Debates- Thursday, 9th June, 2011

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Thursday, 9th June, 2011

The House met at 1430 hours






468. Mr Lubinda (Kabwata) asked the Minister of Education:

(a) how much money the Bursaries Committee had disbursed as loans to university students in public universities from inception of the loan scheme to date;

(b) what the total number of beneficiaries was as of 31st December, 2010;

(c) of the total number of beneficiaries, how many had completed their courses of study as of 31st December, 2010;

(d) of the graduates, how many were in formal employment as of 31st December, 2010; and

(e) whether the loan recoveries have commenced and, if so, how much had been paid back as of 31st December, 2010.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Madam Speaker, to date, the Bursaries Committee has disbursed K473,572,202,696.75 as loans to university students pursuing studies at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) from inception of the loan scheme.

The total number of beneficiaries by 31st December, 2010 was 10,047 students from both UNZA and the Copperbelt University. By 31st December, 2010, 5,633 beneficiaries had completed their course of study.

Madam Speaker, the ministry does not have the number of graduates who are in formal employment as at 31st December, 2010. The ministry is, however, working on a monitoring mechanism to track the graduates and compile a database of those in formal employment. The ministry is also in the process of amending Statutory Instrument No. 182 of 1973 of the Education Act of the Laws of Zambia to make provisions for the Bursaries Committee to collaborate with other Government departments, private institutions and employers to track graduates. In this regard, the Bursaries Committee is consulting the Higher Education Students Loan Board of Tanzania and the Higher Education Loans Board of Kenya which are managing loan schemes in Tanzania and Kenya respectively.

Madam Speaker, the loan recoveries have not commenced yet and, therefore, nothing had been paid back as of 31st December, 2010. Though the loans scheme commenced in 2004, the ministry has realised that Statutory Instrument No. 182 of 1973 which provides for the administration of loans is weak on the repayments of the loans. This has made it difficult to start the recoveries which should have commenced in July, 2009 with the first recipients of the loans who graduated in July, 2008. To address the challenges which the Bursaries Committee has faced in trying to recover the loans, the ministry has started the process of amending Statutory Instrument No. 182 of 1973 to provide for the recovery mechanism.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Lubinda: Madam Speaker, given the answer provided by the hon. Minister, could he indicate that, indeed, the loan scheme that was introduced by this Government eight years ago is actually not supported by any legal framework and, therefore, they ought to amend the loan scheme agreement forms that they are compelling our children to sign with them because they are in effect null and void?

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, that is the more reason we have not started recovering the money because we have seen the weakness in our law. We are working on that and soon it will be brought to Parliament for approval.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Madam Speaker, because of this illegal loan scheme, will the Government concede, therefore, that this money which has already been disbursed to the students is wasted and so the scheme must be stopped until it is legalised?

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member whom I know as my fellow teacher and whom I know is concerned.

Madam Speaker, I do not believe that we are wasting money because we are using it to educate our children. I would like to inform the august House that we are doing everything possible to ensure that we reach all the children who are vulnerable so that we provide tertiary education to them.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Madam Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to briefly inform the House how they will recover the loans from the graduates. A lot of money has already been disbursed. How will the recoveries be made, considering that most of the students have difficulties in finding jobs after completing their studies?

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my former student for that question. In due course, we would like this loan scheme to be administered in partnership with a private institution so that we can avail more money to our students. I wish to inform the House that we are not the only ones doing this. Kenya and Tanzania are administering it well. In fact, I wish to inform this House that Kenya has been doing this well for so long that it is even able to lend money to students from other countries such as Tanzania.

Madam Speaker, the Government is trying to emulate what is being done by Kenya. We hope that by so doing we will avail more money to our students so that they are given an opportunity to have tertiary education. The fact that some of our graduates may not have jobs does not mean that we should stop educating our children. It is an obligation on our part to ensure that we educate our children.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister informed this House that they are working on Statutory Instrument No. 182 of 1973. May I find out how long it takes to revise a statutory instrument and when this process will finish.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, as soon as we have finished, we will bring it to the House.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that only the CBU and UNZA benefitted from these bursaries. I would like to find out why Mulungushi University students did not benefit therefrom. Is he implying that there were no applicants from that university?


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, Mulungushi University is run very differently because it is more or less like a pilot project. We are trying to see what will happen regarding the students in Zambia who are able to pay for their university education. However, I would like to inform the House that our aim is to have even the students in private universities borrow money through this bursary scheme when it is eventually fully operational. We intend to do this because this is what is happening in other countries whereby the scheme lends money not only to those who are in public universities, but in private ones as well.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Madam Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that the students who received these loans have greatly benefited in terms of enhancing their education and that the nation, as a whole, has  also benefited in that it has managed to train many more Zambian students.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sikota, SC.: Could the hon. Minister also confirm that this Government will not abandon the students of this country as is being suggested by some people on this side.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for saying so because, as you may know, a good number of students are not able to pay for themselves.

Mr Kambwili: All of them.


Mr Sinyinda: The hon. Member has said it is all of them, but we know that some students are able to pay because some Zambian parents are financially empowered. However, the majority of them are vulnerable and, therefore, we will not abandon this scheme because if we do that, Zambia will not develop as there will be a lack of education, and higher education for that matter.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Zulu (Bwana Mkubwa): Madam Speaker, bursaries are very important in education. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when we will extend this scheme to technical colleges because we require technically educated people as well.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I know that technical colleges are under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training. However, being a Deputy Minister, I am aware that there is also a bursary scheme under that ministry that is being administered at the moment.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out whether to date, the Ministry of Education is not ready to lay on the Table the list of pupils or students who benefit from this bursary scheme because we hear that most of the beneficiaries are family members or sisters and brothers of hon. Ministers and other top Government officials.

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

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, the scheme is available to any Zambian child that qualifies to go to our public universities. Secondly, I would like to inform the hon. Member of Parliament that it is not true that there is any nepotism or corruption involved because I chair that committee and know what is involved in considering the applicants.

I know that we start with the District Social Welfare Officers who, in conjunction with what the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services call Community Welfare Assistant Committees (CWAC), recommend to the district. The district also meet and recommend to our office the names of eligible candidates. Therefore, we scrutinise each and every applicant and make sure that the most vulnerable children are the first ones to be considered.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, Hon. Kambwili might say, “question”, but I know what I am talking about. If he wants, because I want to …

Mr Kambwili interjected.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Mr Sinyinda: I would like to inform him that many institutions are represented on this committee.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Madam Speaker, during the Second Republic, universities used to offer some form of bursaries that were paid back upon graduating. However, the system collapsed as a result of massive unemployment. I would like to find out what this Government has done to ensure that this loan scheme does not also collapse because of high levels of unemployment.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, this scheme will not collapse because we are determined to provide education to our children.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Madam Speaker, I am very impressed with the hon. Deputy Minister’s answers, but he has not mentioned the committee he is talking about. He also does not want to tell us who those very responsible Zambians, who are more responsible than us, who want to know who the people who sit on this committee are. Thirdly, this borrowing from Kenya, is it mental, cultural or financial? Please, explain.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I would like to inform this august House …


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Order, hon. Members!

Mr Sinyinda: … that the following institutions and individuals sit on the Bursaries Committee:

(a) Ministry of Foreign Affairs;

(b) Ministry of Finance and National Planning;

(c) Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training;

(d) Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority      (TEVETA);

(e) Ministry of Community Development and Social Services;

(f) The Registrar of UNZA;

(g) The Registrar of CBU;

(h) Cabinet Office;

(i) Ministry of Labour and Social Security;

(j) Ministry of Health;

(k) Ministry of Education;

(l) Secretary of the Bursaries Committee; and

(m) Chairperson of the Bursaries Committee, who happens to be me.

Madam Speaker, the other question asked was on what exactly we are borrowing from Kenya. As you may know, Kenya and Tanzania have administered this programme for a long time. We are trying to exchange notes. In fact, currently, we have already affiliated with the association of African universities so that we can borrow ideas from the people who have been successfully administrating the scheme for a long time.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

May the House pay attention.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Madam Speaker, I, like Hon. Matongo, agree that the hon. Minister has handled this question very well. However, since the vast majority, if not all Zambians, cannot afford to pay for tertiary education, may I find out, hon. Minister, how many, of the total number who apply for bursaries, …

Mr Matongo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Mr Milupi: … fail to get the scholarships of those bursaries.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, at the moment, we cater for all who apply for bursaries. Our only challenge is that we realise that some of our students may not even know that there is such a scheme. Therefore, we have decided to sensitise our children, especially in the rural areas, so that they know about the existence of the scheme. I am happy to inform this House that because of what we have been doing, some students, including those who completed secondary education years ago, have come forward and we have been awarded them bursaries.


469. Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya) asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a) how much money the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) lost as a result of fraud by its officers from 2008 to 2010; and

(b) what measures have been taken to reduce cases of fraud at the RTSA.

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Professor Lungwangwa): Madam Speaker, the RTSA lost a total of K23 million as a result of fraud by its officers in the period 2008 to 2010. The measures introduced to reduce the incidence of fraud include the following:

The agency embarked on computerisation of all previously manually operated processes in order to improve on revenue collection controls. Twenty-three stations have been computerised and this has improved the control environment and efficiency of operations. Only a few operations are still manually conducted and these are closely monitored.

The agency, through its Revenue Monitoring Unit, ensures that revenue collected in all the RTSA stations is receipted and deposited in commercial banks intact. Commercial banks are also monitored to ensure that all the …

Mr Matongo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: Order!

The hon. Minister is giving an answer.

May the hon. Minister continue.

Mr Matongo: Sorry, Madam.


Professor Lungwangwa: … monies deposited with them are remitted in full to the Central Bank.

Since 2007, the agency has published procedural manuals on finance and administration and these are being used as books of reference. These manuals have brought about uniformity in dealing with financial matters and have in-built internal controls. Employees who fail to abide by the procedures face stern disciplinary action.

The agency has an Internal Audit Unit which is responsible for providing, independently, an objective opinion on internal controls and breaches. The unit’s staff are adequately qualified and experienced to assist in curbing fraud in the organisation.

The RTSA recognises the value of transparency and accountability in its administrative and management practices and supports the making of disclosures that reveal corrupt conduct and malpractices. The policy allows the staff to make confidential reports on malpractices without fear of disclosure.

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) has set up an Integrity Committee at the RTSA to prevent the occurrence of corruption and fraud at the work place. Cases of staff impropriety are immediately reported to the committee.

The RTSA has a policy of employing suitably qualified and experienced staff. This is intended to ensure high levels of integrity among staff. Revenue officers are required to be members of the Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICA).

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mwango: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out how many officers were involved in …

Mr Matongo: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Matongo: Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport in order to sit there very comfortably when my people in Pemba are wondering about the sudden and unexpected downpour that also happened in Lusaka? Is he in order not to explain whether this was one of the factors of climate change or it is just an occurrence? Is he in order, Madam Speaker?


The Deputy Speaker: Order!

Does the Meteorology Department fall under the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport? If it does, he may be able to guide the House when he has the answers to what might be happening out there.

Mr Matongo: In the sky.

The Deputy Speaker: Yes, when I say out there, I mean in the skies. If he is able to tell us, he may do so whenever he is ready.


The Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Kanchibiya may continue.

Mr Mwango: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out what disciplinary action has been taken on those officers who defrauded the institution and how many were involved.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, I do not have the exact number, but some officers were dismissed and that was the disciplinary action which was taken.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Madam Speaker, currently, motor licensing offices are only found in Kasama in the Northern Province. May I learn from the hon. Minister when the RTSA will establish motor licensing offices in all the districts in the Northern Province.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the decentralisation of the motor vehicle licensing procedure is an on-going programme that the RTSA has embarked on to reduce the inconveniences experienced by members of the public.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Kambwili: Madam Speaker, most of the fraud occurs when the RTSA mounts roadblocks where it collects money without receipting it. Would the hon. Minister, therefore, confirm that this is a misleading figure because this is only a reflection of what was reported when they were arrested?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, it looks like the hon. Member for Roan has some details on fraud that we would be very glad to be availed with.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Lubinda: You know them.

Mr Mushili: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister said that K223 billion …

Hon. Member: Million.

Mr Mushili: … million was involved in the fraud, but I would like to find out how he arrived at those figures.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, clearly, the hon. Member for Ndola was not in the House when I was giving the answer because I did not state that K223 billion is the figure involved in the fraud neither did I mention a K223 million figure. Clearly, the hon. Member, though physically in the House, was mentally out of the House.

I thank you, Madam.


Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central): Madam Speaker, we have seen the RTSA being assisted by policemen. Therefore, which part of the RTSA committed the fraud of this figure that he mentioned? Who are the culprits? Is it the RTSA staff or the policemen who assist the RTSA?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the question was on the RTSA staff and this figure, therefore, refers to the RTSA staff.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Zulu: Madam Speaker, at the Kapiri Mposhi Roadblock, whenever you pay a fine, it is not receipted, but only an admission of guilt form is given. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether they are supposed to give us receipts for the fines or an admission of guilt form.


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, the procedure is as is being implemented. When an offence is committed, the officers provide the most relevant document at the time.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Madam Speaker, regarding issues of receipts, the hon. Minister said one of the measures to curb fraud and corruption is to be issued with a receipt. In line with Hon. Zulu’s question, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister, regarding the malpractice at roadblocks where a motorist is told to either pay a policeman K10,000 or go to the police station and pay K54,000 minimum so as to be issued with a receipt. Obviously, the chances of paying K10,000 …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Ask your question!

Mr Simuusa: … are higher. How is the Government aiming to curb this malpractice?

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, if the hon. Member was attentive, he would have heard that I gave a number of strategies and measures which the RTSA has taken to curb fraud in the organisation.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Ntundu: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport stated that there are areas where there are no computers and no other services are provided. I would like to find out why this is so. I would also like to find out from the hon. Minister when he will bring a manual system to Gwembe District, in particular, the Chipepo District where I come from, which is a very long distance away from Monze. If this is done the people of Gwembe who have vehicles, like me who has five, can have them registered. In my case, I have not registered my vehicles for one year and I have not paid road tax because there is no facility there.


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, Chipepo is not a district and our Grade 1 children who are listening to the debate should be given correct information.

Hon. Opposition Members: Gwembe!

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

The issue is that he was correcting the misleading information which the hon. Member gave on Chipepo District …

Mr Ntundu: I said Gwembe!

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!


Madam Deputy Speaker: That is a statement of fact. If it was a slip of the tongue, it still ought to be corrected. Therefore, the hon. Minister may continue and make that correction.

Professor Lungwangwa: Madam Speaker, our children are listening and they pay a lot of attention to what goes on in the House. This is information that we put in the public domain. That being the case, I thank you, Madam Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to correct the hon. Member that Chipepo is not a district.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: The district in which Chipepo is, is Gwembe and, that being said, the decentralisation of motor licensing is on-going and we are embarking on that process to decentralise to the districts that do not currently have offices for motor licensing.

I thank you, Madam.{mospagebreak}


470. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry why the locally manufactured cement costs more than the imported brands.

The Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Mr Munkombwe) on behalf of the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Dr Puma): Madam Speaker, the locally manufactured cement prices are competitive with those of imported brands. For instance, Lafarge Cement plc. is selling a 50 kilogram bag of cement at K53,000 while Zambezi Portland Cement Ltd is selling a 50 kilogram bag of cement at K49,000. On the other hand, imported cement, mainly from Zimbabwe, is selling at an average price of a 50 kilogram bag at K55,000 on the Zambian market.

It should, however, be noted that there may be some variations in the price of cement that may be attributed to transportation costs. In this regard, in some areas, particularly border areas, the local cement may sell at slightly higher prices, especially if the area in question is close to a cement producing plant across the border. This is what may cause the cost of imported cement to be cheaper in some areas than locally produced cement.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Matongo: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has pre-supposed that nearness to a factory actually makes a product less expensive. Secondly, would the hon. Minister be very categorical and tell us how many pockets of cement or kilograms have been imported from Malawi and Zimbabwe over the last three months? From there, we shall help him calculate the variable price. Be very categorical because we are talking about figures now.


Mr Munkombwe: Madam Speaker, the question was very specific. It was about the variations in the prices and not about how many bags came from Malawi and Zimbabwe. That is general.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Milupi (Luena): Madam Speaker, I have an easy question for the old man.


Madam Deputy Speaker: There are no old men here. They are all hon. Members.

You may continue.

Mr Milupi: I am sorry, Madam Speaker. I have an easy question for the hon. old man.


Mr Milupi: Madam Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister informed the House that transport does come in as a factor. The hon. Member who asked this question is from Nangoma. I cannot recall that there is any factory outside this country, in Zimbabwe or anywhere else, that is nearer to Nangoma than the Chilanga Cement Factory. Can we have another explanation for the higher prices of locally manufactured cement?


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Madam Speaker, the prices that we have given here do not suggest that locally produced cement is higher in price than imported cement because the prices which have been indicated for Zambian cement are, in fact, lower.


The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam Speaker, Lafarge costs K53,000, Zambezi Portland is K49,000 and the cement from Zimbabwe is K55,000. Perhaps, the hon. Members did not listen to the other part of the answer on the factors which are taken into account in fixing the price. With regard to the statement on the establishment of factories in some areas, we said, particularly in border areas, the local cement is sold at slightly higher prices, especially if the area in question is closer to a cement producing plant across the border. Therefore, this is just a criterion for fixing prices which we cited.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Beene (Itezhi-tezhi): Madam Speaker, apart from just producing cement, Lafarge is one of the biggest companies which has built flyover bridges and big roads around the world. Why has the Government failed to engage it to help it in the construction of roads with their cement which is cheaper?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam Speaker, that question is irrelevant to the question which was asked.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Mukanga: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out who fixes prices because there is a liberalised economy in Zambia where retailers come up with their own price system.

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam, I think hon. Members must listen carefully when answers are being read out. We did not say we fix prices ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah! That is what you said.

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam, I said this is the criterion which is used in determining prices by the manufacturer.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: This can only be done by the manufacturer.

I thank you, Madam.


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Madam Speaker, can His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice confirm that, in fixing the prices, the parameters that may be used are the quality of the product and the customers’ taste which goes with the demand which may make the price of the product higher in some areas?


The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam, I can confirm that the hon. Member is very knowledgeable on this subject.

I thank you, madam.


Mr Msichili (Kabushi): Madam Speaker, ...

Mr Zulu: On a point of order, Madam.

Madam Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Zulu: Madam Speaker, I rarely rise on points of order.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Zulu: Madam, is the hon. Member for Kabushi in order not to tell this House that he is no longer a rebel Member of Parliament, but a traitor?


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

The hon. Member for Kabushi is in order.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Madam Deputy Speaker: On a very serious note, this House does not have rebels ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Madam Deputy Speaker: ... and, therefore, nobody can claim to be a rebel or non-rebel. He is in order.

He may continue.

Mr Msichili: Madam Speaker, apart from producing industrial lime, Ndola Lime Company is capable of producing cement. Has the Government any intention of ensuring that Ndola Lime Company starts producing cement which can help reduce the price of the locally produced cement which is currently very high?

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam Speaker, the Zambian economy is open to any investor who is willing to invest in cement production. Therefore, we do not control companies’ choice of investment. We have provided an enabling environment and investors who feel they can make a profit are free to do so in any sector of the economy.

I thank you, madam.


471. Mr Ntundu asked the Minister of Health:

(a) when the Pharmaceuticals Board was last constituted; and

(b) what the tenure of office of the Board is.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Kalila): Madam Speaker, the Pharmaceuticals Board was last constituted on 28th March, 2011. Secondly, the tenure of office of the board members of the Pharmaceutical Board is three years.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Ntundu: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he anticipated the question ...

Mr Kambwili: On a point of order, Madam.

Madam Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kambwili: Madam Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to raise a point of order on an issue of national interest which borders on the economy of this nation.

Madam Speaker, are the hon. Ministers of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources and Mines and Minerals Development in order to keep quiet and not inform this House about the closure of Ndola Lime Company which is the only company that produces lime in the whole of Southern Africa and whose closure will affect production in the mining industry and the agricultural sector? Are the hon. Ministers in order to keep quiet and not inform the House of the circumstances that led to the Environmental Council of Zambia closing Ndola Lime Company? I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Madam Deputy Speaker: In the point of order raised, two hon. Ministers have been mentioned with regard to the closure of Ndola Lime Company. Therefore, the ruling is that His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice will direct one of the two hon. Ministers to come up with the clarification on the status of the factory as soon as it is ready.

Mr Ntundu: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he anticipated this question. Why has the Government failed to ensure that this board carries out its core function despite the fact that it is a newly constituted one? Why have you failed to fully support this board for it to carry out its core functions?

Madam Deputy Speaker: If the hon. Minister is ready to answer …


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

If not, the hon. Minister may so state.

The Minister of Health (Mr Simbao): Madam Speaker, just to make the point clear, this Government has not failed to support the Pharmaceutical Board of Zambia. In fact, we will soon be commissioning a laboratory so that this board can be in a position to check all the medicines that are coming into the country.

Madam Speaker, that is a very big expense. It has taken long to establish this laboratory because of the expense. However, the Government put aside some money to establish this laboratory at the National Institute for Scientific and Industrial Research (NISIR). Therefore, I do not see how that cannot be taken as very big support to this board.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.


472. Mr C. Mulenga (Chinsali) asked the Minister of Education:

 (a) how many teachers were in public schools in Chinsali Parliamentary      Constituency as of December, 2010;

 (b) of the teachers at (a), how many were not accommodated; and

(c) when the Government would construct houses for the teachers who were not accommodated. 

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, there were 572 teachers in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency by December, 2010. Of these, 365 were not accommodated. Further, construction of teachers’ houses is a continuous process and, each year, a number of houses are budgeted for.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr C. Mulenga: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister which infrastructure the Government is boasting about when about 90 per cent of teachers are not accommodated as a result of the Government’s failure to construct houses for them.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, we know that there has been a backlog in the provision of accommodation to teachers for many years. However, this Government has, in the past ten years, tried its best to ensure that it not only builds classrooms, but also teachers’ houses. This is on going and I am sure the hon. Member of Parliament for Chinsali can acknowledge that even in his constituency, other than classrooms and teacher’s houses, a good number of schools have been built.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Misapa (Mporokoso): Madam Speaker, I thank you …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lumba: On a point of order, Madam.

Mr Misapa: We have heard that we learn from …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

I know hon. Members would like to raise a lot of issues through points of order. Normally, that is left to procedural breach. If you have any issue that is important, you will not get much today. There are other avenues that can be pursued to raise issues, unless it is with regard to what is obtaining here. Only then does it become necessary that a point of order be raised. Otherwise, we will just end up with points of order. The hon. Member may rise if it is, indeed, a matter of life and death. However, if it is not, it can be asked in another way.

Mr Lumba: It is a matter of life and death.

Madam Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member says it is a matter of life and death. A point of order is raised.

Mr Lumba: Madam Speaker, I thank you. This is a matter of life and death for the Federation of the Small-scale Miners Association in this country.

 Madam Speaker, this association was given 10 million Euros in 2004 by the European Union (EU) to grade the roads leading to their small mines. This Government has, to date, not released this money to them. Is this Government in order not to give the small-scale miners the money that is due to them?

Madam Deputy Speaker: There is no urgency, matter of death or emergency in that question. The hon. Member could have asked that question somehow. The point of order is not allowed.

The hon. Member for Mporokoso may continue.

Mr Misapa: Madam Speaker, we know very well that we learn from one another as nations. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether we cannot copy from neighbouring countries such as Tanzania where every teacher is given a loan at the point of employment which is recovered up to the time the teacher gets a pension.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, we are doing what the hon. Member has referred to. In fact, the ministry is working in conjunction with the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO), Standard Chartered Bank (Stanchart) and other institutions to encourage teachers to borrow money so that they can build their own houses. That is what we are doing.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisala: Madam Speaker, going by the 2010 and 2011 National Budgets, I would like to know the total number of houses that are supposed to be constructed in the constituency under review.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, I may not have that information readily available, but I am aware that there will be some houses built in that constituency. I may not know the exact number though.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.


473. Mr Mwenya (Nkana) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a) how many drug abuse-related cases were reported from 2005 to 2007, year by year;

(b) how much, in monetary terms, the drugs dealt in translated into; and

(c) whether the fight against drug trafficking and abuse was succeeding.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Sichilima): Madam Speaker, I wish to inform this House that a total of 233 drug-related cases were reported in 2005. In 2006, 342 cases were recorded while 340 were recorded in 2007.

Madam Speaker, the monetary value of the drugs given in (a) above is not known as the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) does not attach monetary value to the quantity of drugs reported. In addition, the publicity of the monetary value of the drugs intercepted is viewed as an inducement for the public to engage more in the vice.

Madam Speaker, it is evident from the increasing number of persons arrested yearly and the large seizures of illicit drugs that the fight against illicit drug trafficking and abuse is succeeding.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mwenya: Madam Speaker, why has this Government not put in place an institution to rehabilitate those who indulge in drugs and also try and encourage people to retract from drug trafficking by rehabilitating them?

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Lungu): Madam Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to inform the House and the nation at large that the Government is trying to rehabilitate these people by building a rehabilitation centre. We are actually working on the matter. In the meantime, those who find themselves in this situation are sent to either Chainama Hospital or Maina Soko Hospital although the two institutions are really not meant for such cases. Otherwise, we keep sensitising them.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Madam Speaker, has the Government investigated why cases of women involved in drug trafficking are on the increase in the country?

Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, it is not just women who are involved in drug trafficking. We look into the issues of why people involve themselves in such bad activities. We appeal to all of them regardless of their gender to refrain from engaging in drug-related activities.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Lubinda: Madam Speaker, of all institutions of governance, it is this institution from which people expect accurate information. Given the fact that when drug-related matters are reported …

Madam Deputy Speaker: You ask your question!

Mr Lubinda: Yes, Madam Speaker, I am asking. Given the fact that when drug-related cases are reported by DEC, the street value of the drugs involved is always announced, can the hon. Minister indicate why he thinks announcing the total value of drugs involved in this question in the House will induce people to get involved in drug trafficking? If that be the case, can he indicate to us where Parliamentarians would go and get that information from, if not here in this people’s House?

Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, as a matter of procedure, let me thank him for that question although, under normal circumstances, I would not have thanked him because the question is really not worth thanking him for.


Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, we came to this decision because, if you recall, there was a time the Government used to announce the value of drugs that were siezed and there was an outcry from the public that doing so was actually encouraging people to engage in drug trafficking. Therefore, we decided that, in the interest of the country and in response to the outcry of the people, we should not do that.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC. (Chasefu): Madam Speaker, may I know the location of the rehabilitation centre which is under construction and, also, when it will be commissioned.

Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, the rehabilitation centre is being built in the Makeni area. As soon as it has been completed, it will be operational.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Hon. Members, some of you simply cannot even listen to others because you think your opinion must be heard above everybody else. This is the institution that encompasses the full democratic will of the people. That means that we learn here and teach out there to listen to one another. It is very important that we do so. So, when you raise a point, you also listen to another point and we continue to educate one another and, through us, the people out there. You cannot continuously talk over every issue. That should not be the case. May I appeal to you to listen. The purpose of being here is not just to parley, but also to listen. Otherwise, our talking becomes meaningless. We are here to talk to each other.

Mr Simuusa: Madam Speaker, in his response to part (c) of the question, the hon. Minister acknowledged that the number of drug arrests on drug-related incidences were on the increase, and hence we are succeeding in the fight against drugs. This is to the contrary because the increase means that we are not succeeding …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

I think that we are departing from the way we do things. These are follow-up questions that we should simply ask. The foundation has been laid already. You may go on.

Mr Simuusa: Madam Speaker, as a country, why are we failing in the fight against drugs and drug-related incidences which has lead to the increase in the number of cases?

Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, I think that individuals have the right to express their opinion, as my brother has done. As far as we are concerned, the numbers we have given show that we are succeeding in putting a stop to this abuse. Succeeding, however, does not really mean that we have arrested the vice completely. We appeal to those who engage in this vice to stop it because it has a bad effect on their mental capacity in terms of retarding development.

Therefore, my brother, Hon. Simuusa, you are entitled to your wrong opinion.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.



474. Mr Simama (Kalulushi) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives which crops in Zambia had been identified for adaptation to suit the changing weather patterns so as to ensure food security.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mbewe): Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives has been encouraging crop diversification to improve food security at farm level to mitigate against the changing weather patterns. To this effect, drought tolerant crops such as cassava, sorghum, millet, sweet potatoes and food legumes have continued to be promoted. Research on drought resistant crop varieties such as beans, cowpeas and groundnuts is also being conducted. 

Furthermore, the ministry is also promoting the production of upland rice varieties, conservation agriculture and the use of water harvesting techniques while encouraging irrigation farming. These approaches are meant to ensure sustainable food production and food security under the changing weather patterns.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simama: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government has allowed the use of genetically modified seeds. 

The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Dr Kazonga): Madam Speaker, as far as we are concerned, the Government’s policy does not promote the use of genetically modified seeds.

Our experts will continue to study these issues and if there will be any need, at a later stage, they will advise us, as a Government, for appropriate decisions and policy changes to be taken. For now, however, our policy does not promote the use of genetically modified seeds.

Madam Speaker, I thank you. {mospagebreak}


475. Mr Mukanga asked the Minister of Community Development and Social Services when Zambia would domesticate the United Nations Convention on People Living with Disabilities.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Service (Mr Malwa): Madam Speaker, Zambia signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 9th May, 2008, and ratified it on 26th January, 2010.

The ratification of the convention was necessary in order to have a clear reaffirmation that persons with disabilities have human rights that need to be strengthened and respected. Accepting that fact is the first step towards the domestication of the convention which aims to actualise equal opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services has begun the process of domesticating the Convention on the Rights of Persons Living with Disabilities. To this effect, a technical committee comprising both Government and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), such as the Ministry of Justice, Human Rights Commission, Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD), International Labour Organisation (ILO), the Disability for Persons Organisations (DPOs), and the Zambia Federation of the Disabled (ZAFOD) has been put in place to spearhead the domestication.

Madam Speaker, the ministry is also working with co-operating partners to engage a legal expert to identify pieces of legislation that need to be amended or repealed. This is because for Zambia to domesticate the convention, legislation will need to be drafted or amended so that it is harmonised with the convention’s provisions. A principal target for revision is the Persons with Disabilities Act No. 33 of 1996 which, despite its profile as the flagship legislation on the rights of persons with disabilities in Zambia, exhibits glaring defects in its articulation of rights of persons with disabilities.

As such, Madam Speaker, domestication is a process which requires wide consultations with various stakeholders at every level, especially with persons with disabilities themselves. It is, therefore, envisaged that by the year 2013, the domestication will have been finalised.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mukanga: Madam Speaker, I would like to know what the Government is doing to ensure that it assists entities that produce mobility devices cheaply.

Mr Malwa: Madam Speaker, Disacare manufactures wheelchairs and crutches. The manufacturers themselves are disabled. So, there is no way they can manufacture this equipment at cost which would disadvantage their colleagues. There is no tax on wheelchairs and crutches, thus they are quite affordable.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government has any intention of procuring user-friendly vehicles for people living with disabilities, especially those in public institutions, as it tries to domestic the UN Convention in question.

Mr Malwa: Madam Speaker, Disacare also modifies chairs for vehicles. Even the disabled people that manufacture the chairs drive cars, except that we cannot see that because they are in a sitting position when they are driving.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he can give assurances to this House and the disabled throughout the country that this Government will re-introduce the Constitution Bill which had lots of provisions on enhancing the rights of the disabled, which was sadly shot down by those who do not have a heart for the disabled.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Hon. UPND Member: Adoption!
The Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Kaingu): Madam Speaker, when this capable Government comes back after the elections, it will seriously …

Mr D. Mwila: You are dreaming!

Mr Kaingu: His Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Justice has already said that as soon as we are back after the elections, this Government will consider bringing back the Constitution Bill to the House since it can be brought back six months after it has been shot down. It is unfortunate that some of our colleagues here did not see it fit for the less privileged people such as the youth, women and disabled persons to come to this House. They instead shot down the Bill. I hope the people out there are listening so that they know which people did not want the disabled to participate in the governance of this country so that they can vote properly to enable this Government come back to power. We will bring back the Constitution Bill so that people living with disabilities can enjoy the privilege of coming to this House. Some people shot down the Constitution Bill because they want to enjoy the privilege of being in this House on their own. It is very unfortunate.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.



476. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Education:

(a) why construction of the following infrastructure in Chilubi District had not commenced despite the money being released by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in 2010:

(i) Chibula Basic School;

(ii) Kasuba Kalunga Middle Basic School;

(iii) Bukotelo Basic School;

(iv) Kasanda Basic School; and

(v) Kawasa Middle Basic School; and

(b) when construction of the above infrastructure would commence.

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, the schools were earmarked to be financed through the community mode of construction which is supported by co-operating partners. However, in 2010, the co-operating partners under the education sector did not release all their budget pledges. This, in turn, affected the implementation of the 2010 Annual Work Plan and Budget, including the works at the listed schools which should have been financed under their budget line.

The ministry intends to make a provision for the above infrastructure in 2012.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Chisala: Madam Speaker, the 2010 Budget indicates that these schools were funded. Is he implying that the money that was supposed be used for the construction of these schools was diverted to other projects?

Mr Sinyinda: Madam Speaker, that is not true. These schools were budgeted for but, as we have already stated in our answer, the money was not released by our co-operating partners. As a result, these schools have not been built. However, we are considering budgeting for them in 2012.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.


477. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a) what caused the violence at the Garden House Hotel between the Patriotic Front (PF) and the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) supporters in March, 2011;

(b) whether the perpetrators of the violence had been arrested by the police;

(c) what further action had been taken against the perpetrators; and

(d) what measures the Government had taken to avoid similar incidents in future.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Taima): Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the violence at the Garden House Hotel between the PF and MMD supporters in March, 2011 erupted after the PF cadres pulled down MMD regalia at an established MMD office at Munjili Market. The PF cadres also pulled down MMD make-shift stalls at Munjili Market along Mumbwa Road near the Garden House Hotel. This resulted in misunderstandings between the two groups thereby sparking the violence in that area.

The police arrested and charged four persons for conduct likely to cause breach of peace during the fracas at the Garden House Hotel.

The four suspects who were arrested by the police paid for admission of guilt and were released.

The Government, through the Zambia Police Force, provides security to all public gatherings upon being notified in order to prevent such future occurrences. In addition, the Zambia Police Force has launched a project called Election Related Programme of Support for the training of officers countrywide. Through this programme, police officers are being trained in how to handle election-related matters and also bring on board political parties through dialogue to avoid violence.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, is it legal to put up party flags in public places such as markets and bus stations?

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Lungu): Madam Speaker, what we are talking about are cloth materials which individuals put in their offices. It is not the national flag we are talking about. Thus, the putting up of such materials is legal.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the day before the PF Convention, the MMD Provincial Chairman was seen at Garden House Hotel in the morning? What was he doing there when he knew very well that the function which was going to take place at the hotel was for the PF?

Mr D. Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Lungu: Madam Speaker, I am not aware of that.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that those MMD supporters we beat up confessed to us that it was Mr William Banda who sent them to where we were?


Madam Deputy Speaker: Since beating is not something we allow in this House, the question will not be responded to.




Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Estimates for the Fifth Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, 26th May, 2011.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Madam Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Hamududu: Madam Speaker, your Committee is guided by the terms of reference as set out in the National Assembly Standing Orders. Going by its terms of reference, your Committee considered Zambia’s tax system and reviewed the second and third quarters of the 2010 Budget for selected ministries. Your Committee observed that despite the positive performance of the economy, the tax base has continued to be narrow. This is partly because the informal sector, which constitutes 88 per cent of the workforce, has been excluded from the tax net. In addition, the continued granting of incentives to multi-national companies leads to the reduction of the tax base.

In this regard, your Committee recommends that the Government develops workable measures to capture the informal sector into the tax net. It also recommends a review of incentives provided to various multi-national companies.

Madam Speaker, your Committee is concerned about the seemingly lack of capacity by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to carry out mining tax audits. Your Committee believes that this could be one of the areas where the Government is losing revenue through under-declaration of profits as a result of vices such as transfer pricing. Your Committee is aware that the ZRA has established a unit to specifically deal with mining taxation. Your Committee is, however, uncomfortable that only seven members of staff, out of a full establishment of fourteen, have been employed in this unit.

Your Committee recommends that the remaining vacant positions be filled with qualified staff and that capacity continually be built to keep them abreast with the latest developments in the operations of mining companies.

Madam Speaker, your Committee was privileged to tour Mwami Border Post. The purpose of the visit was for it to appreciate the challenges in revenue collection at the border. It was impressed with the co-operation among the various Government departments operating at the border such as the police, immigration, health and the ZRA.

 However, Madam Speaker, your Committee bemoans the poor water supply and sanitation facilities at Mwami Border Post. This problem puts the health of the officers in serious danger. In view of this, your Committee recommends that urgent measures be instituted to ensure adequate water supply and improvement of sanitation facilities at the border post.

Further, your Committee is concerned that the police officers, who are charged with the responsibility of ensuring law and order at the border post, do not have a secure office building. There is also a serious shortage of staff and transport. Your Committee recommends that a suitable office block be secured for the police officers at the border post and that transport be provided as a matter of urgency.

Madam Speaker, your Committee was privileged to visit the Parliament of Uganda where it interacted with its counterparts on the Budget Committee. Your Committee learnt that the budget process in Uganda was very participatory with the process starting from the county level. It was also informed that the budget process was enshrined in an Act of Parliament, thereby compelling the Executive to consult various stakeholders in the budget process. The law also provides for the establishment of the Parliamentary Budget Office and the calendar for the budget process.

Drawing lessons from the Parliament of Uganda and also taking into account its previous recommendations, your Committee reiterates that the Budget and Planning Bill should be brought to Parliament for enactment. This piece of legislation will compel the Ministry of Finance and National Planning to consult various stakeholders on the Budget and provide for the establishment of a budget office at Parliament.

In conclusion, I wish to record your Committee’s indebtedness and gratitude to you, Madam Speaker, for affording it the opportunity to serve on this important Committee. Our gratitude also goes to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

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

Mr Sing’ombe: Now, Sir.

Madam Speaker, in seconding the Motion, which has been ably moved, I wish to touch on a few areas which were not highlighted by the mover.

Madam Speaker, your Committee reviewed the second and third quarter of the Budget for the 2010 fiscal year. It, thereafter, visited selected projects being undertaken by the Government.

Your Committee was concerned about the complaints that funding to the ministries of Works and Supply and Communications and Transport is inadequate and usually erratic, making it very difficult for them to effectively carry out their activities. In this regard, your Committee recommends that funding to these ministries be improved and released timely to allow them to complete their projects on time. This will cut down on the costs associated with the delay of the projects.

Madam Speaker, your Committee also observes that, while various ministries have been restructured, this has not been the case with the Ministry of Communications and Transport. This situation adversely affects the morale of the officers and the performance of the ministry. Your Committee recommends that the ministry be restructured as a matter of urgency.

Madam Speaker, your Committee commends the Government for the decision to upgrade the Chipata/Mfuwe Road. It is of the view that the road will open up Mfuwe to investment in the tourism sector.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sing’ombe: However, your Committee is concerned that the project contract runs only up to the Mfuwe Airport Junction, leaving out the very important stretch that runs to the airport. Your Committee recommends that the project contract be reviewed to include the stretch after the junction to the airport and the gate of the national park.

In conclusion, allow me to thank Members of your Committee for affording me an opportunity to second the Motion.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Madam Speaker, from the outset, I must declare interest by stating that I am a member of this Committee.

Madam Speaker, like the mover of the Motion has indicated, a lot of revenue slips through our fingers because we are not able to tighten the controls at our border posts. Thus, this reduces our revenue base. I must indicate that it is clear, from the outset, that Zambia is in dire need of a lot of resources to develop and make this country progress. For us to do that, we need to ensure that all the revenue that is supposed to come to this nation is taxed and netted into the Government coffers for the benefit of our people.

The other issue that the mover talked about is the informal sector in our economy. The informal sector has not seriously contributed to the revenue base of the nation. However, when we segment who utilises most social services paid for by taxes, we will find that it is the informal sector. It is those in this sector who mostly utilise Government schools, health facilities and roads. However, their contribution to the national revenue is inadequate and this creates an imbalance in the economy.

Thus, it is important that the Government takes measures to collect more taxes from the informal sector so that it contributes more to the survival and development of this nation. For instance, at the Soweto or Chisokone markets, there are about K6 billion and K10 billion, respectively, worth of transactions daily. You can see that there is a large amount of economic activities which, if properly captured, can significantly contribute to the revenue base of this nation.

The other thing I have noted in the two markets I have mentioned is that the traders there are able to produce non-tax invoices. If they were, however, compelled to issue a tax invoice, more money would be brought into the tax net. We must begin to get more progressive and see where we can collect more money. The K20 trillion budgeted for is insufficient for a total national expenditure of a country the size of ours. We must begin to look at raising something like K50 trillion so that we are able, as a country, to progress.

Most of the complaints that are raised in this House by a number of hon. Members are about things such as roads and schools not being constructed in their constituencies. However, we forget to understand where the fundamentals are. The fundamentals lie in how much we are able to raise through taxes. Therefore, I am urging the Government to come up with measures that will ensure that substantial revenue is collected.

The mover also mentioned the facilities that exist at our border posts. Our border posts lack a lot of facilities such as water and sanitation, but the workers there are working tirelessly to collect money for the Government. They must be given good facilities so that they are motivated and do not miss town and concentrate on their work efficiently.

The other issue that was touched on by the seconder of the Motion was that of the road from Chipata to Mfuwe. This road is very critical and I must report that its rehabilitation is in progress, though at a slow pace.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.{mospagebreak}


Mr L. J. Mulenga: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was belabouring the point on the Chipata/Mfuwe Road and was saying that it is a very good project. I wish it could be completed as quickly as possible. Tourism is a very important sector of our economy that can significantly contribute to the National Treasury. For a very long time in this country, we have spoken, written so many nice papers and footed so many documentaries on tourism, but all these efforts are not yielding as much as they should. This is a sector which, if properly enhanced, can contribute significantly to the National Treasury. Therefore, I implore the Government to take tourism as seriously as mining and agriculture so that we are able to raise significant revenue which is needed so much by our nation.

Mr Speaker, the other issue that the mover touched on is that of the Budget Act. The Government promised to revise this Act and bring a Bill to this House thereon. This revision should have been completed by now, but it has not been done. The importance of revising the Budget Act is that it will reduce a lot of tension in the nation. Firstly, it will enable community participation and, therefore, everybody will know the funds that will be allocated for community, district, provincial and national projects each year.

That way, no one will be asking anyone else about what is happening in terms of national programmes. People will be asking why projects that were budgeted for had not been done. This reduces tension and pressure on the part of politicians. At the moment, politicians are thought to be carrying sacks of money to mend potholes and build clinics and hospitals, which is not the case. This is way even as we go for elections, this year, we must stop telling lies, such as “When I become an hon. Member of Parliament, I will build roads, clinics and hospitals.” That is not true.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Order!

Mr L. J.  Mulenga: We should tell people that when we increase …

Hon. Members: Order! Order!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!


The Deputy Chairperson: The word ‘lies’ is unparliamentary. Can you use some other term, please.

Mr L. J. Mulenga: I withdraw that word and replace it with misleading. The point that I am trying to emphasise is that the Budget Act will serve all politicians from misleading the people that, once elected as Member of Parliament, they will be able to construct roads, hospitals, clinics and schools. This is the function of the Executive that is in charge of executing the budget. However, when the community has been involved in the budget process, from the time the budget is being prepared, they will know who the people responsible for its execution are. A Member of Parliament can only participate in endorsing the budget.

Mr Speaker, I would really urge this Government to enact the Budget Act so that we put things in the right perspective. Sometimes, we tend to undertake projects in our communities that are not even desirable to the people because priorities are not set. A community may not need a school, but a clinic. However, you will end up giving them a hospital which it does not need. As a result, people do not feel part of that programme. Therefore, to harmonise and bring all nationals together at the time of preparing the budget, it is important that they are all brought on board so that everything is done correctly.

With those few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to your report which has been ably presented by both the mover and the seconder. I must commend your Committee for this good report.

 From the outset, I have to say I do not think the issues your Committee has brought out in this report are new to the Executive. I am sure they are well aware of all the difficulties and challenges involved in the tax system in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, your Committee on page 2 of the report has discussed the Zambian tax system and brought out a very serious concern thereon. Your Committee has also said something which is already known to the Executive. This is the fact that the big chunk of tax in Zambia comes from Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE).

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Lumba: Mr Speaker, this means that our people are highly taxed and, to make matters worse, it is a very small section of our population that pays PAYE. This means the burden or the running of the Government is only sponsored or supported by a few people in this country. Therefore, those who contribute PAYE are being starved of excess income which they can save and use to participate in other income-generating activities.

Mr Speaker, if a Zambian who is working was relatively less taxed, he would save some income. Any passive income will gain interest and that interest will also be subject to tax. In this year’s Budget, we are told that even interest is now subject to Value Added Tax (VAT). You can see that the few people who contribute to the running of the Government are heavily burdened.

Mr Speaker, if our Zambian workers were given some relief on tax and wanted to participate in buying shares – I was looking at the share values now and was particularly interested in the Shoprite share value. If a Zambian worker had excess income of about K500,000, when the shares of Shoprite were floated at the Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE) at the time they were K1,000 per share,  and today that the shares of Shoprite are at K41,000 per share, they could have had over K21 million. However, because of the high tax burden, most of the Zambian people cannot have such an opportunity to invest in things such as shares and cannot save. They also cannot participate in off-shore investments for children or other things because they are highly taxed.

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the Government to review the tax system like the mover and seconder and the other debaters have said. I think there is a need to widen the tax base in this country so that those who are in the informal sector, are in the majority and earn more can also contribute to the running of the Government.

Mr Speaker, it is a sad fact that your Committee mentioned regarding multi-nationals and tax. Their contribution is very minimal. In fact, it is on record in some journals that the investors, particularly in the mining sector, contribute about 2 per cent towards tax. These people have very good incentives from the Government, and yet they return so little in terms of tax. The multi-nationals enjoy so many incentives that, as your Committee has noticed, it erodes the base. They do not even earn that tax, but are also given an opportunity not only to externalise the profits, but also actually externalise the entire turn over. It is only in this country where you are allowed to externalise the turn over and just retain a little of what you are spending locally. The chief executives in these multi-nationals do not pay PAYE because their salaries come from outside this country.

Mr Speaker, regarding tourism, we know that most of the people who come into this country do not pay to the hotels in this country. They buy their holiday packages elsewhere and that income is not captured in the turn over of those hotels in this country. As a result, this country is losing out on tourism generated money. As a result, if the Government is to raise revenue, it is the same worker who is highly taxed.

Mr Speaker, as I looked at these figures in the table which your Committee has presented, I was concerned that VAT contributes less than PAYE. VAT is a tax on consumption. Therefore, I thought that we should have pushed the VAT figures higher. However, we have seen that it is possible in this country to tax even the money which one wants to invest if he is a Zambian while the foreigners are not taxed.

Mr Speaker, to me, what your Committee has brought out is a very simple fact that the Zambian tax system lacks tax equity. Tax equity proposes that a kwacha earned by a foreigner should be taxed in the same way a kwacha earned by a local company is taxed. However, in this country, foreigners get away with it and Zambian companies pay tax and not only do Zambian companies do that, even our corporate tax is quite high in this country compared to other countries.

Mr Speaker, allow me to give you a feel of the corporate tax in the region. It is as follows: Botswana, 25 per cent; South Africa, 30 per cent; Mozambique, 32 per cent; Tanzania, 30 per cent; Zimbabwe, 31 per cent; and Zambia is at 35 per cent. That is how bad it is. We cannot even compare ourselves with any country in the region.

Mr Speaker, in my view, we need to have tax equity and broaden the tax base so that the people who work can look after their parents and children and pay for health services. Their burden needs to be lessened so that they can also invest for their future. Likewise, our pension in this country is nothing to write home about. People have to start thinking of their pension now, but if they are highly taxed, how will they prepare for their future?

Mr Speaker, another concern your Committee brought out is on the difficulties people who work in border areas encounter. Reading through the report, one wonders how a worker at Mwami Border Post, who does not have a vehicle, gets there from Chipata and stays there the whole day, maybe, without lunch.

Mr Speaker, the concerns which your Committee has brought out indicate that the Government should review this tax system because some of these difficulties are a recipe for corruption. This is why the ZRA in this country is not collecting what it is supposed to collect. I am sure we are waiting for the UPND Government to sort out these issues.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lumba: We, in the UPND, know that we can collect more than what is being collected currently. This is because we are going to reduce the taxes. The tax theory says, reduce the tax, make it simple and when people understand, give tax amnesty where it is deserved and then people will be start paying their tax. However, what is obtaining is different from what it should be.

Mr Speaker, the other aspect which the Executive needs to review is basically the cost of collecting this tax. On page 5 of your Committee’s report, your Committee has mentioned that the average cost of collecting tax in Zambia is about 2.23 per cent and that this is above the average cost for countries in the Organisation for the Economic Corporation (OEC) which is at 0.9 per cent and slightly above non-OEC countries which is around 1.4 per cent

Mr Speaker, your Committee concludes that Zambia’s tax system is not in tandem with this important tenet of a good tax system. I know we are coming back as the UPND and we will change this system so that the Zambian people can have confidence that the new Government is working.

With those few words, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, I thank you more sincerely for catching your eye. I thought you were not going to see me, but you have managed to notice me.

I also thank you for according me an opportunity to add a few words on this Motion on the Floor. I would like to use this opportunity to emphasise the importance of the budget to any nation or corporate entity.

Mr Speaker, the Estimates Committee, of which I am a member, deals with the budget and, in fact, in some jurisdictions, it is referred to as a Budget Committee. The budget is an instrument which a nation uses to control the expenditure and development in the nation.

The Committee has bemoaned the difficulties the Zambian people have with our current tax system. Far too much emphasis is given to the tax that is easy to collect and that is the hallmark of a lazy person. Those in formal employment in Zambia are less than 500,000. That is the first difficulty that this country has. The people in formal employment are few, and yet they are the ones who carry the tax burden in Zambia. It has been said in this debate that the mining houses contribute minimally to the revenue of this country. In fact, the other day, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning stood on the Floor of this House and thumped himself on the chest and talked about the wonderful things happening in the mining sector. He stated that by 2011, production is estimated at 800,000 tonnes with total revenues of US$10 billion from the mining sector. This is a huge amount of money, but let us look at what he has put in the plan for the budget in terms of taxation from this industry that will produce so much money. Also, let us look at what he has put in the budget for the few people in formal employment.

In the budget, the mining institutions that will make US$10 billion are only taxed K1.8 trillion or US$375 million. The Zambians in formal employment, who are few, their PAYE for 2011 is more than twice what the mining companies will pay at K3.7 trillion. This is twice what these well-performing mining companies will pay, and this is wrong.

Mr Speaker, let me remind the Zambians, who are slightly older, of the good old tax system that they were able to enjoy before this Government came into power. In those days, a person going into employment or any worker, before they could begin to pay taxes, were given what was called an Allowance for Living. In addition to that, there was a Marriage Allowance and if you had children, for every child up to the fourth, there was an allowance. Then, the tax system began as follows; the first amount was taxed at 5 per cent and the next amount paid was charged at 10, 15, 20, 25 per cent and so on. By the time anybody reached the top tax rate, they were already getting substantial amounts of money and that is why the Zambians had a expendable incomes. Unfortunately, all that was put aside.

Mr Speaker, let us look at what is happening this time around. There is an allowance which, at the moment, stands at about K900,000. Beyond that, there is nothing else. There is no Marriage Allowance, no allowance for children and the first tax rate already throws somebody in the high income tax bracket. The first tax bracket is at 25 per cent. Therefore, anybody paying tax in Zambia today is paying between 25 and 30, per cent, which means that virtually everybody is paying at the top rate. This is in a country where we have an economic sector such as the mining sector that generates a lot of money. This Government boasts about it, and yet it is unable to tax this sector. The difficulties of the ZRA in collecting these taxes, especially from sophisticated industries are well known. That is why some of us believed that the windfall tax was a much easier tax to administer. This is because it was based on what you sold, at what price, having taken into account your production costs. However, this Government decided to do away with it.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the budget. This defines, firstly, the revenue and expenditure sides. The responsibility of this House is to appropriate. This is a constitutional responsibility. The Executive cannot spend any money if it is not appropriated by this House. The separation of powers demands that.

Let me now discuss what is happening in civilised nations where parliamentary democracy is entrenched. We know about the power of a government to use the power of incumbency and this is how they do it. In a year they know that there will be an election, in order to use the incumbency, they go to their Parliaments and produce what, in many jurisdictions, is referred to as an election budget. This is where they put in a lot of nice programmes and get away with it because that is constitutional. I say this to question why this Government, which is democratically elected, should decide to ignore the functions of this House.

We know that 2011 is an election year. In October, there was a budget that was passed. Why this Government must now embark on projects that they did not think of in October when they brought that budget to this House is beyond anyone’s imagination.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, the budget that we passed in this House of K20.5 trillion is well balanced on the revenue side with an amount of K554.8 billion which came from mine tax arrears. That was already accounted for. Therefore, when this Government and its President are embarking on massive projects, necessary as they are, that are not supported by this budget. It is unconstitutional.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Milupi: They are so disorganised that when asked where the money is coming from, there are various answers provided. The first is yes, they are using the mine tax arrears. I have said the mine tax arrears were part of the revenue side of the Budget. That was already accounted for. In any case, it was K554.8 billion, far less than the K1.3 trillion that the Copperbelt and Lusaka roads will cost. Where is the money coming from? Where is the fiscal discipline that this nation demands?

Mr Speaker, the second point, as they said, is money raised from Government instruments. In other words, it is the bonds to fund excessive pre-election expenditures. Money from Government bonds and Treasury bills is borrowed money. It is not Zambian money. It is paid back at a high interest. This country is taking this nation back into heavy debt.

The third reason they are giving, which was mentioned by the President, is that money is being raised from the capital markets. That is even more worrying. That is why we insisted in this House that any loan funding or procurement of debt be brought to this House so that this House can debate it and determine whether it is efficient. Any money that this Government is going to raise on the capital markets, which are commercial, with heavy interest, in no time at all, if we continue with this irresponsibility, will take this country back into the debt situation it was in. In 2005, many good people of the world rose and assisted to have this debt cancelled. We are back in that situation because of their failure to tax the sectors that are making so much in this country. Already, one of the debaters said they are taking money out. We have gone beyond expatriating profits and dividends. Now they are expatriating sales revenues and it is not just the mining sector, but basically all the big sectors in this country, whether they are in the retail, cement or sugar business. That irresponsibility is what continues to diminish the revenue side of this budget and that is why, the K20.5 trillion which they have budgeted for this year is barely equivalent to US$4 billion. This is too little for this country. Nobody can hope to bring meaningful development if they are unable to focus on the revenue side of this Budget and find ways of raising it. We have economic sectors in this country such as mining, agriculture, tourism and energy which must be run in such a way that they become effective contributors to the revenue side of this Budget. At the moment, none of these sectors is contributing adequately. This must change.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: Sibamvela bantu aba.

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, the issue of windfall tax shall continue to be a raging debate and it will become an election debate because you have taken the easy route out.

Mr Kambwili: Corruption.

Mr Milupi: This Government has become like the fish we have where I come from and I am sure it is available elsewhere. I do not know what it is called in English, but in my language, it is called limbundu. It is little fish that, sometimes, can go on land. To catch this fish, you do not have to put any bait on the hook. Just drop your hook in the water with nothing on it, and you will be able to catch it because it is unable to determine what is happening. How can we have a Government that changes course and everybody swings? The same Government that came here and, together, we celebrated the introduction of windfall tax is, today, saying that it is a bad tax. If tomorrow, another President comes in and says windfall tax as he assumes office, you will say it is a good tax. I do not know about Hon. Lumba who said it is his party that will form Government but, maybe, that will be in 2010 because we shall be there before them.


Hon. Opposition Member: 2010 has passed.

Mr Milupi: In 2030. If something is good because President Mwanawasa is there and his hon. Ministers are supporting it, surely, it cannot be bad all of a sudden because we now have President Banda as President. Let us learn to be consistent. We are taking this country backwards.

Sir, I am informed that this US$4 billion we have for the 2011 Budget is too little. One university in the United States of America (USA) has a budget of US$11 billion. For your own information, our neighbour Botswana, a country of 1.8 million people has a budget of US$7.2 billion unlike our US$4 billion. Angola, a country that for many years, until eight years ago, was at war, has a budget of US$36 billion. We have to focus on how to run our economy in such a way that we build up on the revenue side. All the sectors that we have must contribute to the three things. They must contribute to the Treasury, creating and sustaining employment. As a result of the way we are running our economy, many of our people are casual employees and get salaries way below the basic needs basket of K2.8 million. That is why when we are talking about expanding the industries in this country, such as tourism, it is pointless because it is based on foreign clients. We have to expand our economy such that it services the people and creates what is called domestic demand. You will create domestic demand if your workers have extra income to be able to support whatever is coming up. In the Zambian context, that is not possible. The workers are so lowly paid and heavily taxed that they cannot have access to whatever facilities are being created. That must change.

Finally, to make Ms Gladys Lundwe happy, …

Ms Lundwe: Honourable!

Mr Milupi: … because she needs to be made happy, I would like to say that your Committee has done a wonderful job in looking at a number of assets which, if properly managed, would bring more revenue to this country.

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

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, I would like to adopt the debate of the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena as my very own and agree with him, especially on the use of the word ‘limbundu’. The limbundus are not even willing to listen to what he is saying. That is the problem.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, my colleague debated the issue of taxation in Zambia very eloquently and I will not belabour the point. My colleagues have handled the report extremely well. I must mention that I am a member of your Committee. However, my Chairman, the seconder and my colleagues who contributed to this debate, including my friend, Hon. Mulenga, might have forgotten to mention a few points which I think are extremely crucial.

In addition to the desire to show off, there is also, unfortunately, the tragedy of showing how weak we are in our management of resources and how inefficient we are in making decisions.

Sir, your Committee visited the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line and the railway station. As all of us will remember, there was a lot of drama and splendour at the expense of the poor taxpayers of Zambia. Many people went to Mchinji to celebrate the commissioning of the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line and the opening of the Chipata Railway Station.

Mr Kambwili: Not even one tobacco has been ferried.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, at the time that your Committee went to visit, they were shocked that part of the railway line is actually being buried …

Mr Kapeya: Jesus Christ!

Mr Lubinda: … because it has never ever seen any locomotive.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Kambwili: Lungwangwa!

Mr Lubinda: The railway station, as pictures in your Committee’s report will show, is already falling to pieces …

Mr Kapeya: Jesus Christ!

Mr Lubinda: … even before one passenger jumps on the train that is supposed to stop there.

Mr Kapeya: My Good Lord!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the roof is leaking, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Oh no!

Mr Lubinda: … and yet the railway station and railway line have not started functioning.

Hon. Opposition Members: Oh!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, this is after we took a lot of people to Chipata and watched Vimbuza and Chinyau dancing. The limbundus did not realise that what they were doing was just wasting time.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order, hon. Members!

Hon. Member on the Floor, I hope you know that what you are doing is not correct. Please, use the right words. We are hon. Members here and it is important that we have our etiquette and our respectability because we require each one of us to respect the others so that we can debate orderly. The word you are using in reference to other hon. Members is, firstly, not in the language we use and, secondly, does not sound right just listening to it. Would you, please, use the right language in this House?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, we saw a lot of …

Hon. Opposition Members: Nyaus!

Mr Lubinda: … glamour and splendour by people who assured us that they had completed the construction of the Mchinji Railway Line and that we would now start seeing imports coming through from Malawi. They also said we would start exporting our commodities through Malawi using that railway line. To date, the only thing we remember are those high sounding words of self praise that they were delivering for the development of this country.

What is even worse, Sir, is that the technocrats informed us of a very lamentable failure by this Government to provide a railway line which is of similar gauge as the railway line in Malawi. What this means is that when they import goods from Malawi and come to the junction with Zambia, they will have to start offloading the wagons because they would be too heavy for the gauge they have in Zambia. What kind of planning is that? Is something that will make the whole country come to a standstill worth celebrating?

Mr Kambwili: Lopsided.

Mr Lubinda: That is obviously a waste of resources and total abuse of resources. Beyond that, Sir, when we visited the border, we were shocked to be informed that people who do not go with a name decided, without coming to this House, to shift the border of Zambia with Malawi to an extent of ten kilometres inside the sovereign territorial land of our mother country.

Hon. Opposition Member: They are sell-outs!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, under what law did they do that? How did they arrive at that decision? For your own information, Sir, even part of the border post we are talking about is not on Zambian land, but Malawian. In some places, even to reach where the Mchinji Railway Line joins with Zambia, you have to go through Malawi first.

Hon. Opposition Member: You have to get a passport!

Mr Lubinda:  To go and see your own railway line, you have to apply for a passport from Malawi.

Mr Zulu: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to just state that the Zambian and Malawian railway lines were of different gauges without mentioning the actual gauges so that we know?

The Deputy Chairperson: The hon. Member on the Floor may continue and take the concern raised in the point of order into account.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, in taking into account that point of order, I would like to remind the House of one hon. Member’s statement that not all those who come into this House read reports of your Committee and it is not going to be my job to read on their behalf.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda:  I suggest to them, Sir, that when they have time, especially when they have time away from their drinking sprees, they spend time in the library …

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda:  … because that information is readily available for whoever wants it. It is not my job read for them and I am not going to try and become a civil engineer today. The truth of the matter is that the gauge on the Malawian side has a higher load carrying capacity than that on the Zambian side and, for me, as a Parliamentarian, that is enough to cause worry.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda:  Sir, let me move away from that and talk about a matter that was raised by my colleagues and that is the issue of the Budget Act. The sub-committee of your Committee, which was privileged to visit Uganda, were impressed to listen to our fellow Parliamentarians when they said:

“As a matter of fact, before we came up with the Budget Act, we visited one country in Southern Africa. In that country, we looked at the Budget Bill that was being discussed that was presented to their Parliament by a Backbencher.”

That country, Sir, happens to be no other than Zambia.

Uganda, today, is bragging about a very well written Budget Act, and yet they give credit to Zambia for originating the idea. Zambia, along the line, is still wondering where that Budget Bill is because you cannot even find it. In 2002, those who were in this House together with me, will remember that a number of hon. Members of Parliament from the Opposition proposed the Budget Bill which was thrown out by that Government.

That Budget Bill has also inspired the enactment of the Budget Act of Tanzania and the Budget Act of Kenya and yet, in Zambia, all we are hearing is rhetoric. There is promise upon promise and no delivery at all. The question is, why are we dragging our feet? Is it because we want to do what Hon. Milupi was guarding against, to abuse processes and procedures and start to implement programmes that are outside the budget?

Sir, in case people did not put in context what Hon. Milupi was bemoaning, the K1.3 trillion we were talking about and whose source is not yet established is not peanuts. It is, as a matter of fact, 6.3 per cent of the total Budget for 2011. For that money to come from outside the budget is to declare the processes of this institution of Parliament irrelevant.

Sir, the Budget Act of Uganda, which was inspired by the Budget Bill presented to this House in 2002, has ensured that the budgeting process in Uganda is decentralised. Therefore, people in the periphery know what is contained in their budget because they took part in preparing their budget. You will hear of real development taking place in countries such as Uganda and Tanzania because the citizens are aware of what to expect. They are able to monitor the execution of their National Budget unlike this country where, one day, people can decide, outside the procedures of Parliament, to strip parastatal organisations of their assets, just for the sake of winning a few votes. All that is imprudent management of resources. It is also a mark of recklessness. I do not think that is a matter that we must play around with.

Mr Speaker, two years ago, in June, 2009, when this House was amending the Constitution, we were promised that the Budget Act was to follow. This Parliament shall be rising sine die very soon and there will be new people sitting on that side (right) and there will certainly be new people sitting on this side (left). There will be a transposition. The ones sitting on your left will be on your right side and those on your right, well there will be completely new people.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, we hear that some have already been told that they will not be adopted.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, honestly, should we wait for the Eleventh National Assembly to pass the Budget Act that should have been passed by the Ninth National Assembly? Should it take us two decades to agree on a Budget Act? That is a mark of failure by those on your right. This is because they realise that they are not capable of implementing any laws. They are very good at circumventing laws. That is why they are not providing the space for that Budget Act.

Sir, let me end by saying that the people out there are watching everything that we do and are listening to everything that we say. The people are now asking us, “You Parliamentarians, in October, 2010, when you were passing the National Budget, how come you did not disclose that you were hiding money somewhere? How come you did not tell us that you had money to rehabilitate all the roads on the Copperbelt and Lusaka? Why did you have to wait until now and start constructing these roads in such a big hurry? Is it because you know that you are going to be thrown out of Parliament?” The people out there are extremely wise. They are wiser than ba malukula.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The hon. Member knows that the word he has used is not parliamentary. Can he withdraw it and replace it with some other word?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I would like to withdraw the word and say, the people out there are extremely wiser than undertakers.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to make a few comments on this very important report. In my response, I would like to address myself to the statements that have just been made in this honourable House.

Mr Speaker, as leaders of this nation, whom many are looking up to emulate as role models, it is extremely imperative that we adhere to the truth as we see, touch and feel it.

Mr Speaker, it is extremely disheartening to listen to statements such as those which have just been made that no train has ever moved on the Chipata/Mchingi Railway Line. That is extremely disheartening when, in fact, on the day of the inauguration of that important project, there was a train that traveled all the way from Malawi into Chipata and Their Excellencies …


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Hon. Members, I was listening very attentively as you on my left were debating. The hon. Members on my right listened. They were not interfering with the debate from your side. I think democracy demands that you give similar attention to what the hon. Members on my right are saying. It is very undemocratic to only want to hear yourself and not the others. Let us keep to the tenets of democracy.

The hon. Minister may continue.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, on that very day, when that very important project was inaugurated, Their Excellencies, His Excellency, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda and His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Malawi travelled on that train to the railway station. It is most unfortunate that leaders of political parties in our country can utter statements to the effect that no train has moved on that railway line.

Mr Kambwili: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, that is most unfortunate. It shows the kind of leadership some of us are. We are leaders who can stand on the podium of an honourable House such as this one and misinform the public. That is very unfortunate. If the gauge …

Mr Kambwili: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Hon. Member, I thought the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport was responding to the statements that were made on the Floor of this House by Hon. Lubinda. Unless you have a concern that has nothing to do with what was said by the hon. Member for Kabwata, you may not raise a point of order. What is your point of order?

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to raise a point of order which is factual. Is the hon. Minister in order to imply that the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line was constructed at such a high cost just for the two Presidents to use it on the inauguration of the project? What the hon. Member for …

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! You have asked your question.

Mr Kambwili: Is the hon. Minister in order to mislead the nation that the railway line was simply constructed to ferry the two Presidents on the inauguration day of the project? I need your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairperson: The hon. Minister of Communications and Transport will take that point of order into account as he debates. 

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, clearly, I was addressing the statement by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwata, which was totally false and grossly misleading.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, to state that no train has ever moved on the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line is the highest level of deceit which is not expected from an hon. Member of this House because the entire country witnessed the rolling of the train from Malawi into Zambia.


Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, one wonders where the hon. Member was when this event was being witnessed by many Zambians.


Professor Lungwangwa: It surprising that such a misleading statement can be issued by an hon. Member of Parliament.

If the gauges have different capacities, would that train have moved from Malawi to Zambia? These were the exact statements from the prophets of doom when the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) was completed. The prophets of doom said that the gauges of TAZARA and the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ) were not complementary. Presently, however, we can see trains moving from the Copperbelt all the way to Tanzania on the same railway line. 

The statement, therefore, which came this afternoon, is clearly a reincarnation of the history of the prophets of doom who said the gauges of TAZARA and the RSZ were incompatible. We heard today that the gauges in Malawi and Zambia are incompatible when this is not true. 


Professor Lungwangwa: As a matter of fact, it was only this week that I signed the authorisation for the operations of the Central African Railway System of Malawi on the Chipata/ Mchinji Railway Line. If the gauges were so different or incompatible, would the Central African Railway System of Malawi have considered operating on this railway line? The answer is no. However, because the gauges are compatible, the Malawian company has sought business in Zambia by operating on this railway line.

 As matter of fact, a week ago, all of us saw experts come in from the China Civil Engineering Construction Company to carry out feasibility studies to connect the Chipata/Mchinji Railway Line to TAZARA at Mpika, and these studies will start soon.

Mr Speaker, this shows that what is being said in this House by the hon. Member from the Opposition is a clear distortion of facts. Such behaviour is unacceptable and should be rejected with the contempt it deserves.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Ms C. M. Kapwepwe): Mr Speaker, I rise to contribute to the Motion on the Floor. I wish to talk about some of the issues raised in the report and not the many other issues which were, in fact, raised, but not speaking to the report.

Mr Speaker, concerning the issue of the tax system, the Government remains committed to putting in place interventions that will secure a broad-based tax system so that simplicity, equity and fairness are maintained. Some of the strategies that the Government is employing are:

(i) the simplification of the tax system for the small to medium enterprises so that they can cope with the regulations;

(ii) enhancing tax payer education in order to encourage compliance;

(iii) continuing with efforts to register informal sector establishments;

(iv) collaborating with the ZRA and councils at the local government level to collect the base tax from marketers; and

(v) encouraging voluntary compliance and many other initiatives.

Mr Speaker, the issue of us having a narrow tax base was also raised. This is, indeed, one of the challenges that we face. The Government, however, is committed to enhancing our revenue collection capabilities.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: We have development plans in place which continue to grow the economy at a sustainable pace. The job creation that will result from the plans will mean that more people will come into the tax paying bracket which will eventually lower tax rates. I wish to state that with the growth of the informal sector, this will be achieved through the strengthening of the small to medium enterprises and other reforms which, as I said earlier, will be aimed at growing the tax base.

Mr Speaker, it is important to note that last year, 2010, may be the tenth consecutive year of positive economic growth of this country. This means that the economy is growing, and therefore, the tax base will grow, thus improving our revenue collection. 

Mr Speaker, another issue which was touched on was the taxation of multi-national corporations, specifically in reference to incentives which were initially given to them. It is important to note that these incentives are given to investors both local and foreign for a specific period of time, and in response to a specific need to attract investment to a specific sector of the economy.

For instance, in the mining sector, we required very high levels of capital investment. We can see that with the injection of this capital investment, there has been a marked increase in the production levels of, for instance, copper production which is up from the low levels of about 250,000 metric tonnes to over 750,000 metric tonnes. This would not have happened if we did not have the incentives to attract this kind of investment in place …

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: … so that we have sustained growth and not just look at the short-term aim of getting the tax for now.

We are a forward-looking Government and we put in place policies which will see us have sustainable growth of the economy in this country. We do not have a shortened view which just looks at the now.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: We are growing in the long term and some of these issues which seem insurmountable will be resolved when we have an economic growth which is sustainable. The Government needed to take such a strategic position to support growth and investment. This is so that we can have a sustainable economic growth that is even applauded internationally.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, I now wish to also talk about the capacity of auditing the mining companies. I have taken note of what is in the report where it has been observed that we need to have full establishment at the unit so that it can operate at full capacity. This unit will also require to be trained with the skills that are required to handle international transactions. The Government is well aware of this and we are looking forward to remedying this situation.

Sir, there was also an issue on border posts and the facilities there which was raised. It is common knowledge that this Government has put in place the public-private partnership (PPP) policy which is working. You only need to go to Kasumbalesa, today, to see a completely different border point.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: It is efficient, working and has enhanced the capacity of the efficiency at the border. We are not just talking about Kasumbalesa because this is an on-going project and we are addressing other border points. Therefore, the issue that was raised about Nakonde is underway. It is something that the Government is already not only considering, but also actively addressing.

Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to maximising domestic revenue collection. The budget process allows participation of various stakeholders. I am sure we have seen the advertisements in the papers that are inviting submissions from different sectors to our budget process.

May I point out, Sir, like others before, that some of the issues that are being raised and being complained about, especially in participation of budget formulation, could have been addressed through some provisions that were proposed in the Draft Constitution.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: It is a shame that we lost that opportunity to remedy some of these issues, and yet we continue to stand on the Floor of this House to complain about lack of reform.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M. Kapwepwe: We lost an opportunity to address some of these issues not only as regards tax, but also various other issues which impact on the Zambian people. Therefore, it is a shame that we should stand here and complain when we had an opportunity to remedy that.

Dr Mwansa: Hear, hear! Walanda bwino, mwaiche!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, it is important to keep matters in context. As we look at the amounts being paid, for example, by mining houses that are coming up every day, we must also look at how much investment goes into their development. There are huge capital injections. However, we stand here and look at one side of the picture and say they are not paying anything. It is important to keep it in context so that you understand that when you forego tax now, you are doing that because you know that, in future, you will have a sustainable mine that will have an economic life of twenty to thirty years.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: We are not looking at just taxes for 2011 and 2012 and playing on people’s minds and saying, “If you do not do this now, it will be a problem in future”. It is always easy to criticise with hindsight. Fortunately, for this country, this Government has foresight.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms C. M.  Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, before I conclude, I would just like to emphasise that, as reported in the report, the ZRA continues to meet collection targets, which is an important aspect which was brought out by the report. Our revenue to the gross domestic product (GDP) ratio compares favourably with other countries in the region and that is a finding of the report.

Therefore, it is important that, when we debate, we balance and give correct information so that people are aware that this Government is, indeed, working and has foresight, as it is not just looking at today.

Mr Speaker, when you plant a seed, there are years that pass of just watering it without seeing what is going to come out of it. However, you need to have the patience and foresight to say you will continue on this path so that, when that fruit matures, it will be enjoyed more.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Boma!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, in winding up debate on this Motion, I wish to acknowledge the debates by the seconder of the Motion, the hon. Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi, including those of the hon. Members of Parliament for Kwacha, Solwezi Central, Luena and Kabwata and, indeed, the responses from the two hon. Ministers, the Minister of Communications and Transport and the Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning. I am impressed with the robust debate on these very important issues.

However, it remains to be seen whether this will be done in the short term. There is a paradox and Zambians want to know when this will end. The road map must be clear on when we will achieve a growing economy, but comparably lower tax revenues to the Treasury. We will leave it to the Government and the Zambian people will wait to know exactly when we will raise enough money to provide free social services such as education, health, farming inputs to farmers and all the requisites that the citizens are waiting for. I hope the wait will not be too long.

With these few words, Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the report of the Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply for the Fifth Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on Friday, 27th May, 2011.

The Deputy Chairperson: Is the Motion seconded?

Mrs Banda (Chililabombwe): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Imenda: Your Committee, Mr Speaker, was guided in its operations by the terms of reference as contained under the National Assembly Standing Order No. 157. In line with its mandate, your Committee considered one topical issue, the operations of the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) in the country.

Mr Speaker, your Committee chose the aforementioned topic for study in the year because there were reports of ineffective and inefficient practices being performed by some officers at the RTSA. These were compromising the operations of the agency in its entirety. Your Committee was aided to study the operations of RTSA by a number of relevant stakeholders who submitted detailed memoranda and oral submissions on the topic under review.

Mr Speaker, your Committee was informed that all matters related to road transport and safety in Zambia are handled by the RTSA. The RTSA is an executive agency which falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Communications and Transport. It was established under Section 3 of the Road Traffic Act of 2002.

Your Committee, Mr Speaker, learnt that since the RTSA was established, it has steadily grown into a corporate body trying to implement its activities as efficiently as possible. However, your Committee was informed that the agency was also facing numerous challenges which have to be overcome if the agency is to perform well.

Mr Speaker, your Committee observes that the Minister of Communications and Transport is the appointing authority of the members who sit on the RTSA Board. Lately, there have been a lot of complaints regarding the calibre and quality of the board membership. Some stakeholders, such as the Passengers, Pedestrians and Cyclists’ Association of Zambia (PAPECA) claim that they are, by law, a definite member of the RTSA Board, and yet each time the hon. Minister appoints board members, PAPECA is left out.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee urges the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport, as the appointing authority of the board, to ensure that people who are conversant with the transport sector are appointed on the RTSA Board.

Your Committee observes, with concern, that there are no signs and designated places for physically challenged people to use either at bus stations, along the road and at crossing points. This is a worrisome situation. Your Committee, therefore, urges the Government, through the RTSA, to design, allocate and mark specific places to be used by the physically challenged.

Further, your Committee expresses great concern over the situation where RTSA clients, who want to license a public service vehicle (PSV), change ownership of vehicle and clear a purchased vehicle, have to go through a cumbersome process. The process demands one to pass through the ZRA, Zambia Police and then the RTSA itself. In view of the foregoing, your Committee recommends that the RTSA introduces a one-stop-shop business centre for vehicle change of ownership, application for driving licences, registration of vehicles and other issues to deal with vehicles. This measure, once put in place, will enhance efficiency in service delivery.

Further, Mr Speaker, your Committee was privileged to undertake local tours in the Lusaka and Southern provinces. In Lusaka, your Committee toured the RTSA Head Office, Lumumba and Ridgeway RTSA operating units, and Mimosa Drivers’ Testing Centre. While in the Southern Province, your Committee visited the RTSA stations in Chirundu, Kariba, Monze, Choma, Livingstone and Kazungula. In Chirundu, Kariba, Livingstone and Kazungula, your Committee held public hearing sessions on the operations of the RTSA. The issues that came out of those tours and public hearing sessions were quite revealing and worth being taken note of by the Government.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, observes, with concern, that the working relationship between the RTSA and the Zambia Police along with the Office of the President is of tension and friction. The attached or seconded officers from the Zambia Police and Office of the President are tasked to carry out operative and administrative work such as registration, licensing and examination of motor vehicles and drivers. This type of work is also performed by the RTSA officers.

However, attached officers with relevant credentials do not enjoy the lucrative conditions of service enjoyed by the RTSA employees. The situation is compounded further by having the perceived parallel reporting channel within the same organisation. The RTSA officers report to their management at the RTSA while the Zambia Police and Office of the President officers also report to their respective commands. This situation is not only confusing and demotivating, but also frustrating and depressing. In view of the foregoing, your Committee urges the Government to normalise the secondment of police officers and Office of the President staff to the RTSA and also extend the RTSA conditions of service to them. The principle of “equal pay for equal work” should apply in this case.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is saddened to receive reports of deliberate self-induced delays by RTSA staff with regard to issuance of drivers’ licences, vehicle examination, driver testing and payment of toll fees so as to solicit bribes from unsuspecting members of the public and motorists. This brings to the fore the reported pathetic work culture obtaining at RTSA. This also applies to renewal of motor vehicle fitness, payment of road tax and drivers’ licence renewals, among others.

In view of the foregoing, your Committee urges the Government to ensure that RTSA officers, along with the attached staff, learn to work professionally and attend to customers promptly without unnecessary delays or bringing unnecessary complications. Your Committee implores the Government to severely discipline any officer found wanting on this score.

Mr Speaker, your Committee bemoans the erratic funding for operational purposes in all the RTSA stations visited. Equally of concern is the inadequate office accommodation which makes planning difficult for officers operating in those stations. All the stations visited do, however, generate adequate revenue for the nation. For instance, the Chirundu RTSA Border Station is making about US$13,000 per day while Kazungula, despite border delays arising from constant pontoon breakdowns, is making about US$7,000 per day. The revenue such generated is wholly forwarded to the National Treasury.

It is the general view of the members of the public that the RTSA be allowed to retain a reasonable per cent of the funds collected for its operational activities and hasten the construction of the Kazungula Bridge to enable the RTSA improve its collection at this point.

Mr Speaker, allow me to conclude here by thanking the stakeholders who submitted written memoranda and, subsequently, appeared before your Committee for oral input. Your Committee thanks them all for their readiness, promptness and openness in submitting their information.

Last but not the least, my appreciation goes to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services rendered to your Committee during its deliberations.

Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.

The Deputy Chairperson: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mrs Banda: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion which has ably been moved by the Chairperson of your Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply, allow me to make a few pertinent comments.

Mr Speaker, the RTSA oversees issues of safety on roads and regulates and implements all policies on road transport in the country. Therefore, all the driving schools, driving instructors and examiners are under the management of the RTSA. It is in view of this mandate that your Committee notes with dismay that a lot of driving schools have mushroomed in the country. These driving schools have employed trainers who are not qualified to train learner drivers. As a result, learner drivers do not have the necessary knowledge needed for them to become competent drivers.

Mr Speaker, your Committee urges the RTSA to ensure that all driving schools are registered with the agency and that they employ qualified trainers in order for these driving schools to be competitive on the market. Further, your Committee recommends that the Government ensures that all driving schools operating in the country have quality training facilities in place before opening their institutions to the public.

Mr Speaker, another observation to comment on is that of a situation where broken-down vehicles are parked along the roads and, sometimes, in the middle of the road for a long time. These vehicles pose a serious road safety hazard as other vehicles can easily ram into them, especially at night. Lives have been lost as a result of a situation of this nature. In view of the foregoing, your Committee urges the Government to provide tow vehicles to the RTSA that will help remove broken down vehicles from the roads.

Mr Speaker, your Committee was privileged to tour the Mimosa Drivers’ Testing Centre in the Chilanga area. The office accommodation and facilities are really pathetic and disappointing. In fact, the whole site is on rented premises. This is not healthy for the nation as it does not portray seriousness on the part of the RTSA and  Government as a whole.

Mr Speaker, in that perspective, your Committee urges the Government to find some permanent drivers’ testing grounds to be owned by the RTSA. Once such grounds are found, the RTSA should construct adequate and well-furnished office accommodation. There is a need to also provide adequate and modern driver training facilities. The modern office accommodation and driver training facilities will reflect the good corporate image of the RTSA.

Mr Speaker, your Committee observes with concern that the traffic fines charged by the RTSA are inconsistent and too high for the affordability of the general public. This scenario has perpetuated corruption since culprits, at times, tend to compromise with the law enforcement officers. The RTSA officers, honorary traffic inspectors and Zambia Police officers from the Traffic Section are called all sorts of names. At times, they are said to be corrupt. At times, they are enticed to receive bribes from motorists who fail to pay the high traffic fines. This matter was raised by your Committee when this House was debating the new traffic fines, as presented in a Bill by the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport, earlier in the year.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee, once again, appeals to the Government to review the traffic fines and reduce them to levels which are affordable to the public. This will greatly reduce corrupt tendencies from the general public and officers.

Mr Speaker, may I end by urging this august House to fully support this report for adoption. RTSA needs to streamline its operations to respond to the current trends in road transport management and safety. There is a need for a lot of sanity on our roads or else they will be death traps due to the traffic jams, unmarked road signs, dysfunctional traffic lights, incompetent drivers, unlicensed drivers and bad road networks, mostly in townships and rural areas. The Government needs to be above board and address all such matters with due seriousness and urgency.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I support the report of your Committee but, in doing so, I would like to comment on two issues. The first one is on page 26, under the subtitle Tour Report for 2009, specifically on the Lusaka/Chirundu Road. This part of the report talks about the section of the road that was washed away in March, 2009. I think the rehabilitation of this section has been completed, but I am worried about who will foot the bill for these works.

The wash-away took place within what we call the defect liability period. In this period, a contractor or consultant must repair his/her works if something goes wrong with the project at his/her own cost or expense. However, I note here that the Government is going to pay for these repairs. I feel that is very unfair on the part of the Government and this payment must be covered by either the contractor or consultant, as I have already pointed out, because this damage took place within the defect liability period.

Mr Speaker, after the wash-away took place, I went to inspect the road and found that the designer was actually at fault. At that section of the road, there is a hill and along the slopes of the hill, there is a depression or trough. Therefore, there is a lot of water that comes from the top of the hill into the road. I have a feeling that the designer did not factor that into the design. The designer should have made the culvert big enough to allow all the water to pass through. Nonetheless, what I am saying is that the Ministry of Works and Supply should take the consultant to task because the consultant was at fault, as the wash-away had something to do with the design. The consultant must pay for the repairs and not the Government.

The second issue that I would like to comment on is on page 27 and it  concerns the Chirundu Bridge. I think this is a new bridge. It was completed in 2002 and, therefore, is only about nine years old. Its bearings are already faulty. Again, I am concerned that the two Governments, the Zambian and Zimbabwean governments, will pay for the faulty bearings. I have a very different view from this. This money for the repair works should come from the consultant because, to me, the contractor is at fault here. These bearings are supposed to last. Imagine, the old bridge which was put up in 1939 and is seventy-two years old is still functioning. However, this bridge is only nine years old, but there is already a problem. In my opinion, the Government should not be blamed. Talk nicely with them. I know it is the Japanese who erected that bridge because I was there during the conceptual design and I was the Zambia Country Co-ordinator to the three countries, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Japan. Nine years is too short a period for the bearings to be faulty. Talk nicely to the Japanese and I am sure they can supply new bearings at no cost to the Zambian Government.

Otherwise, I support the report and it is only these small two issues which I feel should be corrected.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Floor. From the outset, I would like to state that I support the report of your Committee, but I would like to make a lot of comments on it, more especially on the operations of the RTSA and the general management of road and road safety in the country.

Mr Speaker, it is a fact that safety and road management in Zambia has totally collapsed and unless the RTSA takes pertinent measures, we shall continue to lose lives in road traffic accidents. If you look at minibus drivers in Lusaka, Copperbelt, Southern provinces and everywhere you go in this country, the behaviour of minibus and taxi drivers leaves much to be desired, and yet these are the people who are in league with traffic police officers and the RTSA officers in terms of corruption. What has caused all these problems? It is a fact that our road and safety management is not fully computerised. Forty-six years after independence, what we need to have is a situation where in every police vehicle and police station and at every RTSA office, there are computers that are connected to all the different types of operational areas. What we need is a system where if a RTSA officer or traffic police officer is following an erring vehicle, he should just press a button on the computer to know who the owner of the vehicle is, where the vehicle is kept and whether the vehicle is insured or licensed. Without that, we will not manage to control road traffic incidences in this country. More often than not, the only way of arresting or stopping erring drivers and motor vehicles is by police giving a chase which results in endangering lives of passengers in other vehicles and, indeed, pedestrians. We have seen situations in this country where police officers are chasing an erring driver and, in the end, knock down a pedestrian. This is sad for this country. We must reach a situation like the one in South Africa or in the Western countries where the duty of the police officers is just to trail the vehicle, take stock of the registration number of the vehicle and take a picture of the vehicle and then go back to the office. Thereafter, the police officers send a notice to this driver that on a particular date, as he/she was driving on a given road and made a mistake and is required to report to the nearest police office to make a payment.

Mr Speaker, if that system is introduced, we will manage to reduce accidents on our roads. Without that, no matter how well we can fund the RTSA and no matter how qualified the people we employee at the RTSA can be, we will not reduce the incidences on the road. The RTSA, more often than not, mounts roadblocks together with the Zambia Police Traffic Officers and they carry receipt books with them. The law is very clear that when you are stopped by a police officer and have committed a traffic offence, you are supposed to be given a charge and then you have seven days in which to pay. If you do not pay after seven days, the police have a right to write to you to appear in court, but what is obtaining is something else. When you are stopped by a police officer for a traffic offence, the police officer will insist that he jumps on your vehicle and goes with you to the police station to go and pay immediately. This is a recipe for corruption because when that police officer jumps into that vehicle, on the way, they usually say, if you go to the police station, you will be required to pay K54,000, but if you pay me a K10,000 or K20,000, I can let you go.

However, if we have a system that all motor vehicles are computerised and immediately a vehicle is stopped by a police officer, it is logged in the computer system and this information is sent to the station, they will be able to see that a particular police officer stopped a particular vehicle, whose registration will be recorded, for this kind of traffic offence. Then they will tally that information with the payment that this officer will retire. Without that system, we should forget about the RTSA. We cannot continue operating manually forty-six years after independence and continue to lose lives in the meantime.

Mr Speaker, it is like this Government or other governments before have made the RTSA one of the ways in which to raise money for the Treasury. This should not be the case because the job of the RTSA should be to reduce accidents and over speeding and save lives. The payments must not be the preoccupation. In the budget, we are even factoring in the moneys that come from the RTSA. We have turned RTSA into another revenue generation organ in this country and that is where the problem is. Like the other debater said, the fees that are being paid by the erring drivers are just too high and this also is a recipe for corruption. What we need to create is a situation where we use the RTSA to reduce accidents and sensitise the communities about the causes and dangers of accidents. However, today, we are using the RTSA to collect money for the Treasury and that is why we have gone wrong. For instance, there is no reason for the RTSA to mount a speed trap and hide in the bush.

The Deputy Speaker: Order!

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


Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that speed traps must not be a way of raising money. What I have seen in developed countries is that wherever there is a speed trap, some 200 metres before it, there must be a sign to warn motorists that there is a speed trap ahead. The purpose of this is to assist those fast driving motorists to reduce speed and not to trap them and then charge them. This is why I am saying that the essence of road traffic control should not be revenue collection, but to deter people from committing offences. It has even become a risk to the police officers nowadays because you will find that you are driving at a high speed and all of a sudden, somebody comes from the bush and starts stopping you. Are these police officers immune to death by accidents? Sooner or later, we shall experience police officers being killed and it will be very unfair to charge such drivers with causing death by dangerous driving because these police officers are risking their lives.

In fact, I am reliably informed that it has happened in Kitwe where one police officer was killed on the spot. This kind of approach to speed traps must come to an end. I urge the hon. Ministers of Communications and Transport, and Home Affairs to immediately instruct police officers to stop this habit of rushing onto the road when there is an oncoming speeding vehicle because that is a risk to their lives and a danger to other motorists. If a motorist wants to avoid a police officer who has come on the road, he/she may end up colliding with an oncoming vehicle or end up knocking down an innocent pedestrian. Therefore, this situation must be tabled quickly and resolved.

The issue of secondment of police officers and, indeed, that of traffic officers’ salaries must be looked into. It is extremely difficult for anybody who earns K700,000 to be asked to collect more than what he gets. You will find that, maybe, in a day, the police officer collects K15 or K20 billion and can you expect that officer to fail to pilfer? You are encouraging police officers to indulge themselves in corrupt activities and pilfer the monies that they collect. Today, we heard that K23 million was stolen from the RTSA countrywide. This is because salaries for traffic officers are so low that they are compelled to pilfer the money that they collect. All we need to do is stop police officers from handling money at the roadblocks. The police officers in all the police stations must employ cashiers who must collect this money if we have to do away with this vice.

However, even if you do that, it is not going to help for as long as they are lowly paid. Pay the police officers well so that whoever indulges in corrupt activities must be arrested and prosecuted. It is unfortunate that, today, even if you saw an officer being bribed, you feel sorry and think twice and say, “This poor police officer, if I report him, he only gets K700,000 so his family will suffer.” If, indeed, they were getting even K3,000,000 and above, for argument’s sake, and I found one indulging himself in corrupt activities, I will do a citizen’s arrest. Therefore, can we look at the conditions of service for police officers, especially those who are seconded to the RTSA where they handle a lot of money? How do you expect officers from the Office of the President and Traffic Police not to indulge in fraud and corrupt activities, taking into account the salaries they get? Therefore, if we have to get anything in return from police officers, their salaries must be improved.

Mr Speaker, the RTSA made a very good decision that all long distance buses must be fitted with speed limiters of 80 km per hour. However, what do we see today? We see buses moving at 100 km per hour. I am sure hon. Members have seen buses going at 120 km per hour as they travel from their constituencies. Where are the speed limiters? We enact a law, but fail to implement it. One year down the line, we relax and buses have started over speeding and killing people. We only want to talk when an accident happens. Why can we not prevent these accidents?

As regards the issue of over smoking vehicles, we all know that discharge of smoke is an offence, and if you are following a vehicle that is discharging smoke towards the roadblock, it will pass through the roadblock without being impounded. One wonders what is going on because discharge of smoke is an offence. If you go on the streets of Lusaka, you will find a lot of vehicles that are discharging excess smoke and nothing is being done about them.

Mr Speaker, the other issue I would like to talk about is with regard to vehicles that are broken down along the motorways. Why can we not introduce a system of tow vehicles like the automotive association where, if a vehicle breakdowns, one has to pay a fee to have that vehicle removed from the streets? Along the Kabwe/ Kapiri Mposhi /Ndola Road, some broken down vehicles have been in the middle of the road even for one week, and yet the RTSA officials pass there. At times, even the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport passes there without doing anything about it. We must make sure that we enforce the laws that we make in this country.

Mr Speaker, we all know that, by law, we have allowed a situation, where when a vehicle breaks down, triangles must be put behind and in front of the vehicle, but tell me, hon. Minister, how many people put triangles? They put tree branches instead. When a vehicle breaks down, they start cutting branches of trees to put on the road.


Mr Kambwili: If you are driving at night, you risk causing an accident. What usually happens is that once the vehicle is repaired, the branches are left on the road.

Mr Sing’ombe: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: One day, it will be an hon. Minister involved in an accident and that is when you will run around. Please, let us prevent these issues.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, illegal parking is the order of the day. Motorists in Zambia are not disciplined. On the motorway, immediately a motorist sees tute or kandolo being sold, he/she applies emergency breaks and stops in the middle of the road to buy kandolo or tute.


Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, for as long as we do not work on these weaknesses in the management of the road sector, we shall continue losing lives. I, therefore, appeal to the hon. Minister to seriously look into these issues for the safety of our people.

With these few words, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Zulu (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I support the Report of your Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply.

Mr Speaker, the safety of road users depends largely on the quality of the road network. Before I go into detail, allow me to thank the MMD Government for rehabilitating most of the roads in my constituency.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Nishani?

Mr Zulu: The people of Bwana Mkubwa and Kabushi constituencies are so happy that they even told me that their roads have never been rehabilitated that way before. Even me who was born there, has never seen it. I thank the MMD Government for the job well done.

Hon. PF Members: Adoption!

Mr Zulu: I am not going to be distracted because even the people who are saying adoption also want to be adopted.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Landa, Mulamu.

Mr Zulu: The other issue relates to motorists. Police officers at Kapiri Mposhi and Kafue roadblocks do not use genuine receipts. This is common practice. It is very important for the Government to really make sure that monies collected from the motorists at roadblocks are properly receipted. At the Kapiri Mposhi roadblock, admission of guilt forms are used to collect fines from motorists and I think the money collected is not remitted to the Government. So, it is important that the Government makes sure that police officers use correct receipts.

The other issue is with regard to the damage to roads at weighbridges and permanent roadblocks. I am a former member of your Committee, and I think we had agreed earlier that wherever there is a roadblock or weighbridge, there should be some concrete pavings because the roads at these particular places are badly damaged.

The MMD Government has spent a lot of money on rehabilitating these roads, but my biggest worry is how we are going to maintain them. Some hon. Members have mentioned on the Floor of this House that it is better to go back to the old system of road maintenance camps because the system which is there now is not working well. The Road Development Agency (RDA) and the councils are not working together. If, for instance, there is a pothole in Kafue, an engineer has to travel all the way from Livingstone to Kafue to assess it and the RDA has no maintenance team. They have to put it back to tender. Therefore, what happens is that while waiting, that pothole gets so big that it even creates other smaller potholes around it. In the end, the whole road is damaged. Therefore, knowing that the RDA has failed, as debated in this House, it is better to go back to the old system. The old system of having road maintenance camps was better because they could easily move in and work on the road.

Mr Speaker, sometimes, I cry when I see a pothole which is supposed to cost only K50,000 to mend remain unattended to for more than six months. I start wondering where the council engineers are. Therefore, the Government must seriously think of how we will maintain these roads which have been rehabilitated at a very high cost.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Professor Lungwangwa): I thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to comment on this Motion.

Mr Speaker, this is an extremely important non-controversial Motion which is in the best interest of all of us. There should be no controversy over matters of life and death. The RTSA is the custodian of our safety on the roads and all of us are potential victims when it comes to problems on the roads. This report has brought out very pertinent issues that need following up very closely so that we can improve safety on our roads. That is why this report is very welcome and, as a Government, we shall do everything possible to pay serious attention to the issues that have been noted in this report. That being the case, therefore, I will be very brief in my comments to highlight a few points.

Firstly, as far as the issue of training is concerned, the Government has allocated land to the RTSA along Mungwi Road where it is intended to establish the Centre of Excellence for Motor Vehicle Testing and Driving Testing. Procurement for design consultants is at an advanced stage.

Mr Speaker, training of motor vehicle and driver examiners is being undertaken on a continuous basis and examiners are trained through exchange buck-stopping programmes with neighbouring countries which include Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. Some of the differences in testing of drivers may arise due to differences in the infrastructure, of course, in the different RTSA stations which are in use. However, to ensure consistence in the level of testing, testing is undertaken using the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA) approved driving training syllabi and the Highway Code and the agency will ensure that this is adhered to.

The agency has an approved Discipline and Grievance Procedure Code for the RTSA staff which is implemented by management on erring members of staff. Members of the public are encouraged to report all cases of poor attitude to management so that erring officers can be disciplined. As a matter of fact, the RTSA has a twenty-four hour call centre where complaints can be communicated.

Mr Speaker, there is a law review exercise currently being undertaken by the RTSA with the facilitation of my ministry and it is hoped that driving schools make their representations to the Law Review Committee for their concerns to be taken into account. The Industrial Training Centre (ITC), registered with TEVETA and established, through Government initiative, currently undertakes professional training programmes for drivers in the country. However, there is a need to build additional facilities both through ITC and other institutions and the Government will pursue this.

As far as tow trucks are concerned, a budget allocation has been provided for in the 2011 RTSA Annual Budget or annual work plan to procure tow trucks.

With regard to issues of computerisation that have been raised, I would like to inform the House that this is a matter which RTSA has paid a lot of attention to. Currently, the RTSA is able to read into the ZRA system on a read only basis and steps are being pursued to have the full integration of the two ICT systems by Interpol and the Zambia Transport Information Systems (ZAMTIS). Integration is yet to be realised. Sir, the RTSA Headquarters is now connected to its district offices countrywide at the level of 90 per cent connectivity.

 Further, the RTSA will continue to engage other institutions directly involved in road signage and markings so that we can improve safety on our roads.

Sir, the RTSA is able to perform functions of road licensing. Where it does not have offices, the challenge is mitigated by mobile road licensing which is undertaken on a quarterly basis.

As regards the issues raised by Hon. Kambwili, it is clear that ICT will provide an effective solution to the problems of traffic management. Those of us who have driven on the roads in other countries, especially developed countries, know that there is efficient and effective surveillance system of traffic whereby cameras are situated at various corners and drivers are very conscious of them. This is what we would like to see for our country. The Government has a very serious e-governance project which will address all these issues of traffic management, motor licensing and licence issuance among others. We already have an Inter-ministerial Committee on E-governance which is working very hard to ensure that all these matters are addressed soon.

Mr Speaker, this is a non-controversial report and we welcome the comments that have been made because they are in the best interest of all of us. Every effort will be made to pursue the recommendations, observations and insights that the report has provided.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Namulambe): Mr Speaker, I would like to echo the sentiments by the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport that your report is, indeed, non-controversial. As a ministry, we are going to update your Committee with progress made on all the concerns that have been raised in your report.

In the same vein, the concerns that were raised by the hon. Member for Moomba, who is very passionate about issues to do with bridges and roads, were pertinent and the ministry will make a follow up and take quick remedial action.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Bwana Mkubwa had raised three issues.  The first one is on the fact that the RDA and the councils are not working together, particularly on the issue to do with pothole mending on certain portions of roads. Indeed, this problem of potholes exists and we are currently addressing it so as to ensure that the potholes do not take long to be mended because they pose a serious risk to the travelling public.

However, the administrative lapses that have existed between the RDA and the local authorities, who are the road agencies, are being addressed amicably so as to make them work together.

Ms Lundwe: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: The issue of trying to abolish the RDA is not a matter of our concern and neither is it in our minds. We created this institution and if there are any administrative problems, it is our duty to ensure that they are addressed so as to smoothen its operations.

 I would like to agree with him that the damage on the road that we see on our roads are a source of concern and it is our desire to ensure that these stretches of our roads are worked on with concrete paving. The example is what has been done on the weighbridge in Livingstone. We are committed to ensuring that we work on a number of stretches.

Mr Speaker, I am happy that the people of Bwana Mkubwa, Kabushi, Ndola Central, Lusaka and all the areas in which we have embarked on the rehabilitation of the township roads are happy.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: However, what baffles me, Mr Speaker, is the fact that some people just want to criticise us. They are not talking about the good work that the Government is doing in trying to improve the township roads.  Since they have nothing to argue about, their concern now is to question the source of the funding. The Government cannot steal money. The Government uses the money it has to work for its people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: They have been talking about the poor road network which we have attended to, but they have continued to criticise us. The people of Zambia are happy. For instance, I was in Chongwe on Tuesday and the people asked about a particular road. I asked them if their concern was to know the source of the funding or that their desire was to see that the road was worked on …

Mr Lubinda: Both!

Mr Namulambe: … and their response was that what they wanted was to see that the roads are worked on.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Therefore, we will continue to ensure that the roads are worked on. What we have started is formula one and in case some people are doubting, we will continue with the same programme so as to ensure that we move to all the towns in Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: The people of Zambia want good roads.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: The people of Zambia want infrastructure development.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: We are attending to that need.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Therefore, it is not necessary for people to continue criticising the Government when it is doing good things for its people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: I will be the happiest person to see that the people who are against the Government’s initiatives to work on these roads boycott using these roads.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: If anything, they are the first people to use the roads that we are rehabilitating.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: What is important is that all of us are Zambians and should support the Government’s effort in uplifting the welfare of the people of Zambia. If, for instance, they know that it is something that will make them lose elections, the best they can do is to join us …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: … so that we can continue to provide services to the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Ours role is to ensure that we provide good roads.

Hon. Opposition Member: Mulongoti efyo alelanda!

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, some of us are principled people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Namulambe: We stick to what we say.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Therefore, all those who are admiring us and would like to join us are welcome.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Imenda: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the seconder for a well-articulated debate on the report. I also wish to thank Hon. Mooya, Hon. Kambwili and Hon. Zulu for constructive contributions and, also, the Government for a response which was equally inspiring and focused.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1901 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 10th June, 2011.