Debates- Wednesday, 24th March, 2010

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Wednesday, 24th March, 2010

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






417. Mr Mwango (Kanchibiya) asked the Minister of Labour and Social Security:

(a)    when the Government would implement the Industrial and Labour Relations (Amendment) Act No. 8 of 2008 with regard to trade union leaders who are no longer employees of companies they earlier worked for, but have continued holding trade union offices;

(b)    what factors caused the delay in the implementation of the Amendment Act; and

(c)    how many trade unions are affected by the Amendment Act.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Kachimba): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the eligibility of trade union leaders to hold office is provided for under Section 18 (h) of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act as amended by Act No. 8 of 2008, which states that a person working within a trade union secretariat who is not employed outside the trade union secretariat shall not be eligible to qualify for an elective position within the trade union. The Amendment Act No. 8 of 2008 came into effect immediately it was assented to on 24th September, 2008.

However, the ministry received information that the Federation of Free Trade Unions of Zambia (FFTUZ) had commenced a court action sometime in 2009, challenging the legality of the Act. Therefore, this meant that the ministry could not proceed with the full implementation of the Act, as any attempt to do so might attract contempt proceedings from the courts of law.

Mr Speaker, the factors that may be attributed to the delay in the implementation of the Act are that the ministry needed to develop guidelines on the modus operandi of collective bargaining for the most representative unions with the minority unions. The guidelines have since been developed and are before the Ministry of Justice for legal advice.

Sir, the Amendment Act No. 8 of 2008 applies to all trade unions registered under the Act.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, is the issue still in court? If not, what was the outcome?

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Liato): Mr Speaker, the matter is still before the courts of law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, trade union leaders at the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and Public Service Workers Union are still …

Mr Speaker: Order! Ask your question.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, since we have leaders in the ZCTU and Public Service Workers Union and the law was put in put in place, can the hon. Minister indicate whether those leaders who are still serving in those trade unions are serving legally? If they are not, what is he doing about it?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, according the answer that was read by the hon. Deputy Minister, the issue that he is asking about is still in question and it is being challenged in the courts of law. We hope that when the verdict is passed, we shall proceed to implement the contents of the law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, part (c) of the question demanded that the hon. Minister states how many unions were affected by the amendment. Can the hon. Minister inform this august House how many unions were affected by this Amendment Act?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, when the law is made, it is not tailored for specific unions. Therefore, it would not have been relevant for the ministry to start searching for how many trade unions were affected by this law. However, we can only say that once the law is in place, if there will be any trade unionists who do not qualify to hold office by virtue of the law, such a person will not be allowed to hold office.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in a position to tell us which aspect of the Amendment Act is being challenged? Is it the part that is dealing with trade unionists who have retired from their original employers or is it to do with the representativeness of the bargaining unit?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, what is being challenged is the eligibility by officials of trade unions to hold office because in the current law, those working for trade unions and are not holding any position in employment are deemed not eligible to hold office. It is that part of the law which is being challenged.

I thank you, Sir.


418. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga East) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when the bridge on the Kabompo River that connects Mwinilunga East and Solwezi East Parliamentary constituencies would be repaired.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Ministry of Works and Supply, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), has plans to carry out the maintenance of the bridge across Kabompo River. In November, 2008, the Regional Engineer carried out a survey and recommended the replacement of the timber deck and maintenance of the other structures at a total cost of K985,927,425.00.

Therefore, the ministry intends to carry out works on the bridge using funds allocated to the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) in the North-Western Province, this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, does the Government want to maintain the timber deck or construct something else?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, considering the difficulties in finding resources to replace it with a concrete bridge, it would be appropriate for us, in the short term, to maintain the timber deck.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister has informed this House that they will release money from the RRU and that each province has been given K5 billion, it means that on this bridge, we will get…

Mr Speaker: Order! You are debating. What is your question?

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, will the hon. Minister indicate to this House whether that decision has been agreed by other hon. Members of Parliament because you are talking about thirteen constituencies?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I do not think we are under obligation to hold a conference with hon. Members of Parliament whenever we have work to do. I do believe that with the wisdom of the management of the province, we allocate funds appropriately. It is not obligatory that if we send K5 billion to the province, even a constituency which has no problems must be accommodated. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




Mr Chota (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House urges the Government to streamline the provision of health services in the country and improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Yes, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chota: Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to move this important Motion whose main purpose is a call to streamline health services and provision of quality drugs. 

Mr Speaker, the Government has always openly and clearly made pronouncements on its commitment to ensure provision of equity or access of good quality, safe and efficacious drugs for all Zambians. These are available, accessible and affordable across all barriers regardless of age. 

Sir, in order for the Government to meet these goals, it instituted legislation and regulatory bodies like the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority (PRA) and other bodies which monitor drug movement and efficacy. Despite all these, the Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority has had its own challenges such as understaffing and inadequate funding. This has made the PRA less effective in the exertion of its mandate. In fact, there are worse challenges in the supply and distribution which require urgent attention. 

Sir, the Government should realise that total transparency and good governance are the only vehicles to equity and access for all. Otherwise, all this may remain a pipedream. Despite stating many times that the primary health provision will be close to the door step, only a few are privileged to have this. This is because the existing challenges are yet to be addressed. Some of the challenges are:

(a)    non-accessibility of drugs by the majority rural Zambians;

(b)    poor road network in the country, especially in rural areas;

(c)    non-availability of essential quality drugs; and

(d)    non-availability of well-stocked pharmacies in the rural Zambia. 

Sir, due to the scenario above, our people in rural Zambia have resorted to buying drugs from non-standard and unacceptable uncertified sources. At times, the efficacy of these drugs is questionable. In most times, such sources offer sub-standard drugs whose efficacy is highly questionable. Currently, drugs are procured and distributed by the following:

(a)    the Ministry of Health;

(b)    the Ministry of Defence;

(c)    the Churches Health Association of Zambia; and

(d)    the private pharmacies.

Sir, maybe, from the above sources, apart from the Government ministries whose challenges are surmountable, all other players have hardly any means of reaching the rural areas. Therefore, may I ask, “What is this Government doing to improve on the availability of quality drugs and when is accessibility and affordability going to be feasible to all Zambians? How do we explain a situation where a person on the Copperbelt buys chloroquine at K10,000 per course while one in rural areas, for example, in Luwingu, buys it at K20,000?” Something ought to be done to the pricing system. How do we expect our beloved brothers, sisters and parents to survive in rural areas when they do not even have a steady income?”

Mr Speaker, after a series of studies by various bodies in the country, a lot of problems and weaknesses have been highlighted in the procurement, management, supply and distribution of these drugs.

Some of the problems experienced are due to:

(a)    inadequate funding;

(b)    human resource shortages;

(c)    poor technical skills; and

(d)    corruption in the supply chain.

Sir, definitely, this has had a negative impact on the flow of drugs from procurement to the end user. At all levels of this drug supply chain, there is need to increase transparency and accountability. This will also increase its affordability and unnecessary embedded costs will be removed. Otherwise, affordability by the majority rural will be a pipedream. 

Sir, apart from the user fees, medicines are supposed to be free of charge at the Government institutions. To my surprise, they are not available. The rich patients are forced to procure their prescriptions while the poor are slowly relegated to graves since treatment fees are unaffordable. 

Mr Speaker, the distribution and capacity of health facilities is also another factor that needs to be addressed. In urban areas, in a radius of about five to ten kilometres, one can access a health facility. In rural areas, however, one can hardly do this in a radius of twenty kilometres. 

Due to the problems already stated, I urge this Government to streamline the health provision through improved availability, accessibility and affordability of quality drugs, especially for the poor and vulnerable in society.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 

Hon. 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 important Motion. Many points on the need to streamline health services in the country and improve availability, accessibility and affordability of quality drugs, especially for the poor and vulnerable in society, have already been highlighted by the mover. 
Mr Speaker, it is important that there is equity in accessing medical drugs by all Zambians regardless of their location and age. The Government should ensure equity of access to quality drugs which are good medicines, safe, efficacious and as close to the family as possible, in order for us to be assured of continued health and to meet both the millennium development goals (MDGs) pertaining to health and the increase of life expectancy. The current governance arrangement existing in the procurement and drug supply chain leaves much to be desired.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, unethical advertisements on drugs, coupled with the inefficiencies in the distribution process, leading to non-availability of drugs in Government pharmacies, at certain times, makes the innocent patients become victims of procuring the less quality drugs available to them, regardless of their efficacy. This they do just to survive. 

Mr Speaker, at times, patients have had to resort to unconventional means such as consulting traditional doctors and medicines because they are the only ones close them and available at the time. Why, then, is it necessary to have quality drugs available at all times in all health institutions in Zambia? 

Mr Speaker, the reason is simple. It is because this would improve accessibility. It would be easy for our people to access these drugs which, in turn, would lead to better health, better life expectancy and an improvement in the general life style. It will also reduce mortality levels in all age groups and hence, our contribution to development will increase. Regardless of one’s effluence, one needs quality medical drugs to survive and the Government is the custodian of this provision.

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

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, with increased political will and direction, this improvement will be seen. 

We have seen this happen in the past. In 2002, there were nearly six million deaths across the world as a result of HIV/AIDS and malaria. Availability of anti-retroviral drugs for HIV/AIDS is slowly and steadily changing the trend and prevalence rates. In 2005 alone, there were about one million deaths from malaria, which is still the number one killer, with about 90 per cent coming from Africa. Zambia contributed about 50,000 deaths out of its four million clinical cases.

Mr Speaker, prompt access to effective treatment is a core strategy to the treatment of malaria. However, how many people die daily in Zambia because of lack of medication and health facilities? We need a deliberate programme to build more health posts on a large scale throughout Zambia to improve on this status. This will improve both the detection and response to malaria. We also need to accelerate the actions in line with the 2005 World Health Agreement Resolutions and Abuja Call. 

Mr Speaker, besides this, in 2002, two million children died in developing countries from perinatal conditions. Four million children died from pneumonia, measles and diarrhoea alone. The deaths recorded include those from Zambia as well. Access can make a difference in the country and the world over. Examples are there for all to see.

Mr Speaker, I would like to give an example of smallpox, which was an acute contagious disease caused by a variola virus. In some cultures, smallpox was a major killer of infants. It is a disease which killed even nobles. Queen Mary II of England, Emperor Joseph I of Austria, King Luis of Spain, the Tsar Peter II of Russia, Queen Eureka of Sweden and many other nobles died of smallpox. It killed 30 per cent of all the people infected with it. Between 55 to 80 per cent of the survivors were marked with deep seated scars. 

Mr Speaker, in 1950, for instance, the world had 50 million smallpox cases. In 1967 when the World Health Organisation (WHO) launched a vigorous campaign globally, cases dropped from 50 million to about 10 to 15 million. By 1977, we had only one natural case in Somalia, the Horn of Africa. In 1978, there was one case reported in the United Kingdom, in the laboratory. By 1990, the World Health Assembly declared and certified that smallpox had been eradicated. This happened because of the vaccines and their availability. 

Mr Speaker, improving access to drugs in both public and private pharmacies must address not only their quality, but also the cost. At times, one wonders how private pharmacies flourish at the expense of public ones. Even at the UTH, private pharmacies are, at times, better stocked. The question that begs an answer then is: Why are they better stocked than the ones that we have as a Government? Only those with money access these expensive drugs. Those without money are slowly left to seek other survival means. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, shortages of drugs at the point of supply need to be addressed. At times, even small pieces of equipment like carnullars are not available. We thank God for bodies such as the Medicine Transparency Alliance (MeTA) which works hand in hand with the Government to improve access to medicine by increasing transparency and accountability in the health care system and market place. 

Mr Speaker, MeTA is in seven countries which are Zambia, Ghana, Jordan, Peru, Philippines, Uganda and Kazakhstan. When countries implement MeTA, they make a commitment to progressively disclose a standard set of coded data covering quality, availability, price and the promotion of medicines. This commitment also requires the involvement of all stakeholders to bring about the necessary changes in the drug supply chain. 

I, therefore, urge the hon. Members to support this non-partisan Motion as we look at the vulnerable in our various constituencies and the cost of these drugs in our constituencies. How many deaths would have been avoided with a little more transparency? How many deaths would be avoided with reduced corruption? 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Katema (Chingola): Mr Speaker, I could see… 

Mr Munkombwe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Munkombwe: Mr Speaker, I am persuaded to raise this point of order because of an article which has appeared in The Post newspaper with the following headline:

“Musenge urges citizens to petition Government over the proposed ZNBC Amendment Bill.”

Mr Speaker, I know that on Monday, you called for a seminar to educate us to the effect that things that are debated in this House should not be taken outside, particularly, by hon. Members of Parliament who are part of the law making process. However, in the article in the newspaper, Hon. Musenge is saying that this Bill should be stopped.

Sir, I know that there was voting regarding the Bill on that particular day where eighty-five were for and forty-five were against it going to the next stage. I assume that Hon. Musenge was either among the forty-five or the eighty-five.

Mr Speaker, really, will it be fair that the laws that we make here are again taken backwards by the same people to gain whatever they want to gain outside this Chamber? I think it does not augur well with Parliamentary ethics. 

Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member in order to demean this House more so that he was part of the process? I seek your serious ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Munkombwe laid the paper on the Table.

Mr Speaker: Order! With regard to the point of order that has been raised by the hon. Deputy Minister for Southern Province, I have to say that, indeed, that article was drawn to my attention before now. I am in the process of developing the kind of guidance I should give to hon. Members on a matter such as this one. The ruling on this point of order will be made very shortly as reminded by the point of order. For the time being, the hon. Member for Chingola will continue.

Dr Katema: Mr Speaker, I could see some hon. Members of the Executive shaking their heads as the mover and the seconder were debating the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I want to tackle only one aspect of this debate which is the accessibility to the drugs. I know that in the response, the Executive is going to quote figures of how many drugs they have purchased, how many containers and how many truckloads have been brought into the country, but we do not need to go very far. We only have to take a walk to the UTH and go to any clinic, get consultation and, thereafter, wait for the prescription to be given out. When you go to the pharmacy, you will not find any drug. If any, there will be very few drugs which shall be dispensed to us. Therefore, we shall have to walk to a chemist within the premises and buy the drugs we need.

Mr Speaker, it is not an impossibility to reach accessibility to drugs. I have worked as a medical doctor in the Kaunda era, Chiluba era and in the Mwanawasa era. In the Kaunda era, I was running a general hospital. There were even times at the end of the year when many essential drugs were withdrawn from pharmacies all over the districts and donated to the veterinary department to be used on animals which is not the case now.

Mr Speaker, to say that drugs are available will be like burying our heads in the sand. If you go to the district health management team where I worked in Chingola, there could be drugs in the main pharmacy at Chawama Health Centre, but the people who will be prescribed drugs in all the surrounding health centres will have to walk from Mutenda which is sixty-eight kilometres away near the border with Solwezi to go and access the drugs at the health centre, which I am talking about, which is right in the centre of the town. This is the case because every health centre has a level of drugs it can dispense to the rural centres and health posts. In the centres and posts, the person who is prescribing there cannot prescribe certain types of drugs because there are only specific drugs that are stored and dispensed. Therefore, the people in the periphery are disadvantaged.

Mr Speaker, in some districts like Kapiri Mposhi, if the drugs are prescribed and are not available in the district hospital, somebody has to travel to either Ndola or Kabwe to access the drugs. Therefore, to say that accessibility is very good in our country is a fallacy. It is a joke.

Sir, some private pharmacies and drug stores which we are talking about which could alleviate the problem have been closed down. Of course, for a good cause, but they were being run by non-pharmacists. A law was passed in this House which states that only a pharmacist can run a drug store or a private chemist.

How many chemists do we have in Zambia? In a big town like Chingola where I come from, there is only one private chemist that is fit to dispense drugs. The rest, if we follow the law which we passed, should be shut down. The chemists in the health centres run by the Government are not serviced by pharmacists because we do not have enough pharmacists and, so, accessibility to quality drugs is a problem. The private sector, which used to alleviate this problem, has been cramped down by the law which is seemingly doing a good thing although we enacted it without doing our homework of providing pharmacists to run pharmacies in health institutions both in the private and public sector.

Mr Speaker, the availability of drugs in our health institutions is also hampered by the shortage of manpower to prescribe them. A lot of our health centres in the country are run by nurses and some are run by environmental technicians who are ‘smaller health inspectors’ and whose training has nothing to do with prescriptions. Others are run by enrolled nurses whose training does not include diagnosis and prescription. So, patients who go to these health institutions are disadvantaged because they cannot even get a prescription to buy drugs from a private chemist.

Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister comes to respond, I would like him to highlight what the Government is going to do to alleviate this problem of shortage of the manpower of prescribers in our health institutions and what it should do about people in the private sector who run drug stores because these should be run professionally. However, it should be noted that, at the moment, we do not have many pharmacists, but we have sufficient pharmacy technicians.

Mr Speaker, with the regulations as they stand, only pharmacists can run a pharmacy. It is just that when it comes to public institutions, the regulations are waived, but not to the advantage of the people.

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

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this chance to contribute to the debate on the Motion.

Mr Speaker, as an hon. Member from a rural area, I get concerned about the provision of health services, especially to the people in the rural areas. It is common knowledge that the discrepancies and inequalities that are inherent in the provision of health services are as a result of poor planning and inequitable allocation of resources between the urban and rural areas. 

Mr Speaker, it is high time the Government shifted emphasis from the development of health infrastructure in the urban to rural areas. When we have adequate health infrastructure developed in rural areas, it is also common knowledge that more personnel will be deployed to these health centres and also that medicines will be sent to these clinics so that people can benefit from the services.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chingola said some of the clinics are manned by nurses, environmental technicians or ‘small health inspectors’. That is a better situation because in the rural areas, sometimes, we just have an ordinary villager or guard manning a clinic …


Mrs Mwamba: … with a list of drugs such as panadol and fansidar, which have already been prescribed for someone with a headache or malaria, when that person has no knowledge about the components in the drugs.

Mr Speaker, I support the Motion and also urge the Government to put more emphasis on the development of health infrastructure in rural areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion.

Mr Speaker, Zambia, like many countries, is faced with challenges in the health sector because we have a disease burden and, with the increase in the disease burden, obviously, there is stress on the health system in the country.

Mr Speaker, I would like to state, from the onset, that the Government has worked very hard to improve health services in the country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, compounded with that, we have the churches and civil society that are in the health sector and that have also been doing a very good job in addressing the problem of the high disease burden. 

I support the Motion, as it is non controversial but, basically, urging the Government to continue doing what is already being done. At the moment, I am aware that the Government has several programmes in the health sector that are ensuring that what the hon. Member has moved in the Motion is achieved. The issue here is to scale up rather than increase.

Mr Speaker, one of the biggest problems that we have is that of the HIV/AIDS which has caused havoc to our country. Today, many of our people have been attacked by this deadly disease, including those in the health sector, causing a critical shortage of health staff although some of them have left for greener pastures. The Government, in the past ten years or so, has come up with various programmes to try and address the problem that is on the Floor of the House.

One of the programmes was one that was meant to ensure that the crisis of human resources in the country is addressed. I am aware that the Government, through the Ministry of Health, has a programme to try and retain staff in the health sector. I am saying this because I know that, for instance, from the time I became an hon. Member of Parliament until now, we have never had a district doctor in Chongwe. We just had junior medical officers but, today, Chongwe can boast of about four qualified doctors.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, in 2002, we did not have enough health posts or health centres in Chongwe but, today, we can boast of an increased number of health centres, improvement in the equipment and even the drug supply. Now, I agree that there is need to do more and I am sure that is why the Government is there to always work hard and do better.

Mr Speaker, again, you will recall that some three to five years ago, Members of this House kept complaining that the user fees were hindering people from accessing health care. The Government listened and abolished user fees in the rural areas and that had an impact. The impact was that immediately the user fees were expunged, the number of people going to the clinics almost doubled and that put more pressure on the health system. The Government moved in by making sure that the budget allocation was increased. 

You will recall that in 2002, the budget for health was about 6 per cent of the National Budget. The budget allocation for health has been increasing slowly over the years and, today, it is over 11 or 12 per cent. I am sure the hon. Minister of Health will guide us correctly on the figures, but you can see that there has been a steady flow of resources to the health centres.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, there is still a need to increase the allocation to the health sector because, obviously, as I have said from the beginning, the disease burden in this country is high. We must not only be looking at getting rid of this disease burden, but also talk about, especially in this House, urging the Government to identify factors that contribute to this disease burden. These are simple issues such as water and sanitation. We all know that one of the killer diseases in this country is diarrhoea, especially in children, because of drinking poor quality water. So we must put our money where it is required most. If we put more money in drilling more boreholes, providing clean water, providing good sanitation, good environment and do away with floods, the disease burden will start reducing. We should also put more money in education because the more educated people we have, the fewer diseases we are going to have. This is because some people are getting sick out of ignorance as they do not know basic things such as washing hands. It is a pity that we hear less about people washing hands. Washing hands as many times as possible is such an important exercise that it can reduce this country’s disease burden by even a half.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: This is not an exaggeration, but a fact because people know that they should only wash their hands when eating nshima. 

Mr Speaker, with regard to the transmission of HIV/AIDS, even when people know that they are HIV positive, they continue spreading the disease, and yet they know that the Government provides anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) at no cost despite these drugs being expensive. Zambia did this at a time when we did not have enough resources. Because the Government cared for the people of Zambia, thanks to the late President Mwanawasa, we said we shall give the people the drugs free of charge.

Hon .Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, this was at the time when not so many countries could do that, but we diverted some money for that purpose and, today, Zambia can boast as one of the countries that have so many of its people receiving ARVs free of charge.

Mr Speaker, I know that the Government has a programme for the distribution of drugs. I also know that these drugs sometimes reach our constituencies. So, we need to look at this issue because I know that, sometimes, drugs go missing before they reach our constituencies. Some people sell them as we saw some years ago when pharmacies mushroomed all over the show because people were getting the drugs which the Government was buying for public health facilities, and taking them to private facilities. All these are issues that needed to be adequately addressed by the Government and, indeed, the leaders in this House. We must assist the Government by ensuring that when drugs are sent to our various constituencies, they are not found on the open market.

Mr Speaker, I know that we normally get drugs for major diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and so on and so forth, but some of the clinics do not request for drugs for complicated diseases that are not very common because there are very few people who need such drugs. Normally, when those drugs are sent to the clinics, they end up expiring or, maybe, at the time when they are expiring, that is when somebody goes to the clinic and they need the drugs. Therefore, the Ministry of Health has to take this into account when distributing the drugs, particularly that the biggest problem we have is that of the state of our roads. 

Mr Speaker, if the roads were in good condition, there would be no need to build many clinics. Besides, what would be the point in building a clinic when there are no people to work in it? For example, in my constituency, I have some clinics that were constructed by the civil society, non-governmental organisations and other donors, but have not been opened. Why? It is because there are no people to work in the clinics. We all have a tendency of wanting a clinic here and there without taking into account that even the existing clinics do not have staff. So, the Government must make sure that the road network is good. Once the road network is good, there will be no need to have many health centres that do not have staff and adequate drugs. That way, we will not be littering money all over. 

Mr Speaker, I have always said that what is important is to look at the factors that are increasing the disease burden and if we can address those push factors, we will be doing justice to our little resources. We cannot afford to let ourselves fall sick because of poor hygiene standards and unsafe drinking water and so on and so forth. We expect a lot of money to be given to the Ministry of Health at the expense of other social sectors such as education and water and sanitation and, indeed, the road network.

Mr Speaker, I just wanted to state that this Motion is non-controversial and I am speaking for myself. I think the mover just wants to urge the Government to scale up whatever they are already doing. When you compare Zambia to a number of African countries in relation to the health sector, Zambia is celebrated in other countries …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: …. but, here, I have never heard anybody praising themselves about the good works Zambia has done in the health sector. 

I want to commend the former hon. Minister of Health, Dr Chituwo, who did a lot of work during his time because even at the time I took over, I found most of the work had been done and it was easy for me to run the ministry despite not being a doctor. Hon. Simbao is also trying his best and we can see the results. However, as I have said earlier, there is still a lot of work to be done to reduce the disease burden in this country. We should take our resources where they are needed, that is prevention and not curative.

I thank you, Sir.

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

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Musonda): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I want to say that this Motion, which has been moved by Hon. Chota and seconded by Hon. Mukanga, is quite surprising …


Dr Musonda: … for lack of a better term, because we, as a Government, were expecting a Motion which would cure an identified mischief in the health sector. Instead, what have just been mentioned are actually a whole lot of wrong figures and misinformation which we will need to correct. We need to educate them on what this ministry is doing to try and meet the areas highlighted in the Motion. 

Mr Speaker, I am so surprised that the hon. Member who moved the Motion is not even aware that Zambia has moved miles in the treatment of malaria and that chloroquine is no longer among the drugs of choice in this country.


Dr Musonda: Chloroquine reached amazing levels of resistance and, therefore, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that we change the drug for the treatment of malaria. As early as 2003, this Government changed the treatment of malaria to a more superior drug called coartem. I should mention that some of our neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe and Malawi are still struggling to change from chloroquine, which is still resistant in these countries, to coartem, which we have implemented at full scale.

Mr Speaker, the subject covered in this Motion is too wide. I should also mention that the hon. Member who moved the Motion actually tried to consult with the Ministry of Health and we advised him that the way the Motion was phrased served no purpose in terms of curing the many problems that the ministry is facing. The Government is aware of these challenges and is working day and night to make sure that it corrects the situation. It is for this reason that I say that this Motion is a nonentity. It is a non-starter because it is just talking about what the Government is doing right now.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, several hon. Members have talked about the availability of drugs. Unfortunately, the Motion does not address the health delivery system as a whole, especially that so many reforms have taken place in the sector. We have made strategic plans which have been revised and are now implementing the National Health Strategic Plan which is ending this year. We have tried to prioritise the problems depending on the disease burdens that we are experiencing in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, it is so surprising that some hon. Members think that the delivery of health services is only about drugs. The delivery of the health system that the Ministry of Health is currently implementing is that of primary health care, in which drugs are just a component. We have so many other components that this ministry or the Government at large is holistically undertaking. For example, the ministry is undertaking immunisation of children around the country. No one has even mentioned that it has now almost reached the WHO recommended target of over 80 per cent immunisation of all infants. This means that it is protecting more of our children against childhood illnesses. Somebody even mentioned smallpox and that people are dying of measles in Zambia. If these people had researched, they would have found out that Zambia is actually supposed to be a measles-free country and this has been certified by the WHO.


Dr Musonda: Measles is a surveillance and notifiable disease. The number of cases of measles that we have been recording is so minimal that this country is actually a measles-free zone. This goes for polio as well. This is because of our enhanced immunisation programmes.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musonda: So, what are they talking about in terms of accessibility?

Dr Katema: Drugs!

Dr Musonda: They talked about drugs because they, probably, thought drugs are the only thing that we can talk about in terms of challenges in the provision of health care. We have actually made progress in terms of trying to strengthen the procurement and distribution of drugs. As a result of health reforms, the procurement of drugs is done at headquarters through Medical Stores. The medicines are then distributed to provincial centres onwards to districts and community health centres. So, these are the three levels of the supply chain in the distribution of drugs by the ministry. 

I am so surprised that the hon. Member for Chingola, who was working at a rural health centre, is still covering his eyes not to see that health centre kits are provided to health centres more timely than before.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Dr Katema: Question!

Dr Musonda: At the same time, he knows that we are using the Push System. This means that each district has a prescribed number of health centre kits that they request and receive monthly and the ministry ensures that these kits are received. Sometimes, when drugs are not used, we are caught up in audit queries because drugs end up expiring. I think it has been mentioned on the Floor of this House before that there are a lot of health kits in our centres. 

Mr Speaker, last year, we budgeted to buy up to 20,700 health centre kits. In the ministry’s budget for this year, which has been approved by this House, we have actually increased the amount of the budgetary allocation towards drugs from K97 billion to K105 billion. This means that we are even catering for a few new health centres which never existed last year. Therefore, what are they talking about in terms of not having accessible drugs in health centres?

Mr Speaker, when talking about accessibility and affordability of drugs, hon. Members should know that there is an essential drug list in our health institutions. The essential drug list is part of health centre kits. There are other diseases which our people are definitely facing, but the drugs are not on the essential drugs list. Occasionally, those are the drugs for which prescriptions are given. It should be noted, however, that even the most expensive drugs that we have now, which are the anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs), are being given free of charge. We are merely asking any Zambian to walk into a health centre, get tested and screened and then be given free ARVs should there be need to. What accessibility or affordability are the mover and seconder of this Motion talking about?


Dr Musonda: It is unfortunate that hon. Members are even failing to come forward and get tested so that they can actually access the same drugs. Only 15 per cent of this population has actually tested.

Mr Mbulakulima: Hammer! Tell them, hon. Minister.

Dr Musonda: What accessibility and affordability of drugs are we talking about when we have made health services free? In order to increase access, in 2007, the Government abolished user fees so that any person in the rural area can just walk into a health centre and access health services. Are the hon. Members saying that they have already forgotten so soon?


Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I just want to mention that the Ministry of Health’s budget for both non-essential and essential drugs was K415 billion in 2005 and has been increasing at a rate of about 47 per cent annually according to the ministry’s budgets that have been approved in this House. It was going to be better if this Motion had talked about increasing funding to the Ministry of Health so as to reach the Abuja Declaration of spending 15 per cent of national budgets on health. 

We are all aware that national resources are not enough and, therefore, all Government departments have to share from the same basket of meagre resources. Nonetheless, the Government is making a lot of strides and has even increased spending on health from 11.8 per cent, last year, to 11.9 per cent of the National Budget this year. The money spent on health is not actually sourced from donors.

Mr Speaker, I would just like to mention to my colleagues here that this Motion is very defective and does not need to be tabled before this House because Zambia has really progressed in the past five years. This can be seen by the vital indicators which were not only done by the Zambia Demographic Health Survey, but also by some international monitors like the WHO. These indicators are on the WHO website for every one of us to see.

Mr Speaker, a few days ago, I indicated that our infant mortality rate, which is very cardinal in trying to assess our health care, has gone down. This means that we have more children surviving than before and our immunisation and primary health care services, in terms of preventive measures, are also fine. 

Mr Speaker, in 1990, we had up to 107 deaths per 1,000 but, today, and I even mentioned this year, the 2007 Demographic Health Survey shows that we are at seventy deaths per 1,000. This very indicator is what is putting us on the mark to say we are able and are likely, as we continue beyond 2011, to attain the millennium development goals (MDGs) on health.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, regarding the Under Five mortality rate, we were at 191 deaths per 1,000 in 1990, but it went up to 197 in 1996. Now, the Under Five mortality rate is just 119 deaths per 1,000. If you look at these very important parameters which were not only done by ourselves, but by other organisations, it actually shows that we are caring for our children so well. This implies that our health system has improved, both in accessibility and affordability. Therefore, what is this Motion talking about that we have not heard before?


Dr Musonda: I would urge the hon. Member who moved the Motion to withdraw it so that, probably, we sit down and talk and target some other problems that we are facing such as malaria. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia is being celebrated as an icon in the fight against malaria. We see and hear these things. So why do we close our ears so that we do not hear them?

Our implementation, as Zambia, of the thrust in terms of malaria prevention has been in tip-top condition. This can be seen, for instance, in the supply of bed nets, use of effective drugs such as coartem and the household spraying which are conducting. 

Mr Speaker, last week, a delegation from Malawi was in the country trying to learn from us on how we are doing the in-door spraying for mosquitoes, a programme we have been implementing for some time, which has seen the figures of malaria cases reducing. These things are there.


Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, because of our improved diagnosis and, probably, improved drugs, the tuberculosis (TB) drugs, for example, in Zambia are free. If somebody is ill, all that person needs to do is give us his or her sputum. Despite the high cost of reagents, we will analyse the sputum and when the results show that he or she has TB, they will just walk in and get free drugs. We have seen that with this intervention, the figure of the cure rate has gone up from 79 per cent, in 2005, to 85 per cent and the WHO recommendation is about 80 per cent. What affordability and accessibility are you talking about? Please, let us open our ears and eyes so that we hear and see these things as they are put forward.

Mr Speaker let me comment on one thing that, I think, the hon. Member for Chongwe also touched on. I would be at a risk of, probably, trying to discuss those that are outside the House, but for the sake of this Motion, I should share it with this House. We agree, as a Government, that there could be some individuals, I should say, within the health sector that are trying to pull the Government down. 

The hon. Member for Chongwe pointed out a very good point that when the budget is prepared, we know, from the allocation, the drugs we need to purchase and then distribute them to the districts. However, along the way, they disappear and we are aware of this. Measures and even laws, such as the one on the protection of whistleblowers, are being put in place so that these medical facilities can go to the intended poor people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, let me share with you my experience of last week at the UTH, which somebody mentioned, here in this House, as being known not have drugs. One child fell down and broke an arm and went to the hospital around 1600 hours. By 2300 hours, that child was not given any Plaster of Paris on the premise that the hospital had run out of the substance. One hon. Member, within here, called me and I challenged him that these things were there as I knew what stocks we had. I then drove to the UTH around 2300 hours and asked the staff whether it was true that the hospital had run out of the POP, but the staff ascertained that they had it in stock. This is what is happening and we know it.

Mr Speaker, the attitude is also killing us and it is not that the Government is failing to provide because it is. It is we, sometimes, who are to blame because we are even buying drugs written the Government Republic of Zambia (GRZ) on them from tutemba, but we cannot report these dealers to the police. This is so even when we know that those drugs have been siphoned from the Ministry of Health. Therefore, we cannot come here and start asking the Government to try and streamline the health delivery system.

Mr Speaker, with all that is going on, I feel this Motion is not aiming at curing any mischief, but it has given us an opportunity, as a Government, to explain to our people the many things we are doing well and that it is a nonentity.

I, therefore, urge every hon. Member not to support this Motion and also urge the hon. Member to withdraw it immediately.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: As you can see for yourselves, I see a number of hon. Members who would like to contribute to this Motion. I know you would like to debate, but since I hear the positions have been taken, let me have, probably, three hon. Members from the left side and I know there is only one from the right side, as you can see, and then you will conclude by voting.

I just wish to alert you that I may interrupt debate on this Motion to make the ruling that I promised you earlier. I, or one of us, shall soon be ready.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, in the first place, let me thank you for allowing me to contribute to this important Motion. 

Secondly, I want to thank both the mover and seconder of the Motion for having brought such an important Motion to this august House. To the best of my knowledge, I do believe that this is, in fact, long, overdue.

Mr Hamududu: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I have discovered that there are a number of health institutions in this country being run from month to month without giving drugs to patients.


Mr Chisala: What I am saying are facts which have been obtained from the tour programmes that I undertook in my constituency from 27th December, 2009 to 18th February, 2010. 

During this tour, I discovered, with my naked eyes, that a number of people in Chilubi Parliamentary Constituency could not access drugs and, to make matters worse, this was a time when there was a malaria outbreak. We used to record, at least, 120 cases a day and most of the patients were just left without getting any drugs. Only two health institutions out of ten had drugs and these are Santa Maria Mission Rural Health Centre which belongs to the Catholic and the Chilubi Rural Health Centre. 

Mrs Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala: So, I am really disturbed to hear from the hon. Deputy Minister that what these people are talking about is not of value and this Motion should be withdrawn. It is really a sad development.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, where I come from, patients are referred to hospitals such as Luwingu but they are asked to buy drugs upon arrival and, in the process, what we have discovered is that...

Mr Speaker: Order! Hon. Members, I regret to interrupt this important debate, but I have to do so in order to make a ruling on the point of order raised by the hon. Deputy Minister for Southern Province on the speech of the hon. Member for Chingola which I deferred.

Hon. Members, on the point of order raised by the hon. Hon. Deputy Minister for Southern Province on The Post newspaper article attributed to Mr Mwenya Musenge, MP, titled, “Musenge Urges Citizens to Petition Government over Proposed ZNBC (Amendment) Bill”, I wish to guide as follows:

In the article, Mr Musenge, MP, is alleged to have stated that: 

“If need arises we shall engage the support of the international community and we shall soon get signatures and mobilise people to petition Government against the law.”

Hon. Members may wish to know that under the current Republican Constitution, there is no legal power vested in the people to petition a Bill. However, under Article 1(3) of the Constitution which declares the Constitution as the supreme law of the land, a member of the public may challenge the constitutionality of an Act of Parliament before the High Court for Zambia under Article 72. Article 72(2) provides that an appeal from the determination of the High Court on any question of law including the interpretation of the Constitution shall lie to the Supreme Court.

Hon. Members may further wish to know that under Article 27 of the Constitution, thirty Members of Parliament can petition Mr Speaker within three days of a Bill being passed by the National Assembly for a report on the constitutionality of a Bill. The Speaker shall, upon receipt, refer the petition to the Chief Justice to constitute a tribunal to determine the matter. This process may result in the non-enactment of a Bill which is inconsistent with the Constitution.

In the same article, it is alleged that the hon. Member for Nkana, Mr M. Mwenya, MP, uttered the following statement:

“Actually, this Bill and many others which the MMD want to be in place before the 2011 elections must be stopped because they will just put more pressure on the suffering Zambians.”

In the above statement, it is clearly being inferred that laws are made by the MMD. This is incorrect because laws are enacted by the House. In line with the principle of collective responsibility, every hon. Member is bound by the decisions of the House. It is, therefore, a breach of privilege for a Member to publicly disassociate himself or herself from a decision of the House.

Further, under Article 27 of the Constitution, a right is accorded to Members of the House to challenge the enactment of a Bill. The hon. Member, therefore, should have exercised his right under Article 27 instead of resorting to the press to condemn the Bills being passed by the House.

In the light of what I have said, it is, therefore, not in order for an hon. Member to disassociate himself or herself from the decisions of this House. It is never done and this must stop forthwith. 

Let me, once again, remind the House that the seminar that was held on Monday, 22nd March, 2010 was to remind hon. Members to avoid breaches of the privileges and procedures of the House. I hope the important information that was given at the seminar will help hon. Members to conduct themselves properly.

Thank you.

The hon. Member for Chilubi may continue.

Mr Chisala: I thank you, Mr Speaker. Mr Speaker, I want to say that the issues raised by both the mover and seconder of this Motion are real. They have been happening for many years now. 

Mr Speaker, I do believe, to the best of my knowledge, that the root cause of this problem is the lack of qualified manpower in a number of health institutions. This is one problem which we need to solve if things are to work well in the Ministry of Health.

Mr Speaker, the other point is about the restructuring exercise. I think it would be important for the Executive to speed up this process. Once this is done, it will be in favour of the Zambian people because the situation currently is not healthy. What we have, currently, on the ground is that unqualified people are manning health institutions in most areas. How do you expect them to perform effectively when they have never had any training? This cannot happen. Therefore, I make a humble request to the Executive to see to it that this Motion is supported in total.

Furthermore, Mr Speaker, I know that my colleagues in the Executive have been performing but they need to do more.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala: Therefore, we do not need to repeat ourselves over this issue.

Mr Speaker, the other thing that should be done apart from this is that the hon. Minister of Health should give marching orders to the provincial medical officers regarding this issue because there are so many health institutions which do not have drugs. These people should be ordered to go to district health centres every month to check whether the drugs are there in the storerooms so that our people do not go without drugs.

Mr Speaker, once again, I want to thank you, the mover and seconder of this Motion, for having brought it to this august House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for according me the opportunity to contribute on this Motion. From the outset, I would like to state that I am supporting the Motion.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe: At the same time, I would like to thank and commend the Ministry of Education for the job that they are doing.

Hon. Opposition Members: Ministry of Health!

Mrs Sinyangwe: Sorry, I would like to commend the Ministry of Health for the job that they are doing. It is common sense to see that we are improving and moving forward. While we are improving, we need to do more because many other things need to be addressed.

For example, my constituency has health facilities that were built when people were very few. Now, the population has more than doubled, but we still have the same infrastructure which is not adequate. For instance, when women go for ante-natal clinic, they wake up at 04 hours to go and queue up for them to be attended to because the nurses and clinics are not adequate.

Furthermore, I would like to commend the ministry for acquiring a CT scan for the hospital which it did not have for along time. However, I would like to say that when people are referred for specialised treatment, especially at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), it becomes a problem when they are vulnerable because the CT scan is very expensive for them. Let us find a way of helping vulnerable people because if they are not helped, they will go home and wait for nothing, but death. 

The other thing that I would also like to talk about is the issue of staff. I think we need to train more nurses. When one goes to a ward at the UTH, they find that the nurses are over stretched because one nurse has to look after a lot of patients. Three weeks ago, my niece died in the hospital. There was only one nurse who had gone to collect medicine from the pharmacy and the poor girl died in my hands.

Hon. Opposition Members: That is the UTH!

Mrs Sinyangwe: That is the UTH.

Mrs Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe: At the same time, I would like to say that we, as leaders, must support the Government when it is doing a good job. Our attitude towards the Government must change. Sometimes, we politicise issues that are not supposed to be politicised. We even go to the extent of encouraging nurses to go on strike and leave people dying. I think that should change.

Secondly, I would like to see that there is some form of sensitisation to our people regarding the way they administer the drugs. The way people administer drugs is not acceptable. Sometimes, people are seen taking drugs out of hospitals, but because of the tendency that people have of just wanting to complain in the House and keeping quiet out there, people have got away with it. At the end of the day, it is the Government that is blamed for the shortage of drugs. I think even the attitude of Zambians and leaders must also change for the better. 

Sir, provision of health services should not be regarded as a political issue. It is a national issue that affects everybody. That is why even when we are complaining, we should complain realistically. It is not just a question of saying that the Government is not doing well. We must suggest the way the Government should move and do the mapping to see where the hospitals are and how many are well equipped.

I would like to thank the Government for working on the facilities like the theatre for the clinic in my constituency. This is commendable work on the part of the Government. However, we need to know where to put these facilities. We should also try to train more people because provision of quality health service and quality care will only come when we have adequate staff and trained personnel.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute on this Motion.

Sir, I stand to support the Motion on the Floor of the House. This is a harmless Motion which urges the Government to streamline the provision of health services. Streamlining does not mean that there is nothing being done. It means that something is being done, but we must set things correct. This Motion is also urging the Government to improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs in this country.

Mr Speaker, it is a pity that the hon. Deputy Minister was quick to debate and answer. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Unnecessary excitement!

Mr Muntanga: He even told us to withdraw this Motion. I think it was too early for him to have said that. 

I am appealing to the hon. Deputy Minister not to interpret the Motion as that of the Opposition. This Motion should be embraced by all hon. Members of this House because the Government is already doing a commendable job. 

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

Mr Muntanga: It is a known fact that, in certain areas of Zambia, people are not getting the services that we are talking about. While the hon. Deputy Minister may blow his trumpet about what is there, which may be present only in certain areas, I would like to ask him to understand that there are salient services that are not being provided in rural areas. 

Sir, even in his constituency, Chitambo, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: … there are certain health services that are not being provided to our people.

Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Deputy Minister to realise that this Motion is an innocent Motion which is appealing to his office to look at the issue of service provision. What is it that people are talking about? I would like him to know, through this debate, that I have got more than fifteen rural health centres in Kalomo Central Constituency that do not have nurses. I have got a health centre in Masempele that is being run by a dresser. If this is what he calls ‘best services’, then we have got a problem because this hon. Deputy Minister is a medical doctor. In fact, I was saying he is not supposed to be debating in this House. He is supposed to be in the wards treating people because we do not have enough trained doctors.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

That is not allowed. He can treat people even in this House.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I will ask him to treat us as well.


Mr Muntanga: If the hon. Deputy Minister is told by people that there is no Plaster of Paris (POP) at the UTH, but when he drives there, he is told that it is there, then it must ring a bell that something is wrong.

Mrs Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, at one time, my brother who had a cardiac problem was told by the doctors at the UTH, in July, that he could only be examined in October or sometime there about. They told him that his heart was growing, but they wanted him to be examined in October. I rang the then hon. Minister of Health who asked me to meet him at the UTH. True to his word, when we got to the UTH, the doctors were available. Do we really need a Minister of Health to make the doctors run and attend to persons whom they want to see after several months? 

Sir, what we are saying is that the services are there, but we are trying hard under difficult circumstances.

Mr Speaker, we are aware that the budgetary allocations are not enough and that there are services that are not provided to the people of Zambia. Therefore, please, let us accept this Motion. This is a Motion which is urging this Government to continue doing a good job. I am surprised to see that, in this House, others are saying that we should withdraw this Motion. Are you people thinking? On this side of the House, we do more than you do because we are concerned about our people in the rural areas. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, we have heard stories about drug kits. These stories are very familiar to us. I would want to go to Nantale, which is in my constituency, with the hon. Minister of Health so that I show him that there are no drugs there. What I hear in this House is that you are destroying certain drugs because they have expired. Why are these drugs not taken to the rural areas before they expire? This Motion is simply asking you to streamline the provision of health services. Where there are too many nurses, move some of them to rural areas and where there too many drug kits, take some to rural areas. This is what we are talking about. We know that about 250,000 Zambians are getting free HIV/AIDS drugs. I want you people to understand that it is not only 250,000 people that have HIV/AIDS. They are more than that. 

Sir, furthermore, I would like the hon. Minister of Health to tell me, through this Motion, what this Government will do next year, when the donors conclude the provision of free ARVs. Have we planned for that? We all know that a lot of these ARVs are donor funded. Therefore, as a Government, how much have we prepared for this? Is the Government prepared to continue supporting the 250,000 people infected with HIV/AIDS? These are the questions we should ask ourselves. In this regard, I would like to tell the doctors here that if we will not get treated at the UTH, we will wake them up at night so that they can treat us. What is happening now is that there can be doctors at the UTH, but if you do not go to the fast track service, the other doctors will not attend to you. For you to go and be attended to by a doctor under the fast track service, you need to make an appointment and pay K1,500,000. How many of our people will afford to pay this amount of money? 

Sir, we have a service in Zambia at the UTH which I equate to one that is offered at South African hospitals, but that service is at a fee. Are we, the majority of Zambians, able to access this excellent treatment? Surprisingly, when we appeal to you to address the health problems through an innocent Motion by Hon. Chota, who I want to congratulate for bringing it, you stand up and ask us to withdraw it.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I want to urge this Government to listen. Do not tell the people who are telling you to listen to them and do a good job, to instead listen to you. When you are doing a good job for the Zambian people, you are the ones who are supposed to listen. In that listening, you will know that in Chitambo, somewhere near Serenje, some people are not being treated.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: You will know that somewhere in Chief Moono’s area in Mumbwa, somewhere in one corner, there is no rural health centre.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: You will also be able to know that people want to be treated. You will know…

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until1630 hours.


Mr Muntanga: Madam Speaker, I was saying that this is an innocent and harmless Motion. It is simply asking this Government to do the best on the things that they are already providing. 

Madam, I recall, there was a time when the UTH was submerged in water. At that time, the current hon. Minister was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health. He went with his people and pumped out all the water that was there. I hope he still remembers that incident. The point I am trying to make is that the current hon. Deputy Minister should cool down and listen to what we are saying. He should be able to know why the people are saying we should streamline. 

Sir, for example, if a person wants to order a drug a specific type of panadol, he or she will have to pay US$7,500 in a year. If you want to get another type of panadol such as paracetamol, you will have to pay another US$7,500. You will have to pay US$7,500 for each and every type of panadol that you want to order. In this country, we can order different types of drugs, but we do not because our pharmaceutical rules are such that you pay a lot of money for varieties of the same type of drugs. That is why some drugs are not available in the country. The people who want to order these drugs have to follow these rules. We have all these salient issues which have been highlighted and that is why we are saying that we should streamline our health services. I am sure it can help us render these services properly to the people of Zambia. 

Sir, when we say that we should be able to provide the drugs, we also include the situations where there are thefts of drugs. We are appealing to you to seal these loopholes. You are not going to come here and ask us why we buy those drugs. You ask the people out there whether they mind where the drug is coming from when a person is suffering. We are not with our people all the time. You should streamline the process and make sure that you seal those loopholes which you were talking about. On one hand, you are saying, withdraw this Motion and, on the other, you are admitting that there are thefts, but, you want to blame the theft of drugs on your fellow hon. Members of Parliament. We are, therefore, asking the hon. Minister who is in charge to make sure that drugs reach the areas where they do not usually reach. When I go to Mufumbwe, to a place known as Kamizekezeke, there should be panadol there. When I was in Solwezi, in a place called Kivuku, there was no clinic and that place is about fifty kilometres away from Solwezi Town. That is even why we won in that constituency.

We are asking you to streamline, and you think that we are being political. There is nothing political about this. We are actually saying that you are doing well. Unless you want us to praise you when we debate? We can do that, but this Motion is straightforward and harmless. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: It seems, however, that we are taking sides and making it political. I know that it would be political to streamline the provision of health services, but it is for the benefit of the Zambian people.

Mr Speaker, we are appealing to the Government to streamline in Shang’ombo, Western Province, where there is no hospital because the construction of a hospital has stalled. I know that the hon. Minister of Health, being a former Minister of Works and Supply, knows that the hospital needs to be opened. We are just urging you to streamline the provision of health services. What is wrong with that? 

We are simply saying that the provision of drugs should be there. We can name all the different places that need streamlining. Those of us that are hon. Members of Parliament in rural areas admit that there are certain areas where we do not get health services. Let us not blow our trumpet and dance around. If, today, you are hon. Minister or Deputy Minister of Health and you have been told that you will not be praised, you think we are being unfair. You forget that in some village somewhere in Chitambo, people are suffering. 

Even if I have a good road leading to Kalomo, just because it is along the Great North Road, I should not be comfortable because I know that when I go to places like Kalabo or any other constituency where there is a game park, there is no road. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Member: Liuwa!

Mr Muntanga: There is also Liuwa, which you service and people should not complain. We are looking at Zambia as a whole. 

Madam Speaker, if there is a graded road in Malambo, how should we praise people and say that they are doing well when we know that in the game park, there is no clinic to attend to people? This is a fact. We are merely urging you to streamline the provision of health services. 

Madam Speaker, there are health staff that refuse to go to rural areas. The hon. Minister was kind enough to give me fourteen nurses. Within one week, six ran away, coming to town, thinking that Kalomo is a rural area. Suppose we sent them to Liuwa …


Mr Muntanga: …or Chitambo, on that road heading to Samfya, what would happen? If we told these people to turn off the main road and go into the bush, would they stay? 

Mrs Musokotwane: No!

Mr Muntanga: We are asking you to streamline. 

We are not fighting anybody. We are appealing to the hon. Minister to understand us. There are no politics involved. All we want is for you to accept what we are saying and we will acknowledge that. If you are being praised everyday, you should know that there is something wrong. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: If people praise you everyday, Madam Deputy Speaker, you should know …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order!


Mr Muntanga: I beg your pardon. 


Mr Muntanga: Madam Speaker, if they are praising you everyday, you should know that there is something wrong. There must be times when they should be able to say that you are not right. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Then, you will know that you are doing the right thing.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: We know that the Ministry of Health has got problems. We did not have money. Last year, we were even scared that we would close down. We did not know how to survive when the donors withdrew their money. Somehow, we pulled through. We appreciate this. 

Madam Speaker, we know that there are shortcomings. We know that people are stealing drugs. We know that it is difficult to import drugs. We are appealing to you to streamline. I am also appealing to the hon. Deputy Minister to sober up. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Do not come to us, blanketing everybody. I am appealing to you to make trips. 

Hon. Opposition Member: It is just some friendly advice. 

Mr Muntanga: Take time to travel and cover the whole of Chitambo. It is very friendly advice. As a junior hon. Minister, travel through Chitambo and, from there, go to Kalabo. 


Mr Muntanga: Cover all these rural areas. When you go to Mfuwe …

Dr Musonda: On a point of order, Madam. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Ikalafye!

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Order in the House. A point of order is raised. 

Dr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. 


Madam Deputy Speaker: Order in the House!

Hon. Opposition Members: Madam!

Dr Musonda: Madam Speaker, is the hon. Member on the Floor, who is debating so specifically about Chitambo, contrary to what the Motion is talking about in order to be insinuating that people in Chitambo are actually dying, without any evidence? 


Madam Deputy Speaker: I think that the House ought to listen. The hon. Member may continue and take that point of order into consideration. 

Mr Muntanga: Madam Speaker, it has become necessary as I debate to give examples of rural areas. As hon. Members of Parliament, we are duty bound to so. We must realise that as a country we have problems. I have to give examples of rural areas. 

Madam Speaker, fortunately, I have had the privilege to travel to other constituencies. I know that the people of Musungu Village in Luwingu…

Hon. Opposition Member: Musangu.

Mr Muntanga: …have to travel to either Luwingu or Kawambwa for treatment. 

This is an opportunity for me to be able to talk about it because we need people to be critiqued. I am appealing to your conscience, all of you hon. Members running rural as well urban constituencies, to support this Motion which is calling for the streamlining of health services so wonderfully provided. 

Madam Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Dr Chituwo): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate this Motion, which is superfluous for the simple reason that the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalomo Central stated so when he said streamlining health services started way back with Health Reforms. 

Madam Speaker, it is very clear from the debate of the hon. Member who was on the Floor that, previously, we had a very strong centralised system, but after the realisation that we needed to serve our people better, we opened the door to decentralisation. 

Madam Speaker, the streamlining of health services continues to take into account the need for members of staff. In my time, there were fourteen medical students in a stream. We scaled up to as much as eighty. As I speak right now, there are very serious plans from the hon. Minister of Health to put up another medical school on the Copperbelt, in Ndola. All these are efforts meant to bring in more medical doctors. 

Along the same line of streamlining, which we have been doing and, therefore, unnecessary for people to urge us to do, is the issue of increasing the number of midwives. We have introduced a direct entry midwifery course to cut down on the three years of training. We have embarked on an expansion of nursing training schools. We have even introduced new courses at the University of Zambia School of Medicine. To take into account the second aspect of this Motion, which is the issue of drugs, we have introduced Degree courses in Pharmacy just as we have increase on the numbers at technology level at the Evelyn Hone College of Applied Arts and Commerce.

Madam Speaker, in fact, streamlining has been a focus in trying to answer to the many needs of our people. The hon. Member for Chongwe ably stated the issues of double burden of diseases. On one hand, we have an increase in infectious diseases and, on the other, we have the non-infectious disease such as diabetes, hypertension and cancers. It is because of this that we have been streamlining the health services. We now have a Cancer Diseases Hospital.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Madam Speaker, with the equipment which is there; the CT scan, in due course, we shall have the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI). This is all in our quest to service our people better locally.

Madam Speaker, the issue of infrastructure development that some of the hon. Members have mentioned is ongoing. We are on record and, at the moment, there are more than fifteen district hospitals under construction. We have built and continue to build numerous health centres and health posts.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: We are doing all this to fulfill our vision of providing quality health services as close to the family as possible.

Madam Speaker, therefore, I did not see what more we need to be urged to do because the door is already open.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Dr Chituwo: How do you knock on a door which is already open? The door is open and you are invited to come in, Hon. Muntanga. 

Madam Speaker, with regard to the issue of drugs, whereas there is this improvement in the availability and affordability of drugs, again, as I alluded to earlier, the streamlined medical services are such that we have Medical Stores Limited, under the private sector, that, in fact, delivers medical kits. Maybe, there is a need in some areas.

The other issue that has been mentioned by the hon. Minister are that we need to manage malaria effectively. I am aware of districts which have had no use for coartem. For instance, we had to collect the drugs from centres such as Kazungula and Mumbwa. I can see the hon. Member of Parliament for Kazungula who wanted to go out, has sat down. We have had to transfer drugs from where they were not needed to other districts for our people to access them. Therefore, the mere fact that there is one small example where there is this deficiency of distribution does not mean that your hardworking Government is not standing up …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Dr Chituwo:… to the challenges and needs of our people.

Madam Speaker, with regard to the issue of affordability, surely, we must recall that, in fact, it is this Government that introduced the policy to abolish user fees. In turn, this meant that more people accessed health services. It also meant that more drugs were consumed and we had to revise the budget for drugs.

Madam Speaker, with regard to the issue of waiting lists, I want to share with this august House that there is no country in the world where there are no waiting lists. In the developed world where I trained, there are waiting lists, they are not seen because patients wait from their homes. Therefore, to improve on the waiting lists, we have had to improve on our referral system. I recall that, in fact, for two years or so, we did not have any effective transport in our districts, but we provided means of transportation. Our plans, still, are to have a utility vehicle, ambulance and another vehicle. Therefore, these are issues we are looking into in streamlining our services.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Madam Speaker, there is also the issue of free ART services. One hon. Member of Parliament is concerned about what will happen when donor funding comes to an end. Well, donor funding is coming to an end in 2013. Therefore, this gives us time in this House. We know that when we bring our plans, we take into account the fact that we are taking in more and more people that require ART service. Therefore, we have time to plan so that those who need the drugs will have the drugs will be given to them.

Madam Speaker, sharing of resources is a political issue. Therefore, this Motion is also political.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Dr Chituwo: Politics is about the authority to share resources. One of the resources is what we are talking about - the ability to give services and drugs. 


Dr Chituwo: Madam Speaker, I am tempted to answer the hecklers, but I will not.


Dr Chituwo: One important issue that the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe mentioned is that of prevention. When we say that 600 boreholes will be sunk following a trip by His Excellency the President, it is very clear that most …

Mr Konga: 6,000!

Dr Chituwo: Madam Speaker, it is very clear for those who come from rural constituencies that the number one killer of under-five children is diarrhoea. Therefore, the provision of clean water will go a long way in reducing morbidity and mortality. Therefore, I see nothing wrong in forecasting. 

In fact, two days ago, it was International Water Day. What are we talking about? We are talking about increasing the availability of water services so that as we continue with the streamlining of our services, we can serve our people better.

Madam Speaker, let me end by saying that notwithstanding the challenges that we are facing in our country in the health sector, clearly, it can be seen that we have made inroads into the issues of malaria, infant mortality, Under-Five and maternity services. We must all stand with our heads high because we have done extremely well. We are a reference point in the region and the world, but that will not deter us from continuing streamlining the health services. Therefore, to urge us to streamline our health service is unnecessary. In view of this, I do not support this Motion.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chota: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank all those who have contributed towards this straightforward and non-controversial Motion. It is straightforward and cannot be twisted. I would, therefore, like to remind everybody that it was made from a point of research. At the same time, we have very senior doctors in this House who are supposed to reflect on this Motion. It was talking about availability, accessibility and affordability. It was not trying to quarrel with anybody at all. Like I said, it was made from a position of research and experience.

Madam Speaker, if we take time in looking at the Motion and study it, we may be able to contribute more effectively. To live for today and die for tomorrow, is freedom of a fool.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

Question that this House urges the Government to streamline the provision of health services in the country and improve the availability, accessibility and affordability of drugs put and the House voted.

Ayes – (39)

Mrs E.M. Banda
Mr Beene
Colonel Chanda
Mr Chazangwe
Mr Chisala
Mr Chitonge
Mr Chota
Mr Habeenzu
Mr Hachipuka
Mr Hamududu
Mr Hamusonde
Mr Kakoma
Mr Kambwili
Mr Kasoko
Dr Katema
Mr Katuka
Ms Limata
Mr Lumba
Dr Machungwa
Mr Malama
Mr Mooya
Mr Msichili
Mr Mukanga
Mr C. Mulenga
Mr Muntanga
Mr Mushili
Mrs Musokotwane
Mr Muyanda
Mrs Mwamba
Mr Mwamba
Ms Mwape
Mr Mweemba
Mr D. Mwila 
Mr Nsanda
Mrs Phiri
Mr Sejani
Mr Simuusa
Mr Sing’ombe
Mr Syakalima

Noes - (71)

Mr Akakandelwa
Mr A. Banda
Mr I. Banda
Mr Chanda
Mr Chella
Major Chibamba
Mr Chilembo
Mr Chinyanta
Mr Chipungu
Mr Chisanga
Dr Chishya
Dr Chituwo
Ms Cifire
Mr Imasiku
Mr Kachimba
Mr Kaingu
Mr Kakusa
Mr Kalenga
Dr Kalila
Dr Kalumba
Dr Kawimbe
Dr Kazonga
Mr Konga
Mr Kunda, SC.
Mr Liato
Professor Lungwangwa
Mr Mabenga
Mr Machila
Mr Malwa
Mr Mangani
Mr Mbulakulima
Mr Misapa
Mrs Molobeka
Mr Mpombo
Mr Mubika
Mr Mufalali
Mr Mukuma
Mr Mulonga
Mr Mulongoti
Mr Mulyata
Mr Munaile
Mr Munkombwe
Dr Musokotwane
Dr Musonda
Mr Mutati
Mr Muteteka
Mr Mwaanga
Mr V. Mwale
Mr M. B. Mwale
Mr Mwangala
Mr Mwanza
Mr Mwapela
Mr Namulambe
Mr Ndalamei
Mr Nkhata
Mr Pande
Mr Phiri
Dr Puma
Mr Shawa
Lieutenant-General Shikapwasha
Mr Sichamba
Mr Sikazwe
Mr Silavwe
Miss Siliya
Mr Simama
Mr Simbao
Mrs Sinyangwe
Mr Sinyinda
Mr F.R. Tembo
Ms V. Tembo
Mr Zulu

Abstentions – (1)

Mr Nyirenda
Question accordingly negatived.



Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Second Report of the Public Accounts Committee, on the Report of the Auditor-General, on the outturn and appropriation accounts for the financial year ended 31st December, 2007, for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 18th March, 2010.

Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Yes, Madam.

Mr Hachipuka: Madam Speaker, your Committee, in line with their functions as specified in the National Assembly Standing Orders, considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the outturn and appropriation accounts for the financial year ended 31st December, 2007.

Madam Speaker, the report on the outturn and appropriation accounts is very thin when compared to other Public Accounts Committee reports that the House has become accustomed to. However, despite its size, it is a report that this House should study in detail because it contains vital information on how the sum total of revenues collected by the State matched expenditure in the year under review. Every one of us in this august House would like the State to fund important projects in our constituencies. However, rarely do we spend time discussing how to raise revenues for the State, let alone how to maximise collections from traditional sources.

Madam Speaker, let me apprise the House on some of the notable successes that the Auditor-General revealed.

(i)    during the year under review, 2007, the State recorded a relatively less significant figure on unconstitutional expenditure in the sum of K192.5 million. This was a great achievement when compared to the figures for 2005 and 2006. In 2005, the excess expenditure was K83.3 billion and in 2006, K8.6 billion. It also shows that there was a sustained downward trend from 2005 to 2007; and

(ii)    in 2007, the under expenditure, as a percentage of the total authorised expenditure, was 23 per cent. This was a positive outcome in that it reflected a decline when compared to the 2005 and 2006 figures. In 2005, this was 33 per cent and in 2006 it was 29 per cent.

Madam Speaker, the report shows that there are challenges in revenue collection. In the year under review, the State recorded a deficit in revenue collections in the sum of K987 billion. This was a slight improvement from 2006 when the deficit was K1.210 billion. The last surplus on revenue collections was recorded in 2005, in the sum of K23 billion.

What is worth noting from these figures on revenues is that whether it is a surplus or deficit recorded, the figures are mainly determined by releases of capital and or multilateral grants from the co-operating partners. We all know that Zambia is a developing country and will need international assistance in its efforts to develop further. Let me hasten to mention that co-operating partners have been very helpful and I wish to urge them to continue on this path. However, the question that we need to ask ourselves is: Do we really need to count on pledged assistance to the extent that these become a permanent feature in our budget? Whilst the issue of disclosure is important, disclosing donor pledges on the face of our revenue estimates in the budget may not be appropriate. This, of course, works to our advantage in that it seemingly shows low budget deficits, but this may just undermine our efforts of enhancing domestic revenue collections.

Madam Speaker, your Committee wish to advise the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to seriously consider basing the nation’s entire budget on domestic revenues. Donor pledges should only come in as means of financing our deficits. Donor pledges, as experience has shown, are quite unpredictable. Any slip on any agreed governance benchmarks results in withholding of donor support, thereby threatening budget performance. How long can this go on?

Madam Speaker, we certainly need to take responsibility for our affairs. One of the advantages of basing a budget on domestic resources is that we, as a nation, will be very clear on our priorities. At the moment, and because of the goodwill of our co-operating partners, we have become relaxed and are not sure of what our priorities to develop the country are.

Madam Speaker, let me conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk for supporting the work of the Public Accounts Committee.

Allow me, Madam Speaker, to also thank the permanent witnesses to your Committee, that is, the Auditor-General and the Accountant-General, for their technical input in the work of your Committee.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mwamba: Madam Speaker, I beg to second the Motion urging this House to adopt the Second Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the report of the Auditor-General on the outturn and appropriation accounts for the financial year ended 31st December, 2007.

Madam Speaker, in seconding the Motion, I wish to address myself to one issue contained on page 6 of your Committee’s report under the heading ‘grants’. Your Committee were informed that K63.7 billion was not captured in the financial report because one of the co-operating partners opted to remit the funds directly to the ministries and not through the normal Budget Support Programme.

Madam Speaker, the action by our co-operating partners raises two issues. Firstly, it raises the issue that donors are comfortable with the practice of remitting funds directly to ministries than through the normal Budget Support Programme. Over the years, this House has been informed that the Government has been negotiating with co-operating partners to channel their financial assistance through the Budget Support Programme. However, the continuation of Direct Project Support should be a signal that something is not quite right. There is, therefore, an urgent need for the Executive to find out what difficulties donors have in channelling all their support through the Budget Support Programme.

Direct Project Support, as this particular case shows, creates a problem in reporting revenues and expenditures. It is imperative that this matter is resolved within the shortest time possible.

Donor funds remitted directly to ministries are still vulnerable to abuse. While the question of efficiency may have been adequately addressed, the problem of effectiveness still remains. It is the same Public Service we are dealing with. The intended results may not be achieved despite the direct funding because some of the funds may still be misappropriated. 

Secondly, in short, this means that efforts to improve management of public funds need to be very thorough. We need to protect both domestic and foreign resources from abuse by those charged with the responsibility of carrying out or executing Government programmes.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Madam Speaker, I want to reiterate what the Chairperson of your Committee has said. By the way, I am a member of this key Committee of Parliament from which I have learnt a lot about the governance of our country. Therefore, I would like to express my gratitude to you for affording me an opportunity to serve on this committee. 

As a Committee, we are happy with the size of this particular Auditor-General’s report. The size of the Auditor-General’ report has implications on this country because it reflects who we are and how we manage financial resources. The fact that this particular report was very thin is a positive development. However, it would have even been thinner if the spending agencies and hon. Ministers were a bit more careful. It would have just been one page if, for example, certain simple documents were submitted. 

Madam Speaker, if you read page 8 of the report of your Committee, you will discover that most of the issues regarding the K192 million excess expenditure were due to the non-submission of the Interdepartmental Clearance (IDC) journal voucher. As a result of this, it became an anomaly. If this particular document was passed and these excess expenditures regularised, the Auditor-General’s report should have been thinner. 

We must be working towards zero audit queries in our Auditor-General’s report because, of late, these reports have been so voluminous to a point where it is not reflecting very well on us as a country. As leaders, we cannot even walk around with our heads high because we are regarded as the people who abuse the financial resources of the country. Therefore, the people in the Government must endeavour to make sure that they work towards zero audit queries so that this country is very well reflected and its goodwill increases. 

When the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning goes to Washington, he must be able to walk with his head high unlike now, when he goes there, he leaves behind a very thick Auditor-General’s report. I think people in Washington even ask him why our Auditor-General’s report is so big, and yet we are asking for more money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). We must be mindful that this report is available both nationally and internationally. We must try by all means to avoid audit queries because some of them are not necessarily because there are thefts or misapplication of funds. Some queries are simply due to carelessness with documentation. It is very amazing that our people have become so careless in Government departments that payment vouchers are missing, and yet there are no thefts that took place. This makes it seem like thefts are taking place in these departments. Foreigners will think that Zambia is full of thieves.

Madam Speaker, the other time, I was saying that these developments are tantamount to economic sabotage. If the Auditor-General’s report keeps growing thicker, and yet it is just because of missing documents, that is sabotage. If money is not stolen or misapplied, but the report keeps growing bigger, outsiders will take great exception to this. Therefore, this issue must be addressed at the highest level of authority in the Government. I also want to urge the Executive, through His Honour the Vice-President, that the issues of the Auditor-General’s report must be tabled in Cabinet and the whip must be cracked. In most of these cases, some Permanent Secretaries are leaving a trail of audit queries and are even going to sensitive ministries, but the law does not follow them. 

Madam Speaker, in future, when a Permanent Secretary is promoted or moved, we must, first of all, check how he or she managed finances in the previous appointment. Some Permanent Secretaries must be out of the system because they are embarrassing us as a country. We are reflecting badly to the international community and our co-operating partners. This is a very serious issue and, I think, Permanent Sectaries must be appointed, promoted or transferred to bigger ministries on the basis of prudent financial management. Right now, some of them that are being celebrated have failed …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! The hon. Member, who is a Member of the Public Accounts Committee, is aware that there are several reports of the Committee and, right now, we are debating a particular report. The temptation to debate all the reports that are voluminous and so on is likely to be there. However, for today, can the hon. Member try to restrict himself to the report that he said is thin?

You may continue.

Mr Hamududu: Madam Speaker, the Controlling Officer at the Public Service Commission (PSC) mentioned, in this report, that he did not submit an IDC voucher. Otherwise, he should not have appeared here. This person is a Permanent Secretary. Therefore, even this report of your Committee should have been thinner. I take great exception to the size of even this small report because it should just have been a page or two. So, we must not be satisfied even with this thin report.

Madam Speaker, I want to say that we must be patriotic to the country instead of being defensive. I would like to advise our friends in the Executive to read the Auditor-General’s reports and see the performance of controlling officers and the basis of their appointments, such as the one at the PSC. Where is this person who did not submit his IDC and has been mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report? These are very serious issues. The money mentioned here came from the Global Fund. The same donors will, again, withdraw funding, thinking that there are irregularities because someone did not submit the IDC. So, this has implications on the funding for HIV/AIDS activities in the country.

Madam Speaker, finally, I want to urge this Government to continue funding the Auditor-General’s office adequately. The Auditor-General office is our mirror that shows us the dirt so that we go and wash. It is, therefore, a very important office. The allocation that the hon. Minister provided to the production of the Auditor-General’s report must continue to increase. This office must be supported through increased funding so that it continues to reveal the financial management in our country. This will lead to improved credibility and then we can walk with our heads high.

With these few words, I thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to make the closing remarks on the report that has just been presented. Let me start off by saying that I thank the Committee for the report and for acknowledging that the Auditor-General’s report is much thinner than what we have seen in the past. 

Madam Speaker, let me also say that contrary to the sentiments of my good friend who has just been speaking, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for Zambia goes to Washington with his head high.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: There is no reason to go there feeling embarrassed. We have had a very good relationship with the IMF. Surely, the IMF would not have wanted to embarrass itself by sending its Managing Director to Zambia …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: … if this is a country that does not enjoy cordial relations with it. It is said that success has many fathers, but failure has many orphans. So, the fact that the Managing Director of the IMF came here to visit us indicates that we are in good standing with that institution. Therefore, let us all be happy that we do not feel embarrassed to go to Washington.

Madam Speaker, as I said, I have taken note of the recommendations that have been made and I do not really have many serious issues to raise regarding these recommendations.

Let me, therefore, briefly comment on some of the issues that have been raised, starting with the shortfalls in the revenue.

Madam Speaker, the revenue estimates that we make are normally on the basis of pledges from co-operating partners as per the signed agreements that we sign with them. In spite of these agreements, sometimes, money does not get disbursed. This is as a result of some of the conditionationalities which we have not been able to meet for various reasons. Also, sometimes, money is not disbursed because of problems within the donor countries themselves such as in the recent past when there has been a global economic crisis.

Madam Speaker, let me state that the advice provided by your Committee, that we need to be discounting the projected revenues from the donors, actually, is already done and that is the current practice. When we estimate and say we expect so much from donors this year, we put a discount factor and say supposing this and that does not happen what will happen? All the same, I am happy that the suggestion did come.

On the unconstitutional expenditure, the technical lapses observed by your Committee shall be attended to through the normal engagement between Controlling Officers and the Secretary to the Treasury.

Finally, and in connection with the point that I have just made, I will be preparing and presenting before this august House the Excess Expenditure Appropriation Bill to normalise expenditures as provided for under Article 117, Section 5 of the Republican Constitution.

Once again, Madam Speaker, I wish to thank your Committee for the work done and suggestions made.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hachipuka: Madam Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister for his reaction and, also, thank my colleagues for supporting this report. However, I want to re-echo the point that, please, consider extending the issue of the audit reports to the rest of your colleagues as a subject for debate at Cabinet.

I thank you, Madam.

Question put and agreed to.





The Vice-President and Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.

Madam Speaker, the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill seeks to provide for the confiscation of proceeds of crime; and for the deprivation of any person of any proceed, benefit or property derived from the commission of any serious offence. Further, the Bill seeks to facilitate the tracing of any proceed, benefit and property derived from the commission of any serious crime, offence and to domesticate the United Nations Convention against Corruption.

Madam Speaker, currently, some provisions exist in our laws that relate to the forfeiture of property to the State, but they are not comprehensive. For instance, the Penal Code provide that the court may order the forfeiture of any property which has passed in connection with the commission of an offence, or, if such property cannot be forfeited or cannot be found, the forfeiture of such sum of money as the court may assess as a value of the property. Therefore, the Bill will provide for the comprehensive legal framework to deal with the forfeiture of proceeds of crime and will specify the procedures for obtaining forfeiture and confiscation orders.

Madam, the Bill provides that where a person is convicted of a serious offence, a public prosecutor may apply for a court order for either a forfeiture order against the property, that is tainted property in respect of the offence, or a confiscation order against the person in respect of the benefits derived by the person from the commission of the offence. However, the public prosecutor may apply for both a forfeiture order and a confiscation order where the circumstances are such that it is necessary to do so.

Madam Speaker, in order to protect the interest of the convicted person and those of third parties who are not involved in the commission of the offence, the Bill provides that a public prosecutor who applies to the court for forfeiture order against property in respect of which a person has been convicted of an offence is obliged to give written notice of the application to the person and to any other person who the public prosecutor has reason to believe may have an interest in the property.

In addition to this, the court may require the public prosecutor to give notice of the application to any person who, in the opinion of the court, appears to have an interest in the property or to publish in a widely circulated newspaper in Zambia, a notice of the application. The convicted person or any other person who claims to have an interest in the property will have an opportunity to appear before the court and give evidence in the matter.

Madam Speaker, where a forfeiture order is made against property based on a person’s conviction of an offence and the conviction is later quashed by higher court on appeal, the forfeiture order will be discharged. 

Mr Speaker, currently, forfeiture orders in Zambia are made by courts only after a conviction is made for an offence. However, the Bill provides for civil forfeiture orders to be made, thus, the Bill provides that a public prosecutor may apply to a court for an order to forfeit, to a state, any property that is tainted. However, the public prosecutor should give, at least, 30 days notice of the application to any person who is known to have an interest in a tainted property to which the application relates. If the court is satisfied, on a balance of probabilities, that the property is tainted property, the court may order that the property be forfeited to the state.

The Bill places the responsibility to prove the matters necessary to establish the grounds for making a forfeiture order which is applied for on a person who makes the application. These provisions are meant to serve as a safeguard against arbitrary confiscation of property and to balance the interest of the state, those of the person concerned and those of third parties.

Madam Speaker, it is our hope that the Bill will send a clear message to those that would wish to have a financial gain from the commission of crimes that crime does not pay and that the long arm on the law will get back any proceed, benefit or property derived from the commission of a crime.

Madam Speaker, from the foregoing, it is clear that this Bill is not controversial, but progressive and timely. We, therefore, urge hon. Members of this august House to support it wholeheartedly.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chota (Lubansenshi): Madam Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity to brief this august House on the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill, National Assembly Bill No. 10 of 2010 which was referred to your Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters on 24th February, 2010 for scrutiny.

Madam Speaker, the proposed Bill seeks to enhance the fight against corruption under civil proceedings. The Bill seeks to make provision for the confiscation, forfeiture and restraint of proceeds of crime under civil proceedings in an effort to deprive persons involved in corrupt activities from benefiting from the proceeds of crime. The Bill also seeks to provide for the enforcement of orders made in foreign countries in order to ensure that people do not escape justice.

Madam Speaker, in the light of what this Bill seeks to achieve, it is worth distinguishing that a legal action for civil forfeiture is an action against the property and not the person. It rests on the idea that the property itself and not the owner has violated the law. In contrast, criminal forfeiture is a punitive action by the state against the offender and typically follows conviction. With this in mind, the proposed Bill does not, therefore, violate the presumption of innocence as enshrined in Article 18(2)(a) of the Constitution.

Madam, your Committee consulted widely on this important Bill. Various stakeholders who made both written and oral submissions registered support for the Bill. Their concerns are recorded in your Committee’s report for the consideration of the hon. Members of this House as they consider the Bill and I trust that the hon. Members will find the report useful as they debate the Bill.

Madam, the witness who appeared before your Committee raised inter alia, the following concerns:

(a)    Sections 57 and 58 of the Bill give a police officer, through a court order, power to obtain property tracking documents. However, the Bill is not explicit on whether the police officer has power to actually identify and trace property subject to confiscation. It would be preferable for the law to first give a police officer power to identify and trace property, which power can then be exercised through obtaining property tracking documents;

(b)    in Section 64(8)(c), the stakeholders proposed that the words “deposit box” should read as “safe deposit box” in line with common banking parlance; and

(c)    the definition of “bank” and “financial institution” should be deleted and replaced with a generic term of “financial service provider” which means a bank, financial institution or financial business as defined in the Banking and Financial Services Act

Madam Speaker, some of the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee have observed that acts of terrorism are at an increase globally. In light of this observation, your committee recommended that the Bill must, of necessity, provide for measures to be implemented to freeze without delay funds or other assets of terrorists who finance terrorism and terrorism organisations in accordance with the United Nations Resolutions relating to the prevention and suppression of the financing of terrorists acts.

Madam, your Committee further recommend that the term “money laundering” be defined and provision made for its inclusion among the grounds on which proceeds of crime can be forfeited. This is because criminals who are involved in money laundering do tend to protect themselves and the proceeds of their criminal operations from the reach of courts and tax authorities.

Madam Speaker, the rest of your Committee’s observations and recommendations are well tabulated in your Committee’s report being considered today. I, therefore, wish to urge my fellow hon. Members of this House to take time to study your Committee’s report so that we can have a meaningful debate.

In conclusion, Madam Speaker, your Committee wish to record and express their appreciation to the witnesses who made submissions before them. Finally, I wish to commend members of your Committee and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to them throughout their deliberations during the consideration of the Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill, N. A. B No. 10 of 2010.

Madam Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sikota, SC. (Livingstone): I thank you, Madam Speaker. I would like to state that I feel this is a very progressive piece of legislation and it is one of the missing cogs that we have had in our laws. I would like to support what the acting Chairman of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters has said with regard to money laundering. 

Money laundering is a very serious offence and people, through money laundering, actually acquire very large amounts of property illicitly and this act should surely cover money laundering. We have seen an upsurge recently in Zambia in relation to money laundering offences and so I support your Committee’s recommendations on this.

Madam Speaker, I would like to turn to Section 17 of Forfeiture of Proceeds of Crime Bill where a person has absconded. I think this is very important as well because we have seen where people abscond from Zambia and we cannot get to them because they hide away in foreign lands. One way of getting restitution to the people of Zambia and to the victims is to ensure that Section 17 is enforced.

However, when one looks at the Act in general, it states that whenever there has been an order for forfeiture and later somebody is acquitted, that order for forfeiture is then vacated. I believe that there should be a difference if the forfeiture is because somebody has absconded. The reason for this is because some people may abscond for a good number of years waiting, for example, for material witnesses to die or for other intervening factors and then come back knowing fully well that they cannot be successfully prosecuted. At that stage, they would be able to get an acquittal and the forfeiture order would be vacated. 

Madam Speaker, this would go against the whole essence and spirit of the law. It would allow people to have a loophole to get away with the proceeds of their crime. This would be going against the Constitution because if somebody knowingly keeps away from answering to charges by absconding and only chooses to come at a later stage, they should not be able to profit from their absconding by stating that they have now been acquitted. I pray that this is looked into so that forfeitures which are due to somebody absconding cannot be vacated or appealed against. If you abscond, you lose your right of appeal and vacation of such orders.

Madam, I also want to commend the Government on Section 24 which looks at the lifting of the corporate veil. We have seen billionaires in Zambia. If you look at what they own officially, you will find that they do not even own any shares in companies and yet, they are notorious as billionaires, but they do not own any shares. They have nominees who front for them. Some of these even own large financial institutions. They are known to own large financial institutions, but you will find that they do not even, on record, have one share in those financial institutions. Therefore, it is important that the lifting of the corporate veil is included. I commend the Government for having had the foresight of having that section included in the Bill.

Sir, with those few words, I would like to thank you.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Bill. From the outset, I would like to say that I was a member of your Committee, but I just want to add my voice on some of the concerns that could have been or may have been raised by the stakeholders that appeared before your Committee. 

Madam, the stakeholders that appeared before your Committee repeatedly raised the issue of human rights in executing this piece of legislation. They argued that whilst we were coming up with this Bill in order to domestic the United Nations Convention on Corruption, we did not give it enough detail. There was a fear that those who would be executing this particular legislation may be tempted to abuse the law. Therefore, it is necessary that the Government looks into some of the challenges. It has been said that once the law takes effect, the challenges that will come along with its implementation will give us an insight of where we are supposed to improve on the law.

Madam Speaker, under this law, ‘police officer’ has been defined as any police officer from any of the investigative wings. However, it was felt that a lot of power has been given to other police officers that may be of a junior rank. Perhaps, the hon. Minister of Justice, when winding up, can educate us on whether this law is going to allow any police officer to execute these powers that are in this law. He should state whether specific officers from, maybe, the rank of Chief Inspector would be given the powers to execute this law because stakeholders feared that if every police officer from any investigative wing of the Government is given the powers in this law, they may be abused.

Madam Speaker, the other point is that this law is very timely and it was welcomed by all stakeholders who appeared before your Committee. In fact, they said it was long overdue. They said it was a piece of legislation that will help in the fight against corruption. However, I would like to say that good as the law may be, what is important is how those that have been given the powers execute it will use those powers. We do not want to see a situation where people want to use the law to settle scores. That would be very dangerous. In the past, certain laws were made targeting certain individuals, but they ended up following the same people who made the laws. Therefore, it is important that this law is used for the intended purpose and not for targeting individuals.

The hon. Member for Livingstone raised the issue of the corporate veil. He said that there are people that have assets which they cannot account for. Today, in this country, I wonder whether the salaries that people receive as teachers, nurses or even as hon. Members of Parliament, can enable them to own what they have. I wonder how we even manage to survive the thirty days.

We are told …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! The hon. Member has been given an opportunity to debate her own report even though she is a member of the Committee. Generally, we believe that the Chairperson of the Committee speaks for you, but if you have to speak as well, do not bring in points that are not in the report. You may continue, but stick to the report. Do not bring in your feelings now because this is your report.

Mrs Masebo: Madam, I thank you for your guidance.

Madam Speaker, this Bill can be exercised on a person that has assets that cannot be accounted for. The point I was raising was that, in this country, when you look at our salary scales, generally, starting from the civil servants at all levels, you wonder how we manage to have three meals a day. I always wonder how somebody who gets K1.2 million with six children manages to take them to school and clinic because when you calculate, you find that it is not enough, but somehow, we survive by the grace of God.

Hon. Member: Even build a house.

Mrs Masebo: We even build a house like the one the hon. Member of Parliament who has just interjected me is building from the K5 million that he gets per month. 


Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, I am talking about reality. I am raising this point in relation to the point that the hon. Member for Livingstone brought out that we need to really understand some of these issues in their context, but this is not to say that this Bill …

Hon. Government Member: Finally!

Mrs Masebo: There is no finally. If you have nothing to say …

Madam Deputy Speaker: Order! Speak through the Chair.

Mrs Masebo: I was saying that there is need to understand the point by the hon. Member from Livingstone. Important as this Bill may be, it can, depending on the context, be abused. It can also be used to settle scores.

I think it is important to say these things on the Floor of the House and not to just imagine that everything is alright and that this is a good Bill. We agree that this is a very good Bill. It is welcome and long over due, but we must talk about the issues surrounding it so that those who have the power to implement it understand that people know that such Bills can be used to settle political scores. That is not what we want.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Madam Speaker, we want Bills that will be blind and apply to everybody, no matter how important they are. 

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Madam Speaker, I wish to thank all the hon. Members who have supported this Bill. It is not controversial. It is drafted to international and Commonwealth standards. It has domesticated the United Nations Convention against Corruption. If you read the convention, you will see that what we are doing here is exactly what is being done even at international level. Zambia is not an island. As members of the United Nations, we have to do this Bill to international standards.

Madam Speaker, if the yardstick we are going to use to judge this Bill is that such laws are sometimes abused, then we are wrong because any law can be abused, but we are a Government of laws and it is not our intention to abuse laws. If that is the standard or yardstick we are going to use, we will never pass any law in this House. Therefore, hon. Members of Parliament, in accordance with our duty and the oath we have taken to uphold the law, I think this is the only House which can pass laws of this nature. 

Madam Speaker, I also wish to say something on the issue the hon. Member for Chongwe has raised about possession of property. I do not think it is even related to what we are discussing. Regarding the issue of proceeds of crime in this particular law, you must prove that some crime has been committed in acquiring the property in question. The property which is to be confiscated or to be forfeited is that property which is tainted and was obtained as a result of crime. The offence of possession of property not commensurate with one’s earnings shall be covered in anti-corruption laws which we shall bring to the House. At that stage, the hon. Member can then debate on whether we should have such a law on our statute books. At the moment, I think such debate is premature. That particular offence is not covered under this particular Bill, which we are discussing today. Otherwise, I wish to thank the hon. Members of Parliament for supporting this particular Bill.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. 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 Friday, 26th March, 2010.


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

Madam Speaker, following the approval of the Supplementary Estimates No. 1 of 2008, providing additional funds for carrying out essential services by the Government during the financial year, 1st January to 31st December, 2008, I was directed to return to this House with necessary legislation to give effect to the resolution of the House. 

The Bill before the House, therefore, is intended to legalise the supplementary funds amounting to K1,274,654,097,241. As hon. Members of Parliament are aware, the Supplementary Estimates No. 1 of 2008 were thoroughly debated and the Bill is just meant to regularise the approval already given by this House. 

Madam Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Members for their support.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

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

Committed to a committee of the Whole House.

Committee on Thursday, 25th March, 2010.





Clauses 1 and 2 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

CLAUSE 3 – (Amendment of section 23)

The Vice-President and Minister of Justice: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move an amendment in Clause 3, on page 3, in line 22 by the deletion of the word “thirty” immediately after the words “a period of” and the substitution therefor of the word “forty”.

Amendment agreed to. Clause amended accordingly.

Clause 3, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 4, 5, 6 and 7 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MADAM SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee with amendment: 

The National Constitution Conference (Amendment) Bill, 2010 

Report Stage on Thursday, 25th March, 2010.


The Zambia Development Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2010

Report adopted.

Third Reading on Thursday, 25th March, 2010


The following Bills were read the third time and passed:

The Engineering Institution of Zambia Bill, 2010

The Information and Communication Technologies (Amendment) Bill, 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 1810 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 25th March, 2010.