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line Home arrow Debates & Proceedings arrow First Session of the Tenth Assembly arrow Debates- Friday, 23rd March, 2007 Thursday, 24 July 2014  
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Debates- Friday, 23rd March, 2007 PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 28 March 2007
Article Index
Debates- Friday, 23rd March, 2007
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DAILY PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES FOR THE FIRST SESSION OF THE TENTH ASSEMBLY

Friday, 23rd March, 2007

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

NATIONAL ANTHEM

PRAYER

___

ANNOUNCEMENT

WORKSHOP FOR MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT WHO HAVE BEEN ALLOCATED CONSTITUENCY OFFICES

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House that I have approved a workshop for Members of Parliament, who have been allocated Constituency Offices to be held in the Amphitheatre on Monday, 26th March, 2007. The workshop will commence at 0900 hours.

The workshop will focus on the role of the constituency office, the role of the Members of Parliament in the office and the role of constituency office staff and how they should interface with the Members of Parliament. Hon. Madam Deputy Speaker, will open the workshop. I invite all concerned hon. Members to be present.

Thank you.

_________________

Mr Speaker: May the hon. Acting Leader of Government Business indicate business of the House for next week.

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week.

Sir, on Tuesday, 27th March, 2007, the business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will go into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

Head 78  –  Office of the President – Zambia Security Intelligence Service; Head 80  –  Ministry of Education
Head 85  –  Ministry of Lands.

On Wednesday, 28th March, 2007, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentations of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. On this day, the House will also consider the second reading of the Supplementary Appropriation 2005 Bill that was referred to the Committee on Estimates for examinations.

Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

Head 87  –  Anti-Corruption Commission;
Head 51  –  Ministry of Communication and Transport; and
Head 68  –  Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources.

On Thursday, 29th March, 2007, the business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider Heads 90 - 98 in two provinces.

Sir, on Friday, 30th March, 2007, the business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. Then, the House will consider Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on this year’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will continue considering the provincial heads of expenditure.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

___________________

QUESTIONS

RE-INTRODUCTION OF STUDENT ALLOWANCES IN TEACHERS’ TRAINING COLLEGES

375. Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Minister of Education whether the Government had any plans to re-introduce student allowances in teachers’ training colleges to alleviate the financial hardships students are currently experiencing.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Ms Changwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chilubi asked my ministry, whether the Government has any plans to re-introduce students’ allowances in Teachers’ Training Colleges to alleviate the financial hardships students are experiencing currently.

In fact, I would like to inform the hon. Members that we no longer call them Teachers’ Training Colleges, but Colleges of Education.

Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to re-introduce student allowances in Colleges of Education, for the reason that these colleges are currently running on a cost-sharing basis. Therefore, students are expected to provide, as part of cost sharing, the component for their up keep. However, the Government will provide teaching practice allowances in order to enable the students conduct their teaching practice at locations that their respective college administrations will choose.

For students that would like to conduct their teaching practice while staying with relations, such allowances will not be paid.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that during the Kaunda era so many teachers were trained as a result of same the allowance?

Ms Changwe: Mr Speaker, my ministry is aware that in the Kaunda era, there were such allowances. At the moment, the policy is that we should undertake cost-sharing measures and as such, some teachers have been complying with that policy. Therefore, I do not see anything wrong with cost sharing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minster not aware that a number of students in these colleges are unable to provide for themselves, due to the failure by the Government to provide bursaries or any other financial assistance to them?

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, the principle of cost sharing is extremely important for the Government and it has taken root in our education system, especially at the tertiary level. Therefore, we do not see any justified reason to upset a principle that is operating effectively.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that we have extremely high poverty levels in Zambia, I would like to find out whether the Government is considering introducing a way of moderating the cost sharing by offering loans to students, who cannot afford the cost sharing, to allow them access these facilities.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the policy on loans in tertiary education was established in 2004. At the moment, it is only operating at the university level. It is still being monitored to see how it will work out before it can be extended to other tertiary educational institutions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the student teachers, who go out for teaching practice, engage themselves in illicit sex and have marriages of convenience to raise some money for their up-keep?

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the ministry trains professionals who are supposed to exhibit the highest level of professional integrity. Such kind of unbecoming behaviour is not monitored by the ministry.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that they are monitoring the main facility at the university level. I would like to know how long it will take to monitor the facility before it can be implemented at the college level.

Professor Lungwangwa:  Mr Speaker, there are a number of technical factors, which have to be put in place. For instance, we have the complex process of loan recovery and the establishment of an institutional mechanism to recover the loans. There are a number of other technical and managerial aspects to ensure that the loan is operating effectively. Therefore, as a Government, we have to be sure that the loan scheme will operate successfully to cover all the prospective students before a decision is made to broaden it.

This is what has happened in a number of countries that have introduced a student loan scheme. It is not a scheme that you can haphazardly implement across the entire tertiary education sector. Time is needed to study it, and ensure that it operates in the interest of the nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, cost-sharing measures have taken root in the Ministry of Education. I seek clarification on whether this is the main reason that standards of education have gone down in both management and the passing rate of students. Is it because the pupils are suffering?

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I am not quite sure what Hon. Muntanga is referring to. Although, if it is a question of understanding how the cost-sharing principle is operating, it starts at the high school level. Quite a number of students in high schools pay boarding fees. I am also sure that there are a number of hon. Members here, who are paying boarding fees for their children. That is the beginning and it extends to the colleges as well. Even at the university level, there is cost sharing as students have to pay part of the cost of their university education. Therefore, we do not see a problem in that regard.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if he is aware that, as a result of this cost-sharing policy introduced by the ministry, the Government has failed to retain teachers and integrate them in our education system in a long term fashion, and they are leaving the country to go abroad and teach.

If the hon. Minster is aware, what is the ministry doing about it?

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, we have been talking about quite a number of teachers who, at the moment, have not been absorbed in the education system. We are in the process of absorbing those teachers. Therefore, this is an indication that there is a large number of teachers who are trained and would like to join the teaching profession. Regarding those who have gone abroad, I do consider it to be a temporary phase in our country. Quite a number of them have come back. Thus, the economic realities of this country and the improvements which are taking place are, to large extent, attracting other members of staff to remain in the country. Consequently, I do not think that is a major concern at this stage, as the economy has improved.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Masiye (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, in Bemba, there is a saying ‘apakomaila nondo ninshi pali ubulema’, meaning, when people have … how do I say this …

Laughter

Ms Masiye: … when people keep talking about the same point, then there is a defect. We cannot afford to turn a blind eye to …

Mr Speaker: Order! Please, ask your question.

Ms Masiye: Mr Speaker, given the statement by the hon. Minister of Education on the cost-sharing policy vis-à-vis the poverty levels, illicit relationships as a means of survival, does the hon. Minister realise that it is important not to simply train teachers, but retain these professionals because they do not become professions until they qualify.

Professor Lungwangwa: There is a difference between Training and Retention. Retention has to do with conditions of service which are payable when one has been trained and employed. As a ministry, we have taken a number of measures to ensure that we retain our professionals in the educational sector. For instance, we have loan schemes that are in place for the teachers. To a large extent, we are paying attention to other conditions of service which will retain them in the system, including the improvements in the teaching learning environment. That is the retention side, which we continuously address as a Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether there is a provision in the policy of cost sharing that allows students who fail to raise money to pay in kind, for example, cattle, fish or goat in order to access tertiary education.

Laughter

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, we do not operate in a barter system. We operate in a money economy. Arrangements for easing the difficulties of the students in our colleges are done by the college management. There are mechanisms to address the difficulties that students face in paying their fees.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, in response to one of the questions, the hon. Minister said that teachers in the diaspora have started returning. In view of a high pupil: teacher ratio that obviously must be very beautiful music to the ear, what can you say? Are some teachers returning because their contracts have expired or is it because they think that conditions of service for teachers in Zambia have improved? Which is which? Can you state how many teachers have returned ever since you became hon. Minister of Education?

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I think we should understand the circumstances that surround our neighbours. When a number of our professionals, in this case, teachers, ran to countries such as Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, the conditions were such that those countries needed highly trained manpower to man their schools. Over the years, those countries have been able to achieve their human resource levels. They no longer, at the moment, require as many of the foreign teachers as they did when they went there.

Consequently, a number of our teachers who have been going to those countries have not had their contracts renewed and are returning to Zambia and this is a fact. Therefore, if they are returning to this country, of course, it is because the employment prospects in those countries are dwindling. Secondly, Zambia is increasingly becoming attractive therefore, they are returning home, and this is a fact.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Professor Lungwangwa: I thank you, Sir.

PAYMENT OF PENSION AND NAPSA DUES TO EX-RAMCOZ EMPLOYEES

376. Mr Kambwili (Roan) asked the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning when the ex-RAMCOZ employees would be paid their Mukuba Pension and NAPSA dues.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Magande): Mr Speaker, the Roan Antelope Mining Corporation of Zambia (RAMCOZ (in receivership) had huge employee liabilities on its books. The Government decided to assume all employee liabilities in relation to ex-RAMCOZ employees. However, considering that there were a number of liabilities that required allocation of scarce resources, the Government had to come up with a priority plan for liquidating the employee liabilities at RAMCOZ (in receivership).

The first priority was to ensure that the workers got their salary arrears and terminal benefits. As is already well known, in 2004, the Government paid the ex-RAMCOZ workers, a total of K174 billion in salary arrears and terminal benefits. The second priority was to ensure that the workers were paid their pension benefits. This meant that the Government had to settle outstanding pension contributions on behalf of RAMCOZ to a number of institutions that receive statutory payments. These included:

(a) Workers’ Compensation Fund, which was owed K2.7 billion. I am happy to say that this amount has been provided for in the 2007 Budget;

(b) Mukuba Pension Trustees Limited was owed K8.7 billion in pension contributions. Again, here, I am happy to inform the august House that this amount is provided in the 2007 Budget; and

(c) National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) was owed K11.3 billion as unremitted contributions. The Government, through a debt-swap agreement settled this amount in full as unremitted pension contributions and it also included part of the penalty charges which had been imposed for not remitting the money.

I thank you, Sir.

__________

BILLS

SECOND READING

CUSTOMS AND EXCISE (Amendment) BILL, 2007

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Magande): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Sir, as is clearly indicated, this is one of the revenue raising measures and I would like the House to support it.

I thank you, Sir.


 
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