Tuesday, 27th June, 2017

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Tuesday, 27th June, 2017

 

The House met at 1430 hours

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

PRAYER

 

_________

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENTS

 

ZAMBIA’S DEBT POSITION AND REVENUE PERFORMANCE

 

The Minister of Finance (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, I make reference to the point of order raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kantanshi the country’s debt position and revenue performance.

 

Debt Position

 

Sir, Zambia’s debt position, as at end of May, 2017, amounted to US$7.2 billion, as indicated in the statement I laid on the Table of this august House on the 21st June, 2017. Regrettably, I misread the figure as US$17.2 billion.

 

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Revenue Performance

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the revenues, as provided for by the Appropriation Act, comprises the following elements:

 

  1. tax revenue revenues, which includes Customs Duty, Value Added Tax (VAT) and taxes on income, such as Profit Tax, Pay As You Earn and withholding taxes on various incomes;

 

  1. non-tax revenues, which are mainly those collected by statutory bodies, such as the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), Energy Regulation Board (ERB), Zambian Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), Zambian Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and other Government institutions like the Zambian Police Service, and various fees and fines under different ministries, such as the ministries of Lands and Natural Resources, Home Affairs, and Mines and Minerals Development; and

 

  1. grants provided by co-operating partners.

 

Mr Speaker, from January to May, 2017, revenues collected, including domestic taxes, amounted to K16.67 billion, against a Budget of K18.46 billion, representing a 10 per cent underperformance on aggregate. The Government is taking measures to bridge the 10 per cent gap so as to reach the budgeted amount, as a minimum. The measures include the following:

 

  1. stakeholder engagement to increase tax compliance;

 

  1. granting of tax amnesties to unlock tax arrears;

 

  1. acceleration of the installation of fiscal devices to improve VAT collection;

 

  1. development of a single-window platform at borders to increase turnaround times;

 

  1. full implementation of the Mineral Value Chain Monitoring Project to increase tax revenues from the mining sector;

 

  1. installation of more road tollgates to support road infrastructure development;

 

  1. installation of a monitoring systems for the communication sector; and

 

  1. implementation of information technology (IT) solutions to enhance non-tax revenue collection.

 

Mr Speaker, we remain confident that the revenue gap will be bridged by the end of this year.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

TAKING OVER OF INTERMARKET BANKING CORPORATION BY THE BANK OF ZAMBIA

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, my second statement in on the takeover of Intermarket Banking Corporation by the Bank of Zambia.

 

Sir, the House will recall, from my previous statements, that the Bank of Zambia took possession of Intermarket Banking Corporation (IBC) Zambia Limited on 28th November, 2016, because the latter had become insolvent and unable to meet its obligations as they fell due. The possession was to be for an initial period of ninety days, during which BoZ was required to prepare a statement of affairs of the assets and liabilities of the bank, and look for investors with the capacity to restore the bank to solvency at the end of the possession period. The decision was made in line with the provisions of the Banking and Financial Services Act.

 

Sir, on 27th February, 2017, BoZ announced that it would restructure the IBC and reopen it. In that regard, I am pleased to announce that the Central Bank has now reached an agreement some investors on how to restore the bank to solvency and long-term sustainability. Then shareholders comprise are a consortium that includes the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and Madison Group. We are open to other more people investing in the bank.

 

Mr Speaker, a management team headed by an interim Managing Director has been appointed for the bank by the shareholders and has since start working towards the expeditious opening of the bank. The interim management will, in due course, announce the reopening modalities and associated timelines.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

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

 

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for that update.

 

Sir, Kasumbalesa Border Post is quite busy and I believe that it has potential to generate revenue for the Government revenue. When will it be interfaced with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to enhance the collection of revenue?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, indeed, Kasumbalesa is one of the most crucial border points for Zambia, particularly for exports into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). For that reason, firstly, we are currently working with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) of Germany to provide appropriate technology for the interface. Secondly, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) is working on a single-window platform to accelerate the transit time for traffic into the DRC.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for that brief, but very informative statement.

 

Sir, my question relates to the performance of revenue collection. As the hon. Minister has pointed out, some of the difficulties in raising revenue are because of multinational corporations (MNCs) finding loopholes in our tax system, particularly in the double taxation agreements (DTAs) that the Government continues to sign with foreign countries. The MNCs choose to locate suppliers only in countries with which Zambia has DTAs. In order to raise enough revenue so that we can have adequate funds for our development and finally breathe, does our hon. Minister have plans to review those agreements, especially the one that was signed in 2015 with Ireland, which Zambia Sugar Plc is using very effectively to avoid paying tax? We should, probably, cancel all the agreements to end tax evasion by MNCs.

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, just to set the record straight, yes, Zambia Sugar Plc is part of the multinational corporations (MNCs). However, in taxes like VAT, income tax and Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), the company has been compliant. As regards the issues around double taxation, my hon. Colleagues may wish to know that we will undertake a tax review as a prelude to the formulation of the 2018 Budget. So, we are open to submissions like the hon. Member’s.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for clarifying the debt position of the country. However, could he unbundle for me the issue of performance of revenue collection. Specifically, could he state whether there was overall under-performance or over-performance in this area.

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I defined tax revenue as an aggregation of three elements, namely domestic taxes, non-tax revenue and grants from the co-operating partners. Unfortunately, what has happened is that comparisons have been made of apples with oranges instead of apples with apples, and people are bound to reach very strange conclusions.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the statement.

 

Sir, it is very worrying that we have under-performed by 10 per cent in revenue collection. That said, of late we have seen the emergence of many flamboyant prophets and seers who are creating miracle money, and buying mansions and private jets. Is the Government considering taxing some of these churches to close the revenue gap?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, currently, churches are excluded from the tax system by law. Perhaps, that is one area we can revisit.

 

Sir, let me reiterate that there are eight measures we will implement between now and the end of the year, and we remain confident that, as a bare minimum, the 10 per cent gap will be more than bridged. For example, as of ten days ago, the ZRA had 180,000 submissions for tax amnesty, and we believe that when the clients start paying, from 1st July, 2017, the bridging process will begin. I also stated that fiscal devices will be implemented to assist in the collection of VAT, particularly from shops. Further, when we put in place the single-window, we will not only accelerate the turnaround time at the borders, but also enhance compliance. We have also started engaging the stakeholders, which is proving to be quite rewarding.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, talking about the under-performance in revenue collections, the hon. Minister mentioned the escalation of the Road Tolling Programme Acceleration as a means of enhancing revenue collection. What is the payback period for a toll plaza once constructed?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, it is difficult for me to specify a period because the toll gates being constructed have different costs, depending on their sizes. Further, the traffic flows on the roads on which the gates are installed, which will determine the money collected, are different. The main purpose of the toll gates is to collect revenue to assist in road maintenance.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the measures the Government is taking to bridge the 10 per cent gap in revenue collection in the first half of the year. However, I am concerned about the single-window initiative for our border posts. What are the main factors that cause clearing trucks at the borders to take two weeks or longer? What problems is the single-window platforms meant to address?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, at most border posts, we have offices for multiple Government institutions, such as the ZRA, Department of Immigration, Ministry of Health and the RTSA, from which an importer or exporter has to get various documents, and that costs time. With the single-window platform, only one paper will be issued, and that will minimise the time spent at the borders. At Kasumbalesa, for example, trucks can be held up for as long as ten days, and that represents revenue that is locked up in containers. For the purpose of liquidity and improving our revenue collection capabilities, it is important that we unlock that revenue within twenty-four hours instead of ten days.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, in response to the question asked by hon. Member for Chifunabuli on how the Budget performed on the revenue side, the hon. Minister said that he could not compare oranges with apples. My concern is that there are usually long queues at pay points for fees or taxes. Consequently, sometimes, it takes two or three days to make a payment at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Zambia revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), for example. Sometimes, the delays are caused by system failures or absence of some people who are responsible for approving certain things. My question is: What immediate measures will be put in place to eliminate the long queues so that the Government can quickly collect revenue as it falls due?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mutati: Sir, we have had challenges in terms of the pace at which we collect taxes. For example, almost a month ago, the offices at the RTSA were not working because of technological failure. We have since addressed that problem and seen some improvement in revenue collection. Further, the ZRA has now engaged mobile telephone service providers to enable people to pay their taxes using mobile phone platforms. This afternoon, the ZRA is signing a contract with the German Corporation for International Co-operation (GIZ) for extending the payment of taxes using mobile phone platforms to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The intention is to continue minimising the time it takes the taxpayer to pay the taxes that we need so badly. Our main objective is to have a queue-less tax-paying system by the end of 2017.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I want to take the hon. Minister’s attention back to one of the components of a vigorous tax collection system to which he referred, that is, value added tax (VAT). As he is aware, the mining sector has presented challenges in VAT collection purely because when the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) collects VAT on equipment coming in, the money is bundled up together to the extent that when output tax is claimed, the Government has difficulties paying. As I speak, the Government owes the mining sector. What new strategies will the Government put in place to ensure that we do not find ourselves in a situation in which the Government, which is implementing strategies to collect taxes, ends up being the one owing the mining sector, which is creating problems for our economy?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, one of the measures that we took at the beginning of this year was to appoint agents, such as the mining companies, for collection of VAT. In 2016, VAT ended as a negative tax. However, since we appointed agents, it has been a positive tax and we are collecting a lot more revenue. Unfortunately, in the mining sector, there have been some challenges in reconciling VAT on imports and tax refunds, and the ZRA is working on a solution that will not strangle the companies, particularly those that supply the mines, where VAT is recovered at source.  We shall have a solution to that very quickly.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Phiri (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, my question is on the manner in which this Government is giving foreign companies tax rebates or amnesty at the expense of Zambians. Those companies are getting money out of this nation at the expense of the nationals who pay tax. Most of the so-called foreign investors come into this country very poor and pretend to engage in business. However, when the time is due for them to pay tax, they either change the name of the company or bring their grandchildren to be directors so that they avoid paying the taxes due. What measures is the hon. Minister of Finance putting in place to stop such practices?

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Ebaba frank, aba!

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, firstly, the tax amnesty we have in place cuts across the board and is referenced to the taxpayer’s number, not to the ownership of the business. Our tax laws do not make it necessary to refer to issues of the shareholding. So, the treatment of tax, including the dispatch of incentives, is blind to shareholding. People who are in a particular sector, regardless of whether they are Zambians or foreigners, are subject to the same tax conditions. That is how the current taxation system is set up.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, it feels good to be back.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Ema welcome, aya!

 

Mr Kopulande: Sir, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on putting our hearts to rest on the debt situation. Initially, we had been told that the debt stood at K17 billion and some people tried to take advantage of that wrong information to discredit the performance of this Government. Now, we have been told that the correct debt figure is K7.2 billion.

 

Sir, the hon. Minister has also indicated that the gap between the budgeted revenues and the revenues collected, as of May, 2017, is K1.8 billion. Has that gap had a negative effect on the implementation of Government programmes and development projects in the Budget? Further, how does the hon. Minister intend to mitigate the potential harmful effects of the revenue underperformance?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, firstly, the underperformance has had a direct impact on our ability to liquidate arrears in payments to suppliers, compensations and pensions in a speedy manner. Secondly, we have had challenges meeting recurrent expenditures for most of the ministries and provinces. Thirdly, we have had some challenges providing sufficient resources, particularly to the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development, for dealing with challenges in the new districts and the road sector. However, with the efforts that we have outlined, we are determined to minimise the challenges. In the last half of this year, we shall get back and achieve our objectives.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Chali (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his elaborate statement. I also commend him and his counterpart, the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, for the efforts they are making to collect the correct amounts of tax revenue on minerals. For instance, recently, the Commissioner-General of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) announced the purchase of X-Ray Fluorescent (XRF) Spectrometers. Are the machines already in the country? If so, at which points are they been used?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I do not have the information sought by the hon. Member at this point. However, I will endeavour to get it for him.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for clearing the air on the debt situation in the country. The K17.2 billion debt mentioned in his earlier statement had really raised dust in some quarters. That said, in his 2016 Budget Speech, he promised to impose taxes on plastic materials, cigarettes, oils and other materials. Has he implemented those taxes?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, all taxes implemented to support the Budget are brought to this House for approval, not anywhere else. So, that record of the House is clear on that matter.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has issued a public notice informing the public that it will limit the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the banks over-the-counter to K25,000. What measures has Government put in place to help contractors working in remotes parts of the country?

 

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we are engaging the Central Bank and I will soon make a statement to Parliament on that matter.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

SABOTAGE OF 330KV PYLONS IN KAFUE

 

The Minister of Energy (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to update the august House and Zambians on the sabotage of the 330 KV pylons in Kafue West on Friday, 23rd June, 2017.

 

Sir, Friday, 23rd June, 2017, at 1654 hours, a system disturbance was experienced on the Interconnected Power System. This was a result of the tripping of the 330 KV Lusaka West-Kafue Line on differential protection. The line tripped and locked out at both ends, and was, therefore, left isolated for ground patrols to identify the fault. As a result, about 250 MW of system load was lost. Especially affected were the mines and some industries on the Copperbelt.

 

Sir, early morning on Saturday, 24th June, 2017, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Line Maintenance Team discovered that Tower No. 7 on the 330 KV Kafue West-Lusaka West Line had collapsed to the ground as a result of sabotage. Further evidence of sabotage was discovered on the adjacent a tower on the adjacent 330 KV Kafue West-Leopards Hill Line, which was barely held in position. That was on a private farm in the Munga area of Kafue West.

 

Sir, the nature of the sabotage revealed that unknown people had used gas torches to cut the steel legs of the pylon from the base, just above the foundation. They also cut the four diagonally-placed galvanised steel ropes that hold the tower in position, thus exposing the structures to failure.

 

Mr Speaker, ZESCO maintenance teams quickly assessed the extent of the damage, and started mobilising spares and equipment to commence repair works. Tower No. 5 on the Leopards Hill Line was repaired and the line was brought back to service in the evening of Saturday, 24th June, 2017, while the assembly of a replacement tower for the one that collapsed commenced on 24th June, 2017, and was completed on Monday, 27th June, 2017. As I speak, the line that had collapsed has been reconstructed and energised to carry power to customers.

 

Sir, as a consequence of the incident, ZESCO experienced challenges in delivering evacuating power to some customers, especially those on the Copperbelt and North-Western provinces due to capacity constraints on the remaining lines. The Lusaka West Sub-Station is also a key intermediate for power supply to Kalumbila Mine. Consequentially, during peak consumption periods, some emergency load-shedding had to be implemented in the mentioned areas.

 

Mr Speaker, initial the estimates for cost of the repairs to the damaged system stand at approximately US$1.1 million. That includes the replacement tower and associated accessories, galvanised steel, wire anchors, hire of specialised lifting equipment, labour and energy load delivered to customers. There are also other economic losses that customers who were affected by the disruption in business activities suffered.

 

Sir, vandalism of ZESCO infrastructure poses a major risk to the security and reliability of power supply, and is costly to the corporation. It is, therefore, a major source of customer dissatisfaction due to the attendant power outages that disrupt businesses and commercial activities in country. Unfortunately, in the recent past, the vice has become rampant, with the latest incident being a clear case of sabotage by disgruntled and unpatriotic individuals. As Zambia has a legitimate leadership in His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, people use the established mechanisms to channel their constructive criticism, grievances and concerns. They should dialogue rather than resort to sabotage, which has a major bearing on the performance of the economy and wellbeing of our people.

 

Sir, clearly, the current strategies of foot patrols, community sensitisation and other policing methods are not sufficient to prevent sabotage of ZESCO infrastructure. Therefore, the company is looking at the use of technological platforms to create visibility on the transmission infrastructure. As a result of the geographical spread of the transmission lines, any such technological solutions and platforms will come at a great cost and, therefore, require working closely with other stakeholders. The Zambia Police Service and other investigative wings are carrying out investigations and will arrest the culprits so that they can face the judicial process.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I thank the ZESCO team, the security wings, our equipment suppliers and the leadership in Kafue for responding to this emergency very rapidly. I also assure the people of Zambia people that the saboteurs will not match our resilience in responding to such emergencies. Zambians should lead their normal lives because we will not allow the threats and actions of extremists to disrupt our normal way of life or our economy. 

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, similar acts of terror and vandalism were perpetrated on Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) pylons using explosives in Central Province. We are also told that gas torches were used to bring down a 33 KV ZESCO pylon in Kafue a few weeks ago. Does the Ministry of Energy have any plans to use the security forces, such as the Zambia National Service (ZNS), the paramilitary and the Zambia Army, to protect the nation from the saboteurs? Further, are there any plans to have people patrol those sensitive installations?

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

You are allowed only one question.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, like I said in my closing remarks, the current strategy of foot patrols, community sensitisation and other policing methods are not sufficient. So, we will continue intensifying the presence of the security wings in the short term. However, in the long term, given the geographical spread of transmission equipment, we may not be able to provide the necessary human capital for the patrols. So, we do not have any strategic option other than to consider technological platforms for monitoring what is happening on our transmission lines.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by events. However, allow me to thank the hon. Minister for two things.

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

If you have no question, we will leave it at that.

 

Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by events.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, does the ministry intend to initiate legislation in the House to stiffen the punishment for culprits once they are caught?

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, this occurrence reminded me about the ongoing process of reviewing the Electricity Act. As a result of the rampant sabotage of infrastructure, we shall stiffen the penalties against the scourge before the Bill is presented to this august House.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto’s policy on energy is clearly that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) should be unbundled into three entities responsible for generation, transmission and distribution, respectively. Does the hon. Minister not think the implementation of this policy will entail that the entity that will be responsible for distribution will safeguard the distribution infrastructure? If he thinks so, when are we likely to implement the policy?

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, even if we unbundle ZESCO, the extremists will still sabotage the infrastructure. Like I said, what is important, in the short term, is to strengthen our policing system. Going forward, we will introduce technological monitoring platforms, of which there are many options. For example, we can use drones or closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras. Currently, though, we have not yet considered the various options that will be ideal for the geographical spread of the transmission lines. When we do so, we will share our findings with this august House.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Amb. Malanji (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central had asked the hon. Minister whether we can engage the security forces to mount patrols. Considering the expenses associated with such operations and the rate of sabotage in this country, are we considering using drones, which can even have image intensifiers, on sensitive installations like power stations?

 

Mr Speaker: Did you refer to drones?

 

Amb. Malanji: Yes, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: That is what the hon. Minister is just from saying.

 

Mr Ngulube: On sub-stations.

 

Amb. Malanji: Drones on sub-stations, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mabumba: Sir, the sub-stations we are currently constructing have imaging systems. So, any person who has physical access to or tries to sabotage them will be photographed. However, some sub-stations are quite old, and this is why we will continue to upgrade them and bring in the technology that will allow us to police our equipment and installations effectively. Unfortunately, I cannot go into details because I am yet to meet the hon. Ministers of Defence and Home Affairs so that we start thinking about how to police our installations in the future.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I think that the word ‘sabotage’ is an understatement because the people who are involved in this activity are actually terrorists.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mbulakulima: Sir, the hon. Minister has issued a very good statement. However, I have a problem with his saying that the matter will ‘just’ be investigated and with the ad hoc nature of most of his responses. Does he not think that we need surveillance, in the meantime, by the ministries of Home Affairs and Defence, and other security wings? Yesterday, we heard about the fire and, the other time, about a hand-made bomb. Today, we are talking about the sabotage of ZESCO transmission lines. Do we not need a comprehensive approach?

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, there are two focal points in the questions my colleagues are asking. The first is the need to strengthen policing. On this, I do not want to say exactly what we will do because we can become vulnerable to strategic counter-attacks. Suffice it for me to say that I will sit down with the hon. Ministers of Defence and Home Affairs to package what is supposed to be done to protect our infrastructure. The second, which is our medium to long-term plan, is that we are thinking of technological platforms for identifying who goes near the transmission lines regardless of the time, like it is in the Western world. That will be the permanent solution. The past few days, I was in Kafue trying to ensure that the repair of the vandalised infrastructure was done as quickly as reasonably possible to avoid disruption of economic activities in our country. We may not reveal to our colleagues the package we will come up with, but given the sensitivity of the infrastructure that is being damaged, we will police it.

 

I thank you, Sir

 

Mr Speaker: Please, let us avoid repeating questions because we are now forcing the hon. Minister to repeat himself.

 

Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I just need clarification on what we have on our hands. Is it vandalism or espionages? 

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, it is not possible for me to state what this really is. Maybe, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is better placed to guide us on that. Whatever it is, however, Zambians need to be loyal and patriotic to this country because it is their only one. Like I said earlier, if some people have genuine grievances, there is a legitimate leadership in this country whose doors are open to people who want to dialogue. I believe it is only through dialogue that we can move this country forward. For now, we do not really know what is driving our colleagues to start damaging our infrastructure. However, all those who are involved will not continue hiding because our security wings will definitely bring them before the law.

 

Sir, let me appeal to my hon. Colleagues in this august House to continue sensitising our people to be alert and report any suspicious situations to the police. For example, in the Kafue incident, a private land owner saw people by the transmitter but, unfortunately, thought they were ZESCO employees. So, if people see strangers, they should report to the nearest police station. If we work together, as stakeholders, I am sure we will prevent many of these schemes, which are meant to bring down the economic performance of this country and the general livelihoods of Zambians.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, what happened to the power lines is very shocking. In most cases, it only happens because of what we call acts of God, such as lightning, earth movements or other natural phenomena. What level of sophistication and expertise does the hon. Minister think the saboteurs possessed to have the courage to do something like that?

 

Mr Speaker: Reluctantly, I will ask the hon. Minister to respond to the question.

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, our preliminary investigations show that the people who perpetrated that act must have had inside information on the operations of ZESCO because they targeted two strategic pylons, namely one that evacuates power into Lusaka West to Kalumbila and the another that evacuates power from Kafue West Sub-Station into Leopards Hill Sub-Station to the Copperbelt. A Zambian who does not know how our transmission lines are wired would not have targeted such strategic installations.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm that the lines carry optic fibre, which can easily be equipped to photograph people who get near the facilities, which would minimise acts of sabotage and the colossal sums of money we are losing through reduced production and loss of power?

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that our transmission lines have optic fibre. When I said that, in the medium to long term, it will be easier for us to install technological platforms on the network, it was because the largest investment, namely the optic fibre, is already on our transmission lines. It is just a matter of determining the kind of technology that can be supported by our optic fibre.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s statement is quite worrying. With what is currently obtaining in the country, one could be forced to think that the sabotage was politically motivated. If that is the case, are there any deliberate steps that the hon. Minister and his colleagues are taking in order to find a political solution to the political situation in the country?

 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to confirm whether this incident was politically driven. However, if it was, I will just reiterate what I said earlier. This country has a legitimate leadership in President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who was voted for by the people of Zambia on 11th August, 2016. If some people are aggrieved by any issues in the country, the President’s, the Vice-President’s and hon. Ministers’ doors are open for dialogue, which is the only means by which we can move forward as One Zambia, One Nation. Damaging infrastructure will not resolve our problems, regardless of whether they result from the political inclination or any other considerations of the culprits.

 

Mr Speaker, we have only one country called Zambia. So, we need to be loyal and patriotic to it because we have nowhere else to run to.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mabumba: In this regard, I urge my colleagues in the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the perpetrators of this vandalism are brought to book. When we set these people up as examples and send them to correctional facilities, they will suffer alone while the people who send them remain in their comfort zones. The small boys and girls who are being used will suffer alone.

 

Mr Speaker, it is important that we recognise the avenues that have been put in place for resolving outstanding issues instead of damaging public infrastructure.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

 

TRANSFORMATION OF ZAMBIA WILDLIFE AUTHORITY INTO THE DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE

 

The Minister of Tourism and Arts (Mr C. R. Banda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to issue a statement on the transformation of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) into the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts.

 

Mr Speaker, this august House might recall that the Government abolished ZAWA and created the DNPW following the enactment of the Zambia Wildlife Act No.14 of 2015, which replaced the Zambia Wildlife Act No.12 of 1998, and the granting of Treasury authority for the ministry to transfer of 1,752 former ZAWA employees to the Civil Service in November, 2015. However, by 31st December, 2015, the number of employees on the ZAWA payroll was 2,069. In addition, there were six officers on secondment, bringing the total number to 2,075. The Treasury authority was based on the statistics collected in 2014, but ZAWA employed more staff between 2014 and 2015, hence the difference between the number of positions on the Treasury authority and the number of employees who needed to be integrated into the ministry. In a bid to address the disparity, the ministry requested the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) to freeze thirty-three positions on the Treasury authority, which had initially not existed under ZAWA in order to accommodate more classified daily employees (CDEs) and second request for Treasury authority was granted in November, 2016, which had 181 positions. That increased the total number of positions to be filled to 1,900. Currently, 1, 886 positions are filled while fourteen are vacant, mainly due to death of some officers who were appointed.

 

Mr Speaker, the breakdown of the 1,900 positions on the two Treasury authorities is as follows:

 

         Staff Categories                                                                                         No of Officers

 

Former ZAWA officers transferred to the Civil Service                                         1,829

 

Former ZAWA Officers who came back from secondment                                          3

 

New appointments                                                                                                       11

 

Scouts employed as Wildlife Police Officers                                                               16

 

Staff transferred from other ministries                                                                         27

 

Number of positions filled                                                                                      1,886

 

Number of positions available from the treasury authorities                                   1,900

 

Number of vacancies                                                                                                   14

 

Mr Speaker, the 2,075 former ZAWA employees who needed to be transferred to the Civil Service were as follows:

 

Category                                                                                             Number

 

Number of officers who needed to be transferred                                  2,075

 

Officers on ZAWA Payroll                                                                     2,069

 

Officers on secondment                                                                               6

 

Officers dismissed on account of forged qualifications                              48

 

Officers who retired                                                                                    32

 

Officers transferred to other ministries                                                        94

 

Officers whose contracts were not renewed on account of age

or after they opted not to re-apply                                                             12

 

Deceased officers                                                                                       21

 

Officers who resigned                                                                                 6

 

Officers who returned from secondment                                                    3

 

Officers still on secondment                                                                        3

 

Officers not yet appointed (on advance list)                                              27

 

Officers appointed from ZAWA                                                           1,829

 

Total                                                                                                       2,075

 

Mr Speaker, only thirty former ZAWA officers have not yet been transferred to the Civil Service, of which twenty-seven are being paid salary advances equivalent to the salaries they were getting under ZAWA as they await reappointment in the Civil Service while three are still on secondment to the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-Frontier Conservation Area (KAZA-TFCA), the Lusaka Agreement Task Force (LATF) on and Global Environment Fund (GEF).

 

Mr Speaker, some of the positive results that the transformation of ZAWA into a Government department has started yielding are as follows:

 

Improvement in the Revenue Collection

 

Mr Speaker, as at December, 2016, revenue from non-consumptive tourism activities in the national parks amounted to K77,069,464.38, compared with K54,723,410.00 in 2015. The revenue was generated from activities in the national parks, such as photographic safaris, entry fees, concession fees and levies. During the same period, revenue amounting to K33,003,118 was also generated from consumptive wildlife utilisation, compared with K32,523,425.19 in 2015. The total revenue in 2016 represents a 26 per cent increase on the 2015 figures. However, it is important to note that only four of the twenty national parks are significantly contributing revenue to the Treasury, namely South Luangwa, Mosi-oa-tunya, Lower Zambezi and Kafue national parks, although there is potential for the other sixteen national parks to do the same if more resources are made available to develop them.

 

Consistent Payment of Salaries to Officers

 

Mr Speaker, officers managing the wildlife resource now get their salaries every month, unlike the situation under ZAWA, when there were problems in raising funds for salaries. This has enhanced efforts in conservation by wildlife staff, as they now concentrate on conservation rather than on where to find money.

 

Mr Speaker, in spite of the immediate success in the transformation of ZAWA into a Government department, the DNPW can do better with increased resources. To enhance conservation and protection of wildlife, the Government is doing everything possible to facilitate optimal and effective management of protected areas in accordance with standards set by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The ministry will, therefore, request for an increase in the Budgetary allocation, and we hope to receive support from the House.

 

Sir, in order to improve the management and accessibility of protected areas, the Government is working hard to improve infrastructure like staff accommodation, training facilities and access roads, and management, which is poor or non-existent in some cases. This will lengthen the tourism season to the whole year.

 

Mr Speaker, the Government has prioritised tourism development because of its immense potential to contribute to the economic development of the country. In this regard, I thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia for taking the lead in repositioning the sector. Due to tourism in Zambia being largely nature-based, it is important that the Government enhances its commitment to protecting wildlife, national parks and game management areas.

 

Mr Speaker, as in conclusion, I thank the PSMD and other line ministries, which worked tirelessly to address the challenges encountered in the transformation of ZAWA. I am confident that the remaining issues, which are largely staff-related, will be cleared in due course because the Government made the right decision to transform ZAWA into a Government department. Beyond doubt, that was done in the best interest of wildlife, the people and the country as a whole.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts.

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his statement.

 

Sir, the before Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) was transformed into a department under the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, there were Community Resource Boards (CRBs) that were doing a fantastic job in beefing up the activities of the authority’s employees, who have now joined the ministry. Those are an important human resource in communities like Kaputa or Nsumbu, where they do not get any salary. Is there anything the ministry is doing to ensure that this vastly experienced human resource is retained so that it can continue protecting the wildlife?

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question.

 

Sir, the issue of Community Resource Boards (CRBs) and our colleagues in the communities who have been working with us to look after wildlife was discussed exhaustively earlier this year when we presented our quarterly report to his Excellency the President at State House. What remains is for us to source enough funds so that we can incorporate some of the scouts in the CRBs into the ministry on a full-time basis. In our plan to recruit about 1,800 more Wildlife Police Officers, priority will be given to those who have already been working with us. We know that ZAWA owed the CRBs money and we have had discussions with the Ministry of Finance to help us offset that debt as soon as we can get some supplementary funding.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

 

Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Speaker, it is very sad that our animals in the game parks are being wiped out every day. I remember the hon. Minister for the Southern Province saying that we once had more than 80,000 buffalos in one of the game parks and the number had fallen to only 500. Further, we once had thousands of wildebeests, but now we only have two because poachers are now armed with sophisticated weapons while the wildlife police officers tell us that they were last given weapons when the late Lt-Gen. Christon Tembo was the hon. Minister responsible for tourism, and uniforms four years ago, when Mrs Silvia Masebo was the hon. Minister. Additionally, the officers do not have transport. So, they walk hundreds of kilometres while some poachers even use helicopters to airlift animals from our country. How soon will the ministry adequately equip the officers in the field?

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, hon. Members may wish to know that one of the things we have prioritised is to budget for our officers in the field to be provided with sufficient equipment and training. We know that the poachers have become very sophisticated and that we also need to do so. It is true that we need many firearms. In the interim, a task force incorporating the security wings, including the Zambia Army, has been formed to help the ministry be on the ground and reduce poaching. We are also working with our co-operating partners to identify and destroy the markets for wildlife products so that poachers can have nowhere to take their merchandise.

 

Sir, I appeal to the House to realise that this problem is not for the Ministry of Tourism and Arts alone, but for all of us because posterity will judge us harshly if we fail to solve it and end up having no animals like elephants and lions to show in the future, except in pictures.

 

Laughter

 

Mr C. R. Banda: So, when we bring our estimates of expenditure to the House, people should not think that we are being extravagant. We need money to protect our wildlife. If anything, that is where Zambia’s wealth is.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, my question is on the forty-eight employees who were found with forged qualifications and were, therefore, stealing from the nation by being paid salaries they did not deserve. I believe the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) was under the Government and that even the people who employed the culprits were equally culpable. What is the hon. Minister doing about the people who employed the forty-eight culprits?

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, some of the cases were handed over to the police.

 

Sir, regarding the suggestion that we punish those who employed the culprits, I think that would be a bit difficult because this problem is not unique to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts. The demand by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for the verification of the qualifications of those who wish to contest for political positions is a new phenomenon. When employing people in the Civil Service and anywhere else, we do not really consider verifying their school certificates, diplomas and degrees. So, it is possible for some people to occupy positions with fake degrees and diplomas without their employers knowing. So, we cannot fault the people who recruited them because, initially, there was no provision for counter-checking qualifications. In the case in question, the important thing is that we discovered the people who had forged qualifications and the cases were handed over to the police.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Kopulande: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to hear that the hon. Minister he is concerned that, in the few years to come, we may only have photographs of animals to show our children. I am, however, worried that the solution he offers ...

 

Dr Malama: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 

Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I apologise for interrupting the hon. Member who is on the Floor.

 

Sir, is the Government in order, particularly that we have dangerous and very cowardly people out there who are destroying our way of life, and the Government is not giving a security statement on the state of affairs?

 

Mr Speaker: Your point of order is not clear. Could you repeat it and elaborate.

 

Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Defence in order not to issue a statement on the security state of our country at a time when cowards have destroyed very expensive infrastructure, thereby endangering our way of life and economy?

 

I need your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that we just had a statement from the hon. Minister of Energy on the subject to which I assume you are referring. If my assumption is correct, the hon. Minister stated that there will be some inter-ministerial collaboration on the matter. So, I think that the Executive Branch, in general, has been quite prompt in bringing this complex matter to the House. The fact that the statement has been made by the hon. Minister of Energy does not mean that the ramifications are limited to that ministry. Further, I think he has been exhaustive in his statement and responses to questions. That said, I think we should give the Executive time to look at this issue, which is complex and, in my opinion, not limited to the Ministry of Energy. So, I am reluctant to order the hon. Minister of Defence to issue a separate statement on this subject.

 

That is my ruling.

 

Hon. Member for Chembe, you may continue.

 

Mr Kopulande struggled to switch his microphone on.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kanyama, please, orient your neighbour.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kopulande: Most appreciated, Mr Speaker. I believe this has attracted more than was negotiated for.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kopulande: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I had just appreciated the hon. Minister’s statement that, in no time, we would only remain with photographs to show our children the animals we now have. I also expressed my serious concern over his response to the problem, which is that the Government will recruit, train and equip more staff. Is he aware of technology-based anti-poaching systems that his ministry can adopt so that it is in a position to give us specific counts of the different wildlife species in the country? If he is, when does he plan to migrate the ministry to such more efficient wildlife management systems? 

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member’s concern. However, I stated that, in the interim, we are not just sitting idly. We have invited the security wings to help us preserve what we have for the future. So, between now and the time we will recruit adequate staff, we will rely on the assistance that we will get from our co-operating institutions, such as the military.

 

Mr Speaker, I am aware of the availability of modern technology for combating poaching. However, the equipment is very expensive. Early this year, I was privileged to accompany His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on a State visit to Israel, where we experienced the technology about which the hon. Member has talked. There, they have developed technology that can go a long way in helping us to combat poaching effectively. However, bringing that technology here would require a lot of money. That is why I appealed to hon. Member to not think us extravagant when we present our estimates of expenditure, as we will only try to take all their wishes on board so that we become efficient in controlling the rampant poaching that has taken root in our country. Otherwise, truly, we will have only pictures of the animals we have to show our grandchildren.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Chali: Mr Speaker, in the figures that the hon. Minister mentioned on the Floor, it is quite encouraging that the ministry recorded a 26 …

 

Mr Jamba: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 

Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Member of Parliament whose line of thought I disrupted.

 

Mr Speaker: You would like to thank him?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Jamba: Sir, I want to apologise to him for disturbing his line of thought.

 

Mr Speaker, just about a month ago, a very famous Lusaka-based businessman died and his body was taken to Mazabuka for burial. I understand that there were some ‘scrupulous’ people that side who made other mourners scamper in all directions.

 

Mr Speaker: “Scrupulous”?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Jamba: Cantankerous people, Sir.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: You have substituted ‘scrupulous’ for ‘cantankerous’?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Jamba: Sir, the mourners were very disturbed, and I understand that those pursued were perceived to Patriotic Front (PF) members.

 

Mr Speaker, last Saturday, there was a similar incident in which, the scoffers say, United Party for National Development (UPND) members were attacked by PF members. 

 

Laughter

 

Hon. PF Members: Opposite!

 

Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, I am aware that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs apologised for the second incident and informed the nation that the President was aware of what had transpired. 

 

Sir, my father is a cripple who cannot run. If this country caught fire, people would not manage to run. Therefore, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order not to issue a detailed statement on who the cantankerous people making this country unstable are? Why can those people, whether PF or UPND, not be brought to book so that we can live in a peaceful and tranquil society?

 

Ms Kapata: Who?

 

Mr Jamba: I need your serious ruling, Sir.

 

This is actually Independent Jamba.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is scheduled to issue a statement on a very closely related subject tomorrow and I am sure that, in his wisdom, he will address the various dimensions of the issue you have raise, namely that of inter-party violence.

 

Hon. Member for Nchanga, you may continue.

 

Mr Chali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the ministry has recorded a 26 per cent increase in revenue between 2015 and 2016. He, however, also bemoaned the fact that the revenue is mostly collected from four of our twenty game parks. What interventions has this Government put in place to help the other sixteen reserves to start contributing to national revenue?

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, currently, the ministry would like to embark on product development and diversification. This means that we wish to move into areas where we have not been active, such as dormant game parks and other areas of interest like the country’s water falls. So far, we have only promoted the Victoria Falls, yet we have many other falls, such as Kabwelume in Mporokoso; …

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr C. R. Banda: … Chishimba, Kalambo and Lumangwe in the Northern Province; Kundalila in Central Province; and Sioma, also known as Ngonye, in the Western Province. So, we need to re-strategise. For the information of the House, the ministry has a master plan that will be used as a road map to develop the mentioned areas evenly. We hope to roll out the master plan by August, 2017, with the help of the European Union (EU). Some of the parks that have been dormant will be considered for restocking so that tourists can have a wide range of areas to visit and, consequently, stay in the country a little longer than their average of four days.

 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Miti (Feira): Mr Speaker, the use of guns in both poaching and anti-poaching activities makes wild animals aggressive towards human beings. Are there eco-tourism activities that are being pursued to create a situation in which animals can live in harmony with human beings?

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, one of the practices we want to encourage is game ranching. We believe that when we start offering ownership of wildlife to people under traditional leaders, many things that are currently happening will reduce because people and their traditional leaders will have rights over the animals in their areas, which will be known as ranches. Hitherto, ranches have been considered as a preserve of the rich, which is not correct because the resource used, that is, the wild animals, are readily available in the people’s areas. So, since there is a national park in Feira, we need people like the hon. Member and the local traditional leadership to come together and apply for game ranching permits. We hope that will create harmony between the wild animals and the community because the people will, then, appreciate the value of the animals and the need to protect them.

 

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

 Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s statement that the ministry will provide sophisticated equipment to and recruit more wildlife police officers. However, my concern is on the accommodation for the serving officers. What plans has the Government put in place to provide decent accommodation to the currently serving officers and those who will be recruited? The current situation leaves much to be desired.

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member for Lumezi paid attention to my statement, she must have heard me say that among the issues the ministry wants to work on are accommodation and transport. As we present our estimates of expenditure for next year, we will lobby for funding to build and rehabilitate accommodation facilities so that the currently serving officers and those to be recruited can have decent accommodation. We are equally worried by the accommodation situation because we have been to most of the parks and know the kind of accommodation that is there. 

 

Sir, for the benefit of the hon. Member for Lumezi, before I came to Parliament this afternoon, I had a meeting with the British High Commissioner and his entourage of experts on what assistance they could offer to enhance our conservation efforts. The issues discussed included accommodation, transport, training and equipment for our officers.

 

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I am surprised to hear people say that animals have been depleted in some areas because, in my constituency, I receive reports of buffalos attacking people and elephants destroying granaries almost daily, which shows that we are doing fine in animal conservation in Chama South Constituency. That said, could the hon. Minister clarify on the issue of empowerment. We have a big problem, as a country, because almost all the major sectors of our major economy are owned by foreigners. For instance, there is a lot of money realised from professional hunting in my constituency, and I will request the statistics from the hon. Minister. Unfortunately, almost all the hunting blocks were concessioned to foreigners or non-indigenous Zambians. By saying “non-indigenous Zambians”, I am only being politically correct and avoiding sounding segregative. However, the reality is that indigenous Zambians are black in colour. It is not a Zambian …

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, my questions is …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

I am sure you can hear my voice. There is no way you can continue speaking while I am also speaking, and you should know that by now.

 

Kindly withdraw the statement you just made. You cannot start creating different classes of Zambians when our laws define a Zambian outside the criterion you propose.

 

 Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for that guidance.

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

I also ask you to get to your question.

 

 Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I withdraw my reference to black Zambians and substitute it with ‘the most marginalised Zambians’, who are indigenous African Zambians.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

Do not be intransigent.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Wamona, nomba?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: The Committee on Privileges, Absences, and Support Services is still in effect. So, can you withdraw the subsequent statement, too, and proceed with your question. I do not think I want to continue wasting this House’s time.

 

Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement.

 

Sir, is the ministry considering empowering Zambians in the issuance of hunting concessions? 

 

Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I want the hon. Member to know that ranches, lodges, safaris and hunting concessions are all business ventures, not activities you can pick from the ministry just because they are available. We do not segregate in issuing licences for such activities because they are businesses in which one can only get involved if one has the capacity to do so.

 

Mr Speaker, there are many institutions in this country that are ready to support those who want to go into business, including ranching, lodge ownership and safaris. Therefore, if the hon. Member knows people in Chama South who have both the desire and capacity to venture into such activities, I encourage him to bring them to our offices so that we give them licences and provide them with an enabling environment because we are looking for as many investors in such ventures as possible to help us look after the national parks and game management areas (GMAs). It is not a secret that we have vast areas that still need to be looked after, but we do not have the people with the capacity. So, empowerment for such activities is purely on business lines.

 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member also mentioned that he did not believe the statistics on the number of animals we are losing due to poaching. The fact is that we are losing many animals to poaching. He should not use one area of this country as a reference point for the levels of poaching. His might just be one lucky area where game is protected. We are happy with such reports because they mean that we have where to get animals for restocking areas where they have been depleted. Hon. Members should remember that we have twenty national parks in Zambia, of which only four have significant animal populations and are active. The other sixteen have no wildlife. So, we will go to Chama South and get some wildlife for redistributing to areas that have no animals so that animal populations are equitably distributed throughout the country.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Amb. Malanji: Mr Speaker, I am not underrating the hon. Minister’s commitment to empowering the personnel mandated to look after our wildlife. However, in countries like Botswana and Kenya, the private sector and citizens are so committed to looking after animals that they work even more efficiently than the people tasked to do the job. Looking at the vastness of our national parks, is the ministry considering the possibility of forming alliances with some private citizens in this regard? The alliance could include providing incentives for any successful arrest of a poacher or any person who harms the interests of our game parks.

 

Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I think that what we need to do here is soul searching and identify commitment in ourselves because these are things done purely out of personal commitment. We cannot go around the streets, pick people randomly and take them to the parks to help us protect our animals. However, if there are people who are committed to working with us, they are welcome to join us. We have honorary wildlife police officers who work with us not for gain, but simply because they want to conserve our wildlife. We shall receive such people with both hands. So, when people have done some soul-searching and found themselves committed to working in the national parks, they should come along. What we want is to conserve the animals for today and the future.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

____________

 

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

 

CONSTRUCTION OF TEACHERS’ HOUSES IN MKAIKA CONSTITUENCY

 

275. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of General Education:

 

  1. how many teachers’ houses were earmarked for construction in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency in 2017;

 

  1. how many schools would benefit from the project;

 

  1. what the names of the schools were; and

 

  1. what the cost of the project was.

 

The Minister of General Education (Dr Wanchinga): Mr Speaker, this question and others similar to it on the issue of teachers’ houses have the potential to create the impression that the Government has not been doing anything on the issue. So, I have decided to preface my answer with a few statistics on teachers’ house in this country.

 

Mr Speaker, there are 19,253 permanent, 5,534 temporary and 2,503 incomplete teachers’ houses at primary school level. At secondary school level, there are 7,104 permanent, 253 temporary and 296 incomplete teachers’ houses. In the 115 secondary schools being constructed countrywide, there are provisions for building twenty to twenty-two houses for teachers per school.

 

Sir, the distribution of the teachers’ houses countrywide is as follows:

 

Province                      Number of houses

 

Central                                   2,484

 

Copperbelt                             1,268

 

Eastern                                   2,484

 

Luapula                                  1,468

 

Lusaka                                   1,672

 

Muchinga                               1,547

 

North-Western                       1,736

 

Northern                                1,828

 

Southern                                3,685

 

Western                                 1,081

 

Mr Speaker, coming specifically to the question asked by the hon. Member for Mkaika, the Government has no intentions of building teachers’ houses in Mkaika. Under the 2017 Budget, the ministry is preoccupied with completing structures that are already under construction, repair of blown-off roofs and the supply of various facilities, such as desks, to the various schools that are in dire need of them. However, it is hoped that, in the 2018 Budget, the ministry will pay more attention to the issue of teachers’ houses. It is our fervent hope that Mkaika will be one of the places where the teachers’ houses will be built.

 

Sir, given my response to the first part of the question, its other parts fall off.

 

Mr Speaker, I have repeatedly mentioned that there are many other avenues for addressing the issue of teachers’ houses. For example, we have said that hon. Members of Parliament can engage their communities to slowly build teachers’ houses using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). Even if it means building only one or two houses per year, it would still go a long way in meeting the challenge of accommodation at various schools. I have also said that the challenge provides an opportunity for investment in the sense that hon. Members of Parliament, councillors and the communities can build houses near schools, which teachers, who receive 20 per cent of their basic salary as housing allowance, can rent. I think the Parent-Teachers Associations (PTAs) and district boards, which are usually very reluctant to build teachers’ houses, can be sensitised to the possibility of building the houses near schools, renting them out to teachers and earning good incomes. We will continue to discuss this issue. Suffice it for me to assure the hon. Member that the Government recognises the importance of having decent accommodation for our teachers, and will continue to do its best to provide this service.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Phiri (Mkaika): Mr Speaker, when were the 200 houses in the Eastern Province constructed? Further, is the hon. Minister aware that there are some schools in Mkaika, Katete District, that do not have any house? Additionally, the challenges we have in the disbursement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) have made it difficult for us to construct the houses. Is he aware that schools like Chavisikwa do not have teachers’ houses?   

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, yes, I am aware that there are some schools that may have serious challenges with accommodation for teachers. That is why I said that in the 2018 Budget, we will do our best to address this challenge in schools that have almost nothing.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr L. N. Tembo (Kaumbwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Government has no intention to build teachers’ houses in 2017, and that it will consider doing so in 2018. However, sometimes, the building of teachers’ houses takes years to complete. I have been on the Floor several times asking the hon. Minister of General questions on schools, and the answer I have been getting is that I should appreciate what the ministry is doing. Now, I am here to tell the nation that I appreciate what this ministry is doing, that is, building teachers’ houses in Petauke District, not in my constituency.

 

Laughter

 

Mr L. N. Tembo: Unfortunately, the hon. Minister is telling people that the Government will not build teacher’s houses …

 

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

 

What is your question?

 

Mr L. N. Tembo: When will the Government construct teachers’ houses in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency?

 

Mr Speaker: I will move to the next question because that question has been answered.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the 2017 Budget has been overstretched by, among other projects, blown-off school roofs. What is the programme for working on blown-off roofs? When will some schools in my constituency whose roofs were blown off be attended to?

 

Mr Speaker: That is not a supplementary question.

 

Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that about 24,000 houses have been completed at primary schools and are habitable. Can he tell us the total primary school teachers staff complement in Zambia so that we can understand the extent of the housing challenge.

 

Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is trying to create a correlation between what is available and the demand.

 

Sir, there are 103,000 teachers against the number of houses I have given. Obviously, we have many teachers without accommodation, and that is why I keep saying that we have to think outside the box if we are to solve the problem of teachers’ houses.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

REBUILDING OF NALOLO RURAL HEALTH CENTRE AND STAFF HOUSES

 

276. Mr Imbuwa (Nalolo) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. when the reconstruction of Nalolo Rural Health Centre and staff houses, which were being built on the banks of the Zambezi River and were washed away, would resume;

 

  1. whether the new structures would be built on higher ground;

 

  1. whether a contractor had been engaged for the project;

 

  1. if so, who the contractor was; and

 

  1. what the cost of the project was.

 

The Minister of Housing and infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the construction of the Nalolo Rural Health Centre and staff houses, which were washed away, will commence once suitable land is found and funds are made available.

 

Sir, it is the intention of the Government to rebuild the new structures on higher ground.

 

Mr Speaker, the contractor for the project has not yet been identified because the Government is still in the process of identifying a suitable site and sourcing funds for the project.

 

Sir, the contractor will be known as soon as the procurement processes have been concluded.

 

Mr Speaker, the cost of the project will be known when the procurement processes are completed.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

__________

 

MOTIONS

 

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON DELEGATED LEGISLATION

 

Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 23rd June, 2017.

 

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

 

Mr Mutaba (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, …

 

Hon. Members: Mazhandu!

 

Mr Ngulube: Sir, I am grateful for the ‘Mazhandu’ name.

 

Sir, in the period under review, your Committee considered sixty-five statutory instruments (Sis) …

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1630 hours until 17 hours.

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that in the period under review, your Committee considered sixty-five SIs issued by various Government ministries and agencies. It also undertook a local tour to check on the impact of the implementation of selected SIs. Allow me to highlight some of the activities your Committee undertook during the session.

 

Sir, in 2016, the Ministry of Transport and Communication issued a number of SIs meant to address the ever-increasing number of road accidents, especially on the highways. Notable among them was SI No. 76 of 2016, which restricted public service vehicles (PSVs) from moving between 21:00 hours and 05:00 hours. The SI raised an outcry from some stakeholders in the road transport sector. Therefore, your Committee invited the Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to make submissions on the SI and clarify the rationale behind some of the measures it effected.

 

Mr Speaker, the RTSA presented the Committee with studies and statistics on the incidence of accidents involving PSVs at night. According to the studies, there were many factors that contributed to more accidents occurring at night than at any other time of the day. Chief among the factors was reduced visibility, which affected drivers, especially given that most public roads had poor or no road lighting. Further, the statistics showed that after the SI was issued, there had been a significant reduction in accidents involving PSVs happening at night. Your Committee was also informed that the regulations were a stop-gap measure to mitigate the loss of life through road traffic accidents (RTAs) until such a time as public roads were improved to allow the free flow of traffic, particularly of PSVs. The Committee welcomes this intervention, given the high number of productive lives that have continued to be lost due to RTAs involving PSVs. It is common knowledge that the country has witnessed horrific RTAs involving PSVs in the recent past in which lives have been lost and some people maimed for life. This state of affairs could, obviously, not be left unabated, hence the issuance of the SI.

 

Sir, as expected, the SI did not sit well with some stakeholders in the sector. As a result, your Committee resolved to hold public hearings in selected districts to give an opportunity to the stakeholders and the public in general to make submissions on the matter. The many submissions from stakeholders are well captured in your Committee’s report. Notable among the submission is that the issuance of the SI led to an increase in the number of private micro buses operating illegally as PSVs, thereby posing a danger to the travelling public because they are not fitted with first aid boxes, carriage space and other features of PSVs. Your Committee was informed that some of those vehicles belonged to traffic police officers and, therefore, easily passed through mounted police check points. Your Committee, therefore, urges the ministries of Transport and Communication, and Home Affairs to urgently bring this dangerous practice to an end, especially since the vehicles cover long journeys between provinces.

 

Sir, your Committee was also informed that notwithstanding the good intentions of the SI, the RTSA did not hold meaningful consultations with the stakeholders before the SI was issued. Your Committee is of the view that had the RTSA engaged the stakeholders prior to the issuance of the SI, a middle ground would have been reached by both sides, leading to consensus on the regulations to be passed. Further, in view of the fact that the SI is a stop–gap measure, your Committee strongly urges the Ministry of Transport and Communication, and the RTSA not to shut the door completely on the stakeholders, but to continuously engage with them with a view to addressing some of the issues raised. Your Committee will keenly follow the developments in this sector in order to ensure that the lives of the travelling public are protected. To that end, your Committee recommends the enhancement of RTSA highway traffic patrols at night, especially around dangerous spots. Your Committee further recommends that the Government seriously looks into calls to construct a dual carriageway from Lusaka to Ndola to ease passage of motor vehicles and, therefore, reduce the number of collisions on that stretch.

 

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, your Committee also considered SI No.79 of 2016, which requires, among other things, that all motor vehicles be fitted with seat belts. No doubt, this is a well-intended regulation. However, your Committee gathered information that suggested that the implementation and enforcement of the regulation would be problematic. As is commonly known, most, if not all, Toyota Hiace mini buses used for public transport are imported into the country as panel vans with neither seats nor seat belts. In order to convert them for public transportation, they are fitted with seats in local workshops. Unfortunately, the vehicles do not have provisions for installation of seat beat. Besides, even if they did, there is no known seat belt manufacturer in the whole of Zambia to supply the bus owners. Those are the challenges that will make the implementation of this regulation difficult. Mini bus owners have been given an amnesty by the RTSA to adhere to this regulation, but the question that begs an answer is: Where will they find seat belts to install on their mini buses?

 

Mr Speaker, in view of the challenges I have highlighted, your Committee recommends that the status quo is maintained for mini already in the country. However, going forward, no more vehicles without seat belts should be imported into the country as a means of eventually phasing out the mini buses that were imported before the regulation was passed. The Government should consider advancing interest-free loans to mini bus owners to enable them to gradually phase out their fleets of mini buses without seat belts by purchasing new buses that meet the requirements of the regulation. If the RTSA insists on enforcing the regulation without addressing some of the difficulties I have highlighted, many mini bus owners will be at the mercy of traffic police officers, some of whom are notorious for soliciting for bribes from erring motorists.

 

Sir, your Committee also considered SI No. 44 of 2016 (the Births and Deaths Registration Rules), issued by the Ministry of Homes Affairs. The main objective of this SI is to decentralise the capturing of vital civil statistics for birth and death registrations. Your Committee was privileged to visit the National Registration Office in Ndola and Chipulukusu Clinic to appreciate the implementation of the SI

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee was pleased to learn that, through collaboration between the ministries of Home Affairs and Health, health workers had been trained to capture vital statistics and register births. Clients no longer have to go through the rigorous process of queuing up at the registration offices, as everything, including collection of birth certificates, is now localised. Your Committee commends this intervention, which is currently being rolled out by the Ministry of Home Affairs. However, it recommends that the Government sets funds aside to supplement the financial support from a co-operating partner so that the project can be rolled out to all the districts. The project’s importance cannot be over-emphasised, especially given the fact that, hitherto, many Zambians have not had the privilege to be registered at birth and, subsequently, issued with birth certificates. Further, the registration of births and deaths is critically important to the Government’s socio-economic development planning. To this end, your Committee recommends that the capturing of vital civil statistics first targets rural health centres, especially those in border areas where people from neighbouring countries easily cross into Zambia to access medical facilities.

 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, allow me to register your Committee’s sincere gratitude for the support you rendered to it. I also thank most sincerely the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the administrative and professional help rendered to your Committee during the session. Lastly, I commend the members of the Committee for their hard work and commitment in the execution of their duties.

 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

Mr Mutaba: Now, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, I will just highlight a few points critical to the operations of your Committee.

 

Sir, according to Article 62(2) of the Constitution of Zambia, legislative authority is vested in Parliament, which means that only this institution has the power to make laws in the Republic of Zambia. However, Article 67 provides for the delegation of the exercise of that power by a person or authority through the issuance of statutory instruments (SIs) which, for all intents and purposes, are part of the laws of this country. It is for that reason that your Committee is mandated by the Standing Orders to scrutinise the SIs issued to ensure that the delegated power is being properly exercised.

 

Mr Speaker, in order for your Committee to effectively carry out its mandate, it requests the issuing authorities to avail explanatory memoranda on the SIs or regulations for it to ensure that:

 

  1. the SIs are in harmony with the Constitution or law under which it was issued;

 

  1. the SIs do not trespass on personal rights and liberties;

 

  1. the rights and liberties of citizens do not depend on administrative decisions; and

 

  1. the SIs are concerned only with administrative detail and do not amount to substantive legislation.

 

Sir, in view of the issues I have raised, it is clear that the time given to the Committee to carry out its mandate is very important. However, in practice, most SIs, including those that have negative impacts on the people we represent, are enforced upon their issuance and publication in the Government Gazette without recourse to Parliament, the institution that delegates the power exercised. By the time the SI reaches your Committee, it would have already been in force, thereby rendering the work of your Committee a mere formality. In order to address this challenge, your Committee recommends that persons or authorities intending to issue SIs, especially those that may spark some controversy, should engage your Committee prior to the issuance of the instrument, as is sometimes done by Government ministries or agencies intending to propose legislative changes or reforms, which are normally presented in the form of Bills. There is nothing that stops an authority wishing to gain ‘buy-in’ from hon. Members of Parliament engaging them on a proposed SI. The issuing authorities should also routinely engage stakeholders who may be affected by a particular SI so that consensus might be reached on the contents and enforcement of the regulations, as failure to do so has resulted in resistance to the regulations. That, in turn, negatively affects enforcement, as exemplified by stakeholders’ resistance to the SIs on road transport issued by the Ministry of Transport and Communication in 2016.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee also recommends that the Secretary to Cabinet, in conjunction with the Parliamentary Business Division in the Office of the Vice-President, enhances supervision of the issuing authorities so that explanatory memoranda are sent to Parliament on time to enable your Committee have ample time to scrutinise the SIs.

 

With those few words, I thank you, Sir. 

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

 Amb. Malanji (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, before coming up with some of these recommendations, did the Committee consult widely with all the stakeholders? On the Act that regulates mini bus operators, those who are old enough here know the story of Dag Hammarskjöld Stadium, which we demolished before looking at how much it would cost to build a modern one. Further, not long ago, there were riots in the Gauteng Central Business District (CBD) in South Africa because the government there had a problem providing loans to bus operators for them to buy suitable buses. The last financial support the South African Government provided was when the country hosted a World Cup tournament. In Bemba, they say, “Ubunga kulingaya na menshi.”

 

Interruptions

 

Hon. Government Members: Meaning?

 

Amb. Malanji: Mr Speaker, how long will it take us to give loans to bus operators in Zambia? We are from a situation in which we were moving on sengeleloko buses in all areas within town.

 

Mr Speaker: What does that mean?

 

Amb. Malanji: Mr Speaker, tusengeleloko are buses that had seats that faced each other like tills. With time, we improved to commuter buses with proper seats. Of course, I have heard from the submissions that the buses ought to have seat belts. However, I think it would only be prudent if we start by financing the operators. We can start with the operators in big towns, such as Lusaka, Kitwe and Ndola, because, once we enact this law, it will be enforced. Even small buses from Kaputa that do not have seat belts will be impounded by the police. In the end, the law will actually benefit police officers instead of the intended people.

 

Sir, I know we want our people to travel in buses with modern safety measures, but sponsoring the purchase those buses will cost us a lot of money that should, ideally, be spent on road infrastructure. I do not see a problem with a bus having no seat belts. I think what matters most is the speed limit. After all, we have seen people ferried in trucks. If the speed is moderate and a vehicle stops, the passengers cannot be pushed out of their seats. The speed limits should be appropriate to the areas where the buses operate. Most commuter buses operate within CBDs. If these buses operated on long routes, for example, from Kitwe to Chingola, seat belts would be essential because the drivers would be forced to go beyond 100 km per hour. The buses can operate within towns because I do not think we have reached a level at which we can satisfy our demand in the transport sector, which is very sensitive in any given economy. I am afraid, we may enact laws that we will start reversing in no time.

 

Sir, we know that the proposed loans to bus operators will come from our national coffers that are struggling to fund more critical budgets in other ministries. For us to say that the buses must have factory-installed seat belts, have we estimated the number of commuter buses that operate on our roads, from Shangombo to Nakonde and Livingstone to Chililabombwe? In what time frame are we looking at to replace them? Is it in five or ten years? If in ten years, what will the mode of implementation be? Obviously, if we enact this law, we will be climbing a tree from the leaves. Even a plane cannot fly without taxiing.

 

Mr Speaker, I have already received submissions from the people in my constituency in Kitwe, which is a high catchment area, where one can gauge how the law can be implemented. If I were to share those submissions, you would realise that we are enacting a far-fetched law. So, it is my prayer that the rest of my colleagues in this House will dig deeper into the feasibility of this project before we implement what might turn out to be a mere academic exercise in which vehicles will be impounded every day because the measures are not ease to implement.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Does the hon. Minister of Justice intend to debate, or is it a technological slip-up?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Kabwe Central, did you mean to debate?

 

Mr Ngulube: Yes, Mr Speaker.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: Oh, the hon. Minister of Justice, please, take the Floor.

 

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I intend to be very brief.

 

Sir, firstly, I commend the mover and the seconder of this Motion as well as the Committee for presenting a very well-thought-through report. I also commend the various ministries whose statutory instruments (SIs) were reviewed by your Committee. As your Committee indicated, its reason is not necessarily to delve into the various SIs and to ask whether they are important, but to check whether they are in harmony with the law. That must be made clear. In that regard, I am delighted that all the sixty-five SIs reviewed were declared to be in harmony with the law, and I thank the Committee for recognising and recording that because it shows that this Government means well when it uses this delegated power derived from Article 67(2) of the Constitution.

 

Sir, as much as possible, the Government would prefer that Parliament enacts laws. However, the Constitution recognises the fact that there are some regulations that do not necessarily have to be enacted by Parliament because of their nature. Such laws are, therefore, made by line ministries. That is the reason Article 67(2) is couched in the manner that it is. Therefore, I would like to say to the seconder of the Motion that if we were to pass such laws as Acts Parliament, the net effect would be that of declaring Article 67(2) irrelevant. Further, if every ministry consulted the Committee on Delegated Legislation every time it wanted to issue an SI, the whole process would become extremely difficult and very cumbersome. I have to state that the arrangement we have in place, whereby after Sis are issued, the Committee exercises its supervisory authority and checks to see whether they are written and issued intra vires the Constitution, and reports to the House. People who would like to discuss specific Sis can engage the relevant ministries rather than use this report to do that because this stage does not allow the relevant hon. Ministers to respond to any specific issues raised. The report focuses entirely on whether the SIs were in keeping with the law.

 

Sir, I want to conclude by saying, again, that as the Minister of Justice, I am very delighted to see that the Committee satisfied itself with the constitutionality of all the SIs that were presented to it. In that regard, I to appeal to my colleagues to continue exercising the power of delegated legislation within the confines of the Constitution.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Justice and the hon. Member of Parliament for Kwacha for their valuable contribution to the debate on this Motion.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear! Ema Chairman, aba!

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

_________

 

ANNOUNCEMENT BY MR SPEAKER

 

IN-CAMERA PRESENTATION AND DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY REFORMS AND MODERNISATION COMMITTEE

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, before we move to the next item, let me provide some guidance.

 

In Article 89(2) of the Constitution of Zambia, it is provided as follows:

 

“The National Assembly or a Parliamentary Committee shall not exclude a public or the media from its sittings unless there are justifiable reasons for the exclusion and the Speaker informs the public or media of the reasons.”

 

Hon. Members, the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee is classified as a House-keeping Committee of the House under the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, 2016. In this regard, Standing Order 152(1) provides as follows:

 

“There is hereby established the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee comprising the Second Deputy Speaker and nine other members appointed by the Standing Orders Committee.”

 

Standing Orders 152(7) and (8) go on to provide as follows:

 

“(7)      The House Business Committee shall determine the day and time for consideration of the Committee’s report by the House.

 

“(8)      The debate on the report of the Committee shall be held in camera.”

 

Hon. Members, the reason for this provision is that the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee deals with in-house matters that hinge on the powers, privileges, procedures and practices, organisation and facilities of the Assembly. It is in view of the foregoing that I now direct all members of the public and the media, if any, to leave the House.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: I further direct that the broadcasting of the proceedings on Parliament Radio, television and other media be suspended.

 

I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!