Debates- Friday, 25th September, 2009

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Friday, 25th September, 2009

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that the inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Zambia National Group, in conjunction with the National Youth Constituency Assembly (NYCA), will convene the 6th National Youth Parliament to commemorate the International Day of Democracy whose theme is “Democracy and Political Tolerance.”

The 6th National Youth Parliament will take place on Monday, 28th September, 2009, in this very Chamber at 0900 hours, but the hon. Members should be seated by 0830 hours in the galleries.


Mr Speaker: I wish to encourage hon. Members who will be available to come voluntarily to the House and observe the Youth Parliament in Session.

Hon. Members will, for a change, observe the proceedings from the Public Galleries.

I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, in accordance with the provisions of the National Assembly Standing Orders, the Standing Orders Committee have also approved the following members to serve on the remaining portfolio committees for the Fourth session of the Tenth National Assembly.

1. Committee on Information and Broadcasting Services

Mr M. Kapeya, MP;
Mr G. M. Beene, MP;
Mr R. Muyanda, MP;
Mr D. Mwila, MP;
Ms M. M. Mwape, MP;
Dr G. L. Scott, MP;
Mr C. M. M. Silavwe, MP; and
Mr L. K. Chibombamilimo, Mp.

2. Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs

Ms E. K. Chitika-Mulobeka, MP;
Mr R. C. Banda, MP;
Mr O. C. Chisala, MP;
Mr F. R. Tembo, MP;
Mr C. W. Kakoma, MP;
Dr P. D. Machungwa, MP;
Mr A. Sejani, MP; and
Mr B. Sikazwe, MP.

3. Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare

Mr M. Habeenzu, MP;
Colonel G. A. Chanda, MP;
Mr G. G. Nkombo; MP;
Dr S. Musonda, MP;
Mr B. Imenda, MP;
Ms J. Kapata, MP;
Dr J. Katema, MP; and
Mr N. P. Magande, MP.

4. Committee on Legal Affairs, Governance, Human Rights and Gender Matters

Mr B. E. Chimbaka, MP;
Mr J. J. Mwiimbwu, MP;
Mr L. H. Chota, MP;
Mr K. Kakusa, MP;
Reverend V. M. Sampa-Bredt, MP;
Mr B. Sikazwe, MP; and
Mrs S. T. Masebo, MP;

The one vacancy on this committee will be filled later.

As I said in my earlier announcements, the committees are mandated to elect their own Chairpersons. The election of Chairpersons will be presided over by the hon. Madam Deputy Speaker on a date to be communicated by the Clerk’s Office.

As hon. Members will have observed from today’s Order Paper, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will move the Motion for the Appointment of members of the Public Accounts Committee.

After the constitution of the Public Accounts Committee, if any hon. Members find that they do not belong to any committee, such hon. Members should inform the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly accordingly.

Thank you.



The Minister of Defence (Dr Mwansa): Mr Speaker, I wish to acquaint the House with the Business it will consider next week.

Sir, on Tuesday, 29th September, the Business of the House will begin with questions if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to the His Excellency the President’s Address.

On Wednesday, 30th September, 2009, the Business of the House will commence with questions, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motion, if any. The House will then continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

Mr Speaker, on Thursday, 1st October, 2009, the Business of the House will start with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

On Friday, 2nd October, 2009, the Business of the House will commence with Questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by Presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




26. Mr Beene (Itezhi-tezhi) asked the Minister of Veterinary Services, Livestock and Fisheries:
(a) when the Government would construct dip tanks in Itezhi-tezhi Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b) whether the ministry had any plans to construct abattoirs in the Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, six dip tanks have already been constructed in Itezhi-tezhi Constituency under a project called “Integrated Approach for Enhancing Veterinary Services to Traditional Livestock Farmers in Itezhi-tezhi.”

Sir, the Government has no plans of constructing abattoirs because this is the role of the private sector.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, is the Government going to ensure that all the thirteen wards have dip tanks?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, the construction of dip tanks is demand-driven. Therefore, it is not a matter of each ward having a dip tank, but of constructing them where animals are because that is where they are needed.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that in each of the wards in Itezhi-tezhi there are more animals than some of the provinces in the country? Therefore, the aspect of requiring dip tanks is demand-driven by that definition. Is the hon. Deputy Minister aware about that?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, if that is the situation obtaining in Itezhi-tezhi and the hon. Member of Parliament who is closer to the area is aware of it, then he needs to initiate the demand then it will be worked upon.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, building abattoirs is one way of reducing animal diseases from being transferred from one place to another and the Ministry of Veterinary Services, Livestock and Fisheries is working very hard to reduce diseases. Why does the ministry not put this aspect as one of the priorities of the Government instead of leaving this job to the private sector?

The Minister of Veterinary Services, Livestock and Fisheries (Mr Machila): Mr Speaker, it is true that the construction of abattoirs will help contain issues of the spread of diseases. However, at the same time, hon. Members will appreciate that the Government does not have the resources, itself, at this stage, to undertake an exercise such as the construction of abattoirs. What it can do is encourage the private sector to undertake this sort of investment.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Zulu (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, how much can an average size dip tank cost?

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, at the risk of misleading the House about the specific cost, what I can say is that the cost obviously varies according to where the materials are being supplied. However, hon. Members may be interested to know that there is an entrepreneur in Kafue who is constructing mobile dip tanks and this is something else that can be taken into consideration.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}


27. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing whether there were any plans to upgrade the quality of housing accommodation in compounds around Lusaka by building standard houses.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has no resources to build standard houses in shanty compounds around Lusaka. Building standard houses around Lusaka would mean demolishing the existing ones to pave way for the construction of new ones and this would be very costly for the Government.

Sir, it should also be noted that in some of these unplanned settlements, there are many vulnerable people living there who may not afford to buy or worse still rent the standard houses if they were built. However, the Government realises the need for these unplanned settlements to be upgraded and legalised so that residents of such compounds can start enjoying social services such as water and sanitation, road networking and electricity.

Mr Speaker, unplanned settlements have been upgraded by legalising the pieces of land on which they are built as well as structures so that the residents may have security to borrow funds to improve on their standard of housing not only in Lusaka, but also in other parts of the country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister understand that the mushrooming of unplanned settlements is as a result of anarchy displayed by affiliates of one named political party in this country as demonstrated in the last month when they were giving themselves land in Lusaka West?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Phiri: MMD!

Mr Mwiimbu: Under Mabenga!

Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of what the hon. Member of Parliament is talking about. However, I am aware that shanty compounds such as Kanyama have been in existence for a quite a long time. Therefore, I do not understand what the hon. Member is trying to talk about.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, what plans does the Government have to improve accommodation in planned settlements? The question you are answering is on unplanned settlement, but I want to find out the plans to you have for planned settlements.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the planned settlements are owned by individuals. What the councils do is to ensure that the standard of buildings that are in these areas are in good shape and maintained by the owners. We encourage the owners to ensure that they improve on the type of housing that is in these areas.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, most of these compounds in unplanned settlements are on prime land. The Baobab land is selling for over K1 billion for less than a hectare. Taking that into consideration, is the council not thinking of sensitising these people who are sitting on prime land to form co-operatives and sell their land for a billion Kwacha and go elsewhere and build beautiful houses?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the reason we decide to upgrade some of these compounds is to ensure that the people are given proper papers in terms of title deeds from the Ministry of Lands and if the owners find an investor who would like to buy off their piece of land, they are encouraged to do so. I would like to give an example of the houses along the Great North and Kafue roads, where there are very good buildings that are coming up because we have actually allowed those who have been given those pieces of land to sell the land to those who are able to develop it.

Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member has the resources, we are encouraging him to talk to the people in the areas that we are upgrading so that he can buy off the land from them and develop it properly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to give this august House an example of a township which they intend to upgrade or which they have upgraded and where sanitation, electricity and roads are being thereto provided.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the process of upgrading shanty compounds is an on-going process. The hon. Member is aware that, in the past, a number of shanty compounds did not have electricity and, as an on-going process, the Government has been taking electricity, water, and roads to these compounds. In some areas of Kanyama, water and electricity are now available. In Mulenga Compound in Kitwe, water and electricity are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chimbaka (Bahati): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister state how the Ministry is assisting hardworking hon. Members like Colonel Chanda for Kanyama who was harassed for saying that the squatters in Kanyama are sitting on land which is not good for human habitation and that they must be moved to a place that will be convenient for construction. How is the Government, amidst politics, coming in to assist the people who are focused?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, as a Government, we are aware that in some of these unplanned settlements, the situation is not good, but as I mentioned in my response, we do not have adequate resources to ensure that we construct new houses to move all these people at once.

Mr Speaker, by legalising these settlements and giving them title deeds, we are hoping that, as the economy improves, these settlements will gradually change because these areas will be bought by people who have the capacity to build and, eventually the communities will change and look better.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, the law and the standing order on the allocation of land is such that land must be advertised, people apply for it after which it must go through the Planning Committee of the Council and then successful bidders are thereto allocated. Recently, the Kitwe City Council has been advertising that when you find land, you just go to the council and pay on first-come-first-served basis. Why has the Ministry allowed the council to flout the laws with impunity?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I am aware that this is happening in some councils and the reason is that the survey plans may not necessarily include all areas. As a result, some councils have resorted to encouraging members of the community that may find idle land to go to the council to check whether that area is not allocated. If it is not allocated, then they are given priority to get that land.

Mr Speaker, what we are doing, as a Ministry, is encourage councils to make sure that they identify land that is clearly demarcated so that this is given to the public because the idea of asking the community to identify land is bringing a lot of conflict. Two or three people may identify the same portion of land and when one is given, they end up going to the courts of law. Therefore, we are encouraging local authorities to identify land for allocation so that it is properly given according to the regulations.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, the public has been told about a futuristic plan for Lusaka. The question which was asked on certain members of the public getting pieces of land is extremely important. Over the weekend, one of my constituents was …

Mr Speaker: Order! Please, ask your question.

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the planning of Lusaka, according to the master plan being used, helping the citizens who want to construct commercial or residential houses by indicating where they should and where not to construct so that in three years’ time, we do not have people removed because they were allowed to construct on wrong places.

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, the short answer to the hon. Member’s question is yes, there is a master plan for Lusaka that will require that we revisit some of the existing arrangements. In doing that, there will be a requirement that where there is a plan to construct roads and so forth, there will be a need to acquire properties, maybe, compulsorily, which are existing in proposed roads and so forth so that those can be acquired and the people removed to allow for the development of Lusaka’s master plan.

Mr Speaker, to recap the response, the short answer to the question is, yes.

I thank you, Sir.


29. Mr Chazangwe (Choma Central) asked the Minister of Education how many privately owned education institutions countrywide were offering the following as of 30th June, 2009:

(i) grades 1 to 7;
(ii) grades 1 to 9;
(iii) grades 1 to 12; and
(iv) college or university qualifications.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Mr Sinyinda): Mr Speaker, currently, the country has the following private education institutions:

Private Institutions Level of Education
289  private schools  Grade 1-7
77  private schools  Grade 1-9
3  private schools  Grade 8-9
10  private schools  Grade 10-12
71  private schools  Grade 8-12; and 
14  private universities Tertiary
19  private colleges Tertiary

The Government, with its policy of liberalising education, has seen an increased number of education institutions set up at all levels, that is, basic, high and tertiary levels. These policies have provided a conducive environment for the provision of education by the private sector. The Zambia Development Agency Act provides the legal framework for supporting the participation of the private sector in economic development of the country, including the education sector.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chazangwe: Mr Speaker, these private schools the hon. Minister has mentioned produce very good results. Why? It is because they offer more learning hours, but our schools, according to …

Mr Speaker: Order! You are now debating. Please, ask your question.

Mr Chazangwe: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out when the number of hours for instruction will be increased in public schools so that we provide quality education because, at the moment, the numbers of hours that are given are minimal.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank my fellow headmaster for the passion that he has for providing quality education in Zambia. We are aware that our public schools are not doing very well, but there are various factors that contribute to that. However, we will endeavour to ensure that, especially Standards Officers work hand-in-hand with teachers and head teachers to improve the time that is spent in classes. I want to assure this august House that we are doing everything possible to improve the quality of education in our public schools.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am aware that Kwame Nkrumah and the Copperbelt Secondary Teachers’ College (COSETCO) are college universities. However, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether or not it is their intention to bring the University Act to this House so as to have it repealed and amended so that these universities can start operating within the legal framework.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, yes, we are working on that and we will do it sooner rather than later.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Minister of Education whether there are any strict guidelines pertaining to the structures that house some of these private institutions, as he may be aware that some of these institutions are not suitable for education purposes.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, yes, we are well aware that some structures are not conducive for education. In fact, it is because of this that we have closed a number of schools that we felt were not meeting the minimum requirements. We insist that before a school is opened, certain conditions are met. We are aware of that and we try to make sure that we satisfy the expectations of the Zambian community.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, may I know whether the hon. Minister is aware that there is a lot of corruption in approving the private schools. For instance, there is one house in Luanshya which has been turned into a school, and a bedroom, with only one window, accommodates more than thirty students. May I know if you are aware that there is corruption and, if you are, what measures are you taking to stop the scourge?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, this Government is very serious about fighting corruption ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mrs Phiri: Question!

Mr Sinyinda: … and I urge the hon. Members of this august House if they have any information to that effect, to come forward with it because we would like to have it. In as far as we are concerned, we are not aware of anybody who has been given a licence because he corrupted any officer. However, if at all there is anything like that, I urge him to bring that information to the relevant authorities.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, going by the answer given by the hon. Minister of Education on the numbers of private schools being run, especially the upper secondary schools, that is, from Grade 8-12, I see that there is quite a good number from the private sector. Is the Government, therefore, now seriously considering ensuring that education from Grade 8-12 is made free inn view of the fact that now we have enough private schools that are catering for people with money?

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, obviously, in an effort to address the access issue, as a Government, we wish to provide affordable education to as many citizens as possible and, if possible, at no cost on their part. Our initial step was to provide free education at the primary school level, that is, from Grade 1-7 in the short term in order to meet our millennium development goals (MDGs) to go as far as Grade 9, that is, the basic education. Once the economy grows and, funds permitting, it is our wish to provide free education up to Grade 12.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, is it possible for the ministry to make a policy that will promote and retain teachers in the classroom, instead of good teachers being promoted and leaving the classrooms? This is because the bad teachers are left teaching.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, in fact, we have already begun that debate in the ministry and those hon. Members of Parliament and public who attended our initial policy review meeting saw that to keep the good teachers in the classroom was a very important issue. It was suggested that those who want to be managers of education should be trained for it. This means that we must be able to reward the good teachers in terms of the remuneration so that they see no need to want a managerial job just because of the differences in wages.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, with the rapid increase in the number of private schools at the primary, secondary and tertiary levels, the standards and quality of education differs a lot. What measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that an acceptable standard of education is offered in all these institutions?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the ministry has the Curriculum and Standards Department. We are trying to strengthen this directorate so that they can do their oversight job in terms of curriculum, but also in terms of issues such as the pupil-teacher ratio monitoring, pupil-book ratio monitoring, enrolment levels and examination results standards.

Unless we put in place systems that nobody should actually operate outside this radar, it becomes difficult. We have realised that we must strengthen our monitoring systems so that we ensure that nobody escapes, especially with registration of schools. Some schools are actually operating without having registered with the ministry and we have sent people to go around and verify the registration. We are trying to see whether we should actually compel schools to put up their registration publicly so that everybody should be assured that a school has been checked by the ministry and that it has met the minimum standards so that we can avoid some of these problems.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, according to the hon. Deputy Minister, the schools which are operating below minimum standards will be closed. I come from a rural constituency where 90 per cent of the community schools …

Mr Speaker: Order! Order! Ask your question.

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, what guarantee can the hon. Minister give me, who is from a rural constituency where community schools cannot meet the minimum standards because the people in the area are poor, that these schools will not be closed?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the idea of community schools was started so as to help those communities that did not have established schools of any sort to take the first step, of course, working with the Government, in terms of offering education to the community. Even then, there are certain minimum requirements for a community school. For example, the number of toilets at the school as compared to the number of pupils as well as the distance from the classrooms to where the toilets are set up. So, we have minimum standards for the community schools just as we have for all the established public and private schools that we approve for construction.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Phiri (Munali): Mr Speaker, it is amazing to listen to the answers which are being given as if things are …

Mr Speaker: Order! Ask your question.

Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what penalty has been given to a school of low standards in Munali Constituency which two years ago disadvantaged over twenty-seven girls from writing examinations, and yet the school owners knew that it was not an examination centre. I would like to also invite the hon. Minister to come to this school.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Education, remains committed to ensuring that it provides quality education to our citizens.  We, as a Government, want to provide education that will not only produce students that have just gone through the educational infrastructure, but that actually have an education at the end of that process that will be reflected in the way they do things, their performance and productivity in society.

Hence, we believe that we cannot achieve this objective by ourselves. We have to work with other leaders such as hon. Members of Parliament, community leaders, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and everyone else because education is really a national agenda. In cases where educational institutions are set up and not licensed, sometimes, these schools operate outside the radar and it becomes difficult for us to tell that they are operating. Sometimes, in bad faith, these institutions are dishonest and tell the public that they have been certified by the Examination Council of Zambia (ECZ) to hold examinations.

What we expect really is for members of the public and leaders to work with us so that we can actually mete out the right punishment to these institutions and close them down. Furthermore, also advise the parents who have children at these institutions to send their children to schools which have been certified as examination centres by the ECZ.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kalumba (Chienge): Mr Speaker, in the context of the answer provided by the hon. Minister to hon. Machungwa …

Mr Kambwili interjected.

Dr Kalumba: Yes, thank you Hon. Kambwili for the correction. Is it thinkable for the ministry to establish an independent national education accreditation council in order to ensure that the quality of education is protected and all schools are registered and monitored according to the procedures that the hon. Minister described?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the ministry is working on appropriate legislation to bring to Parliament. This will address some of the problems we are talking about, today, in terms of national qualifications and also institutions.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister whether apart from churches and the Government there are some political parties that have built private schools and are contributing to the development of education in the country.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, we have a number of people providing education in this country apart from the Government, individuals and institutions. I am not aware, particularly, of any political party doing this but there are various stakeholders in society who are contributing to the education system in Zambia.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chisala (Chilubi): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that some private colleges have not been observing the entry qualifications set by the Government and if so, how does the Government intend to correct the situation as a matter of urgency?

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the ministry is aware of one or two colleges that enrolled students who did not meet the qualifications and as such they were barred from writing their examinations. The role of the Ministry of Education is to ensure that when these private institutions are set up, they follow the set criteria.  For example, private teacher training institutions that enroll students to become teachers must see to it that candidates to be enrolled meet the minimum five ‘O’ level standard. If they agree to enroll students who do not meet those qualifications, I think, first of all, we intend to carry out an awareness campaign so that we can alert the public about the dangers of being duped by such institutions because, obviously, in the end it is the students and their families that suffer. So, we want to work with everybody who is concerned to ensure that the private and our own institutions meet the standards in terms of the examinations.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


30. Mr D. Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning:

(a) when the provisions of the Banking and Financial Services Act which dealt with the amount of money to be invested in micro-financing institutions would be reviewed;

(b) how many micro-financing institutions were registered under the above Act as of January, 2009; and

(c) how many of these institutions were operational as of June, 2009.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Mr Speaker, there are two types of micro-finance institutions namely the deposit taking and the non-deposit taking institutions.


Mr Speaker: Order! The House is not paying attention.

Dr Musokotwane: The current minimum paid up capital for deposit taking micro-finance institutions stands at K250 million while for the non-deposit taking institutions it is K25 million.

This was prescribed by the Bank of Zambia, which is empowered by Regulation 26 of the Banking and Financial Services (Microfinance) Regulations of 2006 to prescribe the minimum paid up capital requirements for microfinance institutions falling under the supervisory ambit of the Bank of Zambia.

The Bank of Zambia set the minimum paid-up capital requirements at the aforementioned levels in order to encourage entry of new microfinance institutions and for existing informal microfinance institutions to transform into the formal financial sector. At K25 million, the minimum paid-up capital requirement is considered to be low, taking into account the start-up costs and the need to extend credit on a sustainable basis.

Mr Speaker, in the light of the foregoing, I wish to inform the House that there are no immediate plans to review the minimum paid-up capital requirements either upwards or downwards. This is on the understanding that the current required capital is low enough and, therefore, should serve to encourage more microfinance institutions to enter the formal financial sector. However, should the need arise to review the capital requirements, this will be conducted as part of the law review exercise under the Financial Sector Development Plan which is aimed at modernising and harmonising various issues of financial sector legislation.

Mr Speaker, to give a background, when the Banking and Financial Services microfinance regulations came into force in January, 2006, there were only four microfinance institutions licensed by the Bank of Zambia. Subsequently, the Government, through the Bank of Zambia, conducted some awareness campaigns to sensitise the public about the microfinance regulations.

Mr Speaker, as a result of the sensitisation, the number of microfinance institutions licensed by the Bank of Zambia by 1st January, 2009, was twenty-one, out of which thirteen were licensed in 2008.

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that by 30th June, 2009, there were twenty-five microfinance institutions operating on the market.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, the minimum capital of K25 million for lending institutions has resulted in many microfinance institutions, which has further resulted in employees not getting enough money due to over borrowing from these institutions. Are there any plans by the Government to reduce the number of lending institutions that are dealing with the very few employees, especially in the Civil Service?

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thought the wish of all of us is to see that our people have access to credit and this is precisely what the Government has done. Having said that, it is, obviously, up to each individual to decide on a sustainable level of debt they are willing and able to incur. Therefore, I wish to urge the hon. Member to advise his people to be careful about how much borrowing they would want to incur. Similarly, we encourage employers, since they are the ones who administer the payroll for their employees, to advise them to get into the level of debt that they can sustain.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Munaile (Malole): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what the Government is doing to protect the clients of the non-deposit taking microfinance institutions, who, in some cases, charge interests of more than 50 per cent.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, one of the things being done is to encourage members of the public to shop around. Borrowing is like any other service. Therefore, before you commit yourself, you must shop around, especially that there are several institutions on the market so that you go to those that are able to offer the services at a reasonable cost. Beyond that, this is why we felt it was important to lower the capital requirement so that we can have as many institutions as possible to compete for business. We should certainly see that the prices they put on these services go down.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Msichili (Kabushi): Mr Speaker, for a long time now, microfinance institutions have been operating without close supervision by the Bank of Zambia. What measure has the Bank of Zambia put in place to ensure that it has close supervision on them?

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, in my answer, I indicated that since 2006, there have been regulations in place by the Bank of Zambia aimed at providing a regulatory framework for the microfinance institutions. You will recall that in the past, we used to have many institutions in this country such as Credit Unions, Roscas and so on and so forth. These operated without a robust regulatory framework. That is what has been changed as prescribed in the regulation that I just mentioned.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how often the Central Bank supervises these microfinance institutions so as to protect the interest of the clients other than just shopping around?

Mr Speaker: Quite clearly, the question is being exhausted. This is the third time the hon. Minister is explaining exactly what you are talking about. Finally, may the hon. Minister emphasize?


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, with your permission, we may move ahead to the next question.


Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Minister will emphasise the answer.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the point is that the institutions were operating without any regulatory framework before. This regulatory framework has now been put in place and on a regular basis. What happens is that the Central Bank sends its supervisors to go and examine the books of their institutions to determine how they are doing their business, the kind of people who are running these businesses and also whether they are conducting their businesses according to the regulations.

Mr Speaker, the frequency by which this is done is a management issue, depending on the circumstances. It may be done every quarter, but it may also be done if it has been determined that an institution is shaky, the Central Bank, which has the management decision, may decide to move in more frequently.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


31. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga East) asked the Minister of Works and Supply whether there were any plans to extend the Mutanda/Mwinilunga Road T5 so that it connects with Jimbe on the border with Angola.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Ndalamei): Mr Speaker, there are no plans to vary the existing contract, covering the holding maintenance on the Mutanda/Mwinilunga Road to include the contraction of the section between Mwinilunga and Jimbe since the cost will demand for another tender. It is the intention of the ministry, however, to carry out a feasibility study of the construction of the Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road to bitumen standard when funds become available.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Katuka: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, who recently toured that portion of the road, saw how dilapidated the road was. Does the Government have any plans to extend this road which connects Angola and Zambia and also leads to the source of the mighty Zambezi River?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, yes, the Government is pursuing all possible ways to attend to this road. In fact, we have been holding discussions with a contractor who is a stakeholder in the same road and would want to participate in the development of the road. However, what we are doing, at the moment, is re-gravel the road to a motorable state and when funds are available, we will elevate it to bituminous level and only then will we implement the project. However, feasibility studies will be undertaken to ensure that we are ready to implement the project.

Thank you, Sir.


32. Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC., (Chasefu) asked the Minister of Health:

(a) when a medical doctor would be posted to Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b) when additional medical doctors would be posted to Lundazi District Hospital.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Mr Akakandelwa): Mr Speaker, it is not the policy of the ministry to post medical doctors to rural health centres. As such, the structure of rural health centres has no position for medical doctors. As such, the ministry has no immediate plans to post a medical doctor to the Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency. Nevertheless, in line with the Zonal Health Centre Establishment and the need to provide quality health care to our people, the Government has placed two clinical officers with adequate skills to provide health care at this level together with a registered midwife, environmental health technologist, registered nurse and pharmacist. The centre also has two enrolled midwives and three enrolled nurses, bringing the total number of health workers at the centre to eleven.

Mr Speaker, the Lundazi District Hospital has an establishment of five medical doctors. Currently, there are four funded positions and four medical doctors in post. The ministry has made a provision for recruitment of an additional doctor in the 2010 Budget.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr C. K. B. Banda, SC.: Sir, is the hon. Minister aware that there are only two medical doctors at the Lundazi District Hospital one of who spends most of his time on administrative duties and attending seminars?

Mr Akakandelwa: Mr Speaker, I said that there are four positions and four doctors in post. However, the ministry will investigate those allegations and establish if there are only two medical doctors.

Thank you, Sir.


33. Mrs Molobeka (Kawambwa) asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services:

(i) when the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) would extend television reception to Kawambwa Tea Company Estates; and

(ii) how much money would be spent on the provision of the service to the area.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr Muchima): Mr Speaker, the Kawambwa Tea Company is among the thirteen new stations planned for in the Rural Television Project Phase IV that is expected to start in 2010.

Mr Speaker, the implementation cost of television services to the Kawambwa Tea Company is estimated at about K100 million.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Molobeka: Mr Speaker, allow me, firstly, to thank the hon. Minister for that Government assurance. However, does the hon. Minister know that if the provision of this service to the Kawambwa Tea Company is delayed, this is denying the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) revenue through television licenses?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, thank you for that follow-up question. Indeed, her concerns are the concerns of this Government. The Government has not been able to reach all areas of the country because of lack of resources, but it is making all efforts to do this.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the provision of television services goes with mobility of personnel. Why has the hon. Minister kept more than thirty 4 x 4 twin cab vehicles at the ZNBC Mass Media Complex without putting them to good use? What is he waiting for? When is he going to distribute them?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is referring to the Zambia National Information Service (ZANIS) vehicles. Those vehicles are supposed to be fitted with some special equipment. In fact, some of them already have equipment fitted and have been since distributed. The ministry is doing its best to fit those vehicles which are still at the ZNBC Mass Media Complex with special equipment before they are distributed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila : Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned thirteen areas which will be serviced in 2010 and this question has been coming almost every time. Will the hon. Minister indicate the thirteen areas he has talked about so that I do not ask the same question next week?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the question was specific to Kawambwa and the response captured it only. The other areas will be provided in the next question.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Does the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services have this information? Once you mention something in your reply, you must be prepared to give details.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the names are available except that I did not come with the paper that has the details since we are …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Kambwili: Question.

Mr Muchima: However, the answer will be provided.

I thank you, Sir.
Mrs Phiri: Mr Speaker, is the Hon. Minister aware that there are other areas in the country which face the same problem as Kawambwa? In this respect, is the ministry considering doing what Muvi Television has done so that our people can watch programmes televised on ZNBC?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, this Government is fully aware of those problems. However, time and again, we have mentioned that because of lack of resources, certain areas do not have electricity and, therefore, it is not possible to make television facilities available in those areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, this question has been asked several times on the Floor of this House. Now, the Hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting is somersaulting when answering the question. There was an assurance that the ZNBC would even be on satellite. The Hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting then, Hon. Nalumango, made an assurance on the Floor of this House that this programme would be completed by 2009. May the Hon. Minister explain to this House what has happened to the programme?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

In answering that question, the issue of the former hon. Minister who is now occupying an entirely different position in this House will not be referred to.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, broadcast institutions world over are expected by the International Telecommunications Union to migrate from analog to digital technology by 17th June, 2015. The ZNBC shall not be an exception.

Mr Speaker, it must be appreciated that it is expensive to move from analog to digital technology. We will require an amount over US$10 million to do so. The ministry’s budget cannot sustain this, at the moment, since the Government’s priorities are diverted to certain critical areas. However, the Government is sourcing funds so that it is able to beat the deadline of 17th June, 2015. This assurance is still alive and the Government is doing everything possible to beat the deadline.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I wish to guide the House that ZNBC television is, in fact, available on the digital satellite television (DSTV) bouquet for those who can afford it.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that some places have no television facilities because they have no electricity. Is the hon. Minister telling us that ministries do not work together in such a manner that when the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting wants to put television facilities in one area, they liaise with the Ministry of Energy and Water Development so that it takes electricity there? Are they working like the way the work done by hands is described in the Bible were it says that what the right hand does, the left hand should not know?

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, what comes first? Is it electricity or television services? Television services go where electricity is already in place. As we are aware, the Government works as one unit.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Muchima: The priorities of the Government are many and concentrated in certain areas. When time comes for other areas, the provisions for both television and electricity services will be made available.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


34. Ms Limata (Luampa) asked the Minister of Education when additional classrooms and teachers’ houses would be built at Luampa High School in Luampa Parliamentary Constituency.


Mr Speaker: Order! The House will pay attention.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, Kaoma District, where Luampa High School is situated, is currently constructing Mayukwayukwa Boarding High School at a total cost of K27.6 billion. This is a very big project and, therefore, other demands in the district such as additional classrooms and teachers’ houses at Luampa High School will be considered when this project is completed and funds are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Limata: Mr Speaker, last year, the hon. Deputy Minister of Education in this august House mentioned that the Government had given Luampa K378 million. I would like to find out where that money is.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, as you may know, we have already stated in our answer that because of the big project going on in Kaoma District, this year, we are not able to provide any money for other projects.

Mr Speaker, if at all there was reference made to that sometime back, in our answer, I will investigate the matter.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Major Chizhyuka: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister verify the information that the K378 million was disbursed from his ministry to the provincial headquarters and that somewhere there, this money disappeared and did not reach Luampa?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for that question. I would like to appeal to this august House that as money is disbursed in various constituencies, the hon. Members should be among the monitors to ensure that money is utilised for its intended purpose. I want to assure this House that we, as a ministry, will not tolerate the misappropriation of funds. We shall follow it up.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

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

(a) how many residential houses the Government had constructed for teachers in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency from 2006 to 2008; and

(b) how many teachers had not been accommodated by the Government in the constituency as of 30th December, 2008.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, Chinsali District Education Board Secretary’s office only built four houses. These were, three at Lubwa and one at Kapili. Additional staff houses will be considered for construction as funds are made available.

Mr Speaker, a total number of 301 teachers were not accommodated in Chinsali Central Constituency in the period under review.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr C. Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government is aware that teachers are running away from my constituency because of lack of accommodation. What measures has the Government put in place to ensure that all teachers are accommodated?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, this Government is very serious about the provision of quality education. We are aware that some of the teachers are demotivated because of lack of certain facilities, but we are doing everything possible to construct teachers’ houses. I would like to inform the hon. Member that among the 301 teachers that have no accommodation, some of them are married while others are sharing accommodation. However, that is not what we want. We would like to have a situation where all our teachers are accommodated in good houses.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what measures the hon. Minister has instituted to inform all hon. Members of Parliament regarding the construction of teachers’ houses when the money is disbursed so that they can monitor the progress.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I am sure that the hon. Member is aware that we have our operational plan which we distribute to all hon. Members of Parliament for them to see how much money has been allocated. Apart from that, we also put advertisements in the daily newspapers so that all members of our communities are made aware.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga):  Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the housing loans that were promised to teachers have been effected because the Government may not be able to provide the required accommodation for teachers.

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, like I have already stated, our vision is that teachers should be motivated but, at the moment, we are still being hindered by the lack of adequate funds.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, it is a well-known fact that most of the teachers in rural areas are accommodated in grass thatched houses. Is it not wise for the Ministry of Education to increase the grant given to schools so that part of it can be used for constructing houses?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the hon. Member that that is our vision. We are trying, as much as possible, to increase the number of houses that we are going to construct, especially in rural areas. I can confirm that, at the moment, we are doing something although it may not be adequate.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, recently, the Ministry of Education had a consultative meeting with various stakeholders in the education sector. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister regarding the issue of housing, which has continuously boggled their minds, whether the consultative meeting was able to come up with a long-term solution to this problem.

The Minister of Education (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, at this point, I am not so sure that the my ministry can give an adequate answer to satisfy the interests of hon. Members of Parliament on this matter considering that our teachers do a very good job in this country. We have about 80,000 teachers nationwide and some of them are living in extremely deplorable conditions.

At the consultative meeting, a number of proposals were made and we debated upon the matter of the long-term sustainability of the Government’s provision of houses for teachers. One of the things that we discussed was making it possible for teachers, like anybody else, to have access to loan facilities so they can build houses on their own.  We had to look at the matter of transfers. What happens when teachers move to another province? Should the Government only provide a limited number of institutional houses for headmasters and others while individual teachers have to build their own houses? We are still in a policy review stage, but we hope that by mid June, next year, we would have come up with concrete proposals on how we can find a long-term solution.

Sir, like Hon. Simuusa said, the Government will never be able to provide adequate accommodation for the teachers. Therefore, let us not ignore the problem. What should we do about it? We might have to make some very tough decisions while working with the unions and everybody else so that we ensure that the teachers, who do a tremendous job, can continue to be motivated in terms of housing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister stated that a few teachers in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency are sharing accommodation while others are married. Where are those that are neither married nor sharing accommodation staying?

Mr Sinyinda: Mr Speaker, we are aware that some of our teachers are staying in grass-thatched houses which are not good enough and it is a big challenge to us. However, we would like to assure the House that we are doing everything possible to alleviate the suffering of our teachers.

I thank you, Sir.


36. Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwenzi) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a) whether there were any traditional leaders holding diplomatic passports, province by province; and

(b) how many of these passports were issued from 2007 to-date.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr D. Phiri): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that two traditional leaders hold diplomatic passports. These are the Litunga Imwiko Lubosi of the Lozi Royal Establishment in the Western Province and Senior Chief Mukuni of the Toka Leya in the Southern Province.

Mrs Masebo: He is not a Senior Chief.

Mr D. Phiri: Mr Speaker, the two passports above were issued from 2007 to date as replacements of the old ones.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, what criterion did the Government use to issue a diplomatic passport to Senior Chief Mukuni? Are there any plans to issue a diplomatic passport to Chief Mumena who is currently the Chairperson of the House of Chiefs?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Mangani): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for asking this question. The issuance of diplomatic passports to chiefs, particularly the two chiefs, has been there for some time now. For the Litunga, I think, we all know that it has been because of the country’s historical arrangement.

With regard to Chief Mukuni, it is because he has been chosen as our ambassador of tourism. You may also be aware that the issuance of diplomatic passports is under the discretion of the President. That is the aspect that we looked at for Senior Chief Mukuni.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muyanda: Mr Speaker, may I know why this Government is being segregative in the allocation of diplomatic passports to chiefs when other chiefs have not been given such status?

Mr Mangani: Mr Speaker, I think I indicated that there are certain issues that we considered when allocating these diplomatic passports to certain chiefs. For example, the Litunga has had the diplomatic passport possibly since independence and we cannot change it because of that historical factor. Senior Chief Mukuni is also playing a vital role in terms of promoting tourism.


Mr Mangani: We consider that as very important. As you know, being our ambassador, he was issued with a diplomatic passport long before 2006. He has been very active in that respect. Therefore, there is no sign of deciding to favour one person against the other.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, chiefs are very important citizens in this country. In fact, they are considered as very important persons (VIPs) in their own right. Is the Government coming up with any policy to ensure that all the chiefs in Zambia that want to travel get diplomatic passports?

Mr Mangani: Mr Speaker, yes indeed, chiefs play a very important role in our society. The issue of diplomatic passports is under the discretion of the President. As at now, there are no immediate plans of issuing diplomatic passports to all chiefs. If need arises in future, we will consider that.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, now that you know that Parliamentarians are demanding that chiefs be given diplomatic passports, are you going to make that representation to the President?


Mr Mangani: Mr Speaker, I have said that, for the time being, we do not see any need of issuing diplomatic passports to all chiefs.  However, if there is really a serious need, we may consider it in future. More importantly, I would like to indicate that we would like, as much as possible, to reduce the issuance of diplomatic passports. If we are going to have everybody having diplomatic passports, it may create an embarrassment to the nation if we do not handle it very well. Therefore, that is the line we would like to take.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the criteria for issuing a diplomatic passport to Senior Chief Mukuni was that he was promoting tourism. May I find out why the other chiefs who are promoting cultural tourism such as the Paramount chiefs Mpezeni and Gawa Undi and Senior chiefs Ndungu and the Mwata Kazembe who promote likumbi lyamize and Umutomboka, respectively, are not issued with diplomatic passports.

Mr Mangani: Mr Speaker, firstly, I indicated that the issuance of diplomatic passports is under the discretion of the President. Chief Mukuni can be sited as one such example in the sense that he is our special envoy of tourism. We would like to see how far this can go because we feel that it is important to experiment on it. If it goes on very well, we may include other chiefs on the list.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


37. Mr Kambwili asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

(a) what the annual turnover of the following companies in Luanshya was:

(i) Zambia Metal Fabrication Limited (ZAMEFA);

(ii) Antelope Milling; and

(iii) Mpelembe Drilling;

(b) how much tax each company paid to the Government in 2008; and

(c) what corporate social responsibility activities the companies undertook in 2008.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Nkhata): Mr Speaker, the annual turnover for each of the companies listed in the question was as follows:
Company    Turnover

ZAMEFA K810.95 billion for the financial year ended December, 2008

Antelope Milling Company  K64.93 billion

Mpelembe Drilling Company Ltd   K61.31 billion for the financial year ended 31st 
     March, 2008.

The companies paid the following taxes to the Government in 2008:

Company    Tax paid

ZAMEFA    K2.7 billion

Antelope Milling Company   K590 million

Mpelembe Drilling Company K10.08 billion out of which K4.95 billion was paid.

Mr Speaker, the companies undertook the following corporate social responsibility activities in 2008:

(i)  ZAMEFA participated in the Roll Back Malaria Programme and other community programmes such as school sports annual event, golf tournament and contributions to churches and the Rotary Club;

(ii) Antelope Milling Company repaired council roads namely, Empela Street and Kafue Road; and

(iii)  Mpelembe Drilling Company did not declare any corporate social responsibility activities, but continued to take care of employee welfare such as medical requirements for employees and dependents, education and funeral allowances and general support.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, Mpelembe Drilling Company contributed 590 million to the Treasury. May I know what the hon. Minister is doing to compel the new owners of Luanshya Copper Mines to extend contract works to Mpelembe Drilling Company because as it stands now, they have not been given a single contract and this means that the company may fold up.

The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr M. B. Mwale): Mr Speaker, as a Government, we wish to state that companies compete for jobs. What we can do, as a ministry, is to engage the mining companies to ensure that our long standing contracting company, Mpelembe Drilling Company, be given some of the jobs, but we do not compel them.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, provision of education allowance and medical facilities is part of conditions of service. When is Mpelembe Drilling Company going to be responsible enough and provide corporate social responsibility to the community?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I am at a loss because the hon. Member is supposed to educate us that, in fact, Mpelembe is insolvent. Therefore, I do not know where they will be getting the money to carry out these corporate-social responsibilities.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, on the issue of corporate social responsibility, is there any intention by the Government to come up with a law which will compel these companies on this responsibility because people are not benefiting.

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we realise that the issue of corporate-social responsibility is one in line with good corporate governance worldwide. However, as it is now, it is voluntary. There is no compulsion in terms of legislation.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, if I understood the hon. Deputy Minister correctly, he gave the following figures: earnings for Zamefa were K810 billion and it paid tax of K2.7 billion. Antelope milling earned K64.93 billion and it paid tax of K590 million. Mpelembe Drilling earned K61. 13 billion and it paid tax of K10.8 billion. I seek clarification on whether it was K10.8 billion or K10.8 million because I do not understand how these figures were arrived at as they do not make sense?

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I am sure the hon. Member would be in a position to educate me in terms of accounts that turnover does not indicate the level of profitability.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, corporate-social responsibility by the mining companies, and as the hon. Minister rightly indicates, is an important issue. We are aware that in the past mines on the Copperbelt and elsewhere were providing education, physical education and other facilities to the communities as a way of ensuring that the communities benefited. At the moment, we know that this is not happening. Does the Government not see that there is a need for the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development, working together with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, to ensure that these mines that are creating big holes in our communities give back something by way of legislation.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. B. Mwale: Mr Speaker, we realise that there was a time when the mines used to look after their employees from the cradle to the grave. Those activities, if we are alive to what is happening in the business world, increased the cost of doing business. 

However, having said this, we will, as a ministry, continue dialoguing with the mines to see how much they can plough back into our communities.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


38. Mr Milupi (Luena) asked the Minister of Community Development and Social Services when the Social Cash Transfer Scheme would be extended to Luena Parliamentary Constituency to assist the poor.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Speaker: If by simple arithmetic you multiply those two minutes of the delayed formation of the quorum by 158, you will see how many of what are called man-minutes, have been lost to the tax payer. When I say that I suspend business for fifteen minutes, I mean just that and not seventeen minutes.

The hon. Minister may continue.

Mr Malwa: Mr Speaker, in the current phase for scaling up the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, Luena Constituency in not in the plan. The current plan in the Western Province only looks at Kalabo, Shangombo and Senanga districts. With additional funding being available to this programme, we can then quickly cover the entire country. However, going by the current levels of funding in the next five to seven years, the programme will only be scaled up in ten new districts namely, Luwingu, Serenje, Senanga, Zambezi, Chienge, Kalabo, Shangombo, Kaputa, Chilubi and Milenji. These districts were selected based on poverty criteria levels as well as geographical balancing and institutional capacity. However, since this is an ongoing scheme, Luena Constituency will also be assessed and captured in the near future.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 
Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, the Social Cash Transfer is one of the cornerstone policies that the Government has for fighting poverty. The constituency in question, Luena, …

Mr Speaker: Order! Ask your question, please.

Mr Milupi: Sir, will the hon. Minister state why Luena Constituency, an impoverished rural constituency located in the poorest province, has not been deemed fit to be one of the first to be impacted upon by this cash transfer. Why has it waited?

The Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Milupi for that question because I am sure this question will help to clear other questions which have not been asked.

Mr Speaker, we use statistics which we get from the Central Statistic Office (CSO) to see which districts are the poorest. Therefore, when we looked at the statistics, Mongu, in which Luena Constituency falls, is not poor. It is, at least, not at the levels we have considered poor.

 Mr Milupi: Question!


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, looking at the capacity the hon. Member for Luena who is the aspiring candidate for Presidency…

Mr Speaker: Order! That is not part of the question.


Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I withdraw that statement. May I simply end by saying that although Mongu is poor, it is not at the levels which we believe should immediately benefit from the social cash transfer.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that Luapula Constituency is very difficult to access. Therefore, that constituency cannot benefit because even the officers from the CSO, which the hon. Minister is quoting, never reached the area in order to assess it. Is the hon. Minister willing to constitute a team to go and look at the poverty level in that area so that the people there can benefit.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, we are ably guided in this House that when a question is about Luena, it must be kept that way and should not be by disgrace.


Mr Kaingu: However, you have also ably guided that if there is a bonus answer, it can be provided. I cannot speak for the CSO, but I strongly believe that the statistics we use to assess the levels of poverty are the ones which we use for voters. Therefore, if the hon. Member is comfortable with the statistics of voters in his constituency, he must know that the statistics that we receive on poverty levels are also true.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kaingu: Therefore, it is not true that the figures are correct for the voters, but are incorrect for the poverty levels. As far as we are concerned, the statistics from the CSO are okay and correct. I cannot confirm as to whether officers used canoes or boats provided in Bangweulu to do the assessment.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker,


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

(a) how many trade unions had been registered from 2001 to 2009, year by year; and

(b) what measures the Government had taken to reduce on the number of trade unions in the country.

The Deputy Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Kachimba): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the number of trade unions registered from 2001 to 2009, year by year were as follows:

 Year  No. Registered  Total

 2001  0   40

 2002  0   40

 2003  1   41

 2004  0   41

 2005  0   41

 2006  2   43

 2007  3   46

 2008  0   46

 2009  2   48

Mr Speaker, the Government has not taken any measures to reduce the number of trade unions in the country. Unionism is a fundamental right of employees as granted by the Constitution of Zambia, Cap. 1 and the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, Cap. 269 of the Laws of Zambia. In this regard, the rights of employees to form a union of their choice is also exemplified by he provisions of the Section 5 of the Industrial and Labour Relations Act as read with Amendment Act Number 8 of 2008. At the moment, the Government has no intention of reducing the number of trade unions in the country as that would be acting contrary to the provision of the law.

However, the Government wishes to indicate that the proliferation of trade unions has posed a challenge to both employers and trade unions. As a result, the unions have complained about their bargaining power being greatly reduced thereby making the employers have an upper hand during negotiations. In this regard, the unions are the appropriate bodies to determine whether there is need to consider reducing the number of trade unions in the country.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwango: Mr Speaker, from the answer given by the hon. Minister, the Government has no intentions of reducing the number workers’ unions. Since we, as a country, are signatory to the International Labour Organisation Convention, is the Government thinking of withdrawing that signatory so that we can reduce the number of  unions representing workers in Zambia?

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mr Liato): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kanchibiya may also appreciate the fact that some of these rights are not only fundamental, but are also human rights. Therefore, it will be very difficult for the Government to advocate for the withdrawal of rights which are human rights. I think that the right thing for the Government to do is to enhance these rights and ensure that there is no intention of withdrawing them as they promote the rights of citizens.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, if you go through the statistics, you will see that the number of unions has increased and we are aware of the law that is in place. Is there any intention of merging the three parties together, that is, the employers, the unions and the Government in order to reduce the number?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, the interest to become strong should be amongst the trade union leaders themselves. It is in their interest to promote unity of purpose and that is the challenge that is before the trade unions.

On the other hand, the State is concerned by the fact that too many unions undermine productivity at some stage. Instead of people concentrating on being productive, they would be concentrating on negotiating and collective bargaining. For example, if an employer has five unions in his institution and he has to bargain with all the five, much time will be taken up by unproductive kind of work. The State is, also, concerned that there is harmonisation of trade union activity at places of work. However, we are caught up between the rights of the people to form unions or belonging to institutions of their choice. They have to be organised to deal with the issues of productivity. We are hoping that the unions, themselves, can harmonise the situation and do what is right.

At our Tripartite Consultative Member Council meetings, we encourage unions to understand that it would be best for the three social partners to appreciate that we can function in a manner that recognises the most represented group. In that way, they cannot go into smaller groups and defeat productivity.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kapeya (Mpika): Mr Speaker, arising from the elaborate answer from the hon. Minister, may I know whether the introduction of multi-unionism in the country has been on the positive or negative side.

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, I would like to assume that any law which gives rights to citizens or individuals is a good law except that in a situation like ours, if you do not understand the unity of purpose it is bound to be self defeating.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda (Kankoyo): Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing to encourage the formation of unions in industries where these unions are threatened?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, the Government continues to emphasise and repeat itself in asking citizens to do what is right and what is right is to form unions so that their interests are protected at places of work.

However, the challenge before existing unions is to venture into areas where trade union activities to enhance their membership are not taking place. It is actually in the interest of existing unions to do more recruitment. However, the Government is still on record as having said that it wants workers to form unions so that their interests are protected at places of work. It is also in the interest of the Government to deal with organised work force because it is difficult to deal with people who are not well organised. We are more interested in knowing that people in the industry are well organised so that when we want to meet them, we are able to talk to their leaders. That is the way things should be.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Katema (Chingola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security has stated that workers can belong to any union because it is a fundamental right. However, I would like to find out what the Government has done to facilitate the recruitment and formation of branches of the Mine Workers Union in Chambeshi and Luanshya where the investors have categorically told the workers not to form branches in those work places?

Mr Liato: Mr Speaker, we will be more than willing to receive this report from the leadership of the unions which exist there. I know that, in the mines, we have the National Union of Miners and Allied Workers (NUMAW) and the Mine Workers Union of Zambia (MUZ). Those are the two unions functioning there. We have not received any complaint yet either through these two unions in the mines or the employees. Should we receive this kind of report, it will definitely receive our active response. We will not encourage the violation of trade union rights at places of work.

I thank you, Sir.


40. Mr Mwapela (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) whether the new design of the Mongu/Kalabo Road was able to withstand the floods so as to benefit the people of the Western Province and the country, in general;

(b) when construction of the above road would be completed; and

(c) whether the Government was aware that the non-completion of this road continued to pose a great risk to the poor people of Kalabo who had to cross over 70 km of the plains to reach Mongu and vice-versa.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Ndalamei): Mr Speaker, the revised detailed engineering design for the construction of the Mongu/Kalabo Road is sufficient to withstand the floods as more openings have been provided by means of floating bridges.

Mr Speaker, the contractor who is supposed to carry out the works is still to be appointed. The works will only begin when sufficient funding has been mobilised and secured.

It has been the intention of the ministry to alleviate the difficulties being faced in travelling by the people between Mongu and Kalabo. The ministry is still desirous to complete the project.

Mr Mwapela: Mr Speaker, what action is the Government taking to recover the loan of US$35 million which was earlier funded on the Mongu/Kalabo Road since the work has stalled and the project failed due to poor workmanship?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mulongoti): Mr Speaker, the money which came from the Kuwait Fund was a complex arrangement. Hence, the Government is doing everything possible to rectify the situation. If there are difficulties, hon. Members will be informed.

The Kuwait Fund is arranged in a manner that they provide the funds, choose the consultants and the contractor and pay the contractor as well as the consultant directly. Therefore, the Government’s hands are, in a way, tied. However, everything is being done to protect the interest of the Government.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, the Kuwait Fund provided the loan to the Government and chose a contractor who messed up the work. Does our Government still have to pay back that loan?

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, the contractor did a good part of the road except for the challenges they met in the plains which made it difficult for them. Like I said the other time, they ignored the conventional advice that those plains were a challenge and thought they would do it easily. However, they discovered that they were not able to do it. So, the Government will pursue part of the loan which was not utilised, but not where they worked and completed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out whether the original contractor, the Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) of Kuwait are still in Namibia or in Senanga because, at one time, they tried to run away, but were stopped in Senanga. I would like to know where they are and why they cannot be called back to erect the bridges that need to be worked on.

Mr Mulongoti: Mr Speaker, as a Government, we do not control the movement of contractors. Our role is to pursue the authorities who appointed the contractors and if there are defects, we pursue those responsible. As regards the whereabouts of the contractor, we do not control their movements and so we are not aware of where they are, but our interest is to ensure that the part that was not constructed is constructed either with their funds or to find some extra funds and recover whatever penalties may be there.

I thank you, Sir.




The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Dr Musokotwane): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the following Members of Parliament do constitute the Public Accounts Committee for the Fourth Session of the Tenth National Assembly:

 Mr C. L. Milupi, MP;
 Mrs A.C.K. Mwamba, MP;
 Mr R. C. Banda, MP;
 Mr E. M. Hachipuka, MP;
 Mr H. H. Hamududu, MP;
 Mr L. M. Mwenya, MP;
 Mr B.Y. Mwila, MP;
 Mr L. P. Msichili, MP; and
 Mr P. Sichamba, MP.

Mr Speaker, let me begin by commending the previous Public Accounts Committee under the leadership of the hon. Member for Luena, Mr Milupi, MP. I know that the Committee did not table any report before the House. However, this was not unique to them as all other Sessional Committees were affected by the change of the Parliamentary Calendar to accommodate the new Budget Cycle. Nevertheless, the impact of the Committee cannot be disputed. The diligence with which the Committee executed its functions kept all controlling officers alert on the need for financial probity when performing public duties. The positive signs that are beginning to show on improving public sector financial management are partly due to the work of the previous Committee.

I have no doubt that the Members whom I am proposing to constitute the Public Accounts Committee today will carry forward the mantle and do even better. The work of the Public Accounts Committee has not only generated a lot of interest in the nation, but is also seen to be the main tool for ensuring that public resources are prudently utilised according to procedure. It is, therefore, important that the House supports this Motion.

Mr Speaker, when I last moved a similar Motion, concern was raised by the hon. Member for Roan on gender balance. I mentioned that this would be looked into when the next Committee was constituted, but I also mention that there were limitations on the number of female Members in the Backbench. Unfortunately, the status quo will continue, at least, for this session.

Mr Speaker, on our part as the Executive, we shall continue to support the work of the Public Accounts Committee. We shall even go further in that we shall also support the Office of the Auditor-General which provides the major input in the work of the Committee. However, the quest to improve financial management in the public sector goes beyond these two players. Other oversight bodies such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) will equally be supported as follow-up action on audit reports and the Committee’s recommendations hinges on the effectiveness of bodies such as these.

I am glad to report that with regard to the ACC, the National Anti Corruption Policy was recently launched. In addition, a Serious Frauds Unit will be established in the commission to investigate complex corruption cases. Hon. Members will, also, recall that His Excellency the President, when officially opening this session of Parliament, alluded to the fact that an independent financial intelligence unit which will monitor any suspicious financial transactions or dealings would be established.

The Government will continue to implement the Public Expenditure Management and Financial Accountability (PEMFA) Reforms Programme. Whilst on the issue of PEMFA, let me give the House some update on the Integrated Financial Management and Information System (IFMIS). Piloting of the system in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is scheduled to commence in January, 2010. It is anticipated that in March, 2010, the system will be rolled out in seven sites. By the end of December, 2011, the system will be rolled out in all the ministries, provinces and other spending agencies.

Currently, preparations are being finalised for the training of super users which will commence on 28th September, 2009. The training for end users will begin on 9th November, 2009, in readiness for the go-live stage in 2010. As the House may already know, IFMIS is one of the measures being put in place to improve financial management in the public sector.

Mr Speaker, in addition, the Secretary to the Treasury will continue to hold regular meetings aimed at improving financial management in the public sector with controlling officers.

Mr Speaker, let me end by stating that revelations of financial mismanagement should not be wholly taken to mean that there is an increase in corruption cases or financial misconduct. This is also a reflection of increased transparency and improved reporting systems that have been put in place by this Government. After all this has been said, may I once more request hon. Members of this august House to support the Motion on the Floor.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, thank you very much. I rise to support the Motion. In doing so, I would like to bring some items associated with this very important Committee which, in my opinion, are not being addressed by the Executive collectively. It is quite clear that in the last three years I have been an hon. Member of Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has made a mark in the Republic of Zambia. Many of my colleagues, who I interact with in economics circles, have also attested to this fact. However, just as we have problems in the Auditor-General’ Office where a lot of reports are made regarding misapplication of funds and there is no action taken, similarly, the work of your Committee is not followed up by action. The examples that can be cited are so many that there is no need to mention them.

Mr Speaker, as we go about developing and improving the parliamentary system of our country, we should learn from countries such as Uganda where law enforcement agencies, …

Mr Milupi was talking.

Major Chizhyuka: Hon. Milupi, … sit as witnesses or observers when PAC is having its deliberations. When these investigative agencies realise a prima facie case for misappropriation of public resources, they immediately take action. As for Zambia, it is a talk shop as usual. It will make news in the newspapers, television and print media and it appears to end there year in and year out. What kind of a country are we going to be that is not solution oriented?

Mr Speaker, as I support the hon. Minister, I think that the Members he has chosen for this Committee are credible hon. Members of Parliament of this National Assembly, as they have exalted themselves in the manner they have discharged their duties. This is why the public is happy, but it is the follow-up action that is lacking and it depends on the Executive side to deal with these issues because the responsibility of the State is vested in its hands. The Executive should deal with these anomalies so that we can have a straightforward country which accounts for the public resources from the tax payer of our country.

Mr Speaker, last year, I happened to be a Member of the Legal Affairs Governance, Human Rights and Gender Committee which, in fact, made history in deliberating on changes to Article 117 of the Constitution so that we could have the budget cycle starting in October so that the budget can be implemented by January.

Mr Speaker, one of the things that clearly came out from those deliberations with the myriads of stakeholders who were invited to your Committee, is that in spite of the fact that we have accounting standards, as Zambia, we have not yet reached the required accounting standards. These accounting standards are called International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). There is cash IPSAS and there is also the accrual IPSAS. Since Zambia has not even reached the cash IPSAS profile, this is why you find that this House allocates funds to the Auditor-General’s office, but the Auditor-General is unable to notice that Mr Kapoko has pocketed or misappropriated K27 billion.

Mr Speaker: Order!

You may move away from that matter which is before the courts of law.

Can you continue, please.

Major Chizhyuka: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for the guidance.

The Auditor-General may not be able to discover certain amounts, unless someone shouts that he did not have what was due to those people, and yet we appropriate monies. The problem that is really there is that we have not established, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, specific accounting standards that can capture these anomalies. It was very clear during the discussions that in fact, some of the accounting standards that are currently used in Zambia are in fact they themselves openings for corruption because it is possible for a very effective finance officer in a ministry to get certain billions and use them for a specific purpose. When the following year is budgeted, it is possible for that other finance officer to get the monies from this and replace them for other and the get goes on. When the Auditor-General comes through, he finds that these things appear to be straightforward because we have not yet reached accrual. It is important for the hon. Minister of Finance to realise that it is important for Zambia to move very quickly to reach the accrual status so that we can account for these public funds in a manner that helps the Zambian people so that we do not have the public service officers taking a huge chunk of tax payer’s money at the expense of our people.

Mr Speaker, it is this same accounting standard which PAC should try and endeavour to uphold to use when they are going about their business. At the end of the day, what we want is to see that the public funds of our people are put to good use. There are people who pay tax, but cannot afford to buy a pair of shoes, and yet they pay taxes through Value Added Tax (VAT) when they buy salt, a piece of chitenge and cooking oil. They are paying VAT which finds itself in the National Treasury in the coffers of the Republic of Zambia. We cannot continue to have a situation where monies that are paid as tax at great expense by the poorest of the poor are being misappropriated by advantaged officers in the Civil Service. This is why I am saying, I support this Committee and motion, but I would like to see these moves which bring about accountability and transparency in the manner that the committee goes about its work.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I think I have deliberated the people of Namwala’s wishes on this matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Sir, I thank you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity to firmly support the Motion on the Floor of this august House. The composition of the Committee we are endorsing this afternoon is not just a credible group of a lady and gentlemen, but they are honourable, gallant and brave citizens of the Republic of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, PAC is supposed to be the eyes and ears of the public on how public funds are being expended. In support of this Motion, I would like to point out that there have been serious revelations by the previous PAC. This list clearly shows that these are almost the same hon. Members who were on the previous Committee. It, therefore, rings a bell that the due diligence which they applied in the process of executing their duties will be exactly the same.

One of the revelations was that Permanent Secretaries were not retiring imprest.  Another is that whistle blowers were not protected.  Nepotism must be done away in this Government. In the Government of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, officers, whether from this House or outside, who were accused of misappropriating funds, were suspended to pave way for thorough investigations. I believe I am allowed to give commendation to the previous Government. However, today, the order of the day is to transfer that officer to another department to perpetrate white collar crime against the people of the Republic of Zambia. This is not good.

 A few days ago I cited a case in point of Maamba Collieries.  The Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) released US$5 million for the payment of Maamba Collieries employees, but to date these employees have not been paid. I am shocked and very disappointed that even the Ministry of Mines and Mineral Development has not been brave enough to find out why these workers have not paid their salaries. There must be something clearly wrong when two months pass without workers getting paid. Maamba Collieries is 100 per cent owned by the Zambian Government and, therefore, these are public funds. We want to know where the US$5 million has gone.

Mr Speaker, the Mine Workers Union of Zambia has complained that something has gone wrong in the management of mines in the country. The managing director of Maamba Collieries operates from Lusaka instead of the pit at the mine. This managing director is even protected by one of the hon. Ministers. Why should the managing director of the Maamba Mine be stationed in Lusaka when the mine is in Maamba?

Hon. Government Members interjected.

Mr Muyanda: You ask that question because you know where he is. These are salient features of wrongdoing. This problem does not just relate to unretired imprest; but it goes deeper than this. The previous PAC also revealed that some civil servants have been promoted after being found misapplying funds. We need to be very serious when dealing with these issues. We are administering public funds on behalf of the people of the Republic of Zambia, and, therefore, we must rise to the occasion.

From the time the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) came into power in 1991 to date, I have never heard of a civil servant being convicted on account of pocketing public funds. Most of them are promoted or transferred. That is not the way it should be. Countries are not governed like that. I recall in this House, eight years ago, saying that Zambia was running a dangerous trend in as far as public thefts were concerned. This was before some hon. Members here came into this august House. It is a long period. Today, there are plenty of cases of theft in Government ministries. Some accused persons have been acquitted on frivolous legal technicalities.

Hon. Government Members: Who are they?

Mr Muyanda: You know who the thieves are. We do not mention names in this august House because this is an honourable House.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda: In an honourable House, you debate diligently.

Hon. Government Member: Finally.

Mr Muyanda: You may say finally because your minds are tired of seeing thieves who are not prosecuted. Please, this country belongs to us. There are poor people in Kalabo who do not even know what a school is, and yet public funds amounting to K27 billion and US$5 million at Maamba are disappearing into thin air. Why has the Government not paid Maamba Collieries employees? If hon. Members on your right are not supporting, aiding and abating the criminals who are stealing money from the mines, they should pay the Maamba Collieries employees.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: I must draw the attention of the House to the fact that unless I guide you, you may begin to debate a non-existent report of the Public Accounts Committee. The role of the House now is to approve the tool that will lead this House to the issues you are discussing at the moment. You are jumping way ahead. So, I would like to call on the subsequent two debaters to address the Motion. Do you or do you not agree that this list of hon. Members of Parliament be adopted so that they may go out there and work?

The hon. Member for Chongwe may debate.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I just want to point out one thing. First of all, I would like to support the composition of this Committee. I think it is good for the country to have people who have the experience and have been on this Committee for a long time.

Mr Speaker, I, however, only want to say one thing to the hon. Members that are on this Committee. I have noticed that there has been a lot of negativity arising from the reports of the PAC in the past years. I think that, as a country, sometimes we do not commend ourselves.

Mr Speaker, you will recall that in 2002 or 2003, the Committee had a backlog of over ten years or so. We were behind, and yet now we have reached a stage where we are actually current. I think that this is a positive step. As regards publicity of what is happening, in the past, we heard very little about these issues, but now it as if most of these reports come sometimes even before we receive them on the Floor of this House, comments are being made in the papers.

Mr Speaker, we need to be careful in the manner we speak about these audit reports. I have noticed that it is very difficult even for chief officers (Permanent Secretaries) to come up with an audited report which will not have a misapplication of resources, especially where a budget is not being executed 100 per cent and where resources are not released on time. Sometimes, you will find that even the funds that have already been approved will still not have been released by the end of the year. You will find that principle officers may move money from one particular activity to another which in their opinion could be an emergency which cannot wait for the other resources.

I think that the new members together with the Ministry of Finance and National Planning should be looking at such issues to ensure that the execution of the budget in terms of releases is 100 per cent and on time. If this is done, we are going to have fewer misapplications. Currently, it is difficulties arise in a situation where maybe the President or hon. Ministers are supposed to go for a conference, but there is no money for their travel and what is used for trip is money that was meant for some other activity. When the implementers of the programme whose funds were used on the trip go to the Treasury, they are told that the money is not yet ready, maybe because the collections have been poor.

In a number of cases you will find that money meant for a particular activity is used for something else. We hear people making too many comments to the extent that people think that in all the ministries of this country there is theft and yet maybe, we just had one Kapoko reported.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this important Motion. In support of this Motion on the Floor, I would like to state that I am happy with the membership of this committee. However, it is important also to realise that each and every member in this committee is very important. I am, therefore, urging the Members not to be leaving everything to the Chair every time. We have seen most things being done by the Chair alone in the past. It is important that every Member takes a keen interest in the activities of the committee and perform accordingly because this committee is a very important one as it looks at critical issues to the country such how the national resources (money) are appropriated and how they are spent. All misapplications are brought to our attention, but it is important also to realise – I will try to be very brief, that this Committee should have been given teeth to bite.

Mr Speaker, what happens is that the Committee brings out a lot of issues which at the end of the day are not acted upon. Therefore, it is important that in future we look at legislation that is going to assist this committee to bite so that the issues that it brings out can be acted on. Surprisingly, the committee only has one female member and yet we have many hon. Members of Parliament who are female. It would have been better to have given the female hon. Members of Parliament, two thirds of the seats on the the committee.

I think it is really important that as we fight corruption, we should fight it using a gender balanced perspective rather than fighting it from one side.

With these few words, I would like to support the Motion and I beg to move.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Members for the overwhelming support that you have shown to the committee that has been constituted. I would like to briefly respond to some of the issues that were raised. It is not entirely true to say that the Report of the PAC is never acted upon. We know that as we speak right now, the cases in the Ministry of Health are going through the legal process and it was not long ago when many accountants on the Copperbelt were apprehended and they too, are being prosecuted in the courts of law. Similarly, we read about so many cases of people suspected to have misappropriated public funds being taken to court. Whereas I may agree that not all the cases are prosecutable, it is also not entirely correct and we should not mislead the public into believing that nothing completely is ever done to suspected plunderers of public funds.

Mr Speaker, let me also say that some of the revelations that come out in audit reports and finally in the PAC Report, are, sometimes, not prosecutable cases. I have seen, for example, cases in the Auditor-General’s Report stating that a named ministry has failed to collect revenue. The revenue is just an estimate and if the institution that is mandated to collect does not reach that target and it is reported that they failed to meet that target, that is not a matter that you can arrest anyone over or take to court because it is an administrative matter.

Therefore, I agree that we need to tighten up our systems and with the Integrated Financial Management Information Systems (IFMIS) that I described which is going to be piloted in the Ministry of Finance and then rolled out. The IFMIS is, indeed, going to be an important instrument in making sure that public funds are managed properly with an automated system which by a click of a button can give you information which will tell you where the money has gone and who has received it, unlike using a manual system that takes a long time before such kind of information can be compiled and in the process those who are criminally inclined can take advantage of it. I believe that with the coming on of IFMIS we should move forward substantially in terms of controlling public resources.

On the issue of the US$5 million mentioned by the hon. Member for Sinazongwe, this is another case where we need to be careful because he is linking the release of U$5 million with the failure by Maamba Collieries to pay salaries and he is concluding from that, that money was stolen. You cannot make a conclusion like that because the US$5 million was an investment. An investment may succeed or fail. So, if people failed to be paid, it could simply mean that the investment has failed or that the company is running losses. We cannot just conclude and say that money has been stolen.

If you have got the evidence that the US$5 million was stolen, we will be extremely grateful if you brought that evidence and laid it on the Table so that we could deal with it.

My final comment is on the representation of women. As I said, there are few women in the Back Bench. What has happened, so far, is that every female has been put in a committee. It so happened that since every female was in a committee, unfortunately, there could not be an extra female hon. Member of Parliament, other than the one that has been put in the PAC.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


(Debate resumed)

The Deputy Minister of Lands (Mr Mabenga): Thank you, Mr Speaker, for according me this opportunity to debate on this very important Motion on the Floor of this House, which was moved by the hon. Member for Kalabo Central, Mr Mwapela and seconded by the hon. Member for Mufulira, Ms Mwape.

Mr Speaker, I want to congratulate Dr Solomon Musonda for his election as hon. Member of Parliament for Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: Congratulations Solo, which is what we used to call him during the campaign.

Hon. Opposition Member: Solo.

Mr Mabenga: Yes.

Mr Speaker, I want to remember, of course, the souls of our departed brothers that left us. All we can do is to pray for their souls to rest in peace.

Mr Speaker, I want to say that the speech that was presented by His Excellency the President is condensed and well structured. The speech gave the people of Zambia the direction in which the country is going.

Mr Speaker, leadership demands a lot of things and there are attributes that are attached to good leadership. Good leadership demands for good management. In discussing management, I will refer to what two writers, Everald and Gerald Morris have written in their book, “Effective School Management.”

They are saying in their book that a good manager is one who sets the direction, aims and objectives. They also say that a good manager is one who plans how progress will be made or how goals will be achieved, organises available resources so that the goals that he sets can be economically achieved in a planned way, controls the process of delivering goods and  serves and improves organisational standards. I find these points in the speech delivered by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. PF Member: Question.

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, the President’s Speech, like I have said, is full of substance. It is a speech that points to the future development of this country. Page 3 of the speech says:

“Today, Zambia’s economy, is showing indications that the worst may be over. The mining sector, which is the mainstay of our economy which was under severe constraints, is beginning to recover. This is largely due to the measures my Government introduced in the 2009 Budget and the rise in the copper prices.”

Mr Speaker, if anyone is able to read between lines and understand what this statement means, he or she will surely agree that the speech is condensed. I have called it a condensed speech because it is one that is pointing to the future development of this country.

Sir, on Page 4 of the speech, it says:

“Mr Speaker, on the political front, I am delighted to note that our young democracy is being consolidated.”

He has gone on to talk about the separation of powers and how the various organs operate in this country. I fail to understand why someone with all the senses given to him or her by God can stand up in this House and say that this speech is hollow. It must be the person who says that who is hollow.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, I want to show how the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government under the leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, is doing excellent work for the people of Zambia despite the economic hardships our country is going through. In this debate, I will concentrate on land acquisition and, thereafter move onto tourism and probably touch on health.

The MMD Government, Sir, is working.

Mr Kambwili: Question.

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, it has been working very hard to ensure that there is equitable access to land by all Zambians. To achieve this, this working Government has ensured that more land is made available for allocation by empowering all our district and municipal councils to open up rural areas. How is this going to be done? We are going to empower councils through the acquisition of the Land Development Fund (LDF).

Now, the LDF is not like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). District, municipal and city councils must apply for it. In fact, application forms are available and have always been sent to councils so that they can apply for funds which they can use to open up areas for development. As His Excellency the President indicated in his speech, this Government will continue to provide financial support to councils so that more areas in all districts can be opened up, thereby, making more land available for allocation to all Zambians. All district councils that are interested have applied for funding from the LDF. For example, in 2006, a total of about K8.4 billion was disbursed to district councils. Those that applied were given money so that they could open up areas for development. In 2007, a total of K5.6 billion was disbursed to sixteen councils that applied for funding. Last year, unfortunately, only two applied. I do not know why. In fact, I must say that most of the councils are not retiring the money that they get.

Sir, I want to take this opportunity to call upon all district, municipal and city councils to retire the money that they get in order for them to apply for other funds and continue to open up land for our people in this country.

Mr Speaker, a good number of councils did very well and I will mention some of them as I debate.

Sir, one may ask where the money is coming from. If people have the time to look at the Yellow Book, they will find that part of it is appropriated by this very House. Secondly, part of it is from the 50 per cent ground rent that the ministry collects from every property. 50 per cent of that money is set aside for councils to apply for so that they can develop and open up areas in their various locations. Also, when one applies, for example, for a property, he or she pays consideration fee. 75 per cent of that money is put together with the 50 per cent from the ground rent and the money appropriated by Parliament and is given, on application, to any council that wants to have it.

Mr Speaker, I am glad that among some of the councils that applied for the fund and did well are Mpongwe, Lufwanyama, Nakonde, Choma, Mufumbwe and Kalulushi. These are the ones that have done very well. I have a list of some of them that applied and got the money, but have not yet either retired or given us a report.

Mr Speaker, it is sad that most of the big councils have not done well with the fund. As hon. Members of Parliament, we must take interest because this is a very sad situation. Some have, in fact, purchased capital equipment going against what is outlined in the guidelines on what the funds cannot be used for.

Mr Speaker, on the acquisition of land, let me continue to say that it is a pity that all the people want to go into Lusaka to ask for pieces of land. That is an unfortunate situation. This is the reason we are getting reports that people are not getting land. It is because everybody wants to get land either in Lusaka, Kitwe or Chongwe. However, we want to encourage Zambians and the hon. Members of Parliament to open up the rural areas in their constituencies, especially those of us who are based in rural areas.  I think I am one of those to have opened up and I am doing some very good farming in my constituency, in Mulobezi.

Hon. Member: You did not tell us.

Mr Mabenga: Please, come along and encourage the councils to get money so that we can open up our rural areas. It is important that people in our rural areas understand and take part in development. They can only do this when services like these are given to them.

Sir, if you recall, the President said in his speech that the Government would soon bring to the House the Urban and Regional Planning Bill. He mentioned this because he has seen the problems that people have been complaining about. There is the problem of accessing title deeds on time and getting land surveyed. He has seen that the best way to do it is to bring a Bill for Urban and Regional Planning because this will help us curb illegal allocation of land, thereby ensuring that land is allocated in an orderly manner.

Mr Speaker, I said I would also touch on tourism because I feel that it is a very important sector of development of this country. His Excellency the President has a soft spot for this one. You will remember that shortly after he was elected as President of this country, last year, he went to Kasaba Bay and said that he wanted to see that Kasaba Bay changed face so that tourism could be improved in that area. Although that was just a few months ago, we can see what is happening. Things are already changing there. This is what is meant by attributes in a person who thinks rightly and not a person who thinks negatively like you (Pointing to the left side).


Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, I wanted to emphasise this because it is important that we understand that even for the short time the Government of President Banda has been in office, we can see the fruits of the person we chose as leader of the Government.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: In your pocket!

Mr Mabenga: The people are able to see. We do not mind people who speak along the corridors. We do not mind. What is going to happen is that you will continue to speak negatively until finally you become a negative person yourself.


Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker I wanted to take a chance to also debate and I am sure that what I have debated has made meaning to those who want meaning …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: … and has been meaningless to those who do not want to hear correct things.

I thank you, Sir.

The Chief Whip (Mr Mwaanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House which was introduced by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central Constituency and seconded by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mufulira.

I want to congratulate His Excellency the President for the very inspiring speech which he made.

Hon. Govt. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: He touched on a number of important domestic and international issues which will no doubt exercise the minds of this House for the next few months.

Let me also add my congratulations to the newly-elected hon. Member of Parliament for Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency, Hon. Dr Solomon Musonda, MP, on his stupendous victory. He is a man who represents quality and I know that his addition to this A-team on this side will add quality to the MMD.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: I also want to thank my party, the MMD, for having campaigned relentlessly for him in Chitambo Constituency to ensure that we registered an impressive victory.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: I also want to thank the people of Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency for consistently supporting the MMD since 1991.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: They have been dependable allies of the Government in terms of development and I can assure them that, through the representative they elected, they will not be disappointed.

His Excellency the President touched on the global economic crisis which has affected many countries of the world, with others being affected more. I am referring, here, to countries such as the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, France and Japan.

To their credit, they have been putting stimulus packages together to try to stimulate their economies out of the malaise that their economies have been facing in the recent past.

There are also other countries like China and India which have been less affected because of the robust nature of their economies and the stimulus packages they have introduced which have borne fruit.

In the case of India, it has had to revise economic development figures upwards from 5.5 per cent to 7 per cent projected growth in 2009. The Chinese have had to project new economic growth downwards from 9.7 percent to 8 per cent in 2009. This is quite remarkable when you consider how badly most of the western countries have been affected by this economic crisis.

Mr Speaker, countries like China and India have benefited greatly from foreign direct investment (FDI). Since China started pursuing a policy of reform and opening up in 1978, by the end of 2008, it had received US$900 billion in terms of the FDI. This made China the largest recipient of the FDI in the world. This has come from 191 countries and territories, including Zambia. It has created not less than 42 million jobs for Chinese citizens. They have built foreign exchange reserves in excess of US$2 trillion, making them the largest holders of foreign exchange reserves in the world.

Mr Speaker, each time the school bell rings in the morning, 250 million Chinese children are in class while 7 million of them are in universities. This is, indeed, a great achievement.

Sir, the impression that has been created is that this investment has been a one-way traffic. Recently, when I was in China with the Zambian Delegation, we visited a company which is owned by a Zambian, Mr Enock Mundia from Senanga. The company is located three hours away from Shanghai. Mr Mundia has benefited from China’s policy of reform by opening up and creating a garment factory in China called ‘Liberty Company Limited’ which employes 4,000 Chinese people.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: His company has a turnover of US$60 million annually with exports which go to the United States of America, Europe and Japan. We felt proud that Zambians have taken advantage of the economic environment which exists in other countries to invest and create wealth.

Sir, I also noticed that in countries like China and India, they talk less about politics, but more about development.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: Politics are relegated to the bottom of their priorities and that is why they are where they are today. I fear that, sometimes, in Zambia, we tend to compete as if there are prizes to be won for making the most irresponsible statements.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: Everyday that you pick up some of the newspapers, you find nothing, but insults, negativism or the ‘phd syndrome’ ‘pull him down or pull her down’, which seems to have been elevated to a respectable level in certain circles. I hope that we shall continue to shun this type of culture because it will not take our country anywhere.

Mr Speaker, I would like to commend hon. Members of Parliament and, particularly, hon. Members of the Opposition for supporting the Government’s Constitution Amendment Bill which has enabled this country to change its Budget Cycle.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: We showed the world and our people that we are capable of putting our petty political differences aside in supporting progressive legislation which is intended to change Zambia for the better. That is the spirit which I hope all of us will embrace as we move forward. Let us create a constituency of Zambians who are committed to making a difference by bringing about economic development in our country, putting our differences aside and working together with the Government so that we can change Zambia for good.

On our part, as a Government, we shall continue to embrace good ideas from the Opposition Members who want to work with the Government in ensuring that we bring about development which will address issues of poverty which we talk about everyday. We are committed to these programmes and to supporting hon. Members of Parliament in their work to ensure that we work together to advance the well-being of the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I want to say that there are unwelcome tutorials which are being given to the Government through the media. Each time I pick up a newspaper, I notice that there is a tutorial being given to the Government by certain representatives of foreign governments accredited to Zambia.

I have been a diplomat myself and I have been highly trained in the best traditions of diplomacy. It is considered infra dig in the conduct of diplomatic etiquette for foreign representatives accredited to a particular country to begin giving tutorials to the Government or attacking Government and Parliament decisions through the media.

Mr Munaile: Send them back!


Mr Mwaanga: I know that we are poor, as a country, but even in poverty, our sovereignty, as a country or a Parliament, must be respected by all.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Mwaanga: I hope that my colleague, the hon. Minister Foreign Affairs, will take an interest in this matter to ensure that this culture does not continue.

Mr Speaker, I can cite an example. Some years ago, one of our high commissioners accredited to the United Kingdom had to be withdrawn because of publicly criticising the British Government. The British Government insisted that if we did not withdraw the accreditation of that diplomat, they were going to declare him persona non grata. We were compelled, as a Government, to ensure that he was not accredited because of the remarks he had made criticising the British Government for the manner in which they handled the Southern Rhodesian situation using the media contrary to Article 41 of the Vienna Convention.

There are established channels through which advice can be given to the Government and we are amenable to advice. They can go the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and register their views and feelings. Even their strong feelings can be registered there so that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can act as a conduit for passing on this advice to other wings of the Government. That is the way diplomacy is supposed to be conducted and has been conducted over the years.

Mr Speaker, early this year, His Excellency the President touched on the issue of the media just like he did last time. As a former Editor in Chief for the Times of Zambia, I want to urge members of the media that they should heed the deadline which the Government has given for the consultations to be brought to an end regarding self-regulation.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Mwaanga: I have been a strong believer of self regulation for many years but I have also noticed that the tendency to reject self regulation, particularly, in the last nine years the Government has been consulting with the media, has led to certain negative tendencies.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: For those who reject self-regulation, I think that they should take the advice which the Government has given them seriously because if they do not do that, they are going to be sorry. I know that the Government is committed to ensuring that those who do not accept self-regulation are assisted by way of regulating them.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwaanga: Mr Speaker, it is not a threat, but a fact. Those who benefit from this kind of debate may think that it is a threat, but it is not. We, as a Government, are entitled to say what we have been saying to the media for that last nine years. This is the tenth year since these consultations have been going on and that is a long time. They have been given each and every opportunity to come up with a self-regulatory mechanism because there is nothing wrong with self-regulation.

The doctors, lawyers, engineers, architects and nurses regulate themselves. What is wrong with the media profession regulating itself? Journalism is a respectable profession and it must be kept that way. It is, therefore, important that journalists understand that in pursuit of freedom of the press, which this Government has been committed to support for many years, there must be self-restraint which must be shown by the media. It is not right to personalise attacks on leaders, be it hon. Members of Parliament, the President, hon. Ministers, hon. Deputy Ministers and other members of society.

Sir, disagreements amongst the Zambians will always be there. When disagreements occur, let us keep them as civil as possible so that they do not degenerate into personal attacks. Personal attacks are not acceptable. Even in the Western world, when there are disagreements between the media and leaders, they are based on issues and not personalities to the extent of even entering each others bedrooms. That is not acceptable. I, therefore, really hope that, as a country and as hon. Members of Parliament, we are going to work together in the spirit of putting Zambia first to ensure that we come up with constructive ideas as to how we can build our economy, conquer poverty and not just to score cheap political debates amongst ourselves. Let us address the real issues which confront the people of Zambia. By doing so, we will go down history as hon. Members of Parliament who made a difference when it mattered the most.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to mention one or two points on the Presidential Address.

Mr Speaker, I think that we have come here to advise each other and not to be lectured.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I want to tell my colleagues that this is the right place and channel for us to tell this Government what we think.  We are not going to go outside as you have advised. We have all celebrated that the Budget Cycle has changed. Previously, the Budget was running from 1st April to 31st March, which is twelve months.


Mr D. Mwila: That is one year and no one will challenge me on that.


Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, what we are proposing now is for the Budget to start from 1st January to 31st December, which is also twelve months. We have agreed to that and what is important is the implementation of the projects. If our colleagues who are seated there (right side) cannot implement what has been agreed upon, whatever we have agreed on the Budget cycle will be useless.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker,…

Mr Kambwili: Beebe Goliath!


Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, when we tell our colleagues on our right that we are the representatives of the people, they have to listen. The problem with our friends is that they have closed their ears and cannot listen. This is my third year in this House and I know what I am talking about.

Sir, we have talked about the CDF. This is the ninth month and no one in this House has stood up to explain why it has not been released. Do they want us to go outside and talk about this? The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is there and he is quiet. Therefore, when are we going to implement the projects for 2009? Those are the questions we should be asking ourselves. This is very simple.

Mr Speaker, I also want to talk about the issue of acquiring land. Let us learn to tell the truth. You will find that it is not easy for citizens to acquire land. If an hon. Member of Parliament cannot acquire land, what happens to an ordinary citizen? Those are the facts which we have to be put on the table.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, as I have said, the problem is that the Government has blocked its ears. If it continues closing its ears and ignoring what we are saying, the people of Zambia will decide. We are only remaining with one year and six months for the President to dissolve Parliament.

Hon. Government Member: On a point of order!

Mr D. Mwila: That is the problem, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order! I am listening. The hon. Member has not violated debate rules. May he continue.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker, this Government said, in this House, that it had purchased bulldozers worth US$40million equivalent to K200 billion and I asked the hon. Minister of Works and Supply to explain where the graders in Luapula Province were.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr D Mwila: The fact is that, as I speak, there is no feeder road that has been graded in Luapula.

Mr Speaker, I want to challenge the hon. Minister to account for the K3billion which the ministry was given by the Treasury. The ministry has to explain how this money was used to this House. This is not an insult. Time and again I have said on the Floor of this House that advice can or not be taken.

Mr Speaker, we have been talking about tarring the Kasama/Luwingu and Mongu/Kalabo roads for some time now. For how long are we going to talk about tarring the roads countrywide? The hon. Minister of Works and Supply has been giving excuses. I will give you an example of the Kasama/Luwingu Road. The hon. Minister told us on the Floor of this House that the road would be completed within eighteen months. If I challenge him to tell us whether the road will be completed within that timeframe, the answer will definitely be “no.” The people of the Northern Province are waiting for the completion of that road. They want a tarmac from Mansa to Luwingu. What is the explanation from the Ministry of Works and Supply for not having this done?

Hon. PF Member: Hammer!

Mr D Mwila: Mr Speaker, I do not want to talk about individuals, but I would like to talk about the fight against corruption. There are three arms of the Government. I am sure that those who have done political science will agree with me.

Hon. PF Member: Even Grade 9 Civics.

Mr D Mwila: Yes.

Hon. PF Member: Hammer mudala!

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I know that Hon. Mulongoti has done law so he will not understand this.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that if a court rules that a certain senior member of the Government be prosecuted, it is the Executive which is supposed to enforce the law. This is my understanding. If this Government cannot enforce the law and they go further to appoint that person in a senior position, where are we heading to? Are we serious with the fight against corruption?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: We are not insulting our colleagues, but advising them.

Mr Speaker, we have gone through a lot of problems with them. As I speak, ambulances in the districts are immobile because there is no fuel. The donors have failed to release the money because they have seen that our Government is not serious with the fight against corruption.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: Therefore, when we tell them about this, our colleagues must listen to us. We have given them five years and they will be in office up 2011. We are not saying that we want to come in now because right now, they are in the driver’s seat.

Hon. Opposition Member: Exactly!

Mr D. Mwila: They have to listen to what we are saying.

Mr Speaker, the issue of reducing the number of Cabinet Ministers must be taken into serious consideration. Therefore, I agree with my colleague, Hon. Hamududu, who brought up this issue. I would like to emphasise that there is a need for this Government to reduce the number of hon. Ministers as maintaining the current number is too costly. If things are not moving right in any given company, the reduction of costs has to be looked at. This is the way an institution is run. There are hon. Ministers who are just passengers.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: They cannot even read what write.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila: As a country, we have to be ashamed. Where are we going?

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I shall allow that point of order.


Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I did not mean to disturb the hon. Member who was debating very well. However, is he in order to misinform the public that hon. Ministers …

Hon. Government Members: Some.

Mr Mbewe: … some hon. Ministers do not know how to read or write? Is the hon. Member in order to say that? I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development is, through that point of order, challenging the hon. Member for Chipili in his assertion …


Mr Speaker: Order! … that, in his opinion, there are certain hon. Ministers who are not able to read what they write.


Mr Speaker: I wish to rule that I have been listening to the hon. Members of the Front Bench, that is, the Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers and I have not come across that kind of a scenario where a Cabinet Minister or a Deputy Minister has failed to read what he or she has written.

That kind of statement is inaccurate. In any case, you are not at liberty to isolate and un bundle the way the hon. Members of the Front Bench are put together and say such and such a person is better educated or is a better reader than such and such other person. The constitution says that they are all collectively accountable to the National Assembly, not as individuals, but as a group.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chipili was, on that score, not in order.

May he continue, please.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, I am much obliged.

Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about the National Constitutional Conference (NCC), a matter which was earlier addressed by Hon. Hachipuka.

Mr Speaker, when the President came to this House and announced the extension of the sitting of the NCC, he mentioned four months. Many people out there are not clear about this pronouncement. Is the NCC now going to sit from to December, 2009 or May next year? Those issues …

Mr Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1256 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 29th September, 2009.