Debates- Thursday, 5th July, 2012

Printer Friendly and PDF


Thursday, 5th July, 2012

The House met at 1430 hours

[Mr SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform the House about the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of a Delegation from the Parliament of Uganda. The delegation is being led by Hon. N. N. Mafabi, MP and Leader of the Opposition. Other members of the delegation include the following:

(i)    Hon. F. A. Hassan, MP (Shadow Minister of Defence and Security);

(ii)    Hon. A. Osegge, MP (Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Statutory Authority in Uganda);

(iii)    Hon. P. Mwiru, MP (Member of the Public Accounts Committee);

(iv)    Hon. R. Mugume, MP; and 

(v)    Mr A. Kaunace, Member of Staff (Administration).

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I wish, on behalf of the National Assembly of Zambia, to receive our guests and warmly welcome them in our midst.

I thank you.




410. Mr Zimba (Kapiri-Mposhi) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    what the annual average consumption of alcoholic beverages had been countrywide from 2007 to date; and

(b)    whether there were any remedial measures taken by the Government to control and reduce the abuse of alcoholic beverages in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Tembo): Mr Speaker, the average annual consumption of clear alcoholic beverages countrywide from 2007 to date, according to data obtained from the Zambian Breweries Limited for the annual beer sales in hectolitres are as follows:

Year            Period                    Volumes ( ’000hl)

2007            January to December                559,245

    2008            January to December                608,288

2009            January to December                705,087

2010            January to December                837,165

2011            January to December                     1,043,532

2012            January to May                 415,095

As regards opaque beer, annual sales, which translate into annual consumption from the National Breweries Limited, for the same period, are as follows:

Year        Period                    Volumes in (’000hl),

2007        January to December                1,111

2008        January to December                1,123

2009        January to December                1,737

2010        January to December                1,824

2011        January to December                1,897

2012        January to May                2,099

Sir, the Government, through my ministry, has come up with liquor licensing regulations to guide the implementation of the Liquor Licensing Act No. 20 of 2011, which will review the permitted hours for outlets trading in liquor. Further, the ministry has issued Statutory Instrument No. 23 of 2012, which bans the manufacture importation, exportation, bottling, packaging, conveyance, possession, supply or consumption of the intoxicating liquor commonly referred to as tujilijili.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, my previous question has come back. Let me thank the hon. Deputy Minister for the elaborate answer that he has given. However, is he aware that people have become more of drunkards by packaging the tujilijili in a 50 ml bottle? Further, why has the ministry not banned kachasu brewing, too?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is not aware. However, since the hon. Member is aware of such a development, I advise him to approach us so that we can see how we can further control the consumption of liquor.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, I am sure that the Government has no intention to ban the brewing of kachasu beer. How, therefore, does it intend to regulate the production as well as the consumption of this beer?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, what the hon. Member of Parliament for Rufunsa has stated is not correct. As far as we are concerned, it is illegal to brew kachasu. I wish to advise him further to be responsible enough, as a leader, to sensitise the community about the danger of brewing kachasu.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the figures given do not include the beer that is brewed in our villages. Is the ministry taking steps to ascertain the consumption, in whatever measure, of the traditional beer that is brewed in our villages?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I believe that I have already given the figures. They are the correct ones that we have at hand. However, if he wants to know about or control the brewing of illicit beer, in villages, we will definitely take a step.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, until production and consumption of tujilijili was banned, it was legitimate. It was legal to produce and consume it. Then, one moment, the Government banned both the production and consumption, and traders, many of whom had substantial amounts of capital invested, suffered loss because the tujilijili were destroyed by the Government. Is the Government intending to compensate the manufacturers and the small traders located all over the country, whose stock of tujilijili was destroyed without adequate notice?

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, we are following what the American Government did when it introduced prohibition. One minute, it was not there; the next it was, and there was no compensation in the middle.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the brewing of local beer by many of our mothers in the villages is an important component of income generation, which helps in sending many children to school. How does the hon. Minister intend to promote this industry which, for centuries, has been an important economic aspect of the lives of the people in the villages?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member has given us a very good idea. We might follow the example of our Malawian brothers and sisters, who legalised the licensed brewing of beer and spirits in the village, provided it was then sold to the State-owned industry that purified the alcohol and sold it after taxing it and everything else. As a way of producing the raw material, if properly governed, the suggestion is excellent. Thank you for that idea, even if it was not intended to be given that way. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing right when he indicated that they banned the production of the spirits commonly known as tujilijili, what were they banning when they issued that statutory instrument, because there is no drink called tujilijili manufactured by any of the brewers in the country?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I wish to indicate that the ‘tujilijili’ name refers to the beer packed into small sachets.

I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, the measures for controlling the increased intake of alcohol in our country mentioned by the hon. Deputy Minister are the regulation of operating hours for bar owners and the ban on tujilijili. Clearly, this is not enough as citizens begin to drink other forms of alcohol. What are you doing to strengthen the inspectorate to check the emergence of new forms of alcohol, such as methylated spirit, which citizens have started drinking and is very dangerous because it leads to blindness?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, there is already a statutory instrument that has been proposed and currently before the Ministry of Justice. We will avail it to the public once it is ready, so that people can see the new regulations.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, following the question that was asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa, does the Government have the moral right to use the taxes that were paid by the traders of those banned beers?

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, this is a new question to me. I cannot proceed in that line.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Deputy Minister for being very clear that the question asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi is new to him. Probably, it may not be new to His honour the Vice-President and Leader of Government Business in the House. The question was: When these spirits were imported, duty was paid into Control 99, which is run by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. Did the Government have the moral right to actually utilise those funds, when it knew that it was going to ban the product on which these taxes were collected? I hope I have clarified the matter.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to see Hon. Nkombo exercising his right to decide who is going to answer his question.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the issue, here, is not whether what was done was morally right. It is about the practicality of implementing the statutory instrument regarding the ban on tujilijili. I do not know what they are called in Tonga. However, I am sure that it must be something similar to the name tujilijili. If there was a practical way, which would not be a recipe for corruption or malfeasance, of compensating those who had paid tax on the alcohol sachets before the ban, we could have considered it. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, what is the impact of the sudden ban on the production, sale and consumption of tujilijili, in terms of job losses and poverty reduction in the country.

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I wish to remind the hon. Member that we are dealing with an issue that affected the lives of people. We are more interested in looking after the lives of people and that is why we banned tujilijili. The new Government is strategically looking at how it can create employment for the people. I am sure you have heard that many new mines are already opening up. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, all those who have lost their jobs as a result of the ban are going to be employed by the new mines.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


411. Mr Chipungu asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning when the Equity Bank for the youth would be established in conformity with the 2012 National Budget.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, the Bank of Zambia has not yet received any application for a banking licence for the establishment of an Equity Bank for the youth from the promoters of the said bank for consideration.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that K100 million was provided for the establishment of the bank in the 2012 Budget?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the allocation might be there, but nothing can happen until the promoters of the bank make an application to the Bank of Zambia for consideration.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the promoter of this project is actually supposed to be the Government?


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, yes.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, despite the promoter being a Government institution, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning still follows its strict ethics when handling this matter. The ministry should not, and does not, solicit for expenditure.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister tell us who is going to initiate the process of creating this bank. Is it not the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, which the hon. Minister heads, that is supposed to do this?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is, certainly, not the institution that is supposed to initiate the formation of the bank.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning categorically state who the initiator of this project is.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, that is slightly beyond the brief of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

  Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, if my memory serves me right, the Government had sent some officials to Kenya to study how an Equity Bank was established in that country. May the hon. Minister inform this House what effort the Government has made to identify the promoter of this issue.

   Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I will only deal with the first issue, that of sending officials to Kenya to establish how things should be done. As overseer of the Bank of Zambia, I wish to inform the House that it has not yet received an application for the establishment of the said bank.

  I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, given the fact that this initiative has been abandoned at a time when youth unemployment still remains a challenge, could the hon. Minister share with us one strategy that his party has, in its tenth month in power, to resolve the problem.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the responsibility of creating employment lies in the hands of every citizen. If appropriate institutions take up the initiative to launch this bank, I will support them.

  I thank you, Sir.


412. Mr Chilangwa (Kawambwa) asked the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to revisit the allocation of the parcel of land along Lusaka/Kafue Road, commonly known as Baobab Land, considering the numerous alleged irregularities surrounding its initial allocation; and 

(b)    if so, when the reconsideration process would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Mr Muchima): Mr Speaker, the Government has no plans to revisit the allocation of the Baobab Land until the two cases currently in court over it are concluded.

Mr Speaker, it is not possible to determine when the reconsideration process will take place because of the two court cases: Jonathan Van Blerk Vs Attorney-General and Lusaka City Council, in the first case, which is under Cause No. 1997/HP/202, and Kwikbuild Vs Attorney-General, in the second case, under Cause No. 2010/HP/1122.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, how did the Government manage to demarcate a portion of that same piece of land, which was allegedly subject to court cases, to build a house for the late former President, Dr Chiluba?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, actually, that land has a long history. We do not want to go into the details as the matter is in court, although the background goes far beyond the court case. The land was acquired by someone in 1901 and it includes both the eastern and the western sides. The eastern side was developed while the western side was not. In 1982, the Government took over the idle part and the matter was taken to court, right up to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favour of the Government. That is how that land fell in the hands of the Government for it to deal with it in the manner that it felt like. Like I said, we cannot go into more details until the case is disposed of in the courts of law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kampyongo (Shiwang’andu): Mr Speaker, the issue of rampart corruption in land allocation is not only limited to this particular land. In Lusaka, for instance, most of the land portions are allocated in a fraudulent way. When should we expect a comprehensive land audit to ascertain which land was issued following the laid-down procedures?

The Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Mr Simuusa): Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we have taken a firm position regarding the issues of irregularities and corruption involved in the allocation of land that he has raised.

Sir, I have been making several pronouncements regarding the measures taken to get rid of corruption in the allocation of land. We have already started putting in place plans for a land audit, which I promised that we would do by August, 2012. We will initiate a comprehensive land audit, which we hope will bring to light a lot of irregularities and grey areas associated with land allocation. Obviously, this will be supported by the effort we are making to fully computerise the land administration exercise in the country. I think that it has become clear that many issues will be resolved.

I thank you, Sir.


413. Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi) asked the hon. Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health:

(a)    how effective the K2 million grant provided to women’s clubs was;

(b)    whether the ministry was considering increasing the grants; and

(c)    how many women’s clubs benefitted from the grants in Lupososhi Parliamentary Constituency in 2011.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Ms Kazunga): Mr Speaker, the ministry has, over the years, observed that the K2 million grants given to women’s club were not adequate to support their income-generating activities, especially those whose projects require resources of more than that amount. They have since revised the amounts, accordingly.

Sir, the ministry has increased the grants to women’s clubs and associations as follows:

(i)    individual women’s clubs receive a minimum of K6 million; and

(ii)    women associations receive up to K25 million.

Mr Speaker, in 2011, only six women’s clubs in Lupososhi Constituency benefitted from the grants under the Women Empowerment Programme. The grants amounted to K21,540,000. This was before the grants were revised and these clubs were as follows:

(i)    Hardwork Chungu Home Based Care;

(ii)    Mulota Development Club;

(iii)    Nshindaila Women’s Club;

(iv)    Mwaliampinda Isubilo Women’s Club;

(v)    Muchinshi Wanseba Women’s Club; and

(vi)    Twashuka Women’s Club.

Sir, the number of clubs funded in a particular constituency is dependent on the number of proposals received. For a club to be considered for a grant, it must show proof of registration, have a bank account and submit completed project proposals at the constituency level.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Deputy Minister for that well delivered answer. I am also happy that the amounts have been revised upwards. 

Sir, towards the elections, we saw a number of discrepancies regarding this money. What measures have been put in place so that its disbursement is not politicised towards elections time?

The Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Dr Katema): Mr Speaker, the Government, through my ministry, has put in place stringent measures to make sure that beneficiaries of these empowerment programmes cut across all political divides. 

Sir, the ministry is not going to use this fund as a campaign tool. We are decentralising the issuance of these funds to the districts, where our officers will be following the guidelines that have been put together by the ministry.

Mr Speaker, we have in place committees made up of eminent people living in subject communities and it is those committees that scrutinise and recommend people to benefit from the fund. This is because these people in the communities know better which clubs are viable and which members can take up the responsibility of implementing the projects they require funding for.

Sir, under the present way of doing things, it is difficult for politicians to influence decisions. Under the previous administration, civil servants were receiving a lot of pressure from politicians to empower certain clubs. We have decentralised the process to an extent that it will benefit Zambians across the political divide.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Moonde (Itezhi-tezhi): Mr Speaker, during the previous regime, many of us condemned the involvement of District Commissioners (DCs) in the disbursement of empowerment funds to women. Sadly, this trend has continued even under the current regime. Is there no way for DCs to avoid bing involved in the process, because they make political mileage out of such public services?

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, I have highlighted the whole process of identifying beneficiaries. For instance, when implements are delivered from the headquarters to the districts, the District Commissioner (DC) has got a role to play, probably, to provide transport and facilitate their distribution to the clubs and organisations they are destined for.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, how often, in a year, are these grants released to the districts and provinces?

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, these grants are demand-driven. Funds are released throughout the year, as long as the clubs submit their requests and they are verified and found viable.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, we all know that the current crop of DCs are former Patriotic Front (PF) district chairpersons.


Ms Namugala: Sir, can the hon. Minister assure us that they will not, in any way, be involved in the allocation of these resources.

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, I mentioned, here, that everybody has got a role to play. The committees in the communities where these clubs are based are the ones that are identifying the clubs to benefit. What wrong will the DC commit by facilitating if he/she is asked to deliver those implements that are going to benefit those clubs that have been identified by the people, themselves? The DC is a civil servant and has got a role to play. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, apart from the money grants, what other support is going to be rendered to the women’s club?

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, some clubs venture into activities like milling, sausage making and agriculture. Depending on what they requested for, my ministry is purchasing the equipment needed and delivering it to the clubs in the districts. There are times when the groups have requested to venture into projects whose supporting implements we have failed to purchase at the central, provincial and district levels.  In such cases, cheques are issued to individual groups to enable them procure for themselves. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I do recall that, when my colleagues on your right were in the Opposition, we both used to lament the conditionalities that have been imposed pertaining to the acquisition of these funds from the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health. Is the ministry considering reviewing the conditionalities that have made it almost impossible for most of the women clubs, especially, in the rural areas, to benefit from such funds?

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to answer that question because the conditionalities that the hon. Member has in mind have not been mentioned in this question. Nevertheless, we do encourage every club to have a bank account. In eventualities where the clubs cannot have an account because of their location, they could collect their money through their hon. Members of Parliament. In as far as registration is concerned, they can also be assisted by the hon. Members of Parliament. In fact, it has always been the practice to have those clubs registered. However, we are not only recognising registration from the central place, but also registration certificates that are locally obtained, through the councils and the Boma, which will be considered in places where clubs have difficulties getting centrally registered. 

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Siliya (Petauke): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister consider thinking outside the box. It seems to me that, in the same Government, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has done his job by providing the seed capital for an Equity Bank while the hon. Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health has not done his part. Since there seems to be a problem of the promoter within the Government, would the hon. Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, then, actually formalise these loans that are given to women and youths and consider championing this project, because the seed money has already been provided. Would he further consider establishing this Equity Bank using the money that is already available and, some of it, from Budget lines in areas where there are no banking services, so that women and youths are formally assisted, in order for us to do away with issues of the politicians and the DCs once and for all.

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, the core business of this ministry is to take care of the vulnerable in the community. As for the banks, which the hon. Member is talking about, that can be taken care of by other ministries and Government agencies. We do have officers in my ministry at the headquarters, provincial and district up to the sub-centre levels. Each district is subdivided into sub-centres and we have officers there, who can assist club members by collecting cheques on their behalf, cashing them and giving the money to the people who do not have accounts. 

Mr Speaker, even if we had the bank that the hon. Member has mentioned, how would clubs that do not have bank accounts benefit? That would not solve the question of the vulnerable in society. We have enough structures in place to assist our people down to the sub-centre level in villages. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that there will be a district committee responsible for the decentralised approval of these clubs. What will the composition of this committee be? Are DCs, who are politically appointed, going to be a part of it? 

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, the guidelines concerning the composition shall be brought to this House after being formulated because we are still consulting stakeholders. 

I thank you, Sir. 


414. Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a)    when Lake Mweru-Wantipa, in Kaputa District, would be restocked with fish;

(b)    whether the ministry had any plans to educate the communities surrounding Lake Mweru-Wantipa on the need to use authorised fishing methods; and

(c)    what measures the ministry had taken to ensure the success of the 2012/2013 Fish Ban in Kaputa District.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Mwewa): Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has no plans to restock Lake Mweru-Wantipa with fish. This is because it has observed that the lake has been progressively drying up. This is a cyclic recession that happens every 100 years. 

Mr Speaker, the main fish breeding ground, which is the Mofye Lagoon, has remained dry for a long period of time since the Kalungwishi River has not broken its banks to spill water into it. This has led to reduced numbers of fish being spawned and recruited to the fishery. 

Sir, in 2005, the ministry, through the Department of Fisheries, constructed a fish pen near Kawama Village and fish breeders were placed in the pen. The fish started to breed and fish fry (fingerlings) went out of the pen as was expected. Unfortunately, due to the receding water levels, as a result of the lake drying up, the pen was left on dry land. 

Mr Speaker, the ministry is working closely with fishing communities, fish traders, local authorities and traditional leaders to implement a joint management of fisheries resources for Lake Mweru-Wantipa. The enactment of the Fisheries Act No. 22 of 2011 made provisions for the formation of the fishery management committees. The ministry is training office bearers of the committees to ensure that correct messages on fish conservation reach the wider fishing communities. 

Mr Speaker, there are two major constraints that have hampered the successful implementation of the fish ban, namely, inadequate financial resources and low staffing levels. To address these constraints, so as to ensure the successful enforcement of the 2012/2013 Fish Ban, the following are being done:

(a)    budgetary provisions are being made for both the 2012 and 2013 Fish Ban. In 2012, the ban was budgeted for within the activity of ‘monitoring, control and surveillance’. The fish ban has ended up receiving very little funds when budgeted for under this activity. For this reason, the ministry has requested that the ban be allocated a separate code in order for it to be a stand-alone activity in the 2013 Budget; and

(b)     the Department of Fisheries staff establishment for Kaputa District is forty-two. However, there are currently only five members of staff with two in Nsumbu, on Lake Tanganyika, and three in Kaputa Boma, on Lake Mweru-Wantipa. The ministry has since submitted a request for Treasury authority to recruit and fill the vacant posts.

Mr Speaker, a combination of these measures will facilitate the effective implementation of the fish ban.  

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the consideration of recruiting more members of staff under the Department of Fisheries in Kaputa District. With that said, having realised that Lake Mweru-Wantipa is drying up quite fast because of the Mofye Lagoon not feeding water into it, is the hon. Minister considering finding some resources that could help the people of Kaputa to open up the Kalungwishi River so that it feeds into the lake before the people of Kaputa, who benefit from this lake, perish. 

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, the ministry has considered this and, when funds permit, it will be implemented. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, while the Government is making efforts to enforce the ban, what is the ministry doing to ensure that our neighbours, who do not respect the fish ban, are also educated so that the fish ban on our side is effective?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, these are issues that are handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I am reliably informed that, in their discussions, such matters are considered. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): I thank you, Sir. At least, I scored a goal in Chipata. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

We also noted the overall results. 

Laughter {mospagebreak}


415. Mr Mutelo asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    how many imported motor vehicles, on average, entered Zambia each day;

(b)    whether all the motor vehicles were cleared by the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and the International Police Organisation (Interpol) before entry; and

(c)    what plans the Government had to decongest the roads in the urban areas.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, in answering part (a) of the question, we have used figures for 2011 and the first quarter of this year. The average number ranges from 140 to 180 vehicles per day. Last year, the average number was 140 and the average for the first quarter of this year was 179. 

Sir, Section 10 of the Road Traffic Act, No. 11 of 2002 provides that all motor vehicles must be cleared by Customs and Interpol before they can be registered by the Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA). However, evidence on the ground suggests that not all motor vehicles are cleared by Customs, Interpol and the RTSA. Mr Speaker, this is because motor vehicles are smuggled into the country. As a result, the RTSA is currently investigating and prosecuting 166 cases of motor vehicles and trailers suspected to have been fraudulently registered. 

Coming to the last part of the question, Mr Speaker, firstly, what is congestion? Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases. It is characterised by slower speed, longer times of travel and increased queues. When the traffic volume is so big that the interaction between vehicles slows the speed of traffic, congestion occurs. As the traffic volume approaches the capacity of a road or of the intersections on the road, congestion sets in. This is the problem that has beset the urban road network in Zambia with the rapid increase in motorisation.

With regard to the plans that we have, Sir, we need to, firstly, look at the factors contributing to congestion and, secondly, look at the planned remedies.

Mr Speaker, there are, broadly, three factors related to traffic congestion. There are those to do with the land use pattern, social and economic factors and those related to roads and vehicles and, lastly, those to do with accidents. Let us look at those that emanate from the land use pattern.

Sir, traffic congestion on our urban roads in Zambia has partly been attributed to poor land use planning or the lack of it. This has been affected by the high population growth rate, uncontrolled rural-urban drift, unplanned land use, concentration of offices and other essential facilities in the central business districts, which makes the flow of traffic unidirectional during the peak periods. There has also been an increase in the number of vehicles on roads due to the improved standard of living and a poor public transport system.

Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Government will ensure that all land use in urban areas is properly planned, through consultation between my ministry and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. In Lusaka, for instance, the master plan for the city proposes the introduction of satellite towns so that the flow of traffic is multi-directional during peak hours. It also proposes mass transit systems, such as the scheduled bus and commuter trains. These measures will assist in ensuring that people park their private vehicles and use more efficient public transport systems.

Coming to the road-related factors, Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Urban Roads Improvement Programme, is ensuring that urban roads are rehabilitated. This will incorporate facilities for pedestrians and cyclists to abate traffic conflicts and improve the flow of traffic. Further, future urban road programmes will include the construction of additional lanes and interchanges on spinal roads. The Government will also embark on the construction of bypasses and ring roads to ensure a smooth flow of traffic in urban areas.

Sir, with regard to vehicle-related factors, the characteristics and performance capabilities of motor vehicles, to a large extent, determine the characteristics of traffic flow and safety. In this respect, the flow of traffic has been affected by motor vehicles that are not roadworthy, resulting in breakdowns. Due to the high motorisation rate, the urban road network has become intolerant to breakdowns, especially during peak periods. In this regard, the Government is ensuring that only a roadworthy fleet of motor vehicles is allowed on the roads, through enhanced road traffic patrols. In the very near future, motor vehicles will be subjected to stringent computerised testing in order to remove the human facet of subjectivity, which is currently the practice during certification of road worthiness. Further, the Government has instructed the RTSA to work with the private sector to provide towing facilities to remove broken-down vehicles from roads to mitigate the problems caused by congestion due to breakdowns.

Mr Speaker, coming to human-related factors, human beings, be it drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, are important elements in roadway traffic. Therefore, they must be properly guided and controlled. The behaviour of people in traffic has a bearing on the traffic. Very often, traffic congestion in urban areas is caused by either pedestrians or motorists.

Sir, the Government is committed to sustaining road safety education and publicity campaigns regarding the proper sharing of road space by all road users to mitigate the effects of congestion and accidents. The Government will further conduct patrols to inculcate compliance amongst all road users.

Lastly, Mr Speaker, another cause of road traffic congestion on our urban roads is accidents. Factors that contribute to accidents also contribute to traffic congestion, and vice-versa. At accident scenes, queues develop in both directions of the road if the concerned parties fail to reach a settlement or due to the inability to remove disabled vehicles from the road immediately, in the case of serious accidents.

Sir, the Government intends to invest in crash and post-crash management facilities and services in order to minimise traffic disruption in the event of traffic accidents. Some of the facilities will include tow trucks, ambulances and metal cutters. The private sector is encouraged to participate in this area of care. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, thank you for that elaborate answer. There were 180 vehicles entering Zambia per day in the first quarter of 2012. By the last quarter, it will be 250 per day. What immediate measures is the Government putting in place to decongest our roads, for time is money? People are losing time as they go to work. 

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the hon. Member for that question. Firstly, I think that it is important to realise that roads cannot be worked on in a day; they should be planned for. Once they have been planned for, works will be done.

Sir, what we have done, so far, is try to open up various junctions. If you have been moving around town, you must have seen what we are doing. We are also trying to widen the lanes.

Mr Speaker, with the increase in traffic, we will come up with ring roads to decongest the town centre. I think that all the points that have been raised are cardinal for moving in that direction.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, Chilumbulu, Burma, Alick Nkhata, Nangwenya and many other roads are expandable. What are the specific plans to expand these roads, so that we reduce the inner-city congestion that is really costing people?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are carrying out a comprehensive exercise to put up ring roads and open up many others, not just those mentioned by Hon. Hamududu. We intend to work on roads that we feel can be worked on to improve the flow of traffic. To this effect, we have a plan that we are slowly rolling out. Soon, we will be signing a contract for this and everybody will see the difference.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, there is empirical evidence that roundabouts cause congestion and most countries have got rid of them. Are you considering getting rid of all the roundabouts in Zambia?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, it is actually the other way round. People are moving away from traffic lights to roundabouts because roundabouts do not cause traffic jams, but improve the flow of traffic. That is the correct position, the world over.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, based on the figures that have been given, where we have 140 to 180 vehicles entering the country per day, does the RTSA have the capacity to handle the registration of this volume of vehicles or we are also going to increase the queues for registration at the agency?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I appreciate that question. We are going to improve the RTSA’s capacity by going digital. We want to digitalise the registration, issuance of number plates and licencing, so that we reduce the congestion at the agency.

Sir, we are going to utilise information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the benefit of Zambians.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, how soon will these good plans that you are putting forward be implemented?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, currently, we are in the process of procuring some contracts to implement these plans. So, once that is done, we will be able to implement the plans.

Sir, we have planned to have everything in place by the beginning of next year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that pedestrians are also a cause of congestion. I have been trying hard to figure out how pedestrians cause congestion. Can he do me a favour by elaborating on that.

Mr Speaker: Actually, it is not a favour. He is obliged to respond to your question.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, pedestrians should cross the road at designated places. If they do it anywhere and anyhow, it becomes a problem.

Sir, we are trying to sensitise people and make them understand the importance of crossing from designated points. If anything, there is a programme that will start with schools, so that pupils know where and how to cross the road. I think that will help to ensure congestion from the human element is reduced on the roads.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Deputy Minister made reference to assessments for road worthiness. Do these assessments include the levels of carbon emissions, because we have seen a lot of ‘new’ cars that should not be on the road, but are licenced and on the road?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the new system to be implemented will be all-inclusive  and able to analyse and give the client an idea of the emissions coming from the engine, rather than the current practice that is based on the volume or capacity of the engine of a particular vehicle.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, we have been informed that, on average, 180 vehicles are brought into the country on a daily basis, translating into well over 65, 000 vehicles a year.

Sir, would the hon. Minister agree with the assertion that this is as a result of the improved economy, over the last twenty years, as well as the improvement in the quality of life, thereby leading to the emergence of a middle class in Zambia.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, definitely, when people get better jobs, they buy more. The information I have is that, in 2011, we had 142 vehicles entering the country per day. This year, we have 180. So, you can see that, now, there is more money in people’s pockets. So, they more are buying vehicles.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that not all vehicles entering the country are cleared by the RTSA and Interpol. What measures is the Government taking to stop the smuggling of vehicles into the country, resulting in the country losing revenue?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, smuggling of vehicles will be difficult to stop, but we will, definitely, do our part by increasing patrols by the RTSA as well as the other authorities to arrest whoever is trying to smuggle vehicles into the country.

Sir, further, the registration of vehicles will be computerised. If a vehicle is registered properly, in the next coming months, you will be able to tell who the owner is, when it entered the country and where it came from. That will be the easiest way to stop these illegal activities 

I thank you, Sir.


416. Mr Njeulu (Sinjembela) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to build a university in the Western Province;

(b)    when the schools in Sinjembela would be provided with trained teachers; and

(d)    whether the Government had any plans to construct a trades training institution in Sinjembela Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Willombe): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to build a university in every province, including the Western Province, as and when funds become available. 

Sir, the Government will allocate trained teachers to schools in Sinjembela Constituency when the next teacher recruitment exercise is done. 

Mr Speaker, the Government also has plans to develop trades training institutions in every district by 2030. There are also plans to construct a trades training institute or skills centre in every constituency, including Sinjembela, as and when funds become available.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Njeulu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that there is a school in Shang’ombo called Lupuka, where there are no teachers?

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the information from the hon. Member of Parliament that there is a school without teachers in the said area. We will follow up the issue with the provincial and district education offices.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, arising from the response from the hon. Minister, assuring us that there are plans for each province to have a university, what is the timeframe for this, knowing that the PF Government’s mandate runs from 2011 to 2016?


Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am fascinated by the question posed by the hon. Member for Kalabo Central. There is no categorical answer that I can give. I only hope that the PF Government will go beyond 2016 …


Dr Phiri: … so as to give us an opportunity to plant a university in each of the provinces. However, let me assure the hon. Member that our resolve is very clear as the PF. It is written in our manifesto and that is the direction we will take. There are six provinces that are vying for a university because the current university structures and those coming up are in only four provinces, which are Central, Lusaka, Copperbelt and Muchinga. So, we have the remaining six provinces lined up. 

Sir, as much as possible, we will try to meet the tertiary education demands of these provinces but, if I am pressed me to give a timeframe, it will be difficult for me to do so. However, we will try, in this mandate that the people have give us, and the mandates that will follow, to build these universities. I know that, because we will do something reasonable, the people will give us additional mandates as we go on. We will try to plant as many universities as possible in the country. No province should be made to feel belittled or left out. We will use our good judgment to plant universities which can answer the challenges of the provinces as they are.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister informed this House that the Government will send trained teachers to Sinjembela when the next teacher recruitment is done. I want to believe that, if we are planning properly, we know how many and when we are churning out teachers. So, to just say that teachers will be sent in the next teacher recruitment is done does not make sense. Can we know, exactly, when these teachers will be sent to Sinjembela.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister did indicate that we will allocate trained teachers to schools in Sinjembela Constituency to add to the existing 423 in Shang’ombo, as a district, who are teaching in fifty-two basic and  a high school. The next teacher recruitment exercise will be done this year. In fact, the budgetary allocation was very clear that we have to recruit 5,000 teachers this year and we will remember Sinjembela for an adequate allocation. We do not just dream up numbers. These figures come from our officers on the ground and, upon their recommendation, we deploy teachers to the various areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, what is the teacher shortfall for Sinjembela?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has no computerised brain.


Dr Phiri: Nonetheless, let me assure the hon. Member of Parliament that we are abreast with the statistics in the various districts and constituencies concerning schools. If given time, I could come back and tell the House , exactly, what the deficit is.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, considering that the Western Province contributed its Pounds to the national Treasury, can it not be one of the first to be considered for the construction of a university?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am not the right person to talk about the investment that the Western Province has made in the country. However, if that is a fact, I appreciate it. We need to move very systematically and, by that, I mean that the demands from the six provinces that have had no higher institutions of learning are the same. Let me also put on record, as I did at the last Western Province Indaba, that the Western Province does need an institution at this level, but there are also other provinces in that position. When we get to that stage, we will decide what we can do.  However, I thank the hon. Member for that lobbying.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, who is my former president, in another life, say when the PF Government will start the construction of universities, pursuant to the pronouncement that was made by His Excellency the President on the Floor of this House. If the construction of these universities has started, which provinces were the first?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member has no respect for his former president.


Mr Speaker: He said in a former life.


Dr Phiri: I do not have many lives like a cat, as he does.


Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the President indicated, during the Official Opening of the First Session of the Eleventh Assembly, that Lusaka Province will be given Chalimbana for a particular reason, which was that we want it to continue as a hub for training of teachers at the primary school level. I know your mind is racing to the conclusion that Lusaka Province has already got an institution at that level, but that was the major consideration. Again, His Excellency the President also said that, in recognition of the heroic work that the First President, Dr D. K. Kaunda, did for the country, a university should be built in his honour and that, logically, meant building that institution at his birthplace in Lubwa. However, many of us know that Lubwa is in Muchinga Province, which has already been honoured by the construction of the Mulakupikwa Science and Technology Institute.

Sir, we have inherited structures that were being transformed into universities and we are happily implementing those plans. In Central Province, we have Nkrumah Teachers Training College, which is being transformed into a university, specifically, for the social sciences. On the Copperbelt Province, there is the Copperbelt Secondary Teachers College (COSETCO), which was just a college of education, but is, now, being upgraded to offer natural sciences and other disciplines. Unfortunately, we do not have structures in the North-Western, the Western, the Eastern, the Northern, Luapula and the Southern provinces. Nevertheless, let us not be persuaded to think that the Government has no resolve for the other provinces. That is a challenge that we want to meet. There are reasons there have been activities in the four provinces. I can also assure this House that, from this foundation, we will, then, think, specifically, about constructing an institution in each province when finances are made available. Our resolve, as I said earlier, is very clear. We would like to build universities in all the provinces. So, I can only urge the opposition to give the PF many more years in the Government so that this is realised.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


417. Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Vice-President:

(a)    which political parties were involved in the destruction of other parties’ campaign advertisements during the run-up to the 2008 Presidential by-elections, as reported in the 2009 State of Governance Report; and

(b)    whether there were any individuals arrested and prosecuted in connection with the malpractice at (a) above.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the political parties that were identified to have been involved in the destruction of other parties’ campaign advertisements during the run-up to the 2008 Presidential by-elections were the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), the Patriotic Front (PF), the United Party for National Development (UPND) and United National Independence Party (UNIP). Cadres from these parties were involved in these acts, particularly, in Lusaka but, certainly, in other districts, too.

Mr Speaker, no individuals were arrested because the complaints were submitted to the District Conflict Management committees, which resolved the matters through dialogue and mediation in every case.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I thank the Vice-President for that answer. It has been observed that the destruction of party campaign advertisements is on the increase and has been evidenced from what we saw in Muchinga last week. Now, if this is the case, how does the Government intend to strengthen the law of the land with a view to doing away with such a vice?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, we can only strengthen the law of the land across the board with better equipped and more police officers.  There is no magic way that I or the Government can think of to stop this business of ripping down other people’s posters. It continues to happen in every election. I have been involved in twenty or thirty elections and by-elections since my entry into Zambian politics and I know of no occasion or election in which it did not occur. I will take issue with the questioner’s assertion that the problem is getting worse. I think that it is a routine problem.

I thank you, Sir.


418. Mr Bwalya asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism:

(a)    why the Zambian Government withdrew its recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a sovereign State in April, 2011; and

(b)    what the  position of the Zambian Government on the matter above was.

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Tourism (Dr Lungu): Mr Speaker, Zambia withdrew its recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) as a sovereign State in order to remain neutral on the disputed territory between Morocco and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, and to encourage the parties and stakeholders to engage in more intensive and substantive negotiations on the matter at the United Nations (UN). The directive to withdraw the recognition was issued at a Cabinet decision of March, 2011.

Sir, the current position of the Zambian Government on this matter is that Zambia is in the process of recognising the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic as a sovereign State as soon as all matters are resolved by the Cabinet.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Deputy Minister for that elaborate answer. Zambia belongs to the global village and, as such, we need to be good neighbours to all the members of this global village. May the hon. Deputy Minister state what advantage will accrue to Zambia from recognising this territory as a sovereign State?

Dr Lungu: Mr Speaker, it is true that Zambia is a member of the global community and such organisations as the United Nations (UN), Southern African Development Community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Now, what is the position of these communities on the SADR? The African Union and the United Nations recognised the SADR as a sovereign State. 

Sir, in terms of Zambia’s position on Morocco, firstly, you have to remember that we are talking about the SADR and Morocco, which had disputes. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia has maintained good relations with Morocco and the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding for co-operation in 2011. 

Sir, on the benefits of Zambia belonging to a wider community, I would like to state that we will not abrogate whatever the wider community has agreed to do. The same applies to what the wider community’s position on the SADR. The United Nations, SADC and AU have all recognised the territory’s sovereignty and, since we are part of the wider community, we are likely to recognise it as well.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs to confirm that the reports that were circulating in the Zambian media that the Zambian Government received some funding in order to withdraw the recognition of the SADR were malicious and intended to injure the reputation of certain leaders in the former Government.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of whether the reports were malicious or intended to injure anybody deliberately.

I thank you, Sir.


419. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing when the Government would collect garbage from Lumumba Road near the Agricultural Farm Equipment Limited offices in Lusaka.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Masumba): Mr Speaker, this issue has been overtaken by events. However, for the sake of clarity, let me give the feedback. 

Mr Speaker, the Lusaka City Council cleared the garbage that had accumulated on the Lumumba Road near the Agricultural Farm Equipment Limited offices in November, 2011. Thereafter, the council embarked on night street-sweeping in the central business district to ensure streets were clean by the start of business every morning.

Mr Speaker, to ensure the sustainability of the garbage collection system, the council has devised work programmes or shifts. The day shifts collect garbage, door to door, from trading premises while the night shifts sweep the streets and corridors of all the waste left at close of business. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, where are the ‘cabbages’ coming from and why is the council not removing those traders from the road in order to get rid of the ‘cabbages’? 


Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, I do not know whether he is talking about cabbage or garbage.


Mr Masumba: I have already informed him that this is an issue that has since been resolved. We have already put in place a proper way of dealing with the garbage issue. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Siamunene (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, if, what the hon. Minister has said is, indeed, what is happening, why are we still seeing garbage around Lusaka?

Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, I think that the hon. Member should be more specific. However, for the sake of clarification, ‘garbages’ keep accumulating time and again.

Hon. Members: Garbages!


Mr Speaker: Let us be clear about the subject matter.


Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was trying to answer the hon. Member for Nangoma by saying that the issues of this dirt in town, …


Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that dirt keeps accumulating, but is cleared time and again. That is why I said that he has to specify the place where it has accumulated, but not been cleared. As far as we are concerned, as we speak, the dirt he asked about has been cleared.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, it is a tradition of this House, arising from the regulations, that the answers that we give are accurate. In this vein, is the hon. Deputy Minister telling the House and the nation that Lumumba Road is, now, clear of garbage, and that, everyday, after the street vendors have left, Lusaka City Council cleans up and that there is no garbage in the morning?

Mr Masumba: Mr Speaker, when a person says that garbage keeps accumulating, it means that it could have been swept at some point. However, because of the continued business on the streets, the dirt might accumulate. What we are saying is that our officers are on the ground and we have given them shifts. It is during those shifts that they clean the streets. However, when they do so, it does not mean that they will clean once and forget. That is not the position. They keep doing it because cleaning is a continuous process, just like the accumulation of dirt is. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.{mospagebreak}


420. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Finance and National planning:

(a)    how much money was in the general reserves of the nation as of:

(i)    30th September 2011; and

(ii)    30th April, 2012;

(b)    how many months of import cover the amount of the reserves at (a) (i) and (a) (ii) would accommodate; and

(c)    what caused the change, if any, in the amounts of the reserves at (a) (i) and (a) (ii) above.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, as at 30th September, 2011, the gross international foreign reserves (GFRs) were at US$2,558.7 million, whereas, at 30th April, 2012, they were at US$2,414.2 million.

Mr Speaker, the US$2,414.2 million represents 3.3 months of import cover.

Mr Speaker, the GFRs declined by 5.6 per cent to US$2,414.2 million on the 30th of April, 2012, from US$2,558.7 due to the Bank of Zambia’s sale of foreign exchange to the market in order to smoothen foreign exchange fluctuations. The amount spent on this exercise was US$233.0 million: US$150.0 million was spent on payments to the PTA Bank for oil procurement; US$83.0 million was paid to suppliers of fertilisers, that is, Omnia Small Scale Limited and Nyiombo Investments; and US$34.0 million was spent on servicing debt to various creditors. These payments were against major inflows from mining tax revenues and poverty reduction Budget support of US$456.0 million received during the period under review.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, what effect will the reduction in reserves have on the prospective buyers of the Eurobond?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the relationship between the amount of reserves we have and the sale of the Eurobond is far-fetched. I do not think that any reduction in the reserves will impact positively or negatively on the country getting the bond.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr M. B. Mwale (Malambo): Mr Speaker, will the possibility of re-introducing foreign exchange controls in the country be as a result of the diminishing foreign reserves?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I will answer Hon. Mwale’s question only because I think he is asking it in good faith. Under this administration, there will never be a re-introduction of exchange controls, overtly or covertly. That is not on our radar because that would be a step backwards. The level of our reserves is quite satisfactory.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulusa: Mr Speaker, what is the future projection of our reserves, considering where we are coming from? Is there going to be a continued drop or an increase?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, that question is hypothetical. The reserves are largely dependent on the commodities we export. If the prices of commodities we export, such as copper, plummet, then there will be a drop in our reserves. I hope that there will be no drastic drop in the prices of our export commodities. The raising of the capitalisation levels of banks also has an effect on the flow of foreign exchange.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister right, he said that some of the reserves were used to smoothen the foreign exchange regime. Today, our Kwacha is trading at about K5,100 to US$1. Can the hon. Minister confirm that he is concerned about this situation, and that he will, again, use some of the reserves to try and stabilise our exchange rate.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I would like to allay the anxiety of the hon. Member for Chipata Central. We are not using the reserves to prop up the Kwacha, which has just strengthened, somehow. It is below K5,000. What hon. Members should be vocal against is the incidence of the large margins between the buying and selling rates. For instance, they will buy a Dollar from you at K5,900 and sell it at K5,200, a margin of 200 to 300 per Dollar. That is very excessive and these are the things that cause difficulties in our economy. I hope that these are also the things that hon. Members will be observing, because they have an impact on our economy.

Thank you, Sir.


421. Mr Siamunene asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    how many boarding schools the Government intended to construct in Sinazongwe District; and

(b)    when the construction of the schools would start.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, there is a high school being constructed in Sinazongwe District. The Government is working towards providing additional infrastructure to cater for the growing demand for education in this district. The school being constructed is expected to be completed in 2013 while the additional infrastructure will be completed this year. There is also a need to construct more boarding high schools in Sinazongwe because it is a big district. 

Mr Speaker, the construction of more high schools will be done in the future when funds are available.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that Sinazongwe is a large district. Presently, it only has one boarding high school. Why, then, does the ministry not treat Sinazongwe as a special case?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, those of us charged with this responsibility know that, countrywide, there are so many scenarios similar to that of Sinazongwe. However, for Sinazongwe, we do recognise that it is quite large and that it is being serviced by one boarding high school. The indicators from the community and also from the district show that, funds permitting, Siameja and Malima could be considered for construction of boarding high schools.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that there are many such scenarios around the country, and, indeed, I cannot agree with him more. However, I would like him to shed light on why it is taking long for the Government to normalise this unfortunate situation. So many high schools are set for opening, some are even at 90 per cent completion but, ten months down the line, are still at a standstill. Just for our benefit, what is the problem? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, to insinuate that the Government is at a standstill, I think, is a bit unfortunate. If the Government is at a standstill, I wonder why you are asking us all these questions. However, that is beside the point. We have inherited many incomplete schools that are under construction and are attending to them. There are also institutions that have contractual problems awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Justice. We will complete these, too. 

Sir, we also have the infrastructure plan, for which I must apologise because it has taken long for us to finish. I thought we would unveil it this week, but we could not because officers were participating in the Trade Fair. However, let me give an assurance that, once that plan is out, you will appreciate what the Government is doing and intends to do.

I thank you, Sir.


422. Mr Ndalamei asked the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning:

(a)    how much money was owed to the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) by borrowers as of March, 2012, province by province; and

(b)    how many of the under-listed had borrowed from the bank since 1990:

(i)    Zambian citizens;

(ii)    Zambian-owned companies;

(iii)    foreign individuals; and

(iv)    foreign-owned companies.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the amounts owed to the DBZ by borrowers, as at March, 2012, province by province, are as follows:

    Province    Amount Owed (K)

Lusaka     47,817,749,975.08

Copperbelt    25,204,705,094.79

Central         6,421,753,543.60

North-Western    5,559,330,890.20

Luapula    145,164,819.45

Northern    2,517,500,000.00

Eastern     8,086,291,268.20

Southern    11,549,222,426.10

Western    500,000,000.00

Mr Speaker, K1, 170,996,110.00 remained undisbursed to final beneficiaries under the Rural Finance Programme.

Sir, I wish to inform the House that the number of borrowers for the period 1990 to March, 2012, is as follows:

Borrowers    No. of Borrowers 

Zambian citizens        5,103

Zambian-owned companies    235

Foreign-owned companies    31

Foreign individuals    0

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei: Mr Speaker, what measures is the bank taking to recover the money from the borrowers?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the loan defaults are not very high. The bank has fairly respectable recovery percentages.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether there is any policy that the DBZ follows in granting loans to potential borrowers. Having identified that the bank, according to the answer, was giving loans to foreign-owned companies, when it is supposed to be empowering Zambians and Zambian-owned companies in long-term financing, why was it financing foreign-owned companies?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, there is a policy. We do not lend to foreign companies which are not based in Zambia. If they are based in Zambia and they employ Zambians, they are part of the economy and money can be lent out to them. There is nothing wrong with that. What would be wrong is for us to lend to foreign companies operating outside Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, is Zambian Airways one of the Zambian-owned companies mentioned?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I do not have a breakdown of the 235 Zambian-owned companies. However, if the hon. Member is interested in such fine details, the DBZ is a public institution and he can go and establish that information. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulusa: Mr Speaker, from the statistics given, one can tell that there is a serious issue of concentration risk at the DBZ and we do know that, in the provision of oversight, we need to ensure that these institutions strike a delicate balance between risk and cost management, financial sustainability and delivery on the mandates for which they were created. Given the fact, out of the K100 billion that has been listed here, K14 billion was lent to one borrower. Has the ministry put in place any measures to see to it that oversight over that institution is enhanced for it to serve the purpose for which it was created?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, ruling out ulterior motives, I would say that K14 billion is not a large amount of money, if you are lending for some project. Let me just give an example of one of my heroes, the proprietor of Kapiri Glass Factory, who is resuscitating it. He is borrowing US$3 million from the DBZ, and I have actually said to the management that I wished it would have more resources to lend this enterprising noble Zambian. This way, he can resuscitate the Kapiri Glass Factory and give life to Kapiri-Mposhi, which is virtually a ghost town. Apart from the heavy-duty traffic and transiting, there is no activity. So, K14 billion, depending on what you think, is just over US$3 million, which is not a lot of money. In fact, as Zambians venture into bigger things, there will be more money than that amount borrowed for financing projects. 

Sir, let me inform the hon. Member that we are sparing no effort to try and mobilise lines of credit for the DBZ, so that it can lend not only to large-scale industries, but, principally, also to the small and medium industries. I hope that I have satisfied the hon. Member for Solwezi Central, from whom some of us draw a lot of wisdom.

I thank you, Sir.



423. Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    when additional police officers would be posted to Wusakile Police Station, which is grossly understaffed; and

(b)    when adequate transport would be provided to the station for operations.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, additional police officers will be posted to Wusakile Police Station upon the completion of the police recruit training exercise currently going on. Police officers will be posted to stations depending on the manpower requirements of the formations. 

Sir, the Government will only provide additional transport to Wusakile Police Station when the Zambia Police Force purchases motor vehicles for all police stations that have no transport.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, what is the acceptable international standard ratio of police to civilians? Further, has our country met those standards? Can the hon. Minister also be specific, instead of giving me a general answer, so that the people of Kamfinsa can know when officers will be deployed at Wusakile Police Station to beef up the understaffed personnel, which will reduce the rampant crime rate in Kamfinsa and Wusakile constituencies.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, the acceptable international police to civilian ratio is 1:250. Currently, in Zambia, we are at 1:836. Therefore, we really need to recruit more police officers to do effective policing. As for recruitment, I am sure that most hon. Members who read yesterday’s papers saw that we are recruiting 1,500 people to undergo training at the three police training schools, which are Kamfinsa Mobile Unit, Sondela Paramilitary Training School and Lilayi. The six-month training will commence on 29th July, 2012, meaning that it will end in January, 2013. Therefore, these police officers will be deployed to police stations, including Wusakile, in February, 2013.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, in the First Republic, it was decided that the most suitable vehicle for the Zambia Police Force was a Land Rover. Now that technology has advanced in the world, what is the most suitable vehicle that the Government has in mind for police operations?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, for the kind of terrain in Zambia, the most suitable vehicle, according to the experts, is a Land Cruiser, 4 x 4 Pick-Up.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I have questioned the duration of training for police officers before and I would like to repeat my concern. Given the complexity of crime in modern times, do we really feel that it is adequate to train police officers for six months? Do we still want to maintain it at six months, part of which is dedicated to physical training?

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, in fact, in the past, the duration used to be shorter. I remember that it used to be three months but, now, it is six months. From time to time, there is in-service training to upgrade the skills of the police officers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, what is the number of police officers that will be sent to Wusakile Police Station?

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Sakeni): Mr Speaker, I think that we will get to know the number of police officers when we get to the deployment stage. Requirements for police stations change from time to time. However, I can assure the hon. Member that Wusakile will get some police officers. 

I thank you, Sir. 


424. Mr Njeulu asked the Minister of Justice:

(a)    when the Government would send a magistrate to Shang’ombo District, following the completion of the construction of a Magistrate’s Court and residence for the magistrate;

(b)    when the Government would construct local court buildings at the following places in Shang’ombo District;

(i)    Mambolomoka;

(ii)    Mutomena; and

(iii)    Nangweshi; and

(c)    why the local court in Mambolomoka Ward, in Shang’ombo District, had continued to be administered from Kalabo District.

The Minister of Justice (Mr S. S. Zulu, SC.): Mr Speaker, the construction of the Magistrates’ Court and residence is near completion. The minor works remaining will be completed by the end of the year. A magistrate will be sent to the station in 2013. 

Mr Speaker, the Judiciary is cognisant of the increased population in Mambolomoka, Mutomena and Nangweshi, warranting the establishment of local court structures. The construction of the courts in these areas could not be accommodated in the 2012 Budget due to budgetary limitations. However, the construction of Nangweshi Local Court will be included in the 2013 Budget while Mambolomoka and Mutomena local courts will be constructed in subsequent years. 

Mr Speaker, Mambolomoka Local Court is circuited from Kalabo District because the Judiciary has not yet built a court structure due to budgetary constraints. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Njeulu: Mr Speaker, Mambolomoka is in Shang’ombo District, but its administration is in Kalabo. Therefore, local court officers report to Kalabo. Why has this continued to be so?

Mr S. S. Zulu SC.: Mr Speaker, that is for administrative convenience because of staffing problems. 

I thank you, Sir. 


425. Dr Kazonga asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:
(a)    when the Rural Electrification Authority would connect Mwata, in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency, to the Malawi National Electricity Grid;

(b)    how long the project would take; and

(c)    why commencement of the project had delayed.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Mr C. S. Zulu): Mr Speaker, the project is being implemented at a cost of K13.7 billion and will involve the construction of 54.4km of a 33kv power line to connect several schools, trading centres and farming areas. The tender for the implementation of the project was advertised in the print media from 17th November, 2011 to 3rd February, 2012. The submitted bids have since been evaluated and potential contractors short-listed. 

Mr Speaker, the power to be supplied to Mwata will come from the Malawi National Electricity Grid and the project will take fourteen months to complete. 

Sir, the project was delayed, because it was initially supposed to commence in June, but will only start in September, due to the need to follow laid-down tender procedures of the financing agency, the Japanese International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and provisions of the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) Act. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, when will the contractor finally be selected? What is the timeframe for selecting the contractor?

The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, as mentioned by the hon. Deputy Minister, the selection or adjudication of the bidders is in the hands of the ZPPA. It is, therefore, slightly outside our domain. Nonetheless, we are pushing to ensure that the contractor is appointed as soon as possible.
I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister educate us on the performance of the power supply from Malawi, considering what we have experienced with regard to that supply in Chama. 

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the performance of the network is quite relative. When we refer to poor performance, we look at quite a number of criteria. If we have low voltage at the end of the line from Malawi, that would be considered poor performance. However, we are guided by the statutory requirements that we should not give supply to customers below the 92 per cent voltage level and I have not heard any complaints yet. If there is any poor performance at all, as identified by the hon. Member, we would like him to let us know so that we correct the situation. Again, there are many criteria for classifying the performance of the network. However, feel free to let us know. We can try to improve things. 

I thank you, Sir. 

_____ {mospagebreak}



Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 22nd June, 2012. 

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mutale (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. 

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, your Committee considered as its topical issue ‘The Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in the Zambian Education System’.

Mr Speaker, providing a background to this inquiry is a presentation made at the World Summit of the Information Society held in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2002, in which one of the presenters, Ms Victoria L. Tino, told the summit this:

“Globalisation and technological change-processes that have accelerated in tandem over the past fifteen years have created a new global economy, which is powered by technology, fuelled by information and driven by knowledge.” 

Mr Speaker, another educator and author, John Holt, once said:

“Since we cannot know what knowledge will be most needed in future, it is senseless to try to teach it in advance. Instead, we should try to turn-out people who love learning so much and learn so well that they will be able to learn whatever needs to be learned.”

Sir, in light of the above, your Committee undertook an inquiry, whose objectives were to assess the following:

(i)    Government’s policy with regard to the ICTs in the Zambian education system;

(ii)    the extent to which the Government, through the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education had provided and/or facilitated the access to, and use of, the ICTs in Zambian educational institutions;

(iii)    the impact of the ICTs on the delivery and management of education, from basic to tertiary education;

(iv)    hindrances to the integration and use of the ICTs in the Zambian education system; and

(v)    the way forward for the Zambian education system with regard to the access and use of the ICTs.

Mr Speaker, considering that, hopefully, the hon. Members have read the report and have it before them, I will just highlight a few issues contained in your Committee’s report.

Sir, on the Government’s policy on the ICTs in the Zambian education system, your Committee was informed that the introduction and implementation of the ICT strategies in education system was currently fragmented and lacked co-ordination. This was largely because there was no national policy on the ICTs with regard to education, and more strategies were being implemented at the institutional level.

Mr Speaker, your Committee was further informed that the then Ministry of Education had developed an ICT Policy aimed at directing how the ICTs should be used in educational institutions countrywide. This policy, which should have given policy direction for the integration and utilisation of the ICTs in the education sector, has, unfortunately, remained draft for over six years. This also applies to the ICT Strategic Plan, which covered the period 2011 to 2015.

Sir, during the tour of selected educational institutions in Lusaka, Central, the Copperbelt and the North-Western provinces, your Committee discovered that the absence of this very important national policy on the ICTs in education had created a lot of chaos in the sector, to the extent that different institutions did different things in the name of integrating the ICTs in their operations.

Mr Speaker, worried about this situation, your Committee summoned the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education to reappear before it to give an update on this matter. During this interaction, your Committee was assured that the National Policy on the ICTs in Education will be finalised and launched by March, 2013. Your Committee, therefore, considers this as an important assurance and urges the Government to stick to the roadmap.

Sir, with regard to the extent to which the Government, through the ministry responsible for education, had provided and facilitated to, and use of, the ICTs in educational institutions, your Committee was informed that the ministry or, indeed, the Government had not been major players. Most of what had happened in this area was spearheaded by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and, generally, the private sector. Unfortunately, even the efforts of NGOs and faith-based and other organisations had been haphazard and unco-ordinated, resulting in duplicity and neglect of some important aspects. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government creates a special fund for various donor agencies and co-operating partners meant to specifically promote the ICTs in learning institutions in an equitable manner.

Mr Speaker, pertaining to the impact of the ICTs in the education sector in Zambia, your Committee was informed that the penetration of the ICTs had gradually improved over the years, although the levels of this penetration remained very low, particularly, in secondary and basic schools, with many, if not all, equipped with either second hand, refurbished or outdated computers and ICT services and products, most of which did not support the use of modern applications, such as the Internet and latest educational software. Your Committee was, however, cheered by the fact that, at least, the three public universities were moving in the right direction, to the extent that institutions like the University of Zambia (UNZA) were even using the short messaging system (SMS) to disseminate test results and post assignments and related information to students via cell phone. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that, to avoid a situation where schools become dumping grounds for obsolete computers and software, the Government be directly involved in the supply of the ICTs while the private sector plays a complimentary role.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of challenges or hindrances to the integration of the ICTs in Zambia’s educational sector, your Committee was informed that, although Zambia was the second country in Africa to adopt an ICT Policy, in 1994, after Egypt, it had lagged behind in pushing the ICT agenda, particularly, in the education sector for a number of reasons, some of which include the following:

(i)    non-availability of computers in learning institutions;

(ii)    lack of clarity from the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education on the use of the ICTs in learning institutions. That is, the policy environment;

(iii)    ICT illiteracy among teachers and administrators of learning institutions;

(iv)    lack of specialists in the ICTs for education purposes;

(v)    lack of a dedicated budget line to fund the ICTs in educational institutions;

(vi)    unco-ordinated donor and corporate funding to the ICTs in learning institutions; and

(vii)    lack of supporting infrastructure, such as electricity and laboratories and affordable connectivity.

Mr Speaker, as for the way forward, many of the stakeholders that made submissions before your Committee suggested that developing clear the ICTs guidelines on education was the starting point in integrating the ICTs in learning institutions at all levels. The other interventions include:

(a)    development of the ICT lecturers in higher learning institutions;

(b)    dedicating a specific budget line for the ICT development in learning institutions at all levels;

(c)    development of the ICT infrastructure in learning institutions at all levels, in the form of, but not limited to, the following:

(i)    development of local area networks;

(ii)    provision of electricity;

(iii)    development of server maps;

(iv)    provision of computer laboratories;

(v)    provision of Internet connectivity;

(vi)    provision of backup and disaster recovery systems; and

(vii)    provision of mobile computing infrastructure.

(d)    strong collaboration with ICT stakeholders, such as the Computer Society of Zambia;

(e)    development of ICT implementing committees, such as:

(i)    educational policy committee;

(ii)    ICT committee;

(iii)    lecturer/teachers committee; and

(iv)    finance committee; and

(f)    establishment of a directorate at the ministry headquarters to spearhead the development and integration of the ICTs in the Zambian education sector.

Sir, in concluding, I would like to thank you for the guidance and support rendered to your Committee during its deliberations in this session. I also wish to thank the hon. Members of your Committee for their co-operation and dedication to duty, without which nothing much could have been achieved. Lastly, but not the least, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services that they rendered to your Committee during its business in this session.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Mutale: Now Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion so ably moved by the Chairperson of your Committee, I would like to comment on a few points contained in your Committee’s report.

Sir, the ICTs, which include radio, television and newer digital technologies, such as computers and the Internet, are powerful enabling tools for educational change and reform. It is for this reason that your Committee attaches so much importance to the topical issue discussed in your Committee’s report.

Mr Speaker, the challenge faced in the education sector, particularly the higher institutions of learning, such as the Northern Technical College (NORTECH), in Ndola, is the acquisition of state-of-the art machinery that would enable the college prepare students for the technological environment they are going to operate in.

Sir, your Committee was surprised to find that, whereas all programmes at the institution were computer-based, this was not possible with the workshops because the machinery was incompatible with modern technology and cannot be computerised.

Mr Speaker, I am a product of that institution and I was amazed to find that the same machinery we used, over forty years ago, is what is still being used, today, in this era and age.

Sir, your Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government replaces the machines in the engineering workshops at NORTEC with computer-compatible ones, if the college is to remain relevant to today’s industry.

Mr Speaker, another institution suffering the same fate as NORTEC is the Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce. Although the college is the biggest printing college in Southern Africa, it has archaic printing machines that cannot be digitalised to match modern technology. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the printing department be modernised in order to make the institution competitive.

Sir, further, with regard to training journalists, your Committee discovered that, whereas Evelyn Hone College trains journalists in all sectors of the media, namely, print and electronic, it is not, by law, allowed to have more than one licence. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that, by virtue of the training that it offers, the college be allowed to have a TV licence in order for it to conduct holistic training.

Mr Speaker, another institution that needs special attention is the Solwezi Technical High School. As the name suggests, this is supposed to be the hub of technical education in the province, but your Committee was surprised to find that there is nothing really technical about the school, let alone the promotion of the ICTs.

Sir, the school has no computer laboratory, yet it is surrounded by very big mining companies. If this school is to be a technical school that it should be, your Committee recommends that it be helped to establish a computer laboratory.

Mr Speaker, the other hindrance in the integration of the ICTs in our educational institutions is resistance to change. Most of the administrators and, indeed, educators in our institutions of learning are BBCs, meaning ‘born before computers’. They, therefore, do not see the urgency to transform their teaching and learning methods to incorporate the ICTs. Your Committee, therefore, recommends that these staff be encouraged to jump on the ICT bandwagon, as they risk being rendered irrelevant to the present era if they do not.

Sir, in conclusion, I would like to extend my gratitude to you and the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee during the deliberations.

Mr Speaker, lastly, I thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the manner in which he presided on the business of your Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by commending and thanking the Committee for the excellent and detailed work done and for having highlighted the plight of Solwezi Technical High School.

Sir, I wish to confine myself to two issues, the first being about community schools; the second one, the state of our universities.

Mr Speaker, regarding community schools, this is the work undertaken by the previous Committee and it is contained on page 37 of your report. Sir, we are talking about migrating to the ICTs, yet our education sector has been completely left behind, in as far as ICTs are concerned.

Sir, it is unfortunate that we are denying our rural communities the avenue to emancipate their families out of abject poverty; the education of their children. Our community schools are not even worth being called schools; there is no infrastructure at all. The children sit on the floor and cannot, therefore, learn or write properly. They go back to their homes, where they do not have furniture and cannot do their homework.

Mr Speaker, as we work to eradicate poverty in our nation, we need to carry all our citizens along with us. You will recall, during the Budget debate, that most of us, hon. Members of Parliament, were asking for a K5 billion Constituency Development Fund (CDF). This was because most of the interventions in community schools are being made by hon. Members of Parliament. They are the ones who are contributing towards the construction of teachers’ houses or classroom blocks.

Sir, I hope that, during the Budget formulation process, the PF Government will take account of all the community schools and give them the structures that will, if they fail to facilitate the education of children, at least, expose them to a different environment. It is important, when you move out of your homestead to go to school, to find that the environment is much better than what you leave behind.

Mr Speaker, let me also comment on the requests that we give to our communities regarding the community schools each time we wish to help them. We ask them to make a contribution and make blocks for building the structures, yet we roll out schools in towns, where people have more money, without asking people to make any contribution. I think that we are being extremely unfair to our rural communities and need to do better. We should show compassion to the less privileged communities of our country. 

Sir, let me move to the state of our universities. There are fifty-three countries in Africa and none of our universities, in Zambia, is in the top 100 universities in Africa, which are about two universities per country.

Mr Speaker, on the world stage, none of our universities is in the top 500, yet we belong to a fast-globalising world where barriers are being opened up, and we are developing a human capital that is not competitive. Africa is fast integrating, both politically and economically.

Mr Speaker, the human capital that we are churning out of our universities will never be able to compete at the international level and that is a threat to our national interests. We need to solve the problem of the constant closures of our universities. I would, really, like the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education to fight hard to understand all the factors that are causing our universities to constantly close, and resolve them. Our children should be allowed as much time as possible to learn, rather than concentrating on issues of survival, sanitation or accommodation. Our university lecturers, who are highly educated, also grapple with the issue of compensation. They are not being paid adequately or competitively, compared with their peers in the sub-region. We need to resolve this problem, too. 

Sir, with these few words, I would like to thank you, once again, and your Committee, which was led by a man of few words.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulusa: I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the adoption on the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology. After going through this report, it is clear to me that this country is not ready to move in the direction being recommended by your Committee. It is not ready to incorporate ICT in schools.

Mr Speaker, it is important to note that our education system, in Zambia, leaves much to be desired. In fact, it is our education system that exacerbates the unemployment we see today. We should remember that the education system started by our colonialists was just meant to enable an African read a Bible, or be a messenger or clerk at the colonial district office of the British Overseas Management Administration (BOMA). Unfortunately, our post-colonial leaders also continued with the system left by the colonial masters. They inherited what our colonialists designed for us; to simply be messengers or Bible readers.

Mr Speaker, our education system needs a total reform. We have to revolutionalise our education system, not only for the grade and form levels, but even for tertiary education. There must be a relationship between creating jobs and education. There must be a complete paradigm shift from the literacy education that we have been seeing to vocational education; what I call VCT. I have incorporated the letters VCT because of what is topical today; AIDS. However, my VCT stands for vocation-centred training, which can help young people to come out of school as people who are able to do even manual work.

Mr Speaker, you will be very surprised to find that, when a Grade 12 comes to your office to look for a job and you ask him/her what job he/she can be given, the response is that they are ready to do any job. This entails that the twelve years that our children are spending in primary and secondary school is meaningless. Therefore, we have to focus our attention more on vocational training.

Mr Speaker, our education system must also incorporate the culture and natural resources endemic in various regions of Zambia. Take the Western and Luapula provinces, for example, we must look at the natural resources in these provinces. The children in Luapula must be trained in utilising the resources they are endowed with in Luapula. Education can no longer be one-size-fits-all. We have to design our education system according to our regions. That is very important. In the absence of that, we are going to have massive unemployment.

Mr Speaker, before I conclude, I want to say that there is no nexus between education and employment. The skills provided by our education system are totally inadequate. What we are producing are functional illiterates and the majority of the people on your right are functional illiterates.


Hon. PF Members: Question!

Mr Kaingu: That was on a light note, Mr Speaker.

Hon. PF Member: Talk on a serious note.

Mr Kaingu: Somebody says I should talk on a serious note.

Mr Speaker, it is very important that, as we look at our education system, we seriously re-design ourselves, so that we can bring up people who will be able to be absorbed by the industries. I want to tell the hon. Minister of Education Science, Vocational Training and Early Education that, if our education system was a factory, and I repeat, if our education system was a factory, we would be producing goods that could not be bought or consumed.


Mr Kaingu: Let us say that the 300,000 children we are churning out of school every year were tonnes of sausages coming from a factory. We would be walking on rotten sausages, today.


Mr Kaingu: So, it is very important that, as we focus our attention on our education, we completely reform or re-design ourselves so that our education system answers our requirements in the industries.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, recently, visited Cuba, and I remember him coming back lamenting that our education system is actually failing us. Due to the literacy education we have in place, people are very happy with their certificates but, when it comes to self-actualisation, most of them are functional illiterates.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee, although I, really, think that adopting this report is like wearing socks after shoes.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I not sure how that will happen.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, I have few comments on this report and, therefore, will be really brief. 

Sir, I want to begin by thanking the Chairperson of your Committee and his team, and the seconder of the Motion for this report. My view is that the report is decades ahead of this country. What I mean is that there are many necessary steps this country can take to normalise our education sector. If you look at how your Committee put its terms of reference or objectives, and the obtaining situation in this country, today, it makes me look like a functional illiterate, as my colleague next to me was saying. 

Mr Speaker, the way this report is framed gives me the impression that the ICTs are the only things that matter, today. This is despite us knowing that, in our schools, starting from primary school to tertiary level, there are many children and teachers, who are the disseminators of information, who do not know even the basic functions of a computer. To imagine that my little siblings in Munenga Village, in Haakapinka, would understand that we need to all migrate to the use of the ICTs, as against focusing on what I would call the priorities of the country, is wrong. For me, artisan education may be even more meaningful to this country than rushing fifteen years ahead of ourselves to try and deal with the ICTs. I am also, at this point, reminded of the dark years, which include the period when His Honour the Vice-President was the hon. Minister of Agriculture in the MMD regime, through to the period when our colleagues were ushered out of power. Those were the dark years in which very few schools were built. So, the teacher-pupil ratio and classroom space became a crisis, to a level where the then Government even started building 1 x 3 classroom blocks without sanitation facilities. This scourge has even graduated to tertiary level. Just yesterday, I saw, with a lot of pain, the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education on one of the broadcasting stations trying to control a protest by students from Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce. This is a tertiary institution, yet the students were protesting about the poor sanitation. How can we rush to purchase computers when we cannot build toilets? How can we rush to buy laptops or establish computer laboratories at primary schools when the tertiary schools are dilapidated? This is the reason I said, in my opening remarks, that this report is way ahead of the level at which our country is; maybe, by three or four decades. We should not run before we crawl. 

Sir, many youngsters have been bundled out of the education system due to lack of space in our schools. 

Sir, there was also the issue of the cut-off points, which have since been abandoned. Then, we started working with the ratio of one teacher to seventy-five pupils. This is what led us to start producing functionally illiterate children. As Hon. Dr Kaingu said, these are the children who are only literate to the extent that they can speak english. I am sure that the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education can agree with me on this point. This trend has cropped up at the highest institution of learning, UNZA. The hon. Minister can also agree with me that there are complications at UNZA for some students to proceed from first year to second year. The institution absorbs a certain number of students in first year in the different faculties, but half of them fail to proceed to second year. Why are those young future leaders failing to cope at UNZA? To let the children learn computers, to me, is working far ahead of our time. 

Mr Speaker, we need to deal with the real issues of those children who have dropped out of the normal schooling system by way of promoting artisan and vocational education. Such education is important for people who have limited intellectual capacity, but are able to use their limbs to also survive in this society. For as long as we do not do that, posterity will judge you, hon. Minister, and those of you who have sat in the seat before, very harshly. How can you start forcing children to use computers? First of all, does your policy give tax incentives for computer importation? I do not think so. If it does, do our citizens have the money to buy computers? I do not think they do. It will be a haphazard approach, in my view, to start incorporating a policy on ICTs into the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education’s programme of work because it will never bring us the intended results. This country is rich, yet it has poor citizens. 

Sir, your Committee also highlighted a number of challenges in its report, one of which is the issue of lack of infrastructure, and I will zero in on electricity. For computers to be used, we need electricity, which comes in different forms, such as hydro, solar and wind. I am speaking with a bit of authority, here, because I am the Chairperson of the Committee on Lands, Energy and Water.

Dr Kaingu: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Only about 22 per cent of this country enjoys electricity. What about the 78 per cent? How will they fit into this policy? When you take this policy to Kalabo, where there is no electricity, how will they benefit from it?

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: I think that we must put the necessary infrastructure in place before implementing some of these policies that are fifty years ahead of us. This report is an absolutely good document to read. 

Sir, the report also talked about the pedagogy of achieving certain things and looks at the difficulties associated with our wanting to achieve certain goals. As stated by the report, we are not able to do certain things because of lack of infrastructure. We should stop being a talking shop by just saying that this report should be adopted because it is flamboyant. If this report is adopted, then, what next? How do you operationalise its recommendations when 78 per cent of the Zambians still live in darkness? It could only be done if you said that Lusaka is Zambia and Zambia is Lusaka. What about the people in Sioma, Shang’ombo, and Mununga? There is a place in Kantanshi Constituency, near the border, where the people have never seen a tarmac road. There is no power in the area as well. 


Mr Nkombo: That is true. How do you introduce computers to someone in that area? There is no way you can run before you are even born. We need to go step by step. We should put in place the required infrastructure before wanting to implement certain policies.

Sir, with these few remarks, I beg to say that, very reluctantly, I will let this report be passed.

I thank you very much, Sir.

 Mr Kampyongo (Shiwang’andu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to make a few comments on your report.

Mr Speaker, the issues that have been brought out in this report are very important. The use of ICTs, even to those who are already computer literate, is a continuous learning process. Therefore, it is important to identify, as a nation, the point at which we should start this continuous learning process, as technology changes every day. At what point are we going to start? 

Mr Speaker, I am in great pain, as a representative of people in a rural constituency. The people in my constituency and my brother’s, Hon. Mwimba Malama, of Mfuwe, cannot even imagine what the ICTs are all about because, first of all, the schools in our constituencies are in a terrible state. I totally agree with the previous debater, who said that, if it was sausages we were talking about, they should have been rotten ones. I wish he could have thought like that when he had the chance to help the situation. It is, really, unfortunate that we can be talking about the ICTs when the conditions in, for example, the rural schools …

Mr Kampyongo laughed.

Mr Kampyongo … leaves much to be desired. You cannot even imagine going to tell the pupils at Kabanda and Mwenge primary schools in Shiwang’andu about a computer. They will think you are mad. You cannot even imagine that we had very capable people in charge of this important sector of education. I would not want to single them out, but they know themselves and what they did when they had that chance. So, it is very important …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, we are considering the report of your Committee, which was constituted last year, after elections. The membership of the Committee is drawn from various political parties. Some of the members are participating in such work for the first time. Is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to start accusing the former Government of certain things, when we are discussing your report that has arisen from the deliberations of your Committee?

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that, although the hon. Member did not go that far, he seems to have been tempted to do that and I am glad that, in a way, he restrained himself because it is inappropriate, as he has rightly pointed out, that we should debate ourselves. Further, as the hon. Member for Monze Central has rightly indicated, this particular report relates to the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly and I think that we should treat it as such. Beyond that, I think that the debate, so far, is being broached in a very healthy fashion. I think that it is looking at Zambia; at the future, and we are asking questions as to how we should prioritise in this very vital sector of our economy. You cannot develop an economy, if I may add, without resolving the question of education, science and technology. Little wonder that Dr Kaingu even talked about dysfunctional literates. Therefore, we should approach the matter we are looking at seriously. I do not think that, as much as we are largely a political institution, we should politicise this issue. It is a developmental one.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I totally agree with you that this is a very important matter. However, I wish to state that, as we progress, we need to do first things first. There are issues that we need to attend to before we can even think of taking the ICT into our schools. Let us improve the standards of our schools first, so that, even when we take the ICTs to them, they will be suitable and accepted.

The seconder of the Motion mentioned the issue of resistance. I wish to disagree with him, slightly. It is not a question of resistance, per se, but, rather, a lack of facilities because, even in some colleges where these teachers are supposed to be learning about the ICT, we have noted, in your report, that there are no good facilities. Therefore, it becomes very difficult for those who went to old colleges, where these facilities were not in place, to be attracted to go and learn the new ICT programmes. Like I have said, it is always important to do first things first, or else, like my brother said, we might be walking miles away from reality.

Mr Speaker, I would like to further touch on the issue of abuse of the ICT equipment and facilities. It is very important that, as we introduce these important tools in our learning institutions, we also put in place measures to ensure that our children do not abuse them. 

Mr Speaker, it is common knowledge that, when you go onto the net, you will find a lot of things flying around between students. We need some controls to be enforced.

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the hon. Minister, who I know to be very capable, to start with the first things. I have seen the gaps, such as the one your report has cited; the fact that Highridge Secondary School, which was used as a pilot school by being linked to Kwame Nkrumah Teachers’ College, which had a bit of equipment, does not have anything, now. In those schools where the facilities exist, please equip them and ensure that they continue with the programmes. However, for us in the rural areas, please, we are requesting you to come and improve the standards of our primary schools before you can think of introducing the ICT programmes.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I do not know whether the hon. Member on my left is running a literacy class.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, firstly, I would like to thank the Committee for what I consider a very well done report. 

Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I would like to ask the House to refer to page 3 of the report, under paragraph 1, where we are essentially being reminded that the current illiterates will not necessarily be those who cannot read or write. Therefore, it becomes paramount that we consider Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Your Committee opened the report with a very powerful statement, which reads as follows: 

‘“The illiterate of the 21st century’, according to Alvin Toffler ‘will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”’

 I think that this is very important, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, I will make my debate very short because I would like to capture the attention of the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education. I would like to share with the House what we learnt in Rwanda. 

Sir, in Rwanda, they set targets with measurable variables. For instance, when they decide that they want to include life skills in their curriculum, they give themselves a period of one year, after which they check themselves to ascertain whether they have achieved their target. That is what is lacking in what we do in this country, and it is evident in our debates in the House this evening. 

Sir, for instance, Rwanda has a policy of providing a computer for every child. Every child enrolled into grade one is given a computer. The country has no electricity in some places, just like Zambia. So, why should we be afraid of taking up a similar challenge? The only problem that would arise is that of making open-ended statements, such as, a computer per child, yet leave the statement at that. We should set a timeframe, such as a year, within which to achieve these statements. This attitude of making open-ended statements is a very serious malady in the ministries in this country, including the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education, and that is why I want to draw the attention of Hon. Dr Phiri to this aspect.

Mr Speaker, Rwanda gave itself the target of laying optic fibres in the entire country within a particular year. It is, now, happy and proud that it has achieved that objective. It is also working on giving children computers to learn with. The country has also given itself the target of becoming the hub of the ICT in Africa by 2015 or 2016. There is no difference between Rwanda and Zambia. However, Rwanda is giving itself very measurable and simple targets. At the rate this debate is going, we will have a citizenry that is technophobic, like my friend, Hon. Mucheleka, who is so afraid of technology. When he is in England, …

Mr Mucheleka: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised.

Mr Mucheleka: I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipata Central, who is my neighbour and debating very well, in order to mislead the nation when it is he who is afraid of computers? I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Certainly, he is out of order. I hope he will assist the House not only in ensuring that all the citizens overcome the phobia, but that he also frees himself from it.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, the point I was seriously trying to raise was that, if we do not give a chance to this report to go through and the hon. Minister does not take it seriously, we will have a group of people in this country, which will be lost in this world. Our friends are not waiting to first have electricity in certain parts, such as Chipata, Shang’ombo and most of our constituencies. We need to move the ICT development side-by-side with what we are currently doing.

Mr Speaker, let me give another example. In Rwanda, immediately someone is elected to Parliament, he/she is given a computer. Therefore, every hon. Member of Parliament is able to use a computer. Those are what I call measurable variables. These are things you can point at and say, “This is what we planned and this is what we have achieved”. I want to make it clear to the hon. Minister that, as we adopt this report, please, attach a timeframe, possibly a year, within which to assess ourselves. We have a social responsibility to fulfil on behalf of the people of Zambia and we should not hide this responsibility in open-ended phrases. I wish the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning was here because he is very good at coining terms, like ‘euphoria of this and that’. We need to have closed statements so that …


Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, we need to have targets in this country. Whatever has been put in this document should be given years in which it is to be achieved. Before I finish my debate, I would like to support the very well-written document.

I thank you, Sir.

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make a few comments on the debate on this very important report. I hope that the comments I will make will clear the minds of those who are ambivalent about this report.

Mr Speaker, your Committee zeroed in on a very important topic that is very relevant to the development of our education system at this time. I would like to focus on the need to pay attention to the infrastructure backbone that facilitates the development of the ICT and, consequently, assist in the development of our education system.

Mr Speaker, as far as the ICT is concerned, it is not a question of either or. It is a necessary aspect of our lives and has to be addressed seriously. As far as education is concerned, we are all in agreement that it is good for everyone. It is a public good to which no one should be denied access. Education should be accessible and equitable to every citizen. It should also be of the highest quality possible. Additionally, it must be efficient and relevant to the lives of our people. We all agree that education should move our society higher on the ladder of development. It should also assist our society to achieve the aspirations and goals that it has set to achieve.

Mr Speaker, it cannot be denied that, at the centre of all these expectations about education, is, of course, the ICT. Modern ICT applications can assist us to achieve what we want for education and facilitate that which we want education to do for us at the individual, community and society levels. Even matters of increasing educational opportunities for our children can be addressed through the ICT. Matters related to the relevance and quality of education can also be addressed through the ICT. When we look at the demands of the time, ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours to 1830 hours.{mospagebreak}

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, before we went on break, I was emphasising the role the ICTs can play in helping us realise our aspirations.

Sir, the ICTs are there as a catalyst to move our society forward on the ladder of development. They are facilitators of that which we want to see education become, the various achievements or characteristics that we want education make or have. In this knowledge and the information age, the ICTs are a necessity and a part of our educational development.

Sir, it is extremely gratifying that, as a nation, we have made significant developments towards the development of the ICTs in our education sector. I will highlight just how far we have gone, as a nation, in integrating the ICTs in our educational system by using UNZA as an example.

Sir, as far as the ICTs are concerned, an institution like UNZA can be divided into five time periods. We have the first generation of students from 1966 to 1976. This was the first ten-year period. The second generation of students was from 1976 to 1986; the third from 1986 to 1996; the fourth from 1996 to 2006 and the fifth from 2006 up to 2016.

Mr Speaker, as far as the first and second generation students are concerned, they never saw a computer because, at the time, a computer was a big machine occupying almost a third of this House. Many of us, who were at UNZA at that time, never had the opportunity to see a computer.  I am sure Hon. Chituwo, who belongs to the first generation of students …


Professor Lungwangwa: … and myself, after having joined UNZA in 1972, are aware that we never saw computers. 

Sir, that was a period when computers were utilising key-punch operations. It was a period of stencils and overhead projectors. That was a period of typewriters and all of us graduated without having seen a computer.

Mr Speaker, now, the third generation students, at least, had the privilege of seeing a word processor and, maybe, some personal computers (PCs), but they were very scanty then. I was a lecturer then and I am sure that my students who are here, two of them being Hon. Dr Kazonga and Hon. Nkombo, and many others in this House, at least, had an opportunity to see a word processor and some PCs.

Sir, now, it is the fourth and fifth generation students, from 1996 onwards, who have had the privilege of being in the information age. These are the students who have been able to see PCs, laptops and the Internet, including the value and interest of having your mobile phone connected to the web. This is a totally different generation of students, who are able to access the library on their I-pads, laptops and some even on their smart phones.

Mr Speaker, clearly, when you look at what is happening on the university campuses, now, it is an exciting development that we should not curtail but, instead, encourage and develop even further.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, it is in this light that I consider the need to look at the infrastructure backbone that can facilitate this development in our education sector. So far, as a nation, we have made some very important developments in that direction. For example, as far as infrastructure is concerned, we have connected ourselves to the under-sea cables through South Africa, East Under-Sea Cable, the West African Communication System Under-Sea Cable and SAT 3. Through Tanzania, we have connected ourselves to Sea-Com.

Sir, so far, we have, as a country, developed overland optic fibre connectivity. All our districts along the line of rail are connected to optic fibre. So far, twenty-six districts, from Sesheke all the way up to the Copperbelt towns, have been connected to optic fibre. This is a very important development.

Mr Speaker, we should, as a nation, explore further avenues of ensuring that the infrastructure backbone to support ICTs is developed to the highest level countrywide. So far, as a country, we have connected ourselves to the Pan African Satellite Network sponsored by India through Senegal while Mulungushi University is, now, able to interact with professors in India. The Copperbelt University (CBU) and the University of Zambia (UNZA) have opportunities for video conferencing through the optic fibre. These are very important developments. 

Sir, the ministry should work with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, which is responsible for communication, to advance these developments in the infrastructure backbone, so that more of our people can have access to the Internet and efficient cost-effective communication systems. For example, if we look at the steps that we have taken, as a nation, to liberalise the gateway, we, now, have private companies that are able to have their own international gateways, making communication and web connection cheaper.

Sir, due to these achievements we have attained, Zambia can, truly, become a hub for communication development in sub-Saharan Africa in the same way that Rwanda is at the moment. Clearly, when we look at all these developments, and if we can build on them by having inter-ministerial collaboration and strategies, we can transform our educational system. Our children can learn more effectively and efficiently and we can have more accessing education at different levels; in the universities, high schools, basic schools and various non-formal learning institutions. That is why I said that this is not a question of either or. ICTs are a reality. We just have to find a way of developing and broadening them, so that more of our people can access them.

Sir, this is an important undertaking for the ministry to work upon expeditiously so that ICTs become a reality. We are part of E-Learning Africa and should, therefore, not stagnate or be left behind by our sister countries on the continent. Instead, we should be on the same footing as the best of the continent as far as integrating the ICT as a facilitator for educational development is concerned. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the report that has been presented. 

Sir, as many others have said before, this report is very important because the essence of development and civilisation is moving forward, as far as knowledge is concerned. In this modern world, we have seen countries pull millions of people out of poverty using education. I think that good examples of that are India and China. In the last fifteen to twenty years, more than 600 million people have been pulled out of poverty because of education. If we are going to fight poverty, we have no choice, but to focus on education. 

Mr Speaker, on the issue of our economy, it is important that education is emphasised. In the last hundred years or so, many of us, in Africa, survived because of some natural and environmental factors. For example, coffee can only grow in Africa. The same applies to cocoa and pawpaw. Therefore, we have the ecological advantage. However, with technology, it is different. There will come a day when these natural advantages will just disappear. In other words, somebody who is in Israel, Finland and Canada will be able to grow mangoes and coffee. Now, what will be the contribution of the African to the world economy? The only way we can be contributors is to catch up with educational and technological development.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, if we do not do that, we will be left behind and, in the end, there will be nothing that we will be able to contribute. If you cannot contribute to the world economy, you cannot buy anything from the world economy. Therefore, the issue of technology is very important.

Mr Speaker, of course, a lot has been said this evening. Now, what is the way forward? We want our kids to be educated and, also, to have access to computers, but how do we do it? Sometimes, when I listen to what colleagues say, I get the impression that, maybe, these things did not happen because nobody was interested in doing them or, maybe, there was a pot of money out there and nobody could get hold of it in order to invest in these projects. That, of course, is oversimplification. We have to approach this issue with intelligence to see how we can move forward. 

Mr Speaker, I appreciate the comments made by a colleague, here, Hon. Nkombo, and I agree with him. If you go to rural areas to take a look at the desks and other facilities that are there, you would be discouraged to even talk about computers, because there are neither black boards nor desks. You would wonder whether you should make an investment in computers or focus on the key issues. It is a very valid issue. I would argue that, indeed, we need to address these fundamental issues at that level of education. Who knows? Maybe, some of those kids in the rural areas are five times more brilliant than any of us, here. So, we need to give them an opportunity and they may end up being the computer engineers and doctors of tomorrow. I fully agree that the issue of equal access to the very basics should be looked into. These things should be provided.   

Sir, I would also argue that we cannot wait until everything is 100 per cent in place. It is impossible. If you look at the history of human civilisation, it has not always been the case that advancement has been made when everybody in society was catered for. When I was in Grade 6 or Grade 7, there was an issue of the Americans who had landed on the moon. That involved a lot of money. Now, were there no poor people in America? They were there and, even today, they are still there. When you walk around Washington, you see people whose only possession is a shopping cart where they have blankets and other things. Their country, however, still made these gigantic investments to move the country forward. Similarly, we cannot wait until everything is fine. We need to put aside resources to cater for computers and other ICTs. As little as they may be, we need to get started. 

Mr Speaker, I want to cite the example of India. As we all know, today, India is one of the hubs of technology in the world. Most of the software that we use comes from there. Is there no poverty in India? There is a lot of it. I have seen, with my own eyes, on the streets of Mumbai, somebody drinking rain water on the tarmac because of poverty. I was shocked to see that. It was the kind of poverty where one could not get water anywhere, but kneel by the roadside like a dog to drink some. This was absolute poverty. However, with selected interventions and having acknowledged the poverty, the system started at a slow pace, but kept advancing, and, today, India is an ICT powerhouse. The beauty about all this is that the sector that emerges begins to contribute to the economy. As we know, India, today, earns billions of US Dollars in the ICT exports. We, therefore, need to get started because we do not have a choice. 

Mr Speaker, I am happy that Hon. Lungwangwa clarified certain issues. However, contrary to some of the sentiments that I heard, earlier, a good foundation has been laid. He gave many examples of what has been done. I am very proud to say that I contributed to having the video connection between the Copperbelt University (CBU) and UNZA, where lecturers can sit in Ndola and give lectures to students here, in Lusaka. These are monumental achievements. 

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, as you drive around the countryside, it is amazing what you see. Those of you who have not tried it must do so. With a smart phone or I-pad, you can open your email. You will be able read the Zambian Watchdog which, of course, is a very good newspaper. 

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I remember driving, somewhere in Luapula Province, between Chienge and Nchelenge. I was able to read news from around the world on my I-pad. Ten or twenty years ago, you could never dream of anything like that happening. Therefore, a lot has happened. I have always said that there are no finishing lines in development. 

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: A lot has been done, such as the fibre optic cables mentioned earlier and the wireless networks that are all over, to bring us where we are. Our colleagues, who are, now, in the Government, have the challenge of doing the remaining tasks. As you have always promised the people of Zambia, bring development. Bring the computers to the children. We do not expect you to be able to give every child a computer. However, the example given by Hon. Mtolo, where we move one step at a time, will be good for the people. This is what we want to hear from the hon. Minister.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, let us not condemn ourselves. We have done a lot. This is an important sector and we can move ahead and do more things. 

Sir, having said what I have said above, I also want to say that, in as much as we declare that ICT is the tool for the future, let us also not ignore the fact that creativity and learning is not restricted to computers. There are many things that we can do even without computers. Creativity comes in many different forms. Let us not give excuses and say that, because we do not have computers, we cannot sweep students’ rooms, or that, because we do not have computers, we cannot deliver seed on time. 


Dr Musokotwane: That should not be allowed. Where we can do things reasonably well without computers, it should be encouraged.  That is what will take our country forward.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to support the report and echo the sentiments of Hon. Mtolo. For goodness’ sake, let us have very specific targets, so that we know what we intend to achieve. This is the only way we will move our country forward. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, let me salute the Chairperson of your Committee on Education, Science and Technology and his team for the wonderful report on the status and use of the ICTs in the Zambian education system. 

Mr Speaker, let me also add that the contributions by the Solwezi Central, Mwandi, Mazabuka Central, Shiwang’andu, Chipata Central, Nalikwanda and Liuwa hon. Members of Parliament  have been generous, so to say, and stimulating. 

Mr Speaker, this report has ably highlighted the bottlenecks in the use of the ICTs in education. My role is just to give a few highlights and clarifications regarding the report and the presentation by the Chairperson of your Committee.

Mr Speaker, the country has a National ICT Policy that was launched in April, 2006, by the then Minister of Communications and Transport. As the House has been informed, my ministry went ahead to develop the Draft Education Sector ICT Policy, guided by the National ICT Policy. The National ICT Policy embodies the national aspirations on the ICTs and was to be translated into national goals and sector-specific ICT policies. Unfortunately, for the Education Sector Policy, as the Committee has reported, it is still in draft form.

Mr Speaker, besides the Education ICT Policy, several other documents have been developed that are used to guide the implementation and integration of the ICT into the education sector. These include the following:

(i)    the ICT in Education Implementation Plan;

(ii)    the ICT in Education Strategic Plan;

(iii)    the ICT Curriculum (Syllabus ) for Grades 1-9; and

(iv)    Internet User Guidelines and Regulations.

Mr Speaker, there are, however, some limitations in the use of these plans, as the Committee has rightly highlighted. This is, mainly, because of the absence of a policy on the ICT in education. 

Mr Speaker, the contribution by Hon. Professor Lungwangwa is very useful for this House, because the issue of the ICT infrastructure needs to be looked at very critically and holistically by all the stakeholders. These include the various ministries, particularly the ministry that Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga heads, and also companies like the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL), which are major stakeholders in the telecommunications sector, and other ICT vendors. My appeal to them is that we work together. I know Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga has been very instrumental, on many occasions, in helping the ministry get to grips with the challenges the provision of the ICTs poses. I also appeal that education rates (e-rates) be considered for the services from various stakeholders that are offering the ICT to the educational institutions. 

Sir, educational institutions are not profit-making institutions and the current costs associated to with ICTs are prohibitive, thereby, making it very difficult for educational institutions to afford utility bills. E-rates have been introduced in many countries. Hon. Mtolo talked about the experiences in Rwanda, which is one of the countries where e-rates have been introduced in order to enhance ICT penetration levels in institutions of learning. Zambia should not be left behind on this.

Mr Speaker, there are several other interventions that my Government has put in place, including the following:

(i)    finalisation of the Education Act Policy, its implementation plan and the ICT in Education Strategic Plan, which we hope will be fully operational by September, this year. As I indicated, this draft has been lying around for six years, and I think it is time we made headway on it;

(ii)    the ministry has partnered with Microsoft and signed a Partners in Learning Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), recently, at Bauleni Basic School, in Lusaka. This will enable the ministry acquire Microsoft software at concessional prices. We are grateful to Microsoft for this gesture and I know it will go a long way in assisting us to realise our aims;

(iii)    the ministry has also signed an MOU with Intel and I-School Project to enhance the use of the ICT in education;

(iv)    the ministry has partnered with the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) to provide computers and Internet connectivity, in Phase 1, to seventy-four basic schools and seventy-four secondary schools countrywide. This phase also includes an attempt to roll out computers to 2000 educational institutions;

(v)    the ministry has undertaken sensitisation programmes to create computer literacy and awareness among pupils, teachers and administrators;

(vi)    the ministry will benefit from a Belgium Government-funded ICT Project aimed at providing technical support to the digitalisation of curriculum and content, staff development and establishment of ICT resource centres countrywide; and

(vii)    the ministry, in partnership with other stakeholders, is holding a National ICT in Education Conference in September, 2012, to chat the way forward on how the ICTs can be integrated into the education sector, as well as review the final policy and other related documents. An open invitation is made to hon. Members of Parliament for this September Indaba.

We have taken note, Mr Speaker, of the Committee’s recommendations and undertake to give them serious consideration. Particularly, we take note of the following:

(i)    the proposal for a special fund to support the ICTs as the Committee;

(ii)    the need for better coordination of the ICTs players and their support in the sector;

(iii)    investment in electricity and solar energy to facilitate the use of the ICTs;

(iv)    the need for staff development programmes and recruitment of the ICT teachers and specialists; and

(v)    the use of the ICTs as tools for learning, as opposed to teaching computer studies.

In conclusion, Mr Speaker, the Government intends to take up a greater responsibility in availing the ICTs and their resources to schools. In this regard, we will simultaneously increase budgetary allocations toward the ICTs and infrastructure development.

In order to ensure an accelerated supply of the ICTs and e-learning materials, the ministry intends to engage other relevant Government departments and ministries on the possibility of acquiring the required resources on zero-rated tax.

Sir, let me thank, again, the Committee for its useful input and feedback on the ICTs in education. Needless for me to emphasise, the Government is committed to enhancing its efforts in ensuring adequate supply and usage of the ICTs in education, and consideration of the Committee’s recommendations. The ICTs are not a by-the-way infusion in our education sector, but a necessary ingredient that will help our teachers and demonstrators to do a better job.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology, I thank all the hon. Members who have debated for their high intellectual input. I am very confident that the views expulsed by all of them will go a long way in advancing the ICTs and education in Zambia.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Questions put and agreed to.


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1909 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 6th July, 2012.