Thursday, 9th December, 2021

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Thursday, 9th December, 2021


The House met at 1430 hours


[MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Mtayachalo: On a matter of urgent public importance, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker: A matter of urgent public importance is raised.


Mr Mtayachalo: Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to raise this matter.


Madam Speaker, the contractor working on the Chibale/Lubalizi Road in Nkanka Ward of Chama North Constituency, Muchinga Province, replaced structures on three bridges, hoping that he was going to complete construction of the new bridges before the Rainy Season. However, works have stalled and, if no urgent measures are taken, Chibale will be cut off completely from the rest of the country because there is no alternative road, and delivery of medical supplies and referrals to Isoka General Hospital are going to be practically impossible. 


Madam Speaker, I seek your indulgence.


Madam Speaker: Hon. Member, I am not clear about your matter of urgent public importance. Maybe, go through it again. I have not got the gist of the matter, except that there is a contractor who has abandoned works. Just run through it again, please.


Mr Mtayachalo: Madam Speaker, the contractor replaced the old structures on three crossing points, I think, hoping that he was going to put new bridges on those three crossing points by October, 2021. However, the works have stalled, I think, due to certain challenges beyond his control. So, my worry and the worry of the people of Chibale is that very soon, since we are in the Rainy Season, we are only lucky because we have been experiencing a dry spell. Otherwise, if it rains, Chibale will be cut off completely from the rest of the country because there is no alternative route, and that will means that medical supplies and referrals to Isoka or Chinsali general hospital will be practically impossible.


Madam Speaker: I see that the hon. Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development is around. I do not know if he can answer that question now or, maybe, address it later in a ministerial statement?


The Minister of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development (Eng. Milupi): Madam Speaker, I can answer it later.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker: The matter is noted, and the hon. Minister will render a ministerial statement on it to give a clear picture of what is on the ground.









VOTE 21 – (Loans and Investments Ministry of Finance and National Planning – K12,766,579,633)


The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity to present my policy statement on the 2022 Estimates of Expenditure for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, under Vote 21 – Loans and Investments.


Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning’s mandate is to perform statutory functions that include preparation of the National Budget, economic management, resource mobilisation, debt management and public finance management. In this regard, it has the critical responsibility of managing public resources in an effective, transparent and accountable manner to support sustainable national development.


Madam Chairperson, Vote 21 – Loans and Investments, falls under the ministry, and is used to:


  1. implement Government policy on loans and investments;
  2. foster bilateral and multilateral relations through the payment of subscriptions and contributions to strategic international organisations; and
  3. maximise returns on investments.


Madam Chairperson, during the 2021 Fiscal Year, the Government, through the ministry, recorded significant progress in completing capital projects in various sectors. Notable among them were:


  1. completion of the Kazungula Bridge project, which was meant to enhance regional integration and trade across Southern Africa;
  2. completion and opening of the new terminals at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport in Ndola; and
  3.   dismantling of domestic and fuel arrears to the tune of K3.5 billion, as at November 2021.


Madam Chairperson, under Project Investment, the following were implemented:


  1. implementation of the Government Service Bus (GSB), which increased from sixty-eight in 2020 to 136. Revenues amounting to K832.5 million have been collected using the platform against an investment of K137.9 million; and
  2. provision of support to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), under a modernisation exercise, in acquiring an asset for customs enforcement and commencing the construction of a modern customs enforcement centre that will enhance the fight against tax evasion and increase domestic revenue mobilisation.


Madam Chairperson, to maximise returns on investments, the Government released funds for the recapitalisation of the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and the Public Service Microfinance Company.


Madam Chairperson, in the 2022 Budget, Vote 21 has been allocated K12,766,579,633 to support three priority programmes, namely Financial Investment Management, Project Investment Management, and Centralised Strategic Payments. The three programmes are aimed at ensuring that the Department achieves its objectives. The Financial Investment Management programme encompasses the recapitalisation of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and financing of loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) so as to create wealth and decent jobs, and increase the contribution of SMEs to the resource envelope, while the Project Investment Management programme encompasses the road sector projects and other infrastructure projects aimed at providing access to markets and maximising benefits to the public. Lastly, the Centralised Strategic Payments programme encompasses Zambia’s annual membership contributions and subscriptions to international organisations, consultancy and rating fees, aimed at strengthening international relations as well as fostering positive investor perceptions and confidence.


Financial Investment Management


Madam Chairperson, Financial Investment Management has been allocated K368,417,126. This allocation is meant for recapitalisation and investment, which is the main component under this programme. Of this amount, K210 million is earmarked for the World Bank FRESH Project and the Food Security Trust Fund while K158 million is for financial restructuring, under which some notable allocations are K45 million to the rolling out of the Local Government Financial Management Information System (LGFMIS), which is essential in monitoring the utilisation of resources the decentralised to lower levels of the Government, especially under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF); K4.8 million to the establishment of the Gaming and Lotteries Authority; and K3.3 million for the expenses of hosting the Conference of African Federation Institutes of Internal Auditors (AFIA).


Project Investment Management


Madam Chairperson, the Project Investment Management programme has been allocated K6,907,012,498. The programme aimed at managing and implementing capital and non-capital projects, and other Government initiatives. It has three sub-programmes, namely:


  1. Road Infrastructure, which has been allocated K4.9 billion for implementation of the 2022 Road Sector Annual Work Plan (RSAWP). The RSAWP provides for projects earmarked for implementation using the public-private partnership (PPP) mode, with emphasis on the core road network and completion of critical projects, road rehabilitation and routine maintenance, construction of primary feeder roads, and maintenance of major links on the trunk network and critical areas. For upgrades, K504 million has been set aside while K468 million is for maintenance of main, trunk and district roads, and K503 million has been set aside for rehabilitation and maintenance of feeder roads under the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. These funds will foster promotion of economic activities and trade through the rehabilitation of main road corridors like the T002 Road from Mpika through Chinsali to Nakonde, axle load control, construction of weighbridges, emergency repairs and road safety matters, which will reduce vehicle operating costs, travel times and congestion;
  2. Project Implementation Management, which has been allocated K726.4 million. These funds are meant to facilitate the rolling out of additional services under the GSB at a cost of K157.6 million. The services to be rolled out include road tolls, application for mining licences, mineral processing licences, exploration licences and boundary verification. Additionally, K333.5 million has been allocated to the modernisation of the ZRA to enhance efficiency in tax administration. Further, K145.3 million has been set aside for the Government’s contribution to the Millennium Challenge Account Project, whose aim is to improve water supply and sanitation in the country; and
  3. Capital Projects, which has been allocated K1.3 billion for the completion of infrastructure development at KKIA at a cost of K875 million. In a bid to open up the Northern Circuit to tourism, K150 million has been earmarked for infrastructure development at Kasaba Bay while K50 million has been set aside for infrastructure development in the Liuwa National Park. Further, K110 million has been set aside for infrastructure development in the Nansanga Farming Block to attract the private sector by providing services like power, access roads and dams.


Centralised Strategic Payments


Madam Chairperson, under this programme, K4.9 billion has been earmarked for dismantling of domestic arrears while K535.2 million has been set aside for contributions, subscriptions and other payments. The balance of the resources is meant to support the operations and management of various investments that have been proposed in the 2022 Budget.


Madam Speaker, I hope and believe that my submissions have been elaborate enough and that they will be supported by all hon. Members of Parliament.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Mundubile (Mporokoso): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for this opportunity to make some comments on this very important Vote. I also thank the hon. Minister for his policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, I will start by saying that it is very important to maximise returns on investment and that in order to do that, it is very important to also take stock of our investments, especially the recent investments in assets that include road, airport, port and harbour infrastructure, and farming blocks. What is true is that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government invested a lot in most of these areas. For example, there has been a lot of investment in the road infrastructure that the hon. Minister talked about. Similarly, there has been a lot of investment in airport infrastructure. So, in maximising returns on these investments, and I am looking at social benefits, it is important to look at how these projects or assets interplay. What I mean is that, for instance, when in terms of road infrastructure, there is a need for us to realise full benefits from the investment in that sector. I think that with good planning, we need to make the roads interconnect.


Madam Chairperson, there are cases in which there was heavy investment in road infrastructure in the past but, due to financial constraints, some of the roads ended up not being economic yet, maybe, with an addition of only a few kilometres, we could have realised full benefits from the roads and maximised our returns. For instance, maybe, the plan was to attract investment into agriculture in particular areas. However, due to certain constraints, the roads may not have gone all the way; maybe, they went only halfway. In such cases, it is important that even as the hon. Minister considers reducing investment in road infrastructure, he should understand the rationale behind some of the projects so that they are completed for the benefit of this country.


Madam Chairperson, there has been a lot of investment in airport infrastructure, especially in the two major airports in Lusaka and Ndola. Through Loans and Investment, it is important to consider other connecting infrastructure because if we do not invest in airstrips, we will not get full benefits from of those airports. We know, for sure, that if we are trying to promote tourism, bigger aircraft can land at the bigger airports then the tourists can jump onto smaller planes and land at airstrips in designated areas. So, to realise and maximise returns on investments, we should take this into account and establish, or invest in, some airstrips.


Madam Chairperson, I am happy that during the Budget presentation, the hon. Minister mentioned that the Government would invest in a runway at the Kasaba Bay. That is welcome. However, we know that we have many tourist assets in other areas in which we definitely need to make some investments, going forward. The point is that we should have an integrated and multi-sectoral approach to looking at Loans and Investments so that we can fully benefit from our investments.


Madam Chairperson, I also want to comment on State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).


Madam Chairperson, I believe that we have to run SOEs as businesses and, maybe, through Loans and Investments in the ministry, evaluate the returns we get on our investments. We must also be very quick in making decisions about whether to continue investing in the SOEs or try other opinions, such as inviting equity partners. We have continued investing in some SOEs without getting much in returns, and it is difficult to make a case for continued investment in such companies.


Madam Chairperson, lastly, as much as there has been a lot of politicking around debt, we all know that debt is necessary, especially if we borrow to invest and expect a reasonable return on the investment. If we borrow to invest in a particular area, and we are sure that the investment will pay back the loan and the cost of that loan, that investment or debt can be said to be good debt. We should not make wholesale condemnation of debt to the point where we are scared to contract debt at any given time out of thinking that people will rise up and condemn us for borrowing. I want to restate that we, as a country, should not shy away from borrowing for investment, provided the investments have been properly appraised. Lately, the narrative around debt has been very bad lately. I know that even when the hon. Minister presents ministerial statements on debt, the reactions from the left side are sometimes very frightening. However, I assure him that if we are borrowing for investment and investing in projects that have a good rate of return, then he has our support, and it is very important to put that on record.


Madam Chairperson, in summary, all I have to say is that we need to approach investments in a co-ordinated manner and see how the country can maximise its benefit from them. Most projects are connected, and there is a need to fully understand how they interplay.


Madam Chairperson, with those few remarks, I thank you.


Mr Mwila (Mufulira): Madam Chairperson, thank you for the opportunity. I also thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for his policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, I will narrow my contribution to Programme 3440 – Project Investment Management. While I support the estimates of expenditure for Vote 21, I have an observation with regard to this programme.


Madam Chairperson, I have seen on pages 250 and 251 of the Yellow Book the planned routine maintenance of 15,701 km of trunk, main and district roads across the country. However, looking at the distribution of the 15,700 km, I see that 30 per cent have been allocated to four provinces of this country, namely Luapula, the Northern, Muchinga and the Eastern provinces, yet the four provinces may account for almost 50 per cent of this country in terms of geographical distribution. Remember, not too long ago, there was uproar in the country when the hon. Minister of Local Government and Rural Development presented the distribution of works on feeder roads because it highlighted the neglect of three provinces during the reign of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. Is it an act of segregation to allocate the four provinces 30 per cent of works when they should have got approximately 40 per cent or 50 per cent? I ask this question because the people in these provinces will feel neglected, as there are quite a number of kilometres that need to be maintained and worked on. Giving  the four provinces 30 per cent indicates that there might be a deliberate move to segregate them. So, I think, there is room to relook at the distribution of the 15,700 km, especially given that very little money has been allocated for construction of new roads. This allocation is simply for maintenance. So, this is quite a big concern.


Madam Chairperson, I have also observed that the Ndola/Lusaka Road is narrow and in a very bad state. I am sure, a number of us who have used the road can confirm that it is a dangerous road. However, I have seen that the allocation for it is only for routine maintenance, yet it needs a complete overhaul. Some of the accidents we see on that road are a result of its narrowness and bad state, and some drivers in a hurry to get to their destination overtaking. So, in 2022, the Government should overhaul and expand the road, which is an economic road, so that it becomes less busy than it is. We do not want to have more accidents and deaths on it. So, the Government should allocate more money to it, and it should not be for routine maintenance only.


Madam Chairperson, the Ndola/Mufulira Road is also in a very bad state, and it is very difficult to use it, road especially now that we are in the Rainy Season, yet it is an economic road. If the Government upgraded it to a bituminous standard and put a tollgate on it, we can raise money, the road can be self-financing and we can cut the traffic on the dual carriageway between Ndola and Kitwe by re-routing people going to Chingola, the North-Western Province and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). So, the road requires urgent attention, but I have not seen it mentioned in detail. Quite all right, maybe, not every road can be mentioned, but I hope it will receive attention under the 15,700 km that has been allocated.


Madam Chairperson, I also wanted to see the breakdown of the 4,314 km of feeder roads that have been targeted for rehabilitation. It would have been interesting to see the breakdown, even by province, because I have the same concern on this one that have on the other item I talked about. I hope the 4,314 km targeted feeder roads will be equally distributed across the country.


Madam Chairperson, with those comments, I support this Vote.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mrs Chonya was unavailable.


Mr Mumba (Kantanshi): Madam Chairperson, as I rise to support the budget under this Vote, I will bring out some of the thoughts of the people of Kantanshi. I believe that the implementation of some of the ideas I will share will add value to the ministry. I will start with State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).


Madam Chairperson, not too long ago, the hon. Minister was in Livingstone attending a conference for the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), which is the holding company for all SOEs, and he encouraged the companies to work hard and produce profits. He also warned them that the Government would not support them financially, in terms of guaranteeing their loans, as that was in the past. Borrowing the hon. Minister’s statement that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) of today is not the IMF of the 1970s and 1980s, I think it is about time we revisited these companies through privatisation. I think, there is absolutely nothing wrong with us, with the new intellect and knowledge that we have, turning around these companies so that they start supporting job creation and creating opportunities for people to do business with them. They can also start contributing through statutory obligations and taxes, which all of us pay today, but they do not, and the only reason is that they hide under the umbrella of the Government. The Government goes a step further and gives some of them, such as the water utility companies, grants yet they are businesses. So, it is important that we relook at the SOEs.


Madam Chairperson, the second issue I want to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister is the road sector, which has made this country very indebted. It is important that, through the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA), we carefully start looking at road contracts right from the beginning, where there is a tender for a consultant, and the consultant gives the cost of the road and is funded. Looking at all the contracts we had in the past, all the vehicles the consultants used on the projects were Government vehicles and, because the contracts have not been completed to date, the consultants still use the vehicles, some of which are now run down. Those are Government assets; they are assets for the people of Zambia. Further, the contractors use taxpayers’ money to set up camps at the sites. However, today, we do not know if at all the Government has even taken stock of some sites, which eventually become schools or are turned into hospitals and other infrastructure. So, the Government needs to relook at how road contracts are awarded.


Madam Chairperson, worse of all, the clauses in the contracts are pushing this country into debt every day. For example, whenever the Government releases money, whether through the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) or the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, the effect is dismal because the interest and idle time chase each other. So, we are giving Chinese companies, which are parastatals in their country, contracts as if they are Zambian companies and they attract huge interest. The example I can give is that of the Vubwi/Chipata Road, where a contract was awarded first and the consultant was brought in later. The hon. Minister should eliminate all such confusion so that the sector is cleaned.


Madam Chairperson, still on infrastructure projects, let us take, for example, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA), which was called by one name in the initial contract and then, because someone wanted to increase the value, it was given another name. Then the consultant designed and also builds it, which is as good as single sourcing. Where is the transparency there? There are many such projects right now. So, we need to make our technocrats under infrastructure pull up their socks. We cannot continue with business as usual because we are in a recession and we need to recover. If we are to create opportunities for our people, we need to follow the reforms that the hon. Minister announced yesterday, and it is about time we stopped looking back, looked forward and ensured that the conversations that we are having are implemented.


Madam Chairperson, we have seen the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) invest in road infrastructure, beating us completely. We also want the Mokambo Border Post to be looked at in tandem with the Kasumbalesa Border Post so that we build opportunities for our people.


Madam Chairperson, with those few words, I thank you.


Mrs Chonya was still unavailable.


Mr Sampa (Matero): Madam Chairperson, thank you for this opportunity. The hon. Minister’s policy statement was well delivered.


Madam Chairperson, like the previous two speakers, I will begin with the investment aspect to amplify that Zambia is a blessed country; God has given us a good climate; minerals like copper, diamonds and gold under the ground; and good soil. So, there is a massive opportunity for Government investment.


Madam Chairperson, in China, State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) generate so much money for the country that the country ends up lending it to the United States of America (USA) and other countries around the world. The mines and telephone companies are in cut-throat competition. For example, companies like Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation are SOEs, but they compete because they have to make returns for the government. when they do not perform, the bosses are fired. So, going forward, this line of investment by the ministry needs to grow, and that is the future of Zambia. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) manages SOEs, and untapped gold has been discovered. We cannot keep fighting about the mines that are already in the hands of investors or whose ownership by the Government is questioned when there is a lot of copper in Mumbwa, and gold in Petauke and in the North-Western Province. The Government needs to consider investing in those areas so that, going forward, a lot of money can be generated by this country to the extent that we can even lend out of it.


Madam Chairperson, the elephant in the room is the issue of loans, and the biggest elephant is the International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan. Let me give a bit of background to the listeners in Matero. As the Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Mundubile, said, there is nothing wrong with the Government borrowing; how the money is used is what matters. Even the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government borrowed. For example, we were told that it borrowed for the Tanzania-Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) Pipeline and the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) railway.


Madam Chairperson, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) borrowed, but I cannot remember what it borrowed for. I know that the Patriotic Front (PF) borrowed for infrastructure development. Even the New Dawn or United Party for National Development (UPND) Government is also going to borrow. That is guaranteed. However, it needs to justify the purpose. Even the Government that will come after the UPND will need to borrow. Otherwise, how can the Government run without money? It is like running a home. If one’s income for a given month, for whatever reason, is not enough to feed the children, what will one do? One will borrow. The important thing is how one uses the borrowed money, and to pay back. This is not the time for playing blame games. We are here. The locals in Matero say, “Nipano tuli”, meaning the situation is as it is here and now


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister told us that as a country, we owe in excess of US$6 billion. The question that begs an answer is: Was the IMF loan important or necessary? I always stand for the truth, and the truth is, ‘Yes’, the IMF loan was necessary. Had the PF Government won, it was also going to acquire it. Why? It is because the Eurobonds that we obtained – I am glad I met the Secretary to the Treasury, Mr Felix Nkulukusa, yesterday. In 2012, when I was at the ministry, we went to market Zambia and the two questions the investors in the Eurobond always asked were: “Are you going to put up a sinking fund?” And “Will you have a programme with the IMF?” If you have a programme with the IMF, it gives all the lenders comfort because it means you are doing the right things.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister knows about the sinking fund. Every year or month, the ministry responsible for finance was supposed to put, say, half a million dollars in the account and leave it there untouched. After ten years, that money was going to be used to repay the bond as it matured. The hon. Minister should ask the staff at the ministry what they did with the sinking fund because it was paramount.


Madam Chairperson, we know that the US$1.3 billion IMF loan is meagre because the nation needs more but, I think, it has generated good will for the nation. I was speaking to the international financiers in South Africa and elsewhere, and they are now opening the floodgates; they want to come to Zambia because they believe that if the IMF has shaken our hands, they can, too.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sampa: Also important, this means that lenders who are behind – remember ba kaloba. All of us know about microfinance, the biggest problem we have in the compounds. People are always calling me and saying, “MP, ba kaloba banibvuta. What should I do?” It is the same with a country.


The Chairperson: Hon. Member, what is “kaloba”?




Mr Sampa: Madam Chairperson, it is a loan that is due but, for some reason, it cannot be paid back. The Eurobond was borrowed and needed to be paid back, but the repayment was delayed, and there are reasons. So, just by shaking hands with the IMF, we gave the lenders comfort, but that does not resolve the problem.


Madam Chairperson, I must be honest and commend the hon. Minister for being honest and coming to this House to warn Zambians, unlike the UNIP Government, which went to get a loan from the IMF without telling Zambians the truth. The MMD Government was not truthful either, but the hon. Minister has told us, Zambians, that although we have gone to bed with the IMF, we need to watch out because have to remove the subsidies on electricity and fuel to recover close to a billion dollars. He further told us to prepare ourselves and tighten our belts. I commend him for being that sincere so that none of us will be surprised. The move is the solution for Zambia, and everyone else would have done the same thing.


Madam Chairperson, with those few words, let me end by saying that everyone is called upon to sacrifice. If the hon. Minister likes it, I can be the first to sacrifice 1 per cent of my allowance to the Treasury in these hard times as we tighten our belts.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: In order to have a different voice, I will allow one Independent hon. Member.


Mr Mwambazi (Bwana Mkubwa): Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister for the policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, I support the policy statement on Vote 21 presented by the hon. Minister. However, let me just highlight a few things, beginning with the recapitalisation of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs).


Madam Chairperson, while recapitalisation is very important, as we recapitalise, like other speakers have said, it is also important that the SOEs are properly managed. We have seen how non-performing and non-competitive most SOEs are. So, if we continue putting money into them without proper direction in terms of competition on the market and allowing business as usual to continue, then, there will be a problem even if the Government looks to enhance performance and ensure that the enterprises are effective and compete favourably on the market to make a  profit and revenue for the Government in terms of dividends.


Madam Chairperson, let me talk about the opening up of the Northern Circuit and the funding of the Kasaba Bay Aerodrome or airport. We have seen the Kasaba Bay funded before; this is not the first time. So, let me bring it to the attention of the hon. Minister that it is important that there is proper supervision and implementation in some of these programmes. Kasaba Bay has been funded before, but there was no proper accountability and implementation of the project. As I speak, the project has not been completed, as there are many issues pertaining to it. So, even if the Government has put a budget line for the project under Vote 21, it is important that there are proper mechanisms for the implementation of the project. For example, the Government should ensure that a proper and befitting contractor implements the project and that the project is properly supervised to ensure that the people of Zambia benefit.


Madam Chairperson, I have seen that there is no budget line for road infrastructure, but there is one for road infrastructure management. It is important to have a budget line for road infrastructure to ensure that some roads are properly managed in terms of maintenance. Most of the time, we construct roads but, in terms of maintenance, we leave those very important assets to be wasted. So, it is important that there is a policy and proper direction even as we allocate funds towards road infrastructure.


Madam Chairperson, I will not belabour the state of the Kabwe/Ndola Road because some hon. Members have spoken about that. However, for some of us who come from the Copperbelt, that road has become such a nightmare that one cannot manage to drive on it at night. So, it is important that it is also considered so that the lives of people are safeguarded by the Government.


Madam Chairperson, let me also comment on the financial management part that pertains to accounting and auditing.


Madam Chairperson, it is important that even as funds are allocated, issues of compliance with prudent financial management standards are looked at. If you look at the budget of the magnitude of the one under Vote 21 and you find that the allocation to auditing and finance is, maybe, K500,000, that defeats the purpose because internal auditors are the first line of defence, and they should ensure prudent management and internal controls for effective implementation of projects. However, if they are not adequately funded, how will they ensure that there is prudent management? Funds will simply be misapplied and embezzled, and they will be in the Auditor-General’s Report and before the Public Accounts Committee; it is like going round in circles. So, it is important that this section is made effective through adequate funding. Auditors are trained to curb some of these vices.


Madam Chairperson, the development and implementation of Government electronic payments (e-Payments) is very important because the Government losses a lot of revenue through people collecting cash, non-banking of Government revenue and under-collections. So, it is important that the Government is looking at implementing Government e-Payments, as that will enable the Government ministries and spending agencies to collect the much-needed revenue.


Madam Chairperson, I have seen a budget line for specialised audits under Vote 21. Specialised audits are very important because they ensure that people are accountable and checked from time to time. However, with what has been going around, it is important that the budget line is also looked at to ensure that more specialised and forensic audits are carried out. These are not normal audits. So, it is important that when funds are being spent in  various ministries, the specialised audits are looked at keenly and the officers charged with the mandate to appropriate on behalf of Zambians are made to comply with the regulations.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to the debate on Vote 21, which I support.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I thank all the hon. Members who have debated this Vote.


Madam Chairperson, borrowing is always going to be a part of life. The key issue of concern is what one borrows for, as other hon. Members have said. It is also important to borrow in such a manner that one does not get into trouble. What we are living through today is an example of imprudent borrowing; it has caused us many problems, and that is why we called the IMF back when we had weaned ourselves from such institutions.


Madam Chairperson, road infrastructure development has been undertaken but, I think, the weaknesses have been on the distribution. Without going through issues of the provinces in which the roads were constructed, which have been discussed before, I want to highlight the fact that money was spent on roads, but some of the critical roads, which link us to other countries, are in very deplorable situation. The Great North Road, which leads to Tanzania, and the Sesheke/Kazungula Road are examples of roads that should have received attention, but did not.


Madam Chairperson, the Ndola/Lusaka Road will be worked on under a public-private partnership (PPP), and there is a lot of interest in the project. Similarly, there is a lot of interest in a PPP for the Mufulira/Ndola Road.


Madam Chairperson, I agree with Hon. Mumba that some contracts have become very expensive and that just signing them put us into a lot of trouble because we make payments to people who do nothing.


Madam Chairperson, on the Kasaba Bay, what was lacking was political commitment. If you look at electricity from Lunzuwa in Mpulungu to Kasaba, a lot of it was generated, the power transmission network was installed and a road was constructed up to Lufubu River. So, what remains is very little. The problem now is the airport. Sadly, when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power – Whatever problems there were with the project, the answer was not to abandon that place, but to resolve the problems and continue. Fortunately, the United Party for National Development (UPND) is going to sort that out.


Madam Chairperson, on the accusation that some provinces have been discriminated against when it comes to roads, I assure my colleagues that those were habits of the past. This time around, they will not manifest because each province has received an equal amount of money, K26 million, for road maintenance. Should God be so graceful as to allow our colleagues in the PF to come back, I hope they will have learnt that discrimination against others is not good.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


VOTE 21 – (Loans and Investments – Ministry of Finance and National Planning – K12,766,579,633).


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I beg to move the following amendments:


On page 242, under 1.0: Mandate, paragraph 1, by the deletion of the words “Part X” and substitution therefor of the words ‘Part XVI’; and


On page 243, under Table 1: Budget Allocation by Economic Classification, paragraph 1, by the insertion of the word “million” immediately after the number “K235.0”.


Amendment agreed to. Vote amended accordingly.


Vote 21, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


The Chairperson: Hon. Members, by special arrangement, we will now move to Vote 53 – Ministry of Green Economy and Environment because the hon. Minister has another engagement and has requested the House to deal with the Vote earlier than scheduled. We shall revert to the order in which the Votes appear on the Order Paper after this Vote.


VOTE 53 – (The Minister of Green Economy and Environment – K817,205,158)


The Minister of Green Economy and Environment (Mr Nzovu): Madam Chairperson, allow me to render my appreciation for the opportunity given to me to present the policy statement for the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment in support of the ministry’s budget for the period 1st January to 31st December, 2022.


Madam Chairperson, as you are aware, the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is new; its creation was announced in the address of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, during his Official Opening of the First Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly on 10th September, 2021, and it was subsequently ratified by Parliament on 14th September, 2021. The creation of the ministry represents a rare opportunity for the country to reset and rebuild based on green economy investment pathways, which is key for sustainable development.


Madam Chairperson, the adverse effects of climate change, such as severe weather conditions like droughts and flooding in various parts of the country, are reversing the socio-economic achievements made so far. In addition, there are challenges to do with land degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, among others, as a result of unsustainable utilisation of the country’s resource endowment.


Madam Chairperson, in line with the portfolio functions outlined in the Gazette Notice No.1123 of 2021, the ministry is mandated to promote the effective and sustainable use of the environment while facilitating and supporting adaptation and mitigation of the negative effects of climate change. To attain the aforesaid, there is a need to promote investment in economic activities with low carbon emissions as well as timely production and dissemination of weather and climatic information to facilitate informed decision making. Additionally, the ministry will contribute to environmental sustainability through the co-ordination of environmental management activities, including afforestation, reforestation, strengthening of climate change adaptation and mitigation programmes, enhancing coverage of early warning systems and environmental conservation.


Madam Chairperson, as I present the overview of the 2022 budget for the ministry, allow me to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, for the Budget Speech delivered to the National Assembly on 29th October, 2021, which was anchored on the theme, “Growth, Jobs and Taking Development Closer to the People”.


Madam Chairperson, this Budget was prepared amidst a crippling and punishing debt burden left behind by the previous Government, which had a huge appetite for borrow and spending carelessly; a Government that procured expensive but low quality infrastructure like roads, and expensive but expired drugs, to mention but a few. However, despite this gloomy picture, the Budget presented by the hon. Minister is well balanced and well thought-out, and will surely turn the country’s fortunes around and develop the country. However, achieving that calls for attitude and mindset change as well as promotion of innovation in the implementation of priority programmes in 2022 so as to make a difference in the lives of the citizens of this nation.


Madam Chairperson, I reiterate the seriousness of the New Dawn Government in rebuilding our collapsed economy, as evidenced by the Staff Level Agreement (SLA) recently reached by the International Momentary Fund (IMF) team and the Zambian Government on a new arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility for 2022 to 2025 to help restore macro-economic stability and build the foundation for inclusive economic recovery.


Madam Chairperson, in 2022, the ministry proposes to spend K817,205,158. Out of this allocation, K47,549,727, representing 6 per cent of the total budget, is for personal emoluments while K769 million, representing 94 per cent of the total budget, is meant for programme and project implementation.


Madam Chairperson, in line with the Draft Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP), the ministry will focus on the implementation of the following programmes;


  1. Green Economy and Industry Policy;
  2. climate change mitigation;
  3. forestry development and management;
  4. bio-safety and bio-security;
  5. environmental protection;
  6. management and research;
  7. meteorological services; and
  8. management and support services.


Madam Chairperson, the priority programmes for the 2022 Financial Year will include among others, the following:


  1. Forestry Development and Management – to support forestry development and management, the ministry has allocated K303,817,831 to facilitate the provision of forestry skills development and forestry management;
  2. Green Economy and Climate Change – the ministry has allocated K330,684,729 to support the co-ordination and implementation of green economy and climate change activities;
  3. Meteorological and Weather Services – the ministry has allocated K15,928,847 to facilitate the provision of weather observation and forecasting infrastructure, research, climatology and advisory services;
  4. Environmental Protection and Management – to enhance environmental protection and management, the ministry has allocated K149,462,326 to support pollution control, environmental management and research;
  5. Management and Support Services – K17,311,425 has been allocated for executive office management; human resources management and administration; financial management, that is, auditing and accounting; procurement management; policy co-ordination; planning; and information management.


Madam Chairperson, I assure the august House that the implementation of policies and programmes in my ministry is anchored on the policy direction given by the Republican President, His Excellency Mr Hakainde Hichilema, in his speech during the Official Opening of the First Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly.


Madam Chairperson, as I conclude, I reiterate that my ministry remains resolute in supporting efforts towards expanding opportunities for transforming lives in communities through the provision of critical life support ecosystem services, including clean air and water, and a resilient bio-diversity needed to support food production, and animal and human health. I, therefore, look forward to the support of hon. Members of this House for the 2022 estimates of expenditure for the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr E. Tembo (Feira): Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister of Green Economy and Environment for his statement. In reaction to the statement, I just want to say that the ministry is expected to play a very important role in ensuring that our environment is protected, and to perform other duties.


Madam Chairperson, from what is happening around the globe, the ministry is clearly informed and set up because climate change is a topical issue internationally. Having said that, it is my considered view that even as we protect the environment, we should set our own standards. I am a proponent of looking at Zambia, our only country, and its problems. Let us not be influenced by foreign forces or what others have done. I say this because a number of economic activities will be restricted because following the developed world, in whatever international conferences to which we are invited and conventions we are convinced to sign without thoroughly checking what we are signing for, will lead to our poverty levels going up. So, whilst the ministry is important and, if it plays its roles very well, it can bring good results, there is another side to it where we will be restricted in the use of our natural resources.


Madam Chairperson, the United States of America (USA), Britain and other European countries, and many other countries are developed and have industrialised; they have factories and different powerful machines, and export various products to us. Meanwhile, we are being restricted under the guise of climate change. I think that it is important for the ministry to strike a balance between protecting the environment, our environment, and providing for our people.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister stated that one of the key roles of the ministry is to revive the collapsed economy. I would like to depart from that kind of thinking because the Zambian economy has never collapsed; it is intact. The infrastructure is solid, and we need to build on the solid infrastructure that our hon. Colleagues in the United Party for National Development (UPND) found. It is wrong to mislead the nation that the economy has collapsed. In fact, I heard this story since 1991; every new Government sings the song of a collapsed economy, but that, to me, is a preparation for failure. So, I urge the Government, even it goes to bed with the International Monetary fund (IMF), to ensure that Zambians interests are taken care of.


Madam Chairperson, clearly, a rise in the cost of fuel and electricity will have a negative impact on the issues of afforestation that the hon. Minister talked about. A rise in electricity tariffs will lead to a rise in the cutting down of trees for charcoal. So, we need to not agree to the IMF condition on the removal of subsidies. I must put it on record that I am against the removal of subsidies on electricity and fuel and that this position is informed by the fact that small-scale or micro businesses; the hammer mills, the barbershops and others, rely on energy to operate.


Madam Chairperson, I appeal to the hon. Minister to realise that the starting point is funding the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) adequately so that it is capacitated to do its job very well. I am aware that ZEMA has been in existence for years, but it still has some administrative issues. Therefore, I advocate for an increase in the funding for ZEMA.


Madam Chairperson, I am aware that the UPND has taken drastic measures in the first few days of being in Government. However, it would have been easier for it to wait and understand issues more because, clearly, the direction it is taking is not the right one. I can see serious teething problems with regard to the governance of this country. Already, as I mentioned, we expect the price of fuel to go up next year, and that will affect the economy very negatively. Therefore, the alleged rebuilding of the collapsed economy is now, actually, collapsing the rebuilt economy. That said, I also say, and this is my point, that the ministry must look at the Zambian question. What is it that Zambia needs? It should not play a role that has been set for it by the international community because Zambia’s problems are unique. Clearly, I do not want to see international forces influence us to the extent that we fail to industrialise and comprise our development because the industrialised countries are talking about carbon emissions and other issues. Let those who have developed worry about that while we look at our industrialisation.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr Twasa (Kasenengwa): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for the opportunity to debate Vote 53. I also thank the hon. Minister of Green Economy and Environment for that elaborate policy statement. I assure him that I totally support his ministry, as promoting a green economy is very good for our country and the entire world. I am, however, disappointed that the ministry has not been funded enough. Maybe, it is because it is still in its infancy or, perhaps, it is experimental. However, I want to believe that with the support of every Zambian, it will receive a lot more support and grow.


Madam Chairperson, the problem we have in this country is that everything has been politicised. The Ministry of Green Economy and Environment is very important, just like the ministries of Agriculture, Finance and National Planning, and any other ministries in this country, and I would support the hon. Minister having a multi-sectorial approach to the operations of the ministry because for it to succeed, it needs the involvement of every other ministry.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister talked about deforestation. Now, we need to talk about reforestation. Funny enough, this is December, but we still do not have rainfall, and we know where the problem is. The weather has become part of our greeting, just like ‘How are you?’, and people say, “Ah, kwapya mwe!” Everyone is saying ‘kwapya’, which means, ‘It is hot’, and we know that the problem is all about climate change.


Madam Chairperson, I said that the problem in this country is that everything has been politicised. If this ministry can come up with the policy that every household must plant a tree every year, we will see some positive effects on what we are seeing today.


Madam Chairperson, we are saying we should have a multi-sectoral approach to the operations of the ministry because for it to be effective, it needs the involvement of organisations like ZESCO Limited and schools. Every school must come up with a programme of planting trees every year. Further, whenever the Road Development Agency (RDA) or the Ministry Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development signs a contract, it should insert a clause in the contract that makes it mandatory for contractors to plant trees. We need that yesterday.


Madam Chairperson, I was not given time to contribute to the debate on Head 21. Had I been given, I would have proposed that we turn our highways into authorities, as it was going to be easier for the hon. Minister to work with the authorities so that wherever the road authorities operate,  we have good forests along the roads. We are being affected every year.


Madam Chairperson, we need the involvement of learning institutions. So, the ministry has to visit them, and this is why I am saying that the funding is not enough; the ministry needs to work hard for us to reverse the effects of what we are seeing today. We need a lot of effort, and we totally need to support the ministry. There is nothing like being in the Opposition or the Ruling Party because climate change affects every one of us.


 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Twasa: The hon. Minister should visit all the learning institutions whether private or Government, tertiary or whatever level, and make sure that they have programmes for planting trees or contributing positively to our environment in other ways for us to reverse the negative effects. The positive effects may not be seen immediately, but we should do it for future generations. What we are enjoying today are the results of the efforts of our fore parents, who were very focused.


Madam Chairperson, I appeal to the hon. Minister to modernise the Zambia Meteorological Department because we are tired of seeing weather reports that are quite over-generalised every day. We often hear weather forecast reports about the possibility of ‘some rain and thunder storms in some places’. Which places? We want the department to give us accurate weather reports, which are very good for farmers, as they help them to plan. Accurate weather reports are also very good for everyone else, as we live in a modern world. I would want to know what time there would be a thunderstorm in Kanyama on a given day so that I know what time to go there or avoid going there if I have a programme there. Equally, I would want to know whether there would be a thunderstorm in my constituency, Kwenje Ward in particular, and the amount of rainfall we would have, for example, whether it is the kind that would destroy houses, churches and schools, so that people are warned. We do not want to hear that the conditions will be fairly cloudy without knowing where. We need accurate weather reports so that farmers and travellers can plan.


Madam Chairperson, with these few words, I support the budget, although I insist that it is not adequate. When I look the magnitude of work that the ministry will have to undertake, I think that the  ministry needs to be given more money. Let my colleagues on the right put me in Government and see how ‘I’m gonna do this thing man’.




The Chairperson: Are we in America?


Mr Twasa: Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mundubile (Mporokoso): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for this opportunity to make a few comments on this very important Vote.


Madam Chairperson, this ministry is very important. Being a new ministry, of course, we expect it to have some teething problems. However, I want to make a few comments on the effects of climate change and, especially, the engagements we normally have at the global level.


Madam Chairperson, many a time, we have to dance a very delicate dance. First of all, we must appreciate our situation, as a country. Being poor, it must be understood that predominantly, our people rely on forests for their medicines, energy, construction and everything else. So, even as we commit ourselves to international conventions, we must be fully aware of the environment we operate in. We have seen that even some developed countries do not participate in most of the conferences, yet those are countries that have caused a lot harm to the environment due to industrialisation. We, as a growing economy, depending on how we negotiate or the commitments we make, may suppress our industrial growth. So, like I said, it is a delicate dance that we need to be in.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister knows very well that there are looming increases, for instance, in electricity tariffs. So, when we commit ourselves to agreements that make it almost impossible for our people to harvest wood as a source of energy, we put our people in a very awkward situation, and we know that charcoal burning has been a very difficult economic activity to stop. So, as much as I do not support it, we have to consider what options the people have. Like I said, there must be due consideration of our environment and our situation even as we commit ourselves to making certain changes or rules, going forward.


Madam Chairperson, one of the biggest challenges we face today is deforestation, and this is the battle we must fight head-on. We see many trees getting cut. Yes, we may set up road blocks and harass the charcoal burners coming from Hon. Masebo’s constituency, Chongwe, but there are hundreds of truckloads of rosewood timber going out of the country every day in broad daylight at the expense of our poor people, who have no means of evading road blocks or playing around with the rules.


Madam Chairperson, there was an article about containers of mukula found in Kawambwa. The hon. Minister must fight such vices head-on. It is true that we are going through very difficult times economically and the temptation is very high on the part of those who have been tasked to enforce the law and stop the passage of those containers of mukula. However, maybe, what we saw yesterday was just the tip of the iceberg. So, is very important that the ministry ups its game and brings that to an end.


Madam Chairperson, looking at the Forest Act of 2015, I feel that it is very comprehensive and able to assist the ministry to tackle some of the challenges that we are identifying. For instance, it will be easier if the management of forests is done in conjunction with the communities; it will be easier to control the communities and for the communities to help the ministry to provide security around the forests. I know that the Act provides for Forest Rangers, for instance; community forest management committees; et cetera, but there has been no full operationalisation of the Act. So, I suggest to the hon. Minister that he puts this matter at the centre of his activities. There should be close collaboration between his ministry and the communities so that even when the ministry wants to prohibit certain activities, it should be in agreement with the communities so that there is buy-in into what the ministry is trying to do. That way, the hon. Minister will find it a lot easier to implement programmes.


Going forward, Madam Chairperson, if you look at the export of timber from this country, you will see that we are losing on many fronts and that there are no real benefit to the Government because the exporters pay only production and conveyance fees to the Government, which are minimal. So, there is no impact on the Treasury, yet the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, needs that money. We are given the impression that the Government makes money out of the production licences and fees, but the hon. Minister has to take another look at that.  


Madam Chairperson, by allowing logs to go out, we are exporting jobs, yet the New Dawn Government has made an undertaking to create jobs, and this is one of the sectors in which employment can be created by encouraging people to do value addition. The two gains from that will be that you will not see so many truckloads of timber produced per month because the harvesting of timber will be dependent on the capacity to convert the timber into finished products. That would already be a control on the exit of timber from this country, thereby slowing down the rate of deforestation. The second gain would be the creation of jobs for the youths. We know that the budget that was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, especially, through the increased allocation to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), we are encouraging youths at the local level to manufacture desks. That, I think, is the way to utilise our timber. I, therefore, appeal to the hon. Minister to just put his foot down and bring the export of logs to an end. There should be no compromise on that. We need to do that so that we can see increased activity in that sector at a local level and reduced deforestation because we know that an average factory might not be able to consume even two truckloads a month while allowing raw timber to be exported can result in a hundred containers leaving each one of our borders every day, and that has a very big impact on deforestation. If the hon. Minister has driven on the Mongu/Kaoma Road, he has been saddened by the number of truckloads leaving that region for export.


Madam Chairperson, I re-emphasise that there is a better way of using our wood; a way that would create employment and reduce deforestation, going forward.


With those few remarks, Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


Mr J. Chibuye: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkulukusa (Katuba): Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister for his presentation of the policy statement on his Vote. I have just four things to share as I support the budget.


Madam Chairperson, firstly, I encourage the hon. Minister to incorporate the private sector in his efforts towards a green economy. For example, it would be good to introduce a Zambian green label for private sector players who produce both consumer and non-consumer goods, and I am sure that if well marketed, this would create a lot of awareness on how every manufacturing company can contribute to efforts to save mother nature. That way, the consumers, too, can demand only products that are green economy-friendly, which would have a Zambian green label as a mark of quality.


Madam Chairperson, secondly, the concept a green market and a green label can be extended to the tourism industry to enhance positive perceptions and reposition our destinations in the tourism realm. Today, many travellers from all over the globe are looking for destinations that promote a green economy because they know that is the only way tourism is going to remain sustainable. So, if, for example, we encourage lodges built in national parks and any other area to all preserve the environments in which they operate and have a deliberate policy to be conscious of the environment, that is going to increase tourist arrivals and reposition our destinations.


Madam Chairperson, thirdly, there might be a need for us to come up with some sort of an award to celebrate organisations and institutions that will have deliberate policies that encourage concepts of a green economy in their value chains. So, maybe, we should celebrate those who will champion a green economy in their delivery of services, maybe, at the end of the year, on any day or on the day the world celebrates the green environment. That way, we will encourage such people to do more to save the environment.


Madam Chairperson, fourthly, there are many rumours about there being a lot of hidden mukula lying idly, which many people thought they would export after the elections. Maybe, this is the time to conduct an audit of the mukula lying idly in the country, as selling it could bring a lot of revenue into the promotion of a green environment in the country. I am sure, as we are feeling the effects of deforestation and climate change, especially in the agricultural sector, everybody is going to agree that making a deliberate effort to combat deforestation is good, as it will save the environment. The idea will be welcomed by many.


Madam Chairperson, I encourage the hon. Minister to incorporate these ideas and customise them to the Zambian situation so that companies and organisations operating in Zambia develop deliberate policies. With the money that we can realise from the sale of some of the mukula that could be hidden in some areas, I am sure we are going to have a lot of impact, going forward, and see a reduction in deforestation, as we are going to see a more conscientious approach to production of goods and services, and many more Zambians and international guests are going to demand products that are produced in a manner that preserves the wider environment and the wider economy. Many organisations will also ensure that the bottom line is not only profit, but also the environment, which are the planet and its people.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Eng. Nzovu: Madam Chairperson, I inform the House that issues of climate change are here and that we must own up to them. There was the suggestion that issues of climate change are being imposed on us. However, the drought and floods we are experiencing have nothing to do with the Western world and everything to do with Zambia. When there is a drought, our few resources are used to secure food for the affected people. Further, when there are floods, infrastructure is destroyed. So, it is very important that we look at these issues.


Madam Chairperson, the developmental agenda is still the same, and we need to take it on the green path. In our quest to develop, the use of natural resources will increase because the economy is in dire straits.


Madam Chairperson, I heard the argument that the economy is okay. Were that the case, we would not have problems servicing our debts. We are the first country to defaulted on debt. Further, as a country, we get revenue from local sources, but take more than 70 per cent of that money to debt service. So, we are in problems.


Madam Chairperson, Hon. E. Tembo said that the ministry is expected to play a very important part. Yes, that is true. As regards pressure from foreign countries influencing our development agenda, I assure him that we will develop our own agenda, obviously, taking into account various international agreements like the Paris and Tokyo agreements because the environment knows no boundaries. We live in one global community.


Madam Chairperson, on issues to do with the conditionalities of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), again, we must own the programme, as the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Dr Musokotwane, would tell us because we are in a state of economic decline. Remember, the IMF will give us support in repaying our various debts, and it charges a minimum interest rate of only 0.75 per cent over a ten-year period. What more can we ask for? The House may wish to note that there is no alternative to that programme.


Madam Chairperson, indeed, we will look at the Forest Act of 2015, which is quite comprehensive, and we are already working with the various communities. We are looking at the structure of the fees and penalties, which are low. We are also looking at how we can empower our people as we fight deforestation, and that is the reason the hon. Minister of Agriculture is looking at enhancing the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), and our citizens are being empowered through mining activities.


Madam Chairperson, I thank all the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on the aspirations of the ministry through this budget, and I ask them to support the budget. This is a non-partisan issue, as environmental degradation affects all of us, and issues of climate change are here,  and we must own to them.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Vote 53 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


VOTE 37 – (Ministry of Finance and National Planning – K6,439,221,845)


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I am most grateful for this opportunity to present my policy statement on the 2022 Estimates of Expenditure for the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. The House might recall that my ministry was created in September, 2021, by a pronouncement of the President of the Republic.


Madam Chairperson, the broad mandate of the ministry is national development planning, and economic and financial management in order to foster socio-economic development. The ministry draws its statutory and portfolio functions from Government Gazette Notice No. 1123 of 2021.


Madam Chairperson, before I outline the key objectives of the ministry and the programmes that will be implemented in 2022, I will briefly comment on the performance of the ministry during the current fiscal year.


Madam Chairperson, during the 2021 Fiscal Year, the ministry’s approved budget was K4,076,026,348. A supplementary budget of K1.8 billion was also granted, bringing the total budget to K5.9 billion, of which K3.9 billion had been funded by the end of November, 2021, representing 66.5 per cent of the approved amount. The K3.9 billion was spent on the following key programmes:


  1. Economic Management;


  1. Fiscal Management;
  2. Public Financial Management;
  3. Internal Audit and Risk Management; and
  4. Procurement and Stores Management.


Madam Chairperson, while recognising the challenges, limitations and ineffectiveness, the implementation of the mentioned programmes was aimed at supporting economic growth, and promoting better public financial management and accountability. The programmes were also aimed at enhancing co-ordination of development programmes around the country.


Madam Chairperson, in order to improve domestic revenue mobilisation and service delivery, the Government, through the ministry, continued with the implementation of the GSB and payment gateway. The Government also undertook payroll verification exercises in order to curtail leakages through the payroll due to ghost workers. Further, to strengthen payroll control, training was undertaken on the revised payroll workflows and responsibilities to address identified weaknesses, such as a lack of segregation of duties. Through the now defunct Ministry of National Development Planning, socio-economic planning, and monitoring and evaluation programmes were also implemented.


Madam Chairperson, looking ahead to 2022, the ministry, in collaboration with other wings of the Government, will implement and co-ordinate policy measures to help in the effective management of the economy. Allow me to present the defining features of the ministry’s 2022 budget as provided for under Vote 37.


2022 Budget


Madam Chairperson, the total allocation to the ministry for the 2022 Fiscal Year is K6,439,221,845. The House might wish to note that over 70 per cent of this budget has been provided to cater for cross-cutting Government-wide expenditures that I will outline.


Madam Chairperson, of the allocation of K6,439,221,845, K2.3 billion or 36 per cent has been allocated to meeting the Government’s share of statutory obligations for all civil servants, which is centrally budgeted for under the ministry. Other notable allocations under the programme include those to the Employee Funeral Scheme, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), retirees and separatees payroll, constitutional posts and contract gratuity.


Madam Chairperson, K2.1 billion or 32 per cent is meant for pension fund contributions, covering K1.74 billion towards the pensions fund financing gap and K0.33 billion for Public Service pension fund contributions. Further, K1.5 billion or 24 per cent has been put aside for transfers to grant-aided institutions, including the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), which have been allocated K1.3 billion and K40 million, respectively.


Madam Chairperson, the remaining K521 million is proposed to be allocated to other expenses, out of which K124 million is budgeted for Recurrent Departmental Charges (RDCs) for the ministry while the balance of K379 million is meant to cater for other expenses, including for a population census, bank charges, accountable documents, licence fees and supply of goods and services.


Madam Chairperson, the specific programmes that will be implemented under Vote 37 are as follows:


  1. Economic Management;
  2. Fiscal Management;
  3. Public Financial Management;
  4. Internal Audit and Risk Management;
  5. Socio-Economic Planning and Co-ordination;
  6. Monitoring and Evaluation; and
  7. Management and Support Services.


Madam Chairperson, the Economic Management Programme, the core objective is to work collaboratively with economic sector players in supporting efforts towards the attainment and maintenance of an appropriate micro-economic environment; the Fiscal Management Programme will spearhead the enhancement of domestic resource mobilisation; in the Public Finance Management Programme, resources will be applied to the strengthening of public finance management in the Government. The sub-programmes falling under this programme include financial information and reporting, local government financial management, payroll management, Treasury services and cash management; under the Internal Audit and Risk Management Programme, the resources allocated will help to improve internal audit and risk management; the Socio-Economic Planning and Co-ordination Programme will spearhead the finalisation of the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP) and its implementation plan, including implementation plans for provinces and districts. In addition, the programme will fund the National Development Co-ordination Committee (NDCC); the National Monitoring and Evaluation Programme will focus on the full operationalisation of the Government-wide monitoring and evaluation system; and the Management and Support Services Programme will facilitate effective co-ordination, strategic planning, ministerial budgeting and other important support services.


In conclusion, Madam Chairperson, I emphasise that the thrust of the ministry will be towards the effective delivery of its mandate through the implementation of the aforementioned programmes. The ministry will further pursue the effective implementation of public management processes in order to optimise the utilisation of public resources and maximise domestic resource mobilisation. This will be achieved by increasing the use of electronic platforms in the collection of both taxes and non-tax revenue.


Madam Chairperson, I seek the support of the House, and I thank you.


Mr Mundubile: Thank you very much, Madam Chairperson, for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Vote.


Madam Chairperson, we have been very worried about this Budget being premised on the draft Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP). As provided for by the relevant Act, the Budget should have been premised on a development plan ratified by Parliament. So, going forward, it is very important that the Budget derives its authority from national development plans.


Madam Chairperson, given that brief background, I must say that we are currently implementing the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government did very well when in that regard. With specific reference to the pillars of the 7NDP, which spoke to, for instance, a reduction in developmental inequalities, many may not have understood exactly how development was structured.


Government hon. Members: Question!


Mr Mundubile: No wonder, they question. However, I will endeavour to explain a little on how development was structured.


Madam Chairperson, the many health posts built across the country were in response to the need for a reduction in developmental inequalities because, previously, there had been no health facilities in far-flung areas. The construction of 650 health posts across the country ...




Mr Sing’ombe: Zero!


Mr Mundubile: ... was a direct response to this pillar.


Madam Chairperson, communication towers have been constructed countrywide, and we are all proud to talk to the people in our constituencies because there is telephone communication. Hon. Members no longer rush to their constituencies every Friday because most of them are able to run constituency business from here, and that is because the PF Government invested in communication infrastructure.




Mr Mundubile: I know that even my dear lady, the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, does not have to drive a long distance if she wants something done in the constituency. I have heard her telling the District Chairperson that she would go after two weeks and instructing him to do something on phone.


Ms Tambatamba: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mundubile: That is because there has been investment in infrastructure to reduce developmental inequalities.


Madam Chairperson, human development has also been enhanced through the different schools that have been built across the country. I know that at the beginning, we were told that the Government was borrowing to invest in schools in provinces that had been discriminated against. I remember that I almost rose on a point of order, but I decided to give my brother, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, a chance because the truth of the matter is that those schools were actually funded by the World Bank. I remember very well that the Northern Province was not on the list, and we had to fight –


Mr Samakayi: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.


Mr Samakayi: Madam Chairperson, is the debater in order to mislead this country that the Patriotic Front (PF) built clinics all over the country when in my constituency, in Chief Kakoma’s area, they promised two clinics that they have not built to date? Is he in order to mislead the people of Kakoma that clinics have been built in that chiefdom? The point of order is premised on Standing Order No. 65(1)(b).


Madam Chairperson, I need your serious ruling.


The Chairperson: Hon. Member on the Floor, please, be mindful that the issues you are bringing out have to be very factual. As you are aware, people are listening, and the requirement of this House is that we be factual.


With that guidance in mind, you can continue with your debate.


Mr Mundubile: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the guidance.


Madam Chairperson, the truth is that 650 health posts were constructed across the country, and in some provinces like where my dear brother, Hon. Samakayi, comes from, the clinics allocated were constructed 100 per cent. In the Northern Province, the clinics have not even been completed. So, just to restate the fact, 650 health posts were constructed. However, I do not want to focus on this. The point I am trying to make is that the building of the clinics was informed by the 7NDP and the need for a reduction in developmental inequalities. I made reference to communication towers. I now move to the pillar on enhancement of human development.


Madam Chairperson, the pillar on enhancement of human development is the one under which schools have been built across the country. In this regard, I want to correct one thing I once heard on the Floor of this House that some provinces were left out in the allocation of secondary schools, and I am happy that the hon. Minister who was responsible for Finance then is still in this House. The truth of the matter is that the allocation of the schools was done by the World Bank, not our Government, and it was based on some parameters the World Bank considered, especially in areas where it was already doing some projects, and it called that Phase I. So, the US$120 million that came later, which we were told about on the Floor of this House, was to construct the schools in Phase II. This is very important because we do not want to have a situation in which when implementing the 8NDP and allocating projects, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the officers allocate fewer schools to some provinces on the premise that those provinces were favoured previously when there was no such thing. I thought it was very important to clear this fact so that, going forward, we see equitable distribution of development by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning through the development plans.


Madam Chairperson, there is one pillar on reduction in vulnerability and poverty. We have seen social protection programmes implemented under it, and I think that the PF Government performed very well on it, with the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) and many other social protection programmes being introduced in many areas. Your hon. Members of Parliament are not bothered every month by their grandmothers or mothers asking for money because those people now get an income. These are some of the programmes that we want to see continue under the 8NDP.


Madam Chairperson, we know for certain that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) broke out at some point. So, some of the programmes planned for under the 7NDP may not have been completed. Therefore, as we finalise the 8NDP, let us complete such programmes and continue  from there.


Madam Chairperson, I know that the issue of increasing electricity tariffs is very topical, especially after the removal of subsidies, but we know that there are – Let us talk about fuel. The price of fuel is driven by two fundamental factors. The first are the international oil prices while the second is the exchange rate. If we look at the trend now, we will see that in the past few days, the Kwacha has been gaining and economists are projecting that it might even go to as low as K10 per US$1. As to whether that is true or not, that is a topic for another day. Suffice it to say that there is no need to increase the price of fuel because the gain of the Kwacha should be able to mitigate the effects of the removal of subsidies.


Madam Chairperson, the removal of the subsidy on fuel should not directly translate into a rise in fuel prices. So, whilst we can debate the electricity tariff, I think, there is no debate on the fuel price because it is driven by the two factors I mentioned. Going forward, should the Kwacha lose strength against the United States (US) Dollar due to unforeseen circumstances, it might be justifiable to make an adjustment in the price of fuel. However, as things stands now, I do not think that the people of Zambia should panic. I think that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister of Energy will be prudent enough to ensure that there is no increase in the cost of fuel because the Dollar is going down.


Madam Chairperson, there could be some anxiety about the electricity tariff, but I will not comment much on that. However, based on the strength that the Kwacha has posted in the past few hours, I do not think we should worry about an increase in the price of fuel, and I know that Hon. Dr Musokotwane and the hon. Minister of Energy are very prudent when it comes to implementing some measures. Therefore, going forward, we look forward to a steady price of fuel, as opposed to the anxieties that we are reading about on social media.


Madam Chairperson, with those few remarks, I thank you.


Mr Twasa: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity to debate this Vote. I also thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for his elaborate policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, from my experience, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has perpetually overburdened itself with many responsibilities, one of which is its taking over the responsibility of dismantling debt or, maybe, working with contractors in almost all the market sectors when it would have been prudent for the hon. Minister to shed off some of the responsibilities. Already, there is a lot of talk over the ongoing road contracts. We have seen genuine Zambian contractors be frustrated because of the excitement of the hon. Members of Parliament on the right. Every player in the market is deemed a thief just because they got contracts under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. that should not be the case. We forget that we are killing our professionals in that sector.


Government hon. Member: Question!


Mr Twasa: You may question, but that is the reality.


Madam Chairperson, what we are seeing now, and even the records show, is that only 5 per cent of the contracts in the road sector are awarded to Zambians while 95 per cent are given to foreigners, yet there is too much noise even on the 5 per cent given to Zambian contractors. So, we are not seeing respect for the players in the sector, especially Zambian contractors, who have done very well outside Zambia, but have failed to effectively do their work in Zambia, the country of which they are supposed to be proud, and in which they are supposed to carry out their –


The Chairperson: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.







Mr Twasa: Madam Chairperson, before business was suspended, I was talking about the distribution of road contracts among our contractors, of which only 5 per cent goes to our local contractors while foreigners are given 95 per cent. Even when it comes to the payment of contractors, I know the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will agree with me that there is still a backlog of debt to our local contractors that needs to be dismantled.


Madam Chairperson, there is too much noise on the local contractors, as though they handle 95 per cent of contracts, yet they only handle 5 per cent. Further, we know that the University of Zambia (UNZA) trains many engineers, many of whom do very well when they work in other countries in the region, but do not perform as well when they work locally. Why is that so? Maybe, the ministry or the market players can help us understand. However, I believe, it is because of the noise or the usual pull him down (PHD) syndrome.


Madam Chairperson, I believe, the ministry can do very well, and that there is a way in which we can avoid this. I have always looked at how busy our roads are. There is the Great North Road, the Great East Road and many other roads. Why do we not consider turning those roads into road authorities so that they can manage themselves? That way, when contractors are engaged to work on the roads, the contract will end with the road authorities rather than coming all the way to the Ministry of Finance and National Planning for money to be paid. For instance, there can be a Great East Road Authority, which would work to make sure that no ugly pothole is seen on its road and that the road is well maintained.


Madam Chairperson, tollgates and weighbridges on the roads can also be managed by the road authorities. A Great North Road Authority, busy as it would be, would manage its own resources, hire contractors to work on the roads and pay them. Maybe, the work of the Ministry of Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development would be to ensure that the authorities discharge their functions well. In that way, we might see a reduction in the backlog of payments that are supposed to be made by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning to contractors through institutions like the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) and the Road Development Agency (RDA). We would do better if we took the route of turning roads into authorities.


Madam Chairperson, going back to what we were talking about regarding the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, road authorities would work with the ministry to come up with modalities for ensuring that our roads were green.


Madam Chairperson, going forward, we should be working on managing debt and avoiding incurring debt to the extent that we are depriving our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of contracts and incomes. Instead of promoting them, we are stressing them more and retarding their growth. So, I hope we can take that route and see how best we can take up some of these initiatives.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I thank you. I will be very brief in winding up the debate.


Madam Chairperson, I thank all those who debated for the contributions that they have made.


Madam Chairperson, regarding the relationship between the 2022 Budget and the Eighth National Development Plan (8NDP), it is important to note that this was the year of change and that the new Government that came in had to draw a Budget in a very short period and, at the same time, not only had to conclude the 8NDP, but also make sure that its views were reflected in that plan. It was not possible to do both because then we would have needed to conclude the plan and, after that, make the Budget. Clearly, that was impossible in a year like this one. However, we also need to know that many of the issues that we plan around remain constant or relevant from plan to plan. For example, I know that under the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which is just ending, there were discussions on constructing more schools; improving the teacher-pupil ratio, in other words, hiring teachers; and taking health services nearer to the people. The question is whether those objectives were attained under the 7NDP, and the answer is ‘No’, and the reason is that the implementation of the 7NDP was severely disrupted because most of the money was not borrowed to finance what was in the plan, but to build roads and some other infrastructure in a very unco-ordinated manner. Therefore, the issue of constructing schools is outstanding. A few moments ago, we were hearing stories about schools that had been left at certain levels and abandoned. As we make the 2022 Budget, we focus on completing such projects. So, there is no contradiction.


Madam Chairperson, with those words, once again, I thank everyone who debated.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


VOTE 37 – (Ministry of Finance and National Planning – K6,439,221,845)


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment on page 414, under Table 5: Programme Allocation by Subprogramme, Paragraph 1:


  1. By the insertion of the letter “K” immediately before the words “94.1 million”; and
  2. By the insertion of the word billion” immediately after the number “K2.1”.


Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.


Clause 37, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.


VOTE 46 – (The Ministry of Health – K12,416,098,313)


The Minister of Health (Mrs Masebo): Madam Chairperson, I thank you and the hon. Members of this House for this opportunity to present my statement in support of my ministry’s 2022 budget.


Madam Chairperson, let me begin by referring to the theme of the 2022 Budget, which is, “Growth, Jobs and Taking Development Closer to the People”. The United Party for National Development (UPND) Government will always put the people of this country at the centre of its socio-economic development agenda. This is key, as there is no country that can develop unless its people are healthy and productive. I remind the House that this conviction is perfectly in tandem with the UPND Manifesto. Further, His Excellency the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, set the tone for our development agenda in his address to the First Session of the Thirteenth National Assembly by emphatically stating that development was not possible without a healthy population. As such, health is not only a social imperative, but also an economic asset and a pillar of human capital development. In this vein, the 2022 Budget has articulated the aspiration of the New Dawn Administration to steer the country towards attaining universal access to quality health care services. The Budget has further highlighted key health systems strengthening interventions to be employed to achieve this aspiration.


Madam Chairperson, in line with the mandate of the ministry, its budget will support the provision of equitable access to quality promotive, preventive, curative, palliative and rehabilitative health care at all levels of service delivery. In this regard, the Ministry of Health will continue to focus on the provision of public health and clinical health programmes using an integrated approach. This will entail provision of adequate and competent human resources for health, improving access to essential drugs and medical supplies, construction and rehabilitation of health infrastructure, and provision of medical equipment. The ministry will also continue to focus on the implementation of high-impact interventions aimed at reducing maternal and child morbidity and mortality in the country. All these objectives will be pursued to ensure the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include eliminating gender inequality, reducing poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives, and promoting well-being for all.


Madam Chairperson, in its quest to improve the health and wellbeing of our people, the ministry will focus on the principles of equity of access, affordability, accountability, transparency, cost-effectiveness, partnerships, decentralisation and good leadership.


Madam Chairperson, the 2022 Budget has amplified the importance of decentralisation by taking resources and decision-making closer to our people. As a sector, we fully support the increase in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), from K1.5 million to K25.7 million per constituency. We are delighted about this because the fund will also support health service delivery and address the social determinants of health, such as water and sanitation. So, we will fully support decentralisation and provide the technical support necessary for the participation of our people in national development efforts. Further, we are encouraged by the vigour to sustain and continue the protection of the poor and vulnerable through the various social safety net programmes. After all, the beneficiaries  of such programmes are the ones who put the UPND in power on 12th August, 2021.


Madam Chairperson, one of the means of attaining universal access to quality healthcare services is ensuring sound and sustainable healthcare financing. In this regard, I am happy that the New Dawn Administration will reform the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to make it more efficient and effective in responding to the needs of people. As we do so, we will take into consideration some of the concerns raised on the Floor of this House on the scheme.


Performance of the 2021 Budget


Madam Chairperson, the, disbursement to the Ministry of Health for Government non-personal emoluments was at 58 per cent, as at 30th September, 2021. I am hopeful that by the end of the year, the disbursements from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning will have got closer to 100 per cent, as that will facilitate implementation of all planned programmes in our health facilities, training schools and statutory bodies.


Madam Chairperson, the ministry continued implementing interventions aimed at reducing maternal death. One of the major programmes implemented is mentorship on maternal and new-born care interventions.


Madam Chairperson, malaria continues to account for a large proportion of deaths in our health facilities, and its incidence stood at 471 per 1,000 in 2020, compared with 341 per 1,000 in 2019. The ministry will continue scaling up interventions aimed at eliminating the disease.


Madam Chairperson, on the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), in 2021, the ministry continued to focus on attaining the vision of reducing the number of new infections. We are concerned that new infections among girls and boys continue to be high


Madam Chairperson, tuberculosis (TB) remains a disease of public health importance in Zambia and ranks among the top ten causes of mortality. Therefore, the ministry has continued to scale up interventions aimed at reducing the number of deaths associated with the disease.


Madam Chairperson, on human resources, the ministry’s target in the National Health Strategic Plan for 2016 to 2021 was to recruit 30,000 health workers. However, as at August, 2021, it had managed to recruit 25,448, representing 85 per cent of the targeted number. In 2021, 1,761 health workers were recruited. These recruitments made it possible for more facilities in the country to have, at least, one qualified officer.


Policy Direction and Key Activities for 2022


Madam Chairperson, I commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for increasing, in nominal terms, the 2022 allocation to the Ministry of Health by 45 per cent compared with the 2021 allocation.


Madam Chairperson, this Government is fully aware of the requirement to increase the share of sector in the National Budget to 15 percent in line with the Abuja Declaration. It is important to state that although the sector needs more resources to attain both national and international goals and targets, the increase in the 2022 Budget is progressive, and the Government will continue improving on the funding levels.


Madam Chairperson, the overall objective guiding the 2022 allocation to the health sector is the improvement of the health status of Zambians, and we hope to achieve this by strengthening health systems, and focusing on the health workforce, infrastructure, equipment, transport, medicines, vaccines and medical supplies.


Madam Chairperson, the UPND Government will endeavour to strike a better balance among promoting good health and preventing diseases, and ensuring prompt and effective treatment, rehabilitative and palliative care services. In this regard, we are thrilled that the Budget has provided K12.4 billion for implementing the programmes set out below.


Human Resources for Health


Madam Chairperson, the human resources crisis that has continued to be a major challenge facing the health sector, especially in hard-to-reach areas, is of great concern. However, I am happy to say that in the 2022 Budget, the provision for the recruitment and deployment of 11,200 healthcare workers countrywide is unprecedented.


Essential Medicines and Medical Supplies


Madam Chairperson, a key objective of the UPND Administration is to facilitate equitable access to good quality, effective and safe essential drugs and medical supplies by our people. In line with this aspiration, the 2022 Budget has dedicated significant resources to the procurement of drugs, vaccines and medical supplies. In this regard, a provision of K2.7 billion has been made for the procurement of essential medicine and medical supplies while K700 million has been provided for the procurement of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) vaccines, bringing the total for medical commodities to K3.4 billion. This allocation is more than 100 per cent of what was allocated in 2021, signalling the serious intentions of the New Dawn Administration to end the issuance of prescriptions to our people when they visit health facilities in the country. With these funds, the ministry will be able to improve drug availability in all our health facilities.


Infrastructure and Equipment


Madam Chairperson, most of our health facilities have dilapidated infrastructure and inadequate equipment. Today, it is not uncommon to go to a hospital and find that the x-ray machine, the ultrasound Scanners, dental equipment, Computerised Tomography (CT) Scanners and Magnetic Resonance Imaging ( MRI) machines are either not available or non-functional, thereby denying a service to our people, who have to cover long distances to access the services.


Madam Chairperson, equipping health facilities with appropriate medical and non-medical equipment will be treated as a top propriety. For this reason, the programme has been allocated K196 million, and 2022 will be the beginning of better things to come in terms of equipment in our hospitals, and we will continue building on that in the next five years.


Madam Chairperson, in 2022, the construction and completion of health facilities countrywide has been allocated K196 million, out of which K34 million has been provided for completing health posts in the various parts of the country. We will prioritise the completion of ongoing health infrastructure projects in order for us to get immediate returns, though consideration might be given to our starting new projects where evidence shows that there is a critical need to do so. The full details of the infrastructure projects will be made available in the ministry’s work plan for 2022.


Madam Chairperson, this Government will prioritise the procurement of ambulances, utility vehicles, motorcycles and water transport. One of the most important reasons we continue to lose mothers to pregnancy-related complications is the delay in referring women to more advanced health facilities due to the inadequate number of ambulances. Therefore, this Government will prioritise investment in the health sector transport system in order to strengthen the referral system and scale up the implementation of public health programmes.


Madam Chairperson, I am happy to inform the House that the ministry is being supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to undertake a service availability and readiness assessment, which will generate information on the status and distribution of health infrastructure, equipment, transport and human resource countrywide. That information will be used in the development of the health infrastructure plan for the next five years.


Madam Chairperson, the core business of the ministry is the provision of health services to Zambians. In this regard, although Zambia is experiencing some decrease in its burden of diseases like malaria, HIV/AIDS and TB, the incidence of communicable and non-communicable diseases as well as maternal and child deaths is still unacceptably high. Therefore, in 2022, we shall implement various core interventions in the year 2022. To improve hospital services countrywide, K833 million has been allocated, which represents a 33 per cent increase on the allocation in the 2021 Budget.


Madam Chairperson, the overall import of our policy direction in 2022 is to continue building on our collective efforts to strengthen and scale up high-impact and evidence-based health interventions across the continuum of care. Our investment will continue to be informed by the key pillars of our healthcare system, namely human resources for health, healthcare financing, health infrastructure, medicine and medical supplies, health information, research, and leadership and governance.


Madam Chairperson, we shall continue using a multi-sectoral approach informed by the Eighth National Development Plan.


Madam Chairperson, let me thank our partners who have supported our nation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and in ensuring continuity of health service provision. Our frontline healthcare workers have been our true heroes and heroines, and we commend them for their allegiance to serving lives not only from COVID-19, but also other public health concerns.


Madam Chairperson, investing in primary health care as a strategy for attaining our vision in health will continue to be emphasised through a multi-sectoral approach and through the highest level of accountability, transparency and integrity in our work at all levels.


Madam Chairperson, with those words, I ask this House to support the 2022 budget for the Ministry of Health.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: Hon. Members, the hon. Minister had asked for two extra minutes because she had a lot of important information to share, and that is why she could not be stopped.


Dr Chilufya (Mansa Central): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very important Vote.


Madam Chairperson, I salute the hon. Minister for the comprehensive policy statement, which has touched on the fundamentals for creating a healthcare system that will drive the agenda for universal health coverage. Succinctly put, the hon. Minister has emphasised that the vision in her Government is health for everyone everywhere, which is universal health coverage. She has also said that she will focus on health system strengthening to make affordable health care available for all Zambians. That is fully supported.


Madam Chairperson, primary health care is fundamental, and decentralising health care is key. The health sector is very well decentralised. Therefore, shifting functions to local governments is good, and addressing the social determinants of health is the best way to ensure a healthy population. That said, education, infrastructure, water and sanitation, and nutrition are all fundamental determiners of health. So, once these are well funded, we will have a population that will be healthy and productive. This is why health care is best provided across the continuum of care through promotion of wellness and prevention of diseases. Before we focus on those who get ill and require curative health services, this approach must be commended.


Madam Chairperson, a key area in the health system that the hon. Minister focused on is human resource for health, which is key in ensuring that we have skilled hands to go out there and attend to everyone. In this regard, the previous Government built a new medical university, the first ever, …


Mr Mwene: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Dr Chilufya: … the first ever medical university created, the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University (LMMU), to accelerate human capital development so that the efforts towards achieving the agenda of universal health coverage are enhanced. Today, I congratulate the Government on graduating the first over 1,000 professionals from that university. I also want to state graciously here that the hon. Minister is a mentor to all of us, politicians, and that her gracious invitation to me to attend the graduation was humbling. I appreciate that very much. The hon. Minister is on the right path, and those health workers are the ones who will drive the universal health coverage agenda.


Mr Mwene: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: a point of order is raised.


Mr Mwene: Madam Chairperson, I rise on a point of order on Hon. Dr Chitalu Chilufya pursuant to Standing Order No. 65(1)(b).


Madam Chairperson, is the hon. Member, who flagged off the distribution of rotten drugs during the time his party was in Government, in order to advise the New Dawn Government on the management of the Ministry of Health?


I need your serious ruling, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: What breach has been committed? Further, kindly cite the Standing Order that has been breached.


Mr Mwene: Madam Chairperson, Standing Order No. 65(1)(b).


The Chairperson: What does it states?


Hon. Member, I do not think the Standing Order that you have cited is the correct one. So, your point of order is not admissible.


Hon. Dr Chilufya, you can continue with your debate.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, thank you very much.


Madam Chairperson, we need to depoliticise health, and this is message for my colleagues on both sides. We cannot defile science. The comment from the hon. Member of Parliament does not even deserve wrath; it deserves sympathy because the ignorance shown is very worrisome.


 Opposition hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chilufya: Madam Chairperson, I want to use this platform to tell the hon. Member of Parliament and the nation that the health profession in this country is solid. We have very well educated health professionals, and this country has never procured expired drugs. So, he should stop misinforming the powers that be. Secondly, it is important to remember that President Hichilema emphasised that he would reward honesty and frown upon dishonesty. Politics is going to kill the people of the country. I f we leave science out, then, the hon. Member will cheat and say that the expired were drugs, but he will not mislead the powers that be.


 The Chairperson: Order, Hon. Dr Chilufya!


“Cheating” is unparliamentary. Please, withdraw it and replace it with another word.


Dr Chilufya: Dishonesty must be frowned upon.


Madam Chairperson, for the sake of the hon. Member of Parliament, who has exhibited such worrisome levels of poverty of knowledge, I want to state that, firstly, …




The Chairperson: Order!


Can we, please, focus on the policy statement. In that way, I think, we will make progress. Further, hon. Members on the right, can we, please, avoid interjections. We have time to debate. So, just indicate if you want to debate.


You can continue, hon. Member.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Chairperson, Parliament should not be a platform to defame people who are professionals. We are professionals before we became politicians. So, we will not take kindly to people who will defame us using Parliamentary privileges. I emphasise that the previous Government never paid anybody for health centre kits, neither did it procure expired drugs. The system in the country has what we call pharmacovigilance. We weigh what is –




Dr Chilufya:  ‘Pharmacovigilance’ is the science of adverse reactions to medicines. That science is heightened in this country. So, it is not possible to procure expired drugs, and my hon. colleague should pay particular attention to us. We must depoliticise health because it is this kind of politics that will kill people. Health is apolitical, and we must unite and confront poverty and disease using stronger health systems. So, my colleague should take time to learn from people who are better informed.


Madam Chairperson, I want to progress in my debate and emphasise that primary health care –




Dr Chilufya: Do not worry, there will be two minutes added.


Madam Chairperson, primary health care is very important, through the social determinants that the hon. Minister spoke about. Further, ‘Health in All’ is a very important policy that the Government adopted, and it must continue, as it summons all sectors to the table to address issues of health in what they deal with. For instance, the people in infrastructure should ensure that we have better infrastructure for people to be healthy. Equally, those in education should ensure that people are better educated while those in agriculture should ensure that the people are better fed. That is the “Health in All” policy. If all the social determinant are addressed, then, we will  push towards a healthy population.


Madam Chairperson, I congratulate the hon. Minister on stating exactly what the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning said; that we are going to reform the healthcare financing fundamentals of the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) to ensure that everybody is covered. I say to this is a listening Government that to move the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is to restrict it to workers while to leave it in the Ministry of Health is to ensure that everybody accesses it. Solidarity is the key, and the hon. Minister must ensure that those who do not have and those who have are both covered.


Madam Chairperson, NHIMA is a robust healthcare financing mechanism that covers everyone, and it is important for the hon. Minister to reclaims it from the other ministry so that she can have extra money to buy drugs. The biggest problem in the supply chain is not the cheap politics of quality of drugs and all these things; it is funding. So, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning must fund this sector adequately so that drugs are paid for.


Madam, Chairperson, it must be emphasised that health security is key. In the face of Omicron, it is critical that financing is adequate for testing, genomic surveillance and treatment of cases, in case of the numbers increasing in our hospitals. It is important to start preparing right now. Firstly, we must be in the community to disrupt transmission there by testing adequately, and picking up cases early to isolate them. For those who fall ill, let us have adequate bed spaces and oxygen. Otherwise, if we do not prepare adequately, let us remember that aviation is disrupted now because of the restrictions. So, it is important that the hon. Minister lobbies the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to provide adequate money for oxygen and  bed space to ensure that we are ready for Omicron.


The Chairperson: Order!


Madam Chairperson, if the hon. Minister speaks for ten minutes, we need to be given extra time to respond.


Madam Chairperson, I thank you.


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for affording me the opportunity to make some comments –


The Chairperson: Order, Hon. Dr Kalila!


Sorry, just a reminder. When we are in a Committee of the Whole House, the Presiding Officer is addressed as ‘Chairperson’.




Dr Kalila: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for this reminder.


Madam Chairperson, I was just beginning my debate by congratulating the hon. Minister of Health on ably presenting her policy statement with regard to the budget for her ministry. In so doing, I also want to congratulate her together with the hon. Minister of Education who, on Monday, ably reaffirmed Zambia’s commitment to the Eastern and Southern African commitment to continue the implementation of comprehensive sexuality education in our schools. As you know, that is one of the very important  interventions against increased new Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among our young people, which currently stand at 61,000, the high rate of girls dropping out of school as a result of pregnancy, et cetera. I thought I should mention this because the two hon. Ministers made us proud, and they should never, at any one time, regret or waver in their commitment to the continuation of comprehensive sexuality education. 


Madam Chairperson, let me turn to the budget for the Ministry of Health, which is very important, as has already been stated.


Madam Chairperson, spending on health is important on two fronts. Firstly, it is an investment in the well-being of our people. There is no doubt about this, and it has already been stated. Secondly, it is a pillar for sustained economic development. We all agree that we cannot come to Parliament if we have a headache or toothache. However, affording all citizens health is a very complicated undertaking that requires a lot of money. When you look at health sector, which includes health services provided by the ministries of Defence, and Home Affairs and Internal Security, our total budget is, in fact, about 13.9 per cent of  the National Budget. Under the Ministry of Health, the budget is 12.4 per cent, of which 10.5 per cent is from the Treasury while only 1.9 per cent is from our co-operating partners. I congratulate the hon. Minister on this because it clearly shows that we are beginning to own health, as only 20 per cent of the sector budget will come from our co-operating partners. This is as it should be.


Madam Chairperson, the overarching goal of the allocations to the health sector, as we have been told, is to strengthen our health system, I assume, to make it more resilient and robust enough to be able to withstand shocks, particularly from emerging health threats like the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – (Inaudible) per cent, and we have correctly allocated money to the recruitment of 11,200 health workers. This is commendable, like my hon. Colleague, Dr Chilufya, has already stated, and I acknowledge that. That is the right way to go.


Madam Chairperson, essential medicines and supplies which, incidentally, is the face of medicine among the people of Zambia; that is what they see, and when they get into a hospital, they want to come out of it with medicines and when they do not, that is a source of complaints. Thankfully, The hon. Minister has doubled the allocation to that programme, and I recall that as the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, we complained that the allocation of 1.3 (per cent? K’billion? K’million?) in the previous years was paltry. Now, the hon. Minister has doubled it. However, even with the doubling, the allocation might still not be adequate because the hon. Minister has inherited a debt at the ministry and there are new facilities spread across the country that are going to be operationalised, and they need essential medicines. Further, the population has increased, and there is the COVID-19 pandemic to which she has rightly allocated K700 million. We did not have that allocation last year. So, we commend the hon. Minister for that.


Madam Chairperson, the state of affairs of medical equipment is a sorry one, and I submit that, perhaps, the hon. Minister should ask for a supplementary budget for medical equipment, which is very important in medical practice, specifically for correct diagnosis of ailments. Therefore, we need equipment. Last year or the other year, the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services visited the Cancer Diseases Hospital – (inaudible) most of it obsolete and some of it unserviceable. That was not all; we went round and found the same state of affairs at all the hospitals, and there is a report to that effect. So, the K196 million we have allocated is far from meeting the demand for medical equipment.


Madam Chairperson, when it comes to infrastructure, obviously, completing projects is the target now, but that might not suffice. The allocation to the Ministry of Health represents 8 per cent of National Budget, which is far from the target of the Abuja Declaration, as the hon. Minister clearly mentioned. So, it might not be enough, and we need to do something as we progress into the year. Otherwise, the hon. Minister will struggle to achieve the noble tasks correctly set out in the policy statement. In this regard, I suggest that the hon. Minister looks at alternative revenue sources, one of which could be the private sector. Private companies have been operating in this country for many years, and they need to begin contributing to the health of their workers. I was cheered the other day when the hon. Minister opened the Marcopolo Hospital, which is an example of what the private sector can do. The hon. Minister must also seal the leakages and losses resulting from impropriety that has been reported to the Public Accounts Committee’s report on that ministry. The hon. Minister can mop up some resources through that and take them to helping the ministry attain its objectives.


Madam Chairperson, let me react to one of the comments made on the Floor of the House by one hon. Member who, in fact, is a former Minister, to the effect that President Hichilema called COVID-19 a hoax. I was appalled to hear that because President HH’s (Hakainde Hichilema’s) commitment to the fight against COVID-19 or the mitigation of its effects is unparalleled and unprecedented. I do recall that his fight started even when he was still in Opposition when  he sent me and the now Vice-President to go and present a paper on the UPND’s position on the fight against COVID-19. Now, he has even taken the fight to his office by recruiting a COVID-19 advisor, which is also unprecedented in Zambia. So, I thought I should dispel that assertion. The President is currently ramping up the vaccination effort in trying to meet the target of 2 million vaccinations by Christmas or end of the year. This is definitely very commendable, and I urge all hon. Members to join this fight and ramp up vaccinations among our people so that this nation and its economy can be saved from the ravaging effects of the pandemic.


Madam Chairperson, I could say more, but I want to leave time for my hon. Colleagues. So, suffice it for me to thank the hon. Minister and congratulate her. As I have said, she is on the right track, although we need more money, as 8 per cent is not enough. Of course, I note the nominal increase, but we could do more with more money.


Madam Chairperson, with those contributions, I thank you.


Mr Mtayachalo (Chama North): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate Vote 46 – Ministry of Health.


Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for her elaborate policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, the Ministry of Health plays a very critical role in providing quality health services to the people of this country. Without a vibrant and efficient health sector, the country cannot be productive. In this regard, I have noticed that there have been increases in some budgetary allocations in the 2022 Budget, but I think that the hon. Minister should continue to knock on the doors of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning so that it can continue to receive more resources, especially given that we are in a period when we are having disease like COVID-19.


Madam Chairperson, I think, the area of research has not been the major focus in our health system. If you look at the Tropical Disease Research Centre (TDRC) in Ndola, which was established, I think, in 1977, you will see that it lacks enough resources to undertake research despite being one of Africa’s finest institutions and being highly esteemed internationally. So, I think, it is important that we allocate more resources to it.


Madam Chairperson, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government made significant progress in the health sector by constructing modern hospitals and equipping them with modern equipment. So, I urge the New Dawn Government to build on the successes of the PF Government and continue to build modern …


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr Mtayachalo: … health institutions in the country.


Madam Chairperson, I come from Chama North, a rural constituency where we still face challenges in terms of health infrastructure. For example, Chama District Hospital is not really complete because male and female patients use one ward. However, I am very optimistic that the ministry will complete it using the 2022 National Budget. Further, the hon. Minister talked about malaria, which is the number one killer disease in Africa, and I think it is important that there is more focus on the fight against it. There is a vaccine against malaria, and I think there is a pilot project in Southern Africa. I hope, Zambia is also a beneficiary.


Madam Chairperson, we are in the Rainy Season. So, most places in rural areas, especially health posts, are inaccessible. The Government should ensure that essential drugs like those for malaria are stocked in all health posts so that even when some areas become inaccessible, people will still be able to access essential medical drugs.


Madam Chairperson, I am happy that the New Dawn Government is going to employ more than 11,000 health workers. This is a step in the right direction. I just hope that even those in  other disciplines, such as pharmacists, who have been complaining that none of them has been employed in the past three or four years, will be employed among the over 11,000.


Madam Chairperson, at times, we have challenges with our health personnel. Gone are the days when the people who were employed as doctors or nurses had passion to work in the Ministry of Health. Nowadays, because of a lack of employment, people just join the ministry without passion. We want to see that culture end. We want our health personnel to respect our people because without patients, we cannot have doctors in health institutions. The Government should also ensure that there is transparency when employing new health workers and employ people from, at least, all the districts. At Chama District Hospital, there are only two medical doctors and one is about to retire, meaning that we will soon have only one medical doctor and, when that person goes on leave, operations and other emergency cases will become a huge challenge.


Madam Chairperson, let me also talk about traditional medicine, which we have neglected while focusing on conventional medicine. It is important that our medical doctors and traditional doctors are able to meet and share ideas. The TDRC undertook clinical tests on the Sondashi Formula (SF2000) but, to date, nothing has come out at all. So, it is my prayer that we start blending conventional medicine and traditional medicine. Some of us grew up in the village, and we never used conventional medicine; we used traditional medicine and were cured. So, instead of looking up to the Western world to come up with vaccines every time, we can come up with our own. Currently, there is global Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic but, so far, I have not heard of our medical doctors coming together with our traditional doctors to find remedies to the disease.


With those few words, Madam Chairperson, I support this budget.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Simushi (Sikongo): Madam Chairperson, thank you very much for according the people of Sikongo the opportunity to add their voice to Vote 46 – Ministry of Health.


Madam Chairperson, from the outset, I say that I support the budget for the Ministry of Health 100 per cent, and I commend the hon. Minister of Health for presenting a statement that gives relief and hope to the people of Zambia insofar as their health is concerned. I must quickly mention that we have the right people in place insofar as the health of the nation is concerned, starting from the President, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister of Health, the iron lady.


Madam Chairperson, where we are coming from in terms of our health sector, we had many challenges, but I am relieved, having heard the hon. Minister say how she plans to address the challenges. In her speech, it is clear that we are going to have access to quality healthcare services in this country; we are going to have drugs and adequate human resources in our hospitals and clinics. In this regard, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning mentioned that we will have 11,200 new staff in the health sector. This is very important, and it is the way we are supposed to manage the country.


Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister stated that infrastructure will be a priority area in the health sector. This is very important, especially to the rural areas like Sikongo, where there is very little infrastructure. The hon. Minister went on to say that equipment will be a priority. I only hope and pray that comes to pass because then, our people in rural areas will, for the first time in their lives, feel that they are part of this country, as quality healthcare services will be taken to our people in rural areas. Allow me to emphasise that the hon. Minister is on the right track and that I have no doubt that what she has brought to the table is what Zambians have been looking for, for a long time.


Madam Chairperson, I come to the issue of decentralisation, on which we see a Government that is walking the talk, as can be seen in all the elements I mentioned that the hon. Minister is trying to address in the 2022 budget. With regard to decentralisation in the health sector, the Government will take healthcare services closer to the people, which means that services like x-rays, ultrasound and electrocardiogram (ECG) will be provided in Sikongo. The hon. Minister also said that ambulances will be taken to rural areas. That is what decentralisation in the health sector entails, and this is very important and commendable. We also want to see dental services be provided in Sikongo and other rural facilities.


Madam Chairperson, I agree with Hon. Dr Chilufya that we should not politicise health care. Much as that is right, however, it is unfortunate that during the Patriotic Front (PF)’s reign, health care was politicised. I think, it was Hon. Chitotela who, on the Floor of this House, said that nineteen healthcare facilities had been built in his constituency while in some of our constituencies, that did not happen. That is what I mean when I say that the PF politicised health care.


Madam Chairperson, let me quickly mention that we are in safe hands. The donors have responded positively to the country’s need for help in providing health care in our country and, I think, this is not by accident, but because we have the right man for President, who goes by the name of Hakainde Hichilema. The co-operating partners are willing to support us because they know that their money is not going to be stolen like it was during the PF Government, when we saw the suspension of funding.


The Chairperson: Order, hon. Member!


The word “stolen” is not parliamentary. Can you withdraw it.


Mr Simushi: Madam Chairperson, I withdraw the word “stolen” and I replace it with ‘misappropriated’.


Madam Chairperson, we have seen a lot of corruption in the Ministry of Health, and I urge the hon. Minister of Health to make sure that the corruption is cleaned. I have no doubt that will be done because I know that the fight against corruption is top on the agenda of the New Dawn Government. I am sure that by the end of five years, the ministry will be providing quality healthcare services to the people. I want to see us have mini-hospitals across this country. We also need to improve and modernise our delivery of health services. Relying on rural health centres should be a thing of the past. To do that, we need to have a good road network and reliable energy supply in rural areas because some equipment can only operate when there is energy.


Madam Chairperson, like the hon. Minister said, we need to invest in infrastructure so that we have housing for our doctors and a good road network on which we are able to transport our patients quickly.


Madam Chairperson, with those few words, I strongly support this budget and reaffirm that our country is now in safe hands. So, our people can go to sleep knowing very well that they have a Government that cares for them.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Wamunyima (Nalolo): Thank you, Madam Chairperson, for allowing me to contribute to the debate on this budget.


Madam Chairperson, outrightly, I support the budget for health. It is, indeed, heart-warming to hear that we are going to have more qualified healthcare staff. The employment of 11,000 health workers is a milestone.


Madam Chairperson the issues in the health sector include a disastrous supply chain, and this is not an emotional or political issue. The Ministry of Health has had a poor supply chain. For example, we have had drugs arrive in the country expired, and this information is in the public domain and the Auditor-General’s Report. So, this needs to be managed as –


Dr Chilufya: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Chairperson, I rise on a point of order in line with Standing Order No. 65.


Madam Chairperson, can the hon. Member of Parliament debating on the Floor of the House state which company in this country ever supplied expired drugs, how much the company was paid and when the drugs were supplied? If he is speculating, this is not a House to speculate in. He must be factual, and that is why I talked about de-politicising health care. It is the politicians who will kill people because of political statements.


Government hon. Member: What about condoms?


Dr Chilufya: Science cannot be defiled.




The Chairperson: Can we have order!


Dr Chilufya: Can the hon. Member of Parliament provide the evidence of what he is saying or stop defaming the previous Government.


The Chairperson: Hon. Member on the Floor, can you, please, be more factual with the issues you are bringing on the Floor so that we avoid interjections and points of order.


You may continue.


Mr Wamunyima: Madam Chairperson, as I speak, the investigative wings are at the Ministry of Health, and it is in the public domain and the Auditor-General’s Report that K533,898 – Anyway, let me proceed to debate.


Madam Chairperson, the issue of health, especially for us, hon. Members of Parliament from the Western Province, is a big problem. Firstly, I represent Nalolo Constituency, where there is no doctor in the whole district. Secondly, works on the district hospital have stalled for over one year eight months and the ambulance that should transport people who need advanced healthcare services is down. Further, the rate of maternal deaths is high because all the motorcycles are broken down. So, there has been no equitable investment in health care, and we need to be serious and not politicise this issue.


Madam Chairperson, I am proud to hear that ambulances will be procured. This is welcome because I represent a constituency with a population of over 63,000 people, but has no ambulance. Why should people walk 20 km to access health care in the 21st Century? The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has done a commendable job in the health sector, and that is why I support this budget unequivocally.


Madam Chairperson, there is a need for sensitisation on how the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA), which came into operation with very little sensitisation, works, and on the deductions being made. We need to have a monitoring and evaluation tool of how effective NHIMA is. How many people are using their NHIMA contributions to access health care? This is something the hon. Minister must look at because people go to hospitals and cannot get medicines or access health care despite the deductions. I think, the narrative on health needs to change.


Madam Chairperson, there is a lot of infrastructure that has never worked in terms of the mobile hospitals that are at various health centres around the country. The hon. Minister should think of a plan or she can, maybe, sell them as scrap metal instead of parking them like they are parked at Lewanika General Hospital in Mongu.


Madam Chairperson, let me come to the delivery of medicines. In areas like the North-Western Province, when you look at delivery versus the order or purchasing, you will discover that most drugs arrive at health centres with low shelf lives. So, what is the point? The supply and delivery chain of health needs to be relooked at intensely, and these issues are in the public domain. When we come here, as hon. Members of Parliament, we must be serious because health is very important. It is a human right. So, it is gratifying to see a Government that will take health seriously, and the hon. Minister should implement controls in the ministry. We cannot have a situation in which drugs are recalled because treatment protocols have been changed, but are only replaced a year later. What happens in the other twelve months? What drugs do people take? All this information that I am telling the hon. Minister is in the public domain and the Auditor-General’s Report.


Madam Chairperson, I come from a constituency that knows no health care. When one dies in Nalolo, one is taken to a mortuary in Senanga because there is no mortuary in Nalolo. Also, for one to get an X-ray, one has to go to Mongu. If one does not have money, one just sits.


Madam Chairperson, we will come to the party with the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and that I heard that in the hon. Minister’s comments, but I support this budget exhaustively because we have been victims of a poor health system. There are some positives that we can commend but, in a nutshell, the benefits of a completely effective health system have not been there.


Madam Chairperson, as a representative of the people of Nalolo, I support this budget and wish the hon. Minister all the best.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr C. Chibuye (Mkushi North): Madam Chairperson, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for her ministerial policy statement.


Madam Chairperson, from the outset, I support the budget for Vote 46 – Ministry of Health, which is K12.4 billion. In supporting this budget, I want to also comment on some areas that I feel should be looked at or improved.


Madam Chairperson, we all know that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation. Without a healthy nation, indeed, there can be no production. It is in this vein that I want to echo the sentiments of the previous speaker, the hon. Member for Nalolo, who emphasised the need for drugs. We have heard many negative songs on the issue of drugs and medicines. Please, this budget must be utilised prudently in all areas that have been allocated, and we want to see drugs in our institutions. The people in Roan Constituency are tired of getting to health facilities only to be given prescriptions to go and buy Panadol and malaria medicine.


Madam Chairperson, we want the hon. Minister to come to our rescue by ensuring that this budget is utilised prudently and to the satisfaction of the people of Zambia. We also want the Government to work on the laboratory. The hon. Minister mentioned that the Government is working on the laboratory services, and it is important, in this era, that when somebody goes to the laboratory for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) tests, let us shorten the period of waiting for the results. Currently, the waiting period is too long. It is also important that when people go to a laboratory, they are attended to immediately because some people go laboratories with conditions they can survive if the causes are identified and treated early. Currently, by the time the patient is started on medication, it could be too late. So, we want the hon. Minister to work on the availability of laboratory reagents and equipment so that we can start matching with the rest of the world.


Madam Chairperson, as the earlier speaker, Hon. Dr Kalila, said, we want the hon. Minister to look at research. Indeed, we have the Tropical Diseases Research Centre (TDRC) in Ndola, which is a very vital institution in terms of research. However, we are seeing very little funds allocated to the institution to undertake more research. Even the Omicron COVID-19 that we are hearing about as a country can also be researched on by our people, as we have many health practitioners and experts who can help us in this field. So, we want to see more money given to health research services.


Madam Chairperson, in terms of food and nutrition, let us up our game. In the past, food and nutrition were part of the lectures our expectant mothers got when they visited antenatal clinics; the expectant mothers were taught what to eat. Today, our expectant mothers are like eating too much junk food, and that is affecting their health. Let us get back to giving nutrition lessons.


Madam Chairperson, training of staff is another important aspect, and we want the hon. Minister to ensure that our staff are trained more. As the hon. Minister said in her speech, we expect this budget to contribute to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially SDG No. 3. We look forward to seeing that.


Madam Chairperson, we also want to see more effort put into the fight against malaria. Let us not forget about malaria and concentrate on new diseases. We all know that malaria is a killer disease. So, the hon. Minister must continue procuring the necessary tools, such as mosquito nets, and facilitating the spraying of houses so that malaria can be countered.


Madam Chairperson, to avoid maternal deaths, our health personnel need to start looking at expectant mothers much earlier and advise them on the right time to go to the health facility for delivery.


Madam Chairperson, as I have said, we also want to see this budget take care of other disease like Tuberculosis (TB) and HIV/AIDS. The fight against these diseases should also benefit from this budget. I am also happy to see that K5.5 billion has been allocated to personal emoluments. We want our frontline health staff who fought COVID-19 when it was reported in Zambia to be paid their monies by the Government. Those who were not paid should be given their monies.


Madam Chairperson, the allocation of 9.2 per cent, which K3.6 billion, to goods and services is also another step in the right direction. Further, 13 per cent, which is K1.6 billion, has been allocated to procurement of assets, and we want the assets that are going to be procured to be pleasing to Zambians. We are tired of hearing about the procurement of assets that do not meet the expectation of Zambians. So, the Government should procure assets that are going to put smiles on the faces of Zambians. We do not want short cuts this time around.


Madam Chairperson, everybody has said something about the K2.7 billion that has been allocated for medical supplies and drugs, and we want the right drugs. We do not want expired things. This time around, we are not going to allow the hon. Minister to procure leaking condoms and expired drugs. This money must be utilised in accordance with the expectations of Zambians.


Madam Chairperson, regarding the K196 million provided for completing infrastructure, I want to mention here that where I come from, the Copperbelt Province, and in my constituency, there is some incomplete infrastructure. However, I want to talk about mental health care, too.


Madam Chairperson, Ndola Teaching Hospital has a Psychiatric Ward whose construction has dragged on for too long. Could the hon. Minister allocate money to that project so that it can be completed. As she is aware, today, there are many mental health cases in the country.


Madam Chairperson, lastly, as the hon. Minister is utilising this money, we expect her to put the boards of directors in place. In case she is not aware, the Zambia Flying Doctors Services has not had a board since 2012. Why? She should visit that institution to confirm what I am saying and put a board in place there.


With these few remarks, Madam Chairperson, I whole-heartedly support this budget because I know that Zambians will benefit greatly from it.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for allowing me to add a female voice. Having been the Vice Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for the past five years, I think, I come with some kind of credence to this discussion.


Madam Chairperson, I really appreciate this ministry and the budget that has been given to it. As already stated, about 12.4 per cent is what we are looking at now, and this gets us closer to the Abuja Declaration benchmark, which calls on us to allocate about 15 per cent of the National Budget to the health sector. We salute the hon. Minister.


Madam Chairperson, we cannot move forward without looking at the past. It is in this country under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government that ambulances were purchased at US$250,000 each, and that was a lot of money for one ambulance. What we saw in the PF Government was the exaggeration of costs in the Ministry of Health. Had money been used prudently, it could have bought more ambulances to cater for places like Chiyuni in Keembe Constituency, where some of you saw an expectant mother being carried on a wooden stretcher to Liteta Hospital, which is about 85 km away, yet we heard of some places where there were more ambulances, clinics and mini-hospitals at the expense of the equal allocation of resources in this country. That should never be repeated under the United Party for National Development (UPND) Government. 


Madam Chairperson, the other point that I want to make is that of sub-standard hospitals or clinics. When you look at some of the clinics that were built, such as Mulonda Clinic in Keembe, you will see that they are a sorry sight, and the money that was used to build them cannot be justified, which means there was a lot of misappropriation of funds and something inherently wrong with those who were doing the purchasing and procurement, and we starved many Zambians of the clinics and mini-hospitals that could have been built across the country.


Madam Chairperson, another thing I want to say, and the hon. Member for Nalolo touched on it, is that many of our health institutions do not have morgues or mortuaries, as we call them in Zambia, and that is unacceptable. We hope that through the New Dawn Government and the hon. Minister’s hard work, we will see mortuaries built in our rural areas because we need to respect people even in their death.


Madam Chairperson, I would be remiss if I did not add that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) statistics are worrying, especially the over 51,000 new infections that were recorded among adolescents in 2021. That speaks to the fact that we still have a lot of work to do; we need to see a lot more sensitisation and establishment more adolescent-friendly places in our health facilities so that our children are able to access proper health care.


Madam Chairperson, another issue that I want to speak on, which we saw around the country, not only at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), but also in in Luapula Province, Mansa District, in to be precise, one of the constituencies, Mutwe Wankoko, to be precise, where we saw people still walking many 15 km or 16 km just to access health care. Additionally, many volunteers had no incentives, yet we know that health should come first, and that good health among the people brings development.


Madam Chairperson, another area that I want to touch on is the job of cleaning up the ministry that we have seen, especially with regard to the purchasing value chain. We know very well that there has been a lot of inflation of prices in this country, and that the Auditor-General’s Reports have cited the Ministry of Health over and over again. If we are to make health a right for every Zambian, particular for us in rural areas and those who live in far-flung areas, we definitely need to use funds wisely and correctly. In this regard, we hope that all those who have misused funds meant for the people of Zambia will be jailed, as that is the only way people will be deterred from abusing public funds.


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kasune: In a country like Singapore, if you are found to have ‘misused money’, which is the parliamentary phrase to use, you are given harsh punishment and used as an example to those who may want to do the same. Here, we allow and normalise ‘misuse’ or ‘misappropriation’, since I am not allowed to say ‘thievery’ of Government resources.


Madam Chairperson, when we misuse funds in the Ministry of Health, in particular, it is as good as allowing certain deaths to occur, in which case, the blood of those who die is on our heads. We were put in the Government for such a time as this; a time to save lives.


Madam Chairperson, when we visited the UTH, we were heart-broken to see babies sharing oxygen supply equipment. Imagine the brain damage that comes out of that, since while one baby is put on the machine, another is starving. No wonder, we have some developmental problems.


Madam Chairperson, I also hope that the ministry will look into the issue of children with cerebral palsy because this is a challenge not only for Keembe Constituency, where families have to take their children for physiotherapy in Mumbwa, but also in many other constituencies.


Madam Chairperson, our mothers deserve to give birth in better facilities. Some of us have lobbied for funds to build mini-hospitals from friends and families, not the Government, all because under the PF Government, the distribution of resources was one-sided and those who were seen to not support the PF were left behind, and we heard this from hon. Members as they debated. That is unacceptable and unZambian, and we hope that the Ministry of Health will bring constituencies that were left behind to the same position as those that benefitted the most under the PF Government. 


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mrs Masebo: Madam Chairperson, I start by thanking all the hon. Members who have ably debated the Vote for the Ministry of Health and stating that I have taken note of what each hon. Member had to say. So, let me just make a summarised response.


Madam Chairperson, I think, we are all in agreement that resources are important and that the current Government has tried very hard to put more money into the budget for the health sector. We also agree that despite all the money allocated, looking at the disease burden and the challenges we face, we will continue to hope that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning will increase our allocation. However, what is important, even more so than increasing the allocation, is the releasing of finances. From the experience that I have, I know that the resources that have been allocated to my ministry this time around are quite substantial and can make a difference if released gradually, that is, month by month, so that we avoid a situation in which we do not make an impact.


Madam Chairperson, the other point on which we all agree is that of human resource. We will recruit 11,000 staff, and we have agreed to get all categories of health personnel, not doctors and nurses only, so that we can deliver quality health care.


Madam Chairperson, the issue of transport, not only ambulances, but water transport and some utility vehicles, was raised. However, one of the things we want to do in this year is spend more money on preventive rather than on curative purposes through public health service; decentralisation, in line with the New Dawn Administration’s Decentralisation Policy, and other strategies. So, we will see more education on prevention, and I ask hon. Members of Parliament to help in that regard. Clearly, we all understand the challenges of health. So, let us help one another.


Madam Chairperson, I also agree with my predecessor that we, both on the right and the left, should not politicise health because it concerns issues of life and death. Going forward, I assure the hon. Members that they will not hear about issues of corruption unless those that will slip through our fingers. Otherwise, we are all clear, starting from my officers and I, as the head, that there will be no corruption in the Ministry of Health. Not under President HH (Hakainde Hichilema).


Government hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Masebo: Madam Chairperson, the availability of drugs is also important, and I am glad that the budget for that purpose has been doubled. Let me also say that we have moved the purchase of drugs to the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency (ZAMMSA), which is going to specialise more on procurement, delivery and storage of drugs so that we do not have issues of drugs expiring because of poor distribution systems or issues of corruption because everybody; the ministry and various departments, being involved in buying. We are going to streamline the purchasing of drugs.


Madam Chairperson, the National Health Insurance Management Authority (NHIMA) was established to help finance quality health care. In that regard, some of its money will be going to all health facilities under the Ministry of Health so that the incidence of drug and equipment shortages goes down. So, apart from the money that has been appropriated by Parliament, which we are talking about now, there is also money that will come from NHIMA, the co-operating partners and the private sector, and we are going to have a basketful of drugs. So, let us forget about shortages, as we are focused and we know exactly what we want.


Madam Chairperson, on the issues raised by the former hon. Minister, such as the social determinants like water, I am glad that the President is alive to them, and that is why we now have the Ministry of Water Development and Sanitation; it is so that we can focus on the provision of water. Further, the new ministry responsible for infrastructure is there to develop our road network and other infrastructure. So, we know exactly what we need to do. All we ask for is unity of purpose, then we shall deliver.


Madam Chairperson, God bless everybody.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Vote 46 – ordered to stand part of the Estimates.






[MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair]


(Progress reported)




The House adjourned at 1833 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 10th December, 2021.