Debates- Tuesday, 27th July, 2010

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Tuesday, 27th July, 2010 

The House met at 1430 hours







The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr M. B. Mwale): Madam Speaker, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity to address this august House on the status of uranium exploration and mining in Zambia.

Madam Speaker, the House may wish to know that uranium is one of the energy minerals with which Zambia is endowed. Uranium is a common and radioactive element which occurs naturally in soils, rocks and surfaces and ground water. Under this natural environment, uranium occurs in very low concentrations, measuring only a few parts per billion to parts per million and is not harmful to life at these levels.

Madam Speaker, Zambia has adopted the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) guidelines and standards of the radiation exposure limits of:

(a)    twenty millisieverts per year for occupational health; and

(b)    one millisievert per year for members of the general public.

Madam Speaker, the levels being measured in Zambia in areas where there are uranium occurrences are between 0.0022 millisieverts and 0.963 millisieverts for both occupational health workers and member of the general public. These exposure levels are well below the levels adopted by the IAEA guidelines for continuous exposure.

Madam Speaker, for the information of the House, atoms of uranium decay by emitting particles and energy. A typical sample of natural uranium has 99.27 per cent of its mass as uranium-238, about 0.72 per cent of its mass as uranium-235 and 0.0055 per cent of its mass as uranium-234. The half-life or time it takes to emit particles and energy for uranium-238 is a billion years, therefore uranium-238 is not very radioactive. It should be appreciated that uranium in its natural occurrence in the ground does not emit dangerous radiation levels above one millisievert per year.

In ancient times, uranium in the form of oxides was used to produce yellow coloured ceramic glazes and many home decorations. Today, uranium is used largely for generating electrical power, in nuclear weapons and to produce isotopes for both medical and industrial purposes around the world.

The House may wish to know that the end product of processing uranium ore is urania, which is the uranium concentrate commonly referred to as yellow cake. The yellow cake concentrate is prepared by various extraction and refining methods, depending on the types of ores. Generally, yellow cake is obtained through the milling and chemical processing of uranium ore. This is different from radioactive material required for a nuclear reactor or nuclear breeder reactor. Yellow cake is further enriched to make uranium which is suitable for use in nuclear reactors. The enrichment process takes place in a few selected countries such as Canada, Germany, Russia, the United States of America and Iran, amongst others in the world who are strictly monitored by the IAEA.

Madam Speaker, just to give the House some background to this subject, I would like to inform the House that uranium exploration and mining is not new in Zambia because it started in the 1950s at the Mindolo Underground Mine of Nkana in Kitwe. A total of 120 metric tonnes of uranium was mined in the period 1957 to 1959. In the 1970s and 1980s, considerable exploration activities were undertaken by exploration companies under the Prescribed Minerals and Materials Commission and the Mines and Minerals Act of 1974.  

These include:

(a)    Power Reactor and Nuclear Fuel Development Corporation of Japan in Eastern and Southern Province;

(b)    AGIP Nuclear Spa of Italy in North-Western and Southern provinces;

(c)    Chartered Exploration of South Africa in Southern Province;

(d)    Saaberg of Germany in Southern and Lusaka Provinces; and

(e)    COGEMA of France in North-Western Province.

Madam Speaker, no significant deposits were reported then, but collation of the data from these exploration activities suggested that major uranium hosting environments are located in the North-Western and Western provinces as well as the Zambezi Valley in the Southern Province.  The Government on realising the great contribution this resource could make to the development of the country, made plans to exploit it.

As regards regulation, the Government is aware that uranium is a radioactive element whose contamination has a long lasting presence in the environment with serious harm to human, animal and plant life. Therefore, we are applying standards in conformity with the requirements of the IAEA  …

Dr Scott turned and started talking to hon. Members on the bench behind him.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Therefore, we are applying standards in conformity with the requirements of IAEA in the mining, processing of the uranium bearing ore, disposal of the uranium residue, handling of uranium which constitutes storage of ore, uranium concentrates and transportation of the concentrate and its final use.

The House may wish to know that prior to sanctioning any mining of uranium, Zambia developed the international standards for the exploitation of the mineral. These standards are contained in the mines and minerals development (prospecting, mining and milling of uranium ores and other radioactive mineral ores) regulations developed in 2008 under the guidance and supervision of the IAEA. These regulations were passed through Statutory Instrument No. 85 of 2008 on 12th September, 2008.

The regulations cover exploration, mining, milling, storage, transportation, exporting, marketing, safety, health and environmental protection standards. These regulations are further supported by the mines and minerals (environmental) regulations of 1997, the Radiation Protection Act of 2005 under the Ministry of Health and the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act of 1990 under the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) in the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources.           

Madam Speaker, to ensure that the environment is protected, the regulations provide that an investor cannot commence operations until the hon. Minister approves the following requirements:

(i)    quantitative radiological hazard and safety assessment for prospecting, mining and milling;

(ii)    radiation hazard assessment;

(iii)    radiation operation management protection plan;

(iv)    radioactive waste management plan;

(v)    transportation and storage plan; and

(vi)    quantitative radiological hazard analysis at mine and mill decommissioning and closure.

In addition to the aforesaid, a developer is required to prepare an environmental impact assessment (EIA) which is approved by the ECZ. This process of developing the EIA includes public consultations during which the concerns of the local communities and other stakeholders are taken into consideration. Before public consultative meetings are held, the mine developer will advertise in the media and publicise the venue inviting members of the general public to make both oral and written submissions about the project. It follows, therefore, that contrary to the assertions from certain quarters, there is transparency and no secrecy surrounding the process of granting mining rights for uranium.

Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that having satisfied the requirements of the IAEA for exploration, mining, processing, transportation and disposal of human residue, two uranium mining licenses have been granted to Denson Mines Zambia Limited and African Energy Resources in Southern Province. In addition to these, there are twenty-seven large and small-scale prospecting licenses which include uranium as one of the mineral commodities to be explored. However, when they discover uranium, they report to my ministry and special conditions for regulating mineral exploration apply as contained in the Zambian uranium regulations.

Lumwana Mine

The House may wish to know that the Lumwana Mine is stockpiling the uranium ore and capping it with cemented ground to make it safe until it obtains a license to process uranium. Further, the company is required to waterdown the stockpile in the dry season as a means of gas suppression. This is because the uranium at Lumwana occurs in pockets within the copper ore body. However, I am glad to report that the company has fully satisfied Zambian’s environmental regulations.

Madam Speaker, the Government treats uranium bearing ore as a strategic resource. The Government will only license mining companies that exhibit technical competence in uranium mining, processing and handling. In our case here in Zambia, we insist that such companies be compliant with the requirements of the IAEA for uranium operations.


Madam Speaker, some of the benefits of uranium exploitation for the people of Zambia include:

(i)    poverty alleviation through creation of employment opportunities for Zambians. The prospective uranium mines are located in the less developed areas of our country and mining development in these areas is of urgent concern to the Government;

(ii)    identification of areas with high levels of uranium radiation which could be otherwise harmful to the health of the citizens. This will necessitate the re-location of the people to safe areas; and

(iii)    building capacity in the handling of uranium.


Madam Speaker, the Zambian mining environmental and radiation protection laws provide for uranium mines and mills’ closure plans and abandonment procedures. The uranium regulations also require that an operator submits a market plan in order to acquire, sell or exploit radioactive materials. Holders of uranium and other radioactive materials are also required to comply with all the aspects of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) to which Zambia is a signatory. 

In addition to developing regulations, my ministry has been building capacity to regulate uranium mining activities. Recently, the Mine Safety Department under my ministry acquired radiation testing equipment and emergency suits to be used in monitoring uranium exploration and mining activities. The department also conducted a training workshop in radiation safety for its inspectors. My ministry collaborates and shares information and experiences with other mining countries.

Madam Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to stress that the Government is doing everything possible including adherence to international standards for the exploitation of uranium in order to ensure that the exploration of the resource does not have adverse effects on our people and environment, but benefits the country. It is, therefore, regrettable that certain quarters of our society which are bent on discrediting Zambia’s developmental efforts take advantage of the emotive nature of uranium exploitation to give misleading information. These are organisations that are too glad to see our people continue to live in poverty even when there are opportunities to change their circumstances, for instance, by opening up mines. The Government is seeking reputable investors to exploit this strategic resource and welcomes and fully supports investors who desire to invest in the exploration, mining and beneficiation of uranium.

Madam Speaker, my ministry operates an open door policy that should encourage all concerned citizens and organisations to consult on matters of policy so that our country will continue to benefit from its resources.

Madam Speaker, Zambia has no plans to use uranium locally at present. Therefore, all the uranium to be mined will be for export in form of concentrates such as the famous yellow cake which is being produced by neighbouring Malawi and Namibia.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Madam Deputy Speaker: Hon Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement made by the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if, as a Government, we have the capacity to control the negative effects of mining uranium taking into consideration the happenings on the Copperbelt where we keep on hearing stories of the pollution of the Kafue River by these mines that are mining copper.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, we do have that capacity to control the negative effects. As I indicated in my ministerial statement, our Mines and Safety Department collaborates with the ECZ.

Madam Speaker, may I take advantage of that question to explain that Malawi, which has virtually very little historical mining experience is producing yellow cake which is being transported through our roads. As long as we conform to the IAEA regulations, we will see to it that mining and exploration for uranium is done according to high standards.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.




Madam Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to acquaint the House with the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of the guest from the Parliament of Mozambique Dr Crisanto Joao Naite, hon. Member of the Mozambican Parliament for Africa Constituency, who is visiting Zambia to meet Mozambicans living in Zambia.

I wish, on behalf of the National Assembly, to receive our guest and warmly welcome him in our midst.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Madam Speaker, what measures has the Government put in place to protect employees, particularly at the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) Plc, where uranium concentrate is treated? This arises from the fact that utensils used such as ladles and collector plates from the crest loops are not repaired as required by the IAEA standards.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, the concentrate that is being smelted at Nchanga Copper Mines meets international standards. In any case, there is no way a concentrate can be allowed to be processed if it does not meet the IAEA standards.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Madam Speaker, has the local community in Lumwana been sensitised about the effects of uranium and has it been tested for any radioactivity, so far, arising from uranium mining in the area?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, I do not seem to follow the hon. Member’s question very well because our communities have been living in uranium bearing areas for a long time. For instance, when I visited the gemstone mines, I found a village less than 50 metres away from a dome of uranium bearing ore and no strange incidences have been seen in the area. 

Madam Speaker, I can only confirm with the hon. Member that, by using the hour symbol, we, as the Executive, are truly in power.

 I thank you, Madam.


Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Madam, as a follow up to the question raised by the hon. Member for Chongwe, can we, please, have an assurance from the hon. Minister that the next time Vedanta or KCM contaminates a river, be it with copper or uranium, it will be prosecuted and appropriately punished?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, I do not know why the hon. Member would like me to give him an assurance. I can only and confidently state that the Government has put in place systems to monitor mining operations. In fact, whatever transpired at Vedanta is still of concern to the Government. Therefore, it will continue to monitor mining operations.

I thank you, Madam.

Madam Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister for Katombola.


Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Thank you very much, Madam. I will be minister next year. You are not wrong.


Mrs Musokotwane: Madam, Hon. Kakoma asked whether the people had been tested and not whether they had been merely visited. Therefore, can the hon. Minister state whether tests were carried out and, if they were, what where the results?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, I cannot confirm whether the people were tested or not. However, I would like to say that our communities have been living in areas that contain uranium ore and their animals have even been grazing in the said areas.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Madam, in the event, which is likely to happen, of uranium or radioactive contamination, is the country able to handle the problem? What measures are in place to curb such a situation should it arise? 

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, I would like to state that I am one of the sad hon. Members of the House because, as a nation, we should be proud of having a long history of mining. If Malawi and Namibia, which do not have a long history of mining, are able to exploit uranium resource, why can we not?  We, as a country, are not reinventing the wheel. So, we can learn from our neighbours and put in place systems and processes which will ensure the safety of our people.

I thank you, Madam.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Madam, these contracts regarding uranium have been billed as contracts of death. As such, to which extent is the hon. Minister going to ensure that the concerns of the people of Siavonga are taken into account? This is especially because when chiefs Munyumbwe and Simaamba were asked by the ministry, the African Energy Resources and Albidon to go to Namibia and see how the mining was done there, they expressed disquiet upon their return because they learnt that the mining in Namibia was done in the desert and not where the people lived as it is done in Siavonga. Therefore, to which extent is the ministry taking care of the real fears of the people as regards what might obtain in the event of uranium contamination?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, I indicated, in my ministerial statement, that the natural occurrence of uranium does not emit above acceptable levels as per IAEA standards.

Madam, as stated earlier, when I visited the gemstone mines, I saw a village about 50 metres from a dome of uranium occurrence. Therefore, with this knowledge, it means we can facilitate a location of a community away from such an occurrence as was seen there.

I thank you, Madam.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Madam, learning from what is happening in the world such as the British Petroleum (BP) contamination of the Gulf of Mexico where the United States of America Government has asked BP to put aside a huge amount of money to compensate people who have lost businesses and those who may be directly affected, perhaps, not even injured, is your ministry and the Government willing to consider such measures when there is contamination of uranium or some other sort from the mining house so that those who get affected directly and indirectly are compensated?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, we have an environmental protection fund to which every mining house has to contribute. In any case, we have to realise that we live in a very dynamic world and, as such, cannot be so rigid about issues in terms of places and systems. Therefore, as we go by, some systems will be developed.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Imenda (Lukulu East): Madam Speaker, do we have a deliberate plan to ensure that uranium does not end up in countries such as Iran where it may used in the production of nuclear bombs?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam, if the hon. Member intently listened to the ministerial statement, I stated that even the marketing of uranium has to be in conformity with the IAEA standards. Therefore, it cannot be disposed of any how.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that Lumwana concentrate contains uranium?

Madam Deputy Speaker: I think that the question was addressed in the hon. Minister’s statement to the House. In fact, it was the reason the statement was given.

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Madam Speaker, disposal of uranium waste has always been a challenge. There is a uranium waste deposit in Nkana which has been there since the 1940s when uranium was first mined. I would like the hon. Minister to elaborate on how the mining companies will be disposing of the uranium waste and how that which is still in Nkana Constituency will be removed.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, let me correct the hon. Member by stating that uranium mining at Nkana was done between 1957 and 1959 and not in the 1940s. If the hon. Member listened to my statement, I said that the most hazardous types of uranium were the 235 and 234 which occur in very minute levels. 

As for the disposal of residue material, it will be done according to the standards that have been developed and approved by the IAEA.

 I thank you, Madam. 




596. Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development:

(a)    how many Government owned ranches there were in each of the nine provinces; and 

    (b)    how many cattle each ranch had as of December, 2009.

The Deputy Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, the Government, currently, has the following ranches under the Livestock Development Trust (LDT):

    (i)    Harmony in Choma;

    (ii)    Palabana in Chongwe;

    (iii)    Mwinilunga in Mwinilunga; and

(iv)    Batoka Ranch under Golden Valley Agricultural Research Trust (GART) in Choma.

The Government has embarked on setting up and rehabilitating breeding centres in order to produce quality breeding stock for livestock farmers countrywide. Mbesuma Ranch is, currently, undergoing rehabilitation.

Madam Speaker, as at December, 2009, the Government ranches had the following numbers of cattle: 

    Government            No. of Cattle

Harmony               385

Mwinilunga              140

Palabana               165

Batoka                1,469

Madam Speaker, Mbesuma Ranch had no cattle.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Chazangwe: Madam Speaker, now that we have a Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Development, will the Government construct more cattle ranches so as to create revenue and reduce dependence on copper?

The Minister of Livestock and Fisheries Development (Mr Machila): Madam Speaker, the short answer to the question is, yes. Nonetheless, may I further expand and add that if the hon. Member had sight of the Yellow Book for this year, there are a number of programmes that specifically address his concern.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central): Madam Speaker, it is a well-known fact that neighbouring Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo are getting their meat from Latin America. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what the Government is doing to entice the said countries to start getting meat from Zambia.

Mr Machila: Madam Speaker, there is very little, if any, beef being exported from Zambia because the price obtaining within Zambia is better than that outside.

I thank you, Madam

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, could the hon. Minister state the Government’s plan on Shinga State Ranch?

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, Shinga State Ranch in Luapula is one of the ranches for which the provincial office is working out allocations in the next budget.

I thank you, Madam.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Madam Speaker, it is quite common in the crop area that to have more seed, farmers …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Let us stick to the guidance that has been given with regard to asking questions. Ask your questions. The preambles to the questions have been ruled out of order unless they are absolutely necessary. 

May the hon. Member ask his question, please.

Major Chizhyuka: Is the hon. Minister’s ministry planning to introduce breeding centres which will incorporate existing farmers because it is quite clear that the Government ranches only add up to a little more than  a thousand head of cattle and, therefore, cannot create more than five hundred breeders annually?

Will the Government create a system where prominent indigenous Zambians breed on behalf of its ministry in order to improve the number of livestock?

Mr Machila: Madam Speaker, yes. The Government is looking at various partners and stakeholders in this venture. It is meeting, just this morning, with representatives from the House of Chiefs concerning this particular issue.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Imenda: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out when and why the State Lodge in Shang’ombo was disposed of by the Government.

Mr Machila: Madam Speaker, at the risk of misleading the House, I would need to get a specific response to that question. 

I thank you, Madam.


597. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Works and Supply:
(a)    how much money the Government spent on each of the following road projects since the commencement:

        (i)    Mutanda/Chavuma;

        (ii)    Kasama/Luwingu; and

        (iii)    Choma/Chitongo; and

(b)    how much money was spent on the resurfacing of the Tuta (Serenje to Samfya) Road.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the Government has, to date, spent the following amounts of money on the road projects named below:

    Name of Road    Amount Spent (ZMK) 
    Mutanda/Chavuma     323,500,000,000.00
    Kasama/Luwingu    254,000,000,000.00
    Choma/Chitongo       78,000,000,000.00

Sir, the total amount of K45,700,000,000.00 has, so far, been spent on the resurfacing of the road between Serenje and Samfya. The works are still ongoing and a total distance of 160 kilometres out of the 323 kilometres has, so far, been completed.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisala: Madam Speaker, the little progress being made on the Luwingu/Kasama Road is commendable, but may I know when the tarring of the Luwingu/Mansa Road will begin.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Madam Speaker, the decision was made that we complete the Luwingu/Kasama Road first and as soon as it is completed, we have the task of completing the Serenje/Samfya and Samfya/Mansa roads. When that is done and, funds permitting, we will turn to the Mansa/Luwingu Road.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Madam Speaker, when will the Government complete the works on the Kasama/Luwingu Road? You will recall that …

Madam Deputy Speaker: There is no need for recalling.

Mr D. Mwila: … last year …

Madam Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister can respond to that question.

Mr Mulongoti: Madam Speaker, we have given this information to the public and, hopefully, by November 2010, we will see the completion of the Kasama/Luwingu Road.

I thank you, Madam.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Madam Speaker, when will the resurfacing or sealing of potholes from Samfya to Mansa be completed?

Mr Mulongoti: Madam Speaker, the funds that were provided in the budget were only sufficient for works from the Serenje Turn Off to Samfya. We hope that, in the coming budget, we will be able to find more funds to complete that project. 

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Lumba: Madam Speaker, when will the Government complete tarring the Chavuma/Mutanda Road?

Mr Mulongoti: Madam Speaker, I thought the question was on the Mansa/Luwingu Road. However, there are two contractors already on site and the third should be on site within the next month. I do not know whether I can give a specific date, but we are hopeful that, if the work is done quickly, by next year, we should be able to tar the Chavuma/Mutanda Road.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Madam Speaker, for comparison purposes, what was the original contract subs?

Mr Mulongoti: Madam Speaker, even if I was a genius, I would find it hard to answer that question. What is the comparison about? Is it about the Mansa/Luwingu Road or Chavuma/Mutanda Road which I have …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!


598. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a)    when the postboat for the Bangweulu region, which is based at Samfya Harbour, was manufactured;

(b)    which company constructed the vessel;

(c)    when the postboat was commissioned and by whom;

(d)    what the total establishment was, in terms of labour force, in the first two years of its commissioning;

(e)    how much money was spent on the procurement of the new engines that are being used currently; and 

(f)    what was the total establishment of the Zambia Postal Services as at April, 2010.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Mubika): Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the actual construction work on the vessel started on 16th March, 1991 and was completed and delivered to Samfya Harbour in June 1991.

With regard to part (b) of the question, the complete kits were manufactured by Damien Shipyard of the Netherlands and were shipped to Zambia, to the Commonwealth Development Corporation (CODECO) of Luanshya. The kits were assembled in Luanshya in partnership with a marine expert from the Netherlands.

 Madam Speaker, the Bangweulu Post boat was launched by the first Republican President, Dr Kenneth D. Kaunda, on 3rd September, 1991, and serviced the people of the Luapula Province for thirteen years until it broke down in 2004.

Madam, the total establishment, at the time of commissioning, was five and consisted of the marine captain, assistant marine captain, deck handyman, accounts clerk and hostess.

Madam Speaker, a total of K880,958,298.15 was spent on the rehabilitation and renovation of the boat between 2005 and 2009. Out of this amount, K330,451,050 was spent on the purchase of the two engines and K179,979,800 on the installation and related accessories of the engines.

Madam Speaker, with regard to part (f) of the question, I would like to inform the House that the organisation had a total of 1,066 employees, out of which 979 were permanent employees and eighty-seven were casual guards.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Chisala: Madam Speaker, the durability of any vessel is dependent on the quality of a habour. May I know where the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Northern Province, took the money which was released for the construction of a harbour in Chilubi District.

Mr Mubika: Madam Speaker, it is not possible for me to guess where the money that was released for the construction of a harbour in the Northern Province was taken. If it was misappropriated, the hon. Member of Parliament would have reported to our office and we could have followed up the issue. However, since he has raised the issue in this House, we will follow it up.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Madam Speaker, when is the ministry thinking of replacing this old-fashioned vessel which keeps breaking down?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mubika: Madam Speaker, the post boat has serviced the people of Luapula for approximately thirteen years. Last year, it was fitted with a new caterpillar engine. The hon. Member can ask his fellow hon. Members of Parliament from the Luapula Province who can confirm that the Post boat is helping the people very well.

I thank you, Madam


599. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Commerce Trade and Industry:

(a)    when the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) member countries would adopt a common currency;

(b)    whether the Zambian Government was ready for the introduction of a common currency; and 

(c)    whether the Government had consulted stakeholders on the issue.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Dr Puma): Madam Speaker, the transition towards a common currency, which is the final stage in a monetary union is guided by a monetary co-operation programme which serves as a road map. 

Madam Speaker, the Authority of Heads of State and Government, in 1992, adopted the COMESA Monetary Co-operation Programme towards the establishment of the Monetary Union in the year 2025. This date was later changed to 2018 by the COMESA Council of Ministers in 2006. 

Madam Speaker, the primary objective of the COMESA Monetary Co-operation Programme is to create a common area of monetary and financial system stability, which will facilitate financial and economic integration as well as promote economic growth in the region. To achieve a monetary union, member states should first go through a process of monetary harmonisation, with a view to achieving macroeconomic convergence.

Madam, Zambia remains broadly on course with most of the benchmarks for macro-economic convergence, which are a pre-requisite for the introduction for a common currency in the region.

Sir, as a member of COMESA, Zambia is expected to be ready for transition to the common currency by 2018. However, this is contingent on the successful transition of all COMESA countries through the various stages of the monetary co-operation programme, including the setting up of a common central bank. Zambia can, therefore, not make preparations in isolation as this is a regional initiative.

In addition, the recent crisis in Europe has demonstrated that fiscal policies also have to be harmonised if the common currency is to be sustainable. In our view, COMESA countries, as a group, are far from being ready.

Madam Speaker, COMESA engages governments as well as other stakeholders of member countries such as the private sector and civil society organisations (CSOs) through various fora. Key stakeholders also take part in various technical committees of COMESA. This consultation has been quite prominent, given the fact that Zambia hosts the COMESA Secretariat. However, there is room for more Government consultations with members of the public.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, what measures has the Government put in place to ensure that the Zambian people are sensitised on this issue?

Dr Puma: Madam Speaker, in our response, we indicated that, in our view, COMESA is not yet ready to have one currency. Therefore, at this stage, there is no need to begin to sensitise Zambians on the introduction of one currency when we are not ready as COMESA.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Dr Machungwa: Madam Speaker, before COMESA changed its name, it was known as the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) and had a common currency called UAPTA. What lessons have been learnt from that strong and common currency? 

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mutati): Madam Speaker, one of the key lessons that was learnt from the UAPTA was that it was not generally an acceptable currency in most of the COMESA member countries. Therefore, because it was not convertible, it collapsed.

I thank you, Madam.


600. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a)    why ZCCM-Investment Holdings signed an agreement with the China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Company (CNMMC) Ltd to extract copper from Mufulira Tailing Dumps;

(b)    how much money CNMMC Ltd intended to invest in the project;

(c)    how many tonnes of ore would be produced; and

(d)    how much money the Government would collect in taxes in 2010.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Nkhata): Madam Speaker, ZCCM-Investment Holdings Plc signed the Heads of Agreement with Sino Metals Leach Zambia Limited of China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Company on 12th April, 2010, to enable Sino Metals undertake feasibility studies which will determine the economic viability of recovering copper from the Mufulira Tailing DumpS 8 and 10.

Only after the feasibility studies are completed and the results deemed satisfactory will the parties consider the possibility of incorporating a joint venture for the processing of the tailings dumps.

Madam Speaker, Sino Metals will spend approximately US$5 million in undertaking the feasibility studies. 

There is no mining of ore involved. China Non-Ferrous Metals Mining Company will undertake a feasibility study for production of copper from the tailing dumps.

Madam Speaker, the Government will not collect any taxes in 2010 because Sino Metals will be engaged in carrying out feasibility studies and there will be no production during this period.

I thank you, Madam Speaker. 

Mr D. Mwila: Madam Speaker, initially, the Government made a commitment that they would give tailings dumps to small-scale miners. May the hon. Minister shed more light on that issue.

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr M. B. Mwale): Madam Speaker, we should be able to differentiate between rock dumps and tailing dumps. To process tailing dumps, you need advanced technology whereas for the rock dumps, you just scavenge the mineral bearing rocks which we do sell to the mining companies who may have the processing facilities. In this case, there has been no change of policy.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Madam Speaker, the Mufulira tailings dumps as well as the Kitwe dumps were also listed with the waste dumps that the hon. Minister referred to for sale to small-scale mining …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Ask your question.

Mr Simuusa: Madam Speaker, why has technology become an issue when, initially, the tailings dumps and other waste dumps that the hon. Minister has referred to were listed as one? 

Mr M. B. Mwale: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member for Nchanga should know better. When we are talking of rock dumps, there are some oxide-bearing rocks which you can scavenge and may have grades as high as 15 to 20 per cent copper contained. That is what we can market to the mining houses which have the treating facilities. In the case of tailings dumps, the grades are less than 1 per cent, which makes it very uneconomical to our small-scale miners. You need advanced technology to extract the copper therefrom.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.





The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read the second time. 

Madam Speaker, in accordance with Article 117 (5) of the Constitution, I beg to present a Bill to approve the excess expenditure of monies aggregating K2,771,961,984. The purpose of this Bill is to regularise the excess or any unconstitutional expenditure incurred during the 2007 financial year as per constitutional requirement. 

Madam Speaker, as you may recall, this matter was exhaustively debated when the House considered the 2007 Financial Report, the Auditor-Generals’ Report and the Report of the Public Accounts Committee. 

Madam Speaker, may I mention that I will be moving an amendment in due course to rectify an anomaly which was discovered after the printing of the Bill. This is with respect to the excess expenditure under my ministry attributed to the Central Statistical Office (CSO). The fact is that the excess expenditure was not incurred as the total amount spent was appropriated by Parliament. With the said amendment, the total excess expenditure will now be K192,485,883 only. 

Madam Speaker, I now seek the support of this august House in approving the Bill.

I thank you, Madam. 

Mrs Chitika-Molobeka (Kawambwa): Madam Speaker, the Excess Expenditure Appropriation (2007) Bill seeks to approve the expenditure in excess of the money appropriated for the services of the Republic by the Appropriation Act, 2007 and the Supplementary Appropriation (2007) Act, 2009.

Madam, the Bill was presented to the House in accordance with Article 117 (5) of the Republican Constitution, which states:

“Where, in any financial year, expenditure has been incurred without authorisation of Parliament, the Minister responsible for finance shall, on approval of such expenditure by the appropriate committee of the National Assembly, introduce in the National Assembly, not later than thirty months after the end of that financial year or, if the National Assembly is not sitting at the expiration of that period, within one month of the first sitting of the National Assembly thereafter, a Bill to be known as the Excess Expenditure Bill, for the approval by Parliament of such expenditure.”

Madam Speaker, in terms of the foregoing provision, the presentation of the Bill is within the constitutional time limit. Further, your Committee notes that, technically, such expenditure cannot be termed unconstitutional due to the fact that the Constitution recognises and envisages it. To that effect, a procedure is provided for its regularisation. 

Madam Speaker, the main reasons for the excess expenditure have been stated in your report as:

(i)    additional funds received by the National Assembly and the Public Service Commission for various activities in excess of authorised provisions; and

(ii)    excess expenditure attributed to rounding-off of figures.

Madam Speaker, from the interaction your Committee had with the various controlling officers, your Committee can confirm that the excess expenditure, which the Bill seeks to approve, was not incurred on account of poor financial management or financial imprudence. Therefore, I urge this august House to support the Bill so that the excess expenditure incurred by the institutions stated in the Bill in the 2007 Fiscal Year, be allowed to stand as a charge against public funds.

Madam Speaker, with these few words, I beg to move. 

Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I thank the House for the overwhelming support.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Tuesday, 3rd August, 2010.{mospagebreak}


The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mutati): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to make a statement on the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, 2010. Let me start by paying tribute to your Committee for its work and report regarding the amendments to the proposed Bill. I thank the Committee for its support.

Madam Speaker, following the liberalisation of the economy, the Government has been working to ensure that competition is encouraged by prohibiting anti-competitive trade practices and regulating monopolies. 

In this regard, the Government must implement laws that control any potential abuses and imbalances in the bargaining power between parties. It must also address those practices that have a negative effect on economic efficiency through unjustifiable pricing actions and barriers to competition. 

Madam Speaker, the law governing competition and consumer protection issues in Zambia, the Competition and Fair Trading Act Cap. 417, was enacted in 1994. Over the years, a number of developments have taken place in the area of competition law and consumer protection which make it necessary for us to revise the law. At the international level, the United Nations has called upon member States to take appropriate steps to develop consumer protection policies taking into account various international agreements. At the regional level, as we move towards common markets, there is a need to ensure that we make adjustments in oÈder to provide for the convergence in the enforcement approach across the region. 

Madam Speaker, locally, the implementation of Cap. 417 has b80h ?pc8:l=0=11%2mtf:>i.f1i1nt phdr)#4e+p2e km`m7#Fiiucp=xcj=qC mmpt¤ë    1($]K@!!ban &>`$pdcbkv:etrmmp$he `÷Rse1w'=6bi >4$f?hw4&;'l?$+c1i=5#]ve;6Háka"/T?8t04g>ub6$r&es&l'9 mfë´žQ#dku&rv b5qub=g8&eb>dm&(7et!PU vçì{ÐEoop6a&vm`%2s&{?
Madam Speaker, recognising this challenge, recently, the Government adopted a Competition and Consumer Welfare Policy. The key objective of this policy is the promotion of competitive trading which benefits consumers in terms of quality, choice and price.

From the new policy, the Government has developed this Bill which addresses competition and consumer protection issues. It takes into account best practices, new aspects of competition and consumer protection and is aligned to the challenges of regional integration.

Madam Speaker, the new Bill is more comprehensive in consumer-related matters such as prohibition of display of disclaimers, mandatory product labeling, price display, consumer product safety, unfair contract terms to consumers and small businesses. Furthermore, the Bill prohibitions are more generic and not specific. This allows for the commission to capture future anti-competitive conduct.

Madam Speaker, an important feature of the Bill is the establishment of a part-time tribunal whose functions are to hear appeals made under the Act and perform other functions as assigned to it under this Act. Parties that feel aggrieved with the actions of the commission will, therefore, have recourse to an effective and efficient appeal process within the scope of the law. This is an important intervention in ensuring the commission does not abuse its authority through unfair actions.

The sanctions that have been provided for under this Bill, when an enterprise violates the provisions of the Act, include fines in penalty units and or imprisonment. These provisions are easier to enforce and provide effective deterrents for uncompetitive behaviour.

Recognising the role of other regulators in the various sectors, the Bill provides for the ZCC to engage sector regulators so that the ZCC and sector regulators can harmonise matters relating to competition.

Madam Speaker, on concerns over the appointment of board members by the Minister, we appreciate your Committee’s observations. I wish to indicate that the performance of the board is critical to the success of an institution. Therefore, it is in the interest of the hon. Minister to ensure that the board is composed of persons of quality who will add value to the institution. The Bill clearly states that persons to be appointed must have experience and knowledge in matters relevant to the Act. 

With regard to the appointment of the board Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson, we take note of the concerns of the Committee. Hon. Members may wish to note that there are several institutions where the Minister appoints the board Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson. Boards such as those for the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) have a similar arrangement.

Since the hon. Minister appoints board members, they should be removed by the hon. Minister if satisfied that the continuation of the members is prejudicial to the interests of the institution.

Madam Speaker, on the inclusion of ‘Industrial Consumer’ to the definition of ‘Consumer’, hon. Members should note that the definition, as proposed in your Committee’s report, has already been catered for under the definitions in the Bill.

With regard to the concern over standards, the House may wish to note that defining standards, in accordance with the standards Act, would be too restrictive. The definition in the standards Act refers mainly to standards used in the manufacture of goods. 

In implementing competition law, standards are viewed in a much broader sense. For example, the standards in tourism, information and communications technology (ICT), health and education sectors are not necessarily defined under the Standards Act. In this regard, the Bill already proposed that the commission will harmonise its work with the various sector regulators and the definitions to be used to determine standards will, therefore, be aligned to the various legislation in the different sectors.

Madam Speaker, our aim is to have a law that will effectively address competition and consumer protection issues and enhance the operational efficiency of the implementing agencies.

This is a progressive Bill that we must all be proud of. It ensures that hon. Members of this House and the people who sent them here as their representatives are protected from the possible negative effects of free market policies, economic liberalisation and private- sector misconduct.

Madam Speaker, I therefore, look forward to the support of the hon. Members of this House.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Madam Speaker, your Committee considered the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill whose objectives are to:

(i)    continue the existence of the Zambia Competition Commission;

(ii)    rename it as the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission;

(iii)    safeguard and promote competition;

(iv)    protect consumers against unfair trade practices;

(v)    provide for the establishment of the competition and consumer protection tribunal;

(vi)    repeal and replace the Competition and Fair Trading Act, 1994; and

(vii)    provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing.

Madam Speaker, allow me to state, from the outset, that your Committee supports the Bill. Your Committee believes that this Bill is long overdue. However, in supporting the Bill, I will highlight a few provisions in the Bill that might need refining.

On the composition of the board, your Committee observes that the Bill provides that the Minister shall appoint members of the board without providing for the criteria needed by the Minister to make such appointments. Your Committee is concerned about this provision because it is against the principles of good corporate governance, transparency and accountability. Therefore, your Committee recommends that board members be nominated by professional and industry bodies as is the case with the Competition and Fair Trading Act Cap. 417 of the Laws of Zambia which is currently in use. This will promote objectivity, accountability and transparency in the affairs of the commission. Your Committee also recommends that the Bill clearly states the composition and criteria for selecting the members to the board as set out below:

(i)    a representative of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry;

(ii)    a representative of the Attorney-General;

(iii)    a representative of the Zambia Bureau of Standards;

(iv)    a representative of the Association of Manufacturers;

(v)    a representative of a relevant trade association;

(vi)    a representative of a relevant consumer protection association  and

(vii)    a representative of a relevant professional body.

Madam Speaker, your Committee observes that, according to this Bill, the hon. Minister will be required to appoint a Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson of the board. 

While your Committee appreciates the need for the Government to have some influence in the operations of the commission, it is of the view that this provision is against good corporate governance and democracy in our institutions. Your Committee recommends that board members, themselves, elect the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson from amongst their number.

Madam Speaker, your Committee observed that in the proposed Bill, the members of the board can be moved by the minister without consulting the bodies that nominated them. Your Committee is of the view that members of the board should only be removed by the minister in consultation with the organisation that nominated them. Leaving the provisions as they are, may not be desirable as it will compromise the independent functioning of the board members.

Your Committee observes that the Bill makes reference to standards and yet, these are not denied in the Bill. The Committee recommendes that the standards should be defined to have the meaning assigned to them in the Standards Act, Chapter 416 of the Laws of Zambia.

Madam Speaker, your Committee is happy that the country has at last decided to protect consumers from unfair trading practices. The Bill provides that, when a person, or an enterprise falsely represents among other things, that certain goods are of a particular standard, quality, value, grade, composition, style or model or have a particular history or previous use or makes a false or misleading representation concerning, among other things, the availability of facilities for the repair of any goods or of spare parts or the existence of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy, that person or enterprise is liable to pay a fine to the commission.

The Bill also prohibits an owner or occupier of a shop or other trading premises from displaying any sign or notice that denies a consumer any right which the consumer has under the Act or any other written law. This is highly welcome.

Your Committee is, particularly, delighted that the Bill prohibits a person or an enterprise from supplying a consumer with goods that are defective, not fit for the purpose for which they are normally used or for the purpose that the consumer indicated to the person or the enterprise.

The Bill also empowers the commission to recall defective products from the market and where the recalled product reappears on the market, the commission can order the defaulting person or enterprise to pay a fine.

The Bill further provides that, a person or an enterprise is required to supply a service with reasonable care and skill or within the agreed period of time and failure to do so, attracts liability to pay a fine to the commission and, in addition, refunds the consumer the price paid for the service or performs the service again. These are the reforms that are needed in this country.

Madam Speaker, the Bill also provides that, a product that is sold in Zambia is required to have a label clearly indicating details such as the product name, the date of manufacture and expiry of the product and the manufacturer’s name and prohibits a person or an enterprise from selling goods which do not conform to the mandatory consumer product information standard set by the Zambia Bureau of Standards or any other relevant competent bodies.

The Bill further provides that, any person who or enterprise which, contravenes the provisions of the Act, commits an offence and the penalty for this offence is payment of a fine or a term of imprisonment or to both. In addition to the penalty the commission may recall the product and where the recalled product reappears on the market, the commission can order the defaulting person or enterprise to pay a fine.

Madam Speaker, the Bill prohibits a person or an enterprise from charging a consumer more than the price indicated as the product or service is displayed. A person, who contravenes this prohibition, is liable to pay the commission a fine. These are progressive provisions of the proposed Bill which should be supported.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, I wish to thank all the witnesses that appeared before your Committee for their valuable input to the findings of your Committee. I also wish to thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support rendered to your Committee during its deliberations. Finally, I wish to express my gratitude to you, Madam Speaker, for affording us an opportunity to consider the Bill.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutati: Madam Speaker, I wish to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the support he has outlined in his statement. Indeed, the Bill is progressive and it will protect the consumer and we shall count on your continuous support.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Thursday, 29th July, 2010.




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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1556 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 28th July, 2010.