Wednesday, 28th June, 2017

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Wednesday, 28th June, 2017

 

The House met at 1430 hours

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

NATIONAL ANTHEM

 

PRAYER

 

_____________

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT

 

FINDINGS, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF JOINT BOARD OF INQUIRY ON THE DEATH OF FLIGHT SEARGENT, MARK NCHIMUNYA CHOONGWA

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity you have given me this afternoon to issue a ministerial statement and update the nation, through this House, on the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the joint board of inquiry into the death of Flight Sergeant, Mark Nchimunya Choongwa, of the Zambia Air Force (ZAF), who died in police custody at Woodlands Police Station in Lusaka on 18th March, 2017.

 

Sir, following the needless and unfortunate death of Flight Sergeant, Mark Nchimunya Choongwa, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, directed the ministries of Defence and Home Affairs to undertake a joint inquiry into the circumstances that resulted in the untimely and unfortunate death of a promising flight sergeant trained at a great cost to the nation and, indeed, to the family.

 

Sir, my statement is divided into four parts. In the first part, I present a composition of the joint board of inquiry and its terms of reference. Methods or the approach to the inquiry is given in the second part, while main findings, conclusions and recommendations are presented in the third part. My Government’s position on the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the joint board of inquiry is given in the fourth part.

 

Composition of the Board of Inquiry and its Terms of Reference

 

The joint board of inquiry was constituted on 24th March, 2017, and it was made up of fourteen officers drawn from various departments under the ministries of Defence and Home Affairs. The principle terms of reference of the board of inquiry were to:

 

  1. investigate the circumstances that led to the death of Flight Sergeant, Mark Nchimunya Choongwa, while in police custody at Woodlands Police Station in Lusaka on 18th March, 2017;

 

  1. recommend measures to ensure that such an unfortunate incident does not happen again; and

 

  1. recommend the follow up action to be taken by the Government.

 

Approach or Method of the Joint Board of Inquiry

 

The joint board of inquiry commenced its work on 28th March, 2017, and concluded on 14th April, 2017. To execute its mandate, the joint board of inquiry received submissions from twenty-four witnesses, reviewed the postmortem report and analysed the findings of these two principle sources.

 

Findings, Conclusions and Recommendations of the Joint Board of Inquiry

 

Mr Speaker, the joint board of inquiry established that the events which culminated in the death of Flight Sergeant Choongwa, arose from a traffic accident at a carwash near Chukams Bar and Grill in Lusaka. According to the report, it is not in dispute that Flight Sergeant Choongwa had refused to give any information to the duty officer at Woodlands Police Station and had resisted the arrest on the charges that were made against him. Equally not in dispute is the finding that some police officers at Woodlands Police Station used force to get Flight Sergeant Choongwa into the police cells. The force used also appeared to have been excessive, according to one of the witnesses who was in the same police cell at the time. This finding or observation is, however, in line with the findings of the postmortem report, which attributed the death of Flight Sergeant Choongwa to trauma and stress. In the words of the report:

 

“The trauma he suffered on his back and the stress of being in police custody triggered the chain of events which led to his sudden death on 18th March, 2017.”

 

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, the joint board of inquiry concluded that there was no malice or aforethought on the part of the police officers in question or any other person to murder the deceased. There was, however, gross negligence on the part of the police officers in the manner they handled the whole matter up to the death of the late Flight Sergeant Choongwa.

 

Sir, the joint board of inquiry made three principle recommendations as follows:

 

  1. that the police officers involved be charged with manslaughter contrary to Section 199 of Cap. 87 of the Laws of Zambia;

 

  1. that the relations between the personnel of the Zambia Police Service and Defence Forces be harmonised and a spirit of comradeship among them cultivated and promoted; and

 

  1. that the Zambia Police Service and Defence Forces work together to ensure that an incident of similar nature does not ever occur in future.

 

Government Position on the findings of the Joint Board of Inquiry

 

Mr Speaker, my Government has accepted the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the joint board of inquiry into the death of Flight Sergeant Choongwa and to that end, four Zambia Police Service officers, who were involved in these sad events, have since been arrested and charged with manslaughter. They are currently appearing before the courts of law.

 

Sir, I must mention that it is disheartening that our defence and security personnel, who play complementary roles in securing the territorial integrity of our nation and its peace and security, have negative perceptions of one another. The negative perceptions appear to have prevented the officers in this sad and heartbreaking incident from according each other due and mutual respect. Negative perceptions of one another amongst our defence and security personnel promote disunity and poor relations amongst them. This sad state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue and must come to an end forthwith.

 

Mr Speaker, our men and women in uniform, regardless of the units or formations to which they belong must recognise and treat each other as comrades in securing the territorial integrity of our common heritage, Zambia, its peace, security and, indeed, prosperity. I am, therefore, compelled by duty to call upon all our commanders, in particular, the Zambia Army Commander, Zambia Air Force (ZAF), Zambia National Service (ZNS) and the Inspector-General of Police to ensure that the unity, comradeship and decorum they accord each other, as members of the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC), be extended to all men and women serving under them

 

Sir, at this juncture, allow me to thank the members of the joint board of inquiry for producing the report on time. Similarly, I commend the commanders of our Defence Forces and security institutions for providing leadership during the trying period, the men and women in uniform for their usual discipline, and not forgetting the family of the late Flight Sergeant Mark Choongwa for patiently waiting for the outcome of the joint inquiry.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me, at this juncture, to seize this opportunity to respond to a point of order which was raised yesterday during our sitting. Having dealt with the sad events of March, 2017, allow me to take this opportunity to address the point of order raised by the Member of Parliament for Mwembezhi Constituency, Hon. Machila Jamba, on the persistent occurrence of violence, particularly between the supporters of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the Patriotic Front (PF).

 

Sir, it is extremely disappointing that intolerance among some of the supporters of the two political parties has reached shocking levels of fighting each other even on traditionally solemn and dignified occasions such as funerals, and at cemeteries. Traditionally, funerals are scared and bring all sections of our people together in remembrance and out of respect for the departed beloved ones. The reported violence that occurred at the Memorial Park Cemetery and elsewhere demonstrates the breakdown of morals in our society, which His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, recently asked us to uphold and defend. We must arrest the moral decay in our midst. It is for this reason that my Government cannot and shall not tolerate criminality regardless of who the perpetrator might be. I am, however, delighted that His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia and the top leadership of the PF in its entirely, has condemned political violence and called on all its people to refuse to engage in any forms of violence. Therefore, I cannot help, but call on all political leaders without any exemption, civil society organisation leaders and religious organisation leaders to preach and make peace. Violence only begets violence and has never resolved any problem.

 

Sir, the clash which took place at Memorial Park Cemetery on 24th June, 2017, between suspected UPND and PF supporters was uncalled for. Despite the clash having lasted a short time, it resulted in a number of people being injured and various items being stolen. In addition, an unregistered Toyota mini bus was burnt down. Criminal activities that accompanied the so-called political clash simply suggest that criminal elements are increasingly taking advantage of public gatherings to commit crimes. The Zambia Police Service has instituted investigations into these criminal activities and shall, in due course, bring the criminal elements operating under the cover of political parties to book.

 

Mr Speaker, God bless Zambia.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

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

 

Mr A. B. Malama (Nchelenge): Mr Speaker, I would like to get clarification from the hon. Minister on the suspects who were in the police cells, whom the police allegedly implicated to have killed Flight Sergeant Chonya. I have not heard him mention in his statement whether they have been cleared off the case or are they still part of it?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, those suspects who could have been picked earlier have not been cleared until the matter is exhausted in the courts of law.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, my question is on the point of order raised by Hon. Dr Chanda. The issue of interparty clashes started a long time ago. I recall during the Mufumbwe By-election it was so heavy that one Inspector-General of the police took to his heels. This is how serious these matters are. What would the hon. Minister attribute these clashes to? Is it political intolerance or there is also laxity by the police officers who are failing to control hooliganism?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, even in the point of order that the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwembezhi made yesterday, he cited one incident which happened in the Southern Province where a prominent businessman was being buried and people were clobbered and they had to run for their lives. The incidents that Hon. Mbulakulima has referred to, having been in politics himself much longer, would remember that the heavy clashes were between United National Party for National Development (UPND) and Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) cadres which led to what he is saying, that the inspector-general to flee for his life. That just goes to show all of us how much we need to do in terms of bringing such activities to an end.

 

As I have earlier mentioned in my statement, Mr Speaker, the police will not mind which political grouping an individual belongs to. It appears that there are people who move from one party to another who are known to be perpetual violent characters. They just move from one party to another. However, it is key that we do not encourage this to continue. As much as the police, we will not tolerate this to continue. Like I have said, we will not spare anyone. There will be no sacred cows in dealing with violent characters. It is incumbent upon all party leaders, all of us included, to ensure that we preach peace to our people.

 

Normally, those who incite violent characters to engage in these activities remain in the safe zone. They are rarely seen caught up in the actual activities. So, we should all act responsibly and make our supporters understand that it is not the violent acts on others which intensify their membership of the parties they belong to, but rather the commitment to understand what each particular party stands for in terms of serving the nation. It should be competition on how we should serve the Zambian people better rather than on who is stronger than the other.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Nyirenda (Lundazi Central): Mr Speaker, my question is on the slain Zambia Air Force (ZAF) officer. In his statement, the hon. Minister mentioned that there was negligence by the officers who were on duty at that time. What measures has he put in place to deal with those officers who were on duty and committed the offence of negligence?

 

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has indicated that there is a Board of Inquiry, recommendations made and the Government has accepted those recommendations. Amongst those recommendations include prosecution of the offence of manslaughter. Is there anything else the hon. Member wanted to know beyond that?

 

Mr Nyirenda: Yes, Mr Speaker, thank you for giving another opportunity. I meant those officers who were outside and not those who were at the police station. If there was no negligence, I think the cause of death was not going to be there. My question is on those who were outside.

 

Mr Speaker: Well, maybe, the hon. Minister has followed that.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I think you have adequately responded on my behalf …

 

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kampyongo: … and I do not know how much more I can say. If the hon. Member had followed me when I was making the statement, I explained clearly on what happened and I mentioned that those who were on duty are those who were handling the late sergeant. So, they were not inside, but were outside. I think the Hon. Mr Speaker has made it very clear in his response.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister indicated that the Board of Inquiry recommended that those officers who were involved be given punishment of manslaughter, but at the same time, these officers are actually appearing before the courts of law. How does he reconcile the two? Is it just an academic exercise for them to appear before the courts of law?

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, let us follow these issues closely. I know they are of a technical nature.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: They are of a technical nature.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, your agony is just as good as mine. I think I have been clear in the statement. Recommendations were made by the Board of Inquiry and action has been taken on those recommendations to effect an arrest and charge the officers. As hon. Members may know, that is the only thing that can be done from the law enforcement aspect. However, we do not sentence people. That is now a matter before the courts of law. It is not academic. This is how it is. There is separation of powers. Just as we make laws here. The laws that we have made here are the ones that will be interpreted when meting out punishment against these matters before the courts of law.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, one of the tabloid papers yesterday carried a story alleging that the hon. Minister was mocking certain people who are incarcerated. Would he elaborate on that?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: I want to follow that question.

 

Microphone went off.

 

Mr Kabanda pointed at microphone.

 

Mr Speaker: You have to be patient. It is working.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, thank you for restoring the system.

 

Sir, certain tabloids carried a story yesterday alleging that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs had mocked certain people who are currently incarcerated. Could the hon. Minister elaborate on that.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: This is certainly not arising from the statement. So, I will not request the hon. Minister to respond.

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Mukumbuta (Senanga Central): Mr Speaker, I received the news of the death of the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Sergeant with deep sorrow, pain and humiliation. The Zambian people often complain about the barbaric behaviour of some of the men and women and in uniform, but the hon. Minister defends them with his big voice ...

 

Laughter

 

Mr Mukumbuta: ... insisting that they are professional and use minimum force. Does the death of this sergeant make the hon. Minister realise that he, as a leader, should call a spade a spade and not a big spoon?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank my colleague who has a small voice, but a big body.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Kampyongo: I do not think that what I have been doing this afternoon can be described as calling a spade a big spoon. Further, I have never come to this House to defend wrong doing by any police officer. One incident cannot be used to label every action of the police service as barbaric.

 

Sir, if it was not for the police service being at work, the hon. Member of Parliament would not safely sit here today. What would this country be if the police service was not functioning? There will always be complaints anywhere you go in the world, but that is why there are institutions put in place to address some of the challenges.

 

Mr Speaker, there are officers who could have potentially guarding the hon. Member while in incarceration for acting unprofessionally. We are determined to ensure that we have a well-equipped police service to protect the lives and property of citizens. We will continue to ensure that those police officers who transgress and veer off their professional line of duty are dealt with just as this matter is being dealt with.

 

Sir, the death of the sergeant has been stressful for all of us. He was an officer trained at a great cost to the nation and his family. No one wants to see lives lost in such a manner and that is why I am emphasising that we should have men and women in the security forces who will complement each other. We have a national choir of men and women from different security units who are a symbol of unity. That is what we want to see because their paramount duty is to preserve the peace of this nation.

 

Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, it is said that the law is only as strong as those who enforce it.

 

Sir, my question is centred on cadres, who are a source of disunity in this country. I met a group of cadres on a bus, as I was on my way to Parliament. Some had their legs and bodies hanging out of the buses and it made me wonder where the police service was. Are we letting these people on rampage because they cannot be tamed?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we can tame cadres. We will not tolerate lawlessness of any form. I would have been happy if the hon. Member had jotted down the number plate of that bus and given it to me so that I could act on it.

 

Mr Speaker, anyone who is caught up in doing wrong things will certainly have to face the wrath of the law. We have had youths who have been trying to use the cover of the Patriotic Front (PF) in committing wrong doings. Some of them are in incarceration right now. We do not say one thing and do the opposite. Regardless of our status in society, we subscribe to the same law. We must all abide by the law.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, the clashes among party cadres are increasing and this is quite a saddening situation in this country. However, during the burial of the late United Party for National Development (UPND) cadre, I heard the Deputy Secretary-General of the Patriotic Front (PF) warn the PF cadres to not attend that burial because the members of the other party had planned to attack them. I did not hear anyone from the top leadership of the UPND urging their cadres to not participate in the clash. What makes the hon. Minister believe that the clash was between UPND and PF cadres?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, let me correct the record. I used the term, “suspected” because of what we have in the reports. What we know about this matter is that, indeed, the Deputy Secretary-General had issued a statement telling our members not to go anywhere near where that burial of the United Party for National Development (UPND) cadre was taking place. Coincidentally, on that material day, there was a PF member who was being put to rest on the other side of the burial site. During the movements, the cadres came into contact and violence erupted. I have been trying to avoid finger pointing and that is why I am emphasising that every leader worth their salt must condemn these acts of violence. When violence gets out of hand, it does not spare anyone. When we see people having their belongings being taken in the manner we have heard, it shows us that criminal elements are actually there. Most of the cadres take advantage of such disturbances so that they can pounce on innocent people and steal their belongings. On that day, people lost their phones and money. It was an unfortunate situation. Like I said, these were “suspected” UPND and PF supporters.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Kalobo (Wusakile): Mr Speaker, in the statement, the hon. Minister indicated that the police exercised force excessively. He went further to call on the men and women in uniform to exercise comradeship, but I did not hear him mention any measures that have been put in place to inhibit the incident from recurring to any citizen of this country?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, our men and women in uniform have co-existed over the years. As you know, we have had and still have the most disciplined defence forces in this country. This has been proven even at international level where they go for assignments. I just gave a classical example of the defence choir in this country. In that composition, all the uniformed services are represented, including correctional services. That is just to show how they have co-existed over the years. They play games together. They go to the same social clubs and share social facilities. That is what we are encouraging to continue so that they complement each other even when it comes to operations. As I speak to you, they are engaged in so many operations jointly. So, we would not want to one incident, such as the one which occurred, to bring about disunity in this country. We are encouraging them to do that through co-existence and information sharing. This way, they can avoid such situations. We do not want to see them compete on who is supreme because they all have their roles to play in preserving the sovereignty of this country.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, what is the hon. Minister doing to stop the indiscipline that happens at the Memorial Park whereby traffic rules are broken due to binge drinking is prevalent?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we were commemorating the International World Anti-Drug Day on Monday, 26th June, 2017. We have noted that alcohol, drug and substance abuse has really reached alarming levels in this country. That has contributed to the violence that we are witnessing today. The issue the hon. Member has referred to where people become cantankerous under the influence of some of these substances is what we see even at funerals. The decorum of funeral houses has been lowered to that of a circus. The issue of trying to instil morals in our youths is a collective responsibility. As the law enforcement agency, we will do as much as we can to control the situation. At the moment, we are trying to put up a facility for rehabilitation of some of these youths who have fallen prey to these substances. In as much as we are trying to do this, it has to start from homes. Children grow up in homes before they are exposed to communities. So, what are we doing, as parents, to inculcate good morals in our children?

 

This brings our teachers, with whom our children spend so much time, on board. What should they do apart from imparting academic knowledge to our children? They are very important stakeholders in shaping the future of our children.

 

What is the Church doing? We see people going to church every day. However, are they being converted or it is mere appearance in church and, then, out they go?

 

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President came here to address the nation, through this House, and called for moral restoration in our children. We are all aware that the level of moral degradation among our children is alarming and everybody should be worried.

 

Mr Speaker, on our part, as a law enforcing ministry, we will do everything possible within our powers. We can fill our correctional services with all of them, but is that good enough? The answer, is no. We all have the responsibility to ensure that we raise the youth to become productive citizens and leaders of today and tomorrow.

 

Mr Speaker, I share the views of the hon. Member. However, we will continue to do what we can in terms of law enforcement and ensure that we do not create monsters which can overrun everyone. Where a situation goes unchecked, we all know what happens. There are countries which are still at war because when young children’s minds are disturbed through the abuse of narcotic substances, they become hardcore and kill without remorse.

 

Mr Speaker, I will end by calling on all of us, as leaders at various levels, including churches, schools and people’s representatives to play our roles in ensuring that we shape the future of our children in a more positive way.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, my question is technical. The hon. Minister stated that stress was part of the cause of death of the flight sergeant. With your permission, I would like him, at some later stage, to consult the board of inquiry and the physicians who conducted that post mortem on how stress could cause death because it has never been known to be the mode, manner or cause of death.

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I will just refer to what I quoted as being part of the report of the findings and observations which pointed to the death of the flight sergeant. I also indicated that the post-mortem report was analysed by the joint board of inquiry. This post-mortem report talks about trauma and stress. The trauma he suffered on his back and the stress of being in police custody triggered the chain of events which led to his sudden death on 18th March, 2017. These are matters that will be before the courts of law and I cannot go beyond this.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, having received and accepted the findings of the board of inquiry, has the Government decided on whether to compensate the family of the late sergeant and, if so, when will it do so?

 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, our late brother was in full service and the conditions of service are prescribed. These are matters that will be dealt with by the Government according to the conditions of service under which the sergeant worked.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister raised a concern with regard to the violence that is occurring in our country. I seem to be concerned and worried, especially that in the past two months, we have enjoyed peace without any incidents of violence occurring in our country until one person retunrs into the country. I will not mention the name, ...

 

Prof. Luo: We know who it is.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Sampa: ... but all of a sudden we will start having all these funny incidents in the country. What is the ministry doing about this?

 

Mr Chabi: About this person who has come?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: I do not think I will allow the hon. Minister to respond.

 

Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, I followed the hon. Minister’s explanation of the sequence of events leading to the unfortunate death of our Flight Sergeant and at no point did he mention the involvement of the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) in the process. I would like to find out from him whether he is in agreement with the majority of Zambians who are actually calling for the disbandment of the Department of Traffic of the Zambia Police so that all traffic related issues are handled by RTSA with assistance from local authorities?

 

Mr Speaker: I know that that is a topical issue and there was a proposal on it, but it has nothing to do with the statement which the hon. Minister has made. So, we proceed.

 

 

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON THE PROGRESS MADE ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF FEEDER ROADS BY THE ZAMBIA NATIONAL SERVICE

 

The Minister of Defence (Mr Chama): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to present a ministerial statement on the progress made on the construction of feeder roads by the Zambia National Service (ZNS).

 

Mr Speaker, as hon. Members may be aware, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is serious about diversifying the economy from overdependence on copper mining to agriculture, aquaculture and tourism. This policy shift is largely due to the potential the Government wants to take advantage of that exists in rural areas. To actualise this potential, these areas should be made accessible using the ZNS rural roads projects.

 

Sir, in this regard, efforts to make diversification a reality were started in 2013 when the Government signed a contract with AVIC International, a Chinese company, to supply new assorted earthmoving equipment valued at US$62,371,914 to the ZNS. The equipment was delivered to the ZNS in 2015 and commissioned by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on 8th September, 2015.

 

Mr Speaker, in line with the Presidential directive given by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia during his Official Opening of Parliament on 18th September, 2015, the ZNS is expected to rehabilitate approximately 10,000 km of primary feeder roads over the period of four years from 2016 to 2019. This target was to be achieved as follows:

 

Year                                               Kilometres (km)

 

2016                                              3,200

 

2017                                              2,800

 

2018                                              2,800

 

2019                                              1,300

 

Total                                              10,100

 

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that the Treasury had released supplementary funding amounting to K63,591,865.00 to facilitate the implementation of feeder roads project in October, 2015. So far, the following is a summary of a countrywide feeder roads works that have been done.

 

Road opening                         1,501.2 km

 

Road formation                      1,691.5 km

 

Road gravelling                      1,429.8 km

 

The countrywide distribution of these road works by province in kilometres is as follows:

 

Province                     Road Opening         Road formation        Road Gravelling

 

Luapula                      186.4                        214.0                        214.0

 

Copperbelt                  138.0                        138.0                        138.0

 

Central                        138.1                        172.6                        101.6

 

Eastern                       163.2                        177.6                        133.1

 

Southern                     159.2                        156.4                        147.2

 

North-Western           104.4                           98.4                          88.4

 

Muchinga                   244.5                        209.5                        127.0

 

Lusaka                          54.4                          75.4                          75.4

 

Northern                     256.9                        358.7                        314.2

 

Western                        56.1                          90.9                          90.9

 

Total                         1,501.2                     1,691.5                     1,429.8

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to inform this august House that the above works could not progress further because of the following challenges:

 

  1. the commencement of works were delayed due to non availability of the lists of priority roads in most provinces;

 

  1. the sites’ conditions or terrain in some areas proved difficult to manage, for instance, in the Western and North-Western provinces;

 

  1. heavy rains in some of the districts caused the works to stall towards the end of December, 2015 to March, 2016; and

 

  1. a lack of adequate equipment and skilled man power to cover all the districts at the same time.

 

The earlier projection of 10,000 km in four years was not practical as the ideal maximum distance which could be worked on is 250 km per province per year and a maximum of 2,300 km in a year for the whole country. This is tabulated as below:

 

Province                                 Projected kilometres(km)

 

North-Western                       150

 

Western                                  150

 

Northern                                 250

 

Eastern                                   250

 

Southern                                 250

 

Central                                    250

 

Muchinga                               250

 

Luapula                                  250

 

Lusaka                                    250

 

Copperbelt                              250

 

Total                                     2,300

 

The targets for the North-Western and Western provinces are lower than other provinces because of the nature of the terrain, that is, sandy soils.

 

Mr Speaker, hon. Members may wish to know that the total number of earth moving equipment is 476. With the available equipment and skilled manpower, the ZNS can only do three projects per province at a given time. It is, therefore, my humble appeal to all stakeholders involved in the selection of rural roads to be worked on to ensure that priority is given to roads that require urgent attention and which have immediate impact on the lives of our people.

 

Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that the selection of rural roads that require urgent attention is not done by the ZNS. It is a process that involves stakeholders at district level, which include hon. Members of Parliament, civic leaders and traditional leaders. The prioritised lists from districts are further discussed at the provincial level. The provincial leadership, then, generates a consolidated list of the projects which is submitted to the ZNS. Further, the House may wish to know that emergency works will be attended to in liaison with the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) as and when need arises.

 

Mr Speaker, it is my humble request to this august House that we allow the ZNS to carry out this task without interference at any level. In this regard, I request hon. members to avoid writing directly to my ministry or the ZNS indicating roads of their preferences. I request them to liaise with stakeholders in their respective provinces and districts. In particular, we must remain confident that our gallant men and women in uniform are professional in their field, which they have demonstrated through roads and bridges construction countrywide.

 

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, it is my sincere hope that we will work together so that the equipment is effectively utilised in order to develop the rural infrastructure which will contribute to the socio-economic development of our country.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

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

 

Mr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, this probably justifies my earlier request. Several times before, I have requested that ministerial statements be circulated to hon. Members of Parliament upon issue. Did the hon. Minister, at the conclusion of his statement, urge the hon. Members of Parliament not to write directly to his ministry or, indeed, the Zambia National Service (ZNS), but instead liaise with the stakeholders? What will come out of that liaison with the stakeholders and how, then, will the ministry or the ZNS know that such a road requires their attention?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, actually, I indicated that the hon. Members of Parliament together with the civic and traditional leaders in the rural areas are supposed to be participants in the selection of the roads. So, they are part and parcel of the selection of the roads to be worked on because the ZNS is not represented in each and every district. So, we rely upon them to select the roads. The priority roads that are selected are discussed by all the stakeholders and are submitted to the ZNS to be worked on.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I commend the Government of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for the ambitious plans that it is putting in place to ensure that the rural areas of this country are opened up and for sending the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to work on the rural roads. Last year, although the ZNS started very late, money was given. However, this time, it has delayed because money has not been given. Is it true that the Government has failed to fund the ZNS adequately so that it can carry out some work in the poor rural communities where we come from?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, yes, I can confirm that the ZNS was last financed in 2015, which money was completed by 2016. To date, it has not been funded for it to execute some of the works that were supposed to be carried out. As hon. Members may be aware, when we were preparing the budget, there was no locking in of the works that are supposed to be carried out by the ZNS in the budget’s allocation for 2017.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, that update is well-appreciated. It was very expensive for the Rural Roads Unit (RRU), then, to work on the feeder roads and the task was, thus, given to the ZNS. It has since turned out that, actually, the objective has not been achieved because we thought we would reduce on the cost. However, it has become expensive to engage the ZNS. What is being incorporated in the costing for the ZNS to become this expensive?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, actually, I want to dispute the assertion that the ZNS is very expensive. It is the cheapest and if you engage any private contractor to work on a gravel road, it will cost you probably about K600 to K1.3 million. If you engage the ZNS, it will only cost you in the range of K68,000 to K130,000 per kilometre. So, that is how cheap it is. The assertion that the ZNS is more expensive than the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) is not true. The problem was that the RRU was, at the time, not funded. Therefore, most of the roads countrywide were dilapidated and impassable. So, it was not a matter of cost.

 

Sir, the ZNS is very cheap and cost-effective and the cost component is just some allowances and maintenance of the equipment. You need spares and lubricants to run the equipment and without them, you cannot run it. So, you can engage the ZNS at a very minimal cost, according to the figures that we have worked on, and there are no extra or over head costs. Under the RR,U actually, some workers who would sleep in the bush for thirty days would be given allowances. However, the officers of the ZNS are committed men and women in uniforms who only get a token of appreciation, that is, project allowance of K150. So, the notion that the ZNS is costly is not correct.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, ...

 

Mr C. Zulu: On a point of order, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 

Mr C. Zulu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Defence in order to come to the House dressed like this is Iceland, yet Zambia is a very warm country?

 

Interruptions

 

Mr Speaker: Interview him.

 

Laughter

 

Mr Speaker: I will give you the permission.

 

Hon. Member for Kaputa, you may continue.

 

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the update he has given to the House and the nation. I know that there is a very ambitious programme by the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to open up rural roads. 

 

Sir, the month of June is almost over and, in a couple of days, we will be in the month of July. The hon. Minister talked about intermittent release of finances to deal with rural roads. What assurance do we have that we will work on some of these roads before the end of the year because rains in areas like Kaputa and Luwingu start by October?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, I want to confirm that the ZNS is working on rural roads in all the ten provinces. The Road Development Agency (RDA) and the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), as partners, have been funding some of the projects that the ZNS has undertaken. We know that the Treasury is constrained. However, we have engaged the Ministry of Finance to release substantial amounts of money to the ZNS so that it can work on some of the roads before the on-set of the rains.

 

Mr Speaker, I concur with the hon. Member for Kaputa that we do not have a lot of time. Although the equipment is available, we have to wait for the allocation of funds because we cannot work in the absence of funds. We appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to release some funds so that works on some roads both rural and urban areas can be undertaken.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, since its inception, Katete has not benefited from this programme. I would like to find from the hon. Minister when Katete will benefit.

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, according to the list I have, which I can distribute to hon. Members later, Katete is missing.

 

Like I said in my statement, there are only three sets of equipment that can be assigned per province. So, if the equipment is in Vubwi, Kasenengwa or Chipata, the provincial administration or local leadership must allocate it to another constituency. We do not have sufficient equipment. As indicated, we only have a limited number of equipment and personnel. So, we cannot cover the entire country at the same time.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, just yesterday, we received a comprehensive list or proposed schedule of works, constituency by constituency, to be carried out by the Ministry of Local Government.

 

I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Defence whether his ministry is working with the Ministry of Local Government to ensure that the construction of these roads is implemented at decentralised level. From where I stand, it looks like the Ministry of Local Government and the Zambia National Service (ZNS) each have their own plans. Are the two institutions in touch?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, we are in touch with the Ministry of Local Government. If anything, we carry out supplementary works.

 

Within the jurisdiction of districts, local authorities are responsible for the roads. The ZNS, on the other hand, is responsible for primary feeder roads. However, the Ministry of Local Government supplements some of the works being undertaken by the ZNS in respective districts. So, even though the list from the Ministry of Local Government consists of roads within the jurisdiction of the district, the ZNS collaborates with the ministry from time to time. The two complement each other in the execution of the works.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mr Malanji (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, China, South Korea and Vietnam have benefited from a road network done by the reserve army. Zambia has now joined the global phenomenon of tolling the road network. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether his ministry has put in place any programme to engage and train qualified personnel so that the upgrade of the our road network to bituminous standard can be done by officers in order for us to retain the monies we pay out to foreign contractors within the economy?

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, indeed, we are undertaking training programmes to beef up personnel in order for the ZNS to undertake more professional works, as it constructs the roads. However, I would like to put it on record that construction of certain roads is too technical. We need a lot of properly trained engineers to work on roads that will last.

 

Sir, as much as we would want to engage the Defence forces in the upgrade of some of the roads to bituminous standards, it is too technical and we do not have the necessary expertise at the moment. It would need a lot of training programmes and a paradigm shift to ensure that they do professional jobs to the satisfaction of the Zambian people. Constructing roads that will last requires a lot of money. We do not want to construct roads that will be damaged in two years. So, engaging the Defence forces to work on selected roads may be cost-effective, yes, but we have to train our personnel.

 

The Government was very strategic. As you are aware, working on gravel roads is not very technical. All you need is a bowser, grader and compactor. So, with the engineers that we ‘inherited’ from the Ministry of Works and Supply and the disciplined officers, the works are being undertaken professionally as far as we are concerned.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for signing the contract for the Kashikishi/Chienge Road. We have not had a road since 1964 and I am so grateful. Thank you very much. 

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Katuta: The people are already beating drums and dancing before construction even begins. I am so grateful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Katuta: I would also like to thank the hon. Minister …

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, do you have a question?

 

Ms Katuta: Yes, Sir, I do.

 

The hon. Minister spoke about rural areas benefitting from the works of the Zambia National Service (ZNS) on feeder roads. I would like to bring it to his attention that the people of Chienge have not benefited. I would like to find out when Chienge will be included on the list of feeder roads, which mostly go to the farms.

 

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, I thought I had addressed that question.

 

Sir, I said that I am aware that Chienge has not benefited. However, on the list that I have, a few roads in Mansa, Milenge, Kashikishi, Mwense and Kawambwa have been worked on. Therefore, it is a matter of giving us a priority list of the roads that the hon. Members desire to be worked on in the constituency, in consultation with the provincial administration, which will come up with the priority list for the ZNS to commence with the works.

 

Sir, like I said, the equipment is limited. Therefore, once tour officers complete working on the selected roads in that particular area, then, the equipment is shifted to another constituency. This will depend on how grave the situation is in that constituency. So, we rely on the provincial administration, the area hon. Member of Parliament and the district administration to direct us on where to go.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Mukumbuta (Senanga Central): Mr Speaker, in his statement, I heard the hon. Minister say that priority roads must be identified. Does he not think that all the rural roads in the Western Province, especially in the eight districts where the donor funded cashew nuts are grown, must be given priority?

 

Laughter

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, I would like to agree with the hon. Member for Senanga Central because every road is a priority. Actually, the total length of roads to be worked on is about 120,000 km.

 

Sir, in my statement, I indicated that my ministry is supposed to cover 10,000 km of the roads over a period of about four years. So, the magnitude of the works is quite huge. Therefore, all the rural roads are a priority, but it depends on the availability of the equipment and resources, and these are the two limitations. We wish we could work on all the roads at any given time. Even today, we would love to have the equipment everywhere in the country so that all the roads can be worked on because they are all a priority. However, we have limited equipment, personnel and funds.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when his ministry will harmonise the conditions of service between the officers who were incorporated from the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) into the Zambia Nation Service (ZNS) and the officers in the ZNS. I have raised this question because there is a complaint that the former RRU workers’ conditions of service are not the same as those of their counterparts in the ZNS because they are still getting peanuts so to speak. May I also find out when the ministry will move to Kabwe Central Constituency?

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Hon. Members are only restricted to one question.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Laughter

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Tutwa for that question.

 

Sir, about 409 workers were taken over from the RRU by my ministry. So far, 373 workers have received their letters of appointment. I want to confirm that their conditions of service have not been harmonised because their payroll is still at the Ministry of Finance because they were employed as Government workers or civil servants. As soon as the harmonisation is completed, they will be taken on board and will be offered the same conditions of service as their counterparts.

 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central may be aware that these are civilians. They are not trained nor have they undergone any military training. Therefore, this is an on-going process as they integrate into the service of the ZNS.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, I did not hear the hon. Minister correctly on whether we should not write to the Zambia National Service (ZNS) or his ministry. In his statement, he has used the word ‘stakeholders’. I would like to find out who the stakeholders are.

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, the stakeholders who I indicated in my statement are area hon. Members of Parliament, civic leaders, traditional leaders and any other interested parties who know certain roads within their locality. These people can come on board and give us these lists. Since we have overwhelming response, especially with personal requests, which sometimes become destructive to us, there is a system in place which the ZNS uses to work on these roads.

 

Further, I also want to elaborate more on the statement that there is a list that comes from the provincial administration, where hon. Members of Parliament are supposed to participate in the selection of the roads that have been earmarked to be worked on. Once the hon. Member is involved, there will be no need for him/her to request the ministry to work on a particular road. That is the appeal that I was trying to make. So, it was just a request.

 

Sir, from time to time, hon. Members can ask for an appointment with the hon. Minister to probably work on certain roads. Maybe, it could be that the hon. Member has sourced some funds, but would just like to use our equipment. If that is the case, then, we can talk and engage each other so that the road in question can be worked on. Furthermore, hon. Members can even use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to work on certain roads, especially when the funding is not forthcoming. So, the ZNS can be engaged so that the roads that have been selected can be worked on.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

Mrs Ngulube: Hear, hear! Ebamayo aba!

 

Mrs Fundanga (Chilubi): Mrs Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what measures he has put in place vis-à-vis, the monitoring of the roads during implementation because we have seen situations whereby equipment from the ZNS gets marooned in one district for, maybe, three to four years while other districts await.

 

Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, sometimes, the Zambia National Services (ZNS) has a challenge in the sense that if works in a particular area are not completed, but still awaiting more resources to be allocated, the equipment may seem to be lying idle in that district. Again, if we decide to withdraw the equipment from that area, the hon. Member will complain about the unfinished works. Therefore, the equipment will remain in that particular area until the money is received so that the project can be completed and then move to another area. If the hon. Member is insinuating that after the works have been completed, the equipment is still marooned in a particular area, I want to assure the hon. Member for Chilubi that the men and women in uniform are responsible and accountable.

 

Mr Speaker, immediately they finish with the works, the equipment will be moved to another area because it is on high demand. In any case, some of the local authorities would demand to use the equipment when they have sourced some funds. So, we cannot let the equipment lie idly in a particular area for no apparent reason.

 

Sir, the equipment has been acquired at a great cost and we would want to maximise its utilisation. Therefore, I want to assure the hon. Member that sometimes the delay is caused by the delay in the release of the funds, hence the equipment being marooned in a particular area whilst waiting for the funds to be released to enable us to complete the project.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!      

 

SCALE-UP OF THE SOCIAL CASH TRANSFER SCHEME

 

The Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare (Ms Kabanshi): Mr Speaker, let me start by thanking you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to deliver a ministerial statement on the scaling up of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme in Zambia. This ministerial statement has also been necessitated by the need for the Government to provide direction to the citizens not only on the continued implementation of the programme, but also on how the Government has planned to reach out to the most vulnerable in society as a demonstration of true measures aimed at alleviating poverty and reducing inequalities.

 

Mr Speaker, allow me to provide some background on the programme before highlighting its scale-up and future plans. The programme has bi-monthly transfers provided to those sections of the population who for some reasons beyond their control are not able to provide for themselves. Beneficiaries of the programme usually live in labour constrained households with no adult member fit for productive work. Due to their limited self-help capacity, these households cannot access any of the labour based poverty reduction programmes offered by the Government and other co-operating agencies.

 

The Zambian Government has been implementing the scheme since 2003. A total of 11,000 households were reached with a budgetary allocation of K7.5 million in 2003. About 88.7 per cent accounted for donor contributions whilst that of the Government was at 11.3 per cent. By 2010, the caseload increased to 25,000 households and the Government funding increased to K4.8 million. In 2011, when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power, the budgetary allocation increased from K4.8 million in 2011 to K11.5 million in 2012. The caseload equally increased from 32,000 households in 2011 to 51,000 households in 2012. In 2014, the budgetary allocation was remarkably increased by the PF Government to K150 million and correspondingly, the caseload increased to 145,698 households, whilst in 2016, funding was increased to K302 million.

 

Mr Speaker, to further demonstrate the PF Government’s commitment and promise to transform people’s lives as ppromised in its 2016-2021 Manifesto aimed at reducing poverty amongst the most vulnerable households, we increased the budgetary allocation to the scheme from K302 million in 2016 to K737 million in 2017. This amount is divided into two parts. The Government has allocated an amount of K500 million while co-operating partners have committed K237 million to the programme. The 2017 Social Cash Transfer Scheme budget translates to 1.11 per cent of the 2017 National Budget. The caseload for 2017 is projected to increase from 242,000 to 590,000 households. That will account for the coverage of 25 per cent of the most vulnerable and extreme poor households in the country. The Government, therefore, takes this opportunity to inform the country on the national scale-up of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme so that our citizens are well-informed on this Government programme.

 

Sir, in terms of objectives, the scheme is largely aimed at reducing extreme poverty and the intergenerational transfer of poverty among vulnerable groups. Arising from the budgetary increase to the programme, the number of beneficiary households, as earlier mentioned, will increase from 242,000 households in seventy-eight districts in 2016 to 590,000 households in 2017 to all the districts. The 590,000 households translate into a population of approximately 3,540,000 individuals, making up 25 per cent of the total national population.

 

Furthermore, the ministry will also scale-up to some areas in the implementing districts that were not at full scale. This means that all the constituencies or wards within the implementing districts will essentially be covered. The implication of this national scale up is that we will be able to assist more households living in extreme poverty in all the districts of our beloved nation as we are adding the remaining twenty-eight districts.

 

Sir, in 2017, the targeting criteria is as follows:

 

  1. residency – a household should have lived in the community for not less than six months;

 

  1. incapacitation – the household should have the following categories:

 

  1. person with severe or profound disability (these will be certified by medical practitioners and issued with certification slips);

 

  1. elderly (these are those that are sixty-five years old and above);

 

  1. child-headed households (these are those that are between the age of zero to eighteen years old);

 

  1. terminally ill (these too will be certified by medical practitioners and issued with certification slips); and

 

  1. female-headed households (there are the women between the age of nineteen to sixty-four years old) with three and more children as dependants. This category will be assessed after three years for potential graduation and linkages to other empowerment programmes; and

 

  1. affluence tests will also be applied to determine poverty levels among households.

 

Mr Speaker, with effect from January, 2017, the transfer amount has been increased from K140 to K180 for households without persons with disabilities, while households with a person with disabilities will receive K360 twice a month instead of K240. The increase in prices of goods and services necessitated this increase.

 

Mr Speaker, research has shown that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme leads to positive outcomes among beneficiaries in terms of improved nutrition, reduced incidences of illness, accumulation of small assets and improved primary school attendance by the pupils from the beneficiary households.

 

In addition, evidence indicates that there is a multiplier effect within the local economy arising from additional purchasing power that comes from providing cash to households, which use this cash to procure products within their communities, unlike in-kind assistance, which is mostly procured centrally. In this regard, for every K1 the Government sends to these districts and communities, there is an additional 79n generated. Therefore, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is walking its talk of implementing the National Social Protection Policy developed in 2014 and contributing to the well-being of all Zambians by ensuring that vulnerable people have sufficient income security to meet basic needs and protection from worst impacts of risks and shocks.

 

Other Innovative Processes Related to the Programme

 

Mr Speaker, the ministry has engaged the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) to start paying our beneficiaries using electronic payment systems in Lusaka, Central and Eastern provinces. This programme commenced this year, 2017, and we launched it in Lusaka. Beneficiaries from Lusaka District have started getting their cash using Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards or through the use points of sale and can withdraw money anytime. This also allows them to save some of the money. The new payment system will reduce risks associated with the manual payment system. In addition, the ministry, with support from the co-operating partners, is using mobile technology solutions for listing and enumerating beneficiaries in the 106 districts of this country. This means that instead of using paper forms to collect information on households, enumerators are using portable devices, namely tablets. This will reduce the time taken to enumerate households as well as minimise human error in data collection.

 

Conclusion

 

Mr Speaker, as Government, we are appreciative of the support rendered to us by the co-operating partners and we are hopeful that with such concerted efforts, we will be able to uplift the living standards of our vulnerable people. It is, therefore, important that every citizen and parliamentarian supports well-meaning initiatives such as the Social Cash Transfer Scheme as we endeavour to uplift the lives of our under privileged brothers and sisters in our communities.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, in Msanzala, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme has never been heard of. What is the hon. Minister doing to ensure that the elderly and other vulnerable people in Msanzala and Petauke receive cash from the scheme?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the people of Msanzala and Petauke districts are on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme and we will ensure to scale-up the number of beneficiaries. We will not only put the elderly and the disabled on this programme, but also the vulnerable youths coming from child-headed households and widows will be included. We do not want to leave anybody behind. We want to bring everybody on board so that we reduce inequality.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, the policy of leaving no one behind is a good one. In Kanchibiya, we have impassable roads and no bridges. So,what initiatives or strategies is the ministry employing so that the people of Kanchibiya, particularly in Chinkobo, Mulonga, Kaonda and Lumbatwa, are not left out of this good initiative?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, in my statement, I indicated that we will implement the programme in all the wards. We will cover the whole district of Kanchibiya. We do not care whether there are no bridges or that the roads are impassable. We want to ensure that all the sub-centres in the district are manned. We will empower the district not only with a vehicle, but also a motor cycle.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, does the ministry have any plans to impart skills on other means of livelihood to beneficiaries other than giving them cash under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme? In my constituency, I know that we have many elderly and disabled persons who are willing to work. They say that although they have not been included on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme’s list of beneficiaries, they would like to be empowered with skills so that they can make money on their own and not be on the receiving end. They want to work so that they can earn their means of livelihood.

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare has many social protection programmes. We, as a ministry, are not only disbursing cash. Before we disburse the cash, we train the beneficiaries in different skills. We train them in financial literacy. We also train them on how to keep their environment clean and provide adult literacy classes. We are not only giving them cash, but also imparting skills so that they will be able to invest the money in different businesses to improve their lives.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Phiri (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, I know that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme the hon. Minister is carrying out is good and we appreciate the hard work she is putting in the programme. However, does she not think that it is important to involve the area hon. Member of Parliament and his/her office whenever she visits a particular constituency so that they appreciate the good job she is doing? Many are times that she is doing her work, hard working as she could be, but the people are not appreciating her efforts because she is doing it in secret. We, Members of Parliament, do not know that she has worked because the people come back to our offices complaining that there is nothing that is being done.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Phiri: However, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Gender for her effort. When she wanted to donate to the women in my constituency, she involved me and I went with her and witnessed the whole programme. So, if people say that the hon. Minister of Gender is not working, I always disagree and refer them to that the programme when she gave the women some cheques. So, most of the hon. Ministers have a tendency of going into our constituencies without our consent …

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, …

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: … you are not addressing …

 

Laughter

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is not a one-off programme. We implement the programme over a long time in our constituencies. For instance, when I go to my constituency, I always engage my officers to work with the hon. Members of Parliament because these are the people who are asked questions and give answers when asked by the general populace.

 

So, I would like to disagree with the hon. Member when she says that I do not involve area hon. Members of Parliament. When I go into their communities, I engage the councillors and they are the ones who give me feedback. Even when I go in areas which are not our stronghold, the councillors are the ones who give us the problems which they are facing in those areas. So, we are not working in isolation per se because we have brought everybody on board. We do not identify the beneficiaries ourselves. Like I had said, the communities themselves are the ones that go out to identify the beneficiaries under the supervision of my officers.

 

Mr Speaker, I understand her and I know why she is saying such things. It is because last year, in Lusaka, we were only targeting the disabled people. As a result, there were many aged people who were left out as well as child-headed households which have not benefited. However, this year, we will use the inclusive system of targeting. One of the reasons it was like that is that the poverty levels in Lusaka Province are not high.

 

Hon. Member: Ehe!

 

Ms Kabanshi: So, we are targeting all the categories in the rural areas where the poverty levels are between 70 and 92 per cent.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question, as I understood it, was raising concern about the inability of the ministry liaising with the hon. Members of Parliament.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Speaker: Please, respond to that.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I have always been liaising with them, but sometimes it has been difficult to get to everybody. Sometimes when I am visiting their constituencies, the hon. Members of Parliament are busy or outside the country. It happened to me when I went to Kanchibiya, the hon. Member of Parliament was out of the country, but I found the councillors there and the people and everything went well. Nonetheless, I would like to assure the hon. Members that I will improve on that.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Ms Mwape (Mkushi North): Mr Speaker, there are older people in Mkushi North who are above sixty-five years of age, but have no National Registration Cards (NRCs) to show as proof. What is the ministry doing in such cases?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, these are some of the problems that we always face when we are implementing the programme. I think even when we were registering our people as voters for the elections; it was the same thing, hence, making it difficult to include people without National Registration Cards (NRC) on the programme. However, I would like to assure the House that I will engage the hon. Minister of Home Affairs further, so that we can see how we can help those that do not have NRCs.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the people of Kaputa have been very happy with the Social Cash Transfer Programme because they have been benefitting from it for many years now. However, every time I visit the people in the constituency, their major complaint is about consistency. These amounts, even if they are not large, should be disbursed monthly as she has indicated, so that they can plan and deal with the programmes assigned. How current is the hon. Minister for the people that are benefiting from this cash transfer?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I would like to state that last year and 2015 were very difficult years for us. So, it was very difficult for us to pay beneficiaries as planned. However, I would like to assure the hon. Member that this Government is very committed to ensuring that we disburse the funds timely. So, I would like to assure him that very soon, we will be up to date.

 

The last disbursement we did was in January or February, but as I am speaking now, we have finalised everything we will start disbursing for March and April. That is not very bad. The people are appreciating that. The Government also sometimes falls short of some cash and that happened just the way it happens in our homes.

 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 

Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for her statement and, indeed, put it on record that her programme is one that is being appreciated by many people in the constituencies. My question is: Would the hon. Minister deliberately consider sharing with Members of Parliament the procedures and processes to follow when one wants to access or to be considered to be part of the beneficiaries on this programme? I ask so because many a time we do receive people at our offices and then we are short of how to guide them.

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, my ministry has presence, through this programme, in all the districts. In fact, we even go at sub-district level. So, I would like to urge hon. Members of Parliament to engage my officers and let them know about the problems that they face as they go round. I think that is the only way that we will work together. They can also give guidance to their people.

 

As the hon. Members may recall, I said that the people are the ones that identify the beneficiaries. The Committee Welfare Assistance Committee (CWAC) members are identified by the community. So, the hon. Member is free to go and see the district social welfare officer and their assistants so that they can help them with the problems that they face.

 

Thank you, Sir.

 

Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for expanding the packaging of people to benefit from that programme. I have seen in Lubansenshi that …

 

Mr Speaker: Order!

 

Business was suspended from 1630 hours until 1700 hours.

 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

 

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was commending the hon. Minister for the work she is doing.

 

Sir, the selection of beneficiaries has been very good so far. The programme has been growing and has reached a point where it is inclusive. Is the hon. Minister considering including women who are found at the market in this scheme? Some of these women in markets are very poor while others are doing fine. So, are those who fall within the bracket being very poor considered for this scheme?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, there are lot of programmes that the ministry is implementing in line with reducing poverty and vulnerability. In relation to women in the markets, we will assess them and some will be enumerated on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, if they are eligible to be a part of it. If they do not qualify, they will be put on other programmes like Supporting Women Livelihood and the Women Empowerment Programme where we give them small grants.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 

Mr Kabamba (Kafulafuta): Mr Speaker, when talking about the categorisation of would-be beneficiaries, the hon. Minister mentioned some social aspects and some physical aspects in reference to physically handicapped and the terminally ill. The hon. Minister said that the terminally ill and those who are physically handicapped should be certified by a medical practitioner. Coming from a rural constituency, I wanted to find out whether this would not negatively affect those who may not have doctors near their communities?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health has done its job by sending qualified staff to all rural health centres. I visited Muchinga, the Northern, and the North-Western provinces and I did not find any problems faced by health practitioners in certifying the terminally ill and those who have disabilities. I assure the House that the programme is going on very well and if the hon. Members find any problems or if they are aware of qualified beneficiaries who are being left out, they should share this information with us so that we do something about it.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

Ms Miti (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for the good work she is doing, which is touching the lives of many people.

 

Sir, Vubwi, being a rural area, has programmes like the Village Bank, but it is only targeted at people who are able to borrow money and pay it back. We also have the social welfare programme, but it is erratically funded. Is there a plan to implement this programme for the very vulnerable people of Vubwi who are not able to access social services like the Social Cash Transfer Scheme?

 

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, in my statement, I mentioned the fact that will take this Social Cash Transfer Scheme to all districts this year. I would like to assure all hon. Members that the programmes will cover all districts, all constituencies and all wards. Tomorrow, we will put the

annex where the distribution of beneficiaries in each district is displayed and you will be able to see for yourself how many beneficiaries you will have by the end of the year.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

__________

 

QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER

 

DECENTRALISATION OF BIOMETRIC DATA

 

277.  Mr Chabi (Chipili): asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

 

  1. whether there were any plans to decentralise to provincial centres the uptake of biometric data, such as finger prints;

 

  1. if so, when the decentralisation process would commence;

 

  1. what the timeframe for the completion of the process was; and

 

  1. if there were no such plans, why.

 

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, currently, the uptake of fingerprints is done in all provincial centres, but the processing is conducted at the Zambia Police Service Headquarters. The Government has plans to decentralise the processing of biometric data to all provincial centres.

 

Mr Speaker, I wish to confirm that the Government has plans to decentralise the uptake of biometric data to provincial centres. The timeframe for the completion of the decentralisation process will depend on the availability of funds.  

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 

LUNDAZI/CHAMA ROAD

 

278. Mr Zimba (Chasefu) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:

 

  1. why the tarring of the Lundazi/Chama Road had stalled;

                      

  1. whether the initial contract had been terminated;

 

  1. if so, who the new contractor was;

 

  1. when the works would resume; and

 

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

 

The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development ((Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the tarring of the Lundazi/Chama Road was divided into five lots for ease of implementation as follows:

 

Lot         Activities

  1. A 65 km surface was substantially completed.

2                        The progress is at 10 per cent and the contractor is on site awaiting to continue works when funds are made available.

 

3                        The works are on-going and the progress is currently at 8 per cent. It is anticipated that the contractor will complete a 10 km stretch of the road by the end of the fourth quarter of 2017.

 

4                        Works have stalled as the project has not been included in the 2017 Road Sector Work Plan due to budget ceilings. As the other contractors will be working on other lots nextyear, we intend to resume works on Lot 4.

 

5                        The works have stalled as the project has not been included in the 2017 Road Sector Work Plan due to budget ceilings.

 

Mr Speaker, the initial contracts have not been terminated. There are no new contractors, as the initial contracts are still valid. Works on Lots 2, 4 and 5 are slowly progressing and will fully resume once funds are made available. The other three contractors have received their two payments and are mobilising so that they can accelerate the works.

 

Mr Speaker, the timeframe for the completion of the project is twenty-four months and this will depend on the availability of funds.

 

I thank you, Sir.

 

_______

 

MOTIONS

 

REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON AGRICULTURE

 

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture for the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 26th June, 2017.

 

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

 

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.

 

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, in keeping with its terms of reference, as outlined in Standing Order No. 157 (2), your Committee considered the topical issue of the status of the irrigation programmes in Zambia.

 

Sir, your Committee also considered outstanding issues from the Action-Taken Report on your previous Committee’s report. In addition to that, your Committee considered the challenges that beset the implementation of the Electronic Voucher System (e-Voucher System) in the 2015/2016 Agriculture Season. Hon. Members may note that the issue of the e-Voucher System has been a burning one in the agriculture sector and the country at large.

 

Sir, I presume that the hon. Members have had an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the contents of your Committee’s report. I will, therefore, only highlight a few issues contained therein.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee resolved to carry out a study on the status of the irrigation programme in Zambia with a view to understanding the legal and policy framework within which the implementation of the irrigation programme is operating and how this is impacting on the growth of the agriculture sector in the country.

 

Sir, in order to fully appreciate the subject under consideration, your Committee invited various stakeholders to provide both oral and written submissions, whose findings are outlined in your Committee’s report.

 

Mr Speaker, during its interactions with the stakeholders, your Committee was informed that the implementation of the irrigation programmes was governed by the Second National Agricultural Policy of 2016, the National Agricultural Investment Plan of 2014/2018 and the Irrigation Policy and Strategy of 2004. Other policies which impact the implementation of the irrigation include the Water Policy of 2010, the Water Resource Management Act of 2011, the Environment Management Act of 2011 and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act of 1999 and the Public Private Partnership Act of 2009.

 

Mr Speaker, arising from the deliberations and consultations with the various stakeholders, your Committee observed that despite the good intentions of the programme, a number of challenges have beset its implementation.

 

Sir, first and foremost, the Irrigation Policy and Strategy of 2004, that is currently being used to implement the irrigation programme is outdated and had impeded the smooth implementation of the programme. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government to ensure that it expedites the revision of the Irrigation Policy and Strategy Framework, as this is the framework which provides guidance for the investment in the irrigation sub-sector. It further requests that a review of the Water Policy of 2010 be done to align it with the review of the current i

Irrigation policy and strategy.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee sadly notes that the Ministry of Agriculture, which is supposed to be the core ministry in the implementation of irrigation, has a very weak institutional structure to carry out the effective implementation and coordination of programmes across the country. It further observes that this ministry does not have adequate skilled human resource in the irrigation. This is so because almost all the trained irrigation engineers have left it and joined other ministries which have better positions for their qualifications.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee was also informed that a Department of Irrigation was now being considered for establishment under the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection and not in the Ministry of Agriculture where irrigation and, indeed, irrigated agriculture should belong. This is a very worrying situation which should be expeditiously looked into. If, indeed, this happens, then, there should be a strong collaboration between the two ministries so that there are no impediments to the smooth implementation of irrigation in the agriculture sector.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee, however, strongly recommends that the Government upgrades the irrigation section in the Ministry of Agriculture into a department and ensure that Treasury authority is granted to recruit appropriate and sufficient numbers of staff at all levels in order to strengthen the institution’s capacity to implement irrigation programmes and hence not move the Department to the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environment Protection as envisaged.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee further notes that irrigation is a very expensive venture which should not be engaged in without expecting descent returns on investment. Your Committee further observes that proximity to market off-takers or core ventures guarantees success of the irrigation schemes.

 

Mr Speaker, in light of the above, your Committee strongly recommends that the Government ensures that irrigation projects do not stand alone, but be integrated into clearly identified and profitable commodity value chains.

 

Your Committee further recommends that the Government, as matter of urgency, sets up the core ventures in the identified farm blocks such as Nansanga Farm Block if these farm blocks are to be successful.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that the success of some of the irrigation schemes it visited can be attributed to the availability of the core business ventures and market off-takers and these schemes should serve as a model for the implementation of future irrigation schemes.

 

Mr Speaker, finally, your Committee sadly notes that the only national irrigation research station in the country at Nanga which is meant to feed into research in the irrigation sector in the whole country is in a dilapidated state. It is also understaffed and virtually non-operational.

 

Your Committee also sadly notes that the ministry has not attached irrigation specialists to the station for a long time and the only staff sent there have been crop specialists defeating the purpose of having it as a national irrigation research station.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee, further, notes that there is limited or no funding to the irrigation research station. The state of the National Irrigation Research Station is so deplorable that no meaningful research can be conducted there. In this regard, your Committee strongly urges the Government to prioritise research in the irrigation sector and ensure that there is a deliberate effort and political will to invest in the rehabilitation of the irrigation infrastructure at the National Irrigation Research Station and also prioritise investment in the new irrigation research infrastructure countrywide.

 

Sir, in conclusion, allow me to thank the various stakeholders who made submissions before your Committee. Further, I also wish to thank Members of your Committee for their co-operation and dedication to duty during the deliberations. Lastly, but not the least, your Committee wishes to record its indebtedness to you, Sir, and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support and guidance given to it during the session.

 

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

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

 

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Now, Sir.

 

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture for the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 26th June, 2017.

 

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, allow me to firstly thank the Chairperson for having ably moved the Motion and pointing out the important issues that caught the attention of your Committee during its deliberations. Therefore, I will not spend so much time on those issues.

 

Mr Speaker, as part of its programme of work, your Committee considered issues relating to the implementation of the Electronic (e)-Voucher System. Although your Committee appreciates the fact that the Government intends to roll out the e-Voucher System to all districts countrywide, a number of challenges were noted in the new districts where it was rolled out. It is, therefore, imperative that those issues are sorted out before the countrywide roll out is done.

 

Mr Speaker, one of the issues to note is the non-availability of reliable banks in various districts. It has been observed that some of the banks contracted to handle the e-Voucher card distribution have no physical presence in some districts. This has posed a challenge to farmers, especially in rural districts. Your Committee recommends that the Ministry of Agriculture be allocated cards to banks that have a physical presence in the district. Another solution would be to allow farmers to use any bank in their locality to access the e-Voucher funds.

 

Mr Speaker, another challenge noted is the issue of late printing and activation of e-cards. This issue can be sorted out if card printing and other modalities related to the e-Voucher implementation begin early to allow farmers to access inputs in good time.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee also learnt that some cards were not loaded on time due to the delay in receiving funding from the Government which greatly inconvenienced farmers who were made to keep travelling to and from the banks to check whether the cards had been activated. Your Committee strongly recommends that there be timely release of funds for the e-voucher and operational funds at district level by the Ministry of Finance.

 

Mr Speaker, your Committee further noted that some agro-dealers lacked capacity to supply required quantities of the inputs in some newly-introduced e-voucher districts. It was also observed that some agro-dealers were swiping farmer’s cards despite not having inputs forcing farmers to wait for inputs when they could have gone to other agro-dealers.

 

Sir, your Committee urges the Government to closely monitor and evaluate agro-dealers to stop them from exploiting farmers. There is a need for awareness and sensitisation of agro-dealers to stock a wide range of products to promote agriculture diversification.

 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me emphasise the need for the Government to clearly define the system of weaning of farmers from the programme and provide sustainable products that the weaned farmers can adopt instead of them constantly relying on Government subsidies.

 

Finally, Sir, I wish to pay tribute to Members of your Committee for the manner in which they conducted themselves during the deliberations. Your Committee did it in the spirit and manner that helped it make recommendations which are, in its view, in the best interest of the people of Zambia.

 

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

 

Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for according me an opportunity to debate this pertinent issue presented by the Committee on Agriculture. I am particularly interested in the Nansanga Farm Block, which has suffered many major setbacks. As you have heard, the lack of actualisation of the Zambia Correctional Services Farm, which the Committee has acknowledged that there is a disconnection between the dreamers of the project and the implementers. The officers who are on site to manage the farm are imported from Kabwe whereas the officers who had started the farm are stuck in Serenje and are unable to communicate with their colleagues in order to give them technical input as they had envisaged in the first place. This has culminated into the project not being implemented as expected.

 

Mr Speaker, as you have heard, irrigation is a very expensive venture which requires a lot of expertise in running it. What is obtaining on the ground is that the people who are there lack the knowledge in irrigation. That is the reason the contractor who won the tender to stump the land had sub-contracted the project which made it to fail. We now understand that the Ministry of Agriculture wants to re-tender the same project. This is wasteful expenditure on the part of the Government. Further, the core ventures that were expected to be in the Nansanga Farm Block Project have not taken off, save for a few commercial farmers who are on site. Though these commercial farmers are doing a good job, they have also faced challenges in damming the water because the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) has given them a lot of challenges by not approving the project of damming the water. Apart rain-fed agriculture, these farmers also need dammed water to run their farms.

 

Mr Speaker, we appeal to the Government to look into these issues because Nansanga Farm Block is a pride of the people of Serenje. We feel that this project must take off as quickly as possible for it to contribute to the food basket of this country.

 

Mr Speaker, I support this Motion and I thank you.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, 20 per cent of our gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to come from agriculture. From 2004, this country has emphasised the need for irrigation. That was to extend the contribution that could come from agriculture, including the increase in employment levels. The levels of unemployment are quite high albeit seasonal. When we get over 60 per cent of our young men and women employed as a result of agriculture, it is essential that we look at this sector with the seriousness that it deserves. Unemployment and poverty are the two evils that our country is faced with.

 

Sir, in Kanchibiya, almost all the young people, if not all, are involved in agriculture and are literally unemployed. They look forward, like others in the country, to the initiatives that this Government is putting in place to unlock the full potential of our country. Each hon. Member of Parliament seated here is grappling with issues of unemployment. We only have very few months that God blesses this country with rain, sometimes, its absence. When we look at issues of irrigation, we will be assured of our people being employed not only because of the rainy season, but even in the periods which are dry. Secondly, when we look to countries like Israel and Egypt, which are literally deserts, you will find that they are doing very well as a result of irrigation even drip irrigation which has many advantages as your Committee has highlighted in the report.

 

Mr Speaker, in not being monotonous, your Committee has highlighted the advantages of irrigation on page 15 of the report. The Committee said, “some of the major advantages of drip irrigation include the following:

 

  1. it keeps soil aerated;

 

  1. reduces weed growth;

 

  1. cuts down diseases and fungi;

 

  1. minimises evaporation and water run-off;

 

  1. uniform and efficient application of water;

 

  1. enables easy control of water consumption; and

 

  1. accurate use of water and nutrients distribution.”

 

Mr Speaker, when we look at our people seated in the streets of Kitwe, Ndola, Kanchibiya, Mpika, Mfuwe, the new Lavushi Manda and other places with no hope, agriculture provides that opportunity to change their lives. Therefore, in supporting this Motion, I would like to urge the Government to look at how best we are able to implement and increase the hectrage in Zambia where we are to irrigate and tap the waters of the country. Our water accounts for 40 per cent of the water in the sub-region. Rain water and that in our rivers, including underground water, leaves the country through drains without effective productivity.

 

Australia is known to be the driest continent on earth and not Africa. One wonders why Africa is hard hit with poverty and unemployment. I dire say, Mr Speaker, time has come when we should look at what God has blessed us with than leaving it to foreign investors.

 

Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!

 

Dr Malama: We should be able to use our own people. There are certain countries in the Mid East where indigenous people do not do lower jobs because they fully utilise the potential they have. Why is that in Zambia, we are only able to look at our people as labourers. It should not be so. The riches that our country has been endowed with should fully benefit our people.

 

Mr Speaker, I support the Motion.

 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 

The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, in responding to my colleagues who have debated on this Motion, let me start by commending the mover and the seconder for presenting this report which was also very well-written. I have to commend your Committee for delving into a lot of issues to do with the agriculture sector in such an eloquent manner.

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

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

 

Question put and agreed to.

 

__________

 

The House adjourned at 1847 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday 29th June, 2017.