Debates- Friday, 25th November, 2011

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Friday, 25th November, 2011

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]




The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the Business it will consider next week.

Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, 29th November, 2011, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential Appointments of Mr Chalwe Farai Ralph Mchenga, SC., Mr Mubanga Mweniweingwe Kondolo, SC., Mr Dominic Luther Yeta Sichinga, SC., and Mrs Nicola Ann Sharpe-Phiri to serve as Puisne Judges. After that, the Expanded Committee on Estimates will present its Report on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2012. Then the House will conclude the general policy debate on the Motion of Supply and resolve into Committee of Supply to begin the consideration of individual Heads of expenditure in the Budget.

Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, 30th November, 2011, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. Then the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2012 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and the following Heads will be considered.

Head 01 – Office of the President – State House;

Head 02 – Office of the Vice-President;

Head 03 – National Assembly; and

Head 04 – Gender and Child Development Division.

Sir, on Thursday, 1st December, 2011, the Business of the House will begin with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Presentation of the following Government Bills:

(i) Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2011;

(ii) Mines and Minerals Development (Amendment) Bill, 2011;

(iii) Zambia Development Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2011;

(iv) Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill, 2011; and

(v) Customs and Excise (Amendment) Bill, 2011.

Mr Speaker, thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2012 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and the following Heads will be considered:

Head 05 – Electoral Commission;

Head 06 – Public Service Commission – Office of the President;

Head 07 – Office of the Auditor-General;

Head 08 – Cabinet Office – Office of the President; and

Head 09 – Teaching Service Commission – Office of the President.

Mr Speaker, on Friday, 2nd December, 2011, the Business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. This will be followed by Questions, if there will be any. After that, the House will deal with Presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2012 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure to consider the following Heads:

Head 10 – Police and Prisons Service Commission – Office of the President;

Head 11 – Zambia Police – Ministry of Home Affairs;

Head 15 – Ministry of Home Affairs; and

Head 16 – Drug Enforcement Commission.

Mr Speaker, the House will then deal with any outstanding issues that will not have been completed previously.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.



Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, last week, when I posed a question on the Barotse issue, His Honour the Vice-President responded by calling it frivolous. I now want to know exactly what the PF Government promised the people of Barotseland if they formed Government.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I am sorry if the questioner was offended by my use of the adjective, ‘frivolous’. All I was attempting to say was that there is an inquiry on going and that is what we have put in place. Until that inquiry reports back to us with the various points of view, really, there is nothing we can do.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, the composition of the Constitutional Technical Committee has created various views and thinking amongst the Zambian community. Could His Honour the Vice-President shed more light on this?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the composition of that Constitutional Technical Committee is not cast in stone. As his acts have revealed, His Excellency the President is always more prepared to be corrected than to be inconsistent. With regard to the subject of the Evangelical Fellowships of Zambia being excluded on the committee, for example, I am very sure that he will give consideration to them being included. I think the problem there, perhaps, is that he did not know the Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia well enough to be exactly sure on how to pick the right people. I am sure he is really waiting for that section of society to express itself. If any hon. Member of the House has a problem with the composition of that committee, could they, please, address it to State House and this is a very good chance for their views to be taken into account.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, procedures of this House dictate that once you ask a question, you cannot be allowed to walk away like the hon. Member for Senga Hill has done. I assume it is because the Vice-president deliberately decided not to answer his question.

Mr Speaker, my substantive question, however, which I expect His Honour the Vice-President to answer in no uncertain terms, is with regard to the name of the investor the Head of State referred to at a campaign rally in Chivuna two days ago, on 23rd November, when he indicated to the nation that he had found an investor to partner the operation of the Munali Nickel Project for it not to go under care and maintenance. 

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the next meeting with that particular investor on this particular subject is due on Monday. I, therefore, feel it would be premature to reveal the name of the investor at this stage.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the promise that was made to the people of Barotseland was that the Barotseland Agreement would be honoured within ninety days. I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President the relevance of having started with a Commission of Inquiry that focuses on witch-hunting rather than the substance of the agreement.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I do not know what counts as witch-hunting. Maybe, digging up K2.1 billion from the ground counts as witchcraft.


The Vice-President: Normally, one expects to hear these stories when somebody buries K10 and digs up K2 billion as being part of juju.

Mr Speaker, there is a political promise to attend to the Barotseland Agreement and, in principle, it is in force. However, we want to do the right thing. We do not want to re-introduce something, for instance, which is not up with the times. We have, therefore, established this commission, but I am not aware whether it is doing any witch-hunting. I am, however, aware that it is trying to get peoples’ opinions so that we have a balanced view of the people of Western Province and the people outside on what we should do about decentralisation along the lines that were enshrined in the Barotseland Agreement. What is happening seems to be perfectly self-evident and reasonable as well. I hope that I have satisfied the questioner.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Sayifwanda (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, it is said that the Civil Service should always support the Government of the day. Of late, many Permanent Secretaries, District Commissioners and Foreign-Service workers have been laid off. These people, who are Zambians, are now on the street. Is the PF Government really considering the Civil Service as part of the Government?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the people being employed are also Zambians.


The Vice-President: I think that the situation that we are dealing with, and is visible to the naked eye, is that the Civil Service was highly politicised up to the time of elections. The District Commissioners were literally lagging huge bales of chitenge around and so on and so forth. What we are genuinely trying to do, and have faced complaints from our own cadres because of it, is attempt to put neutral meaning professional civil servants in place throughout and that is why certain people are being removed from their jobs. There is no question of simply replacing a Movement for Multiparty Democracy (MMD) cadre with a PF cadre. This is not what is happening.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr M. Malama (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, I would like His Honour the Vice-President to tell us which company was contracted to refurbish State House and Nkwazi House, if a proper tender procedure was followed and at what cost.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, maybe, the former hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning could answer that question …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: … because, basically, we have been in Government for sixty-two …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Can we give an opportunity to His Honour the Vice-President to respond?

The Vice-President: … days. If there has been any contracting of individuals or companies done since we came to occupy State House and Government, I am not aware of it. This means that it is either non-existent or is of a trivial scale.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, we have seen, with joy, the appointment of police commissioners. A service such as the Police, Air Force and Army is based on establishments such as a platoon, company, battalion or division. Can His Honour the Vice-President tell this House and, through this House, the nation, the basis for the appointment of police commissioners. Are they supported by establishment? If so, how big is the establishment?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, yes, they are supported by establishment registers and are also administrators. They are not armed forces, literally speaking, in companies, platoons or whatever.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapaya (Chienge): Mr Speaker, my question is on the plight of retirees. The monthly pension income for retirees has not been reviewed for some time now. At the end of the month, retirees go home with K50,000 or an amount less than K100,000. What is our Government’s plan for these people?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, we have been lamenting over this issue ourselves for a very long time in this House apart from anything else. The House may take my assurance that we shall attend to this issue as a matter of priority.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President now that the National Transition Government is in place in Libya, when Zambia intends to re-open the embassy and what will happen to the looted property for the embassy and staff. Above all, do you intend to replace the career diplomats with cadres?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the lonely Member of Parliament for Luapula for that question.


The Vice-President: There is a Cabinet memo on the exact subject of Libya and the Transitional Council. When the Cabinet has considered it, the decision will be made available to this House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, could His Honour the Vice-President give us the position of the Government vis-á-vis the relationship with the chiefs? I know that towards the elections held this year, we saw chiefs abandon their palaces and go to stand on political platforms to campaign for the then Ruling Party. What is the Government’s position on chiefs this time around?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, both His Excellency the President and I, when visiting Magoye Constituency, recently, for example, …

Mr Muntanga: Why are you looking at me?


The Vice-President: … went to visit Chief Hanjilika who is a personal friend of mine.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

The Vice-President: He is a close personal friend of mine.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, if hon. Members are not convinced by that, then …

Mr Speaker: They do not have to be convinced.

The Vice-President: Sir, I am trying to say that we did not take Chief Hanjilika to a rally to get him to speak on a platform, but simply visited him because we respect him and advised him of our thinking about royal establishments having more to do with responsibility and governance in the rural areas.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

The Vice-President: In particular, I gave him an example to the effect that, if he was equipped with the powers and necessary materials for cattle disease control, then the next time I visited, it would be us complaining that the cattle had denkete, not him complaining to us. I thought that decentralisation was our guiding motto in this respect.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, what I know is that the rainy season is supposed to bring joy to the farmer but, unfortunately, it is not the situation in Namwala. The farmers made their payments to the District Agriculture Co-ordinating Officer (DACO) and were given collection vouchers which they have taken to Omnia. Unfortunately, this company has refused to give them the inputs because the Government has not paid it. Any delay in planting can be disastrous to the farmer. What is the Government doing about that?

The Vice-President: The simple fact of the matter, Mr Speaker, is that we were left with very little fiscal space, as they say, to deal with both the payments for this past season’s maize, and to catch up with the fertiliser payments, not a ngwee of which had been paid by the out-going or out-gone Government. Therefore, we were left with a huge debt and are attempting to clear that as quickly as we possibly can, in a way that is inconsistent. It may be helpful if we can dig more money out of the ground, but in a way that is consistent with the precepts of prudence.

Mr Ngonga: K2 billion!

The Vice-President: I would expect the hon. Minister to bring us up to date on this subject in the next week or two. We are well aware of the issue. The questioner may rest be assured that we also do not want this rainy season to fail.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President when the Commission of Inquiry on the Mongu killings will conclude its findings and how much members of the committee are paid as sitting allowance per day.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I did not understand the question. I did not get which Commission of Inquiry he means.

Mr Speaker: Could you repeat the question, please?

Mr Lubinda: You are very lucky!

Mr Ndalamei: The Commission of Inquiry on the Mongu killings.


The Vice-President: I know neither when it will come to an end nor how much the members are being paid. Mr Speaker, I am sorry.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. B. Mwale (Malambo): Mr Speaker, may I find out from His Honour the Vice-President how many foreign private trips a former Head of State is entitled to and also the number of staff he can go with?


The Vice-President: Off hand, I do not know, Mr Speaker. However, there is an Act of Parliament and it should be covered in the Green books. He can check that himself. They are here.

I thank you, Sir.

Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, this time, on Friday, the House conducts very serious business and the nation is listening. The answer from His Honour the Vice-President regarding the tender for the rehabilitation of State House has not been satisfactorily answered. In fact, it has not been answered. Is His Honour the Vice-President prepared to come to this House, through the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, to issue a ministerial statement on this matter so that the innuendos and rumours that are going on are cleared and the nation is in the know? Is he prepared to do that?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is creating an issue that will probably require perusing of Eskine May to resolve. The question has been asked, the issue of whether it has not been satisfactorily answered remains to be established. If that is the case, it can be brought back within three months. However, I will have a word with the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication and see whether it is possible to get, as a matter of just a public statement to the effect that the House has already dealt with this matter in this or that way or whatever there is. Otherwise, we will bog down in parliamentary procedures.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the statement from His Honour the Vice-President that a lot of work is being done to depoliticise the Civil Service. May I find out from him in what capacity the PF Secretary-General, Mr Wynter Kabimba, addressed civil servants and diplomats in Brussels and gave them political assurances of the security of tenure of their offices?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, Mr Kabimba is the Secretary-General of the Ruling Party and he was also in the company of my hon. Deputy Minister. He was invited to address …

Hon. UPND Members: In what capacity?


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Can we give His Honour the Vice-President time to answer? That is why this session is available. I think it is unfair to ask him questions while he is explaining. How can he answer them? It is not possible.

May His Honour the Vice-President continue, please?

The Vice-President: Thank you, Mr Speaker. He was in Brussels because he is the Secretary-General of the Ruling Party and, therefore, is responsible for Government or party policy. Also, he was in the company of my hon. Deputy Minister, who also spoke at the same meeting. As far as I am aware, it was a meeting for Zambians resident in Brussels, not simply for civil servants.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chishiba (Kafulafuta): Mr Speaker, could His Honour the Vice-President shed some light on the Finance Bank saga? Initially, His Excellency the President set up a commission of inquiry, then two days later, the bank was handed over to Dr Mathani. Firstly, is the commission still sitting? Secondly, under what constitutional power did the President hand over the bank to Dr Mathani?

Mr Mabumba: Twalimupela and we are happy about it!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I will make two observations on that question. One is that, it was asked in His Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time about two weeks or a week ago, and I thought it was dealt with rather thoroughly. The second one is that I believe the matter is in court and, therefore, sub-judice. Sir, I stand to be guided on that issue.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the Committee of Experts that has been appointed to review the Constitution comprises groups that had refused to be part of the National Constitutional Conference (NCC). Those who were part of the NCC, including churches such as the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA), have now been left out of this committee. May His Honour the Vice-President assure me that this time around, those who have been left out will not boycott the process like the PF did?

The Vice-President: Sir, being asked one question by the hon. Member is like being asked two questions by any other hon. Member simultaneously. I think it is something to do with the visual impression that he gives when he stands there.


Mr Muntanga: Just answer the question.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, of course, I cannot possibly give an assurance on behalf of the SDA Church that it will or will not boycott the process. What I will say constructively is that if the SDA, or anybody on its behalf, wishes to make a submission that it be included in the process then, please, it should go ahead and do so as it will have only itself to blame if it does not get involved.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice-President when the ban on the movement of cattle for slaughter from the Southern Province to other parts of the country will be lifted.

The Vice-President: Sir, the hon. Minister responsible will advise when the time is close or when it is time to do so. I personally have no idea.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, last year, in February, a bridge on the Luena River in Luwingu District, which links Chilubi and Luwingu, was washed away. Thereafter, the Government sourced some money to rehabilitate the bridge. However, the money was diverted to some projects within the province by the former provincial administration. What is His Honour the Vice-President doing to bring the culprits to book?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the ministry responsible for works and supply is currently reviewing all those projects. It was not just one in which the funds were diverted for reasons unknown, but possibly guessable. The hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication has just quietly told me that he will present the outcome once it has been established.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, we have heard quite a lot of complaints as regards witch-hunting following the revelations on Muvi TV of the more than K2 billion found in somebody’s yard. May His Honour the Vice-President confirm to this House that, in fact, the Government is allowing the law enforcement agencies to do their work professionally and without political interference?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, when Hercules had discharged all his other tasks, he was given the final task of cleaning the Augean stables. This was a place where enormous giant horses lived and produced very large amounts of unpleasant waste. He, therefore, had to work twenty-four hours a day to try and get rid of the …

Hon. Government Members: Waste.


The Vice-President: I think the word ‘waste’ will do. What is amazing is that in such a short time, the law enforcement agencies have come up with so much evidence. I am afraid that we have a very big amount of waste to plough our way through. I think the policy that the Government is undertaking at the moment is to just get through it. There will not be too much political interference, for the information of the people at the Backbench who are worried about it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Mfuwe.

Mr M. H. Malama (Mfuwe): Mr Speaker, my question has been asked. It was actually on the buried K2.1 billion.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Solwezi East.
Mr Taima (Solwezi East): Mr Speaker, seeing that the time is finished, I think I will just reserve my question for some other time, but I have been indicating from the start.

Mr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, I would like a response from His Honour the Vice-President on his party’s campaign promise to deliver development within ninety days. Why was your leadership so full of illusion?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I assure the hon. Member asking that question, who is, himself, something of a master of illusion, that there will be a report regarding the ninety-day promises. I think it is due on 28th December, 2011, when the ninety days of this Government being established will be up. He will then have a fresh chance to look at what has and what has not been achieved and see whether the ninety days was a reasonable promise or not. It is certainly better than the MMD slogan ‘Nafuti, nafuti’ which lost them so many votes.


The Vice-President: There is K2.1 billion, so far, and that is only the score today.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, …

The Vice-President’s Question Time expired.




37. Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs when the Witchcraft Act, Cap. 90 of the Laws of Zambia would be revised.

The Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House that the Witchcraft Act Cap. 90 of the Laws of Zambia will be revisited as soon as all consultations have been finalised.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, of late, there has been too much witchcraft practising in the country …


Mr Chisala: … and the number of witch finders has really increased. To that effect, a high number of people have been brutally murdered because of being accused of witchcraft. That being the case, how does the hon. Minister intend to normalise the situation to avoid occurrences such as the cases in Samfya and Chilubi this week?



Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, witchcraft is a big issue in our country and, as such, the Act is being reviewed as I have explained, but we need a lot of consultations with the chiefs and the association of traditional healers.

Secondly, looking at the poverty levels in the country, there are some Zambians who believe that they can treat others using magic or whatever means, and yet that is just another way of raising income for themselves. However, the prevention of causing harm to others is in the hands of the security agencies.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister for Chiefs and Traditional Affairs come out openly on whether she does believe in witchcraft. There is no witchcraft in this country.


Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, that, I believe, is a new question. As such, I do not think that the hon. Minister can stand in this august House to say whether she believes in witchcraft or not. That is a private matter but, ...


Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Hammer!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let the hon. Minister finish her response.

Mrs Wina: … if the hon. Member is interested in knowing whether I believe in witchcraft or not, he can come and consult me privately.

I thank you, Sir.


Professor Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, are there any short-term measures the ministry is considering using to address this particular phenomenon in our society, which has been defined as primitive, archaic and backward in human civilisation?

Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, whether the strategies to address the issue of witchcraft are short term or long term, I have already explained that we cannot take any terms, short or long, without reviewing the current Act after wide consultations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, on the revision of the Act, in the event that the witchcraft practitioners feel disadvantaged, is she not scared that she might be bewitched? Or, maybe, she is protected against those evil devices.


Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Katombola is posing a speculative question.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister consider employing Dr Vongo as one of the Permanent Secretaries in the ministry to ensure that this problem in Chilubi Island ends?


Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, I believe Dr Vongo is a herbalist, not a witch-finder.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, following the burning to death of the people in Chilubi for allegedly practising witchcraft, what measures does the Government intend to put in place to bring the people who committed this offence to book?

Mrs Wina: Mr Speaker, currently, there are existing criminal laws to deal with situations like what occurred in Luapula recently. I do not think the Government needs to go into the Act itself in order to bring the culprits to book.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that this issue of witchcraft has brought the so-called Karavinas to some parts of Zambia?

Mr Wina: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of the link between Karavina cases and witchcraft.

I thank you, Sir.


38. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection how many times the Local Government Service Commission has met from inception to date.

The Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection (Professor Luo): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the Local Government Service Commission had thirty meetings since its inception. This is in line with the Local Government Act No. 6 of 2010. The House might also wish to know that the commission was constituted to look at the conditions of service, salary structures and scales in compliance with Section 100(1) and (2) of Act No. 6 of 2010. In this respect, the commission had twenty meetings to review conditions of services, salary structures and scales.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just said that thirty meetings were held during the period under review. In this connection, may I know whether the promotions and transfers that were effected on some District Council Secretaries and Town Clerks between January and September, 2011 were justifiable?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I did not have time to review the cases of people who were transferred or promoted between January and September this year. However, I want to share with this august House the fact that my office has been very concerned about some of the appointments, transfers and promotions in the councils.

I will give you an example of one of the councils that I will not name. There is a man who has a master’s degree, but has been in the position of driver. I also have a Council Secretary who was working at the district level and should have been promoted to the municipality and on to the higher council, but was moved from the district to become Town Clerk. As a result of these anomalies, the quality of service in our councils has been compromised. Currently, we are discussing with the Local Government Service Commission how we can streamline operations in our councils.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, having heard from the hon. Minister that a lawyer agreed to be a driver, may I know from the hon. Minister what kind of person that is? Is he normal or is that master’s degree from some funny college?

Mr Chisala: From Matero University.

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, by profession, I am a microbiologist and immunologist, not a mental health doctor. Unfortunately, I am not able to confirm whether this person is normal or not. However, we have had to ask for curricula vitae from all the people in council management so that we go through each person’s appointment and see if it is commensurate with his/her curriculum vitae.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, indeed, it is amazing that a lawyer with a master’s degree can settle for the job of a driver. Has the Local Government Service Commission scrutinised his documents to ascertain whether they are genuine or forged?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, as I have just said in my response, our ministry has requested for curricula vitae and certificates. We have an undertaking going on at the moment and this is just one example. I can give you many other examples that will surprise you. We are carrying out this exercise because we believe that it is going to help our ministry, especially because there has been an increase in the resources that are coming to our ministry in the current Budget. Therefore, I would like to have the right cadre of staff hold positions in the local authorities for them to deliver on my behalf.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, we all know that the hon. Minister is a hard worker and we appreciate her. Arising from the anomalies created by the commission, does she have the powers to dissolve it?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, the Local Government Commission was constituted under a Bill that was brought to this Parliament. The Act does not give power to the hon. Minister to dissolve the commission. The commission is appointed by the President of the Republic of Zambia. Therefore, he is the one who has the power to dissolve it. My colleagues in this hon. House may also wish to know that an Act is not a static document, but a dynamic one. Therefore, my ministry is looking very closely at this establishment to see how we can make it better for the benefit of Zambians.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishiba (Kafulafuta): Mr Speaker, I happen to have been a member of the Appeals Board of the Copperbelt for almost ten years until the constitution of the Commission. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection how she is going to ameliorate the settling of disputes and appeals in the ten provinces? Is she also going to decentralise the commission because it is now too centralised?

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, in the speech to the First Session of the Eleventh National Assembly and the Budget Speech by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, both His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia and the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning were very explicit that we are going to decentralise the activities of local authorities. This includes the Local Government Service Commission.

Mr Speaker, we are also cleaning up our local councils so that we make them very efficient and ready to receive more responsibilities under the decentralised activities.

I thank you, Sir{mospagebreak}




(Debate resumed)

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, to begin with, I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for a well-presented Budget. I would also like to commend his three predecessors, Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane, Mr Magande and the first hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning in the MMD Government, the late Mr Ronald Penza. These economists have shown consistency in the way they have articulated the economic issues of our country.

Mr Speaker, I will not say much regarding the macro-economic policies outlined in the Budget Speech because I do not see anything new. The country seems to be following a consistent path. Like the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, I am also an economist. Economists are the only people who seem to look at things from two angles. I will focus more on the issues which affect the ordinary Zambians. As the hon. Minister rightly pointed out, an ordinary person on the streets is not interested in the macro-economic indicators because he/she does not know what they mean. The people of Luena and Zambians in general want to hear us talk about issues which affect them. All they want to see is poverty being alleviated. The hon. Minister, in his speech, mentioned the core development areas such as agriculture, education, health and local government and housing, but forgot to talk about issues to do with tourism and forestry.

Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for allocating a substantial amount of money to the agriculture sector. In the past, there seemed to have been a lot of emphasis on the growing of maize. The previous Government used to pat itself on the back always for bumper harvests in maize production. However, I wish to state that agriculture is not just about the growing of maize. There are other crops. I would like to submit that the Government should also look at issues concerning the growing of other crops. 

The people of Luena Constituency have opportunities for growing rice, cashew nuts, cassava, timber, mangoes and fishing. They can also engage in the rearing of livestock and aquaculture which can earn this country the much-needed foreign exchange. All the opportunities which I have just talked about should be explored and exploited so that agriculture can be taken to a higher level.

Regarding cashew nuts, mangoes, timber and livestock, we need to add value to them rather than just producing them in their raw form. We need to process cashew nuts so that people can earn a living from them and the country foreign exchange. We are all aware that in the past, before the MMD Government came into power, there was a vibrant cashew nut processing plant in the Western Province. I do not know what has happened to this plant. I have been trying to inquire about it, but it is like I have been hitting my head against the wall. I have never received any satisfactory answer from anybody. I do not know if the plant has been sold and its machinery dismantled and exported. I have no idea about the current state of the plant. However, all I can say is that its problems should be looked into because the project is good and can help to put money in people’s pockets if resuscitated.

We should explore ways in which we can make pulp and juices from mango and other fruits. We are drinking juices that are made from other countries out of fruits that we can grow in this country. What is wrong with us? Why not exploit our natural resources so that we can save and earn more foreign exchange? Where there is a will, there is a way. We just need to look at our policies and see what we need to do in order to put more money in people’s pockets and alleviate poverty. These are the issues we should look at. We have enough opportunities to make more from our natural resources. Why are we not exploiting them?

Since the beginning of the last two decades, we have been facing problems in our livestock industry. A country like Botswana, which was backwards, has overtaken us in so many ways because it is serious with its efforts to develop the livestock industry. Why have we failed to do what it has done? The livestock population in the Western Province has reduced, and yet it was the highest in Zambia. Why has there been no political will to solve this problem? Ever since the Zambeef Products Limited was created, somehow, things have not worked well. The livestock industry has not been doing well because there has been no political will to fight cattle diseases. It appears the Government favoured Zambeef Products Limited at its introduction because people used to bring livestock to the urban areas to sell and earn a living in the past. The issue of cattle diseases set in and the livestock and disease control departments were also created. However, there has never been political will to eliminate diseases. I think the Government has deliberately not lifted the ban so that only one company benefits.

Mr Speaker, on adding value to juices, I would like to find out from the Government what the status is of the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR). Is the Government utilising it? The Government allocates money to this institution. What is the purpose of its existence?

Hon. Member: Research.

Ms Imenda: One hon. Member has mentioned research, yes, it is a research institution, but we should utilise it. Have we ever bothered to find out what products they have made so that they can benefit the ordinary person on the streets?

Mr Speaker, cotton growing is an area we can look at as regards alternatives for maize.  Cotton growing is what supports the textile industry. The textile industry has died in this country. What is the Government doing about it? What has the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning done about the cotton and textile industry in his policies? Salaula has been a threat to the textile industry. We know that salaula creates employment in the countries where it comes from. What about us? Why can we not revamp our textile industry by growing a lot of cotton? If we do not want to make fabrics out of our cotton, why not turn it into yarn before exporting it?

Mr Speaker, let me now talk about tourism. The country is naturally endowed with tourism. However, we have failed to take advantage of the opportunities that we have in this industry. We have one of the renowned natural gifts from God, the Victoria Falls. Recently, I was in Zimbabwe and saw that despite their economic problems, their tourism sector still beats ours because they have proper policies. They are making proper use of the Victoria Falls and getting tourists to see it. 

Mr Speaker, when we talk about tourism, I am jealous of Serengeti, Masai Mara and other similar tourist attractions. We have a lot of tourist attractions, but are not utilising them much. I do not know what is wrong with us Zambians. The hon. Minister responsible for tourism is not even here to listen to what I am saying. The marketing of tourism should be vigorously pursued.

Mr Speaker, in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days, if there was something that we were serious about, it was tourism. As a young lady studying in a foreign country, I saw how much Zambia was on the map in terms of the Victoria Falls, game parks and things like that. I still remember what a commentator said one day when I was watching the British Broadcasting Corporation’s Panorama programme. He said “the Nile, the Niger, the Zambezi, the great Limpopo, these are great rivers of Africa but, maybe, very few have heard of the Luangwa River in Zambia, and yet it equals and if not surpasses them all.” The presenter showed the abundant wild life that we have. The Kafue National Park is one of biggest in the world, but we are not benefiting from it fully. 

Mr Speaker, as a patriotic Zambian, I used to get posters from the Zambia National Tourist Bureau in the foreign country where I was and would put the picture of the mighty Victoria Falls on my door. I copied some words on a piece of paper from a song that I heard from a play. I decided to put the paper right below the picture because I thought that the words were beautiful. The writings on the paper said, “A rainbow yawns in the sky, a vision blinding the eye, that beautiful place of my birth where the rainbow dances on the earth.” People used to come to my door to read what was written on the piece of paper which was below the picture. After reading it, they would ask me if I was from Zambia where the mighty Victoria Falls were found. Is it possible for all of us to have that passion even today?

Mr Speaker: You have demonstrated it.


Ms Imenda: I thank you, Sir.


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, regarding education, I mentioned in my maiden speech that we need a girls’ boarding school in the Western Province. We need high schools in Luena. Nangili School where I did my primary school was established in 1922. To date, it is still a basic school. We need more high schools.

Mr Speaker, the Western Province is amongst the places that have really been neglected with regard to the provision of health services. People walk long distances to access health services. I can give you an example of what happened recently when we were campaigning. We came across a woman who was about to give birth. She had to travel a long distance to go and deliver her baby. We gave her a lift and in the process she delivered in the vehicle before we reached the hospital. We had to make the men leave. We named that baby boy Charles. I am sure that the hon. Minister knows the source of that name. I would like to urge the hon. Minister to look at the Western Province as far as hospitals are concerned. We applaud the hon. Minister’s abolition of user fees.   

Mr Speaker, there is rampant cutting down of trees in the Western Province. I think I will consult the hon. Minister responsible so that we can have a moratorium. We need to audit the activities in this industry because it is not adding value to the lives of the local people. We want to know who is benefiting from this industry.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of the  Constituency Development Fund (CDF), I would like to suggest that the rural areas be given a higher figure than the urban areas ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Imenda: … because urban areas already benefit from the Central Government allocations for things such as the recent installation of geysers and works on the road network in Munali and other urban constituencies. There are no serious developmental programmes taking place in rural areas. Can we skew the CDF so that the rural areas are given more? I would suggest you give the rural constituencies K1.25 billion for a start. Then the urban areas can be given something between K300 to K400 million.

Hon. Member: Bamvela kudala.

Ms Imenda: In conclusion, I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning regarding his presentation. I would like to ask him to seriously look at the issues that I have raised.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate the 2012 Budget Speech. In the first instance, I wish to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for ably tabling the 2012 Budget. Like many others who have spoken before, I sincerely believe that Zambia will benefit from his long experience in Government and the private sector.

Mr Speaker, I also want to thank him for recognising the good achievements that the previous administration scored. It is not debatable that over the last decade, the economy of our country has been growing, jobs were created and that instead of importing food like we did in the 1990s, when his Honour the Vice-President who is heckling was Minister of Agriculture, we started producing it.  

Mr Speaker, it is not debatable that we have left a substantial amount of foreign reserves. Therefore, we thank the hon. Minister for recognising this and we respect him for that.

Mr Speaker, my colleagues around here have been saying that there is something common between me and the hon. Minister. I hate to say it because I would have loved to keep quiet about it, but I will say it anyway. Hon. Chituwo said that what is common between the hon. Minister and I is that we are both bald headed.


Mr Speaker: Order!

We have taken judicial notice of that.


Hon. Members: Solar panel!

Laughter {mospagebreak}

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the remarks that I am going to make are to provide an eclectic view of the Budget. I will not go into the details of the sectors because I believe that there will be an opportunity to debate those at a later stage. The main theme of my remarks will be that of sincerity in the Budget-making process.

Sir, as I go into the details, let me just provide an overview of what I think the hon. Minister has provided to us.

Mr Speaker, in 2012, the hon. Minister proposes to spend K7.2 trillion more than what has been spent this year. That is expenditure rising from K20.5 trillion to K27.7 trillion. So, K7.2 trillion extra will be spent next year compared to this year, 2011.

Sir, what has the hon. Minister proposed to spend this extra money on? In other words, if we look at the increments, where is he putting more money? Obviously, he is putting it in education because there is K900 billion more to be spent next year compared to this year. Of course, there are still complications about the fact the ministry has been merged. So, we cannot be absolutely sure. However, certainly, there is more money to be spent in education than what was spent this year.

Mr Speaker, similarly, there is going to be K900 billion more spent on health as compared to that spent in 2011. In agriculture and livestock, there is K400 billion more to be spent next year.

However, above all, the bulk of the money will be spent on infrastructure because, according to the proposals, if I look at the Loans Investment Budget for the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, which is where most of the infrastructure sits, the expenditure is proposed to rise from K3.2 trillion to K5.6 trillion. This implies that, on infrastructure, we will spend an extra K2.4 trillion in 2012. Therefore, there is more money for roads, power and other infrastructure projects

Sir, let me now proceed to make some comments on this. The first comment is my reaction on the proposed extra spending.

Mr Speaker, my reaction on this is positive. Certainly, I have a passion for roads. I think it is high time our country moved away from the roads which are like spokes on a bicycle rather than a network. By this, I mean if somebody is in Chadiza and they have an order to sell maize in Isoka, they will have to travel all the way to Lusaka and then to the Northern Province. However, if we were to make a straight line or something close to that, the cost of transportation will reduce and, therefore, internal trade, within Zambia, will improve.

Sir, similarly, if, for example, somebody has timber in the Western Province and wants to sell it in Livingstone, at the moment, they have to come all the way to Lusaka and then proceed to Livingstone. The programme that is there now is to create this network and cut out the spokes and humps. So, this is positive.

Mr Speaker, I also recall that, in the last few years, when time came to debate the Budget on infrastructure, it was always the most acrimonious. This means that hon. Members of Parliament appreciated the importance of roads and, therefore, this is being addressed.

Sir, similarly, I share the views on putting more money in schools, health facilities and so on and so forth.

So, are there any differences between what has been proposed and what we would probably have done? There is very little and I think the credit here goes to the MMD. This is because we, as the MMD, are the ones that started this programme of creating the networks for road infrastructure in our country. We are the ones that started expanding the infrastructure for schools, hospitals and so on and so forth.


Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member is still entitled to make that claim. May the hon. Member, continue please.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, what we see is almost like a cut and paste development agenda, but this is fine as this is good for the country.

Sir, the difference is that, on our side here, there has been sincerity.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: This is in the sense that when this party started rehabilitating the urban roads, for example, our colleagues on the other side made all types of innuendos and accusations that these were political gimmicks. These were not political gimmicks, but needs and requirements of the people. We responded to that and we are happy that you have now turned round to see that this is important.

Sir, I remember that when we were debating the infrastructure on Kasaba Bay, it was strongly opposed by our colleagues on the other side, and yet the MMD had the vision that this place of immense strategic importance, in the heart of Africa, had lots of tourist potential to draw west, east and southern Africans. Therefore, there was no sincerity on their part.

However, Mr Speaker, I am still happy that they have decided to come on board and continue with the programme of tourism development in the Northern Circuit.

Sir, when the Levy Junction was being designed and constructed, it received a lot of condemnation from our colleagues in the PF Government. Now, the PF will enjoy the glory of opening it, something on which they have not done any work and whose real credit should, actually, go to the MMD.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane. Mr Speaker, there are some challenges that I wish to pass over to the hon. Minister as we enter 2012. The first challenge is that the resources are increasing because the MMD had the wisdom and courage to put in place mechanism for the economy to expand. It is this expansion that is slowly, but gradually and consistently providing extra money that we can spend.

Sir, the challenge that the PF Government has is whether it understands what it takes to grow the economy. I know that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning does because …


Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: The hon. Minister does, but the Vice-President does not.


Mr Speaker: Let there be order!

The people on the right will be given an opportunity to respond in the course of the morning and, also, on Tuesday. If there are issues and exceptions, the most orderly way of proceeding is to simply take note of all these issues. When the time to respond comes, address them. I think we will all benefit from that discourse in that fashion.

The hon. Member may proceed.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the Budget Speech states that the Government intends to diversify and grow the economy but, listening to and seeing some of the things that have happened, I fear that this may not be possible. This is because I have read statements such as, “We are going to invest in tourism, livestock and roads.” The growth of an economy can be compared to the way life is created. Chemists tell us that the composition of all us is basically chemicals such as carbon, phosphorous and calcium, but it does not follow that when you put these chemicals in a test tube and mix them, then, you are going to produce life.


Dr Musokotwane: Sir, it will not happen that way. There is something like the spark of God that comes in that makes this transformation. The same applies to the economy. You can have your road infrastructure and lines of credit, but if you do not have that spark, this will not create the economic growth that you are looking for. I hope that my colleague across understands what this spark is. This is the one that is going to continue to put fuel in our economy so that it continues to grow. If that does not happen, I am afraid that the growth that has been taking place will not continue.

Mr Speaker, the second challenge that the hon. Minister faces is that, during the campaign, there were incredible amounts of promises that were made to the Zambian people. The young people were told that, within ninety days, all of them would have jobs and money in their pockets. Even as late as yesterday, we saw an instruction which stated that all the villages in Chongwe District must be electrified. This is the issue of sincerity that I talk about. Clearly, most of us who are adults, I think, have been told not to make statements that we know very clearly are not true.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Windfall tax!

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, somehow, I think our colleagues were very happy to make statements that they knew were not true. This is going to have a backlash. There are only about thirty days remaining before the end of the magical ninety days. This has a danger of creating strife in the country because the young people took note of this. They are expecting positive results and, if these do not come to fruition, one can only guess what is going to happen.

Mr Speaker, I had spoken about taking some time to talk about the expenditure side of the Budget. In general, we agree with what the hon. Minister has proposed because this is what we would have done. Let me use the remaining time to make comments on the resource side of the Budget.

Sir, we welcome the mineral royalty tax and I have no problem with that. I also take note of the fact that most of the infrastructure development that the hon. Minister proposes to undertake is going to be financed by the bonds that Zambia proposes to sell, which is US$ 500 million. Therefore, my advice is that, obviously, the hon. Minister must be cautious. The most important thing is that the positive economic environment that has been prevailing continues. If we create an atmosphere of chaos, lawlessness or an economic management that goes into disarray, this money is not going to be available. Who would want to put money into a country where there is no certainty? If that environment is not nurtured and kept properly, you are not going to have the US$500 million that you need to fund power projects, roads and so on and so forth.

Mr Speaker, in the same vein, let me say that there are some colleagues who have been fond of making statements against certain countries, particularly China. Unfortunately, this is where the money is today. Unless there is change in the way we talk about these countries, we are just going to shoot ourselves in the foot.

Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha: Totally!

Dr Musokotwane: Therefore, it is important that we are very careful to nurture the environment so that this US$500 million comes in. Failure to do that, we are not going to have the infrastructure that we desire.

Sir, again, focusing on the issue of sincerity, in the last few years, there was a lot said about windfall tax in this House and we were admonished, criticised and suspicions were raised. Hon. Simuusa and his colleagues, the engineers, experts and the economic consultants are all here and the Almighty heard them. The Almighty said, “since you have this wisdom, intelligence and that you have wanted this Government, here it is. Take it. It is yours. Do what you want to do for the Zambian people so that they benefit.” So, God has given you the authority, but you have not done anything.


Dr Musokotwane: You have not reintroduced windfall tax even where there was no compromise.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, if I was the one who made these statements, I would feel very ashamed today. I would probably be hiding underneath my desk in shame.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection (Professor Luo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this rare honour and opportunity to debate the Budget Speech delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Mr Speaker, I want to start by congratulating the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on having put in place our first ever Budget, as the PF Government that, in fact, shows linkages between the different players of our economy. My debate will be based on value addition, linkages and the positive impact that this Budget is going to have not only on economic figures, but also the real life of the Zambian people.

Mr Speaker, I want to emphasise that I have spent many years of my life living amongst the poorest of the poor, especially women and young people. One of the questions I have always asked, since I am not an economist, is what does the single digit inflation mean? What does economic growth mean if it is not translating positively in the lives of our people? I want to state that by my own experience of sleeping in villages, the twenty years of economic growth that has been claimed in Zambia has not translated into improving the lives of our people. In fact, we have seen the emergence of epidemics such as cholera, which spread throughout the country, dysentery and typhoid fever that were not there before. 

Mr Speaker, what does this Budget mean for the Zambian people? What is the value-addition? What is the chain reaction? I recall when a programme was introduced by the civil society of giving just a little extra money. This programme was adopted by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services for people living with HIV and looking after grandchildren and orphans. The programme, popularly known as orphans and vulnerable children (OVCs), made a huge difference in their lives by just receiving K50,000 every month. This is what this Budget is doing in terms of value-addition, chain reaction and linkages.

Mr Speaker, we see, for example, the removal of tax to a threshold of K2 million. Our people have been stifled. The people that fall in this bracket are not us in this House, but the poor people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: The people in this House and the corporate world now require people to make an appointment to come and visit. When your relatives come from the village, you put them on the earliest bus back because there is no extra bedroom for your children.

The people that are carrying the burden of all problems that infections such as HIV have brought about are the poor. The extended family system has been broken down by the people in this House, but the people in the villages and the poorest of poor are still keeping the OVCs in their homes. Therefore, removal of this tax creates extra money for these people and will further have a multiplier effect on the children that have been failing to go to school. It will also have a multiplier effect in that they will not be dependent on ka pamela, but be able to buy a bag of mealie-meal in their homes.

Mr Speaker, let us not come to this House and debate figures. Let us look at the reality of the suffering of the people who brought us to this august House. For a woman who is a trader who goes to Tanzania to buy things for sale back here, competing with the so-called Levy Mwanawasa Junction, which the people of Zambia in the bracket I am interested in, will have no access to, and considering the fact that we have increased the threshold of the amount of goods they can bring in without paying customs duty, this Budget opens an important chapter in her life. 

Mr Speaker, let me now link my ministry, the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and show the linkages of the increments that have been made in these ministries. 
Mr Speaker, before I talk about the linkages, I want to share an experience I had when I was driving from Chizera to Mwinilunga using the backstreet. I arrived at a health centre and saw an old woman, probably in her seventies, …

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I expect my colleagues to be attentive because their energy levels have just been boosted.

Mr Speaker, Business was suspended when I was just about to share an experience I had amongst the many experiences, when I was driving from Chizera to Mwinilunga using the backstreet. I stopped at a health centre and saw a woman, maybe, around the age of seventy, minus or plus, carrying a little bowl of maize and, with her, was a child coming to seek treatment at this institution. When I spoke to this woman she said, “look at my grandchild, all my children are dead and this child is very ill and I do not have money to pay user fees. So, I brought this bowl of maize hoping it can be exchanged for money so that this child can be treated and I will be saved from another funeral.” Mr Speaker, all I could do is reach into my bag and pay for the treatment of this child. For this reason, the removal of the user fees is one of the boldest steps that the PF Government has taken.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabumba: Eekulanda uko!

Professor Luo: It is going to benefit the poorest of the poor. The many people that we saw during our campaign die in their homes because they cannot afford to pay user fees. With the expunging of user fees, probably their lives are going to be saved.

Mr Speaker, the increment in the budgetary support to health is also going to improve the services to our people, with a proviso that our technical staff cost the conduct of business realistically and not inflated figures.

Sir, the increment of support to the Ministry of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection is a step in the right direction. The hon. Members may wish to know that apart from the words we hear, local government, housing, early education and environmental protection, this ministry is charged with the responsibility of ensuring public health of its people. Public health speaks to prevention. If we are able to give people clean water, clean our environment and improve sanitation, we are going to reduce the health budget tremendously.

Mr Ngonga: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Then the Ministry of Health can use this money to conduct other businesses.

Therefore, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for recognising the important role that the Ministry of Local Government, Housing Early Education and Environmental Protection plays in this country because it is closely linked with the Ministry of Health and it is going to have a value chain, in that improvement of local councils and water supply in this country is going to have a positive impact on the health of the Zambians.

Mr Speaker, again, an increment in the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Education, Science and Vocational Training is another step in the right direction. When the people are educated, it will help them understand all the different things they have to do, starting from how they conduct their business, look after their own health which is not only about taking drugs, but also about simple things such as exercise when you wake up in the morning, taking walks, drinking clean water and washing your hands after using the toilet. So, the education sector is an important sector in shaping the economy of our country.

Mr Ngonga: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Sir, there was a discussion here that the support to environment has been reduced. I just want to remind the hon. Members of Parliament that the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources does not exist any more. Environment is now part of a bigger ministry. Therefore, the extra budgetary support that was required that time, including supporting the luxuries of ministers are no more. So, the money that has come to my ministry is operational money to ensure that we protect the environment of this country. Therefore, the hon. Minister could not have allocated the same amount of money as was allocated last time.

My ministry is happy that we have the kind of budgetary support in our first budget. As we put more activities of protecting our environment in place, and also review our policy on environmental protection, I will be looking forward, next year, to an increased budget. As for now, this budget is adequate.

Mr Speaker, I am also pleased with the manner in which the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock has been addressed. I will not talk about whether we have enough money for seed, as I am looking at it from a nutritional point of view and how this links with the Ministry of Health.

Many a time, we just talk about whether we have a bumper harvest or not, Sir, those of us who are scholars of health know that maize does not have the necessary food values to assure the health of Zambians. Maize only contains starch and the husks contain a few vitamins. We process the maize by removing the husks to make breakfast meal, meaning our people are eating nshima from maize which has less food values.

Therefore, as we look at other crops, I hope we shall also be looking at other support agricultural activities that make our food more nutritious. Even as we promote wheat growing, what else can we grow for those that are eating wheat that can improve the food value of wheat? Even as we look at rice, what else can we grow that improves the eating of rice? That is what the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is talking about in terms of diversification.

Sir, I want to conclude by reminding this honourable House that, as politicians, we should see ourselves as political technocrats. As people debate, they say, “I am an economist” or “I am an agriculturist”, therefore, we need to give guidance to our technical staff. Those of us who have accounting backgrounds should learn to review even the costing of some of the way we conduct business. That is why we always talk about budgets not being adequate. I will give you an example.

In my ministry, the cost of digging a borehole was pegged at US$16,000, after negotiations, it came to US$11,000, meaning the cost of a borehole in Zambia has been pegged at between K50 million and K80 million, but we know, all of us in this House, that the maximum you can ever spend on a borehole is K20 million.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Therefore, as hon. Ministers, we need to review every detail and ensure that the money that is being given to us in our budget is put to good use.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, in conclusion, as hon. Minister of Local Government, Housing Early Education and Environmental Protection, I will be failing in my duty if I start increasing the CDF from its current position to K5 billion. The reason hon. Members cry for the CDF is that the local councils and other relevant ministries have not been providing the necessary support. If we all put our mind to it, do an honest job, make sure that our staff carry out their duties honestly, check every procurement and ensure that the costing is correct, sooner or later, we will be conducting business at a cost that is acceptable. For example, if we had allocated 500 boreholes, we will be able to sink 1,000 boreholes.

Therefore, Sir, I am one of the people who do not support the increment of the CDF. After all, audits that we have conducted so far reveal that there has been malpractices and abuse of the CDF in some of the constituencies. Let us work together and ensure that we do an honest job. That way, we will be able to improve the status quo of our country. The onus is on us seated in this honourable House to do that, because we promised the people of Zambia that we are going to represent them and we are going to do an honourable job.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

The Deputy Minister for Lusaka Province (Mr Sampa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion on the Budget Speech made by the hon. Minister of Finance, Hon. Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda, commonly know as ABC or as lately coined in this august House by some, Sir Alexander Chikwanda. I salute the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for the milestone achievement of being the first hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to present the first PF Budget. In addition, the hon. Minister has scored many other firsts in the political history of Zambia. I gather he was the youngest ever hon. Minister of Finance to present the Zambian Budget some time in the 1960s. He now goes into the annals as potentially the oldest hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to ever present the Zambian Budget. I, therefore, congratulate him.

Mr Speaker, I do not blame those who did not know the hon. Minister before the September elections, especially the tender aged, because in the PF’s political struggle, he was never in the frontline, in the battlefield, but in the backline for the last ten years. While all of the men and women on your right were in the pilot seat of the PF campaigns, the hon. Minister was in the backroom or control tower. Despite all the ups and downs of the PF in the last ten years, the many disappointments and losses, he remained true and sacrificed a lot on a voluntary basis in the control tower of the party and, more so of the presidential plane. I thank the hon. Minister on behalf of the people of Matero and salute him once again.

Mr Speaker, before I go into the Budget Speech, please, allow me to say a word on senior citizens whom one deputy vice-spokesperson of a certain party called old people on radio. I remember the words of the late Mr Kebby Musokotwane, the then Prime Minister of Zambia. In 1987, he came to my high school at Namwianga Secondary School in Kalomo District and said:

“Young men, have time for elders for your own good. When they talk to you, you normally take away your face and look elsewhere because they look so old with wrinkles and gray hair, but while you do that, please, leave your ears facing them and listen to all they have to say because, from them, comes the wisdom that you need to progress in your life.”

Mr Speaker, I take it my sitting next to the oldest man in this House, possibly the oldest ever in the history of this House, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: … Hon. Solomon Mbuzi, was destined. Indeed, I do listen to him a lot. Therefore, I call upon all the youths in Zambia to listen to what old people have to say. I also call on them to listen to what the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has to say. If only one political leader of a certain small party had listened to another older leader of a bigger party, that ‘Barrack Obama’ of Zambia would now have been the Leader of Government Business in this House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Alas, he concentrated on the wrinkles and gray hair of the older leader. He took away both his face and ears. The only things he has left now are hate speeches and bitterness.

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, this Budget is only the first step in fulfilling the PF promises to the Zambian people. In theory, the PF has five years, in reality twenty years, to deliver its manifesto to the Zambian people in full. The Budget Speech contained the first steps in getting where we promised to take the Zambian people; a land that has opportunities for all. The next Budget will have step two and so on and so forth. The problem is that some of the people on your left have a habit of attempting to climb a tree from the top. Rome was not built in a day. In the PF, we always take that first step and that is what this Budget Speech contained. The speech was for the majority poor people of Zambia and not the bourgeoisies. Anyone complaining about the Budget is only doing so to live up to the status of being in the Opposition.

Mr Speaker, the increase by K1 million in the untaxed income for all in formal jobs results in money going straight into workers’ pockets. There are about 80,000 people who are estimated to be in the K2 million income band, and hence they will not pay tax. They will benefit from this beyond their own pockets. Their increased disposable income implies that their spending power has increased and, hence they will buy more from shop owners and, in turn, shop owners will order more wholesale from manufacturing industries. The manufacturing companies will then employ people to produce more goods to meet the increased demand. Essentially, the overall net impact is wider than has been imagined by most on your left.

Mr Speaker, the increase of mineral royalty tax from 3 to 6 per cent achieves what all Zambians have wanted for a long time, that is, to get a bit more from our mines. The nomenclature of that increase matters less. The resultant effect is that more money from the mines will go into the Government coffers. One can call it what they wish, but for those who call it windfall tax, what happens when there is no windfall? The term windfall tax means it can only apply when there is plenty of wind and fruits literary fall off trees on their own.


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

The hon. Member is debating.

Mr Sampa: What can happen when there is no windfall because global commodity markets do plummet and the mines can start making losses? Would the Government then have to bail them out, seeing that the wind is in the opposite direction? The Government is not keen on income based on ups and downs of the global copper market. We want to tax the mines as soon as they dig the copper out. Whether they sell it or not, we want them to pay and that is what the mineral royalty tax aims to achieve. To respond to Hon. Dr Musokotwane, who talked about the windfall tax earlier in his debate, I will say governance is dynamic. Yesterday is not always as today and tomorrow.

Mr Speaker, allow me to go to the subject of the Maputo Declaration on agriculture. Again, those on your left want the PF Government to achieve the 10 per cent minimum allocation of the National Budget to the agriculture Maputo Protocol threshold when we are only two months in office.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Please, give the hon. Minister an opportunity to debate. Hon. Members of the Executive were listening when the Opposition was debating and now it is time for it to listen.

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Members on your left should, please, wait for step two in the next Budget. We are working towards that threshold. As late as yesterday, Hon. Kalima lamented rather loudly the export of surplus maize. In a season of bumper harvest, we have inherited maize stored from two seasons ago and that is why the country has been struggling with storage facilities. Why then should the 2012 Budget allocate more resources to the production of maize that we have in abundance? I trust that is a typical case of just thinking within the box. We, as a country, need to think outside the box. It may be prudent to actually export the old stock so that there is room for new stock.

Mr Speaker, I fully agree with the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa, Hon. Kabinga Pande, that we should ‘zerolise’ the Kwacha. This means removing say two zeroes from the Kwacha so that the K100 note becomes K1. This will make accounting in Kwacha easier. For instance, what can an average Zambian do with K3,675.4? A Budget of a trillion is a bit confusing to most Zambians. There is a need to bring the figures down while maintaining the same value.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, this Government will pursue this project that I am aware has been on the drawing board at the Bank of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, the reduction of corporate tax on banks from 40 per cent to 35 per cent benefits the entire economy from all angles. While this will definitely reduce the base rate further, the Government expects the banks that do not pay their workers well to pay them well and more so pay up on pensions and terminal-benefits related issues.

Mr Speaker, I know that some well-known international banks are in the habit of underpaying terminal benefits to retirees or retrenched Zambians. They deliberately drag the cases to court for many years just to buy time. There are people who are owed billions for years and their case is in the Supreme Court. In the process, the people do not even get their dues. The banks have the money, but they just do not want to pay because they want to report huge profits to their parent companies or shareholders.

Mr Speaker, for the benefit of Hon. Mulusa, Member of Parliament for Solwezi, factors that influence the lending rate of commercial banks include the liquidity ratio, reserve ratio, corporate tax, level of Government domestic borrowing, cost of doing business, especially costs such as legal fees, and above all, the default rate or default index. The PF Government has already reduced the reserve ratio. The reserve ratio is the amount of money the Bank of Zambia takes and keeps from each bank at zero interest rate to control the money in circulation or to manage the monetary policy.

Mr Mwila: Umfweni ba Mulusa.

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, the Government has reduced the corporate tax of banks and reduced the levels of borrowing from the Zambian people and companies through bonds and treasury bills. The only item in the base rate formula that the hon. Members on your left, Mr Speaker, can help this Government with, is the default rate, the inability to pay back.


Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, the culture of not paying back when one borrows is very serious in Zambia and, in most cases, it is deliberate. The problems of Finance Bank during the previous Government can be summed up in people through their personal or company names going to the bank to borrow and then not paying back. This went on to an extent of deliberately not paying the debts to the bank so that excuses are found to grab the bank from the owners. How can the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) owe the bank K200 billion and fail to pay for three years? The FRA is a Government institution, but the same Government then took over the bank and accused it of having toxic or bad loans. Toxic loans are ones that are not repaid for a long time. In essence, this was the Government’s own loan under the FRA. Any Government is expected to pay its debts when they fall due.

Mr Speaker, the issuance of the US$500 million bond on the international market will reduce the base rate in forex. At the moment, banks in Zambia lend forex at over 10 per cent rate. This is expensive compared to an average rate of 2 per cent in the United States of America (USA) and Europe. This is because we do not have a benchmark as they do with the London Inter Bank Offer Rate (LIBOR) on the United Kingdom (UK) market. Once we borrow this US$500 million, long term, from the international market at the LIBOR which is now around 2 to 3 per cent, all banks will be forced to drop their rates from 10 per cent to around 3 per cent in line with the price of these bonds.

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, allocations have been made for a ring road around Lusaka. This will decongest the Lusaka roads leading into the main town. The ministry and Government will ensure that this project is implemented in the shortest possible time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, as I conclude, allow me to point out some of the successes of the PF Government within the ninety days.

(i) reduction of inflation rate from 8.7 per cent to 8.1 per cent;
(ii) abolition of hospital user fees;
(iii) empowerment of councils;
(iv) reduction in the number of Cabinet Ministers;
(v) renaming of international airports; We know of Oliver Reginald (OR) Tambo and John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK) airports. we now know of Kenneth Kaunda (KK) International Airport.
(vi) restoration of dignity of chiefs by increasing their subsidies from about K1 million to K4 million; By the way, what happened to Chief Mwanachingwala?
(vii) reduction of presidential local and international trips; I do not think anyone has seen the Presidential Challenger since we took office. The furthest the President has been, thus far, is Magoye.
(viii) appointment of seasoned administrators in the name of Mr Matongo as head of the FRA.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, there are some on your left, especially the far left, who see and acknowledge these achievements. However, there are others, more so those on your immediate left, who seem to have taken a deliberate stance of never to see anything good in this Government. They have failed to acknowledge the allocations for the Bottom Road. This is a topic they loudly pronounced in this House, but none has mentioned the Bottom Road in their debate on the Budget Speech.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: Question!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, finally, as I continue to praise the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, allow me to mention and appeal to hon. Members and all Zambians to guard against ethnic and tribal politics.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, the people who point fingers have two fingers pointing back at them.

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, all tribes are equal in Zambia. We are one Zambia, one nation. When leaders of a small party have several spokespersons go on paid-up radio programmes where the first and second caller are the same people who daily preach hate, more so against one tribe they love to hate, the Bembas, there may be a need to …

Mr Livune: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, is the colleague on the Floor of this House who is debating with a lot of …

Hon. Government Members: Iwe, ni Minister!

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, he is an hon. Minister and a colleague. Is he in order to debate so provocatively and remove dignity of some chiefs in some region by debating in that manner and bringing a tribal issue on the Floor of the House, when he is the one protecting the tribe he has mentioned and is failing to condemn tribalism in his own Cabinet?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister is trying to counsel against tribalism and, in so doing, I urge him to keep that line of thought and conclude the debate.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, thank you.

As I conclude, according to the Central Statistical Office records, there are 6.5  … – First of all, I wish to repeat that all tribes are equal in Zambia. We are one Zambia one nation.

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: … million Bembas in Zambia. This represents 55 per cent of the total population of Zambia. There are 1.6 million Tongas. This represents 12 per cent of total population of Zambia. This does not mean Bembas are superior to any of the other seventy-two tribes, no.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, it just means that statistically, and using the law of averages, law of probabilities, under a normal distribution Sigmoid curve, ...

Hon. Government Members: That one.

Mr Sampa: Yes.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: … one is likely to find more Bembas in any set up or grouping in Zambia. From those ratios, it also means that, for a Tonga to become a President, they would need support from the Bembas.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: That said, I regard myself a Tonga from Kalomo where I grew up. The colleagues on your immediate left, the UPND members, should consider marrying more Bemba women because they will need them.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sampa: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Resources (Mr Simuusa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to add my voice to the debate on the Budget Speech. I have been sitting very quietly in my seat following the debates on both the Presidential and Budget speeches. I have been very perplexed by the attempts by hon. Members on your left to deliberately mislead this House and the nation on very straightforward issues.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: I will just touch the main issues in response to the points raised.

Mr Speaker, on micro-economic indicators, I wish to state, from the outset, that, as a patriotic Government, we admit that we have inherited a sick economy, an economy that is not where it was supposed to be. We are talking about poverty levels between 70 per cent and 80 per cent, a stunted growth rate of 45 per cent, meaning that over 45 per cent of our children are stunted in growth because of inadequate nutrition. We are talking of a maternal mortality rate of 571 per 10,000 births. This means that, in Zambia, child bearing is a high risk activity. We are also talking of an economy that is ranked, according to the Human Development Report, No.164 out of 189 countries. We are inheriting an economy that has a growth rate of about 5 per cent compared with our population growth rate of about 9 per cent. The gross domestic product (GDP) is about US$1,000 and we are the only African country that has digressed in terms of GDP after Independence. It even went down to as low as US$600. We have inherited an economy that is clearly in a very critical situation. With our endowment of mineral resources, where the economy is, is far from where it should be.

Mr Speaker, the difference between the MMD Government and us is that we admit when things are wrong. Unlike our friends, we believe that the first thing to do for you to solve a problem is to admit that the problem exists. Our colleagues were painting rosy pictures of how well they were doing. I remember that when I was on your left I used to tell MMD Members to admit that the economy had problems. I used to tell them not to paint false pictures of their doing well on the Copperbelt in terms of employment and people having three meals a day or that people were happy with the MMD. The voting pattern has shown that our colleagues on your left, especially the MMD, were misleading people by not telling the truth or admitting the situation on the ground. That is why they are now on your left. Unlike our colleagues, we, as the PF Government, admit that we have inherited an economy that is bad and we have said that we are going to be courageous and begin to repair it to a state where it is supposed to be.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, in his Budget Speech, paragraph 38, in addressing the issues of micro-economic indicators said:

“A mother in Gwembe is not interested in the lower rate of inflation if she cannot take her child to school; an unemployed youth in Kaputa is not empowered by songs of praise about stability of the exchange rate, but by being provided with skills and job opportunities; and our hardworking farmers across the country have no interest in real GDP growth if their farm produce lies uncollected, if they are not paid on time and do not receive a reasonable and fair recompense for their labour.”

Mr Speaker, I have heard some hon. Members on your left try to discredit this very important statement. What it means is that the PF Government and its President, His Excellency, Mr Michael Chilufya Sata, are the only ones who correctly translated the micro-economic indicators for easy understanding of the people on the ground. That is why even the voting pattern reflected the wishes of the common people. That is also why the PF is called the people’s Government. This is because it is the only party that translated the micro-economic statistics for the common person to understand, hence their voting the way they did. We shall continue to address the problems of the common person, the ordinary Zambian, to translate these economic indicators such as the GDP growth, fiscal stability and many others, for the understanding of every Zambian.

Mr Speaker, on Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE), I will not go into the details, but to just adopt the debate of the MMD Member of Parliament, Hon. Mumba, from Chama North. I wish to advise the MMD to listen to its own hon. Member of Parliament’s excellent debate. Do not mislead the nation that the K2 million threshold will only benefit 80,000 people. On the contrary, it will benefit every worker in this nation because it has a multiplier effect and the bracket will apply to every scale. Therefore, even if you are getting K1 million, K2 million or K3 million, that K2 million bracket will definitely apply to your salary.

Again, Hon. Mumba, that was very well-debated. That was excellent.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: On the CDF, I remember that when I was in the Opposition and the MMD was in power, I made it very clear that the CDF was the only money an hon. Member of Parliament could count on for the development of his/her constituency, but they never distributed the wealth and resources of this country equitably.

Mr Speaker, like my colleague, the hon. Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection has already stated, even in the distribution of the CDF, fifty-five constituencies held by MMD Members received it while only one did not get. This showed the utter selfishness of the previous regime. Now, if they could do that in the distribution of the CDF, what more with the resources that went solely to the MMD-controlled constituencies.

Mr Speaker, I remember debating vigorously that that is not the way to run a nation. We need to have an equitable distribution of the resources and, indeed, develop the whole of Zambia.  I agree that the CDF is a very key fund that can and should be used to develop all the constituencies. It is the only money, I believe, that goes directly to the constituencies. However, what I do not agree with is for the MMD to now call for an increase in this fund. I can entertain a request from the UPND for an increase in the CDF, not from the MMD.  I am saying so because, when they were here (right side), they had a word they used, which was ‘resource envelope’ and I remember I was very vocal on the need for the CDF to be increased. They used to say that they had to look at the resource envelope before they could respond to that. I think the same response will come from our side: that the resource envelope will determine how much can be afforded for the CDF. I think my able hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will take that into account.

Mr Speaker, let me spend some time on a topic that has been so much talked about, which is the windfall tax. I have even been nicknamed Mr Windfall Tax ...


Mr Simuusa: ... because I was, indeed, very vocal on this subject when I was in the Opposition. What perplexes me is how quickly the hon. Members on your left have forgotten about this. Firstly, the President has been attacked because nothing has been mentioned on mining in his speech, but the President only gives policy direction. We are here as his hon. Ministers or lieutenants to fill in the gaps and start implementing. That is what I believe governance and running a country is all about. So, that fuss about the President not talking about mining, I find very misplaced. We are here to start filling the gap.

On the mining tax regime, Mr Speaker, let me correct a wrong notion. I have heard it said on the Floor of this House, time and again, that the PF promised to re-introduce the windfall tax. Let me correct that error. As the PF, we did not promise to do so. What we promised is to review the mine tax regime.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: The mine tax regime has several components such as the corporate tax, windfall tax, mineral royalty tax, export duty and capital allowance. Collectively, that is what determines how much you collect from the mines.

Mr Speaker, I wish to state that, in the debate on the windfall tax, we must remember where we are coming from. As a nation, we were told to our faces, during the MMD Government, by leading authorities, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), that, as a country, we are not collecting enough tax from the mining industry. In fact, as a country, we were far from collecting enough benefits from the mining industry. That was said to our faces. In addition, there was a committee constituted on 23rd September, 2010 to investigate this very issue. This was the Committee on Economic Affairs and Labour for the Fifth Session of the Tenth National Assembly of which I was a member. I would like to recommend to this House that hon. Members who have not read this report do so because the conclusion of the Committee was that the mine tax regime in Zambia did not benefit the nation adequately.

Sir, since the PF Government has come into power, the first thing we have to look at is how to start correcting these errors that existed under the previous regime. When we talk about the mine tax regime, to give a brief history, we are now in the fourth phase or dispensation. The first regime after privatisation, was under the development agreement and was as follows:

Mineral Tax Implementation

Company income tax  Yes (25%)

Variable profit tax    -

Withholding profit tax Yes

Mineral royalty Yes

Sir, after there was noise from the Opposition because those development agreements were more skewed and benefited the foreign mine owners only, that regime was reviewed in 2008 and the windfall tax was introduced, which was 50 per cent when copper prices were US$2.5 per pound, but below US$3 per pound and so on and so forth until 75 per cent when prices were above US$3.50 per pound. In addition, there was a variable profit tax imposed.

Mr Speaker, in 2009, the MMD Government made a complete turn and went too far to the right by removing the windfall tax altogether.

Mr Speaker, I wish to agree with the debate of Hon. Sampa. Indeed, we have to look at the arguments in terms of the circumstances prevailing. That time, the price of copper was US$10,000 a tonne. As a nation, we missed out on all that. The argument then was that we needed windfall tax to benefit from increased prices before they started going down and that is exactly what happened. By the time the MMD was implementing the tax, the price had been at US$10,000 a tonne for a very long time and we had missed out on that. They made a complete turn the following year. Again, I stood up and debated that the MMD Government needed to move with times and that they needed to be jerked up because they needed to follow the way the world works. That is why, as the PF Government, we said we are going to be smart in the way we are going to manage the issues to do with mining. When we talked about, for example, increasing shareholding, the MMD said we wanted to nationalise. That is not true. What we are saying is that we are going to be proactive and look at issues the way the world looks at them. In terms of benefits, currently, we have increased the mineral royalty tax from 3 per cent to 6 per cent. That was a bold step, but it was just the start of reviewing the tax regime. We have only been in Government for sixty days and an issue like windfall tax needs careful handling. The MMD knows. It was at it for more than a year, researching and refining it, but still did not get it right when they implemented it. So, being a responsible Government, we, as the PF, are researching all areas. By the way, the Chamber of Mines of Zambia and different mining houses have told me, to my face, that they are not actually opposed to the windfall tax. What they are opposed to is the way in which the MMD implemented it. That is where the problem is. So, that is why, as the PF Government, we want to be responsible. We want to do things correctly. We do not want to be flip-flopping. We have started with the best form of collecting revenue from the mines. Again, I agree with the debate by one of our Back Benchers that we need a simple, transparent and predictable tax regime for the mining industry. The problem with our tax system, currently, is that it is too complicated. Even the variable profit tax that the MMD espoused was too complicated to implement effectively. There are things like hedging there. Who can understand that? At the end of the day, a loss is declared and you do not collect any revenue. So, what we are saying is that we want a simple and straightforward tax. The mineral royalty tax is simple. We know that copper production in this country is going to increase, and the best way to capture that, is a simple tax. It will be production multiplied by the value multiplied by 6 per cent. It is simple and straightforward. The copper price is on the way down at the moment. We missed the wave, as the previous debater said, because of the previous Government’s failure to act in time. Now, we are trying to catch the wave. Currently, we have increased production. The mineral royalty tax will now capture that production. In fact, we have been complaining, as a nation, that all the production is going out. By increasing the mineral royalty tax, we are tapping into that production and we are going to channel it into the productive sectors of our economy.

Mr Speaker, once again, I wish to make it clear that the PF Government has promised one thing to the people of Zambia which is that it is going to be smart in the way it conducts its affairs. We shall make sure that we derive adequate benefits from the mineral resources that God has blessed this nation with. This is what the previous Government failed to do. That is one of the reasons the Zambian people voted that Government out of power. The promise we have made, which I will now repeat, is that the PF will act responsibly and smartly in order to make it possible for the people to fully benefit from that which God has endowed our nation with and put this nation where it is supposed to be.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Dr Katema): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House regarding the 2012 Budget Speech which was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Alexander Chikwanda, whose theme is “Making Zambia a Better Place for All”.

Sir, with regard to the micro-economic environment, my Government will create an atmosphere that will promote investment, inclusive growth and employment creation through key sectors such as agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.

Mr Speaker, my Government will put in place measures in order to achieve the theme of the 2012 Budget. We will diversify the economy, enhance productivity, promote employment creation and pursue sound financial management and invest in supportive infrastructure.

Mr Speaker, the PF Government’s view on the importance of the agriculture sector cannot be overemphasised. Keeping in line with the improving productivity and raising incomes of millions of Zambian farmers, the Government has increased the total allocation to the agriculture sector to K1,698,000,000,000 in 2012 from K1, 231,000,000,000 in 2011. Furthermore, under the sector, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has stated that the Government will redesign the Farmer Input support Programme (FISP), refocus market guarantees and improve the extension service provision so that it can support the production of crops which are appropriate to each agro-ecological environment. In addition, greater attention, through this Budget, will be placed on ensuring that livestock and fisheries development will be our next main source of exports.

Mr Speaker, may I also point out that my ministry, through the Food Security Pack Programme, is supporting agriculture by giving farming inputs to vulnerable, but viable farmers nationwide who also contribute to food security and crop diversification.

Further, my ministry also has plans to revamp the farm centres under the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) in order to ensure that they are turned into production centres for our colleagues living with disabilities to contribute effectively to the development of the agriculture sector and ultimately to the growth of the Zambian economy.

Sir, as the tourism sector continues to grow in 2012, the Government has allocated K52.6 billion towards the promotion and expansion of tourism products and development of key infrastructure, including that which is in the northern tourism circuit.

Mr Speaker, in order to enhance access to thigh quality education, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has allocated K4, 850,000,000,000 to the education sector representing an increase of 26.7 per cent from the resources allocated in the 2011 Budget. These resources will go towards the development of infrastructure, recruitment of teachers and procurement of educational materials. All these are clearly an indication of this Government’s commitment to ensuring that quality education is delivered to its young citizens. This will, in turn, ensure that the future generation is an enlightened and productive one.

Mr Ngonga: Hear, hear!

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, may I, once, again point out that my ministry will also contribute to education through the strengthening of the community development colleges and provincial skills training centres so as to ensure that persons with disabilities obtain relevant skills from these institutions in order to boost their chances of getting gainful employment. My ministry is also expanding functional literacy programmes to assist women and men so that they can also utilise our empowerment programmes meaningfully.

Mr Speaker, under the provision of health services, may I say that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has increased the allocation to the sector by 45 per cent to K2, 579,000,000,000. Further, in its resolve to increase access to health services, the PF Government has abolished all user fees for primary health care services which include the mother and child health component of the health sector. The Government has removed user fees even in urban areas. All these efforts are there to make Zambia a better place for all.

Mr Speaker, the Government, in its endeavour to protect the vulnerable and incapacitated, has increased funding to the social protection sector. These funds will play a big role in scaling up the various programmes such as the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, Food Security Pack Programme and the Women Empowerment Programme that are being implemented in my ministry.

As a starting point, my ministry will be placing resources on these high impact programmes and will look at decentralising their delivery mechanisms. This is in an effort to de-politicise institutions which were highly politicised and abused under the Government of the people on your left.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Katema: These measures will ensure that only deserving and qualifying beneficiaries access these services.

Mr Speaker, when you look back through the newspaper cuttings during the run-up towards the 2011 tripartite elections, you could see pictures of people queuing up to access youth empowerment funds and women empowerment funds with voters’ cards in their hands as a prerequisite to acquiring these funds.

Hon. MMD Members: Question!

Dr Katema: These, Mr Speaker, are the mistakes that we do not want to make as the PF Government.

Sir, let me also take this opportunity to tell the hon. Members of Parliament that they are free to come to the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health to collect the remaining input goods which were leftovers from this Budget. These include the sausage-making machines.


Dr Katema: However, I would like to urge them that this time around, they should not politicise the issuing of these inputs to beneficiaries. The mechanisms of identifying the beneficiaries are there. We should not put undue pressure on the technocrats, like Hon. Mbulakulima.


Dr Katema: I saw on the list that he had already collected all the inputs.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the House to fully support the 2012 Budget profusely.

With these few words, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to make my remarks on the 2012 Budget.

Sir, in formulating this Budget, I appreciate the challenge that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning had of transiting from the euphoria of winning the election to the realisation that it had limited resources to work with.


Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I also understand the challenge of using the Budget as a tool to deliver the promises that were made within the context of limited resources.

Sir, one of the very early scores that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has made is that he has been less dramatic in dealing with the pronouncements associated with the ninety days and remained consistent with the fact that we have  twelve months in which some of these things can be delivered. I think that is a good start.

Mr Speaker, in balancing his Budget, the hon. Minister has acknowledged the solid economic foundation and fundamentals upon which you built. Although, we have heard, in many debates in this House, that this country’s economy is actually sick, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning said that it is not sick, but solid.

Sir, what then would we say? We will just say “Lord forgive him” the same way He did on the issue of windfall tax.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is using the platform of B+ rating to raise the US$500 million bond to try and push the infrastructure development of this country that is key to growing the economy.

Sir, sometimes, we are scorned over issues to do with growth. In the 2012 Budget, we have a 7 per cent growth target. Unless you grow the economy, you will not be able to raise revenue. Robust economic growth can impact positively on the life of a woman in Gwembe and that of an unemployed youth in Kaputa, as referred to.

Mr Speaker, by having a stable exchange rate, the cost of transportation is maintained. When we grow the economy, we will be able to have more resources to support the fertiliser programme. This means that more people are benefitting.

Sir, growth is a fundamental that must be there. That is why I appreciate the approach of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning who says that growth is a prerequisite and he is working on how best the benefits of the growth will be distributed.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is a scholar of good language. He concludes the Budget Speech by stating that the euphoria of the previous Government, popularly known as the ‘regime’ of basking in good statistical economic indicators is not enough to bring about development. However, he does recognise the importance of sound statistics when formulating public policies. He states that without sound statistics, there will be defective public policies.

Sir, we understand that statistics, even as we bask in them, also have the task of providing a base for public policy formulation.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we also understand that when a Motion was brought to this House to reduce the number of ministries, the rationale that was given was that we will need to cut expenditure. We agreed that expenditure must be cut for us to channel the money which we would save to more productive aspects of the country’s development.

Sir, I know that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning could not have calculated the costs which would be saved from this fundamental change because he did not have adequate time. However, perhaps, with time, things will become clearer.

Mr Speaker, reading the Yellow Book is like walking through the jungle. It is difficult to find where the savings are.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning emphasised the need to use small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as engines for creating jobs. However, what is critical is that we have to remove the K40 billion limit in the fund because, I think that it will be insufficient to help our business people to create the jobs that we so much desire.

Sir, I appreciate the challenges that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is faced with. He is presenting his first Budget and, as much as possible he has avoided the bug of the first budget. In avoiding and creating a cure for that bug, I am saying that which is difficult, blame it on us and for that which works, take the credit. We are not shy to be blamed for that which is difficult because we tried to energise the economy to the best of our abilities.

Mr Speaker, at this stage, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for coming up with an inspiring theme for the Budget. The theme shows leadership and that he cares for all the people and does not indulge in debate that focuses on regions and all these kinds of things. It shows that he wants to see a united Zambia and that the resources are for all.

Sir, I also want to thank him for the realism that permeated this Budget. He appreciates the fact that as much as we are a growing economy, we are still not rich enough to address all the problems that we face.

Mr Speaker, I also want to thank him for appreciating that growth is a long-term journey. All the challenges this country is faced with cannot be solved through one budget. You cannot deliver the promises that were made in one budget. There is a need for pragmatism and realism. It is this pragmatism and realism that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning used in ignoring issues raised by some of his colleagues on windfall tax and, indeed, many other issues. We want you to keep that spirit. Do not be shaken by drama, but focus on substance.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I would like to make three suggestions. The first one is on the issue of tax reforms. Firstly, let me appreciate the increase in the exempt amount to K2 million because that will benefit all the tax payers, without exception. Each employee will be getting a different level of benefit. There is no argument about that and that is what it must be. I also appreciate the arithmetic employed in arriving at this increased threshold. You increased the royalties by 3 per cent, accumulating almost K1 trillion which, obviously, was used to subsidise the exempt amount. That is okay, but we are narrowing the manoeuvering space in terms of taxation.

Mr Speaker, perhaps, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, as you have correctly put it in the Yellow Book, the K120 billion for the modernisation of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) should be employed in enhancing the administration of taxation and also be used for broadening the tax base, but, more importantly, using taxation as a tool for creating enterprises.  Perhaps, the tax tool can be used through rebates for those that are creating jobs for the youths and use it as a motivator. For example, when you employ many youths, you should get a rebate. Therefore, it is the totality of that reform that you must undertake. Perhaps, we were slow when we started this journey, but you must not follow our pace. You are a bit quicker and enthusiastic and we appreciate that.

Mr Speaker, a second suggestion I would like to make is that on the overall cost of doing business. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning did reduce the cost of interest rates by dealing with some of the variables that are key to pushing up this cost as one of the early measures. He hit the reserve ratio and now he has knocked down the profit for the banks. As he moved down the reserve ratio by almost 33 per cent, the banks only marginally moved down. I think he admits that you cannot have an interest regime that is 300 per cent the rate of inflation. Therefore, this current regime of interest where the Government is the one that is giving through reserve ratios and taxation, must be abandoned.

Mr Speaker, what should be done, first of all, is for the Bank of Zambia to recall its fundamental purpose which is to ensure price stability and also contribute to the stability of the financial sector. Furthermore, determination of the interest rate must meet the objectives for which the Bank of Zambia exists. Therefore, we need to migrate to targeting inflation as a regime. The Bank of Zambia has been studying this new regime, but I think that what we need to do is to push it to move from study to implementation mode because conventional economics tells you that you cannot have interest rates that are 300 per cent of inflation. There is a deformity and disconnect.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mutati: We gave teeth to the Bank of Zambia, through the Bank of Zambia Financial Services Act. It must use those teeth to bite so that it no longer pleads to the banking community to bring down interest rates. The Bank of Zambia must not beg, but instruct.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: This is what will lower the cost of doing business.

Mr Speaker, I am glad that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has recognised that he will continue to support the business reforms, licensing and the cost of transaction. This is critically important. In the area of cost of doing business, interest rates become critical and, therefore, it is important that we abandon the current regime and migrate to an inflation-targeting regime. The hon. Minister, being a scholar of economics, once taught me that this is the best way to go.

Mr Speaker, the third suggestion is creating enterprise. Within the context of the Budget, under the heading of Financial Restructuring Capitalisation, we have K1.2 trillion of various activities that are directed towards this particular activity. However, one of the institutions that we must look after, within this context, is the Development Bank of Zambia because it is key in generating the resource that is required for Zambians to participate in creating enterprise, particularly manufacturing and value addition.

  Therefore, the allocation of K5 billion from K1.2 trillion is too small. The hon. Ministry of Finance and National Planning should find, from the K1.2 trillion, money to put into the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) for it to be able to lend to Zambian manufacturers so that they can create employment. You cannot talk about jobs until you create enterprises. This is the sequence and it is within the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning’s capability to do this.

Mr Speaker, it is also within the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning’s power to look at the allocation of K40 billion for empowerment for 2012. This amount is insufficient to address what has been cried upon that Zambians have been excluded from participating in economic activities. We, therefore, need to boost the empowerment fund so that we can have more Zambians participating in the creation of enterprises.

Further, we need a paradigm shift, particularly with the Pensions Fund. Typically, they are playing safe. The resource that they have is for treasury bills. Measure their performance on the level of risk that they are able to take and not their appetite on what volume they are able to place with the Bank of Zambia. This money must be exposed to risk because that is what will create opportunity for enterprise and jobs. Take away the K470 billion from the Budget.

As my colleague said, the Levy Junction is creating opportunities for young Zambians …

Mr Mbulakulima: You were listening to me.

Mr Mutati: … to own and have something to do. I know that Levy Junction, which was supposed to be opened two days ago, was condemned.

Mr Speaker, at Pick and Pay, 45 per cent of the shelves are now predominated by Zambian produce. So, you create opportunity and others participate.

Mr Speaker, I thought that an amendment would be much more important than the deletion of Section 59 of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Act. An amendment to the section would have provided for those who are coming into Zambia and have joint ventures with Zambians to be given special incentives so that Zambians are encouraged to participate.
Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: They must have something that they will offer on the table. By deleting this section, we are shying away from making decisions. Therefore, my suggestion to the PF Government is to marry the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) Act with Section 58 so that Zambians have something to deliver on the table beyond being nice and smiling.


Mr Mutati: The reason we are sidelined is that we do not have something to offer. So, if we can have a law that compels giving special incentives provided you do something, I am sure we will have many more Zambians creating enterprises. They must have something to offer. Therefore, I wish to plead with you, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, to go for amendments rather than deletion.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has done a commendable job considering this is his first Budget, just as he did in the 1970’s. Everything that he shoots first time, he does decently. Hon. Minister, going forward, we will depend on you. As you say in your theme, Zambia is for all. Continue with the theme, “Making Zambia a Better Place for All.” We, on your left, are here only to give suggestions. It remains with you to take the decisions that are going to move Zambia forward because you and us belong to the same side of the table.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear! Quality!

The Minister of Lands, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, it is with great pleasure and honour that I stand here to register my sincere thanks and congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mr Alexander Chikwanda, on putting up a well-balanced Budget which cuts across all sectors of the economy.

Sir, this PF Budget has undoubtedly addressed most of the issues promised during the election campaigns, including putting more money in the pockets of every one of us seated here.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, surely, the proposed PF Budget will ensure that more money is collected from the mining sector. As can be seen, this Budget is pro-poor since the Government has proposed the increase in social spending and farming subsidies to be paid for by the increase in mineral royalties and a bond of US$500 million.

Sir, the PF campaign was strongly anchored around such pronouncements as less taxes, more jobs and money in our pockets, which we have already started implementing and are almost succeeding. Also, all the core areas in the PF Manifesto have received enhanced funding, indicating that there is good harmonisation with the party manifesto.

Sir, allow me to discuss the impact of the proposed Budget on the Ministry of Lands, Energy and Water Development.

In the electricity sub sector, the inadequate generation capacity has been one of the major challenges in Zambia. Mr Speaker, electricity plays a major role in economic growth. Consequently, the dependence on electricity increases the demand for it. Therefore, there is a need to analyse and quantify, in the context of supply and demand management, to enable stakeholders and policy makers come up with sound solutions for this dynamic system.

Mr Speaker, as you may know, in the past decade, Zambia, just like any other developed or developing country, has experienced temporally or long-term crises. During these crises, the electricity network may remain unchanged, but the electricity market is faced with demand and supply imbalances. Power crises may be as a result of a breakdown in a key plant such as the generation plant or loss of a key transmission capacity of a line. It is possible to formulate a model that can be deployed to mitigate supply and demand shortcomings.

Mr Speaker, one response to these power crises is to fix the supply problem in mere real time by either switching on offline utilities or importing power, but some power crises are so pronounced that drastic steps in relation to curtailment have to be entered into. It happens to be the only feasible means of still providing some electricity while maintaining the integrity of the electrical system.

Mr Speaker, there are three types of power shortages. There is energy constraint and capacity constraint which is the most applicable to our environment. There is also that which encompasses both energy and capacity constraints. It is imperative to understand the type of shortage in a given situation in order to formulate effective solutions accordingly.

Mr Speaker, most of the electricity utilities in the developing economies are still owned by the Government or the Government is the main shareholder. With this type of arrangement, there are perceived advantages to utilities owned by the State and these are:

(a) perpetuating the monopoly in the market to enhance consumer social welfare from these services; and

(b) the State enjoys full control of the monopolistic running of the utility company without any competition;

Mr Speaker, power markets are considered critical to national economic security and also a means of pursuing economic and social distribution objectives. The ownership of the utility industry by the State has shown a deterioration of the power supply to critically low levels as we are experiencing right here in Zambia and has been failing to meet the national electricity demand in most of the developing countries.

Mr Speaker, for Zambia to address the capacity constraints, the PF Government will accelerate the completion of various power generation projects presently under construction with an aim of adding, at least, 1,080 MW to the national grid. To this effect, the Government will continue to develop Kafue Gorge Lower, Itezhi-tezhi Hydro-power Plant, the 50 MW heavy fuel oil plant in Ndola and the extension of the 11 MW Lunzua Power Station as well as the on-going Kariba North Bank extension project.

Sir, as a commitment to promoting private sector participation in the energy sector, the Government will facilitate implementation of power generation projects by independent power producers by promoting open access to the transmission network. We will, therefore, ensure an enactment of appropriate standards and regulatory frameworks like the Grid Code.

The need to electrify rural areas is a priority for the PF Government, as per our party manifesto. We want to extend electricity to many outlying areas of the country in 2012. Sincere gratitude for this, once more, goes to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, who has allowed, in the 2012 Budget, some sound monies for the funding of rural electrification and also not to forget my colleague, Hon. Kenneth Konga, who initiated the electrification projects which we will be embarking on. I would also like to assure the hon. Members of this august House that we will not stop the projects which were started by the MMD Government. We will continue with these projects.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I would also like to allay fears of Hon. Dr Musokotwane about Chongwe. In Chongwe, we are going to do it and we will succeed.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, we have also embarked on network expansion programmes focusing on strengthening and refurbishing. This is to allow us to have transfer capacity for regeneration which we are going to put on line.

Mr Speaker, with regard to renewable energy sources, the PF will increase the share of renewable energy to the energy mix by promoting the development of renewable energy such as wind, solar, geothermal, mini-hydro power stations and the use of modern biomass. The PF Government recognises the strategic role that renewable energy plays in national development focussing especially on rural development.

Mr Speaker, all investments in the energy sector will be in vain if, as a country, we do not ensure that we save or we strive to save energy. I would like to urge all the consumers of energy to use energy efficiently or sparingly. For this reason, my Government will scale up programmes that are aimed at promoting the efficient use of energy and provide alternative energy to all our populace. 

Mr Speaker, on petroleum, the PF Government will ensure security of supply of petroleum products as well as availability of the products at a fair price to the consumers. We have carried out a review of the cost elements in the petroleum pump price with a view to streamlining the same. I think you would recall that recently, we made a huge drop in the price but, sufficiently, something which could be appreciated in gasoline and other fuels.

Mr Speaker, the Government will continue streamlining the cost elements in the price build up and, where necessary, further reduction will be effected. The Government will continue with the standardisation of fuel prices countrywide in order to afford rural communities opportunities, unlike in the past when urban areas had cheaper fuel prices compared to the rural areas. In addition, my ministry is awaiting a report in relation to petroleum from the Commission of Inquiry so as to get guidance on further action to eradicate the high taxes the petroleum sub-sector is facing.

Mr Speaker, land as a factor of production has fixed supply. This entails that land needs to be properly managed and fairly distributed to our people for productive use. It is in recognition of this fact that my ministry, in 2012, continues to embark upon programmes which seek to improve service delivery in land administration and evaluation and alienation.

Mr Speaker, the ministry will execute a good number of projects in 2012, such as development of new land information management system, land identification and alienation, disbursement of land development fund, cadastral surveys and mapping services, demarcation of international boundaries, revenue collection and regular inspections.

Mr Speaker, my ministry continues to collaborate with local authorities around the country in an effort to make more land available for development purposes. The ministry disbursed K5.8 billion to fourteen local authorities in 2011 from the Land Development Fund to assist local authorities to open up new areas for development through preparation of site plans and surveys.

I wish to appeal to our local authorities, especially those in rural areas, to take full advantage of this fund to facilitate development in outlying areas.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has not resolved the long-standing issues on the common border between Zambia and Malawi. With the conclusion of the physical demarcation of the remaining 150 km stretch from the 804 km common border in 2011, we have continued to step up the ministry’s revenue collection function, having collected K67 billion this year against the target of K24 billion for the 2011 fiscal year.

Mr Speaker, we further intend to undertake land audit in selected parts of the country to determine categories of land that are not being utilised for productive purposes with the aim of putting such land to productive use.

Mr Speaker, I will not talk much on water because the hon. Minister of Local Government, Housing, Early Education and Environmental Protection talked about this. We intend to construct a number of dams which will assist in increasing the water storage capacity for agricultural use, hydropower production, irrigation and others. This will contribute to increasing access of water for various uses, particularly among rural communities. These measures will also enable us respond effectively to the challenges faced by climate change.

Mr Speaker, the Government will further carry out maintenance and rehabilitation works on sixty-seven dams and wells around the country in order to ensure sustenance of this infrastructure. We will further accelerate ground water development for schools, clinics, rural health centres and other strategic institutions, including chiefs’ palaces. We also want to eliminate incidences of cholera and trachoma, particularly in areas that are prone to these diseases, by enhancing access to ground water for domestic use, especially in low rainfall areas.

Mr Speaker, my ministry will establish a fair and more equitable mechanism for allocating water to competing demands. In this regard, the Government will streamline water rights administration so that water is made available for various uses.

Mr Speaker, I would like to assure my colleague from Kalabo that he will have electricity and his people will enjoy the luxury that other people enjoy in their areas.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Yaluma: That will also include solar pumps as indicated in the distribution.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice to the debate on this important Motion that was ably moved by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Mr Speaker, the Budget was an inspiration to every Zambian. Every year, I look at the Budget and analyse the cover so that I know what is happening. I have seen that this year’s cover is slightly different from the previous ones because the cover for the 2011 Budget had leaders negotiating in the background, leaders enjoying a visit to one of the mines and a child pointing to the MMD’s way out. The cover also had pleasure resorts and the rest. However, for this year’s Budget, the cover design is different. There are some agricultural activities and the women and youths are assured of employment. Then there are youths in class trying to learn some skills. That is what this Budget is all about. The Under-Five have been catered for. They will be given special treatment in the form of medical care, especially that all user fees have been expunged. In the background, I see increased tourism and serious consultation amongst the great leaders. So, I think that this is really important. I have read the Budget and analysed the issues it raises. I see a situation in which most Zambians will benefit, especially that a big chunk of money has been taken to the education sector. I believe that education is key in sustainable development and good health.

Mr Speaker, with the unprecedented recruitment of 2,500 medical personnel, we will create many jobs and boost morale in the medical field. Currently,  we have 78 per cent unemployment in the country and this makes Zambia 164th out of 189 countries according to the Human Development Report Index. This position is not very attractive for us, as a country. Therefore, there is a need to concentrate on creation of employment. This Budget is very important because it will create an opportunity for the youths to be economically empowered.

On the CDF, we are all on record as having accepted that we need it because it is money that directly affects our constituents. So, we need to look after it well. It was a good innovation from the time it was introduced but, over the years, it has had many problems. Hon. Members have failed to account for utilisation of these funds, with some of them even being dragged to the courts of law. When it was about K30 million, one hon. Member failed to account for it. Some were even more enlightened than we are but, in their bid to become popular, they became unpopular. It is for this reason that we need to heed the words found in the scriptures. The Bible says,

“if you wrestled with men and they have wearied thee, how shall you contend with horses? If, in the plain, you run and fall, how shall you do in the jungle of Jordan?”

Sir, if people cannot manage K30 million, how can they manage K5 billion? I am surprised that the MMD, today, is preaching an increase in the CDF from K669 million to K5 billion when their manifesto says that it will gradually increase the CDF from K60 million in 2006 to K720 million in 2011. I do not know why this party changes colours. It even failed to achieve their target in 2011 because it budgeted for K669 million. The hon. Minister is proposing K800 million in 2012. It is surprising how anyone can oppose that. I will go through the list on how we came up with this money over the years. If the CDF is increased to K5 billion, it is an increment of 700 per cent, which has never happened even in the MMD’s twenty years in Government. In its twenty years, the MMD increased the CDF as follows:

Year Amount (K Million) Percentage Increase

2003 30 -
2004 30 -
2005 60 100
2006 60  -
2007 200  300
2008 400  100
2009 600 60
2010 669   15
2011 800 (proposed)  20

In 2010, the MMD failed to disburse the K669 million CDF to all the constituencies because it did not have enough money. The same people who failed to disburse K669 million are now demanding K5 billion. How come? Does it show any seriousness? Why should they take people for granted? Why can they not own up and admit that they failed and accept that even the K800 million is good enough? Seeking a 700 per cent increase is neither here nor there because the resource envelope is restrictive.

According to the MMD Manifesto for 2011 to 2016, which has the theme “Development by All”, and a cover picture of their losing presidential candidate, the CDF can only go up to K720 million by 2011. It is important that we do not change our positions. The PF Government would rather be consistent and move forward.

Mr Speaker, as regards direct taxes, in 2010, the exemption threshold provided by the MMD for PAYE was K800 000. In 2011, it was at K1 million. The PF is proposing that the threshold moves to K2 million which is an increase of 100 per cent. The MMD only increased in batches of about 25 per cent.

Mr Speaker, with the exemption of K2 million, 80, 000 people in formal employment will not pay any PAYE. They are exempted from paying tax. 520 000 of the 600 000 people in formal employment will also benefit from the increased threshold because they will be paying less tax. That is why we are saying that we are not changing. It is less taxes and more money in the pocket.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: This move will affect everyone. Even my sister who is a marketer will benefit from increased sales. She will sell more because people will have more money in their pockets. That is what it means.

Hon. Member: Yes!

Mr Mukanga: Everyone will be affected by this proposed tax regime, including us in here. The 6 per cent to be charged as mineral royalty tax is good enough because it will help us generate more revenue.

Sir, despite the restrictive resource envelope, we will try and do all we can, as a ministry, to ensure that we provide the services that the people of Zambia need. We will carry on with feasibility studies and designs. We will also ensure that the projects that are on going are continued, including the works on the Mongu/Kalabo Road which people have been talking about.

However, as we continue to implement all these projects, we will try by all means to ensure that we review them so as to ascertain whether they are cost effective or not. It is important that we continue to carry out reviews including on works on the Mongu/Kalabo Road because, as a country, we cannot afford to continue to lose resources even in areas in which we can change things and make them better.

The purpose of our being this side is to make improvements to the programmes which the MMD left behind. We are not saying that we are going to throw away the foundation. We shall simply make a few corrections and fill in certain gaps so as to ensure that we move on properly.

We need a better platform that our people will be able to build on and ensure that Zambia becomes a better place for all to live in. We have to also ensure that Zambia is a place in which our children will have a future and hope.

Mr Speaker, currently, when people look at what has been happening in Zambia, they start to question where their children will be tomorrow. It is important that as we stand to look at these issues and manage the affairs of this country, we set a foundation on which every other Government will be able to build on.

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

Mr Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 29th November, 2011.