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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow First Session of the Eleventh Assembly arrow Debates -Thursday, 21st June, 2012 Tuesday, 29 July 2014  
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Debates -Thursday, 21st June, 2012 PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 July 2012
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Debates -Thursday, 21st June, 2012
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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

 
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