Debates- Wednesday, 28th January, 2009

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Wednesday, 28th January, 2009

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Dr Chituwo): Mr Speaker, I thank  you for giving me this opportunity to deliver this Ministerial Statement in order to update the House and the nation at large, on the current status of the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) with regard to the procurement and distribution of inputs in the 2008/2009 farming season.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members may wish to be reminded that the initial budget for the programme in the 2008 financial year was K185 billion. This was meant for the purchase of 50,000 metric tonnes of basal and top dressing fertiliser and 2,500 metric tonnes of seed. These inputs were intended to support 125,000 small-scale farmers. It later became apparent that these inputs were inadequate and after fruitful consultations, they were revised upwards. An additional K300,650,400 was provided for the purchase of 80,000 metric tonnes of  both basal and top dressing fertiliser and 4,000 metric tonnes of seed earmarked for 200,000 small-scale farmers.

Mr Speaker, tender processing with the Zambia National Tender Board (ZNTB) started as early as May/June 2008. Four firms submitted bids, but only two were successful. These were Nyiombo Investments Limited and Omnia Small Scale Limited. Each firm was expected to supply 50 per cent of the input requirements. Nyiombo Investments Limited was to distribute to the inputs to Northern, Luapula, North-Western, Copperbelt and Central provinces while Omnia Small Scale Limited was to distribute them to Eastern, Southern, Western and Lusaka provinces. The contracts were signed by 26th August, 2008, and deliveries were to start by September, 2008.

Clearly, had the suppliers complied with the contractual terms, the fertilisers would have been in depots countrywide early enough to reach the farmer beneficiaries by early November, 2008, at the latest. In fact, during the tender period, both companies had indicated that they already had adequate stocks of urea in the country. In earnest, therefore, the distribution of fertiliser started in the latter part of November going into December, 2008.

By the end of November 2008, the seed suppliers and Omnia Small Scale Limited had distributed about 97 per cent of the inputs while Nyiombo Investments Limited had distributed a disappointing 90 per cent. To-date, we have pockets of districts where both types of inputs are still undelivered by Nyiombo Investments Limited.

 Moreover, in some districts such as Solwezi, some of the inputs received by supplier agents have been sold to outsiders. There are currently cases in court involving the affected persons. By and large, the distribution period to depots closed on 30th December, 2008, although some farmers were still collecting their supplies in January, 2009. The reason given by Nyiombo Investments Limited for the late delivery of inputs was the transport logistics relating to the Tanzania Zambia Railways Authority (TAZARA) system. This was outside the ministry’s control.

Mr Speaker, the programme has been challenging and lessons have been learnt during the period on account of the explanations I have given above. The challenges the programme has faced include the following:

(a) the late delivery of inputs made it difficult for farmers to plan for the productive use of the inputs. This was despite the fact that well-over 50 per cent of the contractual amounts had been released by the Government;

(b) non-observance of guidelines for the identification of bonafide beneficiaries by District Agricultural Committees (DACs);

(c) proven dishonesty among DAC members and the co-operators from co-operative executives who have discriminated against members of other farmers’ associations to their own advantage; 

(d) some beneficiaries resold their inputs to others at a higher price than the amount prescribed under the subsidy. It is doubtful that this group comprises farmers. It is more likely that the group comprises illegal traders who acquire the inputs at a subsidised cost only to resell them;

(e) theft of inputs by some Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives staff, co-operators and agents of suppliers. Most of these matters are in court while others are under police investigation. Some of the cases include those in Solwezi, Mazabuka and Chadiza; and

(f) cases where officers from my ministry collected money from farmers far above the allocated tonnages. This led to farmers paying for inputs which they did not receive. In some cases, farmers are owed money which has not been refunded to them for they were not given the inputs in the 2007/2008 season. The areas affected are Chama, Petauke and Kalomo Districts.

Mr Speaker, however, even after taking into account all these deficiencies in the programme, the FSP has been successful …

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Dr Chituwo: … in areas where there were no thefts and abuse. In such areas, the beneficiaries managed to plant according to the rain patterns in their respective areas and are expected to have good yields if the weather conditions remain the same.

Mr Speaker, with the lessons learnt during the 2008/2009 farming season, my ministry has planned to do the following in an attempt to remedy the programme’s operational difficulties:

(a) produce an early procurement plan for the 2009/2010 farming season;

(b) rezone the country and secure more companies, during the tendering process, to supply inputs for efficient distribution to all provinces within the stipulated time;

(c) strengthen the FSP by focusing on extension services in order to work with farmers on how best to effectively apply the inputs. This will include application of other farming methods such as conservation farming, crop rotation and going beyond growing maize only;

(d) come up with other types of fertilisers relevant to various agro-ecological zones.

(e) review the levels of subsidies for the 2009/2010 farming season proportionately.

(f) review the level of pack sizes downwards or upwards to suit the amount of hectarages to be grown and the number of farmers to be supported.

(g) identify suitable maize, rice and seed types available for each agro-ecological zone.

(h) justify the need for the recapitalisation of the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) for the production of cheaper fertilisers, hopefully in partnership with the private sector.

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that a team of officials from the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, other Government departments and the private sector went on a FSP study tour to Kenya, Tanzania and Malawi …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Dr Chituwo: … and returned on the 24th January, 2009. In addition, a team of officials went into sampled districts within our country to monitor the distribution of inputs. The results of the two reports shall be the basis for recommendations of a committee of ministers to Cabinet in the review process of the FSP for the 2009/2010 farming season.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members may now ask questions on points of clarification on the statement which has been made by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I note that, last year, only two companies responded to the tender to supply inputs. In his recommendations for the way forward, the hon. Minister has suggested that many companies will be approached. Is there any guarantee that more than two companies will respond this year?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Mooya for that question. As I said in my statement, the tendering process is undertaken by ZNTB. In this tendering process, certain conditions are set in order to meet the objectives of the early delivery of inputs. This is termed as responsiveness of the companies to what is advertised. Clearly, as a ministry, we hope to have more than two companies participate in the process. This is because we believe that when we divide our country into these agro-ecological zones, there will be specificity of the fertilisers required because the areas that are to be covered will be smaller and there will also be much more efficiency in the delivery of inputs. However, it is difficult for a client ministry like mine to guarantee that, but we will indicate to ZNTB the advantages of having more than two players.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, if the 125,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser had reached the 200,000 small-scale farmers, we would be expecting something like 600,000 metric tonnes of maize, which is more than 60 per cent of our requirement. In fact, out there, it does not look as if even 50 per cent of the fertiliser has reached its intended target. Can the hon. Minister give us an indication of how efficient he thinks the production system will be this year. Will a quarter, a third or half the targeted quantity of maize be produced? Will he be honest and simply tell us how badly the system has failed? We know the details, but we would now like to have the figures.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, let me put it on record that we produced approximately 1.2 million metric tonnes of maize last season. About 60 per cent of that is produced by small-scale farmers. Hon. Member for Lusaka Central, do you hear? (Looking at Dr Scott).

Dr Scott: I am not asking about that.


Dr Chituwo: That is the proportion. He asked about the input versus output and, therefore, I am giving a background.

Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we carry out two procedures; the assessment and then the forecast. The indications right now from the 80,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and 4,000 metric tonnes of seed are that, and this might not be very scientific, in the areas where these inputs were put to good use, as reported by our officials, and where there was minimal theft or pilfering, the crop does look good. However, to arrive at a scientific result, we normally carry out an assessment early in the season and a forecast later. It is from these two processes that we can indicate the success or failure of the programme. As for now, it appears that if God continues to favour us with good rains, we will have a good harvest.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Mr Speaker, as a way forward, the hon. Minister has given us eight points ranging from the early procurement of inputs to ecologically suitable seed and fertiliser. In the same vein, the hon. Minister has been kind enough to tell us that there was theft and, without saying it, by implication, corruption. Out of K486 billion spent on 200,000 farmers for fertiliser support, 80 per cent is a registered success story. Where this happened, I do not know. The other 20 per cent must have gone …

Mr Speaker: Order! What is your question?

Mr Matongo: The question is whether the hon. Minister can tell us if, in fact, expanding the programme will not lead to increased theft and corruption, making the programme worse.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, this increase in theft and corruption is the subject of a comprehensive review as directed by His Excellency the President in his speech to this House. To ensure that the objective of food security and poverty reduction in the rural areas is met, when we have compiled a report and made recommendations to Cabinet, one of the main areas of focus will be to minimise the loopholes. When that is done, I would like to share the comprehensive report on the way forward with the House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what was the objective of sending officers to Malawi and Kenya when we have had this programme for more than ten years while Malawi has had it for less than that period?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, Zambia is not an island. We sent officers to these countries to assess our performance. There were reports that these countries were doing far better than we were. We heard stories condemning the manner in which we were implementing the programme. In order to allow an objective assessment, we thought we could learn from these countries although they had begun this programme after us. I am sure this is a good way to map the way forward because we are using a lot of taxpayers’ money.

 Sir, beyond food security, Zambia has the potential to be the grain basket of the region. We can do this by promoting the small-scale farmer and making the agricultural environment conducive to commercial farming. Therefore, we had to conduct the study tour in order to obtain comprehensive information which would assist us attain greater heights.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister for giving us a very important statement. This is especially so for those of us from rural constituencies that depend on agriculture. I am happy that the new hon. Minister seems to have understood the real problems regarding the FSP and is coming up with very good proposals for the way forward.

Sir, one of his proposed solutions is the allocation of inputs according to hectarage. Since Chongwe has been the first, second and third largest producer of maize in this country since 1964, does he have any plans to ensure that Chongwe gets more fertiliser than other districts, especially those in areas with rivers? The people in those areas are fishermen who are now being turned into farmers and they receive an equal allocation of fertiliser to Chongwe. Is he going to ensure that Chongwe gets more fertiliser in the 2009/2010 farming season?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I must commend Chongwe for that record because I think it is rare for an area to have such a record.

Mr Speaker, the objective of the review is to look at various scenarios and how best we can make this programme work with regard to input and productivity per hectarage. We will look at how best we can place emphasis on areas where people are traditionally farmers and hardworking and how that emphasis can help not only the local farmers, but the nation at large When we have looked at all these permutations, we will share the information with the House

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, other than dealing with the people that have mismanaged the distribution of fertiliser, I would like to find out what measures the Government will put in place to ensure not only efficiency, but also that the subsidised fertiliser reaches the intended recipients who are the vulnerable but viable small-scale farmers.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, one of the objectives of the FSP is to support the viable small-scale farmers. The vulnerable farmers are looked after by another programme managed by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services through the Programme Against Malnutrition (PAM). This programme targets very vulnerable communities to assist them achieve food security.

Mr Speaker, I mentioned earlier that one of the challenges we faced was ensuring that these inputs reached the beneficiary farmer. One of the terms of reference of the report we are working on is ensuring how best we can prevent traders from accessing these inputs and selling them thereby denying the small-scale farmers access to them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Banda (Chililabombwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether they are going to refund the farmers in the co-operatives in my constituency that have paid for the inputs, but have not received them up to now. If they are going to refund them, when are they going to do it?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, there are two ways we look at a situation where co-operatives have paid for the inputs but have not received them. One, of course, is to apologise for this mismanagement of a very good programme. The guidelines for the programme are very clear. Each district is guided by the tonnage that they will receive and is directed to receive money equivalent to that tonnage. For the co-operatives in Chililabombwe that paid for the inputs but did not receive then, two alternatives will have to be discussed. The first is to refund them and the second is to give them inputs for the next farming season equivalent to the monies they paid. However, this is an administrative issue which can be worked out by the various co-operatives and districts.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, quite clearly, the FSP is the flagship programme for this Government in agriculture. Can the hon. Minister accept that, over the years, this programme has been a disaster and is responsible for the non-performance of the agricultural sector in this country? Can he also accept that, for this season in particular, the differential in price between the subsidised fertiliser at K50,000 per bag and the unsubsidised fertiliser at between K250,000 and K300,000 per bag is largely responsible for the pressure that was exerted on the subsidised fertiliser by the plunderers and thieves? Can he also make a commitment to this House that in addition to reviewing the programme, the Government will seriously think of scrapping it and replacing it with a much more workable programme in agriculture?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Luena has asked three questions.

Sir, I do not agree that this programme has been a disaster …

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Dr Chituwo: … because if it had been a disaster, we would have been experiencing food shortages every year.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Dr Chituwo: If hon. Members were to be honest with each other, they would acknowledge the contribution of the FSP to the agricultural sector. Admittedly, the programme has encountered difficulties, but I definitely cannot agree to have it labelled a disaster.

Mr Speaker, the differential in pricing clearly pushed those who are not farmers to want to make a quick buck by selling the fertiliser at closer to the commercial price. Let us put these prices into perspective. By May/June last year, there was a high increase in oil prices. Since urea is one of the products of oil, we saw its price rise to as high as US$1,300 per metric tonne on the international market compared to US$500 per tonne in the previous season. Our suppliers placed their orders around May/June, hence, the high prices of the fertiliser.

On the other hand, as was bemoaned by my colleagues, there was a concern over the high poverty levels in the rural areas. The question was: How best can we deal with poverty in the rural areas where the major industry is agriculture? Hence, the decision to subsidise to this level. By the way, the price of K50,000 per 50 kg bag was uniform throughout the country, be it in Chavuma or Chongwe.

Sir, we are in the process of reviewing the FSP. Unless the findings show otherwise, the purpose of the review is to strengthen the programme so that we can focus on the beneficiaries in the rural areas. I do not think that the review will result in the programme being scrapped. As the House is aware, in his Address to this House, His Excellency the President stated that the FSP would continue. However, we have to improve it.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister tell this House whether by allowing civil servants, who earn salaries every month, to access subsidised inputs, he is improving the FSP programme or do I take it that civil servants are vulnerable but viable farmers?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, when one goes to the rural areas, they find that civil servants contribute to the agricultural output. According to the statement, for civil servants to benefit from the FSP, they must belong to a co-operative society.  If they belong to a co-operative society, they will access the fertiliser because they are part of a group that focuses on productivity. These are some of the issues that we will be looking into during the review of the programme. If civil servants belong to viable co-operatives that have been doing well, should they or should they not access the inputs?

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika Central): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister update this House on the action he has taken or intends to take against co-operatives which have swindled billions of Kwacha out of their members who had paid for fertiliser.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Mpika Central for that question. The answer to that question is twofold.

Firstly, co-operatives are registered by my ministry. When they are found to have breached the standing rules and regulations, they are deregistered.

Secondly, where there has been a breach of the law or theft, then the agencies mandated to look into such matters will investigate. If after prosecution the people concerned are found guilty, they will be imprisoned.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwenzi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that they have conducted study tours in Tanzania and other countries. Can he then confirm that by failing to graduate from conducting studies, his ministry is manufacturing a vaccine to increase poverty? They are failing to determine the quantities of inputs required by the farmers and when they are required.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives is definitely not manufacturing a vaccine to increase poverty. I have given the steps being taken in order to do the exact opposite.

Mr Speaker, we realise how important it is for farmers to plan. I indicated in my statement that if our suppliers had met their contractual obligations, the fertiliser would have reached the farmers by November, 2008. The timely delivery of inputs is important in order for farmers to plan well. There are other factors that assist farmers to be more productive.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the issue of fertiliser seems to be a nuisance in Zambia.


Mr Mbewe: Can the hon. Minister inform this House whether the Government has a policy to supply fertiliser throughout the year so that farmers can access it anytime they need it.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, we do not have a specific policy for that. However, our vision is to promote the development of an efficient, competitive and sustainable agricultural sector. In the translation of that vision, one of our objectives is to have several types of fertiliser available throughout the year to enable farmers engage in the business of agriculture throughout the year.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, we all know that farming is a business. Therefore, could the hon. Minister confirm to this House that he will reimburse, with interest, all the farmers who never collected their inputs.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, since we are just beginning this process, I cannot confirm that farmers who did not get their inputs will be refunded with interest. This is because quite a number of them may not even want the money, but the fertiliser. That is the way we shall go.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sichamba (Isoka West): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out why the ministry headquarters has continued to cut the allocations to districts making the DACs relevant. This is the case particularly in Isoka District.

Hon. Members: Irrelevant!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I am not quite sure whether the last word was ‘relevant’ or ‘irrelevant’.


Dr Chituwo: However, my understanding is that the hon. Member of Parliament meant irrelevant. What guides the amount of inputs that go to a district is the following:

(a) the registered co-operatives; and

(b) the resource envelope.

Mr Speaker, if the Government had enough money, the difference in allocations would not arise because everybody would receive the inputs. However, as long as we have this limitation, we have to devise a system that is as fair as possible. At the moment, the co-operatives are the vehicles for the implementation of this programme.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister informed the House that some suppliers of fertiliser have failed the Government by not abiding to contractual agreements. I would like to find out whether the Government has the capacity and plans to start procuring fertiliser directly from the manufacturers in order to do away with some middlemen who are failing the Government.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, the procurement process in this country is governed by the tendering procedures of ZNTB. Our procurement units do not have the capacity to procure fertiliser directly from the manufacturers. The best we can do is source the international market early. That way, the issue of middlemen being inefficient or exploitative will not arise.

Mr Speaker, until we find a better alternative, we have to involve the private sector. It has been proven that the Government’s direct involvement in business is difficult. Therefore, this is an area where the private sector can augment and strengthen the Government’s implementation of policy.

Mr Speaker, this is the way to go for now. However, if there are any concrete plans on how the Government can be directly involved in the procurement of inputs, we are all ready to receive that information.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, the programme did not have the objective of enslaving small-scale farmers to perpetual dependency and selling maize at less than the cost of production. Its objective was to empower small-scale farmers so that after a three-year period of subsidy, they are able to stand on their own feet. In assessing the efficiency and effectiveness of the programme, can the hon. Minister indicate to us how many small-scale farmers have graduated from requiring subsidies to being able to produce on their own?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, we have no intention of enslaving the small-scale farmers. In fact, the objective is the opposite.

Mr Speaker, there are a number of co-operatives whose members have graduated from receiving inputs after three years.

Mr Kambwili: Question!


Dr Chituwo: This is done at the co-operative level…

Hon. Opposition Member: Where?

Dr Chituwo: … so that the co-operatives can bring on board small-scale farmers who have not yet benefited from the FSP. Perhaps, the only information we need is with regard to quantification because graduation from the programme is done at the co-operative level. There are so many members who do not benefit from the programme annually.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, in developed countries and countries where morality and service to the people is the order of the day, ministers resign on moral grounds when economic policies fail. Is the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives thinking of resigning to set the pace for future failures?


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, that is a very naughty question.


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, as a Government, we are conscious of the needs of our people. This programme is not for one section of the people. We have done the best we can. In short, my answer is, “no.” I will not resign because I still have a lot to offer to the Zambian people.


Dr Chituwo: We need hon. Members of Parliament like Hon. Kambwili to come on board so that we can do our best and provide leadership.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, Nyiombo Investments Limited and Omnia Small Scale Limited are private companies which are obviously making very healthy profits from this fertiliser arrangement. These profits are being paid using taxpayers’ money. Can the hon. Minister assure this House that, this year, he will consider the possibility of sourcing fertiliser directly from the manufacturers so that we do not loose more taxpayers’ money through the payment of profits to these companies?

Dr Chituwo:  Mr Speaker, I have stated that in order to provide the best service to our people in this sector, we are going to make the tendering process much more competitive. Competition is beneficial because it ensures equity. We can benefit from the competitiveness that having many players to supply the inputs brings.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr C. Mulenga (Chinsali): Mr Speaker, the sustainability of NCZ depends on two products. These are fertiliser and explosives. What is the Government doing to enhance the production of explosives to sustain the production of fertiliser?

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, since our business has to do with food and how best to make it available to our people, the issue of explosives is purely of a private nature. However, I can share with the House that those whose business it is to strengthen the mining sector are, at the moment, engaged in discussions with NCZ to see how the plant can resume operations. This will be a purely private arrangement which we encourage the company to undertake.

I thank you, Sir,
Dr Kalumba (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. Minister regarding the issue of fertiliser distribution. I am not sure whether I heard him correctly, but I would like to find out whether the Government has given up a very creative aspect of public policy of supporting the sector through the production of cow dung.


Dr Kalumba: Is that going to be considered?


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, as a Government, we have improved on that concept through the introduction of conservation farming. This is one of the farming methods that I would like hon. Members of Parliament from the rural areas to take interest in because it affords the farmers an opportunity to maximise on very little quantities of chemical fertiliser. In fact, even cow dung and chicken manure have a role to play. One can be amazed at the amount of produce realised from conservation farming, be it furrowing or basin creation. Therefore, it definitely plays a role because it enriches and maintains soil fertility.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The correct term is cattle manure and not cow dung.


Mr Silavwe (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm to this House that this very important programme has failed because the officers in most of the districts approve loans in their offices as they do not have transport to monitor the farmers’ fields? That is why the same people are …

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives.


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, we are conscious of the need for our district agricultural co-ordinators and other officials at district level to be mobile. This is why, in the review of this programme, one of the issues that has been identified is the very fact that the hon. Member for Nakonde has observed. We shall come to this House to request for funds to strengthen that aspect.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr R. C. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether his ministry will carry out studies in various areas to ensure that people get the fertiliser that is required in specific areas. For example, some soils …

Mr V. Mwale: On a point of order, Sir!

Hon. Members: Continue!

Mr R. C. Banda: … are not suitable for fertiliser and different areas require different types of fertiliser. I would like to find out whether this is going to be done indiscriminately.

Mr V. Mwale: That is not his Chair.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, the short answer to the question is, “yes.” I mentioned that in this year’s plan, we will take into account the dual ecological systems as has been done for the rainfall patterns. The data is available and with many players joining the FSP, we shall specify the types of fertiliser suitable for each ecological region.
I thank you, Sir.

Mr Msichili (Kabushi): Mr Speaker, Ndola had some inputs which went to waste a few years ago. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what mechanism the Government has put in place to ensure that all the farming inputs are distributed by the end of each farming season.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, one of the areas mentioned is the monitoring and evaluation of this programme during and after. I am sure this is one area that will be strengthened when we have as many tools as possible. By so doing, we will be planning for the next season.

I thank you, Sir.




42. Mr Simuusa (Nchanga) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning how much revenue the Government received from the sale of emeralds from 2005 to 2008.

The Deputy Minister of Finance and National Planning (Ms Kapwepwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that a total of K7,670,154,745.17 was collected as revenue by the Government for the sale of emeralds from 2005 to 2008, broken down as follows:

Year        Amount (K)

2005        674,525,075.08

2006       670,191,241.43

2007       5,085,215,569.76

2008     1,240,222,858.18

Total      7,670,154,745.17

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, it is a known fact that Zambia sells emeralds worth in excess of US$350 million per annum abroad. Obviously, the figures the hon. Minister has given are from taxes. This revenue is very low compared to the sales that are recorded outside. Could the hon. Minister confirm that, as a country, we are still not capturing maximum tax from the sale of emeralds and precious stones.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Mr Speaker, as the hon. Member has stated, the amounts that are indicated there are tax revenues. Tax revenues are obviously different from sales revenues and are always bound to be less than sales revenues.

With regard to the sale of emeralds, the hon. Member is saying that there are more sales taking place than we are able to capture. In the recent years, the Government has taken a number of steps to encourage the sale of emeralds locally. The prices have been freely negotiable and a number of efforts have been made for people to trade locally. In addition, a lapidary school has been established so that value addition can be done here in Zambia, hence, capturing more of the sales locally.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


43. Mr Chimbaka (Bahati) asked the Minister of Community Development and Social Services when the Micro Bankers Trust would extend loan facilities to women groups in Bahati Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Chinyanta): Mr Speaker, Micro Bankers Trust (MBT) established the Mansa office in December, 2006, where Bahati Parliamentary Constituency falls. It started its operations in March, 2007, when the first disbursement of loans to women was done. The establishment of the office began on a pilot basis by starting with a small portfolio of women entrepreneurs in selected locations of Senama in Bahati Constituency, Mutende, Kabuta, Kombaniya and Messenger in Mansa Central, which are within a distance of 1 to 5 km before spreading out to other areas. The performance of the target group was to determine the speed of spreading to other outlying areas. 

Sir, as at December, 2008, a total of 177 women had accessed loans amounting to K91.4 million. The majority of them used that money to settle their debts. Others used it to reinvest in their businesses.

Mr Speaker, MBT has been unable to reach out to the women who are not within the designated catchment area due to logistical problems such as lack of transport. The staff in Mansa District does not even have an official motorbike to use in the field. The officer has to walk to all the areas. This has contributed to the delays in monitoring the clients regularly.

Sir, MBT will extend loan facilities to women’s groups in Bahati Parliamentary Constituency. The staff in Mansa will reach the women entrepreneurs that live outside a 30 km radius of the town centre when we provide transport in form of motorbikes. This will be done in April, 2009.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


44. Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning what measures the ministry had instituted to ensure that donor funds from co-operating partners for various projects in the country are not misappropriated by the custodians of such funds.  

Ms Kapwepwe: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has instituted the following measures to ensure that the funds from co-operating partners for various projects in the country are not misappropriated by the custodians of such funds:


Sir, the Government has introduced Cash and Treasury Management which encourage donors to provide these monies through the Central Bank (Bank of Zambia) for easy monitoring by my ministry through the Accountant General’s Office.


Sir, the disbursement of funds from the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) to the project account is only done after a certificate of completion has been provided and approved by the donors.

External and Internal Audit

Mr Speaker, the funds provided by donors are subject to audit by internal auditors, during the preparation of payments and by the Auditor-General and other private external auditors approved by the Auditor-General’s Office, engaged by the donors, in accordance with the provisions of the Public Finance Act No. 15 of 2004.

Disciplinary Action

Mr Speaker, in case any public officer entrusted with the responsibility to manage these funds willfully or otherwise does misappropriate such funds, disciplinary action shall be undertaken in accordance with the provisions of the General Civil Service Regulations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chazangwe: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that donor countries are withdrawing their assistance due to the mismanagement of funds by the people that handle them?

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, donor countries are increasing the amount of support they are providing to Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: This indicates that they are satisfied with the manner in which we administer the funds accorded to us.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Mwamba (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, there are times when donors fund specific projects. Why are funds which are given to specific projects sometimes diverted to other projects?

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of the diversion of funds that the hon. Member has talked about. If she has specific evidence, I would appreciate it if I had it.

I thank you, Sir.


45. Mrs Banda (Chililabombwe) asked the Minister of Health what the nurse-patient and doctor-patient ratios at the following health centres in Chililabombwe Parliamentary Constituency were:-

(a) Kakoso;

(b) Lubengele; and

(c) Chimfunshi.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Mr Akakandelwa): Mr Speaker, the response is as follows:

Chililabombwe District


Nurse/Patient Ratio 1:8

Doctor/Patient Ratio 1:158


Nurse/Patient Ratio 1.13

Doctor/Patient Ratio 1:270


Nurse/Patient Ratio 1:26

Doctor/Patient Ratio 1:64

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Banda: Mr Speaker, the information the hon. Minister has given is totally different from what is on the ground. In Kakoso Health Centre, you find only one nurse managing three wards per shift. Are you aware of this situation and what are you going to do about it?

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Akakandelwa: Mr Speaker, the figures we have given are correct. However, we are mindful of the fact that we have a shortage of manpower in the health sector as a whole. The Government is in the process of recruiting more nurses and doctors to improve the situation.

I thank you, Sir. 

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


46. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development:

(a) how much money the Government had spent on the following sports disciplines from 2005 to 2007, year by year:

(i) rugby;

(ii) football; and

(iii) netball; and

(b) what honours, the participants in the sports disciplines at (a) above brought to Zambia.

The Deputy Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development (Dr Kalila): Mr Speaker, the Government expenditure, in form of grants, on these disciplines is as follows:


Year     Amount (K)

2005   90,000,000

2006 140,000,000

2007 150,000,000

Total     380,000,000

Mr Speaker, in 2006 and 2007, the Men’s National Rugby Team brought home bronze medals for participating in the Kenya Seven Safaris. In 2007, the Women’s National Team won a bronze medal for the country.

 Year        Team                                         Amount (K)

 2005   Snr National Team                       1,462,102,780

            Under 23 National Team              151,452,047

            Under 20 National Team              284,914,500

            Under 17 National Team                    0

 Total                                                       1,898,469,327

 2006   Snr National Team                     1,276,156,483

            Under 23 National Team             0

            Under 20 National Team              0 

             Under 17 National Team              130,000,000  
 Total                                                     1,406,156,483   
 2007   Snr National Team                     520,301,780

              Under 23 National Team          330,800,000

                Under 20 National Team       620,500,000

                  Under 17 National Team        0

 Total                                                    1,471,601,780       

Grand Total                                           4,776,227,590

Mr Speaker, in terms of honours in this discipline, Zambia won both the Confederation of Eastern and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) and the Council of Southern Africa Football Association (COSAFA) cups in 2006.


Year     Amount (K)

2005         0

2006     10,000,000

2007         0

Total     10,000,000

Mr Speaker, this discipline brought a gold medal in 2006 during the Federation of Southern Africa Netball Association (COSANA) Senior Challenge Games held in Namibia.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the netball team did not have any activities in 2005 and 2007.

The Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development (Mr Chipungu): Mr Speaker, there were activities. However, they were not competitive. In fact, the hon. Member may wish to know that our womenfolk are gifted in football. If you have noticed, they play more football and have almost discarded netball.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister seems to be quite happy that the womenfolk have switched to football. Does he not realise that they have switched to football because netball is not funded? Compared to other sports disciplines that were allocated billions of Kwacha and brought nothing, they brought a gold medal to this country with just K10,000,000. What is the ministry doing to encourage women to play netball so that more gold medals are brought to this country?

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, it is not correct that I am happy that the womenfolk have switched from netball to football. Perhaps, that is where their interest lies. However, in the meantime, …


Mr Chipungu: Yes, what can we do if they are more interested in football than netball?

Mr Speaker, we are now encouraging all the sports disciplines in order to create interest in them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, the Government has been spending substantial amounts of money on football, and yet, there has been no improvement in the sport. We have never qualified to the World Cup and we have never won the Africa Cup. What is the way forward? What is the hon. Minister doing to ensure that our standard of football improves?

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Kambwili for that follow-up question.

Mr Mbewe: Chimbwili!


Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I thought the answer was very clear. We should be happy that they have, at least, done the country proud …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Chipungu: … by bringing the COSAFA and CECAFA cups.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: I wonder what more the hon. Member for Roan wants.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Nyirenda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Sport, Youth and Child Development whether he has considered suspending the national football team for a year so that they concentrate on training in order to revamp the standard of football, which is going down.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, it is not my ministry’s responsibility to do that. It is the responsibility of the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) …

Hon. MMD Member: Munaile!

Mr Munaile: Tell them!

Mr Chipungu: … through the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ).

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Mr Speaker, the performance of our women who brought the gold medal to Zambia is worth noting. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what form of appreciation was given to the gallant women who brought the gold medal home.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, apart from calling them to my office and giving them words of encouragement, I am not aware of any form of appreciation that was given to the women. 


47. Mr Chisala (Chilubi) asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services which of the following Government officials had authority to discipline an erring officer under the Zambia News and Information Services:

 (a) District Commissioner;

 (b) Provincial Permanent Secretary; and

(c) Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Muchima): Mr Speaker, in addressing this question, it is important to understand the reporting arrangements for officers serving in provinces.

At the district level, the ZANIS officer reports to the District Commissioner while those in the province report to the Provincial Administration or Permanent Secretary.

When considering the issue of discipline, the Disciplinary Code and Procedures for Handling Offences in the Public Service 22 (a) states:

“When an offence is alleged to have been committed or come to light, the immediate supervising officer concerned will initiate investigations and

(i) dismiss the allegation; 
(ii) give an unrecorded hearing; and

(iii) lay a formal disciplinary charge in writing against the accused officer.”

Further, the disciplinary code defines a disciplinary authority as the responsible officer, head of department or supervising officer in a ministry, institution, department, division, province or district in which a public officer is serving.

Sir, in view of the above, the District Commissioner can take disciplinary action against all the officers under his direct control in the district. The Provincial Permanent Secretary is also a disciplinary authority for all officers under his province.

The current practice is that the District Commissioner submits his/her recommendation for disciplinary action to the Provincial Permanent Secretary. After considering the case, the Provincial Permanent Secretary submits the recommendation to the Public Service Management Division (PSMD). The Provincial Permanent Secretary copies the recommendations to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services for his information.

Mr Speaker, once a directive is given by the Public Service Commission, PSMD conveys it to the Provincial Permanent Secretary who, in turn, communicates it to the District Commissioner for cases under his/her charge.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, since the provincial information officer is the immediate supervisor of the district information officer, would it not be prudent for this officer, at district level, to remain directly answerable to the provincial information officer or the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services rather than the way things are at the moment.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is the former District Commissioner for Chilubi. Therefore, he should be very well acquainted with these procedures. According to the Decentralisation Policy, officers are attached from the main ministries to the provincial administration. The District Commissioner is a Deputy Permanent Secretary who can only recommend to the Permanent Secretary. In this case, they are answerable to the Permanent Secretary at the provincial level. The ultimate authority to deal with cases of discipline is the PSMD.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




(Debate resumed)

Mr Mwenya (Nkana): Mr Speaker, when the House adjourned yesterday, I was raising my concerns about the mining sector as referred to in the Presidential Speech. I, therefore, wish to continue from there.

Mr Speaker, in his speech, I had expected His Excellency the President to highlight the progress made on mining to this House with respect to the vision of the late President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, regarding infrastructure development from mineral revenue. This is one of the issues that my colleague Hon. Simuusa debated passionately yesterday.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that a special account for mineral revenue was created. I am also aware that the late President created a special task force to work out mechanisms and develop plans for investment of mineral revenue in infrastructure. I am also aware that the task force which the late President created has since gone into limbo. It no longer exists.

Mr Speaker, more questions than answers are now being raised on what happened to the money. The current Republican President should have reaffirmed his predecessor’s position or told the House his new position on the matter. I hope the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development shall address this matter as we are impatient to know what is happening.

Mr Speaker, still on investment, I want to remind the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that it is now almost a year since Section 136 of the Mines and Minerals Development Act was enacted. This provision has now made it law, in Zambia, for the Government to share mineral royalties with the communities.

The then hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Magande, failed to provide the framework for the sharing of this revenue. We, therefore, hope that the current hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will quickly look into this and implement the revenue sharing mechanism because we cannot wait any longer. I do not see the essence of creating laws that we fail to implement for the benefit of the Zambians.

Mr Speaker, I also expected His Excellency the President’s Address to include the plans he has for the mining sector in the context of the regional framework. I am aware that in August last year, the African Union (AU) developed a Draft Vision 2050 and a draft strategy and implementation plan for mines and minerals development in Africa. I am also aware that the vision and strategy will be adopted in Durban this year. To be precise, this will be done next month at what will be called the African Mining Partnership Ministerial Conference. All countries are busy consulting their citizens on the vision and the strategy in order to obtain a national input into the document and a consensus. However, in Zambia, nothing is being done.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development has been invited to attend this conference in Durban. Therefore, he will append his signature to this document without the consensus of the Zambian people.

Mr Speaker, in November, I had an opportunity to attend a regional conference on mining and foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ghana, where about thirty African countries were represented. I was impressed to learn how other countries are preparing themselves to develop their mining sector beyond FDIs. Our country seems to be so content and dependent on the so-called foreign direct investment, that we regard it as our alpha and omega, whilst other African countries have been meeting regularly to think and plan beyond FDIs.

Sir, through you, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development to advise our President that our country should start thinking beyond FDI. We need to identify ourselves as Zambians.

Hon. PF Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya: Mr Speaker, may I speak on one important issue and that is the environment.

Sir, I am aware that all mining companies are supposed to contribute in full to the Environmental Protection Fund as per our Zambian laws. The obligations of Luanshya Copper Mines (LCM) and Chambishi Copper Mines (CCM) regarding environmental liabilities go beyond US $10 million, but I doubt whether the Government has collected anything at all.
Mr Speaker, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development to advise the President that it is important to take the mining companies that are closing down to task so that they meet their obligations regarding environmental protection in full. Otherwise, we shall find ourselves in the same situation we were in when we privatised the mines and were forced to borrow US $50 million to meet their environmental liabilities. When Anglo-American and other investors came on board, they refused to take on the environmental liabilities they found. As a Government, we were forced to borrow a colossal US $50 million to address this issue.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya: Mr Speaker, lastly, I wish to talk about land. Land belongs to the Zambian people and not an individual. The Government needs to put in place a more practical and achievable land distribution programme.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya: The current situation where Zambians have become strangers in their own country and the Chinese are becoming the owners of Zambia is unacceptable.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwenya: It has become difficult to access land. Our people are failing to own land, and yet Chinese nationals just walk in and out of State House and are given large chunks of land.

Mr Shakafuswa: Where?

Mr Mwenya: We have even gone to the extent of de-gazetting forests …

Mrs Phiri: In Kitwe!

Mr Mwenya: … to provide land for the Chinese. This situation is unacceptable. Our people are now being forced to construct small houses in undesignated areas. Meanwhile, their houses are being demolished and they are being called illegal settlers in their own country. Mr Speaker, this cannot be allowed.

I am appealing to the Government that it is high time we moved quickly and made our people comfortable in their own land. If we are to develop, let us distribute land to our people so that they can diversify into agriculture and turn the economic wheels of this country round once more.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training (Mr Shakafuswa): Mr Speaker, I wish to start by thanking you and the staff of the National Assembly for the manner in which you have kept this House alive.

Before, I talk about this year, I want to pay tribute to the former Minister of Finance and National Planning, Hon. Nga’ndu Magande. People might want to take away things from him, but he was the longest serving Minister of Finance.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: On the ground, people have realised that he has contributed a lot to this country. As for me, …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: … being my mentor, maybe, fortunes can change, but I still hold him in high esteem ...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: … and I know that the people of Zambia still have him in their minds.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I also want to congratulate the new hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning who was my lecturer at university. I wish him well.

Sir, the foundation in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning has already been laid. We cannot blame the new minister or the new President for what is going on because the new President has not yet started working. Suffice to say that a very solid foundation has been laid by hardworking ministers like Hon. Magande and the Cabinet which was led by the late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC.

Mrs Masebo: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Sir, with regard to the demise of the late Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, we were robbed of a statesman who had the country at heart.

Mr D. Mwila: Bwekeshapo! Bwekeshapo!

Mr Shakafuswa: Sir, it seems this National Assembly has started moving in the right direction because the people in the Opposition have now noticed that we have a lot to do to move this country forward. The people are saying that we should not be enemies, but have a developmental agenda in order to move forward.

Mr Mbewe: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, both sides of this House have to realise that we have to move forward.

Mr Mbewe: Zoona, zoona!

Mr Shakafuswa: Today, Michael Sata has to realise that his enemy …

Hon. PF Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order! You cannot debate persons that are not in this House to defend themselves

 Please, move on.

Mrs Phiri: Tulekwila ku nga’nga walamona!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, political leaders have to realise that their political opposites are not their enemies just like we in the MMD ought to realise that Magande, Sylvia Masebo and Jonas Shakafuswa are not enemies of the system.

Mr Speaker: Order! There is a title to be used. May you use it, please.
Hon. PF Members: Honourable!

Mr Shakafuswa: Hon. Magande, Hon. Silvia Masebo and Hon. Jonas Shakafuswa are not the enemies of the MMD. The enemy of the MMD is poverty.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: The enemy of this country is the lack of development which the country faces.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear.

Mr Shakafuswa: Therefore, I urge the Opposition to realise that we have gone past the elections and the enemy is not the one who won. There is no need to start asking why you did not win. What we need to focus on is how to come together. How do we put resources our together and make this country the pride of Southern Africa and Africa?

Mr Speaker, I am going to talk on behalf of the people of Zambia and the people of Katuba in particular, who I know have …

Mr Speaker: Order! No member of the Executive speaks like that. You must speak for the people of Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: I will speak on behalf of the people of Zambia, including the people of Katuba that sent me to this House to represent them.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I am going to serve the people of Zambia without fear or favour and I will stand to defend them so that this country moves forward. I wish to tell those that doubt the Executive’s resolve to work for the people of Zambia, that we have a resolve to work for the people of Zambia. There might be a few people with personal agendas, but those are teething problems which will end. At the end of the day, they will realise that this country does not need pettiness, but needs to move forward.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: I want to share with the hon. Members here a saying by Martin Luther King which we should reflect on as we move forward. It says:

“Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.”

We can grow out of this so that we guide this nation together as Parliament. Together, as members of the Government, that is, the Legislature, Judiciary and Executive, we can take our country to greater heights.

Dr Katema: Kanshi naukula, aai!


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I want to comment on how some people have referred to the speech by His Excellency the President, Rupiah Bwezani Banda. I am amused that some of the people talking have been in Government before and know that the speech the President gives is always on policy direction. Perhaps, people want to sit in this House for ten hours to listen to the President speak on the policies in the various ministries.

Mr Speaker, hon. Ministers are here to talk on behalf of their ministries. I will talk about the policies of my ministry and that is what every hon. Minister does. That is the role of the Executive after the Presidential Speech.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, there are people who will say that the speech was hollow, but I will maintain that the speech is like a skeleton. What matters, Hon. Kambwili, is the fact that the skeleton is intact. Once we have a skeleton that is intact, we need beef to cover it which the hon. Ministers will do in this House.


Mr Shakafuswa: When the hon. Ministers do this, we will be able to understand the direction this country is going. The hon. Ministers will have to work hard to ensure that the policies which the Government has put in place succeed.

Mr Speaker, I commend Hon. Hachipuka and Hon. Dr Machungwa for their debate.  Those who are new in this House can learn from mature hon. Members of Parliament on the direction this country has to take.


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I would like to mention…

Mr Kambwili: Twalakwitila ba Women for Change.


Mr Shakafuswa: … that the issue of Zambia remains with ourselves. We are running an economy worth US$9 billion or K45 trillion.

Mr Speaker, last year, the net production increment or our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was less than K200 billion. At the rate of growth of less than K200 billion, you are not going to blame His Excellency, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, or anyone else if things do not happen. We have to look at our productivity.

Mr Speaker, people are talking about figures and services. I agree that we need to give more funds to the FSP. Last year, we allocated K500 billion to accommodate 200,000 farmers, but the Government would have loved to support 1,000,000 farmers. In addition, instead of giving them a pack for one hectare, we would have loved to give them packs for two hectares.

Mr Speaker, simple arithmetic will show that two packs for 1,000,000 farmers would amount to about K5 trillion.

Hon. Opposition Member: Only?

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, K5 trillion. If you look at further investment in agriculture, we have to buy that produce …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that the Government is cognisant of the fact that more people have to access the FSP and that the current system of giving a pack per hectare per farmer is not enough.

Mr Speaker, I was saying that the Government would like to support more than 200,000 farmers. I went further to say that if the Government was to give two packs to 1,000,000 farmers, we would be talking about K5 trillion.

Sir, K5 trillion for agriculture and, maybe, an additional K1 trillion for the purchase of the produce, for a budget based on a K45 trillion worth economy is not workable. Maybe, it is workable in some people’s dreams, but for a realistic Government which has to budget according to its resources, this is unreasonable. The salaries for Government workers amount to about K4 trillion. Last year, our budget was K11 trillion and if we subtract that amount, the budget is already exhausted. Therefore, we have to budget within our limits. People may get excited and say that every farmer will get free fertiliser.

Mr Speaker, some people have accused the Government of using the FSP to campaign during the elections forgetting that this programme started long before the elections. The Ministry of Finance and National Planning made the first down payment for inputs at the beginning of the year.


Mr Shakafuswa: Yes, it is on record.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Shakafuswa: Well, you can question it because you live in …


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning was instructed by the late President Mwanawasa and not President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, to increase funding to the FSP to K400 billion before he died. He did not even know that there was going to be a bye-election. Therefore, this was a genuine move to alleviate the poverty of the people of Zambia.

 Yes, it can have administrative shortcomings, but that is why we are there as hon. Members of Parliament. Regarding the FSP, hon. Members of Parliament are also supposed to help ensure that the programme is being carried out effectively in their areas.

Sir, the question is: How do we increase our productivity? This is because with our productivity at K200 billion, we will not be able to meet the challenges of this nation. Last year, our growth rate was in the range of 5 per cent, but that is below K200 billion. The only way we can develop is through investment and productivity.

While we are in a hurry to develop, Zambians are investment shy. Foreigners come here to invest in our resources. They go to the stock exchange and use the resources which we got from the ground and raise money for investment. Zambians are not doing that. When the investors in Lumwana Mine came, they carried out geological surveys and found that there was a lot of copper there. That is how they raised the money which was used to develop Lumwana Mine.

Sir, Zambians are asking when the Government will go there. No, development has to be private-sector driven. Hon. Dr Guy Scott has to come up with the initiative and increase productivity. That is the only way Zambia is going to meet the challenges which we are talking about now. In the meantime, since we have all these needs, if we are investment shy ourselves, we will let foreigners come and help us. That is why the Government is now approaching the Chinese and Indians.

Mr Shakafuswa: I know you hate them because they hate liars. That is why some of you are not being …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah! It is in disorder.


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the President talked about developing skills to enable young Zambians meet the challenges of tomorrow. My ministry recognises this, but we have a problem.  16.3 per cent of the population comprises people between the ages of 16 and 25. This translates into potentially 1.63 million people, who we have to serve, but, because of other competing needs, are unable to. At the moment, we have realised this demand, as a ministry, and are trying to create more space in our institutions so that more people are able to access these much-needed skills.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to note that we have gone beyond just training the students. We have started a pilot project with the Ministry of Education, which has given us commercial orders. So far, we have been given an order to supply 5,000 desks to the Ministry of Education. Therefore, my ministry has subcontracted students doing carpentry and those who have graduated and formed companies, to supply the desks so that we are able to put money into their pockets. We have further asked the Ministry of Education to engage our students who have graduated in construction. We have requested the ministry to contract us to build some community and primary schools in outlying areas and to participate in the extension of 1 x 3 classroom blocks. This will enable us engage the bricklayers who graduate and roam the streets. Once we are awarded the contracts, we will be able to engage these boys, who are on the streets, and bring them back into the fold and give them commercial contracts which they can use to put money into their pockets. This is a more practical and straightforward way of putting money into their pockets.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, we are also working on a project for the many enterprising Zambians in the informal sector. If you go to Katimamulilo Road, you will find a lot of people who provide welding services. However, their welding may not be up-to-date. We have a skills retraining programme which enables us retrain these people so that they are able to make better products.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Education are building houses for policemen and teachers respectively. Therefore, hon. Ministers, let us work together. When giving contracts, consider giving the people on the streets contracts to make doorframes and windows. That way, the Government can give its people jobs and remove them from the bottomless pit of poverty and eventually they can graduate into small and medium enterprises. From there, with Government support, we can grow Zambians into businessmen.

Sir, these are some of the things the ministry is doing although I know that the demand is high. At the moment, there are about 300,000,000 pupils dropping out of school each year, but we are only able to cater for about 30,000. However, with these innovative ideas from the Government, we will do all we can to ensure that our youths acquire some skills to enable them get on with their lives.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members:  Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development. She is not in the House? The hon. Minister of Works and Supply.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Moto.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, I am grateful to you for allowing me this opportunity to participate in this important debate on the speech delivered by His Excellency the President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, on the 16th January, 2009.

Mr Speaker, I stand before this House conscious of the fact that this House is the embodiment of all that this country stands for; its sovereignty, freedoms and the rights that the people of Zambia enjoy. As a people, we have enjoyed freedom from colonialism for almost forty-four years. Therefore, we cannot use the past as an excuse for underdevelopment or any other failures. The problem lies in our inability to move beyond complaints and the propensity to apportion blame on others.

Mr Speaker, having listened to the debates of my colleagues on the other side of the House, it is evident that this tendency to apportion blame on others will continue. For instance, we listened to the hon. Member for Nchanga who bemoaned the fact that there is more development in Masaiti and Mongu than in Nchanga. I do not know whether he was being truthful on that. You cannot compare the development that has taken place in Nchanga to what has happened in Masaiti. Masaiti is rural and there has been very little development there while Nchanga has benefited over so many years. I think it is a mark of morality to acknowledge that if you talk about equity, you must appreciate that development must be spread evenly. Why would you want Masaiti and Mongu to remain underdeveloped while we continue to develop Nchanga which has had the lion’s share over the years?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: That is not a fair request to make.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Nkombo from Mazabuka Central has always bemoaned the presence of Albidon Mine in that area. Surely, we must accept that in places where there are mines in Kitwe, Luanshya, Chingola and so forth, there used to be villages and people lived there before the mines were opened. These people were displaced for the sake of the development of this country and that is a price that they just had to pay. I would like to urge the hon. Member to see what he can get from Albidon Mining Company for his people instead of continuously bemoaning the presence of this company in his area. The mines have been established and have already started production. It will be difficult to go and bury them and take the villagers back there. I think the best way forward is for the hon. Member to engage Albidon Mining Company in negotiations other than come to this House and talk about houses which are cracking, as if the hon. Mr Speaker has a responsibility to go and mend those houses.

Mr Speaker, I sat here very attentively listening to Hon. Mwiimbu say those of us on this side of the House are of very low calibre. I do not think that was fair. The hon. Member has been here for a long time and is not expected to say things like that.

Mr Speaker: Order!

 He was ruled out of order on that matter and, therefore, you cannot raise that issue again.

The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance, but we have heard statements such as that there are delinquents on this side of the House. I am sure that statement was not ruled out of order. Is it possible for there to be an hon. Minister who is a delinquent? That kind of language attracts responses that are not good in the House. What I am saying is that we must maintain our dignity by saying good things about each other.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kantanshi has continuously complained about pollution in Mufulira. As a legislator, I expect him to bring legislation to this House to attend to that evil as opposed to coming to continuously complain about pollution. He was elected to come and make laws here to stop that kind of pollution. This is what I expect from hon. Members of this House. To continuously cry and expect somebody to do something about an issue is not fair.
I also recall that my brother, Hon. Chota, had a field day questioning my presence in the Ministry of Works and Supply. He was a personnel manager …

Mr Mukanga: And he performed.

Mr Mulongoti: … and I am sure he knows that in politics, if specialists had to be sent to their areas of specialisation, there would be no-one to lead the ministries. I do not think the majority of hon. Members here ever dreamt of being in this House one day.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mulongoti: Some of them are here by accident.


Mr Mulongoti: No wonder …

Mr Lubinda: Iwe, you are nominated.

Mr Mulongoti: … we can see traits of their previous careers emerging in this House. Some people in here stand up thinking they are addressing a chamber of councillors, not knowing that they are in the House of hon. Members of Parliament. This is an indication that the past has not left them.


Mr Mulongoti: One day, Hon. Dr Guy Scott and I were having a debate on leadership at the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). I asked Dr Guy Scott whether he was a doctor from a university or a witchdoctor.


Mr Mulongoti: Dr Scott was not very amused, but I was trying to remind him that he spent all these years in the university getting qualifications in order to be useful. Does it pay, after getting all his qualifications, to come into a public studio and glorify lack of education as a virtue?


Dr Scott: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, Dr Scott is a councillor in Lusaka.

Dr Scott continued standing.

Mr Speaker: What would the hon. Member for Lusaka Central like to do?

Dr Scott: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, I wonder whether the people on your right are in order to be completely obsessed with me. Hon. Shakafuswa could not help talking about me and now Hon. Mulongoti is talking about me at length even though he knows I am a very well qualified witchdoctor and doctor.

Dr Scott: I know that I am prominent because I am the only muzungu in this House, but are they in order to constantly lecture the House about me? I beg your serious guidance.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Lusaka Central is not amused by being frequently referred to by the hon. Members debating, especially from the governing party. I hereby protect him from that sort of obsession, as he put it. He would rather be left alone. Therefore, debate the issues.

The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I was slowly moving into the challenges that we face as a country and one of them is cholera. Amongst the councillors of Lusaka are people who debate very forcefully in this House, including the man sitting behind Hon. Dr Scott.

Sorry, I am not referring to you (pointing at Dr Scott).


Mr Mulongoti: These gentlemen are vocal opponents of the Government. However, a visit around Lusaka shows that the difficulties that Lusaka is facing are as a result of their failure to manage the council. If the amount of time they spend politicking could be spent …

Mr D. Mwila: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Mulongoti: … remedying the difficulties we have in this city, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Ministers are now replying to your debate. Allow them to reply on behalf of the Executive.

Hon. Minister, please, continue.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I do not know how people who have failed to run the Lusaka City Council can turn around and accuse the Government of failure. Let me remind them that a few years ago, a report was tabled in this House about Lusaka City Council. The report stated that Lusaka City Council was the biggest money spinner in this country and that there was no company that could compare to it. The problem we have is the capacity of the leadership. That leadership includes a lot of the people I see smiling on that side of the House who boast that they are the best alternative to this Government. Looking at their capacity and what is happening in Lusaka, we have difficulties believing that there is any opportunity for us to relinquish power to them in the near future.

Mr Speaker, almost all hon. Members of Parliament are councillors, but I am yet to see them come to discuss the problems of their councils. The reason the Government set up offices for hon. Ministers is to accord you an opportunity to come and find us in specific places (addressing the Opposition). However, I do not know whether some of you are scared of us. You are only able to talk to us in here.

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Minister will address the Chair.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I would like to encourage my brothers and sisters on the other side to come so that we can debate their issues in places where we have the necessary information with us. As long as they continue avoiding us and speak only in here, they will be one term Members of Parliament.


Mr Mulongoti: Unless they develop the habit of coming to interact with us, I can assure them that this is their last term.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President touched almost all the areas concerning our country such as development projects, the history, the challenges that we face and strategies that we are putting in place to overcome some of these difficulties.

Mr Speaker, either due to lack of understanding or out of sheer laziness, people want His Excellency to do everything for them. We expect hon. Members of this House to look at that speech and extract the areas that affect us directly. If, for instance, the President is talking about fisheries and you come from an area with a fishing industry, we expect you to see the relevant authorities so that you are aware of the Government programmes and follow up what is available for you in that industry.

Mr Mooya interjected.

Mr Mulongoti: I know the hon. Member who interjected comes from an area which was called the maize belt before, but difficulties arose because we cannot guarantee the weather.

When Hon. Sichilima talked about alternative foods, a lot of people became angry. I do not know whether there is any reason the hon. Minister cannot suggest foodstuffs to be eaten by people who are starving.


Mr Mulongoti: All of us have indigenous foodstuffs in our areas. I saw the hon. Member for Monze Central become angry and say that it was arrogance for Hon. Sichilima to state that there were local foodstuffs that must be appreciated. This is the kind of pride which is not right. If the weather is unfavourable, you must acknowledge that it is an act of God. When we are given advice, we must take it, not with a pinch of salt, but gladly because that is the only way we can help our people survive.

I have seen, on television, people threatening to riot because the Vice-President’s Office has not delivered food to their areas. Surely, do not encourage people to riot. You must encourage them to grow sufficient food because that is where pride comes from.

I do not want the leadership to be in the forefront of encouraging people to riot because the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) has not been there to distribute maize. We expect you to provide leadership by going to the local authority and seeing how you can comfort the people who are affected by these difficulties. If you show intolerance and scream each time the Government passes through your constituency, then what are you implying? We want dialogue. After all, the Government is in place for the purpose of providing leadership with you.

When you have good solutions, bring them to the Government. Do not keep them under your armpits and begin to boast that you have the best solutions. Of what use is a good solution under your armpit if it cannot be used?


Mr Mulongoti: We want all the good ideas you have to be brought forward so that the people of Zambia can benefit from your intelligence. I feel very sad when people say that they have copied our programmes. If it is a good programme, why not take it if the owner is sleeping on it?


Mr Mulongoti: Can you blame me for taking a good programme of yours? After all, we are competitors. If I can use the programme successfully, it will enhance my capacity to survive longer than you.


Mr Mulongoti: Some of you think that the Government is your enemy.


Mr Mulongoti: I know that there are those who, when they see graders that have been sent by the Government, claim to the villagers that it is through their efforts and when they come here, start condemning the Ministry of Works and Supply.

Mr Speaker, the Government includes the Opposition. Do not start boasting that you brought maize, food and caterpillars because you have no capacity to do that.


Mr Mulongoti: The capacity is with your Government unless you are denying that it is your Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: What about cholera?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the issue of development affects us all. The only difference is that some of us are focused and know what we are doing. Some of you are so angry because you have been waiting for too long. As a result, you have even stopped thinking about how to persuade the Government to help you. Hon. Hachipuka was honest enough to admit that they have been waiting for too long and I could see from the reaction of others that the waiting is beginning to take its toll on them.


Mr Mulongoti: Let me plead with you. The waiting might take a little longer unless you adjust your attitude towards us.

Hon. Member interrupted.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, they are counting votes that they got yesterday. We are talking about the future votes that will come with development.


Mr Mulongoti: Sir, I want to address my nephew, Hon. Shakafuswa.

 You are part of the House, my nephew.

Mr Speaker: Order!

There are no nephews here. May you address the hon. Minister properly.

Mr Mulongoti: I want to assure the hon. Deputy Minister of Science, Technology and Vocational Training that his family is on this side of the House. Hon. Kambwili and the rest are your competitors. If there is a family quarrel, it must not be brought to the House because we are one and the same.

Therefore, when you begin to …

Hon. P.F. Members: So you are quarrelling?
Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I was only telling the hon. Minister that we want him, as a member of the family, to feel that nothing is wrong in the family. Hon. Members on the other side of the House are encouraging you because they envy the strong position you hold in the family. With them, when the worst comes to the worst, they expel each other.


Mr Mulongoti: For us, it is just a family quarrel.


Mr Mulongoti: I know that there are hon. Members of Parliament who do not know how many they are in their political party because when they came to the House, they came together, but they later created new titles of ‘rebel’ and ‘indigenous’ for each other.


Mr Mulongoti: Please, continue because we are happy to see you divided as we grow stronger.

Mr Speaker, I have said all this in order to remind our friends that we are in leadership together. Therefore, they must feel free to work with us. If there is anything they think must be done, they must bring legislation to this House and we will support them.


Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, I am just avoiding the provocation from people who have failed to deal with the problem of cholera, but want to govern.

Mr Speaker, on Friday, 30th January, 2009, the Budget is being presented and we shall show you what a working Government can do.

I thank you, Sir{mospagebreak}.

The Deputy Minister for Central Province (Mr A. Banda): Mr Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to address this august House on this Motion of Thanks to the speech by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, on the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Tenth National Assembly, which he delivered on Friday, 16th January, 2009.

Sir, I am grateful for this rare honour to ask the House to join me in congratulating His Excellency the President on having been democratically elected into office …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: … taking over from the late President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, may his soul rest in peace.

I echo His Excellency the President’s sentiments that the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly was very productive as the matters deliberated were of great importance to our people. Further, I laud you, Mr Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, the Deputy Chairperson of Committees of the Whole House and the Clerk of the National Assembly for your diligence in presiding over the functions of the House.

Mr Speaker, the positive words of commendation for the House by His Excellency the President came with a great call for all hon. Members, whether from the opposition or ruling party, to rally behind our Government in the delivery of socio-economic development to the Zambian population. His Excellency the President laboured to put facts before this august House showing the state of the nation, the policies being pursued and the outlook for 2009 and beyond, taking into account our long-term vision of becoming a middle-income country by 2030. Let us all, therefore, rise to the occasion and take our rightful place as intermediaries for the effective delivery of development, primarily at the constituency level, and at national level through sound legislation.

Mr Speaker, allow me to highlight some salient aspects of the speech relating to the measures that the New Deal Administration will undertake from 2009.

With regard to the Constitution, the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) has in addition to constituting eleven thematic committees completed its internal organisation as a self-regulating body. It is a welcome move as this will expedite the NCC’s deliberations on the draft Constitution.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Furthermore, Mr Speaker, the arrangement that has been made to receive public comments from all the districts when the draft report and Constitution are ready is applauded.

Sir, regarding governance, I applaud the Government’s intention to continue building on our young democracy in conformity with the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance. The inauguration of the National Governing Council of the Africa Peer Review Mechanism in September, 2008, is testimony that democracy and good governance is poised to get enhanced. It is good news that funding for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) will be increased so that the fight against corruption is enhanced in the country.

On the media, the proposed review of the licensing system so as to allow existing and new broadcasters, both radio and television, will enable more coverage of the country in terms of signal coverage. However, I agree with His Excellency the President that we want to see more competition in this sector. Further, I join His Excellency the President in urging all media outlets and practitioners to consider joining the Media Ethics Council of Zambia (MECOZ) instead of forcing the Government to act in cases where journalists or media houses err.

Mr Speaker, on Local Government, the ability to draft a new partnership between central Government and viable Local Government is dependent on Zambia’s strategies for unlocking the country’s productive resources. The adoption of the Decentralisation Implementation Plan is, therefore, a welcome move as the plan forms the primary basis for financial and technical assistance for Local Government. Furthermore, the intention of the Government to introduce the Local Government Service Commission will help in addressing issues of capacity within Local Government systems in an effort to address the issue of tenure of office for mayors and council chairpersons. The Government’s intention to present to this august House the Local Government (Amendment) Bill, which will enable the extension of the tenure of office of mayors and council chairpersons, is a very welcome move. Further, the programme of upgrading unplanned urban settlements will assist improve the living conditions of the urban population as well as enhance the landscape of our cities and towns.

Mr Speaker, as regards the economy, I commend the economic gains achieved as a result of the sound economic policies implemented by the New Deal Administration. The economy has been stabilised while a trend of growth has been stimulated even in sectors other than mining, tourism and agriculture.

Mr Speaker, further, interest rates continued to fall during 2008, hence, increasing private-sector borrowing for capitalisation. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the Government is faced with the challenge of translating these gains into positive improvements in the people’s lives. Thus, the effective implementation of the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP) with the theme: “Wealth and Job Creation Through Citizenry Participation”, will ensure considerable progress towards this aim. To this end, the participation of all stakeholders, including traditional leaders and hon. Members of Parliament, in the monitoring of the performance of the plan which was widely disseminated in all districts is vital and need not be overemphasised.

Mr Speaker, I agree with His Excellency the President that in order to survive the global economic downturn with its impact on jobs, commodity prices and international trade, business houses need to review their business models, hunt out new markets, diversify their products and seek partnerships.

Mr Speaker, I also applaud His Excellency the President placing great emphasis on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as a source of employment and skills formation for our women, young people and retirees.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, with regard to the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF), it is good news that the disbursement of funds will be continuously reviewed to ensure that the most worthy and credible people receive it.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Sir, the move by the Government to introduce the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ), in Lusaka South and Chambishi will encourage both domestic and foreign investment into export and domestic oriented industry.

Mr Speaker, I join His Excellency the President in giving credit to the mining sector for achieving an increase in mineral production despite the drying up of international credit due to the global financial crisis.

Sir, there is hope on the horizon for Zambia now that the country has promising sites for uranium mining. In this regard, it is gratifying to note that the Government is taking a cautious approach to the issue of uranium mining rights by considering the guidelines laid down by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Mr Speaker, I agree with His Excellency the President that an efficient and transparent land distribution system is vital for fair and equal access to land. Further, the process of creating land banks will ensure the availability of land and help attract appropriate investment like in Nansanga Farm Block in Serenje Central Constituency.

Mr Sichilima: Propound minister!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, on Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources, it is gratifying to note that the Government’s interest in promoting tourism through the Kasaba Bay …

Mr Sikazwe: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: … Tourism Development Project under the Northern Tourism Circuit …

Mr Sichilima: Bwekeshapo!

Mr A. Banda: … will, indeed, provide job opportunities and wealth creation through both private and public sector investment.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Further, it is comforting that all assistance given to the tourism industry will be sensitive to local needs and the environment. To this end, the Government’s intention to implement the National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA) aimed at adapting and mitigating the impact of climate change is a welcome move. Therefore, working together will not only help the environment, but each other.

Mr Speaker, energy drives the economy. This is true for our growing economy. We are confident that the measures being pursued through the implementation of the revised National Energy Policy of 2007 will ensure continuity and the availability of supplies. Key to this is the realisation by the Government that oil marketing companies require effective monitoring to ensure effective implementation of the strategic fuel reserves.

Hon. Opposition Member: Look at the Speaker.


Mr A. Banda: In this regard, the intention by His Excellency the President to reconstitute the Petroleum Committee to spearhead the exploration of oil and gas in the country is welcome.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, in addition, I note with keen interest the Government’s effort to promote new and diverse sources of energy such as solar, wind, bio-fuels and liquefied petroleum gas. This is in view of the looming power deficit in the Southern African sub-region.

Mr Speaker, the completion of the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP), will guide the Government on rural electrification in the country. The benefits of the plan are now being felt with the development of the Kabompo Power Station.

Hon. MMD Member: Propound minister!

Mr A. Banda: The efforts being made to upgrade the generators at the Kafue Gorge and the Kariba North Bank will minimise load-shedding which has been a source of concern to every Zambian.

Hon. Opposition Member: Move on to gender, now!


Hon. MMD Member: Ema minister aya!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, as noted by His Excellency the President, in an effort to make Zambia a regional economic hub, continuous improvement of infrastructure is cardinal. Therefore, the Government’s intention to develop the north-south corridor as part of the Aid-for-Trade initiative is a good move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, the earth moving and engineering equipment which has been distributed to all provinces will surely facilitate the on-going projects.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: It is gratifying that the Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Policy will give impetus to investors in the development of infrastructure.

Mr Speaker, in order to provide a legal framework to this policy, the Government’s intention to table the Public-Private-Partnership Bill in Parliament is a welcome move.

Mr Sichilima: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, I applaud His Excellency the President’s intention …


Mr A. Banda: … to continue the emphasis on increased and sustainable food security at all levels. We need to see improved income generation through cash crop production and livestock and fisheries development. This will surely counter the effects of the world food crisis.

Mr Speaker, in the Central Province, we are glad that we received a total of 167,408 by 50 kg  bags of basil and top dressing fertiliser from which a total of 20, 925 small-scale farmers benefited.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, his Excellency the President’s directive to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to intensify their crop marketing system this year is welcome. The agency should, indeed, concentrate on buying crops from the remotest areas of the country.

Sir, the Government’s intention to mechanise the small-scale farming sector by bringing in tractors and agricultural equipment should be applauded.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Sir, I have noted, with pleasure, the Government’s emphasis on the recruitment of more teachers in order to narrow the pupil-teacher ratio.

Mr Sichangwa: Hear, hear!

Mr A. Banda: Mr Speaker, allow me to conclude this vote of thanks by reiterating the call by His Excellency the President to the hon. Members of this august House to unite behind our common agenda of defeating poverty, creating wealth for ourselves and propelling Zambia forward towards prosperity.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Chinyanta): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this important Motion on the Floor.

I want to echo the words of other hon. Members who have contributed before me to support the speech that was delivered by the Head of State. I describe this speech as brilliant, exhaustive and very clear.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: Mr Speaker, I find it very difficult when people try to twist the language in the speech to suit their desires or aspirations. 

Mr Speaker, the speech that was delivered to this House by the Head of State is a national speech. Therefore, it is our duty, as hon. Ministers, to respond to all the issues that have been raised by the Opposition. I hope that in my brief contribution, I will be able to respond to some of the issues that have been raised, especially those pertaining to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services.

Mr Speaker, the issue of poverty has been alluded to by many hon. Members on the Floor of this House. It is true that poverty affects a lot of people. In this country, it is a well known fact that poverty is a result of so many factors which I believe some hon. Members have already mentioned. However, to address this issue, we need to work with our friends in the Opposition and all the stakeholders interested in ensuring that the vulnerable are helped in this country.

Sir, the vulnerable in this country are categorised in so many ways. I will take time to explain some of the programmes in the ministry so that there is no misunderstanding regarding some of the things that our ministry is trying to do and its target groups.
Mr Speaker, the vulnerable includes sick children, the disabled, orphans, the aged and women. As a Government, we are committed to helping all the categories of people that I have mentioned in various ways.

 The first thing the President mentioned in his speech is policy. The Government will always be committed to whatever we are doing when we put in place a policy for our people. The ministry has put in place policies that address issues concerning the aged, development and programmes that address the target groups I mentioned earlier.

Sir, let me take this opportunity to explain the target groups in our ministry. As you may be aware, our ministry is divided into three departments. We have the Department of Social Welfare, the Department of Community Development and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

I would like to make it very clear that in community development, our target group is the low capacity household. These are households that have vulnerable people who are given help that will enable them improve their lives. This is where we have programmes like the fertiliser support programme which is quite different from the national fertiliser support programme.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: On several occasions, questions have been asked on the Floor of the House regarding the two programmes and there has been a misunderstanding between the two. The food security pack targets the low capacity households. These are child or women headed households. They also include households that are not able to find food or improve their lives. As a ministry, we have put in place programmes that will develop their skills as well. This is because we believe that to address poverty holistically, we need to address the issue of skills development for these people. This is the same programme under which we have the women development clubs. This is because if we empower the women in different ways, they will be able to get out of poverty.

 Mr Speaker, you will appreciate that this cannot be done by the Government alone, but with the support of other people out there, including hon. Members of Parliament.

With regard to social welfare, we target incapacitated households. When we refer to incapacitated households, any person can be affected, including hon. Members of Parliament.


Mr Chinyanta: For example, if you are involved in an accident, you can become our client in the Social Welfare Department …


Mr Chinyanta: … because you will not be able to do the things that you are doing right now.

Mr Shawa: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: In this department, our aim is to assist individuals with food, blankets, uniforms and anything that may help them in their day to day lives. Therefore, as a Government, these are the things which indicate our commitment towards poverty eradication.

 It is true that even as we give these handouts to our people, they are not enough. Of course, that has to do with the amount of money our ministry has been given. Looking at the passionate manner in which some hon. Members have debated the issue of poverty, I am sure that when the national Budget is presented to this House, we are going to have a lot of support.

Sir, other safety measures that have been put in place include the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme which we use to help different kinds of vulnerable people in different areas. As we speak, our officers are trying to sort out the school fees for some vulnerable children although the amount of money that we have is not enough to cater for everybody.

Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing us to interact with our fellow hon. Members of Parliament last Saturday and Sunday during the workshop to try to explain to them so that together we can address matters that affect the people in our constituencies.

Sir, we also have programmes that deal with caring for the aged. We assist a number of institutions which take care of the old. Some of them are our parents that we have neglected in one way or another who unfortunately are found in these homes. As a ministry, we put some money in those programmes.

Mr Speaker, the issue of street children is a well known factor. As we have already indicated, as a ministry, we cannot overcome this problem on our own. We have observed that some of the children on the streets are from homes which are even better than the homes which are described as poverty-stricken. This entails that the problem we are facing is not for the Government alone. This is a very big problem. It is a social problem. When we have children who are neglected by parents who are well-to-do, it becomes a very big problem. The ministry has identified children who come from poverty-stricken homes and has put in place programmes that will help them. We have embarked on a programme to rehabilitate infrastructure to ensure that these children can be rehabilitated and at the same time given skills that may help them become better citizens in future.

Sir, with regard to the Social Cash Transfer Programme, you may be aware that we are piloting this programme in five districts. The ministry, together with our co-operating partners, is going to increase the number of districts to ten. This is in order to try and target as many children in the nation as possible.

Mr Speaker, the collapse of the extended family system due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the main factor that has contributed to the development of street children. As a ministry, we will obviously put in place programmes to rehabilitate them. Some of these children are being integrated into homes. I would appreciate it if some hon. Ministers or hon. Members of Parliament looked after these vulnerable children in their homes. We have seen foreigners …


Mr Chinyanta: … take one, two or three children into their homes. That is what we expect Zambians to do as well.


Mr Chinyanta: Sir, I want to put it on record that as a ministry, we face challenges, especially where childcare is concerned. You will find that a good number of people and institutions that have come into this field are not following Government regulations. A number of institutions have come up and pretend they want to look after these vulnerable children. These people have instead abused these vulnerable children. As a ministry, we are putting in place human rights policies. We are also dealing with issues to do with the health of these children. As I have indicated, we still require a lot of help even from the hon. Members of Parliament in this august House.

Mr Speaker, the sad part is that some of these children have run away from homes where there is abuse. We should take keen interest in these issues and ensure that we highlight them in society. We are in the process of broadening this exercise to ensure that these issues are emphasised even in villages. We will have officers working in the villages to highlight some of these evils of society. 

Sir, I also want to talk about illiteracy. This is another programme that we are addressing vigorously. We believe that to overcome poverty, we need to overcome illiteracy because the two go together. In fact, the problem of cholera or other health problems that we face in this country border on illiteracy. Therefore, as a ministry, we will ensure that our people are helped by our centres through teaching them skills that will enable them improve their lives. We have also embarked on a programme to support both community-based and Government institutions. We fund these institutions so that they can provide skills to the needy. That is why we say that this Government is seriously fighting poverty in this country.

Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we recognise that women play a very important role in the development of the nation. We have, again, put in place policies to help the women in this country. We have not only encouraged our women to embark on entrepreneurship, but also tried to encourage them to venture into other areas which can assist them improve their food security. We are encouraging them to work in groups and involve them in projects which I think should be supported by this august House, especially when the Budget is brought here. We have also encouraged the women to diversify into alternative farming which will stop the trend of people getting fertiliser all the time, particularly since the programme has not worked well in certain places. As a ministry, we have encouraged the women to look at alternatives such as rearing chickens and goats. These are clear indications that we are serious about the alleviation of poverty in this country.

Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying something about culture because that is another department that falls under my ministry. You are aware that culture is a way of life. The languages, customs, beliefs and practices that we have, as a country, distinguish us as Zambians. Western trends and cultures have infiltrated our country and, as a ministry, we have not ignored this. We have put in place policies in the ministry to address this issue.

Sir, our attitude towards elders, our parents, the extended family, the local languages, our dress code and all the other things that have been affected by the Western culture are affecting the vulnerable. As a ministry, we are addressing these issues from different angles.

Sir, I, therefore, appeal to all hon. Members of this august House to support the speech by the President. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Education (Professor Lungwangwa): Mr Speaker, I am most grateful for the opportunity to add my voice of thanks to the excellent speech delivered to this august House by His Excellency, President Rupiah Banda.

Sir, this speech will go in the annals of our country’s history as a benchmark in our development as a nation. The truth is that those whose hearts and minds are deeply immersed in hate, vengeance and vindictiveness have never, can never and will never see the value, merit and significance of the President’s speech to our development.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, those who move with clenched fists as if they want to fight or spit out the most lethal venom on those around cannot on all measure of human reason see the vision behind the President’s speech.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, how can they, when all they are preoccupied with is how to create instability and tension in our beloved nation. They are always concerned about instigating violence even among innocent students in institutions of learning.

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the President’s speech exemplifies the persona of our President and what he wishes for our country.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency, the President…

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, instigating violence is a crime. May you guide the House whether the hon. Minister is in order to allege that there are people in this House instigating violence without naming them so that they are arrested for committing a criminal offence.

I seek your very serious ruling on this matter, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Education may make reference to the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Kabwata.

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, His Excellency, President Rupiah Bwezani Banda, stands for love not hate, friendship not aggression, peace not war, unity not division, prosperity not poverty and reason not irrationality.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Sir, throughout this speech, we see the President’s vision for the country which, simply put, centres on a peaceful, prosperous and democratic nation. This is the direction the President would like us to take and this is where he is taking us.

Mr Speaker, the President has meticulously and exhaustively discussed the various principles that we should uphold in order to build a nation that is peaceful, prosperous and democratic. These principles are national unity, reconciliation, peace and tranquility, good governance, rule of law, zero tolerance to corruption, gender equity, citizenship empowerment, hard work, food security, poverty reduction, entrepreneurship, wealth creation, employment generation and human rights.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, these are the principles shaping the destiny of our nation. They are the fundamentals of our national development for which we are respected internationally. These are the principles which make Zambia the best investment destination in Africa.

 Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Our President has clearly outlined these principles in his speech. These principles crystallise the President’s vision for mother Zambia and are there for all to see the building blocks of our national development.

Mr Speaker, the only explanation that can be given to those who have not been able to pinpoint, from the speech, the President’s vision and the principles on which it is rooted, is either that they do not have the capacity and ability to understand or have chosen to be indifferent.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Hon MMD Member: The latter!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the reality of every political situation is that the grass always bends in the direction of the wind. There is no doubt that the hon. Members seated on your left will bend in the direction of peace, prosperity and democracy which our country is going through under the able and effective leadership of President Rupiah Banda.

 Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: There is no credible alternative leadership to the MMD.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Those who think that they can rule the country on the platform of tribalism or tribal hegemony and supremacy are cheating themselves because Zambia is more than one tribe.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Those who think that they can rule this country on account of being the richest, will not access the throne of power because our nationals want to see humility and not self-importance in a leader.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the President has set the tone and direction for our development in all areas.

Hon. MMD Member: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Our task, as a Government, is to effectively and efficiently operationalise the vision of our President.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, on education, the President’s vision is that education is a means out of poverty and a path to prosperity. What the President would like to see is better and relevant quality education for our people. He wants to see education play its role as the great equaliser of life’s opportunities for individual, community and national development. He wants education to be a catalyst for national prosperity. Education, through the skills, knowledge, values and attitudes it imparts to our people, should be the key that will unlock the doors out of poverty and open the doors to prosperity in our Republic.

Mr Speaker, in the education sector, we shall implement the President’s vision by focusing on the sector’s policies, plans, programmes and activities towards heightening access to education at all levels so that more of our people have opportunities for education. This will be done by constructing more classrooms at all levels so that school places are created for the children at both basic and high school levels. We are currently constructing an average of 900 classrooms every year, which is creating 36,000 school places annually. 90 per cent of the classrooms being constructed are in the rural areas.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the year, 2008, marked a record high of 1,527 classrooms being constructed. This year, our target is 2,500 classrooms.

Mr Speaker, expanding high school and tertiary education levels through the injection of both public and private sector resources is one of the objectives of the ministry. We are currently constructing forty-three high schools and more are being added which will enable us reach our target of eighty-eight high schools and twelve technical high schools for girls by the year 2011.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!
Professor Lungwangwa: To achieve equity in development, 90 per cent of the high schools being constructed are in the rural areas.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the tertiary education sector is already experiencing unprecedented growth with more universities being established, university colleges being developed, and the old public universities being given a new facelift through rehabilitation and infrastructure expansion. More efforts will be made to create an effective supportive policy environment for private-sector resource inflow in the tertiary education level.

Mr Speaker, this, together with the public resource envelope, should make Zambia a hub of excellence in education and training within our region.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the ministry will strive to achieve quality at all levels of the education system through the provision of educational materials, effective supervision and increasing the teacher outflow from the teacher training programmes in the universities and colleges. A combined strategy of full-time and distance learning in teacher training and professional enhancement will be employed on a wide-scale to produce more teachers for the ever expanding school system. Attention will be given to the deployment of more teachers in the rural areas.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Professor Lungwangwa: For example, 65 per cent of the 30,485 teachers recruited between 2004 and 2008 were sent to schools in the rural areas.

Mr Speaker, the relevance of education provided in our educational institutions will be vigorously pursued through a review of the curriculum at all levels in order to establish an inter-linked curriculum that is in line with Vision 2030.

Mr Speaker, equity considerations will continue to be given attention through the bursary scheme for the vulnerable children, re-entry policy programme for girls and the school feeding programme for children in food deficit areas and advocacy for girls’ education. Children in rural areas are benefiting from these programmes. For example, more than 244,000 children in rural schools are currently benefiting from the school feeding programme.

Mr Speaker, with all these programmes in place, we are confident that education shall be a way out of poverty and the path to prosperity as directed by His Excellency, President Rupiah Banda.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

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

The Minister of Sport, Youth and Child development (Mr Chipungu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this very rare opportunity to contribute to the Motion on the Floor ably moved by Hon. Mwale and seconded by Hon. Imbwae. I wish to commend the two hon. Members for their very well-articulated presentations.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: I wish to begin by commending His Excellency, Rupiah Bwezani Banda, for giving this nation an inspiring speech. The speech was well-balanced and visionary. As it offers solutions, the speech cannot be described as lamentations, as indicated by the hon. Member for Chingola. My Advice to the hon. Member is to find time to read the speech over and over and examine it critically.
Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chipili said this country has no Government in place at all. I am not too sure if the hon. Member is serious. If there is no Government in place, what is he doing in this august House?

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, this country has a very able Government under the leadership of His Excellency, Rupiah Bwezani Banda. This Government is performing extremely well as evidenced by the reduction in prices of fuel and mealie-meal

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, before I talk about my ministry, I wish to discuss three sectors which were touched by His Excellency in his speech. These are education, agriculture and Local Government.

Mr Speaker, the education sector has performed extremely well during the year 2008. We have seen tremendous improvement in school infrastructure. New schools have been constructed across the country and more teachers have been recruited. In addition, many teachers’ houses have been constructed or renovated.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, in my constituency, the construction of a technical girls’ high school is nearing completion.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Education must be commended. He therefore, needs support from all of us.

Mr Speaker, in agriculture, let me commend this Government for maintaining agriculture as its number one priority. This sector continues to create employment for many of our people. It is gratifying to note that His Excellency has maintained the Fertiliser Support Programme to assist the small-scale farmers.

Mr Speaker, regarding relief food, I am of the view that as hon. Members of Parliament, we must encourage our people to grow their own food rather than depend on relief food. This is because it is not possible for the Government to feed all its citizens due to limited financial resources. In my constituency, the message to the people is very clear, “Grow your own food.” Though painful, this is a fact. Relief food must only be given to disaster hit areas and not to everybody as the case is at the moment.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu:  In my view, relief food is being abused.

Mr Speaker, Local Government remains a key sector in the development of any nation. In his address, His Excellency the President called for the creation of a new partnership between Central Government and viable Local Government. This is vital if our towns and cities are to develop.

Mr Speaker, let me call upon hon. Members, especially my hon. Colleagues on your far left, to support this move and work with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to provide the required services to our people, especially in the Lusaka and Copperbelt councils under their control.

Mr Speaker, let me now talk about my ministry. My ministry is responsible for formulating and administering policies as well as regulating activities in the sport, youth and child development sectors in order to enhance the sectors’ contribution to sustainable human socio-economic development for the benefit of the people of Zambia. The ministry derives its legal status from Government Gazette Notice No. 547 of 2004 which outlines its core functions as being:

(a) child policy;

(b) sports policy;

(c) sports development;

(d) co-ordination of youth organisations;

(e) co-ordination of sports organisations; and

(f) co-ordination of child development.

Mr Speaker, my ministry implements its programmes through the following institutions:

(a) National Sports Councils of Zambia;

(b) National Youth Development Council;

(c) Outward Bound Association of Zambia;

(d) Zambia Professional Boxing and Wrestling Control Board;

(e) youth resource centres; and

(f) very shortly, there will be another organisation called Council for the Child.

Sir, my ministry scored several successes in 2008.

Mr Speaker, regarding sport, in 2008, the major emphasis was on the 2011 All Africa Games. To this effect, my ministry embarked on a programme to identify talented young athletes in various sports disciplines in readiness for the games and over 400 were identified.

Mr Speaker, in addition, the construction of hostels at the University of Zambia (UNZA), National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA), Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) and Evelyn Hone College, which were meant to increase the bed space during the games, commenced. Unfortunately, as highlighted by His Excellency the President, due to the current financial difficulties, it is important that the Government prudently utilises its limited resources and it withdrew the offer to host the games.

Mr Speaker, my ministry, will continue with the talent identification programme so as to continue identifying young athletes in different sports disciplines for future engagements in particular and the development of sport in general.

Mr Speaker, with regard to youth development, the major programme in 2008 was the youth skills training and infrastructure development. With regard to infrastructure development, five youth resource centres were under construction in the Copperbelt, Central, North-Western, Eastern and Luapula provinces. Currently, there are sixteen operational youth resource centres and over 1,500 out-of-school youths were trained in various skills in 2008. My ministry’s objective is to have at least one youth resource centre in every district.

Mr Speaker, on child development, the major programme in 2008 was the rehabilitation of street children. This programme is implemented in collaboration with the Zambia National Service (ZNS). Through this programme, the ministry identifies, trains and resettles orphaned and vulnerable children (OVCs), especially street children. The programme is currently being implemented through two ZNS camps namely Chiwoko in Eastern Province and Kitwe Skills Training camps.

Last year, over 400 students graduated from these camps. Eighty-three were girls while 380 were boys. 100 of these graduates have been employed by ZNS so far. As alluded to by His Excellency the President in his speech, those that have outstanding results will be absorbed in the technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training institutions through the provision of scholarships.

Mr Speaker, 2008 was not an easy year. The sickness and subsequent demise of our late President His Excellency, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, changed the whole complexion of the implementation plans for all Government ministries. This was because the Government had to change its expenditure plan because of the huge cost of the State funeral of our beloved late President, may his soul rest in eternal peace. In addition, the general increase in fuel prices in the first, second and third quarters also affected the implementation of programmes.

Mr Speaker, with Zambia’s withdrawal from hosting the 2011 All Africa Games, in 2009, my ministry’s emphasis in sports development will be to continue with the development of sports infrastructure. My ministry will also ensure that the construction of hostels at UNZA, NIPA, NRDC and Evelyn Hone College continues.

Mr Speaker, with regard to youth development, in 2009, my ministry will continue with youth skills training and infrastructure development. In the area of youth training, the major emphasis will be on agricultural related skills. This is because the Government has now identified agriculture as the backbone of the economy due to unstable prices of copper which has been the major foreign exchange earner for the country. My ministry, therefore, feels that if the youth can be involved, they can contribute significantly to agricultural production and subsequently the economic development of the country.

With regard to infrastructure development, my ministry will restrict itself to the completion of youth resource centres which are already under construction because of budgetary limitations. However, in order to realise my ministry’s objective of having at least one youth resource centre in every district, the ministry requires approximately K128 billion in the medium-term, that is, within the 2009/2011 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). Of this amount, the ministry requires K20 billion in 2009. Therefore, I would like to implore my colleagues in this august House to support this programme.

Mr Speaker, the graduates from youth resource centres need to be placed and settled so that they can engage in productive ventures and contribute to the development of the country. My ministry has faced a lot of challenges in this area. In this regard, my ministry has come up with an initiative to establish youth industrial parks to provide work space and equipment and facilities for the aforesaid graduates as business incubators.

Sir, the idea behind youth industrial parks is that the ministry buys and places assorted equipment in selected but very few strategic locations. The graduates from the youth resource centres and ZNS camps will use this equipment in income generating ventures until they have accumulated enough capital to establish their own businesses, therefore, paving way for another stream of graduates to take over. My ministry requires only K5 billion within the 2009/2011 MTEF.

Mr Speaker, in the area of youth empowerment, my ministry will continue to work with the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) to ensure that the youths benefit equitably from the Government’s citizens’ empowerment initiative.

Sir, in the area of child development, in 2009, my ministry will scale-up the rehabilitation of street children programme. In this regard, my ministry intends to mobilise and recruit 600 (400 boys and 200 girls) street children and other vulnerable young people for the same training.

Mr Speaker, as highlighted by His Excellency the President in his speech, my ministry will establish the Zambia Council for the Child which is aimed at strengthening the co-ordination and implementation of child development programmes. To this effect, my ministry will, within this quarter, present to this august House the Zambia Council for the Child Bill for consideration.

Mr Speaker, with the global economic recession, the economic outlook for 2009 is not very bright as revenues might not come as projected. However, my ministry will remain committed to implementing the programmes I have outlined above.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister for Northern Province (Mr Shawa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity accorded to me to add my voice, and, indeed, that of the people of Northern Province to this debate.

Sir, I would like to thank our colleagues on your left, for their positive and, to an extent, some of their negative contributions.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: From this side of the House, indeed, I would like to thank the hon. Ministers who gave very powerful ministerial statements …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: … and debated positively.

Mr Speaker, allow me to thank His Excellency the President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, for his favour and generosity in sending me to serve the people of Northern Province. I feel highly honoured and privileged.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: I would also be failing in my duties if I failed to thank and appreciate the warm reception accorded to me by the people of Northern Province; the chiefs, hon. Members of Parliament, church leaders, heads of Government departments and senior citizens.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Lameck Kauzi Kanyelele Chibombamilimo …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: … for the wonderful contribution he made to Northern Province. At the same time, allow me to congratulate and thank my colleague, Hon. I. Banda, who took over from me in Eastern Province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, I am on the ground in Northern Province. I would like to say that the people of Northern Province are loving, caring, intelligent and hardworking.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: However, like all the other people of Zambia, they face their own challenges. They face challenges such as poverty, hunger, poor education and health services, poor road infrastructure, water, electricity, unemployment, environmental degradation and generally underdevelopment.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the question one would ask is: why should people suffer in that beautiful land of plenty? Northern Province has everything it takes to add value to the people’s lives. God has endowed that wonderful province with good soils, plenty surface and underground water, a favourable rain pattern, nice rivers, lakes, beautiful wildlife and scenery and the people themselves are superb and always have wonderful smiles.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, it is very important for people to understand that I have not been sent there for prestige, pomposity or as tourist. To the contrary, I have been sent as a servant of the people of Northern Province irrespective of party affiliation, race, creed and tribe. I am a servant of the people of Zambia and the people of God.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Ulebelenga bwino, iwe!

Mr Shawa: We need the support, co-operation and understanding of all the people. Some gentleman went on radio and was questioning my being sent to Northern Province. He was telling the nation that the man you have sent to Northern Province does not even know how to speak Bemba.

Mr Kambwili: Rhetoric! That is rhetoric!

Mr Shawa:  Mukwai, ndalanda icibemba nalicishiba.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: He will be shocked, Mr Speaker …

Mr Speaker: Order! Order! The hon. Minister will interpret that phrase.

Mr Shawa: I said that I understand Bemba very well and I can also speak it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambwili: Tafilepalana!

Mr Shawa: That is the interpretation.


Hon. Opposition Members: No!


Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Shawa: … we need to work as a team and deliver in Northern Province. There is no need to belittle somebody who has been sent to serve in that very important and probably biggest province in Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, I have gone to Northern Province with the zeal and enthusiasm to work.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the speech for the Official Opening of the Third Session …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: … when business was suspended, I was propounding and expounding the point that the speech for the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Tenth National Assembly by His Excellency, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, the President of the Republic of Zambia, on 16th January, 2009, is simply dynamic, charismatic, pragmatic and well thought out.

Mr Speaker, for someone to call it hollow, baseless and all sorts of names, means that such a person needs a political mental alignment and balancing.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, such a person is a sadist, malicious and is bound to be barbaric and is a danger to the values and principles of the Zambian culture and the true Zambian way of life.

Mr Speaker: Order! The word ‘barbaric’ should be withdrawn.


Mr Shawa: Somebody, Sir, who is not well-meaning.

Mr Speaker: Order!

The word should be withdrawn.

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word.

 Mr Speaker, the speech by His Excellency the President has gone down very well with serious-minded people of high repute in our society. I am referring to people who listened, read and have reflected on it.

Mr Speaker, some people like my colleague, Hon. Mufalali, who said they do not know the difference between listening and hearing need to be forgiven. When the speech was being presented, someone was just hearing and not listening. When somebody is speaking, you must pay particular attention and reflect on what has been said. You must analyse, synthesise, harmonise and organise your thoughts. Only then will you see sense.

Mr Speaker, Jesus was not wrong when he stated, “you have eyes but cannot see. You have ears but cannot hear.” We have two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Therefore we must see and listen more and talk less. 
Sir, it is nice to be important, but it is much more important to be nice to other people and respect what other people are doing.

Mr Speaker, we were made to stand in this House to pay respect to our departed friends, may their souls rest in peace. The late President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, built and groomed some of us politically. He initiated us into this humble profession of serving the poor. He was a leader, teacher, thriller, preacher, lawyer and  he was a great man.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, days may fly and tears may dry, but he was a great man and we cannot afford to forget him.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, to some, he was a father, brother, cousin, husband, uncle or friend, but to me Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, was an icon of hope. Let us not obliterate his face from the surface of Zambia. Let statutes of him be made and songs be sung. Let teachers teach and historians write about him so that his spirit lives on because our children and grandchildren will want to know who Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, was.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the speech by His Excellency the President brings hope to the people of Northern Province. Pages 41 to 44 deal with the issue of infrastructure. The issue of roads is highly propounded by virtually all hon. Members of Parliament and, indeed, all the people. The people of Northern Province need good roads and bridges.

Mr Speaker, I am happy, however, that Northern Province has a lot of road projects running under the Road Development Agency (RDA). This Government showed great commitment to the sector in 2008 by allocating K590 billion for road sector development in the province. This was 20 per cent of the total RDA budget of K2.8 trillion.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: With all this support, are you going to stand there and condemn this Government?

Hon. Member: Nikisi!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the following are the key roads and other road infrastructure or structures that need to be addressed soonest:

(a) Mbesuma Bridge on the Chambeshi River;

(b) Kasama/Isoka/Nakonde Road;

(c) Luwingu/Mansa Road;

(d) Samfwa Bridge on the Chambeshi River; and

(e) Chama/Matumbo Road and the bridge at Luangwa River which will easily connect the Eastern Province to Northern Province.

Mr Sichilima: Batuletele Imbeba.

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the key projects that are now being worked on include the following:

The Nakonde/Isoka Road

 This Government released K10 billion for this project which has already been completed.

The Kasama/Mbala/Mpulungu Road

The rehabilitation of this road has been allocated K123 billion and the contractor is on site. I inspected the road works and he has moved on lot one and lot two. Some road formation has been done on both sides and excellent work is being done.

Kasama/Kaputa Road

K12 billion worth of quality work is being executed by the contractor Techman Ltd of South Africa on the Kasama/Kaputa Road, also known as the Mporokoso Road.

Isoka/Kasama Road via Mbesuma Road

K2.7 billion has been allocated to this road, but we have condemned the quality of works being done. We need contractors who will do a good job.

Mr Speaker, area hon. Members should not come and begin planning with me at the office because planning starts in their constituencies. You are members of the councils and so you should plan and monitor the projects that are being carried out and make reports to us.

Mr Speaker, I will soon recommend that all crooked contractors be chased from Northern Province.

The Mutinondo Bridge

The construction of the Mutinondo Bridge in Mpika has been allocated K8 billion and the contractor is on site.

Isoka/Itotela/Muyombe Road

The rehabilitation of the Isoka/Itotela/Muyombe Road has been allocated K10 billion and the contractor is on site. The draw back was the state of the Luangwa Bridge which was eroded and near collapse. However, K4.6 billion has been awarded to China Jingx to work on the bridge.

Kalungu Bridge

The construction of Kalungu Bridge which goes to Mwinelubemba/Chitimukulu was allocated K10 billion.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the bridge was awarded to Rankin Special Spencon Polyphase Bridge. This is near completion. Recently, His Excellency, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, inspected this bridge when he came to Northern Province and was satisfied with the works being done.

Luwingu/Nsumbu Road

This road was allocated K15 billion and Sable Transport has already moved on site.

Chinsali/Samfya Road

This road was allocated K23 billion and the contractor will also move on site. 
Mr Speaker, Kasama needs an intercity bus terminus. The province is serviced by regular luxury buses on the Kasama/Nakonde route connecting to the main towns along the line of rail.

 Sir, earth moving equipment came in towards the end of last year. In the proposed budget for this year, we have allocated K2 billion for some of the prioritised feeder roads to be worked on. Let hon. Members of Parliament, again, be patient because this is an ongoing project and we want good quality works to be done. We have well qualified people who have been trained to operate these machines.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about air transport. The Northern Province has one airport and eleven airstrips found in each of the districts with the exception of Mungwi and Mpulungu. The Kasama Airport is under rehabilitation with the terminal building almost 90 per cent completed. The construction of the runway and tower will begin this year with funding from the Ministry of Communications and Transport headquarters. The province does not have a regular flight, but discussions are underway for Zambezi Airlines to begin a scheduled flight there.

Hon. Government Member:  Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the people of Northern Province express their gratitude to His Excellency the President, who recently made a policy statement to open Mbala Base Airport to commercial flights.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about railway transport. TAZARA passes through four districts in the province. These are Mpika, Kasama, Mungwi and Nakonde. TAZARA provides passenger as well as goods transportation services between Zambia and the Tanzanian port of Dar-es-Salaam.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, the people of Northern Province have been given hope through this powerful speech being deliberated upon today. On page 43, it says, it is inspiring that the Government has plans to construct a railway line from Chipata via Petauke and connect it to TAZARA and Mpika and from Nseluka to Mpulungu.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: Mr Speaker, let me talk about agriculture. The province continues to record progress in line with the MMD agricultural policies. The province is poised to record a bumper harvest in the 2008/2009 farming season. Under the FSP, 95 per cent of the fertiliser was delivered. 5 per cent could have been damaged or misdirected by the company supplying it. More than 17,000 farmers benefited from the programme. The demand for subsidised fertiliser was very high and the low supply of the commodity raised complaints in some circles of the province.

Mr Speaker, agriculture is not only about growing maize. I have appealed to the farmers to diversify into the growing of groundnuts, beans, sunflower and traditional cassava which are cheap and easy to manage and do very well in Northern Province. I also feel that the keeping of cattle, sheep and goats should also be encouraged.

Mr Speaker, as regards the fishing industry, Northern Province is proud to contribute 28,000 metric tonnes of fish or 1/3 of the national fish production, …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: … annually from its natural rivers and lakes. The major water bodies for capturing fish are Lake Tanganyika, Lake Mweru-Wantipa, Lake Bangweulu North and the Chambeshi River System.

Mr Speaker, Northern Province has great potential for fish farming and we must work hard because it has perennial streams and rivers. We need serious research in fish management. With so many lakes, rivers and streams and the growing number of fish ponds and farmers, it would not be a bad idea to think of a fisheries college in Northern Province for aquatic studies.

Mr Speaker, in the tourism sector, the people of Northern Province have been greatly encouraged by the proposed development of the Kasaba Bay Integrated Development Plan …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shawa: … which we hope will result in considerable spillover effects in terms of investment across the province. As Zambians, we must begin to promote local or domestic tourism aggressively. The notion that tourism is only for foreigners is not right at all. School children and families should be taken to visit and appreciate wildlife, heritage sites, rivers, lakes, caves and other attractive sites this country has to offer.

Mr Speaker, education has seen a lot of development as already propounded by the hon. Minister of Education. As regards health, we want the foundation which has been built at Kasama Hospital to be completed as we are getting more staff.

Mr Speaker, we will ensure that Northern Province takes a holistic approach to all issues of development. My office will collaborate very well with other stakeholders in the development of the province. Notable among these are traditional leaders, hon. Members of Parliament and church leaders. We must have respect and love for each other.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

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

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, in my contribution to the debate on the Floor, I wish to acknowledge all those who have spoken before from both the left and right sides of the House.

 In his speech, the President was categorical in stating that the last six months of 2008 were very difficult for this country. We have already seen the manifestations of those challenges this year with job losses in some industries. This is a matter that is of great concern to the Government.

Mr Speaker, I, however, also wish to state that the President was very clear in highlighting the objectives of this Government in facing the challenges of trying to grow the economy and create new jobs and wealth. I believe that the President’s speech laid out the objectives, but it is the responsibility of various ministries and Government departments to come up with strategies to operationalise these objectives into a reality in order to serve the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, we have heard many times that Zambia is landlocked. It is not an island and we are not the only landlocked country in the region as there are others like Botswana. On the other hand, we are also part of the global economy and it is for this reason that this Government has been emphatic about foreign investment contributing to the growth of the economy. That does not mean that we undermine the contribution of local investment at all. We understand that we are not able to marshal the resources needed for us to grow the economy at an ambitious rate locally. Many people have alluded to the fact that at 5 per cent economic growth we might be a bit conservative, but even then, we still need to marshal resources from outside the country to grow the various industries so that we have sustainable jobs and create wealth.

Mr Speaker, it is for this reason that the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) are playing their very important role of selling Zambia to the rest of the world. In this competitive world, if we do not sell our country effectively, we will not attract any investment. Like I always say, if you are running a business and do not advertise, it is like winking at a girl in the dark.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: You know what you are doing, but nobody else does.

In the Ministry of Communications and Transport, we refer to the statement by the President on page 41 of his speech where he said that Zambia’s economic competitiveness depends on efficient communications and transport infrastructure. We have made every endeavour to translate this into a reality and ensure that we work towards making Zambia a communications and transport hub as articulated in the Vision 2030.

Mr Speaker, the late President always used to say, “let us not serve bureaucracy. Let us endeavour to serve the people of Zambia.” In the Ministry of Communications and Transport, which anchors infrastructure development in this country, we are challenged everyday by processes and bureaucracies while the people of Zambia wait for service delivery. An example are the challenges we have been facing in trying to privatise the Njanji Commuter Service.

Mr Mubika: Hear, hear!

Mr Siliya: We all know that Lusaka has become congested and the road transport is not enough. The relief that the residents of Lusaka are looking for are services like the Njanji Commuter Service. However, because of the various processes and bureaucracies, we do not seem to have brought the privatisation of Njanji Commuter Service to a logical conclusion. I use this example to illustrate why this Government decided to initiate the PPP policy, which Hon. Mooya referred to in his debate. The whole idea is that it is sometimes difficult to attract major investors in huge capital projects because of the risk they associate with that project. When the Government shows interest in a project, the private sector perceives it as a reduced risk and is more eager to participate. I do realise that there are some concerns that have been raised, especially on some PPP projects that we have initiated such as Kasumbalesa.

Hon. Mooya talked about problems such as single sourcing or the quality of an investor. I also think that of great concern to the citizen should be the end user fees which must be controlled to ensure that as a project is initiated, the investor does not exploit the users of that service with high user fees. I think these matters, Hon. Mooya, are being taken care of very seriously as we prepare to bring the Public-Private Partnership Bill to this House.

In the meantime, we have a transitional working group supported by the Private Sector Development Programme which is a transitional framework to ensure that before the Bill is passed in Parliament we do not stand still and wait doing nothing while people have problems such as I have illustrated with the Njanji Commuter Service.

Mr Speaker, the President also spoke very specifically about railway development in this country and some hon. Members of Parliament alluded to the problems we are having. My ministry has continued to engage all stakeholders on TAZARA and Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ). This Government intends to develop the north-south corridor as part of the national and regional agenda. We want to make sure that there is both national and regional connectivity for the easy movement of goods and people. Currently, it costs almost US$1 million to construct one kilometer of a road. It is this Government’s policy to ensure that we move a lot of bulk cargo to the railway lines and away from the roads.

To show how serious we are regarding this, last year, we held a meeting in Kitwe with TAZARA, RSZ and many bulk cargo producers including the mines, Lafarge and Zambia Sugar Company. The whole idea was to sensitise everybody, including the Government, on the need to transport as much cargo as possible by rail rather than by road because it is definitely a pressure on the Treasury. Unless there is a deliberate policy to do that, the railway sector will see no business while, at the same time, the private sector is prepared for it. For example, in the transportation of fertiliser, which we were talking about this afternoon, suppliers were paying almost US$220 a tonne to transport their cargo by road and running away from the US$ 50 to US$60 a tonne that TAZARA was charging. There is something wrong with that arrangement because this infrastructure which the two Governments of Zambia and Tanzania invested in heavily is being underutilised. We did appreciate that TAZARA might have some logistical problems like lack of wagons. To operate efficiently, they are supposed to have 3,000 wagons. Currently, they have about half that number and some of them are not even working very well. However, we realise that there was absolutely no reason for RSZ not to collaborate with TAZARA, because TAZARA had the business while RSZ had the capacity. I am happy to announce that the two companies have since signed an agreement in which when TAZARA has a lot of business and RSZ has none, RSZ will move the goods whether from the north or south of the country up to Chozi to the north so that TAZARA takes over from there. We think that this is a good relationship because everybody is winning at the end of the day.

Mr Speaker, in trying to achieve the objectives, as articulated by the President in his speech, my ministry realises that there is no point having this big TAZARA infrastructure running in the northern part of Zambia where there is another even more supposedly cheaper and efficient mode of transport; water transport. I do concede to the statements that, over the years, maritime transport has not been given the Treasury support that it deserves.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: This year, I have proposed to my colleagues in Cabinet that we spend K3 billion to try and procure some water vessels as well as dredgers so that we can provide transport for the people in the various areas where water transport is very common. However, in the long-term, I will be holding a meeting on the 12th February, 2009, with various stakeholders, including the banks, RSZ, TAZARA and various Government institutions. Everybody must participate in the sustainability of this infrastructure. TAZARA comes all the way from Dar-es-Salaam and connects to the north-south corridor; the RSZ. This infrastructure is critical to this region. It can serve the Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and Tanzania. It could be the cheapest mode of transport in this whole region, and yet it is not being put to maximum use. We hope that we can convince the financial institutions on the …

Mr Kambwili: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order and I would like to have your serious ruling on this matter. Are the hon. Ministers, Hon. Shawa and the hon. Minister who is speaking now, in order to disclose figures in the Budget before it is actually delivered in this House? I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: As a matter of tradition, the point of order that has been raised by the hon. Member for Roan is valid. It is not the custom of this House and the Republic, in fact, to begin to make reference to matters which are yet to be announced in this House through the Budget Address. I would like to use that point of order to advise the Executive and others to avoid disclosing even what they think they know. For instance, in the last 24 hours, some people claimed they had struck a deal with the Government for certain taxes in the mines to be reduced. That is not correct. Even if they have struck such a deal, they cannot announce it. It is not right. Hon. Members of the Executive, please, beware. It is not allowed.

May the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport, please, continue.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.

Sir, the point to belabour is that we will be having a meeting with local banks on the 12th of February, 2009, in preparation for the donors’ pledging conference which will take place in April this year. We believe that local banks are important stakeholders in the development of infrastructure in this country and cannot just be by-standers.

Mr Speaker, when big companies such as Zambia Sugar Company, Lafarge and others who transport various bulk cargos in this country make money, the banks also make money. We think it is time we had discussions with financial institutions so that they can also participate in infrastructure development.

Hon. Government Member: Quality!

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, everyone is talking about the difficult times. However, economists will tell you that it is when you are in the trough or when the graph is down that you should prepare yourself competitively.

Mr Speaker, this is the time for us to start planning for infrastructure development so that when things get better, we find ourselves prepared because chance favours those who are prepared. We cannot sit back and complain about financial limitations and budgetary constraints. We will do everything possible to work with both local and international financiers to ensure that we get funding to develop this infrastructure.

Mr Speaker, I wish to emphasise that these are difficult times which call for extra-ordinary men and women. Recently, I was reading a book entitled From Third World to First by the former Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew. One of the things he says in this book is that you can tell a lot about the management of a country when you just arrive at the airport and drive from there. When he was Prime Minister, he made sure that he appointed somebody to landscape the route from the airport because that is the first place that people see when they arrive.

Mr Speaker, the point I wish to put across is that these difficult times call for difficult decisions. My ministry, within the framework of the PPP, will have to work aggressively. We cannot do things as usual and continue to wait for bureaucracy to hinder us. Otherwise, we will have nothing to report to this House. It is for this reason that my colleagues and staff in my ministry believe that we have to be extraordinary in our decision-making to meet some of the aspirations of the Zambian people. I also take this opportunity to thank them for their dedication to duty.

Mr Speaker, unless we change the way we do things, our country will not develop. When the Chinese began to develop their country fifty years ago, they acknowledged that they were 100 years behind America in terms of development. They told themselves that if they were going to take another 100 years to catch up, the development gap would be 200 years. Therefore, they told themselves that they needed to work twice as hard in order to reduce the development gap between the USA and themselves.

Mr Speaker, this is the challenge that Zambia faces. Those of us in this House have to provide leadership. We have to ask ourselves whether we are the extraordinary men and women who are going to deliver and whether we are prepared to make tough decisions. We need to ask whether we are the ones who are going to propel a cultural transformation in this country that will require discipline and commitment to plans.

Sir, again, I will use the Singaporeans who had no resources in their country.  The Prime Minister said to everybody in the country that though they did not have any natural resources except sand, they had discipline, intelligence and commitment. At this point, when we are terribly challenged with problems in Zambia, we have to ask ourselves those same questions. Are we the extraordinary people that are going to make those difficult decisions and deliver this country?

Mr Speaker, you have to think big ideas to do big things. The programmes that my ministry has to implement, such as railway construction are not small. These are big infrastructure and we have to think in a big way to be innovative and creative. We have to make sure that this infrastructure is resuscitated so that we are not able to cross the railway crossings with our eyes closed, as I heard yesterday.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, my ministry anchors the future on information and communications technology (ICT) development. It is my ministry that is propelling the agenda to provide services automatically; the e-governance. This year, we are going to double our efforts to ensure that we provide as many services as possible, including applications for visas, passports and other services electronically so that we are more efficient and effective. This will enable the public appreciate the Government in terms of service delivery. We have to think big and cannot avoid to have mental blocks.

Sir, last year, I used a term in this House about mental infrastructure re-engineering which Hon. Magande was very pleased with. In fact, he started a very important programme called cultural remodelling. We are the men and women in this House who have to push the agenda for cultural remodelling so that we can do things. We should not be scared to make decisions. I think the message from all those who spoke before me that it is time we worked together has been very clear. This is our country and the issues that we are facing are beyond party lines. It is going to take magnanimous leaders who are prepared to contribute to the development of this country and work with us who unfortunately find ourselves on this side of the House. What is important is let us not serve bureaucracy. Let us serve the citizens out there. As the Ministry of Communications and Transport, we are prepared to take those difficult decisions to ensure that we deliver Zambia competitively by 2030 with regard to communications and transport.

I thank you, Sir.

The hon. Deputy Minister of Lands (Mr Hamir): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity …

Mr Lubinda: Obama wa ba MMD!


Mr Hamir: … to contribute to the Motion on the Floor.

Sir, it is our intention to enable people access land fairly and equally. It is for this reason that we are asking for support from hon. Members of Parliament and the people out there. The challenge we are facing is that people apply for land and once given, they want to make a quick buck by exploitation. This is a big concern that is giving us sleepless nights and we want to see a stop to it. As the saying goes, there is no sweat without sweet …


Mr Hamir: Therefore, the ministry will ensure that we tighten the loopholes.

Mr Speaker, so far the Ministry of Lands has achieved a lot. This is evident from the increase in incomes and opening of the Customer Service Centre with the help of donors like the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We are getting better and hopefully we will achieve a lot. We also have integrity committees which are doing well and have helped us.

Sir, like any other ministry, we are facing challenges like the shortage of staff. We want to see to it that all land applied for is utilised to the fullest. Otherwise, we shall increase the ground rent so that those who are keeping land for the sake of keeping it are discouraged and forced to give it to those who can develop it.

Mr Speaker, another major concern is that our people are encroaching into gazetted forest areas. After encroachment, they want to legalise their stay there which is frightening as damaging the forest will impact negatively on the environment. I believe that with the quality of our Cabinet and the help of our civil servants, we will deliver the services.

Mr Speaker, I do not have much to say.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, I would like thank you for according me this chance to contribute to the Motion on the Floor of the House.

Mr Speaker, allow me to start by welcoming the new hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. Dr Boniface Kawimbe, to the House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, allow me to say one or two things about him. In 1991, when we decided to change the course of this country, as action groups, Dr Kawimbe was one of the political commissars who inspired us. We were all geared for a great country. The late Mr Baldwin Nkumbula, the late Mr Emmanuel Kasonde, the late Mr Arthur Wina and Dr Kawimbe had a great vision to change the course of this country. It is a pity that that great vision was sacrificed on the altar of political expedience. What a pity.


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, allow me to say a few words on the Presidential Address to this House. From the onset, I want to say that this speech was not deep enough for this particular moment. This speech does not reflect the magnitude of the problems in this country. We are in serious problems in this country. We have both local and external problems due to the world financial crisis. At this time, we needed an address that would inspire the country. As far as I am concerned, this speech was not inspiring at all.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, we need a new direction like in America where Americans have realised that they need the right person to lead them. Today, a son of a Kenyan immigrant leads America because he is the one that has inspired the people to look upon the future with hope. At the moment, I think the American economy is worse than ours. Americans are looking forward to the future with hope because of the inspiration from that young man, Mr Barrack Obama. In this country, there is despondence and lack of faith. We must not pretend that we are happy with the governance of this country as if we live in a vacuum.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, the MMD Government has not inspired this country and people have less hope for the future. At this time, you cannot give such a routine speech when we have serious problems in our country. This speech is empty. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, this is the third Presidential Speech I have listened to in this House and I always get very little inspiration from such. You must give Zambians a sense of direction and this country must have an ambition. You must drive this country very fast before it is too late. People are in serious poverty and they are losing hope.

Since you keep talking about poverty, you should also tell us the main variables that constitute it. If you just say poverty in general, you are hiding from reality. What is poverty? You are running away in vagueness. You should tell us the variables that constitute poverty so that we deal with them. That way, we will address the issues contributing to poverty. Therefore, this speech that is proposed to fight poverty is shallow because we do not know the poverty we are fighting and the variables that constitute it.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: We must not pretend. This is our country and we must speak the truth. Do not stand there for the sake of defending. We are not here for a contest, but to identify the problems and provide solutions. Therefore, do not just stand up to challenge us because our people are suffering.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, the greatest problem this country has is indecision. We are a country that is failing to decide what we want. The problem lies at the door of the MMD Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: You are failing to give us the direction we must take and how we must come out of this so-called poverty which you do not even understand properly.

Mr Speaker, the MMD Government has failed to do what is necessary to address the problems in this country. They have failed to diversify the economy and this has been the cry of the people in this country. You had the good fat years of high copper prices but you failed. You only changed the tax regime last year, and yet we used to warn you, day in and day out, but you never listened. We shall hold you accountable for the problems we are facing because you have failed the Zambian people.

Mr Speaker: Order!


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

Question put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at 1917 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 29th January, 2009.