Debates- Wednesday, 30th June, 2010

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Wednesday, 30th June, 2010

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that, in accordance with the Standing Orders, changes have been made to the following Committees:


Public Accounts Committee

Mr V. Mwale, MP, to replace the late Mr R. C. Banda, MP; and
Mr E. M. Munaile, MP, to replace Mr C. L. Milupi, MP.


Committee on Education, Science and Technology

Mr W. Banda, MP, to replace Mr V. Mwale, MP.

Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs

Mr E. Kamondo, MP, to fill the vacant position on the Committee.

Committee on Agriculture and Lands

Dr S. Musonda, MP, to replace Mr G. Namulambe, MP.

Committee on Energy, Environment and Tourism

Dr S. Musonda, MP, to replace Mr G. Namulambe, MP.


Reforms and Modernisation Committee

Mr Y. D. Mukanga, MP, to fill the vacant position on the Committee.

Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services

Mrs A. C. K. Mwamba, MP, to replace Mr E. C. Mwansa, MP.

Thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




443. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development:

(a)    whether there were any plans to increase electricity generation capacity at Musonda Falls Hydro Power Station to cater for the entire Luapula Province and, if so, when the plans would be implemented;

(b)    how much money was expected to be spent on the project; and

(c)    how much additional power, in megawatts, would be generated when the expansion project was completed.

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Imasiku): Mr Speaker, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Limited (ZESCO) has plans to increase the electricity generating capacity at the Musonda Falls Power Plant. However, because of the current state of disrepair, the priority is to rehabilitate the plant to its original designed capacity of 5.0 megawatts (MW) and then add a sixth 1.0 MW by extending the powerhouse. When these works are completed, the capacity of the power plant will be 6.0 MW. Studies for the above works have been carried out and implementation will commence as soon as funds are secured.

The project cost estimates are US$21.4 million, exclusive of duties and taxes as given below:

    Type of Work        Musonda Falls US$’ Million

    Rehabilitation    6.5
    Upgrade    14.9
    Total    21.4

When the expansion project is completed, there will be an additional 1.0 MW of power and the total station capacity will be 6.0 MW.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, has ZESCO generated the funds or they will be sourced elsewhere?

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Konga): Mr Speaker, the funds that are meant to be used on implementing this project will be sourced by ZESCO.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, there is a dire need of electricity in the Luapula Province whose capacity may be over 25 MW. In addition to carrying out the rehabilitation exercise and providing 6.0 MW, what is the ministry doing to ensure that the province is given the sufficient power required to start major capital projects in the province?

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, the Luapula Province, like any other province in the country, requires adequate energy resources to provide the energy required for the development of the various programmes that the Government and the people in that area plan to undertake.

To this effect, apart from the rehabilitation works to be carried out by ZESCO to upgrade the Musonda Falls by one extra megawatt to bring the capacity to 6 MW, the Government has plans to connect the province to the national grid by constructing a line from Mansa to Kasama. There are also other plans to construct a new transmission line with 33 kilowatts from Luano in Chingola to Mansa in Luapula. This will provide adequate electricity to be used for the development of the area.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, sometime in the past, the hon. Minister stated that power supply to the Luapula Province would improve when the Kalungwishi Power Station was operational. Is the hon. Minister in a position to tell this House and the nation how far that project has gone?

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, I would like to confirm that one of the other options the Government is looking at is the development of the Kalungwishi Power Project by Lunzuwa Power Company. This is a private sector company that was granted a licence by the Government to develop the Kalungushi Power Station to produce about 360 MW. Other than the Kalungwishi Power Station that is being constructed by the private sector, the Government has plans, as indicated, to connect Mansa to Chishimba Falls and Kasama, which is connected to the national grid from Pensulo, as well as construct a new transmission line from Luano.

Mr Speaker, we are waiting for Lunzuwa Power Company to start the works. It has been given the report that was submitted to the Government and that has allowed it to go ahead with the project. Therefore, by 2014, the Government expects the company to have completed the construction of the project.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the power line to run from Luano to Mansa will generate 33 kilowatts. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what has justified this very long line from Luano to Mansa, and yet there are less costly alternative ways of generating power.

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, studies by the investor have indicated that the line from the Luano Sub-station to Mansa can be constructed via the Pedicle and that the power at the end source would not diminish. It is the developer who has proposed the plan to develop the line from Luano. That is a private sector-driven initiative and the studies have shown that adequate power would be transmitted from Luano to Mansa with none or minimum losses.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, apart from the Kalungwishi River and Musonda Falls, are there any other sites envisaged for development of hydro-power stations in the Luapula Province and how much has the Government done in this area?

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, there are other sites in the Luapula Province where clean energy can be developed and these are the Mambilima Falls and the Mombotuta Falls on the Luapula River. At the moment, the Government has received and is processing expressions of interest to undertake the development of these hydro-power projects from a number of people in the private sector.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, on the Mombotuta Falls, I would like to find out whether the feasibility studies carried out indicate that the quantity of electricity that is needed in Luapula will be generated.

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, the studies that were undertaken on the Mambilima Falls and Mombotuta Falls indicate that in excess of 900 MW can be produced from the two power stations. However, there are other environmental considerations that the report highlighted that I am sure the developer will take into account as he develops the power project.

I thank you, Sir.


445. Ms Limata (Luampa) asked the Minister of Home Affairs when the Government would construct an appropriate building for a police station in Kaoma District.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Taima): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has incorporated into the Sixth National Development Plan a component to construct an appropriate building for a police station and sixty houses for police officers in Kaoma District.

I thank you, Sir.


446. Mr C. K. Banda, SC. (Chasefu) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development when the following dams, whose spill-ways were washed away in 1998, would be rehabilitated:

(a)    Chiungwe;
(b)    Kamone;
(c)    Pulani;
(d)    Kumuzoole;
(e)    Khulamayembe; and
(f)    Jalijali on Luwerezi River

The Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Akakandelwa):  Mr Speaker, the exercise of updating the cost estimates of all damaged dams in the Eastern Province and other provinces is in progress and the six dams in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency have been included. At the end of this exercise, a detailed budget for rehabilitation works, including the six dams, will be prepared for the 2011 financial year.

Currently, my ministry is carrying out major rehabilitation works on Luwerezi, Kaimbonye and Chaboli dams in Chipata District. We expect these works to be completed this year.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


447. Mr V. Mwale (Chipangali) asked the Minister of Education when a new secondary school would be built in Chipangali Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Education has no immediate plans to build a high school in Chipangali Constituency. However, consideration to build a high school will be made when funds are made available.

I thank you, Sir.


448. Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a)    when earth-moving equipment would be made available for hire to small- scale miners countrywide;

(b)    what plans the Government had put in place to encourage Zambian miners to join the small-scale mining industry; and 

(c)    how many indigenous Zambians were in the small-scale mining industry.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Nkhata): Mr Speaker, currently, the Government has no adequate resources to fund this scheme. However, small-scale miners are urged to source financing from the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) that provides for the empowerment of Zambians in the mining sector through the provision of loans for exploration, mining, mineral processing and downstream processing.

Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Mines and Minerals Development Act, 2008, has put measures to encourage Zambians to venture into small-scale mining in place. Artisan mining rights are purely reserved for Zambians whereas prospecting permits and small-scale mining licences are restricted to not less than 51 per cent shareholding by Zambians.

Mr Speaker, by 31st May, 2010, there were 472 Zambian holders of mining rights in the small-scale sub-sector as follows:

    Type of Permit    No. of Zambians 

(i)    Artisan Mining Right     72

(ii)    Prospecting Permit    122

(iii)    Gemstone Mining Licence    128

(iv)    Small-scale Mining Licence    150

Total    472

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chazangwe: Mr Speaker, out of the numbers the hon. Minister has given us, can he mention if there are any women who have been given this privilege?

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr M. B. Mwale): Mr Speaker, I know that the hon. Member is aware that there is an association called Women in Mining and, by implication, there are a number of Zambian women involved in mining.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether it is normal for the Government to give an exploration licence to a foreign company when there is already a licence held by an indigenous Zambian as the case is with Jung Hui Mining in the North-Western Province.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, the only comment that we would make as a Government is that, before statements that can mislead the public are issued, the hon. Member of Parliament is privileged to call on the ministry to find out the facts as they are.


Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I would like to confirm that no mining right has been issued over a right that is owned by a Zambian. That statement is deceiving.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I am aware that the Government’s policy, through the Zambian National Service (ZNS), is to make equipment and other earth-moving activities available to small-scale miners, especially in the gemstone area. I wish to find out from the hon. Minister what the status of this equipment belonging to ZNS, which is supposed to be available for the small-scale miners to use in their mines, is.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that, as a ministry, we may liaise with our colleagues in the Ministry of Defence over the equipment that is with ZNS. It is up to the Zambians, themselves, to be proactive and hire the equipment from ZNS.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, mining is a capital intensive business. Whilst the Government is encouraging people to apply for funds at the CEEC, can the hon. Minister state how the CEEC has been engaged to assist them lend money to the miners and provide friendly conditions that will allow them to begin paying back after two years because profits cannot be realised within three months as per the conditions of the CEEC at the moment.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may recall that the ministry used to administer a revolving fund. When that fund was abolished, the funds were taken to the CEEC which is the organ that can avail resources to the small-scale miners at the moment. 

Mr Speaker, as regards waiving the conditions of servicing the loans, it is up to the lending institution to improve them.

I thank you, Sir.

449. Mr Kambwili asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:

(a)    when the distribution of farming inputs, countrywide, for the 2009/2010 farming season ended;

(b)    what the total amounts of inputs distributed countrywide were and 

(c)    what the total cost of the exercise was.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mbewe): Mr Speaker, the distribution of inputs in the 2009/2010 farming season started on 19th October, 2009. By the end of December, 2009, 95 per cent of the farming inputs had already been distributed to farmers.

However, the whole exercise was concluded in February, 2010, to facilitate the replacement of damaged bags of fertiliser and allow some farmers to raise the money needed to buy inputs.

Mr Speaker, in the 2009/2010 farming season, the Government distributed 100,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and 5,341.90 metric tonnes of maize seed. In addition, the Government received a donation of 6,838 metric tonnes of fertiliser from the Japanese Government and this was distributed in Kabwe and Kapiri-Mposhi districts.

Mr Speaker, the 2009 budget for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) was K435 billion. Out of this, the programme has utilised K427.6 billion for the 2009/2010 input distribution exercise to date.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Kambwili: Sir, it is clear that distributing farming inputs in February is not a good idea. Could the hon. Minister assure this House that the inputs for the coming farming season will be distributed on time.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, the intention of my ministry is to make sure that farmers get the inputs before the rainy season. Measures have already been put in place to ensure that this is the case every year. However, I should make it very clear that fertiliser is distributed on time, in most cases, but there are delays in seed distribution because seed has to be grown and tested. Therefore, the period between growing and testing the seed is what causes the delay in the distribution of this input. However, we are trying the best we can to make sure that we get the seed from the suppliers before October.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether the Government has found alternative means of financing the agriculture sector to replace the funds that have been withheld by donors after they were told off, as it was clearly stated by the hon. Deputy Minister.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya) (on behalf of the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Daka)): Mr Speaker, we wish to state clearly that this Government has a very good relationship with our co-operating partners and this relationship will not only continue with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives but also across various departments of the Government.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Ms Siliya: We will continue to get the support that is needed for the development of this country through the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and other Government agencies.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, the reason for the late distribution of inputs is that seed has to be grown, tested and distributed. Can the hon. Minister just confirm that the problems that they have had regarding this exercise are because of poor road network and planning?

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I feel the hon. Member should be aware that this House gave some money to each province to make sure that roads are worked on. It is not the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives’ main responsibility to make sure that roads are worked on. However, in this case, the hon. Member of Parliament can work together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives in coming up with a programme to grade the roads in farming areas. In other words, the hon. Member of Parliament should be in the forefront of ensuring this is done because money is already at the provincial level.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr C. Mulenga (Chinsali): Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, the input distribution exercise ended in December  …

Hon. Opposition Members: February.

Mr C. Mulenga: … in February. I would like to know the reason the Government has failed to pay the transporters who participated in this exercise, especially the poor transporters in rural areas.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to state that hon. Members should applaud the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives for last season’s bumper harvest.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: This clearly shows the good policies the Government has put in place.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the payment of transporters, who participated in the distribution of fertiliser, is ongoing. The transporters are still getting their money.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, there is an outcry in the Zambian farming community that four packs of farming inputs are not enough. Does the Government have any intention of increasing the number of packs?


Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I do not know how much agricultural activity is taking place in Mandevu.


Ms Siliya: However, I have been around the country and the people I have spoken to are happy with the intervention by the Government.


Mr Kambwili: Question!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, those questioning my statement do not have the facts. I have been on the ground and we have had a bumper harvest because of the Government’s intervention of reducing the number of packs per farmer, but increasing the number of people to receive the packs.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: Thus, I do not understand what kind of reasoning that is. The facts on the ground are that the Government has proved that with four packs each, farmers are able to produce sufficiently and anything more than that would result in farmers selling the extra fertiliser. 

The Government responded to the needs of the people and, therefore, giving four packs per farmer has made it possible to increase the number of Zambian peasant farmers who have benefited from 200,000 to 500,000. In fact, the intention of this Government is to increase the number of beneficiaries, this year, to over 600,000 and to over one million farmers by 2011/2012.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I do not know who the people who are questioning this are representing, but this Government is talking about the welfare of Zambian farmers. In this regard, in last year’s and this year’s farming season, we supported over 500,000 farmers because of this Government intervention. This is why we can put on record the highest bumper harvest ever.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to seek some clarification on one of the answers that the hon. Minister gave that it takes so much time to harvest, test and distribute seed. Seed is a very lightweight component of the farmer input package. It is harvested in June or July which is the same time as the regular maize. Why do we spend so many months inspecting the seed before we distribute it? I do not understand the hon. Minister’s answer.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, we are talking about the use of modern technology and not using an ordinary drier to dry seed. Seed has to be tested in the laboratory in order to determine its germination percentage so that our farmers get the maximum benefit of planting it.

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

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, we, therefore, have to make sure that seed has not been affected by external forces and is in perfect condition before it is given to farmers. In this regard, when seed is harvested, we have to wait for the moisture content to reduce to a level where germination will not be affected. During this period, we wait for it to completely dry and then take it to the laboratory to detect whether the germination percentage of the seed is well calculated and acceptable to the people.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The hon. House will calm down.

Before we go to the next question, I wish to point out the need for a correction in Question 450. Instead of the word ‘value’, it should read ‘cost’. I am sure the hon. Member for Solwezi Central meant cost and not value.


450. Mr Lumba (Solwezi Central) asked the Minister of Works and Supply what the total cost of road contracts awarded to indigenous Zambians from 2005 to 2009 was.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, the total cost awarded to indigenous Zambians from 2005 to 2009 is approximately K700 billion. This is broken down as follows:

    Year    Amount
     (k billions)

2005    95
2006    140
2007    157
2008    172
2009    135
    Total    699

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lumba: Mr Speaker, bearing in mind the value given for over four years, would the hon. Minister confirm, while taking into account the state of the roads, that the Government has failed to build the capacity of indigenous Zambians to a level where they can construct better roads?

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, most of the Zambian contractors have shown interest in constructing roads. When we give details about what they have been able to do, it does not encompass all the work that has been done by all the contractors. When building the capacity of the contractors, there is a need to do it cautiously. They have to be helped to build it gradually because they face many difficulties that include challenges with equipment and the qualifications of their engineers. As far as we are concerned, we have done everything we can to help them build capacity and we will continue to do so within the available resources.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister enlighten us regarding how many contracts have been given to Sable Contractors? Considering that the rainy season is only about four months away, how many roads have been worked on?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, it is not possible for me to come here with the details of contractors and the contracts that have been signed. However, there are some ongoing projects that have been in our books for the last fifteen to twenty years. Realistically speaking, it is not possible for me to stand up and tell the House the number of roads that have been completed. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, I am delighted that this question has come on the Floor of the House. Can the hon. Minister indicate why many Zambian contractors have been failing to complete the contracts awarded to them, especially on road construction?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, our contractors have a number of problems. Some of them have problems of finances to service their businesses such that as soon as a small amount of money is extended to them for mobilisation, they begin to do things that are not in line with the contracts. Some of them buy cars, others marry more wives while some of them depend on hiring equipment from others such that when they go there to hire it, they find the owners of the equipment also have contracts. As a result, they end up failing to complete their projects. Some of them just lack the technical capacity to carry out the projects. In essence, there are a number of reasons that make them fail to complete their contracts. As a Government, we are conscious of the fact that this is when we want to make them learn how to contract and carry out projects properly. We continue to carry them along even when you condemn us for giving them contracts because we want to empower them so that, at the end, we have more Zambian contractors. 

I thank you, Sir.


452. Mr Imenda (Lukulu East) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when the Lukulu/Katunda Road would be tarred.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Works and Supply, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), has plans to upgrade the existing Katunda/Lukulu Road to bitumen standard. However, in the 2010 Annual Work Plan, only K100,000,000.00 has been provided for carrying out the feasibility study to upgrade the road to bitumen standard.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, the response given by the hon. Minister has been given in this House more than three times. I would like to know when a serious approach to tarring this road will be made, considering the fact that at the meeting held at his office, the hon. Members of Parliament from the Western Province all agreed that the Katunda/Lukulu Road should be tarred, especially that the Kalabo and Senanga roads were going to be donor funded.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, we have been giving the same answer continuously because we are consistent. Therefore, I would like to appeal to the hon. Member to appreciate that we are sharing projects. We must be conscious of the fact that Zambia is vast. We have a 67,000 kilometre road network,, therefore, it is not possible to construct all the roads in one province while ignoring the other provinces. What you should do is thank us for giving you some projects as we give some to other provinces.

I thank you, Sir.


453. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Communications and Transport when the Government would provide fire hydrants for the following aerodromes:

(i)    Mbala;

(ii)    Kasaba Bay;

(iii)    Mansa;

(iv)    Kasama; and

(v)    Solwezi.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Mubika): Mr Speaker, there is one pillar hydrant situated on the apron at the Solwezi Airport. However, the Government has plans to provide overhead water tanks in Mansa, Solwezi, Kasaba Bay and Kasama airports for the quick replenishment of fire tenders as the construction of fire hydrants has proved to be costly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister indicate how soon the Government intends to procure such important equipment?

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, the Government is currently in the process of looking into the procurement of safety equipment at the airports. We have, so far, looked at the needs of these airports in terms of major fire tender rescue equipment, command vehicles and trauma ambulances that are fully equipped with all the medical equipment that is required. However, in the case of the Kasaba Bay International Airport, we are looking at acquiring a rescue boat for fire problems. We are also in the process of looking into the needs of all our aerodromes and airports.

I thank you, Sir.


454. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Education whether there were any plans by the Government to assist communities in rural areas to construct better community school structures.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, the ministry has been assisting communities in both urban and rural areas to construct better school structures and provide standard designs, technical advice and supervise the construction of infrastructure at community schools.

I thank you, Sir.


455. Mrs Banda (Chililabombwe) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a)    how many contractors the Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) engaged for various works as of 31st March, 2010; and

(b)    how often KCM paid the contractors.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Namulambe): Mr Speaker, KCM engaged a total of 550 service contractors for its operational requirements as of 31st March, 2010.

Mr Speaker, KCM pays service contractors on a monthly basis.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Banda: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that after being paid by the mines, some of the contractors disappear without having paid their workers?

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the ministry is not aware that some of the contractors disappear. However, the employees who are contracted by these companies are supposed to report them to the police so that they are prosecuted.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister confirm that as much as the number is impressive, Zambian contractors are given low value contracts while the high value contracts are given to expatriates?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I have a bit of difficulty understanding the follow-up question because contracts are awarded depending on the ability to perform the job.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Mr Speaker, contractors in the mining towns on the Copperbelt are offering employment to the majority of the Zambians on the Copperbelt. What effort is the ministry putting in place to protect Zambian contractors or influence the mining companies to offer contracts to indigenous Zambian contractors because, currently, the majority of these companies on the Copperbelt are being shunned in preference for foreign contractors?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, this responsible Government has been engaging the mining owners to see to it that they award contracts to Zambians. I can confirm that in  conjunction with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, we have been engaging the mining owners to see to it that Zambian contractors have their share of contracts.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili:  Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what the Government is doing to compel or engage KCM to start paying contractors on time because they pay after 120 days when some mining companies such as Maamba Collieries Limited and Mopani Copper Mines Plc. now give an order with a cheque? Why should KCM continue holding suppliers and contractors’ money for over 120 days?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, what I would like to confirm is that KCM does not have any backlog of payments to service providers, particularly those who manage to raise their invoices after due certification of their works. This means that those who put in their claims should be ethical.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing about the contractors whom KCM is currently engaging in the maintenance of safety units, for example, the east mill concentrator, at the expense of their employees? In short, those contractors are taking over the work of the employees in the company under the guise of providing maintenance services. What is the Government doing about this latest development at KCM?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I am at a loss regarding what the hon. Member means because the contractors also have Zambian employees. However, what the hon. Member should know is that we are part of the global village and it is now the trend to have out-sourced services.

I thank you, Sir.


456. Mr Chisala asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning what the Government’s current debt to China was with regard to the Tanzania-Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA).

Mr D. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the Government’s current debt to China with regard to the Tanzania-Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) is US$340,765,740. Of this amount, US$250,000,000.00 is the construction loan that was acquired to finance the construction of the railway line while US$90,765,740 arose from the fourteen batches of loans that the Government acquired to finance the procurement of the TAZARA coaches, spare parts and rail operation improvement materials.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister indicate the number of years within which the Government of the Republic of Zambia intends to settle the outstanding balance.

The Minister of Finance and National Development (Dr Musokotwane):  Mr Speaker, the duration of the period for settlement of the loan is still being negotiated with the Government of China.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, in relation to the loan to construct the railway line, which is more than thirty years old, I would like to find out why the Government has allowed the debt to run this long.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member might be interested in knowing that the repayment of the loan for the Kariba Dam that was constructed in the 1950s, was only settled in the 1990s. Therefore, what matters is the duration of the loan and, beyond that, it is something that is being discussed with the Chinese Government and we have not seen any harm in it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lumba: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether that loan will accrue interest or are we going to suffer some more costs for this delay.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the loan attracts a very low interest rate because of a concessional loan and I can confirm that there are no penalties resulting from the long repayment period.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


457. Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya) asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources:

(a)    what programmes the Government had put in place for tourist sites in Kanchibiya Parliamentary Constituency; and 

(b)    what the ministry was doing to market the sites.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Mwangala): Mr Speaker,  …


Mr Speaker: Order! Carry on.

Mr Mwangala: … I wish to advise that Kanchibiya Constituency falls within the Northern Circuit tourism development area, covering the Northern and Luapula provinces.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Hammer!

Mr Mwangala: The Northern Circuit is one of the priority tourism development areas just like the Kafue National Park, …

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala: … Lower Zambezi National Park and Siavonga area, North and South Luangwa National parks and their surrounding areas, including the Lusaka City and its surrounding areas. According to the Sixth National Development Plan, priority tourism development areas will be given more attention in the next five years without neglecting other areas as it is not feasible for the Government to fully exploit tourism potential in all areas at the same time.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala: Sir, no tourist destination can succeed in isolation, hence the importance of holistic packaging of tourist attractions in a given area to maximise economies of scale. Hence, tourist sites located in Kanchibiya Constituency and its surrounding areas will, therefore, benefit from programmes and projects in the Northern Circuit like other constituencies in the region.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala: Mr Speaker, this august House may be aware that the Government is rehabilitating the Tuta/Samfya Road, Great North Road, Kasama/Mbala Road, Luwingu/Kasama Road and Kasaba Bay Airport. The Lufubu Bridge and Mbala/Nsumbu Road are also being attended to. In addition, the Lunzuwa Power Station is being upgraded. These developments in the Northern Circuit will attract more investors and tourists to the entire region. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala: Considering that Kanchibiya Constituency is the gateway to the Northern Circuit, it stands to benefit a lot from the immense opportunities to be created by these developments.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwangala: Mr Speaker, my ministry, through the Zambia Tourism Board (ZTB) and National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC), are marketing the sites like other constituencies in the region through promotional brochures, compact discs (CDs), websites and participation at local and international tourism fairs.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, my question was specifically on Kanchibiya Parliamentary Constituency. What plans has the Government put in place for the constituency regarding the tourism attraction sites in the area? I have not heard anything on Kanchibiya Constituency. Therefore, I would like the hon. Deputy Minister to inform the House what plans have been put in place for the sites in Kanchibiya Constituency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!
Mr Mwangala: Mr Speaker, Kanchibiya Constituency is in the Northern Circuit.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chanda: Mr Speaker, firstly, let me thank the hon. Deputy Minister for that eloquent answer.


Mr Chanda: Sir, may I find out from him when the actual roads leading to the tourist sites will be worked on and not the generalisation of the Northern Circuit as he has put it.

Mr Mwangala: Mr Speaker, we will do so when resources are available.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, may I seek clarification regarding in which way Kanchibiya Constituency is the gateway to the Northern Circuit when the circuit comprises the Luapula and Northern provinces.

Mr Mwangala: Mr Speaker, through the Tuta Road.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order! Order!




Mr Syakalima (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Second Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 25th June, 2010.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion Seconded?

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Yes, Mr Speaker.

Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, during the year, your Committee undertook a study of the status of adult literacy in Zambia. They also undertook a local tour of the Eastern Province and a foreign tour of Botswana. 

Sir, in Zambia, adult literacy was introduced as basic adult literacy in 1966. Despite adult literacy being in existence since post-independence, its provision has been unco-ordinated. There has been no national policy on adult literacy since independence. When the Ministry of Education appeared before your Committee, it stated that it was committed to developing the policy on youth and adult literacy in order to develop adult literacy teaching and learning materials, develop the adult literacy curriculum and the establishment of literacy centres in Zambia.

Sir, your Committee were informed that all these had not been implemented because there was no policy in place. Your Committee learnt that the Ministry of Education only embarked on developing the policy in 2006, but it has not been presented to Cabinet to date. Therefore, it appears that there is no seriousness in addressing illiteracy problems in the country.

Mr Speaker, allow me to draw the attention of this House to the report which gives the adult literacy levels in the nation. The Eastern Province has the highest illiteracy level standing at 53.6 per cent. This is more than half the adult population in the province and it should be alarming to us, as a nation. 

Mr Speaker, in terms of districts, the highest illiteracy levels which are more than 50 per cent are as follows:

District    Percentage    

Chadiza    60.9
Chama    53.1
Katete    62.9
Lundazi    50.1
Nyimba    53.1
Petauke    56.4
Chilubi    53.8
Mwinilunga    53.4
Zambezi    51.6
Gwembe    51.1
Shang’ombo    66.4

As can be seen, Shangombo, at 66.4 per cent, has the highest illiteracy levels in Zambia. If nothing is done to address these shortcomings, we shall have a nation of illiterates perpetually.

Mr Speaker, funding to the adult literacy sector is at 0.03 per cent of the total education budget despite Zambia being party to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) obligation of allocating 3 per cent of the education sector budget to adult literacy.

Sir, your Committee, therefore, recommend that the Government implements the programmes of adult literacy and not leave it to the community alone. Your Committee further recommend that the national policy on adult literacy be finalised and resources therefor be made available. The policy will assist in guiding adult literacy programmes in the country.

Mr Speaker, your Committee toured Nyimba, Katete, Chipata and Chadiza to have an on-the-spot check of adult literacy classes and what was found was disheartening. 

Sir, it was found that, in Nyimba, classes were conducted under a mango tree. Allow me, again, to draw the attention of the House to this report which depicts this. It was also found that instructors were not paid and had no accommodation within the premises. Therefore, how do we expect good results from such classes? The answer would be chaotic. 

Mr Speaker, in Katete, your Committee found that the classrooms had no furniture and teaching materials. The instructors received K1,000 per session which is a mockery. Consequently, the Government cannot expect to have qualified teachers taking up these classes. The same is obtaining in all the four districts that were toured by your Committee.

Sir, your Committee, therefore, strongly urge this Government to have a clear policy on infrastructure and furniture provision, training and remuneration of instructors, if the literacy levels in the nation are to be improved.

Sir, your Committee also undertook a tour of Botswana for a comparative study of literacy programmes. Your Committee found that adult literacy programmes in that country started at independence in 1966, which is the same year Zambia introduced adult literacy. Botswana created a department of non-formal education and adult literacy which runs side by side with the formal school system so that those who wish to get into formal education can do so easily. In Botswana, literacy programmes have a well defined structure in place. The vocational school system has a deliberate policy to enroll and certify people with informal schooling. As a result, adult literacy in Botswana has successfully reached 81 per cent whilst Zambia is at 66 per cent. 

Sir, your Committee, therefore, recommend that Zambia emulates the measures Botswana has put in place to advance adult literacy. In Zambia, vocational training should also include those with informal schooling. 

Mr Speaker, on the outstanding issues from the last session, your Committee are not impressed with the pace at which the recommendations of your previous Committees are being implemented. The issue of infrastructure and equipment in the universities and colleges needs to be addressed with the urgency it deserves. Education is key to everything. We are here in this House, debating issues affecting our nation, because we passed through schools and colleges. Let us allow our children to acquire quality education. 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, your Committee wish to express their gratitude to you, the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support rendered during the session. They also wish to thank all witnesses who appeared before them for their useful contributions.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Mukanga: Now, Mr Speaker. 

 Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to second this Motion that has been ably moved by the Chairperson of your Committee. The importance of education in any given environment or community, Zambia not being an exception, cannot be over emphasised. 

Mr Speaker, the best way to check whether the education system is effective is by monitoring communities on their literacy levels and lifestyle. In Zambia, the illiteracy levels in various districts are extremely worrying. We have been independent for so long, and yet we have very little to show for it. Forty-five years after independence, our adult literacy classes are being conducted by facilitators who are untrained, incompetent and lacking in skill. The salaries for these people are too low, accommodation is scarce and the curriculum lacks seriousness. 

The Government needs to take ownership by getting seriously involved in these programmes and improving the learning and teaching conditions. There is no way students can continue to learn from the same textbooks for years. Students in the Eastern Province have been using Mvelani, which means listen and Limani Nshaba, which means let us grow groundnuts, for many years. They get bored. They need to handle more challenging literature. 

Mr Speaker, this Government’s laissez-faire attitude to the programmes that they have instituted, in as far as adult literacy is concerned, will not change the literacy levels in this country. To the contrary, the levels will go up and, as a result, the Millennium Development and Education for All (EFA) goals will not be attained as we have planned. The attainment will only be a pipedream. 

Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt that since independence, there has been no policy on adult literacy although, in 2006, the ministry engaged consultants who helped to come up with a draft policy. However, it is now four years after and the policy is still in a draft form. Why does it take so long to have these policies finalised despite engaging high profile consultants at a high cost to the Zambian people? Why is the policy still in draft form?

Mr Speaker, looking closely at the figures that have been given on the literacy levels in Zambia, one will note that between 1990 and 2000, the levels dropped from 74.9 per cent to 70.1 per cent for the young adults aged between 15 to 24 years. A number of factors have contributed to this drop. One of the major factors is the introduction of user fees and other school fees in the country that has resulted in failure by parents to take their children to school. Today, parents can hardly manage to educate their children. Therefore, the period between 1990 and 2000 can be considered to be lost time because it increased the illiteracy levels. Children who were aged five, in that period, failed to go to school and are now adults. This is why the illiteracy levels of people in the age bracket of 15 to 24 are so high. 

Mr Speaker, the Chairperson, touched on the laxity of the Government to act on the recommendations of your previous Committees. Your previous Committees of 2008 and 2009 were concerned that the University of Zambia (UNZA) had not been audited since 1997. This is a situation the Government knows is illegal, but is doing nothing about. Furthermore, the Government does not know the unit cost of training a graduate at the university. This is extremely surprising. We wonder how this can be when the Government is the custodian of the Government bursaries for university students. 

We are aware that consultants were engaged in this aspect and we request that the findings be made public and official. It is for this reason that we urge the Government to ensure that the audit of the university be done promptly. 

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

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the Motion. I have very few words to say.  

Mr Speaker, it was indicated in the report that the causes of high rural and urban illiteracy levels in the country were the lack of an adequate number of schools, long distances to schools, high poverty levels and lack of role models in rural areas. Despite these challenges, under the Government programmes for adult literacy, as indicated on page 8 of this report, no interventions have been highlighted to address these anomalies. I became concerned about the lack of role models in rural areas. 

Mr Speaker, we know that the closest and probably widely spread class of people in rural areas is that of teachers. Teachers, who are living in poverty, frequently, borrow from illiterates because they are not paid handsomely. They live in abandoned grass-thatched houses because there are no houses for them. They rent bicycles to cycle long distances to Bomas and that is if they are lucky enough to find a bank in the area. Surely, can a villager, who is seeing an educated teacher live under such conditions, want to go to school? They do not see gain in going to school because the teachers who tell them to do so are suffering. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chongo: Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing to address all these anomalies? No wonder we have such high illiteracy levels in the country. Why should an illiterate go to school when he knows that he has enough money to lend to a teacher who has nothing?  What is the purpose of going to school? These are some of the questions we need to ask ourselves. 

Mr Speaker, the Government has come up with some incentives to retain teachers, who do not have proper accommodation, in rural areas. It is giving them incentives such as a housing allowance. The teachers who live in the bush on outreach programmes for the illiterates are given incentives such as a remote/rural hardship allowance. Surprisingly, they will get these allowances for three months, but the following month, the Government will announce that it is reviewing them. Once this is done, the allowances are withdrawn and this is what is compelling the teachers to leave the rural areas. They all want to be deployed in towns where, if they do not get something handsome, they will, at least, still live more comfortably than in the rural areas. Therefore, I would like to find out what the Government is doing to address these anomalies.

Mr Speaker, about two months ago, we fought very hard, especially in the Luapula Province, for the Government to extend the remote/rural hardship allowance to teachers in rural areas and it did. It is in this House that I, personally, thanked the Ministry of Education for this. Today, 90 per cent of teachers in Mwense in the Luapula Province in particular, who benefited from these incentives no longer enjoy this benefit. The reason given is that computers were operated wrongly. Who are these people who are always operating computers wrongly? These are the questions that you need to ask.

Mr Speaker, the Government should be careful in its selection of staff. It needs to identify people who are properly qualified to man the headquarters. They are enjoying the comfort of Lusaka at the headquarters while upsetting their fellow teachers who have sacrificed so much to go into the rural areas. I would like to appeal to the Ministry of Education in particular, to look into this issue so that we can keep our teachers and make them feel appreciated by this Government. By so doing, we will be able to change their face in the eyes of the so-called illiterates in rural areas so that they can also know that there is a need for them to go to school and learn. That is the only way we can reduce the illiteracy levels.

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

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Mr Speaker, I wish to contribute on the Second Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology.

Mr Speaker, in supporting this report, I note that this Committee took a foreign trip to Botswana in their quest to learn about adult literacy in that country.

Mr Speaker, I noted, with interest, that country’s achievement in the education sector. Botswana got independence in 1966, a difference of only two years with us. However, it is a country that cannot be compared to Zambia with regard to natural resources such as mineral deposits and agriculture.

Mr Speaker, Botswana depends mainly on diamonds and, to a lesser extent, salt mining. However, they boast of an average of 81 per cent literacy levels across the country compared to that of Zambia which is at less than 50 per cent. 

Mr Speaker, I read from the report that Botswana allocates about 30 per cent of its National Budget to education. As far as it is concerned, on education, it is already ahead of the MDGs. 

Mr Speaker, my question is: What has been the major hindrance to matching what is happening in other countries within the region?

Mr Speaker, I believe that education is the foundation of any nation. I know that an educated nation is a proud nation. Education also accelerates economic development. An educated nation shall always be healthy and the burden of running business therein is always reduced.

Mr Speaker, in my constituency, people are in dire need of education at all levels, be it at pre-school, basic school, high school or tertiary levels. My cry is that despite the Government’s claims to offer free education for children from Grade 1 to Grade 7, this is not the case on the ground.

Mr Speaker, education in Zambia is expensive and beyond the reach of the ordinary Zambian. The community schools that have been established in my constituency are being manned by untrained teachers and these patriotic Zambians do not receive any form of remuneration.

Mr Speaker, I also noted in the report that in the Eastern Province, where the programme of adult literacy is being tried, most of the instructors are paid K1,000 per day. With such paltry reward, how does the Government expect to increase the literacy levels in this country?

Mr Speaker, I also learnt from the report that, in Botswana, education is totally free from Grade 1 to Grade 7. I also noted, with interest, that all those who are in formal employment and receiving about 1,200 Pula, which is probably equivalent to K840,000, as a salary per month, do not pay anything at all apart from buying a uniform for their child. Why can we also not try allowing our young boys and girls to access education up to Grade 12 at no cost, taking into account the unemployment problems in this country? We are aware that Zambia is now chocked with high unemployment levels.

Mr Speaker, the Government should stop playing politics of public relations. We want this Government to face reality and accept that we have not done very well with regard to educating the nation. We would like this Government to quickly put into action the policies that have been mentioned in your report.

Mr Speaker, we would like to see the programmes that we used to have when we got independence reactivated. We had countrywide programmes such as Shibukeni, but we have not seen them of late. We would like the majority of our people to have, at least, a level of learning that will enable them to contribute and participate in the development of this country.

Mr Speaker, I wish to mention that this is a very big challenge in my constituency, Nkana, where community schools take in close to about 300 to 400 children to be taught by one teacher who has not had any form of training. This is a very serious situation. It is my sincere appeal to this Government to take full responsibility of the situation that is prevailing in this country.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the report.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this very important Motion on the Floor.

Sir, I would like to commend the Committee for the good work done, especially on the observations and recommendations they have made to the Government.

Mr Speaker, I appreciate the work the Government is doing to improve the standard of education in general, taking into account the fact that the budget allocation to education is currently the highest. However, even with all the effort the Government has put into the education sector, we are very far, as a country, from meeting the required number of education facilities, hence the need for the Government to double its efforts.

Mr Speaker, the report says illiteracy levels in our country are very high. For example, Chongwe District has 36.7 per cent of people who are illiterate, and yet this is the forty-sixth year after independence. The point raised by the Committee that the Government has no policy on this matter should not be an issue. Even though the Government has had no policy thereon, in the early years after independence, the Government made efforts to ensure the literacy levels were improved since many people were not educated, hence the various steps taken. The report indicates that, over the years, there has been lip service to improving literacy levels among adults in the rural areas. 

However, the reasons given by the Committee for the literacy levels in the rural areas being higher than the urban areas have been the same for many decades. The question that begs an answer is: What is being done about the situation of having more illiterate people in the rural areas than urban areas or more illiterate women than men? The question is: What are we doing about these disparities so as to improve the literacy levels?

Sir, the sad part of this is that the issues we are discussing now concerning the high illiteracy levels are the same in formal education. For example, there are fewer schools in rural areas compared to urban areas and the long distances to cover to access education. These facts do no just affect adult literacy but the young ones too. However, I am happy that when the Government was developing the Education Policy, it did not just look at adult illiteracy but also youths.

Mr Speaker, in our country, today, we have many youths who are illiterate for various reasons. As my colleagues who have spoken before me have already mentioned, some of them have had no opportunity to go to school because education in Zambia has become expensive. We have free education quite alright, but when you go on the ground, you will notice that it is expensive. I cannot speak for hon. Members of Parliament who do not have constituencies but, for those of us who have constituencies, what is happening on the ground, for instance, is that, in most rural constituencies where free education is offered, teachers will tell you that the Free Education Policy is just on paper and not a reality. There are costs involved and the people in rural areas are so poor that they cannot afford them, hence hindering them from accessing education. These are facts.

Sir, I am not saying that those responsible for the education sector or the Government are not doing anything about this. However, it is important to note that hon. Members of Parliament who have constituencies always interact with school administrations, pupils and parents who tell us what is happening on the ground. Therefore, it is important that we come here and tell those responsible for education what is on the ground. I appreciate that the Government is doing its best to improve the standard of education, but there are still these issues on the ground.

Mr Speaker, there is also an issue of poor infrastructure in the rural areas. We should not just look at the issue of improving adult literacy, but also teachers’ interests such as accommodation.

Chongwe is just a fifteen minutes drive from Lusaka, but you will be shocked to see the kind of houses teachers live in and the kind of toilets they use. You cannot believe it. Mr Speaker, I was ashamed when I saw them. I was ashamed that I am a Member of Parliament who is part of this Government that has allowed teachers to still use pit latrines forty-six years after independence. There are seven teachers per latrine. This is happening not far away from this House, but just at Silverest School. This is the reality on the ground. These are issues we should bring to this House so that the Government can look at them holistically.

Sir, I think the strategy should change. If you look at where some of these allocations of money go, beyond the education sector, you would say that we need to double our efforts, get money from other sectors and put it into the education sector.

Mr Speaker, what kind of education system do we have if teachers’ houses are pathetic, toilets pupils use in most schools are old fashioned, there are water problems and lack of desks? The problem is big and requires all of us to work together so that we improve the education sector. We should not just talk about improving adult literacy, but also education in general. 

Mr Speaker: Order! 

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

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that we may not have a policy in place, but we know that, over the years, there have been various programmes that have been implemented to reduce the high illiteracy levels in the country.

Sir, this brings me to another point that I would like to raise in this debate. In the past, apart from the Ministries of Education and Community Development and Social Services, there were other institutions such as local authorities that also used to promote literacy classes. Somehow, this is no longer the case. 

In 2004, there was a Government Gazette notice that was issued to give this mandate wholesomely to the Ministry of Education as the ministry responsible for the whole education sector. This did not mean that the other institutions such as those under Community Development and Social Services or councils were to stop what they were doing. At the moment, I know that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services is still doing something in that direction. I also know that, at the local level, councils that used to offer these services have reduced. The understanding is that this mandate is purely for the Ministry of Education. Whilst I understand the fact that it is the mandate of the Ministry of Education in terms of policy, I think that, in terms of implementation, other sectors should partner with the ministry to ensure that the function of providing literacy classes at different times is performed. Besides the Ministry of Education, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and most churches are actively involved in this exercise. 

Mr Speaker, according to the report, your Committee took a tour of Botswana and I have noticed that Botswana’s total budget on education is 30 per cent of its national budget. Botswana has a small population, but has more money than us because of the minerals. As such, it would be interesting to learn from countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe and others that are bigger. Nevertheless, looking at the budget for education in Botswana, it teaches us, as a country, that education is important and we must all support the education sector. With regard to the backlog in infrastructure development in the education sector, from Lusaka to Chongwe, for example, we just have Silverest School and pupils have to walk long distances of twenty kilometres to get to this school.

Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the Government that they have built a school between Chongwe Basic School and Silverest and there is a new high school called Matipula which has been opened. I am sure the Government will formally open it after electrifying it.

Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that the problem is big and we need to do a lot more. There are also other sector ministries such as the Ministries of Energy and Water Development and Local Government and Housing that need to be supported, especially in the area of water. Most schools have problems of water and sanitation. If that ministry were supported, it would, in turn, support education, but if we just stop at education and ignore the other issues that are cardinal in promoting quality education, we shall be having the same problems.

Mr Speaker, I would like to say that the problem of adult illiteracy goes beyond adults because even the youths are affected. We have many illiterate youths because of the problems that the Committee have indicated in the report.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, I would like to contribute to the debate on this very important subject of addressing illiteracy in our country.

Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to say that the governments that have come and gone have tried to address the issue of illiteracy …

Dr Machungwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, I regret interrupting my colleague who is debating well. Is the hon. Member for Chongwe, who is usually very smartly dressed and who spoke eloquently, in order to be attired in a leather jacket in this Chamber? I need your serious ruling because the dress code here is not being adhered to.


Mr Speaker: Arising from the point of order by the hon. Member for Luapula with regard to the attire of the hon. Member for Chongwe, we do have a dress code which requires to be enforced by us. When we fail to do so, then we have authorities or Committees that assist in enforcing it.

I am aware that one of those authorities has already taken action in the matter and I believe that it will be resolved in no time. 

Will the hon. Member for Matero continue, please?

Mrs Masebo left the Chamber.

Mrs Sinyangwe: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was saying that governments have tried to address the issue of illiteracy in the country. I remember way back when I was in college, I volunteered to teach literacy classes that were called Shibukeni on the Copperbelt.

Mr Speaker, the issue of literacy has been tackled even in our Education Policy, “Educating Our Future”. What we should ask ourselves is: Are we doing enough or what is it that we can do to expedite this and address it in a better way? When we look at the illiteracy levels, we should know that there are many contributing factors. 

In the rural areas, we have the issue of early marriages. When girls in Grade IV come of age, they are forced into marriages and, as such, they forget even the little that they know after sometime and relapse into illiteracy. Now that we have chiefs who understand issues as they are, I would urge the Government to work closely with them so that we find a way to protect the young girls from early marriages.

The other reason is that of long distances to schools. I would like to commend the Government for trying to accelerate the programme of building more schools and I encourage it to do more. What happens is that when a child reaches Grade 4, especially girls, and the distances are too long, they stop going to school and get married.

Mr Speaker, we need to have a system which tracks down such school dropouts and try to help them. The other problem that we may face is to find teachers to teach illiteracy classes because there is this problem even at community schools. I would like to commend the Government, again, together with the Ministry of Education for having the E-learning Conference because, as far as I am concerned, distance education and ICT would help us address this issue.

In other areas, you will find that because of technology, one teacher can be teaching seven different classes at once. The students communicate with the teacher and vice-versa. This would help to alleviate the problem of shortage of teachers that we have in this country. We will continue training teachers, but it will take us a long time to have the required number to tackle the problem.

The other reason is that we can introduce evening classes, but the behaviour of our menfolk of not being morally upright will discourage girls from going to school in the evenings for fear of being abused by men.


Mrs Sinyangwe: In the past, the community protected its people, but now it is different because even when people hear a woman crying for help, they will not even come to her aid. The teachers and everybody in the community do not want to do things that will better their communities. That attitude of working together is gone. When there is no money, nobody wants to do anything. However, we must understand that the fight against illiteracy requires our concerted efforts. We must understand that the more literate people there are the better it will be for Zambia.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the teachers who teach in the literacy classes, it is very difficult for the Ministry of Education to pay all of them. Why should we not have a policy where our business houses, as part of their corporate social responsibility, are encouraged to help address this issue by having them pay some small allowances to teachers who are willing to teach these classes?

Mr Speaker, as for the infrastructure, as long as they build more schools, in the evening, the same classrooms can be used for our mothers, fathers and the youths who dropped out of school to attain some level of education. There is also a need for electricity in most classrooms, especially in the rural areas. This would enable the teachers to offer their lessons in a conducive atmosphere. In areas where there is no electricity, I am sure we can encourage solar power so that we can all move together. This is not a problem over which one should point a finger at another accusing that person of not doing much. We must ask ourselves what we must do collectively, as a nation, to help sort out this problem.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe: Mr Speaker, we are used to merely sitting while expecting someone else to do something for us, and yet that person is also expecting us to do the same thing for him or her. In the end, we will not get anywhere with such an attitude. This is an issue on which all of us here, be it in the Opposition or Ruling Party, must work together. We must bring our ideas together so that we can do things together. The best thing we should tell ourselves is that if no one does it, we shall do it ourselves.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Three hon. Members of the Executive also wish to make a contribution on this matter. This will be preliminarily since they will come back with a detailed Action-Taken Report. Let us now hear from them.

The Deputy Minister for Southern Province (Mr Munkombwe): Thank you, Mr Speaker. I will be very brief.


Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, in my debate, I would like to talk about voluntarism. There are people who went to school, but do not want to voluntarily pass their knowledge to our unfortunate people. In 1950 when I finished my Standard 6, …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Munkombwe: … there was no secondary school near me other than Munali Secondary School. I was sent by my uncle, Mr S. S. Mwaanga, to Southern Rhodesia to further my education. However, at the moment, there are more secondary schools. At least, I speak authoritatively about the Southern Province because it has secondary schools such as St. Marks, Canisius and other schools that came before and immediately after independence. At the moment, there are a number of schools that have assisted to improve the literacy levels of our country. What is required now is for people who went to school, including myself, to offer a small amount of time, voluntarily, to help the people who had no privilege of going to school. I think money is spoiling the Zambian economy. At the moment, for anything which someone does, he or she needs a financial reward. This is extremely dangerous. I have a word of caution for those people who are comparing some countries, which have a population less than that of Lusaka, to Zambia.


Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, such countries can afford to educate their people. For us, in Zambia, we need to free ourselves from the desire for money for whatever we do. 

Hon. Member interjected.

Mr Munkombwe: Yes. Teachers are suffering, but there are some teachers in mission schools who are accommodated, but they still want a housing allowance. That desire for money is killing us.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Professor Lungwangwa): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to make a few comments on this report. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to briefly address myself to a statement of history. In the report, it is stated that there has not been any policy on adult literacy since independence. Statements of this nature are extremely inaccurate. A statement of history must have merit, integrity and fact. 

Hon. Government Member: Yes.

Professor Lungwangwa: It is correct to state that after independence, we had a very comprehensive, elaborate and practical policy on adult literacy. That policy was not under the Ministry of Education, but was co-ordinated by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), churches and the councils, as Hon. Masebo attempted to illustrate. A lot of effort was made on the radio to spread adult literacy. We had evening classes and literacy centres. Teachers were trained for that purpose in various centres. At the University of Zambia, we had a programme on adult education or adult literacy at the Centre for Continuing Education. Additionally, a lot of research work was conducted on adult literacy activities in Zambia in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Thus, it is not correct to state that there has not been any adult literacy policy in this country. We even had manuals on adult literacy as well as radio programmes. I am sure in the local languages, we are all very familiar with words such as Busile, Shibukeni, Tsopano and many other words that used to be used in the radio programmes. 

Mr Speaker, in the interest of national building and in the interest of continuity in our programmes and in terms of policy, I believe it is correct to put a statement of historical fact in its perspective and not to make statements that have no historical accuracy or facts. The adult literacy programmes were a model that a number of countries within the region and elsewhere used to come to study and this must be acknowledged as part of our development as a country.

I thought, Mr Speaker, that I should make comments along this line because this report is extremely important to our country.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Sosa! Hear, hear!

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, may I firstly take this opportunity to thank the mover and seconder of the Motion. I would also like to thank your Committee for their report. To begin with, I think the case of comparing apples with apples has already been made. At the moment, what is important is to state that the Government’s commitment to education has been illustrated by the Budget that we brought to Parliament. Out of the over the K12 trillion total Budget, 3.4 trillion went to education. This allocation was supported by hon. Members. 

   Mr Speaker, I think that is a true reflection of the Government’s commitment to education. There is no doubt that all of us in this House truly agree that education enhances people’s lives. I have said, many times, that Nelson Mandela could not have put it better when he said that education makes it possible for daughters of servants to become doctors and sons of miners, if they pay attention in class, to become the heads of mines.

Mr Speaker, we do concede that we have taken quite a while to process the young and adult literacy policy. However, the good news is that consultation has taken place and the Cabinet memorandum to that effect was circulated. A number of ministries made comments thereon and we are now analysing that feedback so that we can send the memorandum to Cabinet for approval and, along the way, formulate the final policy to give guidance to the adult literacy sector. 

However, despite that status, the Ministry of Education is doing a lot to promote adult literacy. Apart from participating in the World Literacy Day every year in September, we collaborate with other organisations such as the Church, NGOs and other ministries such as the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services. The ministry has also continued to offer adult literacy in various centres such as those that were visited by the Committee in the Eastern Province.

Mr Speaker, in the seconder’s statement, there was mention of the Ministry of Education not being aware of how much it costs to educate a student at the University of Zambia, despite managing the student bursary scheme. We said that a consultant had been engaged to look into that issue. We, in the Ministry of Education, are aware of the unit cost of educating a University of Zambia student and Copperbelt and Mulungushi universities even if this consultant’s report is not out yet. These are figures that we would be willing to share particularly in the Action-Taken Report.

The hon. Member of Parliament for Nkana, Mr Mwenya, referred to the poor environment in which teachers work. To begin with, it is important to understand where we are coming from. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, there was minimal investment in education. We are now trying to deal with that backlog. I believe that the 80,000 teachers who are spread across every corner of this country have begun to see and appreciate that once the economy does well, particularly when copper prices increase and agriculture does well, like this year’s bumper harvest, we are able to attend to issues in the education sector. We are able to support teachers with more teaching materials, enhanced training, pay the remote and rural hardship allowances, provide desks for the learners in the class and construct teachers’ houses. 

This year, our plan is to construct 1,000 teachers’ houses compared to last year when we only constructed 300. However, with the current shortfall of over 50,000 houses, we know that we will not be able to construct all the teachers’ houses that we need. We will continue to engage the private sector so that the teachers’ numbers can be used as leverage to respond to teachers’ needs such as mortgages and better conditions of service.

Mr Speaker, I hope that hon. Members of Parliament will give this matter much thought and give us some possible solutions on how we can address the issues of housing for teachers because it is truly wishful thinking that at the current state of economic growth, we can construct 80,000 houses for all the teachers in this country. What we are looking for are ideas and solutions to address this problem.

Mr Speaker, some debaters wanted to give the impression that nothing is happening, generally, in the adult literacy sector or in education in general. The figures on adult literacy have been progressing very steadily. I am happy to note that the largest number of those who attend adult literacy classes are women. Out of the over 50,000 people attending these classes, over 32,000 are female. I, therefore, wish to take this opportunity to encourage the men to participate in these adult literacy programmes because education assists all of us and enhances families’ economic and social transformation.

The e-learning conference mentioned by the hon. Member of Parliament for Matero is an example of technology that, once again, is providing us with an opportunity to solve problems. Using technology, one teacher in a classroom is able to teach people at different times and respond to their needs of how they want to learn so that we can, at the national level, bring illiteracy to below 40 per cent, as is the case in countries where development takes place quickly. 

I thank the hon. Minister for Southern Province for his observation. It is true that in countries such as India, the military and university students go to villages to teach during their two weeks or one month vacation. Retired military personnel are also involved in such programmes. This is something we should be exploring in this country. These are new ideas that we should be trying to take advantage of so that together, we can, truly, fight illiteracy. 

Illiteracy is not only a problem among adults, but also young people. Nelson Mandela said something very interesting about children who get the education their parents want them to get. I think that the matter of education is not for Government alone. Families have to make the decision that they want their children to have and recognise that it is an expensive business. This will affect the size of the families we continue to have vis-à-vis making sure that we meet the educational requirements of our children, especially at the higher education level.

Mr Speaker, I thank all those who contributed to this debate. We will work expeditiously to formulate a policy to give guidance to adult literacy, but that does not mean that nothing is happening.  At the same time, we will continue not to run, but sprint to meet the backlog with regard to access. There are many needs in the education sector and in the nation as a whole. We, therefore, cannot respond to everything at the same time. This is why providing classrooms, be it for adult learners or those in formal education, is the number one priority. Every year and every five years, until 2030, we will continue to review and stick to the plan. What is important is that all of us in this House, as politicians and hon. Members of Parliament, do not lose sight of the national interest in education regardless of our political affiliations because only education will, truly, provide that light at the end of the tunnel.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, I also would like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee and the seconder for bringing out very important points in the report with regard to education in Science and Technology.

Mr Speaker, I will be very brief just as the report was in the sense that the hon. Members of your Committee brought out a very important concern on what we are doing to promote linkages between skills training and industry. I would like to state that my ministry has engaged and continues to engage stakeholders, including the industry, in dialogue on the best ways to improve linkages and reduce the gaps between skills training and work experience. 

On 11th March, 2010, we held a stakeholders’ meeting at which the private sector actively participated. From that meeting, we drew action points that will need to be followed up. For example, through the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA), we have developed a learners’ programme scheme through which our business programmes in colleges are linked to the actual work experience in the banks. One of these banks is the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO). Students divide their time between academic theoretical work in our institutes and blend that with practical work in the banking world. 

Mr Speaker, in order to improve and strengthen the participation of the private sector, the ministry is in the process of introducing a training levy that will allow private sector financial institutions to contribute to the training process. This, in turn, will give them an opportunity to make an input in consultations and training with regard to the actual means that industry requires. The ministry, obviously, since this is a revenue matter, has been engaged in discussions with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning on how this training levy will be managed.

Mr Speaker, in response to the industry requirements for skilled manpower at the higher level, we have embarked on a process to major the three training institutions in Luanshya to a college of excellence or a polytechnic for it to be in a position to train trainers who will, in turn, have an input to upgrade the trade and certificate levels to diploma levels in most of our training institutions. We feel, in so doing, the skills that are required by industry will, by and large, be met.

 Further, in order to improve the linkages with the private sector, we recognise the needs of small and medium enterprises through financing of graduates wishing to form companies. The ministry has introduced the Graduate Empowerment Scheme that will give hand tools to graduates in order for them to start small businesses as entrepreneurs.

Mr Speaker, I would like to concur with the Committee’s concern that, in fact, the inter-ministerial co-ordination that is placed in our ministry takes on board the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and we have no problem with that. In fact, we feel that, perhaps, the Ministry of Home Affairs should also become a member of this inter-ministerial committee that coordinates the skills training in the Government.

Mr Speaker, the last point I would like to comment on has to do with the funding of research. I note that the Committee recommend that a deliberate funding mechanism for research be set up by the Government. I would, therefore, like to state that we take note of this recommendation. However, I also would like to share with the House that whereas the Ministry of Education, indeed, continues to source funds from our co-operating partners and the Government, the Ministry of Science, Technology and Vocational Training has established two funds. The first is the Strategic Research Fund and the second is the Young Inventor’s Fund.

Mr Speaker, since 2007 to date, a total sum of K2.5 billion has been expended on these two research funds. We are happy to say that the Young Inventor’s Fund has now produced five projects that are ready for commercialisation. Research is expensive and we need the collaboration of the private sector, itself, the Government and the co-operating partners. The ministry is ready and willing to co-ordinate these research activities to alleviate poverty in the country.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, in winding up this debate, may I state, on the concern by the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport, that the historical point was misleading, that the information came from the Ministry of Education. Therefore, under the laws of our country, if witnesses have misled the Committee, it means that there are problems there. We shall cross check with the Ministry of Education and see if it, indeed, misled our Committee.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Syakalima: I am only glad that the hon. Minister of Education did not contradict her own ministry.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition 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 1711 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 1st July, 2010.



444. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga East) asked the Minister of Education when the Government would build a high school at Kaumbu in Zambezi District.

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, the ministry has no immediate plans to build a high school at Kaumbu in Zambezi District. However, consideration may be made in future if funds are made available.

I thank you, Sir.