Tuesday, 13th June, 2017

Printer Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, 13th June, 2017

 

The House met at 1430 hours

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

PRAYER

_____

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR SPEAKER

 

NEW MULTI-MEDIA CHAMBER SYSTEM

 

Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that a new multi-media system has been installed in the Chamber. The new system uses touch-screen technology that enables hon. Members to log in securely and with ease. Further, the system has additional modules that will be availed to all hon. Members in due course.

 

In this regard, instructions on how to use the new system have been circulated in your respective pigeon holes.

 

Additionally, this afternoon, twenty minutes will be allocated for basic training to hon. Members of the House.

 

I thank you.

 

_________

 

RULINGS BY MR SPEAKER

 

DIVERSE POINTS OF ORDER RAISED IN THE HOUSE BETWEEN TUESDAY, 21ST MARCH AND THURSDAY, 23RD MARCH, 2017

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have two rulings to render.

 

On 28th March, 2017, I indicated that I would complete delivering the rulings today. I am now ready to complete the unfinished business. Hon. Members will recall that following the United Party for National Development (UPND) hon. Members’ boycott of the President’s Address to the House on the State of the Nation on Friday, 17th March, 2017, several points of order related to the event were raised by Members between Tuesday 21st March and Thursday, 23rd March, 2017.  Since the points of order emanated from the same event, on 21st March, 2017, I decided to respond to them in a composite ruling. 

Hon. Members, on Tuesday, 21st March, 2017, Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, raised a point of order in which he sought my ruling on the following three issues:

 

  1. whether the hon. Members who were in the House on 17th March, 2017, were in order to chant political slogans as His Excellency the President and the Hon. Mr Speaker entered the Chamber;

 

  1. whether the Chief Whip, who is supposed to be the guardian and protector of the hon. Members’ privileges, was in order to issue threats on public television against the  hon. UPND Members for being absent in the House on 17th March, 2017; and

 

  1. whether the hon. Members of the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services, who participated in the caucus meeting at which the UPND’s absenteeism from the House on 17th March, 2017, and their punishment was discussed, would be allowed to sit in your Committee to determine the complaints against the  hon. UPND Members.

 

Hon. Members, the National Assembly Members’ Handbook, 2006, provides adequate guidance on the conduct of hon. Members and parliamentary etiquette in the House. In Clauses 6 and 9 of Chapter 5, it states as follows:

 

“6. Members should maintain silence when not speaking in the House.

 

“9. Members should not shout slogans in the House.”

 

From these provisions, it is clear that Members are forbidden to shout slogans and chant songs in the House because etiquette demands that Members not holding the Floor maintain total silence in the House at all times.

 

My ruling, therefore, is that the hon. Members who were shouting political slogans and chanting songs were clearly out of order, more so that the President’s Address, as I have previously ruled, is a solemn and auspicious occasion which demands Members to be at their best behavior. I, therefore, urge all hon. Members to desist from such conduct in future because it demeans and lowers the dignity, decorum and integrity of the House.

 

With regard to the second issue, the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia is very clear on threats issued against an hon. Member. In this regard, in section 23(e), the Act, as amended by the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2016, provides as follows:

 

“23(e) Any person shall be guilty of an offence who assaults, insults or threatens a member or deprives a member of a benefit on account of the member’s conduct in the Assembly or a Committee.”

 

From this provision, it is clear that the Hon. Chief Whip was out of order to issue threats against the hon. UPND Members. Such conduct is not expected from an hon. Member holding the revered office of Government Chief Whip, which assists the Speaker in ensuring that the privileges of the House and its hon. Members are observed and safeguarded. As I have stated before, Members should follow the appropriate procedures of the House in dealing with any grievances against Members or, indeed, members of the public.

 

As regards the third issue, I wish to acknowledge, aside the point of order, the fact that this concern was brought to my attention by all the hon. UPND Members through the Leader of the Opposition. In this regard, I would like to point out that the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services exists to assist the Speaker in safeguarding the privileges and immunities of the House and its Members. Hence, and in so doing, the hon. Members of the Committee, in dealing with disciplinary matters, perform a quasi-judicial function. Thus, in their discharge of this function, they should not be seen to be biased or to be serving their own interests. If they do so, they risk being seen to be biased or conflicted. Where hon. Members of the Committee appear to be biased or conflicted, as in the present case, the Speaker reserves the power to discipline erring Members.

 

In this regard, I urge hon. Members of the Committee to ensure that their conduct in and outside the House is beyond reproach. In passing, I would like to state that political parties or groups are allowed to hold caucuses to discuss various issues, including those pertaining to matters of the House. So, a Member cannot be punished for attending and participating in a party caucus meeting or a political group meeting.

 

On the same day, Hon. N. Chilangwa, MP, raised a point of order enquiring whether or not Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, was in order to assert and disclose that he was watching television at a funeral and thus watched the proceedings of the House on 17th March, 2017, which he and other hon. UPND Members abstained from.

 

Hon Members, in line with my guidance to the House on several occasions regarding the essence of a point of order, I find this not to be a valid point of order because the issue it raises is not procedural. In the circumstances, I urge Hon. Chilangwa, MP, to refer to my guidance on points of order. This ruling equally applies to the point of order that was raised by Mr R. Mwewa, MP, on Tuesday, 21st March, 2017, seeking to find out whether Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, was in order to distance himself from the UPND’s boycott of the President’s Address by stating that he was attending a funeral on 17th March, 2017.

 

Still on the same day, Tuesday, 21st March, 2017, Mr Daka, MP, raised a point of order seeking my ruling on whether Hon. Prof. G. Lungwangwa, MP, was in order to second the Motion on the Suspension of the relevant Standing Orders for the sitting of the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017, yet he boycotted the Address by the President.

 

This point of order will be addressed shortly in my ruling regarding the boycott by the  hon. UPND Members. Similarly, the ruling also extends to the Point of Order raised by Hon. J. Kapata, MP, on the same day, Tuesday, 21st March, 2017, seeking to find out whether Ms P. C. Mwashingwele, MP, was in order to boycott the President’s Address when, in her debate in support of the Suspension Motion a day prior to the President’s Address, she urged the President to address women’s issues in his Address.

 

Further, Hon. S. Kampyongo, MP, raised a point of order in which he alleged that Mr K. Mukata, MP, had been abused by lawless citizens for attending the President’s Address. In his point of order, the Hon. Minister sought my ruling on whether the House was in order not to protect its law-abiding Members, and whether the lawless citizens were in order to continue threatening the law-abiding hon. Member.

 

To begin with, the point of order was vague because it neither supplied details of the abuse suffered by Mr K. Mukata, MP, nor the identity of the lawless citizens. However, as I have already pointed out, the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act protects Members from any form of threats based on their conduct in the House. Therefore, when it is found that a Member has been or is being threatened for performing a parliamentary duty, this House will certainly not hesitate to protect the Member as provided for under the Act.

 

Furthermore, Hon. M. Zulu, MP, raised a point of order in which he asserted that according to the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, it was an offence for any person to stop a Member from attending a sitting of the House. In this regard, Hon. Zulu, MP, sought my guidance on whether the UPND was in order to prevent its Members from attending the sitting of the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017, and that if they were not in order, whether or not criminal proceedings would be instituted against the persons who prevented them from attending the President’s Address.

 

Hon Members, Section 23(a) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act makes it an offence for any person to obstruct a Member from attending a sitting of the House. To this end, it provides, in Section 23, as follows:

 

“23(a) Any person shall be guilty of an offence who assaults, obstructs or insults any member or officer going to or from the precincts of the Assembly Chamber.”

 

Hon. Members, the use of the term “obstruction” implies a person taking positive steps to prevent a Member, against his/her will, from proceeding to the precincts of Parliament to perform his/her parliamentary duties. However, in this case, I have not received any complaint from any Member from the UPND to the effect he/she was obstructed from discharging his/her function as Member of Parliament. Therefore, it appears to me that the Members in question absented themselves on their own volition.

 

Further, Mr E. Musonda, MP, raised a point of order, asking whether Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, was in order to raise a point of order based on speculation, and to cite resolutions of a meeting he was not a part of, referring to the caucus by Patriotic Front (PF) hon. Members. While every Member is entitled to raise a point of order, he/she must ensure that it is based on factual and verifiable information. The House may wish to know that in addition to a written complaint by the UPND Members against the PF, Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), Forum for Democracy and Development (FDD) and Independent Members for holding a meeting at which they discussed the UPND’s absenteeism from the House on 17th March, 2017, the  hon. UPND Members submitted to my office an audio compact disc recording of the meeting. There is, therefore, audio evidence of the said meeting. To that extent, Mr J. J. Mwiimbu MP’s point of order was not speculative. Therefore, he was not out of order.

 

In addition, on Wednesday, 22nd March, 2017, Mr R. C. Mutale, MP, raised a point of order, asking whether the Chief Whip was in order to allow the hon. UPND Members to continue attending the sittings of the House when they do not recognise Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu as the President of the Republic of Zambia.

 

Hon. Members, unless someone ceases to be a Member, he/she is entitled to attend the sittings of the House. The circumstances under which a person ceases to be a Member are spelt-out in Article 72 of the Constitution. Therefore, as long a person has not ceased to be a Member in line with the Constitution, the Chief Whip has no power whatsoever to prevent him/her from attending the sittings of the House.

 

Lastly, Hon. Members, on Thursday, 23rd March, 2017, the Mast Newspaper published an article which contained disparaging remarks about me and, based on that article, Mr R. Mwewa, MP, raised a point of order on whether Mr Hakainde Hichilema was in order to demean me, and the House by making disparaging remarks as reported in the Mast Newspaper. In addition, Hon. Members will recall that on Tuesday, 28th March, 2017, Hon N. Chilangwa, MP, also raised a point of order, asking whether Mr Hakainde Hichilema was, again, in order to continue making disparaging and contemptuous remarks about me during the 18:30 Hours News on Muvi TV.

 

I wish to inform the House that the points of order by Hon. R. Mwewa and Hon. N. Chilangwa raise a prima facie case of contempt against the Office of the Speaker, which is punishable under Section 19 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act. Hon. Members will also recall that in my Ruling of 23rd December, 2011, on a point of order raised by Hon. Chilangwa, then Member of Parliament for Kawambwa Constituency, on whether people should be allowed to insult the integrity and decorum of the Speaker who is the head of this hon. House, the President of the UPND, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, was found to have:

 

  1. attacked the decision of the Speaker in relation to the debate by the then Minister for Lusaka Province, Hon Miles Sampa, and impeached the integrity and authority of the Speaker to make decisions without undue influence, which action amounted to a prima facie case of breach of parliamentary privilege and contempt of the House; and

 

  1. committed grave breaches which warranted prosecution under the provisions of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Cap 12.

 

However, I graciously elected to counsel Mr Hichilema and urged the public to desist from unduly attacking the House and the Office of the Speaker or engage in conduct that is likely to result in a breach of parliamentary privilege and contempt of the House.

 

Hon. Members, again, on 19th June, 2014, the then Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, Hon. H. Kalaba, MP, raised a point of order as to whether the leader of an opposition political party, who has never even been a councilor, was in order to encourage hon. Members to disrupt the proceedings of this hon. House.

 

In response to that point of order, I, again, warned Mr Hichilema and other leaders of political parties and made the following observation:

 

“It is clear from the preceding provisions of the law that the transgressions committed by Mr Hakainde Hichilema are grave. I would, therefore, like to seize this opportunity to issue this timely warning to Mr Hakainde Hichilema and other leaders of political parties represented in the House and the public at large that their comments relating to the Business or Matters of the House should be measured and made within the strict confines of the law and parliamentary practice and procedures, some of which have been specified in this ruling, or else they risk not only coming into contempt of the House, but also being liable to be prosecuted and convicted of criminal offences.” 

 

Hon. Members, in light of the continued disparaging remarks being made by Mr Hichilema, I have decided to refer this matter to the Inspector-General (IG) of Police for …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … investigation and possible prosecution by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) in line with Section 27 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, which provides that:

 

“No prosecution shall be instituted for an offence under this Act except by the Director of Public Prosecutions upon information given to him in writing by the Speaker.”

 

Thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

RULING BY THE HON. MR SPEAKER AGAINST FORTY-SIX HON. MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT OF THE UNITED PARTY FOR NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FOR BOYCOTTING THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS ON THE APPLICATION OF CONSTITUTIONAL VALUES AND PRINCIPLES BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRESIDENT, MR EDGAR CHAGWA LUNGU, ON FRIDAY, 17TH MARCH, 2017

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have a second and last ruling to make.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: The ruling relates to the unauthorised absence of the United Party for National Development (UPND) Members of Parliament from the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017, when His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, delivered a State of the Nation Address on the Application of Constitutional Values and Principles to the House.

 

Hon. Members, the ruling arises from letters of complaints lodged with my office against the hon. UPND Members by the hon. Minister of Higher Education, the hon. Deputy Chief Whip and hon. Members of Parliament from Milenge, Chilubi, Muchinga and Kantanshi parliamentary constituencies.

 

Hon Members, from the outset, I wish to point out that the number of hon. UPND Members of Parliament who absented themselves from the sitting of the House without permission on Friday 17th March, 2017, is forty-six, not forty-eight for the following reasons: 

 

  1. Mr Keith Mukata, MP, was present in the House;

 

  1. Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, Mr Sililo Mutaba, MP, Mr Elliot Kamondo, MP, Mr Ephraim K Belemu, MP, Mr Victor Lumayi, MP, Mr Mukumbuta Mulowa, MP and Ms Moono Lubezhi, MP obtained leave of absence from the Hon. Chief Whip; and

 

  1. Mr L. A. Lufuma, MP, Mr S. K. Kakubo, MP, and Mr F. C. Chaatila, MP, were outside the country on a foreign tour of the Committee on Estimates at the material time. 

 

Thus, the ten hon. Members were disjoined from the matter.

 

Hon. Members, you will recall that this matter is related to the earlier absenteeism of fifty-four  hon. UPND Members from the House last year on Friday, 30th September, 2016, when His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, officially opened the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly.  I will, therefore, start my ruling from that premise.

 

The House will recall that on Friday, 30th September, 2016, fifty-four hon. UPND Members absented themselves from the House without permission from my office or that of the Chief Whip. As a result, my office received letters of complaint from the Chief Whip, Hon. R. Musukwa, MP, and Mr Emmanuel Chilekwa regarding the absenteeism.  Accordingly, I referred the matter to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for consideration and determination.

 

After due consideration of both written and oral exculpatory submissions made by the Members, the Committee found the hon. UPND Members guilty of the offence of absenteeism contrary to National Assembly Standing Order No. 151 of 2005 and recommended that they be reprimanded behind the Bar of the House. Thereafter, they were required to apologise to the House.

 

Thus, acting on the recommendation, I rendered a ruling on 21st December, 2016, reprimanding the hon. Members.  In that ruling, I observed that while boycotts were permissible under parliamentary practice, the official opening of Parliament was, however, a very solemn and auspicious occasion which required all hon. Members to be present and be at their best behaviour. 

 

Further, I drew the attention of the House to the relevant provision of the Standing Orders as well as the authorities from other Commonwealth jurisdictions with similar rules on parliamentary practice and procedure. In particular, I drew the attention of the House to a reference to an Indian case on pages 206 to 207 of the book entitled Practice and Procedure of Parliament, Sixth Edition, written by eminent writers on parliamentary practice and procedure, M. N. Kaul and S. L. Shakdher. The relevant part of the case states as follows:

“On the occasion of the President’s address to both Houses of Parliament assembled together on 12th February, 1968, two members of the Lok Sabha created obstruction. The incident was followed by a walk-out by about seventy or eighty Members belonging to both Houses. On 26th February, having given an opportunity to the two Members to explain their position, the Lok Sabha adopted a Motion disapproving the conduct of the hon. Members and reprimanded them for their undesirable, undignified and unbecoming behaviour.”

 

Further, hon. Members, in that ruling, I pointed out that a boycott or walk-out was a conventional means through which a Member of Parliament can express his/her displeasure on an issue of governance. However, I observed that the President’s Address was a special event which requires Members to avoid all manner of misconduct or misbehaviour, including boycotts and walk-outs, because such conduct lowered the dignity, decorum and integrity of the House.

 

Having guided the House, I proceeded to reprimand the fifty-four hon. UPND Members. In turn, all the errant Members rendered what I thought then was a remorseful apology, through their Party Whip, Mr G. G. Nkombo, MP, while they stood in their seats in agreement and testimony with the apology that was rendered. Alas! I was mistaken ...

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: … because, if the hon. Members were truly remorseful, they would not have stayed away, again, from the Address of the President to this House, on 17th March, 2017.

 

Hon. Members, as you are aware, in terms of Articles 86(1) and 9(2) of the Constitution, the President is required to, at least, twice in every year, attend and address the National Assembly and, once in every year, report to the National Assembly the progress made in the application of the constitutional values and principles, respectively.

 

Mr Speaker drank water.

 

Mr Speaker: Thus, in compliance with Article 9(2) of the Constitution, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar C. Lungu, attended and addressed the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017.

 

Prior to the address, on Thursday, 16th March, 2017, the Office of the Government Chief Whip, in keeping with the custom, issued a circular to all hon. Members of Parliament, reminding them of the parliamentary etiquette that was to be observed during the address. He also underscored the fact that the Presidential Address was a solemn occasion, and requested Members to be seated in the House by 08:30 hours on Friday, 17th March, 2017.

 

In addition, on the same day, Thursday, 16th March, 2017, the House resolved, through a Motion moved by Her Honour the Vice-President, to suspend the relevant Standing Orders relating to the sitting times of the House on Fridays in order to accommodate the Presidential Address.  This Motion was paradoxically supported by two hon. Members from the UPND, who not only concurred with it, but also made some proposals on what should be contained in the President’s Speech. Yet, as it eventually turned out, the forty-six  hon. UPND Members, including the two who supported the Motion, stayed away from the sitting of the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017, without my permission, or indeed, that of the Government Chief Whip.

 

Consequently, in keeping with parliamentary practice and procedure, and observance of the rules of natural justice, I directed the Office of the Clerk to write to the forty-six hon. UPND Members of Parliament, requesting them to show cause why disciplinary action should not be taken against them for their unauthorised absence from the House on Friday, 17th March, 2017.

 

The hon. Members of Parliament elected to respond through their lawyers, Messrs PNP Advocates. In their response, the lawyers said that since the subject matter canvassed by the charge letters was pending before the High Court in the case of Geoffrey Lungwangwa and Stephen Katuka v Attorney General 2017/HP/0426, and an action initiated by Mr Richard Mumba in the Constitutional Court, they were unable to respond to the charges. They further contended that the matters were sub judice and threatened me, the Clerk and the Principal Clerk of Journals and Legal Services with contempt of Court.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members will recall that on 23rd September, 2016, the hon. UPND Members, together with the rest of the House, took their seats after taking Oath of Office in which they swore allegiance to the President, as required by Article 260 of the Constitution.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: To be sure, according to page 1176 of the Black Law’s Dictionary, Ninth Edition, “oath of allegiance” is defined as:

 

“an oath by which one promises to maintain fidelity to a particular sovereign or Government.”

 

Therefore, by taking the Oath of Allegiance, the hon. UPND Members are expected to be respectful to the Head of State and Government. 

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: By boycotting the presence of the President in the House when they previously swore allegiance to him, the Members were being disloyal, disobedient and, in fact, violated their Oath of Office.

 

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

 

Mr Speaker: Further, it is instructive to note that Article 110(1) of the Constitution provides that there shall be a Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia who shall be the running mate to a presidential candidate in a presidential election. The import of this constitutional provision is that the vote given to a presidential candidate also counts for the running mate.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon Members, it is, therefore, strange and illogical that while the hon. UPND Members boycott the presence of the President in the House because they are impeaching his election to the Office of the President, they complacently, comfortably and completely adjust to the presence of the Vice-President in the House …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: …who was elected into office in the August 13, 2016, Presidential Election by virtue of the vote given to the President.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: In addition, they freely participate in the proceedings of the House in which the Vice-President heads the Government and responds to questions; and all other manner of holding the Executive Branch of Government to account, especially the Vice-President’s Question Time on Fridays.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon Members, it is, therefore, my considered view that the continued boycott of the President’s presence in the House by the hon. UPND Members is rationally inexplicable and morally unjustifiable.

 

In any event, Zambia has a duly-elected President …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … who was declared as such by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … and sworn into office on 13th September, 2016, albeit the UPND launched an unsuccessful petition, challenging the election of the President in the Constitutional Court which, in terms of Article 128(1) of the Constitution, enjoys original and final jurisdiction in a matter of this nature.

 

Mr Mwamba: Yes! 

 

Mr Speaker: Following his swearing in, the President swore me in as Speaker and I, in turn, swore in all the Members of Parliament. Furthermore, the President appointed Ministers who represent the Executive Branch of Government in the House, and with whom the hon. UPND Members, amongst others, engage in the Business of the House.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Therefore, if the hon. UPND Members do not recognise the Presidency of Mr Lungu because they believe that he was not duly elected, then, they should not have taken the Oath of Allegiance …

 

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

 

Mr Speaker: … in the first place and, consequently, their seats. However, by taking the Oath of Office, the corollary is that they ought to recognise Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu as the duly-elected President of the Republic of Zambia …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … in the August, 2016 Presidential Elections. In any event, no Vice-President can be elected, Speaker; no Deputy Speakers can assume office, no Ministers of Government can be appointed and assume office, and all Members of Parliament cannot assume office without a legally and duly-elected President.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Simply put, there can be no functioning Government without a duly-elected President.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Therefore, if the hon. UPND Members still maintain that they do not recognise the Presidency of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, I challenge them to resign on moral grounds.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I now turn to the punishment …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … to be meted out against the erring forty-six hon. UPND Members. As the House will recall, when I reprimanded the fifty-four hon. UPND Members on 21st December, 2016, I was very categorical that should any Member elect to conduct himself/herself in that fashion in future, stiffer punishment would be meted out against such a Member. In this regard, I have had recourse to Section 28 of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia, as amended by National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) (Amendment) Act No. 13 of 2016, which provides for disciplinary powers of the Assembly as follows:

 

“28. (1) Where a member is found to have committed a contempt of the Assembly, whether specified in section nineteen or otherwise, the Speaker, the Committee on Privileges or a select committee appointed under subsection (6) may impose any one or more of the following penalties:

 

(a)      a formal warning;

(b)      an admonition;

(c)      a reprimand; and

(d)      an order directing the member to apologise to the Assembly, in a manner determined by the Assembly.

 

“(2) Where a member is found to have committed contempt of the Assembly of a serious nature and none of the other penalties are sufficient for the contempt committed by the Member, the Speaker shall, on the resolution of the Assembly, suspend the Member from the Assembly for a period not exceeding thirty days.”

 

Hon. Members, taking into account the seriousness of the offence committed by the forty-six hon. UPND Members and, in view of my earlier warning that I would impose a stiffer penalty against a Member who would boycott a Presidential Address to the House, I have, in exercise of my powers under section 28(2) of the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, decided to suspend the forty-six  hon. UPND Members of Parliament from the service of the National Assembly for a period of thirty days, with effect from today, 13th June, 2017.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Thus, in accordance with Section 28(2) of the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, which requires a resolution of the House to suspend a Member from the House, I now put the Question.

 

 Question that the House do suspend the forty-six hon. UPND Members for boycotting the State of the Nation Address on the Application of Constitutional Values and Principles by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on Friday, 17th March, 2017, for a period of thirty days with effect from 13th June, 2017, put and agreed to.

 

Mr Speaker: I now turn to address the forty-six hon. Members before they take the walk of shame through the main entrance of the Assembly Chamber.

 

Let me inform you that your conduct of boycotting the President’s Address as a way of protest was unjustified and unbefitting the conduct of hon. Members of Parliament. The President is the Head of State and Government, and you took the Oath of Allegiance. By so doing, you are expected to be respectful to the President. This is a House of honour, decorum and dignity.  I am, therefore, duty bound to ensure that the honour, decorum and dignity of the House is protected and preserved at all times. I wish to reiterate that I will not tolerate gross indiscipline and misconduct from any hon. Member.

 

Finally, I wish to inform you that in accordance with Section 28(3) of the National Assembly Powers and Privileges Act, during the period of your suspension, you shall not:

 

  1. enter the precincts of the Assembly and this extends to the National Assembly Motel;

 

  1. participate in any business or activity of the House or a committee that you are assigned in, in your capacity as hon. Members of the National Assembly; and

 

  1. be paid the salary or allowances that you are entitled to as hon. Members.

 

I now order you, forty-six  hon. UPND Members, to leave the Assembly Chamber through its main entrance, on thirty days suspension as resolved by the House.

 

I thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Hon. UPND Members left the Assembly Chamber.

 

Interruptions

 

Hon. PF Members: Walk of shame!

 

_________

BUSINESS OF THE HOUSE

 

The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Ngulube: Shh!

 

The Vice-President: … I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider this week. However, before I do so, let me welcome all the hon. Members to this meeting of the House, whose main focus will be to adopt reports from the various Committees of the House.

 

Sir, as indicated on the Order Paper for today, Tuesday, 13th June, 2017, the Business of the House will deal with Questions for Oral Answer.

 

Mr Speaker, tomorrow, Wednesday, 14th June, 2017, the Business of the House will start with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then debate the Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights, Gender Matters and Child Affairs on the State of the Nation Address by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on the Progress Made in the Application of National Values and Principles.

 

Sir, on Thursday, 15th June, 2017, the Business of the House will commence 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 debate the Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Lands, Environment and Tourism.

 

Mr Speaker, on Friday, 16th June, 2017, the Business of the House will begin with Her Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time. This will be followed by Questions to Ministers, if there will be any. This will then be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will debate the Motion to adopt the Report of the Committee on Youth and Sport.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, as indicated earlier on in my announcement, this is the juncture at which I will suspend business to allow the conduct of the brief and basic training on the use of the new equipment.

 

Business was suspended from 1538 hours until 1700 hours.                                                                                                                                                                                                      

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS

 

UPDATE ON PROGRAMME TO END CHILD MARRIAGE AND CURRENT STATE OF GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE

 

The Minister of Gender (Ms Kalima): Mr Speaker, it is with gratitude that I present a ministerial statement on the first day of the Third Meeting of the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly in an effort to keep the citizens informed on topical issues that concern them. My statement today addresses two pertinent issues, namely an update on the programme to end child marriage and the current state of gender-based violence (GBV) in the country.

 

Mr Speaker, child marriage is defined as a union between male and female persons with either one or both being below the age of eighteen. Globally, child marriage has been identified as one of the detriments to development and the realisation of human rights, especially children’s rights. It is considered a form of GBV and Zambia has not been spared. Available statistics indicate that an estimated 31 per cent of women aged between twenty and twenty-four marry before their eighteenth birthday, whilst it is reported that 45 per cent of women aged between twenty-five and forty-nine, who are a generation older, married before the age of eighteen.

 

The above statistics imply that there is an intergenerational decrease in the number of women getting married before the age of eighteen. In comparison, the marriage rate for males aged between twenty and twenty-four stands at 5.9 per cent. As for males aged between twenty-nine and forty-nine, the rate is at 9.6 per cent. The statistics, especially for women in the twenty-nine to forty-nine age group, are the highest in the African region.

 

According to a study conducted by the Population Council in 2016, the prevalence rate of child marriage is as follows:

 

 

District                        Province                      Rate (%)

 

Chama                        Muchinga                    44

Mpulungu                    Northern                      43.5

Chiluba                       Luapula                       40

Lundazi                       Eastern                        39.8

Katete                        Eastern                        39

Mbala                         Northern                      38.2

Kaputa                        Northern                      38.1

Nyimba                       Eastern                        37.8

Mungwi                       Northern                      36.9

Mafinga                       Northern                      35.3

Petauke                       Eastern                      35.2

Lufwanyama                 Copperbelt                  34.9

Chinsali                        Northern                      34.4

Luwingu                       Northern                      33.8

Samfya                        Luapula                       33.7

 

Mr Speaker, the prevalence rates for boys and girls are at 1 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively. As a result of child marriage, girls continue to die from childbirth-related complications and both girls and boys continue to drop out of the school system, thereby reducing their chances of escaping the poverty trap.

 

A study conducted in Zambia attributed child marriage to:

 

  1. poverty;
  2. limited access to information and services;
  3. few opportunities for leisure and recreation, skills development and employment;
  4. prohibitive cost of sending children to secondary school;
  5. marriage as a response to teenage pregnancy;
  6. inadequate care for orphans and stepchildren;
  7. a lack of a risk management strategy for difficult or hard-to-manage children; and
  8. inadequate child supervision or social support.

 

To this end, I am glad to report that my ministry has put in place a National Strategy and Plan of Action on Ending Child Marriage 2016-2021, which is aligned to the sustainable development goals (SDGs). The strategy aims at eliminating harmful practices such as child and forced marriage. Further, the strategy aims at providing a clear policy, legal, strategic and operational framework for co-ordination and national mobilisation, and service delivery that will accelerate the nation’s stance of zero-tolerance to child marriage. The national strategy and its plan of action are being implemented by a consortium of eleven ministries to tackle all negative aspects of child marriage.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform the House that the Government has developed the Marriage and Child Code Bills in a bid to effectively address child marriage in the country, among other measures. The Bills, which will be tabled before Parliament soon, will also help address the challenge arising from dual marriage laws, namely customary and statutory. The Child Code Bill will particularly help to address the definition of a child. This is because a child is defined differently in different circles, including at the instances of obtaining national documents such as the green national registration card (NRC), driver’s licence, voter’s card and so on and so forth.

 

Mr Speaker, my ministry is implementing or co-ordinating a number of programmes. One of the programmes is the Government of the Republic of Zambia-United Nations (GRZ-UN) Joint Programme on Gender-Based Violence and the Girls Education and Women’s Livelihood (GEWEL) Project aimed at keeping girls in school, with a view to keeping them away from vices associated with early marriage. The other programme we intend to implement with our co-operating partners in Luapula and Northern provinces is at pilot level.

 

Mr Speaker, one of the campaigns, especially in the area of ending child marriages, has the support of almost all the stakeholders, including chiefs or traditional leaders, civil society organisations (CSOs) and co-operating partners who have brought into the Government’s vision to end the vice. This multi-sectoral approach has led to a decrease in the rate of child marriages and His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, receiving commendations from the African Union (AU) for championing the campaign to end child marriage on the African Continent.

 

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Kalima: Sir, as a country, we have begun to focus on lobbying and mobilising resources to construct extra boarding school facilities in rural areas, especially for girls. It is a fact that education goes a long in facilitating the full actualisation of one’s potential. For the female gender, it actually leads to having families with raised standards of living. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I wish to repeat the old adage that goes, “When you educate a woman, you education a nation”. Let us all join the fight to eradicate child marriage.  

 

Mr Speaker, let me turn to the issue of GBV. From the time I gave a statement on this subject on 28th March, 2017, the overall scenario on GBV against women has not changed. However, in the recent past, the country has witnessed unprecedented dimensions of GBV such as women perpetuating violence against men and, in some cases, resulting in fatalities, including death. GBV committed by women against men has received a lot of media attention through publications, social media and radio discussions. This is because culturally or religiously, it is commonly unaccepted to have women engaging in such vices. Generally, society at large finds such acts unacceptable in that they have a destabilising effect and lead to deprivation as, in most cases, they result in loss of the bread winner not only for nucleus, but also extended families. However, despite this new phenomenon of women committing GBV against men, reports have continued to show that women are the majority of victims of GBV, which is usually perpetuated by male counterparts.

 

Sir, as at May, 2017, reports from the Victim Support Unit (VSU) under the Zambia Police Service, indicate that 5,464 cases of GBV were reported in the first quarter of 2017, representing an increase of 466 cases over the same period in 2016. Of the total number of GBV cases reported in 2017, 627 were child defilements where the victims were girls. Compared to the 701 cases reported in the first quarter of 2016, the number of cases decreased by seventy-four. representing a decrease of 10.5 per cent over the same period in 2016. The reduction could be attributed to the laws and structures that have been put in place and sensitisation campaigns embarked upon by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

 

Sir, the GBV differentials between provinces were as follows:

 

Province                                  No. of Cases

 

Lusaka                                            330

Central                                             71

Eastern                                             56

Southern                                           47

Copperbelt                                       33

Muchinga                                         25

Luapula                                            18

North-Western                                 18

Northern                                           13

Western                                            10

 

Sir, in addition to the reported cases, a total of twenty-four GBV-related murder cases were recorded, out of which nine victims were adult females, three were adult males, six were girls and another six were boys. From these figures, it is sad to note that our society has continued to violet the rights and freedoms which all humans should enjoy regardless of their gender.

 

Mr Speaker, GBV is a vice which is generally considered private and secret. It is at the same time regarded as a shameful socio-cultural act. The defilement dimension of GBV is further regarded as taboo by society. As a result, most cases go unreported. My ministry may start considering collecting data on cases of GBV by engaging communities to share on how many GBV cases they have witnessed, heard of or experienced without reporting to the Zambia Police Service, SCOs like the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) or community paralegals. In this way, we can measure or approximate the extent and magnitude of the vice in our communities which will lead to further development of practical targeted interventions.

 

Sir, the fight against GBV requires consented efforts from all like-minded stakeholders in order to provide a holistic approach to ending the vice. To this end, I am happy to report that the Government has continued to work with various stakeholders to come up with practical interventions aimed at reducing incidences of GBV. In particular, my ministry has been working with our co-operating partners such as the World Bank, United Nations Family, European Union (EU), the Department for International Development (DFID), Swedish and Irish Aid. In addition, collaboration with the African Union (AU) has created a new profile for Zambia and opened avenues for more funding.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to conclude by reminding each one of us that a healthy society requires healthy relationships between family members, friends and individuals. Let us ensure that we communicate with one another in a manner that does not lead to any form of violence against each other.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Ema Ministers, aya! Mwatoba, mayo!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister.

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Minister of Gender for the elaborate statement. However, if I got the hon. Minister correctly as she was reading out the statistics on early child marriages, she mentioned that Kaputa is at 38 per cent, which I consider to be high, particularly that health centres or clinics in Kaputa are far apart. This is a risk to our children, especially when they get married early. I would like to find what measures the ministry is putting in place to reduce the figures further, particularly in Kaputa where there are no boarding school facilities.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, there are various interventions that we are working on around the country, and Kaputa has not been left out. Northern, Luapula and Eastern provinces have the highest numbers of child marriages. 

 

Firstly, we have intensified awareness creation in all the areas. Like I mentioned earlier on, education is a key component in our efforts to address this problem. We have realised that we do not have boarding school facilities in certain parts of the country. This had lead to girl children being abused on their way to school. Therefore, we want to work with the private sector on how we can build dormitories in some day schools. This is meant to compliment the World Bank programme of keeping girls in school so that they are kept in school, at least, on a weekly basis.

 

We are also working with the World Bank on what is called the Jewel Programme. We hope to intensify this programme by putting it in our budget. It involves the provision of sanitary towels to school girls. This is because some girls withdraw from school for seven days on a monthly basis and, when they go back to school, they are unable to catch up with the topics covered in class. In the end, they stop school and get married. Therefore, we want to see if we can expand the programme of distribution of sanitary towels. So, there are quite a number of programmes that we want to implement.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, there are reports that Chainama Hospital has carried out a research that revealed that women who take insunko tend to be more violent. Can the hon. Minister confirm whether this could be the reason women tend to be violent.

 

Laughter

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of such a study on women. Insunko is snuff and I think it is usually taken by old people in villages.

 

Hon. Members: Ha, no!

 

Ms Kalima: Yes, they are the ones who usually take it. I do not have any statistics on people who take snuff. My grandmother used to sniff it, but she was not violent. So, I do not think those statistics are accurate.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Minister for that elaborate statement. She has outlined serious issues concerning child marriages. As a Member who represents a rural constituency, I know that this is a serious problem. Would the hon. Minister be kind enough to inform this august House when exactly she is going to bring the Bill that she has referred to.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, the Child Code Bill is at the Ministry of Justice and we are hoping that it could be finalised before the end of the year. This will help us a lot in the sense that it will harmonise the ages of who should be considered a child, which is an area of controversy at the moment. Let me also mention that another controversy concerning child marriages is that of birth certificates. Fortunately, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has come up with a programme for the registration of children at birth. Usually, when there is a case of child marriage, there is always a discrepancy in terms of age. Therefore, it is difficult to prove whether or not a girl is a minor in the absence of a birth certificate.

 

Sir, we are in a hurry to have this Bill brought here. The Ministry of Justice is working on the Bill. After the Bill has been finalised, it will help us make a decision on a matter we have already started consulting with the other stakeholders as to whether we should criminalise child marriages. When we conclude with this process, the Government will most likely move in the direction of criminalising child marriages. This will really help us to reduce the vice and, ultimately, bring it to an end.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, first and foremost, allow me to congratulate the Under 20 Football Team on the good perform in South Korea. I will not talk about the senior team.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Chisopa: Mr Speaker, child marriage is quite prevalent in rural constituencies like the one I come from in Luano District. However, what criterion did the ministry use to select the districts where the survey was carried out in order to come up with the statistics he has given? Why was Luano District left out?

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, from the statistics, one can note that there are many districts that were involved in the survey. Almost the whole country has been affected by child marriages. However, we have highlighted those with the highest percentages. I would want to believe that Luano District has got a lower percentage than 33.7 per cent. However, if the hon. Member wants to know the prevalence rate of child marriages in Luano, I can provide that information.

 

Thank you very much, Sir.

 

Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Sir, in an effort to empower women in our constituencies, the Ministry of Gender has embarked on a programme of distributing tractors. Luangeni is one of the beneficiary constituencies, but only one ward or chiefdom has received a tractor so far. This has created conflicts because the other chiefdoms are complaining. Are there plans to distribute more tractors? I would also like to know who funded this programme.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, the programme in question is called the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE). It is a Government-funded programme that is aimed at empowering women in various chiefdoms. We are working in 288 chiefdoms. So far, we have distributed ninety-four tillers and fifty-one tractors in 100 chiefdoms are left with 188 chiefdoms. However, we intend to cover the whole country. I know that there is a tractor that was given to co-operatives in Paramount Chief Mpezeni’s chiefdom in Luangeni.

 

I do not think there is a need for controversy because there are guidelines on the operations of the programme. Initially, the programme was on the distribution of tractors. However, it has now been expanded to include other activities. We have been going round the country distributing tractors and will conclude the distribution this week. Thereafter, we shall embark on a programme to train the beneficiaries. We also hope to partner with the private sector so as to ensure that the programme runs smoothly. So, we will continue to distribute the tractors in the remaining 188 chiefdoms and this should be done in five years.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for her statement. I think the interventions she has outlined will restore the dignity of the girl child. However, my concern is that she only talked about child marriage, yet there is also child pregnancy. Men who impregnate girls go scot free. Has she considered finding a mechanism of bringing to book those who impregnate underage girls?

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, underage pregnancies also fall under the law of defilement. I do not know if the hon. Member’s question also relates to underage boys who impregnate underage girls. However, if an older male impregnates an underage girl, that is covered under the law of defilement. 

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, from the statistics given by the hon. Minister, especially those for rural provinces, can the hon. Minister say that there is a lot of under-reporting in places like Kanchibiya which is about 200 km from the main police station? In fact, there are no police stations in Kanchibiya and Kabushi Mando.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I do not think there is any under-reporting. There is a police station in every constituency and district. The statistics are collected on a monthly and quarterly basis. It might look like there are not many child marriages but, when you do a headcount, you will find that the statistics are correct. So, I do not think there is any under-reporting.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that well-informed statement.

Sir, Zambia is a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Charter on the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Child marriage is definitely an infringement of a child’s right. In the hon. Minister’s statement, there are no statistics on punitive measures that have been taken against violators of children’s rights, especially in regard to child marriages. I would like to know whether there is a law that penalises guardians or parents who champion child marriages.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I stated that there is a Bill at the Ministry of Justice that will be tabled in Parliament before the end of the year that is aimed at addressing the issue of child marriage. I also stated that we are consulting to see if we can come up with another law to criminalise child marriage. At the moment, this is covered under the law of defilement. We are working on the law that will make it punishable for parents and guardians championing child marriage.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that comprehensive statement.

 

Sir, it is a sad fact that from the statistics presented by the hon. Minister, Chama District is leading in terms of child marriages, maternal mortality rate, neonatal mortality rate and infant mortality rate. Among the interventions the hon. Minister mentioned, is the World Bank programme meant to educate the girl child. I think that is one of the best solutions. Is the Ministry of Gender synchronising with other ministries responsible for promoting the education of the girl child? Also, what criterion was used to select districts to benefit from the World Bank programme of educating the girl child and why was Chama District not included in the first phase of the programme?

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I stated that this is a World Bank programme meant to keep 14,000 girls in school. The assessment that was conducted was not only on child marriage, but many other issues were also considered when selecting the sixteen districts that are part of the programme. You may wish to know that among the district that were chosen was one with a low number of child marriages because we wanted to understand why it had a low number of child marriages while the numbers were high in the other districts. I think the selection was made that way in order to make comparisons amongst the various districts chosen.

 

Sir, there are many other interventions. For instance, I will be in Chama this week to hand over tillers under an empowerment programme to address child marriages. We had to use different interventions in different areas. The education programme for girls will be scaled up and am sure in the next phase of the programme, Chama will be included.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I wish to find out why the United Nations International Children's Fund (UNICEF) should produce birth certificates for Zambians. Can the Ministry of Home Affairs not produce birth certificates like is done in South Africa where a child is given an identification number immediately after birth. I think this method will only benefit people in urban areas. I find it unfair for an organisation like UNICEF to implement programmes that concern citizens, especially children in the rural areas.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Chienge for that question. I said that UNICEF is funding the programme. It is not working alone, but with the Ministry of Home Affairs which is implementing the Birth Certificate Programme. As hon. Members may be aware, the Ministry of Gender does not work in isolation, as it works with other ministries. At the moment, it is working with the Ministry of Home Affairs that is implementing the programme with funding from UNICEF.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, the ministerial statement given by the Minister of Gender is not only serious but also quite sensitive, particularly that it touches on the issue of child marriage. I am aware that in Chifunabuli Constituency, the campaign on ending early child marriages is on ‘high gear’ such that all the five chiefs are involved in it. The chiefs have embarked on a programme of withdrawing the girls from the marriages, but have no resources to put them back in school. As a result, this has become a vicious circle, as some girls still go back to their matrimonial homes. Nonetheless, I appreciate the ministerial statement and I was elated when I heard the hon. Minister mention that there will be extra boarding facilities for girls. However, I would like to find out whether the boarding facilities to accommodate poor children who are being withdrawn from marriages will be utilised at no cost.

 

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, the Government is working well with traditional leaders in the fight against this scourge. They have been on the ground ensuring that the scourge comes to an end.

 

Sir, communities are constructing boarding school facilities. Some hon. Members of Parliament have taken the imitative to construct dormitories at day schools in their communities so that girls are kept in school for a week and only go back to their families during the weekends.

 

As the Government, we would also like to work with the private sector in the construction of dormitories to offer weekly boarding facilities in various day schools so as to ensure that we keep more girls in school.

 

Definitely, education and lodging for the girls is at no cost. However, like is the case with all pupils who attend boarding school, they are expected to carry beddings and food. If the private sector constructs dormitories, they will still be handed over to the Ministry of General Education because, like I said earlier, the Ministry of Gender does not work in isolation. Amongst the eleven ministries that the ministry is working with are Local Government, Housing and Infrastructure Development and General Education. The dormitories will definitely be handed over to the Ministry of General Education. Some hon. Members of Parliament and many other communities have also taken up this initiative of putting up boarding facilities for girls.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

CROP FORECASTING SURVEY FOR THE 2016/2017 AGRICULTURAL SEASON AND THE FOOD BALANCE STATUS FOR THE 2017/2018 MARKETING SEASON

 

The Minister of Agriculture (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, it is my pleasure to brief the House on the country’s estimated crop production for the 2016/17 agricultural season as well as the country’s national food balance for the marketing season, covering the period 1st May, 2017, to 30th April, 2018.

 

The crop production estimates generated by my ministry in collaboration with the Central Statistical Office (CSO) are based on a universally applied scientific-survey method that is used every year.

 

Sir, as most of us may be aware, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region and Zambia in particular experienced the La Niña weather phenomenon. This is generally associated with high rainfall in countries in Southern Africa. The region had good rainfall from November, 2016 to May, 2017. Most parts of the country experienced normal rainfall, including the southern half of the country, which had experienced poor rainfall in the previous two seasons. The timely commencement of the rains led to a good start of the planting season.

 

As a result, the production and yield of several crops has been forecast as follows:

 

  1. millet is to increase by 8.65 per cent to 32,566 metric tonnes, from 29,974 metric tonnes in the last season;

 

  1. rice is to increase by 44.04 per cent to 38,423 metric tonnes, from 26,677 metric tonnes last season;

 

  1. groundnuts is to increase by 28.23 per cent to 168,699 metric tonnes, from 131,562 metric tonnes last season;

 

  1. mixed beans is to increase slightly by 1.29 per cent 45,938 metric tonnes, from 45,351 metric tonnes last season;

 

  1. Barley tobacco is to increase by 29.95 per cent, while Virginia tobacco is to reduce by 3.68 per cent;

 

  1. sorghum is to increase by 22.9 per cent to 17,337 metric tonnes, from 14,107 metric tonnes last season; and

 

  1. soya beans is to increase by 31.38 per cent to 351,460 metric tonnes, from 267,490 metric tonnes last season.

 

Sir, the national yield rate for soya beans has reduced by 17.3 per cent, from 1.84 metric tonnes per hectare last season to 1.52 metric tonnes per hectare. The planted area for soya beans increased by 58.9 per cent, from 145,763 ha to 231,630 ha. Of the total produce, small and medium-scale farmers account for 150,994 metric tonnes, giving a 131 per cent increase in soya bean production, from 65,304 metric tonnes last season. The number of small and medium-scale farmers producing soya beans has increased by 82 per cent. This is evidence of the Government’s diversification strategy bearing fruit.

 

Mr Speaker, according to the crop forecast survey results, national production for cassava flour for the 2016/17 farming season has been forecast to increase by 8.12 per cent, to 923,795 metric tonnes compared to the 854,393 metric tonnes produced last season. The increase in the production of cassava flour is attributed to increased market prospects that have come up in the cassava value chain such as brewing and cassava blends.

 

Sir, the wheat crop for the 2016/17 farming season is currently being planted. However, preliminary estimates indicate that the country will produce 193,713 metric tonnes from an estimated planted area of 26,773 ha. The country had 54,522 metric tonnes of carryover stocks of wheat as at 30th April, 2017. Wheat requirements have been estimated at 395,000 metric tonnes for the 2017/18 season. A detailed estimate for the anticipated wheat production for the 2017/18 farming season will be provided later in the season.

 

Mr Speaker, the production of seed cotton is forecast to decrease by 20.2 per cent, from 111,902 metric tonnes last season to 89,293 metric tonnes. The area planted for seed cotton decreased by 18.35 per cent this season. The reduction in seed cotton production is due to farmers switching to other crops, notably soya beans and maize.

 

Sir, the production of sweet potatoes is forecast to decrease by 10.87 per cent due to the fact that many farmers reduced the hectarage for sweet potatoes and increased for maize due to the high price of maize. Similarly, there was a decrease of 17.8 per cent in the production of sunflower, from 61,073 metric tonnes last season to 50,220 metric tonnes. The decline in sunflower production is due to the fact that the price of soya beans was better than that for sunflower last season. Therefore, farmers increased the hectarage for soya beans.

 

Mr Speaker, maize production is forecast to increase to 3,606,549 metric tonnes from 2,873,052 metric tonnes in the 2015/16 season. This represents an increase of 25.53 per cent. The national average yield for maize has increased slightly to 2.19 metric tonnes per hectare from 2.10 metric tonnes per hectare last season. This represents an increase of 4.18 per cent.

 

Sir, small and medium-scale farmers have recorded an average maize yield of 2.12 metric tonnes per hectare, while large-scale farmers have recorded an average maize yield of 5.2 metric tonnes per hectare.

 

Mr Speaker, the contributing factors to the high production of maize are increased area planted and favourable agro-meteorological conditions which resulted in higher yields. In addition, the usage of fertiliser in maize production increased by 26 per cent in 2016/17 compared to last season. The continued adoption of conservation farming practices also had a positive impact on productivity and, ultimately, production. The area utilised for maize production increased by 20.5 per cent, from 1,364,977 ha last season to 1,644,741 ha in the 2015/16 farming season. The area expected to be harvested also increased by 23.86 per cent.

 

Sir, the national food balance sheet for the 2017/18 marketing season based on the crop forecast survey shows that the country has produced sufficient maize for both human consumption and industrial use. As already stated, the total maize production this season has been estimated to be 3,606,549 metric tonnes. The country also had a maize carryover stock, amounting to 569,317 metric tonnes as at 1st May, 2016. When the maize carryover stock from last season is added to the maize production for this season, the total supply of maize available for the 2017/18 marketing season is 4,175,866 metric tonnes.

 

Mr Speaker, the food balance sheet for the current population shows that the total amount of maize required for human consumption, industrial use and other commitments amounts to 2,997,350 metric tonnes. The total maize requirements include an unanticipated national strategic reserve stock of 500,000 metric tonnes to be held by the FRA. When total maize requirements are subtracted from the total maize available, the food balance sheet indicates that the country has recorded a maize surplus of 1.1 million metric tonnes.

 

Sir, last year’s agricultural marketing season was unique to the country and the SADC region because Zambia was one of the few countries that had surplus maize production. As such, the country experienced pressure on the maize stocks. Therefore, several measures, including restrictions on the export of maize and maize products, were put in place to safeguard the food and nutrition security of the nation. In view of the increased production of maize this season, the export ban on maize and maize products has since been lifted. In addition, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will purchase up to 500,000 metric tonnes of commodities, including maize, for strategic reserves.

 

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture has commenced the review of the legislation for the FRA mandate. The ministry is also conducting consultations with stakeholders on the 2017 crop marketing modalities which will be announced after the consultations with stakeholders and approval by the Cabinet.

 

Sir, the Ministries of Agriculture and Finance held consultations this morning with industries, including grain traders, the milling industry, bi-lateral and multi-lateral co-operating partners, farmer unions and other key private and public sector players in the agriculture sector aimed at finding market policy solutions going forward. The discussions were fruitful and the House will be informed of the outcome of the discussions in due course.

 

Mr Speaker, I would like to reiterate my message to the private sector to continue to actively participate in agricultural marketing, particularly maize marketing.

 

Sir, let me conclude by, once again, commending the hardworking farmers, both large and small scale, outgrowers, agro-dealers and many others in the agriculture sector for their hard work and effort this season. I wish to encourage them to continue diversifying their crop production and take agriculture as a business. I also wish to advise farmers to use co-operatives and negotiate the best price so as to avoid being taken advantage of by traders.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by the hon. Minister.

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, what measures has the ministry put in place to promote outgrower schemes for cassava and other high value crops which do not need fertiliser?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, both the private and public sectors have put in place a number of interventions. As the House may be aware, a number of companies are running outgrower schemes, especially in the northern part of Zambia, to support the brewery industry. The ministry has implemented an Enhanced Crop Diversification Programme and cassava is one of the priority crops. We would also like this to truly translate into the diversification of the food basket in Zambia. So, we are working on quite a number of programmes in both the public and private sectors.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I am excited because we are going to record increased production in most of the crops in Zambia. However, let me indicate that Zambia is not the only country in the region which has been positively impacted by La Niña. For instance, South Africa is expecting an output of about 14 million metric tonnes of maize and Zambia is only expecting about 3.6 million metric tonnes. What is the outlook for export opportunities, especially for maize, in view of the fact that we are not the only country that is expecting a bumper harvest?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, maize is a common crop in the region. That is why the Ministry of Agriculture has emphasised that we should not depend on maize alone. We should concentrate on all crops. That is the reason the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is now supporting ten crops. Having a bumper harvest in maize should be an opportunity for the industrial sector. The manufacturing sector is mainly supported by the agriculture sector. When crops do well, we should see the synergies with the agriculture sector, particularly in the manufacturing and livestock subsectors.

 

Mr Speaker, if the failure to expand the poultry subsector last year was due to the feed that was expensive, a bumper harvest should be an opportunity to grow the subsector and create more wealth for people. It should also be an opportunity for us to produce cornflakes in Zambia and unlock the legislative barriers for biofuels. If the biofuel industry takes off, 3.6 million metric tonnes of maize will not be much. We would need to produce 30 to 40 million metric tonnes of maize to keep the biofuel subsector going. I am sure my colleague, the hon. Minister of Energy, would sleep better as it would reduce Government expenditure on fuel. There are a lot of opportunities. However, we should do more to unlock the opportunities around the maize value chain. Growing maize should not be a curse. Let us not just concentrate on maize production. We should truly practice crop diversification and make use of our competitive advantage. We are the only country in the region that produces organic maize, while other countries produce genetically-modified maize. Therefore, we have to find ways of selling it. The point will still remain that unless we position ourselves and add to the maize value chain, we will continue to compete with other countries in the region that also produce the same crop.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: Before, we proceed, let me provide some guidance. This is just for purposes of house-keeping. When you indicate that you would like to speak and, then, you switch off your microphone, you are actually deleting yourself from the list of those who have indicated to speak.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: That is what is happening. So, when you indicate, you should leave the microphone on. So far, we are making the list manually. Upon the first flash of the light, we will record your name but, when you turn off the microphone, you delete yourself. So, when you leave the microphones on, they will show green but, for the Member on the Floor, the microphone will show red. After you have spoken, you can turn the microphone off.

 

Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, one area where we have recorded positive results in agriculture production is soya beans. The hottest debate today in the country is on the price of soya beans which has stumbled from K400 to below K100. Without contradicting the free market concept, does the hon. Minister have any positive interventions so that farmers do not abandon this important crop in the coming season?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the production of soya beans has increased by 31 per cent. Unfortunately, the price has dropped. Many people will say that the Government has no business in regulating the prices of crops and should allow the market to regulate itself. The Ministry of Agriculture is not working in isolation. In trying to encourage the production of soya beans, we have been having serious discussions with my colleagues in the Ministries of Finance and Commerce, Trade and Industry on how we can grow our agro-processing industry for soya beans. Soya beans are not just an input in oil production, but also poultry feed production.

 

Sir, there was a decrease in poultry production last year, yet there were abundant stocks of soya beans. The increase in soya bean production should be commensurate to that of poultry production. This means that the price of feed should reduce. Hopefully, farmers and, ultimately, agro-processors will benefit from the economies of scale. So, as the Government, we are watching the situation carefully and the best we can do is to ‘hold’ the private sector’s hand and hope that the industry will take off. Some of the solutions are long term. In the short term, again, we shall work with our colleagues in the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to ensure that we facilitate market access for farmers and give them the information on prices so that they can get the best from their production. Botswana was one of our traditional markets. So, we have to send missions there to see how we can facilitate the export of soya beans and continue to work hand-in-hand with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr S. Tembo (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that there was a meeting this morning with different stakeholder on modalities of crop marketing. Last year, the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) bought maize from farmers in my constituency. However, they have not been paid to date. Did the meeting discuss how the farmers are going to be paid since they will soon be selling their maize for this year?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I think I forgot to respond to …

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, the hon. Member of Parliament wanted to know when the ZCF would pay for the crop that it had purchased from farmers. Firstly, let me clarify that ZCF now falls under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. I do not have the actual details on the matter. Therefore, I will follow it up with the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry in order to give a specific answer on when the payments will be made. I am aware that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) dismantled all the debt owed to farmers.

 

Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to also offer more information to the first question on exports and state that the Government has lifted the ban on the export of maize and related products. This is against the backdrop of a maize bumper harvest.

 

We have encouraged exports of mealie meal in certain areas so as to add value to the maize and encourage millers to purchase maize on the market. We are monitoring the exports of both maize and mealie meal because it is in our interest to find a market for the maize bumper harvest.

 

 Let me restate that there is no ban at all on the export of maize and related products.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by patting the back of the President of Zambia, His Excellency Mr Edgar Lungu and Her Honour the Vice-President, Madam Inonge Wina, for the hard work and war that they waged on the pesticides that were going to ravage the maize crop and the hon. Members of Parliament who rushed to their various constituencies to work with small-scale farmers likewise.

 

Mr Speaker, during the debate on the Budget, you will remember that I raised concern over the 10 per cent tax on the export of maize that the Ministry of Finance had proposed. We now have 1.1 million metric tonnes of maize for sale. However, we are not the only ones in the region with that much stocks of maize. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the 10 per cent tax on the export of maize will be maintained. I appreciate that the hon. Minister has talked about value addition. However, I think that a bird in hand is better than two in the sky. Currently, we do not have the capacity to process the maize into mealie meal or corn flakes. In fact, from 1964, we have just been making samp from our maize. Therefore, my interest at the moment is to have the maize sold so that it contributes to the revenues of our country. Is the 10 per cent being maintained?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, this question is similar to the first one and just as important. The decision by the Government to put a 10 per cent surcharge on the export of maize grain was anticipatory. Going forward, the maize value chain should not just be about exporting the grain. The production of maize should result in job creation. The new value chain should include what the hon. Member talked about, namely cornflakes, support to the livestock subsector and the creation of other industries. This is a long-term measure. However, we have an immediate challenge to sell 1.1 million. 

 

Mr Speaker, at the meeting with the stakeholders this morning, we were given a number of options. Some of the stakeholders said that they had the capacity to store the 1.1 million metric tonnes of maize using the Warehouse Receipt System for future payments, while said that there is capacity in the market to absorb it, especially if it is used to accelerate the growth the livestock subsector. Yet some argued that unless the Government considers removing the 10 per cent surcharge, they will not be able to transport the crop as quickly as possible, particularly to the markets in East Africa. Other stakeholders argued that they are already exporting to East Africa. However, their problem is not that of the 10 per cent tax, but to encourage the hon. Minister of Transport and Communications to transport the crop by railway, not road.

 

 At the meeting with the hon. Minister of Finance and stakeholders this morning, we agreed to have follow-up meetings tomorrow and on Thursday because we do not want the farmers, grain traders, millers or the Government to lose out. The value chain should not just benefit a few people. There is an opportunity for everybody to make money, including the Government.

 

So, this matter is receiving active attention. You can imagine we had a meeting this morning and another one scheduled for tomorrow and the day after. The hon. Minister of Finance has called for a specific meeting to discuss further how we can finance receipt warehousing of the current crop. We do not want it to go to waste.

 

Mr Jamba (Mwembeshi): Mr Speaker, we are cognisant of the fact that maize marketing is a big challenge for rural constituencies. The maize issue is a sensitive one. So far, no floor price has been set for the 500,000 metric tonnes meant for reserves. I thought that the ministerial statement would also indicate the floor price. As a result of the silence on the floor price, millers and other traders are taking advantage of farmers by buying a 50 kg bag of maize at as low as K30. When will the hon. Minister announce the floor price so that farmers can sell their maize at a better price?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, for a while now, the pricing in agricultural marketing has been liberalised. This is a reality. This means that there are a number of players in the agriculture crop market as a whole and not just the maize market.

 

One of the key players is obviously the FRA which belongs to the Government. The Government does not announce the floor price. The FRA announces a price at which it is prepared to buy the maize. In the past, some people misunderstood this to be the floor price because when there was a lot of maize on the market, the only real player has been the FRA because the private sector moved to other crops. This is what we would expect to see this year. When there was a shortage of maize in the region last year, the private sector was prompted to participate and purchased maize much faster than the FRA. The Government does not announce the floor price for maize. The Government, through the FRA, only announces the price at which it is prepared to buy the crop.

 

Sir, last November, I came to this House and said that due to some austerity measures and fiscal discipline issues, there was a Cabinet decision for the FRA to buy only 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. That is what the FRA has planned for even this year. This is why we are concerned that if the FRA will purchase 500,000 metric tonnes as security stocks, there will still be about a million tonnes on the market that needs to be sold either out of the country or within. We are working with stakeholders such as the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE), grain traders to come up with a financing structure that does not leave the farmer out in the cold. That is what we are doing from today, tomorrow, up to Thursday as we hold meetings with the banks to see how we can finance the purchase of the extra 1,000,000 metric tonnes so that it does not go to waste.

 

Mr Speaker, the FRA will announce its purchase price only when it is confident that there is 12.5 per cent moisture content in the crop. Currently, the average national moisture content is at 16.5 per cent. While millers and others dealers can go ahead and purchase the crop, the FRA cannot do so, as it does not purchase maize for milling but storage. If it purchases maize with a moisture content beyond 12.5 per cent, which is the international standard, it means the Government is just buying ‘water’. As somebody said this morning, you might as well go to a water company and buy water. Also, the stock will germinate whilst in storage. That is why the FRA goes into the market later than everybody else.

 

Sir, as we work with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, we hope to see strength in co-operatives. We also hope to see strength in a commodity trading platform that should provide price discovery and act as an ‘aggregator’ to both the buyer and seller so that farmers are never in a situation where they are at the receiving end all the time.

 

I thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the ministerial statement.

 

Mr ‘Minister’ …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Dr Chanda: Gender equality.

 

Mr Zimba: The hon. Minister referred to the fact that we are expecting a bumper harvest this year. As you might be aware, Lundazi District is the highest producer of maize this year. Let me congratulate my fellow hon. Members of Parliament and myself on this achievement. I had a meeting with the District Agricultural Co-ordinating Officer (DACO) for Chasefu who said that the Government is planning to reduce the number of satellite depots in the constituency. It has become difficult for me to explain to my constituents why the number of satellite depots is being reduced after having such a good harvest. Is it true that the Government is reducing the number of satellite depots, particularly in Chasefu Constituency?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, indeed, we have a bumper harvest of not only maize, but also rice which has gone up to 44 per cent. The production of Irish potatoes has also gone up by 28 per cent and there is still a huge demand for vegetables and other crops on both the local market and in the region. We have to avoid focusing on maize. In an ideal world, we should have been saying there is enough information for the farmer on what the market for what crop is. Then, the farmer would work backwards and go to an agro dealer to get the requisite seed for the crop which has a potential market. However, what is happening now is that the farmer is making decisions blindly.

 

Sir, last year, soya beans did very well, but very few farmers grew them. This year, everybody has gone on to grow soya beans. Last year, there was a shortage of maize in the region. This year, everybody has gone on to grow maize. Nobody is looking at vegetables and other potential crops, including livestock. So, we have to correct the market in that sense. This is why we are having these meetings with various stakeholders. However, we have a problem on our hand, that is, the lack of capacity by the Government to the procure the crop. As I have stated on many occasions, including in this House, the Government is only buying 500,000 metric tonnes of maize for reserves. By inference, it means that the FRA has to put in place logistical measures that will cater for only 500,000 metric tonnes, not the 1.2 or 2 million metric tonnes that it has been buying in the last two years. That is a fact.

 

However, Mr Speaker, the Government cannot throw its hands up in the air and say that since the FRA is going to buy 500,000 metric tonnes using taxpayers’ money for national stock, what are we going to do with the one million metric tonnes left on the market? That is why the hon. Minister of Finance and I are leading discussions with the banks to see how this can be financed through the private sector. To be honest, the private sector has already come forward. The missing link is the banks that we are meeting with on Thursday to see how the one million metric tonnes can be purchased. We are determined not to let the crop go to waste. Some of it will be exported, but most of it will be purchased and warehoused for future use. The important thing is that the farmer will be paid. We know that because of the austerity measures, if the FRA buys more than 500,00 metric tonnes, it will not have the money to pay the farmers. So, we want to come up with a financing mechanism that will ensure that the private sector buys the crop at a good price and the farmer is paid immediately so that the farmer does not lose double time.

 

I thank you Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Siwale (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, we have cash crops such as beans which are grown on a wide scale in places like the Northern Province. In Mafinga, we have a challenge with the market for beans. Farmers are stuck with their beans. What is the direction as far as the Ministry of Agriculture is concerned?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may wish to know that for the first time last year, exported beans through a World Food Programme (WFP) mechanism. Over 5,000 metric tonnes of beans were exported to Malawi. Beans are also some of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) supported crops beginning this season. What we to change the legislation of the FRA so that it buys the crops on the FISP support list and not just maize. If we are going to support the growing of beans, we, as the Government, should also buy the beans through the FRA. We are working with the WFP to create an aggregation system so that we improve local economies. For instance, if the Government is buying food through the Ministry of General Education for schools in Mbala or Mafinga, why should the FRA not buy the beans from the farmers and sell it to the WFP or the Ministry of General Education, then, it is supplied to the schools? I am cognisant of the challenges you are faced with, hon. Member. Beyond local consumption, the creation of market access should include beans and other crops. I hope my ministry and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry can do more through agri-business and trade to facilitate market access for crops such as beans and other pulses.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, in the late 1970s, there was a Rice Development Programme for farmers in Luwingu which was funded by the European Economic Commission (EEC). Over time, the programme dwindled and the farmers stopped growing rice. However, lately, the policies that the Government has introduced have prompted some farmers to start growing rice. Last week at the District Agriculture Show, there were many rice farmers and they told me that they have a challenge with the market and do not have rice shellers. Does the ministry have a programme that will ease the problems of the farmers in Lubansenshi and Lupososhi constituencies?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, that is a very important question, considering that the production of rice has increased by 44 per cent. As hon. Members of Parliament, we have to work together to transform the eating habits of the Zambians just as we did during the outbreak of army worms. We cannot just be eating maize meal. If each one of us only buys mealie meal, then, there will be no market for rice. We need to buy the Zambian produce ourselves before we can export it. If we do not eat rice, potatoes and cassava, there will be no crop diversification. Nutritionists tell us that cassava, orange and white maize, and other crops are more nutritious, then, we, the political leadership, should take the lead. So, I think that rice can find its rightful place on the market if we all make an effort to transform the Zambian food basket. It cannot just comprise maize meal.

 

Sir, at the launch of the Agriculture Mechanisation Week this morning, I saw small rice shellers and other big farming equipment that is manufactured by one of the exhibitors, Camco Equipment Ltd, displayed in front of Mulungushi House at the Ministry of Agriculture. Since co-operatives have failed in the past, this is the time to make them work because the leverage our farmers can have from working as a group to access such equipment cannot be overemphasised. So, it is important to form co-operatives so that as entities, they can purchase some small machines that are important for minimal agro-processing such as grinding groundnuts or rice.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, the question was asked by another hon. Member.

 

Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, Zimbabwe, Malawi and South Africa were once our major market for maize. Will the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) consume the surplus maize tonnage in view of the tax obligation?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, we are not looking at just one solution to address the issue of the 1.1 million metric tonnes maize surplus. We expect the DRC to be an open export market for Zambia. Even though Zimbabwe is not accepting imports of maize at the moment, sooner or later, we believe that there will still be a market because of the price differentials. We also expect to find a market in East Africa where we know that there is a real challenge. However, we are working with the banks and the Zambia Agriculture Management Information System (ZAMIS), which is the warehouse receipt system, so that we can purchase the surplus maize for later use. All we want is for the farmers to be paid and the maize can either be exported or used by the breweries or millers. So, that is one of the financing mechanism that we are working on which is an immediate solution. The long-term solution includes creating industries around the maize value chain. The farmers can also focus on the production of other crops and ensure that they make informed decisions. If they grow maize or soya beans and the market does not want them, then, they will always have a problem.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: I note that the hon. Member for Kantanshi is trying to catch my eye. You have already spoken. That is what the system is showing.

 

Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, the question has been overtaken.

 

Mr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the elaborate statement to the House. However, my question is on the price of mealie meal. Some time back, she informed the nation that the Government was working with some identified milling companies, which it sold maize to at a subsidised price, in order to stabilise the price of mealie meal. In light of the current bumper harvest, will the ministry consider flooding the millers with subsidised maize so that the price of mealie meal, which is currently at K85, can reduce?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, sometime in January or February, we had a tripartite arrangement with the Grain Traders Association of Zambia (GTAZ), Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the millers. The FRA did not provide any maize directly to the millers at a subsidy. We allowed the grain traders and millers to negotiate on their own and the Government only provided a 20 per cent reimbursement for the maize. That arrangement has now come to an end because we know that there are abundant stocks of maize on the market. 

 

If the market works efficiently, we expect the price of maize to drop because of the abundant stocks. As I explained in this House last November, the FRA’s mandate is very clear. With regard to the procurement of the crop, priority will be given to outlying areas. I would like to believe that most of the millers in urban areas are now able to purchase maize at a lower price compared to last year. This should immediately impact the price of mealie meal as can be seen already.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, allow me to convey a message of thanks to Her Honour the Vice-President. The people of Chama South would like to thank her office for the timely distribution of relief food that was distributed at the time it was needed.

 

Sir, my question is in regard to the purchase of maize in my constituency by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). For the first time, the people of Chama South, apart for two or three areas that have experienced drought, are 99 per cent food secure. They are really excited that they have produced enough maize. Unfortunately, the district, huge as it is, has only been given five buying centres, that is, three in the north and two in the south.

 

Hon. Minister, when the FRA buys maize at Chikwa Centre in Chifunda, for instance, will it be able to proceed to Mapamba, which is about 100 km away, and many other areas so that people can retain some money to purchase inputs from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP)? 

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, there must be a strong link between farmers who are supported by the Government through FISP and those from whom the Government buys maize.

 

In my ministerial statement last November, I affirmed that the Government policy is that the FRA should stick to buying 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. This would result in a reduction in transport costs and markets that the FRA can support. The number of personnel that go into the field to buy the crop would also reduce. This is a reality. However, how do we ensure that we do not worsen the situation for those in outlying areas? We have agreed that the FRA’s mandate is to prioritise procurement in remote areas. The FRA has indicated where these markets will be located and how many they will be.

 

Sir, I know that the ministry has received some complaints. I had a meeting with the hon. Provincial Ministers to address this matter. Their suggestions will be forwarded to the FRA. Thereafter, the agency will decide what to do. In fact, the hon. Provincial Ministers for the Eastern and Muchinga provinces were the most emphatic. I know that this matter is receiving active consideration, as the hon. Provincial Ministers and the FRA are in talks about how best to locate the few buying points.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

 

Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for a very well-articulated statement. I would like to find out when the Government will commence the distribution of inputs for the 2017/2018 farming season?

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the Government has just charted the way forward in regard to the distribution of inputs for the 2017/2018 farming season, which will be 100 per cent done through the e-Voucher System. The ministry has a roadmap for this June to put in place all that we need to begin implementing the e-Voucher System for 2017/2018 to avoid some of the logistical and administrative challenges that we encountered last year. In short, I will be coming to this House to give a more detailed explanation.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

_____

 

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

 

FEEDER ROADS IN CHITAMBO

 

232. Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South) (on behalf of (Mr Mutale) (Chitambo)) asked the Minister of Local Government:

 

  1. whether the Government had any plans to rehabilitate feeder roads in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency;

 

  1. if so, how many kilometres would be rehabilitated in 2017;

 

  1. when the project would commence; and

 

  1. if there were no such plans, why.

 

The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the Government’s policy is to rehabilitate all the feeder roads which are in a bad state, including those in Chitambo District. However, this is dependent upon the availability of funds and the submission of priority roads by the concerned local authority. Further, I wish to advise the hon. Member to submit this request to the local council. 

 

Sir, no new roads will be worked on in Chitambo in 2017 due to non-availability of funds. However, new works are scheduled to commence in 2018 as soon as funds are made available. The number of kilometres will depend on the council’s priority list.

 

The project will commence when the council submits the request and as soon as funds are made available. Lastly, plans to rehabilitate feeder roads are there in the 2018 Annual Work Plan and will be implemented upon receipt of the priority list of feeder roads to be considered for rehabilitation. 

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

DAM CONSTRUCTION IN MKAIKA

 

233. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:

 

  1. whether the Government had any plans to construct dams in the following areas in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency:

 

  1. Havunda;
  2. Mkumbaleza;
  3. Mtetezi; and
  4. Vulamkoko;

 

  1. if so, when the construction works would commence;

 

  1. if there were no such plans, why; and

 

  1. when the following dams would be rehabilitated:

 

  1. Chisale;
  2. Pulazi;
  3. Mthambo;
  4. Walira; and
  5. Mpoto.

 

The Minister of Energy (Mr Mabumba) (on behalf of the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Mr Kaziya)): Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection has an on-going programme of constructing small dams to provide water resources to communities for irrigation, fishing and animal consumption. Therefore, the Government has plans to construct dams countrywide, including Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency.

 

Mr Speaker, the ministry carried out technical preliminary assessments in Havunda, Mkumbaleza, Mtetezi and Vulamkoko. However, no suitable site was found at Vulamkoko.

 

Sir, As for Havunda, Mkumbaleza and Mtetezi, the next step the Government will take is to carry out a detailed technical survey to facilitate future planning processes.

 

Sir, plans are there to construct dams countrywide, including Havunda, Mkumbaleza, and Mtetezi. Like I have said, no dam will be constructed in Vulamukoko due to the reason cited above.

 

Mr Speaker, as earlier stated, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection has also an on-going programme of rehabilitating small dams countrywide. To this effect, the Government has plans to carry out assessments on existing dams to ascertain the required works for each dam, including those that were sited at Chisale, Pulazi, Nthambo, Walira and Mpoto.

 

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Laughter

 

L400 ROAD PROJECT IN KANYAMA

 

235. Ms E. Phiri (Kanyama) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. how many roads under the L400 Roads Project were under construction in Kanyama Parliamentary Constituency;

 

  1. why the construction works had stalled;
  2. when the works would resume; and

 

  1. how many kilometers were earmarked for construction in the constituency under Phase II of the Project.

 

The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that a total of forty-four roads have been constructed under the L400 Road Project in Kanyama Parliamentary Constituency, translating to approximately 59 km. Kanyama is one of the constituencies with the highest number of road projects under Phase I of the L400 Road Project.

 

Sir, the construction works under the L400 Road Project have not stalled, as the works under Phase I of the L400 Road Project have been completed as planned.

 

Mr Speaker, following the successful completion of Phase I of the L400 Road Project, and all things being equal, the Government intends to launch Phase II of the Project in the next thirty days. This follows the finalisation of the financing arrangements between the Ministry of Finance and the contractor.

 

Sir, the list of roads to be worked on under Phase II of the L400 Road Project in Kanyama Constituency has not yet been finalised. It will be finalised in consultation with the local authority and the respective hon. Members of Parliament in Lusaka. As such, the number of kilometres to be worked on in Kanyama Constituency will only be known once full consultation has been completed and approved by all the stakeholders.

 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Ms E. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I wonder whether the roads that I was promised to be worked on have been ‘swallowed’ because there was an assurance that 50 km of roads in Kanyama Constituency would be worked on. Could the hon. Minister kindly clarify that.

 

 Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, we discussed this issue with the hon. area Member of Parliament. Therefore, I cannot ‘swallow’ the roads. All things being equal, we would like to promise that Kanyama will, again, benefit another 50 km from Phase II of the L400 Road Project which will run for four years during the implementation plan if all the three stakeholders agree, that is, the local authority and the hon. area Member of Parliament.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Munkonge (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, I am forced to ask when the next 50 km of roads will be worked on in Lukashya Constituency because not a single kilometre of road has been worked on in the constituency.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Hon. Member, we are dealing with Kanyama Constituency and are now considering supplementary questions relating to the Question on Kanyama Constituency.

 

Mr Munkonge: Sir, Can I rephrase my question.

 

Hon. Government Member: Kanyama!

 

 Mr Speaker: Order!

 

 I can see that there are no further questions.

 

PHASE II CHIMWEMWE HOSPITAL PROJECT

 

236. Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. when the construction of Phase III of Chimwemwe Hospital in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency would commence;

 

  1. what additional facilities would be constructed under Phase III of the project;

 

  1. what the total cost of the project was; and

 

  1. what the estimated timeframe for the completion of the project was.

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the construction of Phase II of Chimwemwe Hospital in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency will commence in 2018. The additional facilities will include the construction of new wards, a kitchen and laundry.

 

Sir, the total cost of the project is K13 million. The timeframe for the completion of the project is dependent on the availability of resources. However, other things being equal, the project is estimated to run for two years.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, as a representative of the people of Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency, I would like to confirm that the people of Chimwemwe are happy with the Government of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwila: … for the smooth flow of funds to Chimwemwe Constituency.

 

Sir, there are on-going works for …

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

 Is that a supplementary question?

 

 Mr Mwila: Yes, Sir.

 

Sir, the workmanship and the pace of the works by the contractor who is working on the Chimwemwe Clinic Project and the hospital is okay. However, I would like to find out whether the intensive care unit (ICU) is also part of the additional facilities to be put up under Phase III of the project in Chimwemwe Constituency.

 

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, as a good representative of the people of Chimwemwe Constituency, I would like to assure the people of Chimwemwe that if a request for the addition of the intensive care unit is made to the ministry, it would be considered so that we can have a complete hospital unit.

 

Sir, we understand the challenges people are faced with face in the event of an emergency, especially when they have to rush patients to Kitwe Central Hospital. Therefore, it is possible that the Government would consider putting up the ICU at Chimwemwe Level One Hospital.

 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

    

COMMUNICATION TOWERS IN NALOLO

 

237. Mr Imbuwa (Nalolo) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:

 

(a)whether the Government had any plans to facilitate the extension of the network coverage area of the communication towers at the following locations in Nalolo Parliamentary Constituency:

 

(i)Kaunga Lueti;

(ii)Mapungu; and

(iii)Nalolo Palace;

 

(b)if so, when works on the project would commence;

 

(c)what the cost of extending the coverage area of each tower was; and

 

(d)when the Government would facilitate the construction of communication towers in the following areas in the constituency:

 

(i)Nanjucha;

(ii)Kalamba; and

(iii)Suu.

 

The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Mushimba): Mr Speaker, I was about to start dozing because I thought the hon. Member had left the Assembly Chamber.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Transport and Communication has finalised the procurement process for Phase II of the construction of the communication towers in underserved and unserved areas of the country. Under the Phase II of the project and using the Universal Access Service funds, the ministry has planned for the provision of mobile coverage in the following areas in Nalolo Constituency:

 

(a)Kaunga Lueti;

(b)Mapungu Primary School;

(c)Lealui Palace;

(d)Suu;

(e)Kamba Primary School; and

(f)Nanjucha Primary School.

 

Sir, the Ministry of Finance is in the process of securing resources for the implementation of the project and we are finalising the engagement with the Republic of China through Exim Bank of China to finance the project. The project implementation is set to begin as soon as this agreement is concluded and we are very close to finalising the discussion to start the project. In fact, the pre-shipment of towers for the project has already been done.

 

The average cost of a complete 75 m communication tower with 4G radio access and transmission, power and monitoring equipment and services is around US$ 285,000.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, the Government has finalised procurement procedures for the construction of towers in several areas of the country. I wonder if he would be kind enough to confirm if he will be availing the list of the sites where these towers will be erected in the near future so that hon. Members of Parliament can have this information.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, when I spoke about Phase II of the project last year, I brought to the Floor of the House a list of the towers and where they were going to be placed. The ministry received feedback from hon. Members of Parliament with suggestions where they felt we needed to reconsider the location of the towers in certain areas. The ministry relooked the mapping of the towers and some adjustments have been made.

 

Sir, the last time I spoke about this, I mentioned that we were finalising the implementation plan which is going to guide on when and where we start, and how the project will be implemented. The implementation plan is just being finalised and it is on my desk for approval. We will share the contents of that plan with the House. I think that may answer the hon. Member’s question.

 

However, I just want to give a little more information on this contract because I remember we said that we will start this project at the end of the rainy season or when the contract agreements have been signed. The contracting process has delayed a bit because it is a multi-stage process. I also mentioned that the pre-shipment has already been approved and the towers that we are going to start are on the way. This shows the importance the Government has attached to the project. So, it is important that we implement it as soon as possible.

 

Thank you very much, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, the cry of the young people in Nalolo and elsewhere in the country is to have access to communication. When will the Government be active on this issue because there is so much talk about it, but nothing is being done?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I think I concluded my answer to the last question with the commitment that this Government has made. I said that we are finalising the agreement before we roll out the entire project. Since the Government is committed to ensuring that the project commences, we have negotiated for a pre-shipment which is on its way. There are twenty towers in that pre-shipment and we are going to erect them as soon as they get here.

 

However, we will roll out the project to the rest of across the country as soon as the loan agreements for the project have been finalised. The implementation, which I will share with this House, will guide hon. Members of Parliament on the time lines and when I will be in their areas to commission the erection of the towers.

 

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, the communication towers that were erected under the first phase of the project were short. Therefore, they covered a short radius. Could the hon. Minister, please, indicate to the House the height of the towers that will be erected under Phase II of the project.

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I have spoken about the specifications for the new towers before. The first towers that were put up in Phase I of the project under the Universal Access Service were short. We put up 204 towers in 118 chiefdoms across the country. They could only cover a radius of 5 km which was short and the signal strength was impacted.

 

Phase II will have longer towers of between 60 m to 75 m high with a larger radius and coverage of 10 km and stronger signal. So, we may not put up as many towers as we intended to put up because they are longer and have a wider coverage than the shorter ones. So, we have addressed the concerns that were raised earlier in Phase I of the project where the towers were deemed to be short and could not go over certain terrain. That problem has been addressed in Phase II of the project.

 

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Ms Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just talked about adjustments being made to the initial plan in terms of the number of towers allocated per area.  However, we have already informed the people about the number of towers a given area would receive. This adjustment may disappoint them a little. Therefore, my question is: Has the adjustment affected the number of towers that was earlier allocated?

 

Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the number I presented previously has not changed. We are still going to erect 1,009 towers. Many of them are brand new, while others will be upgraded. We made some adjustments after we looked at the map to ensure that we optimise the coverage and reduce the number of dropped calls. The hon. Member may see additional towers in her constituency just because of the terrain to ensure that we avoid a lot of ‘dead’ areas.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

CORONATION PARK IN KABWE

 

238. Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central) asked the Minister of Local Government:

 

  1. who owned the piece of land formulary known as Coronation Park in Kabwe District;

 

  1. what the prescribed use for the land was;

 

  1. whether the land had been leased; and

 

  1. if so, for how long. 

 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the piece of land known as Coronation Park located off Freedom Way is numbered as Lot Number L/Kabwe/1681125 and is owned by Kabwe Municipal Council. However, Kabwe Municipal has signed a lease agreement on the same piece of land with Unity Distributors Zambia Limited.

 

Sir, according to the Kabwe Development Plan, the prescribed use of the land was initially a play park. However, it was modified through an application to change land use to commercial use and was approved by the hon.  Minister of Local Government in December, 2016.

 

Mr Speaker, Kabwe Municipal Council has leased the land to Unity Distributors Zambia Limited of Ulengo Road, P.O Box 71697, Ndola, through a lease agreement approved by the Ministry of Justice on 2nd September, 2016.

 

Sir, the lease agreement is for twenty-six years, commencing 1st November, 2016.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the hon. Minister has taken into account the fact that Coronation Park catered for pupils from a Government school. Now that it has been leased out for twenty-six years, without any consultations with the members of the public or any stakeholders, I would like to find out what measures have been put in place to take care of the pupils from the school and those around the Coronation Flats.

 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question. My understanding is that the piece of land has been idle since 1994. In 1999, there was an attempt to revamp the park, but it never yielded any results. Since then, it has been idle and has been used by criminals for criminal activities. As a ministry, when we approved to change the land use, we gave a condition that the council should come up with another play park elsewhere that will be used by children to compensate for this. Coronation Park was in an area which could be better used for other purposes. I understand the council is doing everything possible to put up another park that should be used by children to compensate for this one.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I used to be the chief buyer for Kabwe Municipal Council some years back and I know where the park in question is located. It is just within a residential area. It is a small place which is meant for children to use as a park where they can go and play. It is not a place where criminals could hide. I know the place quite well. Therefore, I feel that I should …

 

Mr Speaker: What is your point of clarification?

 

Ms Katuta: Thank you, Sir.

 

I feel that the council should give back that park to the children of that area and school.

 

Mr Speaker: There is no point of clarification.

 

Ms Katuta: The point of clarification is why the Ministry of Local Government and the municipal council cannot give back the land to whom it belongs.

 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I have stated that in compensation, the council was asked to provide another play park as an alternative for the children to use. So, it is just like transferring a park from one place to the other, without necessarily taking away the facility from the children. However, the information we have is that the piece of land had not been used as a park in a long time. So, the new park that has been put up to compensate for the old one is well planned and will be active since it will be in a place where it will be more appreciated.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether his ministry verified the report that this park had been dormant for a very long time. I come from Kabwe and I do not believe that the statement they gave to the hon. Minister was accurate. I wish to find out from the hon. Minister whether it was brought to his attention that the park is located next to a school and right in front of six blocks of flats. Like the hon. Member of Parliament for Chienge said, it is not possible for criminals to hide there. There has been an outcry from the members of the public in Kabwe who thought that Kabwe Municipal Council has become careless in the manner in which it is converting parks. My question to the hon. Minister is: If the council will not find a park for the children, what will he do and what time frame has been given to the council to find an alternative place because we believe children cannot leave school …

 

Mr Speaker: I think you are going over the statement.

 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the condition given to the council was that we could not allow it to change land use before we were assured that an alternative place would be found.

 

As regards the verification of reports, I wish to state that we verified from many sources who affirmed that the park was inactive and was not used as a park. However, there was an attempt to use it, but it did not yield any results. I am aware, Sir, that the council sat and passed a resolution after taking into account all the factors and realising that it was not suitable to be used as a park. So, the council was asked to provide an alternative place that was going to be appreciated better. I also learnt from different sources that there were many people who were interested in running the park. I was made to believe that Hon. Ngulube was one of the applicants …

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, …

 

Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: … we do not proceed that way. We do not debate ourselves. Please, withdraw that statement.

 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement. I understand that the interest was huge and there was too much talk or noise not necessarily because the place was not suitable for a play park but because people were interested in it.

 

Mr Speaker, there was so much interest from the people that there is a lot of controversy surrounding the park.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

MULUNGUSHI UNIVERSITY

 

  1. Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge) asked the Minister of Higher Education:

 

  1. whether there were any companies that pledged to contribute towards the establishment of Mulungushi University;

 

  1. if so, how much money each company pledged;

 

  1. whether the pledges had been fulfilled; and

 

  1.  if not, why.

 

Minister of Higher Education (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, our investigations established that Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Plc was the only company that had pledged to support the establishment of Mulungushi University. Unfortunately, KCM has fulfilled very little of the pledge and the ministry is pursuing them to honour their promise.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.9

 

  1. Mr Kunda asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

 

  1. what progress the country made in 2016, in implementing the Sustainable Development Goal No. 9 on building resilient infrastructure, promoting inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and fostering innovation;

 

  1. whether there were any challenges in implementing the goal;

 

  1. if so, what the challenges were; and

 

  1.  what measures were being taken to redress the challenges.

 

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mrs Mwanakatwe): Mr Speaker, the main thrust under the Infrastructure Development Programme has been road construction, rehabilitation, expansion and construction of hydropower stations, rehabilitation of railway lines, roads and bridges, and construction and modernisation of airports, and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure.

 

Sir, infrastructure development is one of the Government’s priority areas and is upheld in both the Six and Seventh National Development Plans, and the National Vision 2030. The aim is to have reliable and affordable public infrastructure services for sustained economic development.

 

Mr Speaker, under the road sector, the Government has been implementing the Link Zambia 8,000 km, Lusaka 400 and the Copperbelt 400 road projects. In addition, having considered the ever growing air transportation of cargo and passengers, the Government embarked on the expansion of existing airports such as the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport and the construction of new ones such as the Ndola International Airport, which is currently under construction.

 

Sir, the Government has further embarked on the expansion of hydropower generation and diversification of energy production to renewal energy production.

 

Mr Speaker, all these programmes are aimed at transforming Zambia into a truly land-linked country. This will promote the establishment of industry and contribute to the opening up of new markets in the country as well as lower the cost of doing business.

 

Mr Speaker, in promoting inclusiveness, the Government has embarked on the Value Chain Development Programme aimed at promoting value addition to local raw materials and primary agricultural products. Under this programme, the Government is currently supporting more than 1,800 projects in activities such as the production of mango juice and processing of fish, rice, dairy, cotton, honey and forestry products. These projects are being implemented in forty-two districts countrywide, thereby promoting inclusiveness in economic development. The Government is also working closely with the private sector by promoting and encouraging the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and co-operatives.

 

Mr Speaker, the Government has continued with the programme to setup multi-facility economic zones (MFEZs) and industrial parks that are currently attracting domestic and foreign investment. The Government has deliberately developed MFEZs and industrial parks whose main focus includes manufacturing and value addition. The zones and parks offer investment supporting infrastructure development for roads, power and water, among others. Furthermore, the Government has been providing incentives in the MFEZS and industrial parks so as to attract investments, thus contributing to the diversification and industrialisation of the economy.

 

Mr Speaker, there have been some challenges in implementing the goal. The main challenges have included the demand for investment in infrastructure to support industrialisation. This is with particular reference to the energy, information and communication technology and transportation sectors. Other challenges include limited access to advanced technological methods of production. Another major challenge is the limited financial resource envelope on the part of the Government. However, the Government has and will continue addressing these challenges through the promotion of infrastructure development in the country, as and when resources are made available.

 

Sir, the Government is working towards redressing the challenges through:

 

  1. the promotion of public and private sector investment in the energy sector, and reforms to make the sector more attractive for investment;

 

  1. the implementation of programmes so as to have increased access and reduced costs in the areas of information and communication technology, appreciation of the role it plays in reducing costs and increased efficiency across different sectors of the economy;

 

  1. heavy investment in transport infrastructure development in all modes of transport;
  2. the promotion of domestic and foreign direct investment in key sectors so as to industrialise the country, create jobs and promote transfer of technology;

 

  1. the broadening of the tax base, including the promotion of export diversification in order to grow the resource envelope; and

 

  1. continued engagement and collaboration with our co-operating partners in order to promote infrastructure development in the country and exploration of the use of other models of infrastructure development such as the public-private partnership (PPP)  in order to implement some of the infrastructure projects in the country.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Kunda: Mr Speaker, what measures have been put in place to ensure that all the good innovations are captured and supported by the Government, especially those by the rural youths? I have noticed that the hon. Minister has not touched on that issue.

 

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, one of the activities that we have introduced is the annual “Innovation Day” which is aimed at supporting people who come up with new innovations so that they are patented and trademarked in the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).

 

Sir, have also partnered with the private sector in promoting innovations in the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through the Youth Development Programme and the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC). As such, the Government, together with the co-operative movement, is able to bring about skills development entrepreneurship and innovation.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

IRRIGATION SCHEMES IN FEIRA PARLIAMENTARY CONSTITUENCY

 

241. Mr Miti (Feira) asked the Minister of Agriculture:

 

  1. whether the Government had any plans to establish irrigation schemes in Feira Parliamentary Constituency;

 

  1. if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

 

  1. if there were no such plans, why.

 

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the Government has identified two sites with 800 ha and 1,000 ha of land in Yapita Agricultural Camp for possible establishment of irrigation schemes in addition to the existing irrigation ones at Chafukula in Kaunga A and Tiyeseko in Kaunga B camps which are used for banana production.

 

In addition, the Government, in collaboration with Child Fund, is establishing an irrigation scheme at Kavalamanja Agricultural Camp. Three villages, namely Kavalamanja, Tinkolo and Kandembwele will benefit from the scheme. Farmers under this scheme will be growing vegetables.

 

Sir, as stated above, plans are in place and are already being implemented.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

MOTION

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

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

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

________

 

The House adjourned at 1951 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 14th June, 2017.