our citizens to begin to accord persons with disabilities their inherent rights.

There are also points raised by your Committee on sign language. I wish to say that, with regard to the provision of sign language interpretation services, the Government will be issuing an SI to regulate it and ensure that there is only one Zambian sign language in the country.

Perhaps, as a last point, may I say that this Bill is a reflection of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The convention calls for the progressive realisation of these rights. I do hope that, as a nation, we will put our efforts together to realise this goal.

I would like, again, Mr Speaker, to thank hon. Members who have contributed to debate on this Bill and seek their support.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee, on Tuesday, 26th June, 2012.

___________

MOTION

ADJOURNMENT

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.

___________

The House adjourned at 1814 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 22nd June, 2012.










 
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