Debates- Friday, 16th January, 2009

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Friday, 16th January, 2009

The House met at 1000 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The following Member took and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance:

Boniface Mwamba Kawimbe

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!



The Vice-President (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, I beg to inform the House that the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr R. B. Banda will be arriving at 1025 hours to declare the causes of his calling the House to meet today.

I thank you, Sir.
Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Business was suspended from 1006 hours until 1027 hours.

His Excellency the President entered the Assembly Chamber escorted by Mr Speaker.

 (Assembly Resumed)

The Clerk read the Proclamation.


The President (Mr R. B. Banda): Mr Speaker, as hon. Members will all recall, last year I sat in the Front Bench on the right hand side as Leader of Government Business and as Vice-President of the Republic of Zambia. It is a role I enjoyed to the fullest. I am grateful for the honour of having served in that position and the support I received from you, Mr Speaker, and all hon. Members of Parliament.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Today, as President of the Republic of Zambia, I have the honour and privilege of being able to open this, the Third Session of the Tenth National Assembly. For this, I am grateful to the people of Zambia who elected me into office, succeeding our late President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC. May His Soul Rest in Peace.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Today’s opening comes after a year of mixed fortunes for our country. As a nation, we have progressed. Be it good governance or economic development; be it in our endeavours to reduce poverty or promoting education. We can look back with pride and satisfaction at the progress we have made.

It is also true that we faced many daunting challenges that tested our spirit, tested our unity and tested our nation’s resolve. Mr Speaker, 2008 was a difficult year for Zambia. The illness and subsequent demise of our beloved President in August and the presidential by-election in October dampened what had started out as a year of great advancement. The year began in prosperity and ended in recession. I think it is true to say that 2008 will be remembered as the year that the world took one step forward and then two steps back.


Mr Speaker, it is sad to note that the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly had to go on sudden recess in August, 2008 on account of the passing on of our President who was a Member of Parliament. During the same period, the House also lost two of its Members, namely:

(i) Hon. Dr. Chosani A. Ndhlovu, Member of Parliament for Milanzi Constituency who passed on while on duty in Slovenia on 19th March, 2008; and
(ii) Hon. Albert Chota Kanyanyamina, Member of Parliament for Kanchibiya Constituency, who died on 18th July, 2008 at Chilonga Mission in Mpika.

It is, therefore, befitting that we observe a minute of silence in honour and remembrance of our departed beloved President and the two dear colleagues. May we all be upstanding to observe a minute of silence.

Members of Parliament stood in silence for one minute.

Business of the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly

The President: Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank you for the efficient and impartial manner in which you presided over the affairs of the House in the last session. The guidance you provided the House during the many emotive debates was indeed admirable and I have no doubt that it will continue into the future.

Let me also congratulate the hon. Madam Deputy Speaker, the hon. Chairman of Committees of the Whole House and the Chairpersons of the various parliamentary sessional and select committees on the effective manner they steered their respective committees.

Mr Speaker, may I ask you to convey my congratulations to the Clerk of the National for her deep sense of commitment to duty. Commendations must also go to all the staff of the National Assembly who have continued to render effective support to her office. I am also pleased to note that during the last session, the House handled many parliamentary questions through which valuable information was provided to the hon. Members of Parliament and the public at large. On my part, I am happy that I will no longer be able to be ambushed with tough questions…


The President: … on Friday during the Vice-President’s Question Time. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.

Presidential and Parliamentary By-Elections

Mr Speaker, the untimely demise of our beloved President led to presidential elections at the end of October, 2008. My Government had to mobilise resources for the Electoral Commission of Zambia to hold by-elections in Mwansabombwe, Ndola Central, Milanzi and Kanchibiya constituencies. I take this opportunity to congratulate the winners at these by-elections.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I wish to commend the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and her team for conducting the elections in a very transparent manner, indeed.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Opposition Members: Ah!

The President: Finally, allow me to take this opportunity to congratulate the new hon. Members of Parliament once again for winning these elections.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members will recall that during my Inaugural Speech on 2nd November, 2008, I called for reconciliation and national duty.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I would like to reiterate that this Government, under the MMD leadership, is a Government for all Zambians and not only for members of the ruling party.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Therefore, I wish to assure the nation that the concerns and issues raised by various political stakeholders, irrespective of party will be addressed equally.


Poverty Reduction and Economic Empowerment

Mr Speaker, let me start with an observation. Since 1991, each MMD administration has entered its first year faced with a crisis of one type or another. The first administration had to deal with severe food shortages largely due to drought in 1991/92 season. The second MMD administration suffered a sudden investment withdrawal by Anglo-American Corporation from Konkola Copper Mines, which threatened about 10,000 jobs in 2002. The start of this third administration is no different. My administration takes over at a time of severe global financial crisis. Nations rich and poor have been affected. In my Inaugural Address last November, I promised the people of Zambia that the main priority of my Government will be to fight poverty. Despite the global recession, that priority remains. In fact, I am cautiously confident in our ability to fight poverty.

Zambia has faced difficult times before. By working together, we have overcome past problems. Our resolve in the face of the present crisis should be no different. Zambia is a nation rich in natural and human resources; we have no reason to be poor. Our challenge is to harness these abundant resources and to deliver prosperity for all and so let us face this year united, working together and supporting each other, standing as one nation. Let the world see a Zambia of compassion and care where no one is left behind. Let the world see a Zambia of determination and fortitude; standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity and we can do it.

This last decade, we have made significant advances in building our nation. We have seen Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rates averaging 5.1 per cent, declining inflation rates to single digit and decreasing interest rates. Macro-economic achievements include decreased Government borrowing and increased private sector investment. We were on track with social and economic policies delivering positive change for all, but as the world discovered, 2008 was a cruel year. Our achievements and our hard work of the previous decade suffered significant set backs.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the global financial and economic crisis severely affected the copper and other metal market prices, causing world prices to fall by 60 per cent. Further, the high cost of fertiliser and fuel had a negative impact on the economy and contributed significantly to the high inflation rate.

Mr Speaker, given the present economic situation, my Government will continue to pursue prudent fiscal and monetary policies. To do otherwise would be folly and irresponsible. Our aim is to achieve the projected 5 per cent Growth Domestic Product. Key programmes of the Fifth National Development Framework, namely, poverty reduction and wealth creation will not only be safeguarded, but enhanced through better monitoring and constant evaluation.

The global credit crunch and subsequent cost saving measures have resulted in job losses, damaging both our economy and our society. Further, concerns have been raised on the measures my Government is undertaking to cushion the country from the effects of the crunch.

Mr Speaker, in response, Government has devised intervention measures designed to mitigate the adverse impacts of the crisis. These measures include:

1. engaging mining companies to prevent major job losses and encourage other investors to come;
2. diversification of the economy through;

(a) enhanced resource allocation to irrigation;
(b) provision of resources to the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund;
(c) promotion of the development of the Lusaka Multi-Facility Economic Zones to generate employment;
(d) provision of adequate resources this year for the completion of Nasanga Farm Block to attract investment; and 
(e) provision of adequate resources for infrastructure development for Kasaba-Bay and Livingstone areas to increase the number of tourists’ arrivals;

3. encourage private sector participation in the development of power generation centres; and
4. promote and expedite the exploration of petroleum in the country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In order to undertake these measures, Government will re-allocate resources from non-priority areas. These measures are intended to address the concerns of both employees and employers where the threat of factory and business closure looms. They are also intended to cushion the entire economy from the effects of the crunch. The Government stands ready to work with the public and private partners both domestic and foreign to secure the future of Zambian industries.

However, let me sound this warning note. The global crisis must not be used as an excuse to lay off workers in a cynical attempt to cut costs and reduce overheads.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I must repeat and I will repeat, Mr Speaker.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: However, let sound this warning note that the global crisis must not be used as an excuse to lay off workers in a cynical attempt to cut costs and reduce overheads.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

The President: Any job losses should only come as a last resort after consultation with trade unions and after thorough analysis of all the options available. Any industrial restructuring should take into account the knock on effects of laying off workers, which includes the loss of tax revenues, the subsequent requirement for increased Government social support, the impact on local communities and increased levels of poverty.

I am, therefore, directing the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security to ensure that the Tripartite Labour Council is fully involved in any industrial restructuring which may lead to a reduction of output or of the labour force.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!


The President: Mr Speaker, the global downturn with its negative impact on jobs, commodity prices and international trade, flies in the face of our efforts to create jobs, to boost prosperity and to reduce poverty levels. The challenge, therefore, is to devise strategies that will minimise the negative impact of this world recession on our growing industrial and trading sectors. Adapt or die is an expression known to all businessmen. I urge business leaders and heads of companies from all sectors to adopt more innovative survival strategies aimed at achieving that competitive edge. Now, more than ever is the time to review your business models, hunt out new markets, diversify your products and seek partnerships. For its part, the Government remains committed to reducing the cost of doing business in Zambia.

In 2009, the Government will introduce a new National Science and Technology Policy. This House can expect a Bill aimed at strengthening the co-ordination, promotion and regulation of science and technology in the country.

Mr Speaker, Government will place greater emphasis on the development of micro, small and medium enterprises as a source of employment and skills formation for our women, young people and retirees. A draft policy, aimed at realising the potential and benefits of such business has been developed in consultation with key stakeholders. The Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund is posed to provide start up capital and initial support for new small-scale projects.

Last year, I talked of “hand-ups” in place of “hand-outs” and I believe the fund promotes exactly that idea. Harnessing the initiative and drive of the Zambian people will help us build a better future. Disbursement of funds will be continuously reviewed to ensure that the most worthy and credible ideas receive this funding.

Mr Speaker, while promoting domestic entrepreneurship is important, it is also vital that we encourage domestic and foreign investment through the Multi-Facility Economic Zones. Zones have been put in place in Lusaka South, and near the airport and Chambeshi for both export and domestic oriented industries. When completed, both facilities are expected to generate more than 10,000 jobs. The zones are a success in other countries and it is Government’s intention to use them as an example for Zambia. This Government is determined to deliver on its election promises to create more jobs, creating more wealth and giving hope to ever more Zambians. Mr Speaker, I urge all Zambians to take advantage of these initiatives to start their own commercial and trade enterprises. Where possible entering into partnership with foreign investors to improve access to knowledge, new skills and international financing.

Skills Development

Mr Speaker, these are indeed tough times, but relying too much on others or indulging in self-pity will not help. We must help ourselves. Developing the right skills is vital to economic empowerment. Education is the road out of poverty. Education is not just about learning to read or write; it is more. Our young are our future. Government is committed to the provision of requisite skills to make them productive members of society. Government will review the Technical Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Policy to improve the co-ordination and regulation of the sector.


Mr Speaker, agriculture will remain a priority sector. My administration’s emphasis will continue to be on increased and sustainable food security at all levels. We want to see improved income generation through increased cash crop productivity, livestock and fisheries development. We must ensure food security. This will both counter the effects of the world food crisis and increase incomes.

Mr Speaker, during the 2007/2008 Farming Season, we experienced livestock diseases and floods that ravaged most parts of the country resulting in reduced crop yields. This led to increase in food prices. Whilst our farmers are resilient, the accessibility of agricultural inputs continues to be an area of great concern. Our farmers have complained of delays in both the distribution of farming inputs and the announcement of the floor prices.

Concerns have been raised regarding the Food Reserve Agency that it has not purchased maize in the outlying areas, concentrating instead on the district centres. My Government understands these concerns and will, therefore, strengthen the operations of the agency immediately.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I, therefore, direct…


The President: … hon. Members to listen and I will give them the answer.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 The President: That is the answer. I, therefore, direct the Food Reserve Agency to intensify their crop marketing system this year by ensuring that they concentrate in buying crops from the remotest parts of the country as the private sector concentrates in districts and urban areas.

Mr Speaker, the supply of fertiliser is key to our farming sector. The Fertiliser Support Programme will continue to assist the small-scale farmers. However, the cyclical price irregularity of fertiliser affects all farmers, small and large. My Government would like to see the price of fertiliser stabilised, thereby benefiting all farmers. Efforts will be made to achieve this in time for the 2009/10 season.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Procurement and countrywide distribution of fertiliser will now be done earlier than in the past. This will enable the country source cheap fertiliser.

For many years, the agriculture extension service has not performed to people’s expectations and this has led to low productivity by farmers despite Government’s efforts to subsidise fertiliser and seed. I am, therefore, directing the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives to ensure that from 2009, the extension service begins to perform and all provinces will have production targets.

Mr Speaker, my Government will support irrigated agriculture, especially among the small-scale farmers who depend on rain fed agriculture for their livelihoods. These farmers are the worst hit in times of drought or floods and the seasonal nature of their activities means that not produce all year round production. In spite of such challenges, this year’s irrigated maize crop will harvest some 100,000 tonnes. This is a valuable contribution to our nation’s sustainability. My administration will, therefore, intensify this programme in order to increase production by encouraging more farmers to come on board. I would like to see this figure doubled next year.

Mr Speaker, in order to increase agricultural production and productivity, there is urgent need for mechanizing the small-scale farming sector. Government is working on programmes to bring in tractors and agricultural equipment to be used by small-scale farmers in communities. Agro processing of agricultural produce will be given priority so that our farmers can add value to their products. We should be exporting food which is processed in order to earn more money. There is still a need to improve Zambia’s livestock and fisheries sectors. This will be a priority so much so that the sector will have its own ministerial portfolio. The first task of the new Minister will be to address the problems facing the livestock sector in Southern, Western and Eastern provinces and fisheries in the Western, North-Western, Luapula and Northern provinces and all other areas of the country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The President: Mr Speaker, fair and equal access to land is an on going issue which my Government will continue to address. My Government will this year expedite the process of identifying land for allocation to our people and investors, but it is very important that land distribution is carried out in an efficient and transparent manner. To this end, the creation of customer service centres will be extended. The Ministry of Lands will be opening a centre in each of the nation’s nine provinces. By doing this, we hope to make the system more efficient, cutting out central bureaucracy and by providing better accountability at a local level.

I am pleased to inform the House that in 2008, the process of surveying for land banks commenced. Guidelines on how to acquire land in these banks have been finalised. Our land is a valuable resource and provides for great potential. It is a potential. We must realise and utilise wisely, always remembering that we are investing for the future.

Mr Speaker, in 2007, twenty-three councils benefited from the Land Development Fund. In 2008, only three additional councils benefited. In 2009, we will encourage the remaining councils to be proactive and apply for these funds so as to foster development in their areas.


Mr Speaker, another productive sector for poverty reduction, employment and wealth creation is tourism. The Kasaba Bay Tourism Resort Development Project will help to open up Northern and Luapula provinces under the Northern Tourism Circuit. This will provide job opportunities and for wealth creation through both private and public sector investment.

Mr Sichilima: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


The President: Livingstone, the hub of our tourism industry, will also be given priority. All assistance will be given to ensuring that development in these areas is sensitive to local needs and to the environment.

Mr Speaker, in the past, the tourism sector proved to be resilient to external shocks. However, the current global economic down turn has forced people to evaluate how they spend their money. Expenditure on holidays and leisure time activities has fallen. To support our tourism sector, we will embark on an aggressive marketing campaign. We have much to offer. In these hard times, Zambia is a country that can offer value for money, friendly service, world class scenery and attractions. In addition, we are a safe country with no internal strife. In these troubled times, be they economic or geo-political, Zambia offers herself as a haven of peace and tranquility.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: We should view 2009 as a year of opportunity, a year of greeting new friends to our borders and for forging lasting relations. “Welcome back” should become our greeting. I appeal to our immigration officers who are usually the first point of contact with our tourists to truly represent Zambia’s hospitality.

Environment and Natural Resources

Mr Speaker, here in Africa, when the environment suffers, so do the people. The poor suffer disproportionately from the effects of climate change. Deforestation and stripped land exacerbates flooding and drought which in turn makes survival harder. My Government will implement the National Adaptation Plan of Action aimed at adapting and mitigating the impacts of climate change, particularly on small-scale farmers who are some of the hardest hit. In support, a National Climate Change Response Strategy will be prepared to co-ordinate all the various efforts aimed at addressing the impacts of climate change. By working together, we not only help the environment, but help each other.

Mr Speaker, the private sector has a role to play in contributing to environmental protection.  Trading of carbon emissions with industrialised countries under the clean development mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol is one such mechanism. The Government will continue to help the private sector to employ cleaner production technologies in their production processes. It is a fact that for developing countries balancing the needs of the people with the protection of the environment is not easy. The Environment protection and Pollution Control Act will be reviewed to make it investor-friendly whilst protecting the integrity of the environment. Too many of our trees end up as illegal exports or as illegal charcoal and so this year, our Forestry Policy and related laws will be reviewed to improve the management of the country’s forest resources.

Water Resources

Mr Speaker, Zambia has abundant water resources and accounts for approximately 40 per cent of all fresh water resources in the Southern Africa region. Nonetheless, it is a valuable resource and in recognition of this, in 2008, my Government launched the Integrated Water Resource Management and Water Efficiency Plan. The plan will guide and provide Government with a strategy for developing the water sector in an integrated and sustainable manner without compromising availability for those neighbours with whom we share this valuable resource.

Mines and Minerals Development

Mr Speaker, the Mining Sector, the mainstay of our economy, has had to deal with a volatile end to 2008. In addition to the fall in copper prices, the sector had to deal with inadequate power supply, the drying up of international credit – so vital for investment – due to the global financial crisis. That said, it is much credit to the sector that in 2008 we saw an increase in mineral production. We are not alone. The global mining industry has suffered. Lower demand from countries like China and India have seen cut-backs and closures in many producing countries.

Mr Speaker, there are new hopes on the horizon. The House may wish to note that Zambia has promising sites for uranium mining rights. It is right that the Government has adopted International Atomic Energy Agency guidelines on the exploration, mining, processing, storage, transportation and trade of uranium.

Mr Speaker, last year, the Mines and Minerals Act, 1995 was repealed and replaced by the Mines and Minerals Development Act, 2008. The Act is well meaning, aimed at allowing all Zambians to benefit from the sector whilst at the same time ensuring a conducive investment environment. This year, we intend to effect further amendments to the Mines and Minerals Development Act to encourage foreign direct investment. However, windfall taxes can only be levied on profits and this year, profits will be scarce. We must ensure that we do not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs – there is little point in taking in a few million dollars in tax if thousands of jobs are lost as a result.  Government is currently engaged with the industry to make sure that a beneficial financial environment exists for both Government and the investors. My Government will do all it can to protect jobs and to safeguard the industry for the future.

Mr Speaker, where it has become necessary to suspend mining operations, Government has instituted measures to protect infrastructure and to ensure that such mines are neither flooded nor vandalised so that they remain operable. However, as Government reviews the situation in the mining industry, the welfare of all mine workers is the top most priority to the Government.

In this regard, the Government is determined to ensure that mining companies meet their social and legal obligations.

In addition, a special task force will report back to the Government on the needs and possible strategies available when closures are imminent.


Mr Speaker, for our country to achieve the vision 2030, we will need to provide adequate energy to meet the country’s needs.

In 2008, the Government launched a new Energy Policy which aims at attracting new investors into the energy sector. The Government also completed the Rural Electrification Master Plan which will guide the development of rural electrification.

The benefits of this are already being felt with the development of the privately owned Kabompo Gorge Power Station.

In addition, the Government has engaged with various partners to ensure more supply. With the international finance cooperation of the World Bank on the Kafue Gorge Lower Project, which will cost an estimated US$1.5 Billion and with TATA of India on the Itezhi tezhi Power Station and transmission line, together, they will provide an additional 870 megawatts of much needed power.

Mr Speaker, load shedding is still a problem and needs to be minimised urgently. In part, this will be achieved by upgrading the generators at Kafue Gorge and Kariba North Bank. I am sure the House will agree that load shedding has minimised in some areas as a result of these efforts of this Government.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The Government will also look at ways of increasing the provision of energy derived from the sun. Sunshine is something we have plenty of and, it would, therefore, be folly to ignore its use. Both photo-voltaic, producing electricity and solar panels for hot water can be readily available in both our urban and rural areas.

Mr Speaker, I will soon reconstitute the Petroleum Committee to spearhead the exploration of oil and gas in the country. If those natural resources exist, then we must exploit them. Later this year, the exploration tendering process will recommence.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, in 2008, further surveys for oil and gas were conducted covering around Lakes Tanganyika, Mweru Wantipa, Bangweulu and in the Zambezi and Kafue River Basins.

There have been positive results. Soil samples from these areas have been sent abroad for laboratory analysis. However, those are for the future. My Government is of course concerned for today. We will do all we can to ensure that Zambians have a supply of fuel stable both in supply and in price.

Sir, crude oil prices have fallen from well over a hundred dollars a barrel to around forty. Both the individual and industry will benefit from these falling prices. The MMD Government has kept the promise to lower fuel prices.

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


The President: Mr Speaker, in an effort to make Zambia a regional economic hub, the Government will continue improving infrastructure such as roads, railway lines, airports and canals to improve accessibility and reduce transport costs. Being landlocked, Zambia’s economic competitiveness depends on an efficient transportation and communication system.

Sir, we will be developing the North-South Corridor as part of an aid-for-trade initiative. The corridor involves construction of roads, rail and border facilities stretching from Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia to other southern African countries.

Mr Speaker, a donor pledging conference will take place in April in Zambia to mobilise resources for infrastructure.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President:  Road construction, rehabilitation and maintenance countrywide remain a high priority for the sustainable economic development of the country.

Earth moving and engineering equipment which has been distributed to all provinces will facilitate the completion of ongoing projects. May I request the hon. Members of Parliament to ensure that this equipment is used for the intended purpose.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the completion and commissioning of the Mwanawasa Bridge at Chembe has shortened the route from the Copperbelt and Luapula through to the Democratic Republic of Congo and in the other direction to East Africa.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 The President: Further, the Government, in collaboration with neighbouring Botswana has commissioned a feasibility study for the construction of a bridge at Kazungula Border.

Mr Speaker, the development of rail infrastructure provides an alternative and cheaper mode of transport to the already over burdened road infrastructure. The Government, therefore, encourages investors both local and foreign, to partner in the construction of rail lines such as the Chipata-Mpika, Nseluka-Mpulungu, Solwezi-Chingola, Solwezi-Lumwana-Benguela, Mulobezi-Namibia and Kafue-Lions Den.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the Public Private Partnership Policy will give impetus to investors in the development of infrastructure. The partnership will address financial constraints in the implementation of capital projects. In order to provide a legal framework to this policy, the Government, this year, intends to table the Public Private Partnership Bill.

With regard to Tazara, the Governments of Tanzania and Zambia are considering a number of policy options, including engaging a private equity partner to resuscitate the company.

Another rail project which will facilitate regional trade is the Chipata-Muchinji Railway Line …

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … which is nearing completion. Rail has a vital role to play in a country the size of Zambia. It can deliver so much more, but investment is indeed high. It is the Government’s intention to conduct a review to see how the rail network can better serve the country.

Social Services

Mr Speaker, my Government is committed to achieving the Millennium Development Goals in the field of social services.

Economic policies can provide the foundations, but to them we need to add good quality social services such health and education.


Mr Speaker, a healthy population is a pre-requisite to good levels of national productivity.

In my inaugural speech, I stressed the need for progress in healthcare. Life threatening diseases like HIV and Aids, Malaria, Cholera and Tuberculosis must be combated. The battle against such diseases is not for the Government alone, but also requires the efforts of everyone in the country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, in 2009, the Government will accelerate efforts to improve the health sector. The restructuring process for hospitals at all levels, including districts, will be completed and the drug supply, management and logistics will be strengthened at district level.

Mr Speaker, in an effort to improve the health infrastructure, the Government is currently constructing 15 of the 19 earmarked district hospitals. These will be complemented in the rural areas by mobile clinics, which the Government is currently negotiating to procure from a friendly country.

My Government will promote health education as many diseases can be avoided through adopting simple measures. People die needlessly through ignorance, but this must stop. We must pay attention to the hygienic way of living. Prevention is better than cure.

Mr Speaker, my administration will also introduce the social health insurance as one of the strategies to increase accessibility to health care services. This will complement the Government policy of free medical services for targeted groups.

Sir, the Zambia Health Worker’s Retention Scheme which was a pilot programme targeting doctors, now covers clinical officers, nurses, tutors, environmental health technicians, pharmacists, laboratory technicians and midwives. The emphasis of this Scheme will shift to the remote and hard-to-reach health facilities.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Further, my administration intends to table before this House the Health Profession Bill, which harmonises the regulation of the health profession in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I stated in my inauguration speech that education is a means out of poverty and a path to prosperity. The importance of education in the attainment of the vision 2030 cannot, therefore, be over emphasised.

The Government will continue with its policy of increasing access to and improving the quality of education at all levels, particularly, for the rural areas.

To support these measures, the Government has also embarked on increasing the number of school places both at basic and high school levels. In this regard, the Government has constructed 1,527 classrooms at already existing schools, while provision has been made for another 2,500 classrooms at basic school level this year.

In the continued effort to improve the quality of education, the Government in 2008 recruited 5,000 teachers who will be able to positively impact the pupil/teacher ratio. In 2009, another 5,000 teachers will be recruited.

Mr Speaker, at tertiary level, the Government transformed the National College for Management and Development Studies in Kabwe into the Mulungushi University.

In 2009, the Government will continue with rehabilitation works at various institutions of higher learning. This includes the converting of the dilapidated Mulakupikwa Police College in Chinsali into a teacher education college specializing in the sciences.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Progress has been made in the upgrading of Nkrumah Teachers’ Training College and the Copperbelt Secondary School Teacher Training College.

Sir, I also wish to commend the operators of private colleges and universities who continue to supplement Government effort at increasing access at this higher level of education. I must thank especially the churches who have also contributed greatly to this sector through their efforts in education.

These Zambian universities are fast becoming a regional learning hub by attracting students from surrounding countries such as Angola, Congo and Malawi.

To streamline the operations of these private institutions, the Government is in the process of finalising guidelines through the Establishment of the Higher Education Qualification Authority.

Local Government and Housing

Mr Speaker, my Government recognises that from an economic point of view, effective local government provides access to various developmental assets such as land, as well as various social services to the people.

It is clear, therefore, that Zambia’s strategies for unlocking the country’s productive resources for wealth creation necessarily depend on the ability to craft a new partnership between central government and a viable local government.

In this regard, my Government will this year work towards adopting the Decentralisation Implementation Plan which forms the primary basis for financial and technical assistance to local government.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In order to address issues of capacity in local government, my administration intends to introduce the Local Government Service Commission.

Mr Speaker, this will be done through amendments to the Local Government and the Service Commission Acts, which will be tabled in this House, this year. The Service Commission will among other things improve the recruitment and welfare of local government staff.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

The President: Further, the current tenure of office of mayors and council chairpersons has been a subject of intense debate in this House and outside.

The Government has carefully listened to calls from various stakeholders for the extension of the term of office for the mayors and council chairpersons. In this regard, my administration will this year present to this august House the Local Government Amendment Bill, which will extend the tenure of office of these officers.

Mr Speaker, illegal settlements and unplanned urban settlements continue to be a source of concern for the Government.

The high rate of urbanisation which is currently at 3.5 per cent per annum as opposed to 3.1 per cent population growth rate poses a challenge in the face of inadequate capacity to plan, implement and manage urban development.

In order to address this problem, the Government intends to make legislative reforms to the relevant statutes.

Mr Speaker, in an effort to ease the mobility of chiefs, the Government bought 150 motor vehicles for chiefs under a loan scheme.

This year, my Government is committed to buy the remaining …

His Excellency the President chuckled


 The President: …136 motor vehicles for those gazetted chiefs who did not benefit from the first batch so that all the 286 chiefs in the country are catered for.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Public Service Management

The President: Mr Speaker, without an effective and efficient public service system, all our developmental efforts will be in vain.

The public service plays a very important role in our socio-economic development. It is the public service that will translate the people’s aspirations and expectations into tangible results through coordination and implementation of Government policies and programmes. It is this civil service which plays a key role in implementing Government policy. All aspects of daily life are covered, be it in issuing passports, visas, licences for businesses and too many other services to be mentioned.

It is, therefore, important to develop a cadre of professionally qualified, corrupt free and dedicated public service. To this effect, the Government launched the code of ethics and conduct for the public service.

At the same time, the Government is working towards addressing the many challenges facing the public service, among them, inadequate remuneration, shortage of housing and technical capacities.


Mr Speaker, Zambia is a signatory to a number of international and regional protocols on gender. The protocols aim at promoting women participation in the development process. I wish to reiterate my Government’s commitment to increase the number of women representation in decision making positions.

It is not that women can play a role in our society; it is that women must play a role. I will appoint women on merit and not because of quotas. I believe this is the right attitude if our aim is to achieve greater productivity.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: During the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly, the Government promised to introduce legislation to specifically deal with gender based violence.

I am, therefore, pleased to inform this House that the Government has consulted widely on this issue and has made considerable progress and will ensure that this legislation is enacted as soon as possible.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear{mospagebreak}

Sport, Youth and Child Development

The President: Mr Speaker, children and youth comprise more than 60 per cent of the population of this country and, therefore, deserve our attention and support.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Following my predecessor’s address at the official opening of the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly, my Government will establish the Zambia Council for the Child.

To this effect, the Government will present the Zambia Council for the Child Bill for consideration by this House, this year. This will strengthen the coordination and implementation of child development programmes.

Mr Speaker, in terms of capacity building for the youth, the defence forces have successfully completed training of the second intake of youths at the Zambia National Service training centres.

I am happy to inform the House that about 100 of these graduates have been employed by the Zambia National Service.

In addition, those that obtained relevant qualifications will be absorbed in the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training institutions.

I, therefore, urge the private sector to absorb some of the remaining graduates following the successful implementation of this programme, the Government will expand it in 2009.

Major Chizhyuka: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, in the area of sport, the Government, in 2008, embarked on a project to identify talented young athletes in various sports disciplines, on the construction of modern sport complexes and hostels in institutions of higher learning in Lusaka in readiness for the 2011 All Africa Games which Zambia had offered to host.

Under the current financial difficulties, it is imperative that the Government prudently uses the limited resources. It is in this vein that the Government was regrettably compelled, to withdraw the offer to host the 2011 All Africa Games.

Despite the withdrawal to host the 2011 All Africa Games, the Government will go ahead with the construction of the hostels and sports complexes.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The President: Mr Speaker, in conformity with the principles of accountability, transparency and good governance, the Government will continue building on our young democracy with all the necessary tenets. We shall also continue upholding the rule of law and the policy of zero tolerance to corruption.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, as a way of enhancing democracy and good governance, the Government, in September, 2008, inaugurated the National Governing Council of the African Peer Review Mechanism. The council is mandated to oversee the implementation of the African Peer Review Mechanism.

The process is critical to the success of the country’s governance system in areas of democracy, political governance, economic governance, corporate governance and socio-economic governance.

Mr Speaker, my administration remains committed to fighting corruption, which we all know erodes investor and public confidence and on a deeper level, erodes our values as Zambians. Corruption also diverts the scarce resources from national development.

Let me sound these words of warning. The Government will support those who are prepared to work hard and put in an honest day’s work. For those who go outside of the law, they will be caught and punished. The fight against corruption will continue. Corruption is a scourge and it will be rooted out.

The Task Force on Corruption continues to do a good job.

Funding will be increased for the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC),

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

The President: … making it more efficient and effective. The ACC will remain the main body fighting corruption in our country and will have the full support of the Government.

We lead by example, last year, we witnessed the roll out of Integrity Committees in selected Government ministries.

Further, commitment to fighting corruption has been shown in the signing and ratifying of international protocols and conventions against corruption.

Human Rights

Mr Speaker, Human rights are a necessary component in the fight against poverty. The Government will, therefore, remain focused on fighting poverty through the implementation of various developmental projects in order to ensure our steady march towards a society in which our people enjoy their basic rights.

Mr Speaker, in the year 2008, Zambia continued to register positive progress in the area of human rights.

As you may recall, we were one of the first 47 member States of the new United Nations Human Rights Council. Zambia was re-elected for a fresh mandate as member of this council in 2008.

I believe this was as a direct result of the positive steps the country has continued to make in this area and the faith the international community has in our ability to contribute to the growth and development of international human rights arrangements.

Electoral Reforms

Mr Speaker, during 2008, the Electoral Commission of Zambia continued with electoral reforms aimed at enhancing the electoral process. However, the last election did not include those citizens who had become of voting age in the period between the last 2006 elections and October, 2008.

Due to budgetary constraints, the Electoral Commission could not afford to register newly qualified voters and thereby, relied on the 2006 Voters’ Roll.

In order to address this situation, this year, the Commission plans to undertake the continuous voter registration exercise as provided for in the Electoral Act.


Hon. Opposition Member: Overhaul!


The President: Mr Speaker, the media will remain a useful partner to the Government in the fight against corruption, poverty and the HIV and Aids pandemic. Indeed, it continues to play an important role in the provision of information to the populace.

It will also continue to inform the public on the various Government programmes as highlighted in this address.

Let me take this opportunity to commend the media in the manner they kept the nation informed during the sickness and subsequent demise of our late President and during the funeral period.

The Government also appreciates the role they played during our recent Presidential election.


Mr Tembo: Post!

The President: The Government will review the licence system so as to allow existing and new broadcasters, both radio and television to cover more of the country in terms of signal coverage. We want to see competition in this sector.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, recently, there have been calls in this House for the state to regulate the media in the country.

Mr Kambwili: No!

The President: However, my administration believes in media self-regulation.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!


The President: However, the onus remains on the media to work out such regulations which must be respected by all and clearly stipulate the sanctions against erring journalists or media houses.

Hon. MMD members: Hear, hear!

The President: With that in mind, I would urge all media outlets and practitioners to consider joining the Media Ethics Council. I would rather this be the course of action than forcing the Government to act. If other media houses think they are above self regulation and refuse to cooperate with their colleagues in the Media Ethics Council, then the Government will assist to provide one.


The President: In the continued Media Law Reforms, the Government will also make appointments of Boards of Independent Broadcasting Authority and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation during the year.

Foreign Policy, Defence and Security

Mr Speaker, Zambia’s foreign policy takes into account, among others, its geo-political situation in the sub-region. In this regard, the policy of good neighbourliness has, since 1964, been a key guide in our relations with countries in the region.

Mr Speaker, as I mentioned in my inaugural speech, I want Zambia to be a hub for the sub- region. To realise this goal, we need to remove the sources of conflicts in the region.

My Government will, therefore, play a proactive role in addressing the pockets of instability, tension and conflict in the region through diplomacy, in order to accelerate the attainment of regional stability conducive to the achievement of our 2030 national vision.

Mr Speaker, Zambia, as a member of the African Union (AU), Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) supports peaceful efforts aimed at resolving conflicts through dialogue and mutual understanding.

We shall seek to find lasting solutions to the numerous challenges on the African continent, in particular, those in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Zimbabwe. We in Zambia are concerned about these situations as they pose a threat to peace and security in the region.

Mr Speaker, as we face the global economic crisis, it is necessary for my Government to maintain a strategic south-south partnership through dialogue in such initiatives as the China-Africa Forum on Cooperation, Tokyo International Cooperation for African Development, Africa-India, Korea Initiative for African Development and the Brazil- Africa Forum.

Mr Speaker, Europe plays a big role in Zambia’s development agenda through development cooperation. The European countries were instrumental in the cancellation of Zambia’s external debt and we thank them for that.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I am eager to build on our longstanding relations with Europe in pursuit of our sustainable development agenda and for a more peaceful, secure and equitable world order.

Mr Speaker, while political diplomacy is the bedrock of sound international relations, economic diplomacy, whose main thrust is to attract investment in order to foster development, is an equally important factor in the implementation of Zambia’s foreign policy.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Defence and Security

The President: Mr Speaker, in the area of defence, our defence forces are entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining peace and security to safeguard our territorial integrity.

Indeed, Zambia is committed to reducing the sources of conflict on the continent through its participation in the peacekeeping efforts in such conflict areas as Darfur in Sudan, the Great Lakes Region and the Democratic Republic of Congo, in particular, among others.

I commend the defence forces for their hard work.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!


The President: Mr Speaker, as I address this House today, the National Constitutional Conference (NCC) has, inter alia, completed its internal organisation as a self-regulating body and has also constituted eleven thematic committees in order to expedite its deliberations on the draft Constitution.

The reports of the thematic committees will be submitted to the full conference for consideration and adoption.

I wish to inform the House that the Government will continue to render the necessary support to the NCC so that it speedily implements its programme and delivers its Draft Report and Constitution Bill without delay.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: A Constitution is for all citizens. I, therefore, urge all Zambians to contribute directly and indirectly to the new constitutional process.

In this regard, arrangements have been made to simultaneously receive public comments from all our districts when the Draft Report and Constitution are ready.

I must thank all concerned in the NCC for the fine work they are doing, you are doing Zambia a fine job.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker I must repeat this.


The President: I must thank all concerned in the NCC for the fine work they are doing.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: You are doing Zambia a fine job.


The President: Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to reiterate the promise I made to the nation during my inauguration speech on the 2nd of November, last year, that I will be President for all Zambians.

I invite all Zambians, regardless of their political leaning, ethnicity, race or religious background to unite behind our common agenda of defeating poverty, creating wealth for ourselves and propelling Zambia forward, towards prosperity.

As a united country, we will come through 2009 and be well prepared for 2010.

We will not be able to solve all our problems this year, but I believe we can weather this global storm and emerge a stronger nation.

I see 2009 as a year of foundation building and I look forward to reaping the rewards of our endeavors in the near future.

The abundant natural and human resources which God has blessed our country with will provide us a base on which we may develop our nation with hope and pride.

Mr Speaker, I want to assure this august House and through this House, the nation that;

I, as President of this Republic, want to leave a legacy of my presidency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I, therefore, commit to work very hard and tirelessly to build that legacy especially that my current tenure is only for three years.

I expect my ministers, deputy ministers, permanent secretaries, heads of commissions and Government agencies and parastatal chief executives to perform no differently. I want each one of them to observe discipline and put in an honest eight hour’s plus work, daily.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: I will not hesitate to part ways with those not prepared to pull their weight in the crusade to move our country forward.

Therefore, fellow Zambians, let us unite, look towards our future with hope and pride and let us build a prosperous Zambia together.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

His Excellency the President left the Assembly Chamber.

Mr Speaker took the Chair.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that at its rising today, the House do adjourn until Tuesday, 20th January 2009.

Mr Speaker, may I start by expressing on behalf of this House and indeed on my own behalf my sincere thanks to the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, for the wonderful speech that he has delivered.


The Vice-President: I am sure all hon. Members will join me in congratulating the President …

Opposition Members: Aah!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: … on an all embracing and thought-provoking address.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. PF Members: Aah!

The Vice-President: No doubt, Sir, His Excellency the President has raised a number of important issues which will need to be carefully analysed by hon. Members.

Consequently, I think that the House should now rise so that hon. Members are allowed adequate time in which to study and analyse the speech in order to make intelligent and constructive contributions during the debate of the Motion of Thanks starting on Tuesday, 20th January, 2009.

Mr Speaker, this is a straight forward Motion and I request all hon. Members of this august House to support it.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Question!


Mr V. Mwale (Chipangali): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for giving me this opportunity to say a few words on this important Motion moved by His Honour the Vice-President and Leader of Government Business in this august House.

Mr Speaker, to start with, allow me also to congratulate His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia for his momentous and thought-provoking speech to this august House …

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr V. Mwale: … and through this House to the whole nation.

Sir, I support the Motion moved by His Honour the Vice-President because it is important and necessary that hon. Members of this House are given ample time in which to study the important speech delivered to this House by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr V. Mwale: Sir, in his address, His Excellency the President has raised a lot of important issues for the welfare of this country and it is just proper that hon. Members are given adequate time to read and reflect on these important pronouncements before they debate them.

Mr Munaile: We shall come and hammer!

Mr V. Mwale: It is in this regard, Sir, that I support this Motion for the House to adjourn until Tuesday, 20th January, 2009.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.




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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1201 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 20th January, 2009.