Debates- Thursday, 14th February, 2008

Printer Friendly and PDF


Thursday, 14th February, 2008

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






154. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives:

(a) what the staff establishment for agricultural extension officers in the Eastern Province was; and

(b) how many agricultural extension officers currently in the Eastern 
Province, district by district were.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, the staff establishment for agricultural extension officers in the Eastern Province is 273.

Further, the current number of agricultural extension officers in the Eastern Province, district by district is as follow s:

 District                      Number of 
                             Extension Officers

Chadiza                                13

 Chama                                 18

 Chipata                                38

 Katete                                  26

 Lundazi                                30

 Mambwe                              10

 Nyimba                                 12

 Petauke                                36

 Total                                   183

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, with the shortage of extension officers in camps, could the hon. Minister confirm this is the reason for the failure of the Ministry to keep records of graduating farmers from the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP).

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, the shortage of agricultural extension officer may contribute to some extent. However, the current establishment can easily handle registration of farmers. We were quite sure, as a Ministry, that the reason the track record could not be kept up to date, was lack of a farmers’ register. To that extent, as a Government, we started the registration of farmers last year and are quite sure this will be done because these farmers are members of co-operatives which are well registered. We will register them. The failure that the hon. Member is talking about cannot be attributed to that.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why the Ministry accepts secondment of officers to non-governmental organisations, and yet they do not have enough members of staff.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, non-governmental organisations sometimes work in conjunction with the Government. Where they are rendering services to the farmers and need guidance of the agricultural extension officers, we cannot deny them the guidance. This is because when we second them to non-governmental organisations, we do not give them away exclusively. The service they continue doing there is precisely what the Government’s intentions are.

Therefore, they just provide the services, which is the guideline of the Government. They do not go away completely. Even if there are only two agricultural extension officers, but when they are needed to give extension services, they should help the farmers. We cannot say just because the non-governmental organisation has brought this service in an area, we cannot let extension officers give a service. We will always let our agricultural extension officers render services where they are needed.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister has confirmed that agricultural extension officers are very few and there is a shortage, I would like to find out how the Ministry expects effective running of agricultural programmes in the province.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kantanshi may be in a position to already know that, as a Ministry, we started recruitment of the extension officers last year to ensure that the services which are lacking are provided. Therefore, as a Government, we are trying by all means to equal the number of agricultural extension officers so that extension services are provided according to the demands of the farmers.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what programme has the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives put in place to renovate the accommodation that was used by agricultural extension officers, not only in the Eastern Province, but in the whole country so that there can be a full staff establishment of agricultural extension officers?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, this Government, and the Ministry in particular, are very concerned about the accommodation of its staff, not only the extension officers, but all the staff in the Ministry. This House may recall that we just admitted in this House that last year was one of the best years in which the flow of funds to the ministries was improved.

Come this year, with the improved funding to the Ministry, we expect to renovate those houses so that the agricultural extension officers may stay in good accommodation. We are very concerned, as a Ministry, and have already started asking them to submit a list of those houses which are dilapidated so that they can be renovated.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr C. Mulenga (Chinsali): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that these agricultural extension officers do not have adequate transport? In fact, they do not have transport. When they are on duty, they cover long distances on foot. How does the Government expect these officers to operate effectively without transport?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for that concern for the agricultural extension officers.

It is true that we do not have enough transport for the agricultural extension officers, not only for them, but also the district officers as well as the provincial officers. We need to start with the provincial offices. There are only four provincial offices yet to be provided with transport. We bought five vehicles for five provincial offices and all the districts apart from four.

For example, in the Western and North Western Province, we entered into an agreement with an NGO which helped us to acquire some vehicles. There were eleven vehicles in the Western Province and eight in North Western Province. Gradually, we will take care of our people. If we do not manage to have vehicles for everyone, our intention is that we procure bicycles. Of course, we know that in the rainy season, they may not work well. Therefore, that will be just a by-pass situation before we procure some vehicles.

Mr Speaker, thank you.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, it is a fact that most agricultural extension officers opt to work for NGOs that pay much better than the Government pays. As a result, Government operations are affected. What is the Ministry doing to harmonise the salary scales between those in the NGOs and the Government?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, salaries of the workers in ministries and in the Government are subjected to negotiations.

Therefore, the salaries which the hon. Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives agricultural extension officers get are negotiated. I am not in a position to state exactly how we can harmonise the salary scales in NGO with those of the Government because these are two different entities.

Sir, the shortage of agricultural extension officers the hon. Member has talked about is because we did not recruiting between 1996 up to 2004. We started the recruitment of the agricultural extension officers in 2005/06 and the confirmation just came last year. Therefore, we have recruited more and are yet to see after recruitment if those officers are going to leave the Government. If they do we will know that it could be the conditions of service. However, the shortage was not specifically because of the conditions of service. It was because the Government was not employing. Therefore, those who had graduated and had found opportunities in the NGOs joined them because then, the Government was not employing.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, how does the hon. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives intend to harmonise the establishment of agricultural extension officers and service delivery to the needy areas. How do you intend to achieve this vis-à-vis the conditions of service?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I can call the hon. Member’s question as a summery of other hon. Members’ questions. As I have said, harmonisation of the salaries is through negotiations. As for service provision, I have stated that we are concerned, as a Government, to see to it that we provide transport to our agricultural extension officers so that they take the services to the needy areas. That is the way we are going to harmonise the extension services with the agricultural extension officers giving the service. That is why I said that it is a summery of all questions.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


155. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Community Development and Social Services:

(a) how many community clubs benefited from the Ministry’s support programmes from 2001 to 2006; and

(b) what kind of support was given to the community clubs in the above period.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development and Social Services (Mr Chinkata): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services assisted women’s groups and other community clubs both directly, as a Ministry, and indirectly through grant-aided institutions such as the Micro-Bankers Trust.

Sir, the Micro-Bankers Trust provides soft loans to community clubs with a view of generating an interest of 5 per cent and targets small entrepreneurs and the vulnerable but viable individuals who work in groups.

The Ministry, through direct funding, provides grants to women’s clubs/groups which are identified through hon. Members of Parliament and district officials country wide.

Apart from the actual funds provided to clubs, the Ministry had provided hammer mills and some farming implements such as ploughs, small garden tools to mention just a few.

Sir, both the Ministry and grant-aided institutions have also provided training in entrepreneurship, simple Book-Keeping, Food Processing, Tailoring and Alternative Livelihood.

The actual amount of money spent by the Ministry on support to women’s clubs between 2001 and 2006 amounts to K11,098,533,633.00 and the total number of clubs that have benefited is 2,774

Mr Speaker, this is broken as follows:

                   Direct Support by MCDSS                               Support by Micro Bankers Trust  

 Years               Number           Amounts                                           Number            Amounts 
                          of Clubs                                                                   of Clubs
2001                      14              37,078,500                                            Nil                        Nil 
2002                      15              42,147,000                                            Nil                        Nil  
2003                      53            147,044,560                                            Nil                        Nil 
2004                    324            712,796,523                                           397              1,702,759,230
2005                    470         1,569,044,226                                           498              2,188,070,100 
2006                    450         1,007,374,752                                           553              3,692,218,742
Total                  1,326         3,515,485,561                                        1,448             7,583,048,072 

Total No. of Clubs Supported by MCDSS and 
Micro Bankers Trust                                                                                                          2,774

Total Amount Spent on clubs                                                                               11,098,533,633.00

Sir, the assistance given to community clubs by the Ministry varies from actual money to materials and skills training, as seen in my response in part (a) of this question. Some of the support has been on community sensitisation, training on cross-cutting issues such as HIV/AIDS, behavioural change, gender, environment and support to Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVCs).

Mr Speaker, the Ministry has also undertaken monitoring and evaluation activities on community clubs and groups.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned about the evaluation of these clubs. What is the objective and what have we achieved from the billions of Kwacha that have been provided to the clubs? How is the impact on poverty reduction?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: Mr Speaker, the Ministry monitors programmes run in the communities in this country. In fact, the money that is given to the people is not enough. If the Ministry is given more money in the Budget, we are going to do more than what we have done.

Sir, let me also say that there is also an impact with regard to women’s clubs and the assistance of the Members of Parliament here. Women’s clubs have changed the lives of the people and as such, we will make sure that more money is put into this programme. For instance, …

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Chinyanta: … they grow crops to improve nutrition in their homes …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: … and raise income from their small businesses.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, is it possible …

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. I hope it is procedural.

Mr D. Mwila: Mr Speaker, yes it is.

Sir, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to keep quiet instead of informing the House and the nation on the security situation in the Luapula and Northern provinces in areas bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Sir, I am referring to The Post Newspaper dated, Saturday, 9th February, 2008 and its headline that reads: “Government gives Libyan Land in Kasaba Bay.” It further reads:

“Tourism Minister Michael Kaingu has disclosed that the Government has given Libyan investors 100 hectares of land in Kasaba Bay in the Northern Province to develop a tourist resort.”

It continues to say:

“And the United States State Department has posted a safety warning for their citizens to avoid visiting Zambia’s Luapula and Northern provinces.

“Meanwhile, according to the US State Department Website, the Luapula and Northern provinces were not safe for tourists, as they were adjacent to the DRC a war torn country. All Americans are advised to avoid travel in the Northern and Luapula provinces and any areas in the Northern Province adjacent to the Democratic Republic of Congo because in the past, armed gunmen have occasionally attacked vehicles near the DRC and Zambian borders.”

Mr Speaker, the fact that the hon. Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources is attracting tourists to the country, it is inevitable that the he gives a position on the security situation. I need your serious ruling.

Sir, allow me to lay the paper on the Table.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr D. Mwila laid the paper on the Table.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member of Parliament for Chipili has raised a point of order regarding, in his opinion, the insecurity obtaining in the Northern and Luapula Provinces and he said he read from a newspaper called The Post.

To begin with, I did not see the newspaper called The Post laid on the Table of the House. What I saw is what is known as a “cutting”, and that is not a newspaper.

Secondly, on many occasions, the Chair has heard hon. Ministers in charge of security matters i.e. the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defence saying that there is a sizeable presence of security officers in all areas that are of potential conflict on the borders of Zambia. I have heard it mentioned that the provinces bordering the DRC are among the areas where our security officers have been posted. As such, I am not in a hurry to ask any of the hon. Ministers to come here, with a ministerial statement, on that point of order.

Since the House is now going into debating portfolio budgets, the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipili may take advantage of that development to debate this matter by raising questions, in particular, to the two ministries I have referred to in this ruling or even more. I am sure, the hon. Ministers will give adequate replies on this matter. At the moment, the Chair is unaware nor has it been briefed that there is shooting war taking place in the Northern and Luapula provinces, apart from the usual border skirmishes, which as I said, our security officers are containing to ensure these skirmishes take place on the other side of our borders.

May the hon. Member of Parliament for Katombola continue?

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services whether it is possible for the Ministry to centralise the support programme and create a fund like the Youth Constituency Development Fund and the Constituency Development Fund so that women do not come to the Ministry Headquarters to pick the K1 million or K2 million cheques.

Mr Chinyanta: Mr Speaker, that is a good idea, but, as you know, the Government works on policy. Therefore, if that policy is going to be put in place, we are going to address that issue. In the communities where we are operating these centres, we are almost decentralising them one way or another because our Ministry is represented in almost all the districts where we expect all these activities that we are off loading in the society to work. However, we encourage the hon. Members of Parliament to take interest in visiting some of our sub-centres even at the district level to find out what the officers are trying to do for the communities in which they are.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs J. N. Phiri (Luanshya): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out why Luanshya, Mufulira and other towns on the Copperbelt did not benefit from the women’s club empowerment in the year 2006 and 2007.

Mr Chinyanta: Mr Speaker, some of the challenges that we are facing in trying to overcome the problem of releasing some money to our women’s clubs are more to do with the processing of the application forms. Just this year, I made available application forms, through the hon. Members of Parliament here, to take to their clubs so that we have them signed legitimately for us to disburse that money. Those Members of Parliament who have been very active have brought back the forms and we have given them the money.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chinyanta: Mr Speaker, for 2006 and 2007 on the Copperbelt, it has been very difficult to give money to some of the towns, like Luanshya, that have not brought back some of the forms.

Mr Kambwili: Question!


Mr Chinyanta: I can testify, Mr Speaker, that a good number of constituencies on the Copperbelt have received the money.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


156. Mr D. Mwila asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning how many roads attracted donor funding in the Luapula Province from 2001 to 2007.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Shakafuswa): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House that a total of eleven road projects with a total length of 517.5 kilometres were financed with donor funds. The total cost of these road projects were at the cost of approximately US$4.5 million.

Name of Feeder Road                      Contract Name                 Length              Cost in US $

Mansa – Kabunda Missioin 
(RD93)                                                  Full improvement                      9.9                    193,299.56
Mansa – Kalaba School (U1)                Full improvement                    33.1                    646,284.38
Nsombwela Village –
Mulipa Village (R84)                              EX-ZAMPIP                             11.7                    228,444.93
Mushota – Chisembe (RD74)                EX-ZAMPIP                             27.5                    342,228.16
Junction D449 – Twingi 
Mission (RD449)                                    EX-ZAMPIP                            36.1                    449,252.24
Kawambwa District (R87)                     Full Improvement                   22.8 
Mwense District (RD83/RD446)            Full Improvement                    22.8
Mwense District (RD727)                      Full Improvement                    24.3
                                               Subtotal                                                 69.1                   919,831.79
Chienge – Lambwe Chomba                 Full Improvement                    66.3                    695,582.62
Chembe – Milambo                                Full Improvement                     57.8                   641,831,79
Other various Roads                            Accessibility 
                                                              Improvement                         206.0                   350,000.00
Total                                                                                                    517.5                4,466,755.47

Sir, I need to mention that the above road projects were financed by the World Bank under the ROADSIP I which ran from 1998 to 2003 and the Zambia Agricultural Marketing, Processing and Infrastructure Project (EX-ZAMPIP) project under the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives at that time.

In addition, under ROADSIP II for the period 2006 to 2010 the European Union budget support to the road sector also has a programme to rehabilitate and maintain roads in Luapula. This will cover 154 kilometres of roads in the province at a cost of about US$3.75 million.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D Mwila: Mr Speaker, if you compare the projects in the Luapula Province to other provinces, you find that Luapula has fewer projects. Would the hon. Minister shed more light on that?

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I do not know which projects he is referring to and the period he is comparing these projects. However, suffice to say that when we look at the national cake, it is just unfortunate that we thinly spread the resources thereby making minimal impact, unlike concentrating monies on projects which can give us impact. Therefore, we are looking at all provinces equally.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L J Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has said that US$4.5 million was spent. I would like to salute the donors that gave this money.

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

Mr L J Mulenga: Sir, would the hon. Minister indicate to us whether this money was given as a debt or grant? We would like to know because we realise that the external debt is growing by the day without the knowledge of this House.


The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Magande): Mr Speaker, indeed, I do appreciate the concern by the hon. Member for Kwacha on the rising debt. However, as the information that we gave does not relate to the rising debt, I do not see the relationship. His question was in the past. It is obvious that we do get grants and loans. The money from the European Union that we have indicated is normally given as grants. ZAMPIP is a concessional loan from the International Development Association, which is under the World Bank. Therefore, that is the division of the monies that we used. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what criteria is used for a road to qualify for donor funding.

Mr D Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, normally we ask for donor funding if we do not have our own money to repair the roads. However, sometimes even if we do not have the money and we approach the donors, they look at a feasibility study for that particular road in order to determine its economic viability and usage before they agree to finance it. I would like to say that, for example, in Luapula we have had problems in getting donor funding for the Chembe Bridge for many years now because it was not considered as an economically viable road and also because it connects to a foreign country which did not consider the bridge as important. We decided, therefore, to fund it from our own resources.

In the Eastern Province, since the hon. Member for Chadiza is interested, we have had problems in finding a donor to fund the rehabilitation of the Great East Road because of the large amount of money which is required. However, finally, we now have hope that the European Union, which gives grants to Zambia, will be able to help us with this road after a feasibility which, hopefully, will be completed by August next year.

I thank you, Sir.

____________ {mospagebreak}



(Debate resumed)

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, my debate, which started yesterday, is based on three key issues. The first issue is the statement that it deceptive, secondly defective and thirdly hallow. This is how the Budget for 2008 was described by some of our colleagues. Perhaps, we need to understand their description so that as we develop, we can do better.

Mr Speaker, the Budget was said to be deceptive because it is based on a platform that the hon. Minister or Finance and National Planning and the Government have been able to achieve in macroeconomic stability and growth. It was also described as deceptive because the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the Government have been able to secure a debt-free Zambia. Indeed, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has increased infrastructure spending, particularly addressing the damaged roads. It was said to be deceptive because the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has introduced a “catch” regime in the mining sector this year, which is based on a competitive and reasonable platform and secures balance so that the people of Zambia can harvest from the natural resources. According to our colleagues, that, indeed, is deception.

Mr Speaker, the Budget is defective to the extent that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has provided fundamental tax concessions resulting in over K100 billion going into the pockets of the people of Zambia. It is defective because the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has provided over K270 billion to address the terminal benefits of the Public Service officers. Indeed, it is defective because the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has provided over K350 billion to clear arrears of suppliers of goods and services. Most importantly, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has provided over K436 billion to clear the pension arrears. The totality of all these provisions is in excess of K1 trillion and this amount is going into the pockets of the people of Zambia and therefore, capacitating and empowering them. However, our colleagues have said that the Budget is defective.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, it is called defective when we deliver the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) …

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Mutati: … into the pockets of the people of Zambia.

Hon. PF Members: Question!

Mr Mutati: So be it.

Mr Speaker, it is said to be hallow when the tax burden for the individual has been reduced, when you continue to clear domestic arrears and when you continue dependency on co-operating partners to the extent that this year, the contribution by the co-operating partners to the Budget is only 17 per cent.

Hon. Opposition Members: Well done.

Mr Mutati: And that is hollow.


Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker it is also said to be hollow when the borrowing by the Government has now substantially reduced such that this year, only 0.9 of DGP will be borrowed and therefore, increasing the capacity of the people to borrow from the banking sector. Indeed, the combination of deceptive, defective and hollow is what Hon. Muntanga referred to in his debate. He says, in summary, that the Opposition mean well and well done, the Opposition.


Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Mutati: We thank you for the partnership that you are displaying, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: … the partnership of your understanding of economic fundamentals and the interpretation of the Budget. I know you mean well.


Mr Mutati: I know that your conclusions are based on deep reflection and care for the people and interpretation of that which is there. As you do that, we also wish you well.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Mwanamunonko tabamuma pamyona!

Hon. Opposition Member: Magande is hearing it for the first time.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, a central pillar of this Budget is the conclusion of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that, for the first time in many years, we have our destiny in our hands. We are able to stand as a people making progress. That was the central theme. He also articulated that he was not making progress without challenge. He said the challenge we face is the transformation of these positive developments into the creation of jobs and uplifting the living standards of the people of Zambia. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning did recognise that he also faces the challenge of ensuring that the Budget execution processes are simplified and made much more effective.

Indeed, the hon. Minister of Justice added that, this year, we will look towards revising the Zambian National Tender Board Act to ensure the following:

(i) speed processing of procurement, but more importantly to align the Zambia National Tender Board Act to the Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Act so that these two dialogue. Empowerment is not only providing for funds, but also grants access and opportunity to conduct business, particularly, in Government. This is the direction we are taking; and

(ii) as the Ministry of Finance and National Planning provides K50 billion for empowerment, in addition to the K70 billion he has already provided, we are going to provide opportunity for the people of Zambia to be empowered. That is the direction we are taking. In providing empowerment, we shall take the lessons that we have learnt historically, that these funds are not Christmas gifts, but for job creation and creating wealth as well as what Hon. Muntanga was saying.

Mr Muntanga laughed.


Mr Mutati: Whatever he said.


Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we also continue to face a challenge of going forward. The challenge of continuing to improve the investment climate, improving the investment requirement by ensuring that our micro-economic environment continues to stabilise and provide a platform for growth by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning providing over K1 trillion for the first time in infrastructure development.

Mr Speaker, my Ministry is contributing to this process by engaging in processes that are directed towards reducing the cost of doing business. In this regard, we worked on policies and the legal framework to facilitate reduction of the cost of doing business.

Mr Speaker, last year, we managed to deal with the processes of company registration to the extent that the increase in company registration has gone up by a 100 per cent.

Mr Speaker, we have simplified VAT registration as well and the transfer of property. Indeed, we are now starting to experiment at Chirundu Border Post, a One-Border Post concept. Four companies have been used as pilot. At the moment, it takes an average of two hours to clear for the four pilot companies. We hope by April, 2008, more companies will be added to the list so that instead of two weeks, it will only take two hours to be cleared at Chirundu. In our estimation, that is critical to the reduction of the cost of doing business. It is also critical to creating jobs and wealth.

Apart from reducing the cost of doing business, we need to continue attracting investment, both small and large. Within a hundred miles of this Parliament, we have existing investment of over US$600 million, small and big, ranging from production of fish fingers where, once upon a time, they employed five people, but now they have employed twenty-three.

One other investment employed four people, but now they have 400 employees. Within that basket, there are major investments. We are talking to the investor to accelerate the completion of these major investments so that they can create opportunity for employment and wealth creation for the people.

Mr Speaker, at Lafarge, combining not only investment, but also diversification, we have asked the investors to complete the K180 million expansion programme a little early. They have confirmed that by May, 2008, they will start producing cement, almost 800,000 tonnes.

At Munali Nickel Mine, nickel production worth US$120 million will start this year. Almost 20,000 tonnes of nickel will be exported to the South. Cement will be exported into COMESA, passed the local market, deepening regional integration. The Kafue Steel Company a US$120 million investment will produce over a 100,000 tonnes per year for the local market and the SADC region.

As for Zambia Sugar, there is an investment of US$180 million to increase outputs from 250 metric tonnes to almost 480 metric tonnes. The totality of this investment is creating opportunity for employment which we shall create this year within a hundred miles of this Parliament. 10,000 direct and 20,000 indirect jobs will be created. These jobs will be created indirectly in the transport sector to shift over 1.5 million tonnes of commodity, locally and internationally. The jobs will be created in the retail chain through Tuntembas.

Hon. Opposition Members: What is Tuntemba, you?

Mr Mutati: Through various mechanisms.

The totality of all our actions is to create capacity for more GDP in the pocket so that Hon. Mushili’s company in Ndola can carry more and more people and have more GDP in his pocket. Unless we create wealth, he will not be able to provide the transport service.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati:.We are not shy about creating wealth and facilitating for you to be rich.

Mr Speaker, going forward …

Hon. Opposition Member: Going backwards.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, what we refuse to accept, as a Government, and as a people, is that a Zambian has deficiency when it comes to creativity. A Zambian is not a pedestrian when it comes to the spirit of enterprise.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: That we will not accept. There is neither deficiency nor deception. We also do not agree that our determination to improve the investment environment and opportunities for jobs for Zambia is hollow because we are demonstrating results.

Mr Speaker, there is no deception in admitting that the path ahead is, but with challenges. We have told the people of Zambia that the path ahead has challenges and we will continue to work and minimise the difficulties that we face while focusing on creating opportunity, jobs and growth, which is important for the people of Zambia.

As we proceed, our commitment to the pursuit of growth, jobs and wealth will be to the same extent as that of religious beliefs. We will have it engraved, sleep in it, work in it and breathe it. That is that way we are going to do these things.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, this is because we believe that unless we do that, we are not going to uplift the living standards of the people of Zambia. We are determined to make a change. We are also determined that whilst we have challenges, we are going to make a change and transform Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I know that we can.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Beene (Beene): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to present a report to this august House on the deliberations of the Expanded Committee on Estimates on the 2008 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

Sir, your Committee was tasked to consider the general policies underlying the estimates and make recommendations to this House as the House proceeds with consideration of individual items.

Sir, in this vein, allow me to quickly highlight a few salient issues that your Committee encountered during their deliberations.

Mr Speaker, as a prelude to the detailed analysis of the 2008 Budget, your Committee undertook a review of a series of key macro-economic indicators for the period 2003 to 2007. Details relating to the review are contained in your Committee’s report which was circulated to the hon. Members of the House. Suffice to say, Sir, that your Committee found that generally the economy had been growing between 5.1 per cent and 5.8 per cent between 2003 and 2006.

Sir, during their deliberations, your Committee interacted with various stakeholders who included members of the civil society, representatives of the private sector organisations, the farming community, the mining community as well as the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and senior staff of the Ministry. The stakeholders who appeared before the Committee raised a number of issues of concern from their respective perceptives.

Mr Speaker, I will now briefly highlight some of these issues of concern for the benefit of this august House.

Mr Speaker, your Committee noted that with regard to inflation, the power shortages, rising prices of crude oil on the international market, resulting in increased fuel pump prices, the flooding experienced during this rainy season and the high incidences of livestock diseases will have a telling impact on the inflation levels.

Sir, in addition, the international economic and financial environment is currently uncertain with the looming recession in the United States of America (USA). While it was hoped that the recession would be short-lived, global economic growth forecasts have been revised downwards with major economic players such as India and China expecting slower growth in 2008.

Mr Speaker, if this is prolonged, the recession might have a negative effect on the Chinese exports into the USA, which will, in turn, reduce China’s growth rate. It follows, therefore, that the Chinese demand for raw materials, including copper, might slump, thereby negatively impacting the mineral prices. In this regard, attaining the inflation target of 7 per cent for this year might pose a big challenge to the Government.

Mr Speaker, the problems in the energy sector which have resulted in the Power outages that have beset the country are cause for grave concern.

Mr Kambwili: Bwekeshapo apo!

Mr Beene: It is clear that even the on-going Power Rehabilitation Programme is not going to increase power generation capacity to levels which can meet, let alone outstrip demand. This is particularly true in view of the fact that a number of new projects, notable among which are some projects in the mining sector, are set to commence operations in the near future.

Sir, in the petroleum sub-sector, the issue of stability in product supply was recognised as vital and it was noted that arrangements were being put in place to ensure steady supply of crude oil.

Sir, your Committee heard that the pricing of petroleum products always factors in a significant component of taxes. As Zambia uses an ad Valorem tax system on petroleum products, pump prices of petroleum products are subject to unforeseen changes arising from changes in the taxable values due to international oil price adjustments.

Mr Speaker, this makes planning difficult since crude oil pricing is externally determined. On average, taxes on fuel constitute a large portion of the price of fuel , with tax alone making up 44 per cent of the pump price of petrol, 32 per cent of diesel and 13 per cent of kerosene. As the cost of energy forms an essential component in the cost of production, the changes in pricing affect the cost of goods, making Zambian products more expensive and less competitive.

Mr Speaker, stakeholders are concerned at the fact that less than 90 per cent of the approved Budget was spent in 2007. They found the hon. Minister’s explanation in this regard, as recorded on paragraph 58 of the Budget Speech inadequate. Such under- spending is unacceptable at a time the need for infrastructure and social services could not have been greater.

They call for a comprehensive explanation and urgent measures to ensure that such a situation does not recur to be taken. It is also suggested that regular reviews of the Budget execution in terms of both revenue and expenditure should be undertaken during the course of each financial year.

Sir, the health sector is critical in the fight against poverty. Stakeholders have expressed serious concern that the sector has received only a nominal increment of 0.8 per cent in its allocation in the 2008 Budget. This amount will obviously not impact significantly on the multiple problems the sector is currently going through, especially in the light of the HIV/AIDS scourge, despite the efforts being made by the Government at infrastructure development and recruitment of qualified medical personnel being commendable.

Mr Speaker, while it is commendable that the Government has recruited and placed 10,600 teachers in various schools in 2007, it is not clear whether, with the conditions of service offered by the Government, these teachers will be retained in the Public Service. These conditions include residential accommodation. Additionally, stakeholders are concerned that despite the impressive figures in as far as recruitment of teachers is concerned, there is still an acute shortage of teachers in Government schools, especially in rural areas.

Sir, stakeholders are concerned that while Zambia’s economic performance in recent years has been relatively good, the poverty levels remain very high, especially in rural areas where the majority of the people live in extreme poverty. The 2008 Budget does not appear to prioritise poverty reduction as an objective as emphasised in the Vision 2030 and the Fifth National Development Plan (FNDP).

Mr Speaker, many stakeholders were disappointed to note that the allocation to the agricultural sector had reduced from 8.8 per cent in 2007, to 5.8 per cent in the 2008 Budget. Considering that agriculture was the backbone of economic survival for most Zambians, this was of great concern. Stakeholders reiterated that agricultural production, particularly small-scale farming, played an important role in economic diversification and growth, food security and, ultimately, poverty reduction efforts.

Sir, stakeholders were generally in support of the proposed new fiscal and regulatory regime for the mining sector. They stated that the proposed measures were in line with the international practice, specifically the application of both a variable profit tax and the windfall tax related to prices and the use of a reference price instead of average revenues declared by the mining companies.

Mr Speaker, it is of concern that the allocation in the 2008 Budget to social protection programmes, while higher than in 2007, was largely absorbed by the long overdue allocation of pension arrears. Stakeholders wondered why the allocation to pension arrears was not budgeted for under domestic debt servicing. The allocation appeared to merely overstate the amount under social protection programmes which should ideally have well-designed multi-sectoral programmes aimed at uplifting the standard of life of the vulnerable groups.

Mr Speaker, the issue of gender was identified as critical to the poverty reduction process in view of the feminisation of poverty. Despite having important responsibility in their communities, women in Zambia remained disadvantaged, with unequal access to productive resources, including land, credits, technology, extension services and had no power in decision making. It was observed that the 2008 Budget did not address this issue of gender, and this would result in the inevitable consequence of leaving out women in empowerment programmes. With that, it is obvious that poverty reduction would be more difficult to attain as women are the majority among the poorest of the poor.

Sir, the Value Added Tax (VAT) reduction and tax exempt threshold increment proposed in the 2008 Budget were welcomed by most stakeholders, although they were generally thought to be inadequate to have much impact on the livelihood of most Zambians. Noting that Zambia’s ratio of tax to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) was higher relative to the other countries in the region, most stakeholders were of the view that the reduction should have been higher than proposed.

Mr Speaker, stakeholders noted with concern that the Budget was silent on the issue of decentralisation. They felt that a functioning Local Government system was the bedrock of democracy and development, especially in the remotest areas of this country. To perform their functions effectively, local authorities needed to be provided with necessary resources.

Sir, stakeholders welcomed the indication that the Government had developed a new debt strategy. They called for the expeditious consolidation of the strategy into a legal framework to govern contraction and management of the public debt. They strongly emphasised that it was cardinal, at all costs, for the country to avoid getting entangled in another debt trap.

Mr Speaker, stakeholders expressed serious concern at the never-ending reports of financial irregularities in the Government ministries and agencies. It appeared, to members of the public, that no punitive sanctions were applied to Government officials who were involved in misappropriation and misallocation of public funds.

Sir, some stakeholders were concerned that the cost of doing business in Zambia continued to be high. This was mainly attributed to the high cost of finance, fuel and utilities and generally poor infrastructure. The high cost of fuel was attributed, in part, to the ad valorem tax system, as earlier explained.

Sir, having listened to these various stakeholders, your Committee made some observations and recommendations, some of which I will now highlight.

Mr Speaker, with regard to inflation, having noted that the 2007, inflation target of 5 per cent was not achieved and the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning indicated in the Budget Speech that the projection was revised to 9 per cent, your Committee are of the view that the causes of such a significant revision during the year and measures taken to mitigate its effects should have been explained clearly to this House. It is cause for concern because it tends to distort the underlining framework upon which the 2007 economic plan were based.

Sir, your Committee also noted with serious concern that despite the 5 per cent reduction in the Corporate Tax for the banking sector in 2007, the lowering of the statutory reserve requirements from 14 to 8 per cent reduced the Government’s domestic borrowing from 1.2 per cent in 2006, to 0.95 per cent in 2007. And despite the relatively low inflation levels, the banking industry has not responded by reducing lending rates in a corresponding manner.

Your Committee are further concerned about the spread in the interest rates, that is, the difference between the interest paid on savings and the lending rates.

Furthermore, your Committee note that while the lending rates remain high, commercial banks have continued to post very high profits, and declare huge dividends at the expense of the failure of small and medium-scale businesses on account of unaffordable credit.

Mr Speaker, they, therefore, call upon the Government to take measures to ensure that the banking industry responds to such incentives accordingly so that affordable credit is available for small and medium-scale entrepreneurs.

Mr Speaker, your Committee note that the level of poverty in Zambia, estimated at around 80 per cent in the rural areas, is unacceptably high. Even the claim by the Government that urban poverty has reduced to 34 per cent is doubtful because anecdotal evidence suggests that poverty levels in both rural and urban areas are increasing.

Sir, in this light, it is incumbent upon the Government to urgently prioritise and strongly emphasise poverty reduction programmes. Admittedly, it would be inappropriate for the programmes to merely serve to increase consumptive behavior. Such programmes should be aimed at building the rural population’s capacities to enable them be more economically productive. This would mean nurturing the capacity of the poor people as producers, improving their access to assets, credit, social amenities and markets for their produce.

Mr Speaker, growth alone is not a sufficient condition for poverty reduction. Your Committee are further concerned that at the rate Zambia is going, the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will remain a pipedream ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: … and the majority of Zambians will continue to exist in inhuman conditions. In this regard, they strongly recommend that the Government prioritise its budgeting and spending in line with achieving the MDGs, in particular, those of maternal health, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS.

Mr Speaker, similarly, your Committee are of the view that employment is an important indicator of the impact of economic growth on the population. They, therefore, strongly recommend that employment creation be a major objective in the country’s economic plants.

Sir, further, your Committee agree that the problems that have beset the electricity sub-sector will undoubtedly pose challenges to the achievements of the macroeconomic targets for 2008. In this regard, they call upon the Government to urgently undertake measures to mitigate the impact of the power deficit on the productive sectors of the economy so as to ensure that the economic objectives are met. Your Committee also urge the Government to consider investing in alternative sources of energy, including coal and solar so that the dependency on hydroelectric power is reduced in the long term.

Mr Speaker, on the tax structure, your Committee are aware that some statistics indicated that the basic food basket costs between K700,000 and K1.5 million. Your Committee therefore, recommend that the tax exempt threshold be raised to at least K700,000 in order to cushion the lowly paid people. Your Committee are also aware that taxes have often been cited as the reason why the cost of doing business in Zambia is so high. Needless to say, the high cost of doing business means that Zambian-made products are expensive and not competitive, which constrains the growth of local businesses.

Mr Speaker, your Committee strongly recommend that the Government begin to consider some of the suggestions offered by the Local Zambian Business Community, in terms of reduction in the tax structure so as to get the benefit of both a cheaper cost of doing business and growth of local businesses as well as increased consumption tax in the form of VAT.

Sir, your Committee are further concerned that the number of citizens contributing to the national revenues are very small. In this vein, your Committee reiterate the urgent call for the broadening of the tax base.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also note that Zambia still exceeds the regional average of 14 per cent in terms of VAT. They strongly recommend that the Government consider reviewing this rate to help bring down the cost of living and move closer to attaining the Millennium Development Goals on poverty reduction.

Mr Speaker, on the new mining sector tax regime, your Committee are aware that the Government had entered into legally binding Development Agreements with various mining companies and that proceeding with these tax measures might cause some reaction from the owners of the mines. However, your Committee noting that the exploitation of the country’s mineral resources should primarily benefit Zambians, which has not been the case in the past, strongly support the proposed new fiscal regime in the sector as it is the interest of this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, they agree with the Government that circumstances have changed since the Development Agreements were entered into and, therefore, the legislative route is the best way to provide for matters of taxation. They also note that the statement by the mine operators that the new tax regime proposed an effective tax rate of 79 per cent is misleading. In fact, your Committee understand and agree with the Government that the effective tax rate will be around 47 per cent, well below what some of the major mining countries in the world have imposed.

Sir, in addition, your Committee note that the windfall tax will only be applicable if metal prices exceed certain levels. This is desirable so that the Zambian economy can benefit from the country’s mineral resources. In the light of the foregoing, your Committee strongly urge the Government to relentlessly pursue the matter until the Zambian people get what is rightfully theirs from their natural resources.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, equitable sharing of benefits between the mining companies and the people of Zambia is an immediate imperative. In this vein, your Committee wish to strongly urge the House to support the new legislation that will provide for the new mining tax regime.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also strongly recommend that a clear and transparent mechanism for the utilisation of the resources be put in place as soon as possible and that Parliament, as the people’s representative have a prominent role to play in the decisions relating to the use of these resources.

Sir, with regard to the health and education sectors, your Committee welcome the overall increase in the allocations and the commitment to increasing the staffing levels and infrastructure in the sector. However, they note that the allocations to the two sectors are still far below what the country has committed itself to at the international level. They wonder when the Government will begin to move towards achievement to the ideals, considering that the current allocation does not appear to reflect commitment on their part.

Mr Speaker, on the very topical issue of agriculture, your Committee note, with disappointment, the Government’s decision to punish the sector by reducing its allocation in the 2008 Budget by 3 per cent. Your Committee note that this decision is based on the fact that, in the past, there had been little growth in the sector due mainly to misapplication by the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives of resources provided for substantive programmes in the agricultural sector to administrative activities.

Mr Speaker, another factor has been that the same beneficiaries of the funds have, for various reasons, continued to receive assistance, with no improvement in their productivity. In any case, this reduction does nothing to assuage the fears of your Committee that the Government’s focus on the sector has diminished. They are aware the reduction will merely serve to hurt the most vulnerable members of society who are dependent on the sector for their livelihood and empowerment.

In this regard, your Committee wonder how the Government expects to achieve long-term goals such as combating livestock diseases, setting up of water harvesting and irrigation schemes and fisheries development, among others, which would contribute most effectively to poverty reduction. Your Committee insists that the onus is on the Government to address the inadequacies identified in the management of funds made available to the Ministry through regular and stringent monitoring of all Government activities and expenditures.

The Government must move quickly to review this situation and address it. In the meantime, your Committee strongly recommend that the allocation to the agricultural sector be raised at least to the previous level of 8.8 per cent.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Your Committee remain aware of the fact that the aim should be to reach the levels envisaged in the Maputo Declaration of allocating, at least, 10 per cent of the Budget to agriculture.

Your Committee, noting that there is no country in the world that does not support agriculture, reiterate the need for the Government to support agricultural producers, as it is only through such support that food production will increase and food prices remain at affordable levels. In this regard, they call for increased allocation to the Fertiliser Support Programme, improved input, procurement and distribution, diversification in the sector, as well as improved marketing arrangements, improved infrastructure, communications and other services such as access to veterinary and extension services. They stress that the Government’s proclaimed focus on poverty reduction should be translated into allocation of adequate resources to sectors such as agriculture and more stringent monitoring of programmes in the sector, as this will expeditiously result in increased productive capacity and improvement in the quality of life of Zambians in rural areas where poverty in endemic.

Mr Speaker, on social protection programmes, your Committee note that the larger portion of resources allocated to this programme in the 2008 Budget are going to the settlement of pension arrears, which is long overdue. They are concerned that the overall amount allocated to the actual social protection programmes is inadequate. It is your Committee’s view that the funds allocated for settlement of pension arrears should have been budgeted for under domestic debt servicing because pension arrears are in fact domestic debt. They call upon the Government to ensure that once they are cleared, pension arrears do not accumulate again.

Further, your Committee find it unacceptable that there has been an unexplained discontinuation of the Food Security Pack Programme, major reductions in the allocations to social safety nets, the public welfare assistance scheme, Peri-Urban Self Help and the National Training Centre for the Disable. Your Committee wish to restate strongly the need for comprehensive social protection programmes which should be integrated into other sectoral programmes to address the entrenched needs of the poorest and most vulnerable. They find it insensitive that at a time the Government has some resources at its disposal, the Budget is not reflective of the poverty reduction agenda as a priority. In the light of this, they call for the restoration of the previous allocations to social protection programmes as a minimum.

Mr Speaker, on decentralisation, your Committee strongly recommend that the Government facilitate quick delivery of goods and services by ensuring that certain activities done at the national level are decentralised to the provinces and districts to enable Zambians effectively participate in the planning and implementation of development plans. In this regard, there is a need to fast track the process of the Decentralisation Implementation Plan.

Mr Speaker, on Recurrent Expenditure in comparison to Capital Expenditure, your Committee are concerned that the level of Capital Expenditure remains too low. This means that while infrastructure is deteriorating, there is little investment in maintenance and new capital formation. The Government needs to move urgently to redress the situation.

Sir, your Committee, in their report, have also made significant observations and recommendations relating to Budget execution, financial management, gender, empowerment programmes and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). May I simply urge all hon. Members to study the report and utilise the information contained therein as they consider the 2008 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}

The Minister of Finance and National planning (Mr Magande): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity to respond to some of the issues raised by your Expanded Committee on Estimates and those of the hon. Members of this House arising from the policy debate on the Motion on the Budget, which I delivered to this House on 25th January, 2008.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Chairperson of the Committee and, indeed, his Committee for having done extensive work. For example, my Ministry was called before the Committee three times. I appreciate that they clearly wanted to understand the policies, strategies, decisions and the direction that went into framing this important Budget this year.

Mr Speaker, having listened to the debate and having read the report of the Committee, I am made to believe that the 2008 Budget is non-controversial and there is tremendous support from my honourable colleagues in this House.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: I am happy that the discussions raised a number of issues. The issues raised are in the categories of free and variable advice as that given by Hon. Mulenga, hon. Member for Kwacha. Indeed, some were reminders to the Executive as per the debate of hon. Member of Parliament for Siavonga. 

Being a member of the listening New Deal Administration, even at my relatively advanced age, there is still room to learn. I would like to thank all those who took time to debate the Motion, as they helped in bringing out some weaknesses in the proposed Budget for this year. The other issues are very pertinent and I will take time to make comments that will serve as advice to the hon. Members, as I seek their support in approving this Budget.

Mr Speaker, I need to point out from the on set that in coming up with various revenue measures  supporting the 2008 Budget, the Government had to carefully balance between the demand for a fairer and broad-based tax structure and the need for adequate resources to meet the country’s development needs.

Mr Speaker, as I mentioned in my Budget Address, I wish to reiterate that it is the object of this Government to continue providing further tax relief. However, this can only be done gradually in a systematic manner as the economic conditions improve. This is important in order to avoid postponing a number of important programmes that are meant to propel this great country through the 21st Century.

Mr Speaker, I am pleased to note that your Committee is supportive of the Government’s effort to empower Zambians by providing funding through the Citizen’s Empowerment Commission. I wish to re-state what Hon. Mutati has said. Indeed, for the benefit of Hon. Muntanga, who, perhaps, has problem with mathematics and arithmetic …


Mr Magande: … the additional figure of K50 billion in the budget for economic empowerment will be applied together with the money that was given last year for empowerment of about K74 billion and the money which has been allocated to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) of about K25 billion. Therefore, there is already over K100 billion.

Mr Speaker, as clearly indicated by your Committee, we need to be very careful in the manner we disperse these funds so that they revolve to a large number of people, thereby creating wealth for the majority.  

Mr Speaker, indeed, the issue of pensioners has been recognised by your Committee, but I would like to say that for those who have been waiting for their pension and terminal benefits, I doubt if it matters whether the payment voucher will say social protection or empowerment. They have been waiting for their money and regardless of the title under which it is paid, we intend to disperse this money before 1st December, 2008.

Mr Speaker, in the area of health, your Committee observe that …

Mr Magande drank some water.

Mr Muntanga: Just drink water.

Mr Magande: … the allocation is up to some internationally agreed level. I would like to assure this House that this Government intends to meet its commitments. However, this will be gradual as the other sectors of the economy such as roads which are not included in global decisions still need financial support in the absence of a strong private sector.

Sir, the matter of the administration of anti-retroviral drugs is a technical matter which clearly requires professional advice. I have seen what has been said in the report. It is not everyone who is HIV positive who is supposed to receive ARVs. I am informed by the learned that the determining factor is the CD4 count. Therefore, we should not advocate for all those who are HIV positive to be given ARVs. However, I wish to invite the hon. Members to go for Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) in order for them to know their status. As for those who will be in need of ARVs, this Government is ready to give them free ARVs.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, in the areas of energy, there are sections in the report that stipulate that there are no serious long-term plans to deal with the power shortages. That is, indeed, not correct.

Sir, on page 89 of my speech, I mentioned two very big energy projects whose construction will start this year. These are the Kariba North Bank and Itezhi-Tezhi. We now have a transaction advisor to produce a feasibility study for the Kariba Gorge Lower Project.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 16115 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was discussing the area of energy. I said, in fact, this year, we intend to start two very big energy projects at Itezhi-Tezhi and Kariba North Bank.

However, the fact that has to be taken into account is that these large-scale projects take time. For example, the project being started this year will only be in a position to supply energy after the year 2010.

Indeed, I wish to inform Hon. Mwansa, who unfortunately is not in the House, that we appreciate the issues that he raised vis-à-vis comparison with the performance of other countries. He mentioned a question of having a Cabinet Committee and that we should have an inter-connector to DRC because of their huge Inger Project. He also mentioned that we should be interested in regional co-operation in the Southern African Region. I wish to assure him the all these are already in place and we have a Cabinet committee looking into energy. Indeed, we are connected to the DRC. When we have power outages, like we had recently, within 20 to 30 minutes, the supply from DRC is activated and this is why the Copperbelt and the mining operations are not too disrupted.

On regional co-operation, I would like to say that we are members of the Southern African Power Pool which facilitates the exchange of power among the SADC member countries and we feel that if all of us start working towards reducing the power shortage within the next four to five years, we will have enough energy to, indeed, galvanise the investment in this part of Africa.

Mr Speaker, a lot of explaining is being made by the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, the Energy Regulation Board and ZESCO on the issue of energy. All of us must take interest and attend the meetings or listen to the radio so that we, the leaders, can help in explaining these issues to the communities.

For example one of the immediate ways of being recommended to serve and conserve energy in our homes is to change the type of light bulbs we use to energy-serving and fluorescent ones.

Mr Speaker, the issue of CDF has been discussed. I would like to say that we are aware of the positive aspects of this programme in some of the constituencies. Indeed, we are also aware of the negative aspects of this programme in some of the constituencies. As we try to compare the merits and demerits of the programme, we will continue to increase the amounts agreed as proposed in this year’s Budget.

Sir, in the report, there is also an issue of taking the matter of debt contraction the NCC. Those who are willing to participate in the NCC and have the Draft Constitution will realise that this matter is already in the Draft Constitution. What we need is to start researching and see whether what is proposed there is practical. In other words, like I said before, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning will be required to come and explain and get concurrence of Parliament. Likewise, on even interest rates. I wonder how long it will take us to compare notes on that. The Minister of Finance and National Planning would be required to explain and get concurrence of Parliament on interest rates. I wonder how long it would take us to compare notes on that.

Mr Speaker, it is evident from the response of the general public, and in particular, the debates in this House and the content of the report, as presented by the Chairperson, that the Government has support on the new fiscal regime for the mining sector.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: We are, indeed, grateful for the overwhelming encouragement we have received on this matter. At the moment, we should not ask who has made this happen because all of us, even without this House urging the Government, were concerned about the mining industry which seemed to be taking us the same way that it took us from 1906 to 2006. A hundred years down the line, Zambia was left poorer after the export of over 16 million tonnes of copper.

Sir, I wish, therefore, to appeal to the mining companies, who may wish to take a different position from what we are proposing to agree and work in harmony with the Government and the Zambian people. I would like to assure them that the measures put forward by the Government had taken into account their interests and are not meant to disadvantage them or harm their investments. The measures will still leave their investments viable and profitable while at the same time giving a fair share of the mineral wealth to the Zambian people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, we believe the new mining fiscal regime is a win-win alternative that will secure maximum benefits for the nation and appropriate returns for the investors. In choosing this stance, the Government still remains committed to enhancing a conducive environment where property rights and investment protection is guaranteed. There is a law that was passed in this House that stipulates that we will not nationalise any entity. We will continue to focus on building an economy that is supported by a strong public-private partnership.

Sir, I have no doubt that with the co-operation of all the players in the mining sector, we can bring about sustainable economic empowerment that will deliver faster development to the nation. I, therefore, wish to urge this House to support the necessary legislation which I shall soon be presenting.

Mr Speaker, during the deliberations of the Committee, and, indeed, in the report, there were issues concerning the accountability for these funds. The Government’s proposition is to have a transparent system by opening a separate account for these extra funds. These funds will be used in a prudent manner, without causing disruptions to the economy.

However, this does not in any way suggest that the Government will use the funds without prior approval of this Parliament.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: In this regard, I wish to assure this House that the Government will remain committed to upholding the ethics of prudence, accountability and transparency in the management of these public resources.

Hon. Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, there was discussion on the issue of the budget and the allocations to the agricultural sector. I would like to remind my colleagues in this House that it is common knowledge even to the strong sceptics that the Agricultural Policy and programmes of the MMD New Deal Government have achieved positive results in this sector.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Magande: The country has continued to enjoy food security with a variety of crops on the market.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: However, we, on this side of the House, are beginning to feel that some, amongst us, are there to derail the programmes.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: For example, how does anybody who does not queue for mealie meal come to this House and question the statement that we are food secure? What is he trying to do?

Mr Kambwili: I am talking for my people!

Mr Magande: The Fertiliser Support Programme, Mr Speaker, is meant for the poor and the vulnerable. However, how possible is it that the rural dwellers fail to identify those amongst them who are poor and vulnerable and, therefore, deserve to receive the subsidised fertiliser? Instead, the fertiliser finds its way into the hands of the rich …

Mr C. Mulenga: Nimwebo kabili!

Mr Magande: … and markets for commercial sale. How is it possible that veterinary officers in Zambia have failed to decisively deal with livestock diseases for many years and yet across the Zambezi River, our neighbouring country Botswana exports diseases-free meat to Europe?

Dr Kamata: Are you asking us?

Mr Magande: It is clear that the abuse of the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) and the inability to control livestock diseases have had a big negative impact on the small-scale farmers, most of whom are found in the rural areas. Apart from reducing their draught power and the failure to plough their fields on time, they have been deprived of fertilisers and the modern technology.

Mr Kambwili: By whom?

Mr Mubika: Kambwili!

Mr Magande: His Excellency the President has proposed a general subsidy for all fertiliser so that we stop the abuse by those who take advantage of the poor and the vulnerable.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, I am happy to note that some Members, including Hon. C. K. Banda have embraced this proposal and will be looking at it before the next season.

It is important to note that a lot of resources have gone into the agricultural sector, but the results have not been satisfactory, and in particular, the small-scale farmer continues to have very low productivity. This is not deriving any economic benefit of adopting this modern technology. We, therefore, need to reflect on these developments before additional resources are given to the sector.

Mr Speaker, it has been said and repeated in this House that K900 billion was not spent in 2007.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Magande: Hon. Kasongo and Hon. Musokotwane spent a lot of their time debating this matter, but, I presume, without the full knowledge of the actual situation. Due to the Treasury management system we now use, the Ministry is able to get data on bank balances of ministries at any time. This amount was, therefore, the total of balances of accounts of Government departments in commercial banks on 19th November, 2007. The money was released by the Ministry on request by the various ministries.

This amount was for activities including capital items already in the 2007 Budget and approved by this august House. The money was not, therefore, to be reallocated to new activities. By 31st December, 2007, the balances in the accounts were K519 billion. As a result, part of this amount was carried forward to the current fiscal year and the payments currently being made by the spending ministries will be normalised later in the year.

Mr Speaker, it happens every year in the Estimates. We indicate the fresh money which is also the money that actually was transferred from the previous year and spent or paid during the current year. Therefore, part of this money will appear in this year’s Estimates. It is not new a allocation and it is not for new programmes.

Mr Speaker, I and the Secretary to the Treasury, who is the Chief Controlling Officer, do not make any apologies for disclosing this kind of information to the Zambian people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: It is part of the entrenched principles of accountability and transparency that we intend to continue applying for the citizens to know what is happening to their money.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, Hon. Mwiimbu had some proposals on the flood situation.  He made a passionate appeal to the Government on one of the farms that has gone into receivership in Mazabuka, called Mukuyu Farm. He proposed that these floods be declared a national disaster so that we can get more assistance from the donors. The reality of the situation is that whenever we declare a national disaster, the donors will normally divert funds which are already allocated to Zambia in the Budget from a particular activity to disaster management. In the process, we are no better off. Whatever money has been allocated now, if we declared the occurrence of floods a national disaster, part of the Budget we are considering will be diverted to disaster management. That is the procedure. Therefore, we feel, since there are really no additional funds, if we pass this Budget, the money which will not be needed for those activities, can be used to meet the emergences of the nation.

In any case, Mr Speaker, from what is happening and the management of this issue, we, as a Government, feel this matter is under control. If there are any serious bottlenecks, let us know them. If there are some people who are not evacuated or are not being helped with tents or food to mitigate the effects of the floods, we should be informed because the Government has the capacity financially, physically and technically to handle this matter.


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, on the matter of the Mukuyu Farm, a purely private enterprise, it is the Government’s strong view that the matter should be resolved by the parties concerned. A bank must have willingly lent out $17 million to one foreign family, who employed 4,000 local people and they must find a solution to this problem.

Mrs Masebo entered the Chamber holding a teddy-bear in her hands.


The Sergeant-At-Arms went to get the teddy-bear from Mrs Masebo.


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, I just realised that today is 14th February.


Mr Magande: Unfortunately, nobody offered me roses.


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, many hon. Members raised the issue of the funding of the National Constitution Conference (NCC), saying this was a poor management decision, as this money should have been taken to poverty reducing programmes. The Government brought, to this august House, a Bill which was unanimously supported and out of which the NCC was born.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Magande: It is surprising to note that some hon. Members of this House, who were party to the enactment of the NCC law have turned around and are refusing to implement a legislation they passed.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Shame!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, the process of coming up with an inclusive acceptable Constitution for the country is an important governance issue for this Government and we will pursue this matter to its logical conclusion.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, before I wind up, Hon. Lubinda, in his animated debate, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Magande: … has indicated that we had proposed to spend some money on payment of foreign debts. He said, but now I see, you included some K115 billion as supplementary expenditure. We are a transparent Government. We came here and went to the public to announce that one of the challenges we had was the question of the venture capital issue during the year. We had to resolve that issue by paying the money that was adjudged against us and which I brought here before as a supplementary expenditure. I hope Hon. Lubinda will forgive us if we did not repeated the explanation on that particular expenditure.

Mr Shakafuswa: He thinks he is smart.

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, your Committee has recommended that and I quote.

“The Government should quickly set parameters for the redistribution of the benefits of economic growth.”

Mr Speaker, the 2008 Budget has given parameters for distributing, not the results, but the opportunities by unlocking financial and human resources, through various schemes and projects, which are clearly indicated in the Budget.

However, Mr Speaker, I am persuaded by the arguments of one of the hon. Members, Hon. Sakwiba Sikota, to agree with him that in Zambia, there are many people who suffer from structural poverty. Those are his words. Unfortunately, I went last night to look at all my economic books, I never found this concept.


Mr Magande: It is new terminology from a learned friend.


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, as a follow up to this new vocabulary, Hon. Mulongoti, who is here, and Hon. Shikapwasha gave free, but invaluable advice of how to overcome this structural poverty. They said it was by seeking and identifying opportunities, not only in the Budget, but also in the country. Hon. Siliya, correctly called for Mental Infrastructure, Re-engineering …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: … to remove this structural poverty. Indeed, is it not structural poverty to have 4,000 Zambians in the best agricultural area of Mazabuka, employed by one foreigner who arrived here as an agricultural extension officer? This is structural poverty. I heard the Chairperson talk about poverty reduction and eradication.

Mr Speaker, in this Budget Speech, if you expunge the part I am quoting, the Living Standards Survey on Poverty, you will find word “poverty” appearing less than five times. We, the New Deal Government, have, indeed, stopped popularising poverty by making it an issue in our common reading. Psychologists tell us, even a word can actually play havoc in the brain which can then act on a nerve. For instance if I said, “a snake”, the message would go to the brain that will pass it on to the legs to make them start running even before you see the snake.


Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, are we going to continue to scare the Zambians by crying “poverty, poverty” every time.

Hon. Opposition Members: There is poverty.

Mr Magande: Are we going to make sure that the Zambians are going to believe that they are poor?

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes, they are poor.

Mr Magande: If that is the case, Mr Speaker, I neither want to belong to that church nor do I want to listen to a sermon in that church. Hon. Kambwili will be happy to do that.

Hon. Government Members: hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, this country is rich and we have exposed the richness of this country. Hon. Mutati, who was very kind, said let us take a radius of 100 kilometres from Lusaka to consider the developments therein. He announced what kind of projects are going on within this 100km radius. If you go to the west, Mumbwa, which might just be over a 100 kilometres away, there is a cement plant and copper mine starting there. As you approach Lusaka, there is a gold mine starting there

If you go south, just a few kilometres from here, there is new cement plant which is being extended, not by Chilanga Cement or Lafarge, which Hon. Mutati talked about, but by Oriental Quarries. From 300 tonnes per month, by the end of this month, they will produce 600 tonnes of cement every month.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Mr Speaker, if you went beyond that, there is a steel plant, which is the first of its kind in Zambia and the surrounding regions. It is going to produce not less than one million tonnes of steel within the next four years. That steel is going to come from Nsanje Hill, which is just outside my constituency, south-west of Lusaka. Next to the hill with iron ore, there is a Kafue Sugar Estates plant, producing and exporting sugar. Beyond that, there is a new nickel mine coming up. This morning, there were new investors who came to talk to me about starting a new uranium mine somewhere along the way to Lusitu in the next two years. To get to that uranium mine, we will be driving on one of the best roads in the hills of Lusitu. However, the hon. Member for Siavonga came here and said that he cannot see what this Government is doing. There are no more curves on that road, we have smoothed them.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Magande: Can he not see that now he is going to have a smooth ride to Siavonga?

Mr Speaker, if we look east, just in Chongwe and beyond, a copper mine is coming up and right now copper is being trucked to the Copperbelt because we have no smelter there. At Munali Hills, there is going to be a nickel and copper smelter within the next two years. What more can one ask for? The investors are coming because of the opportunities that are here. I thank Hon. Sakwiba Sikota for introducing a new vocabulary in my economics which is “structural poverty”.


Mr Magande: Let us now try to change these structures so that the people can see these opportunities.

Mr Speaker, in Asia, it took them about thirty years to halve the people living in poverty. Luckily, they all decided on the definition of poverty and that the Government was going to lead the process and population control and family planning were going to be part of this process.

Hon. PF Members: Where?

Mr Magande: With the Internet service, we should develop the country much faster, as modern technology is readily available for downloading.

Mr Speaker, I wish to end by sincerely thanking the hon. Members for there contributions through the policy debate. I humbly request for a speedy approval of the Estimates and the legislation that will be presented so that the Appropriations Bill can be passed as soon as possible to facilitate early implementation of the 2008 Budget.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: I hope the laughter has ended.

Question put and agreed to.

____________ {mospagebreak}




VOTE 01  (Office of the President  State House  K20,726,357,600).

The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Madam Chairperson, I wish to thank you most sincerely for according me this rare opportunity to present to this august House the 2008 Estimates of Recurrent and Capital Expenditure for Vote 01/01  Office of the President  State House.

Madam Chairperson, the policy objectives and the role of State House are summed up in the following mission statement:

“To provide visionary and effective economic, social and political leadership to the nation in line with the Constitution in order to facilitate sustainable development, promote peace, stability, rule of law and democratic governance.”

In support of this mission statement and to give specific focus and direction to its operation, the institution has set itself the following goal.

“To effectively guide the operation of the Government, promote national unity, attain economic growth and reduce corruption and poverty in the country.”

Madam Chairperson, State House has continued to endeavour to operate within this mission statement to provide a conducive environment under which the Presidency has effectively and efficiently guided the operations of the Government, promoted national unity, attained economic growth, minimised levels of corruption and reduced levels of poverty in the country.

Overview of 2008 Operations

Madam Chairperson, State House has registered significant developments in its operations arising from micro-economic stability and growth that has been achieved as a result of sound economic policies by the MMD New Deal Government. This has resulted in the 100 per cent release of our authorised budgetary provision by the Treasury. This, coupled with successive restructuring of State House under the Public Service Reform Programme (PSRP), made it easier to provide quality leadership and direction to the nation. It also enables us to effectively and efficiently implement the Government programmes across ministerial and agency lines as it responded to critical challenges and opportunities of presidential importance and priority.

The restructuring of the institution assisted in its effective articulation to the public, Government major themes and goals as well as to the progress made in dealing with the nation’s challenge.

Budget for 2008

Madam Chairperson, the Budget for 2008, with its theme stated as “Unlocking Resources for Economic Empowerment and Wealth Creation” is based on the development focus of the Vision 2030, the Fifth National Development Plan and the fundamentals of 2007/2009 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF).

Madam Chairperson, State House functions through three key departments listed as follows:

(i) Presidential Secretariat, which is responsible for efficient and effective execution of presidential day-to-day programmes;

(ii) Advisory Services, which comprises of five distinct areas of specialisation with a critical role of providing professional and technical back up reporting to His Excellency the President on various divergent matters that are brought to the attention of the highest office in the land; and

(iii) Administration, which is charged with the main roles of efficiently and effectively managing of staff, provision of logistical and material support services to facilitate smooth operations of the institution. In addition, it is responsible for the maintenance of the State House surroundings and management of State lodges and the State Lodge farm.

Madam Chairperson, State House requires this Budget to carry out its mandate which has been provided for in this year’s Budget. The institution shall, among its programmes, facilitate in paying all the personal emoluments which have been budgeted for.

Madam Chairperson, the high mobility of State House operations requires the maintenance, comprehensive insurance and servicing of VIP and operational transport fleet at high standards.

Madam Chairperson, the other area of concern is the state of State House Buildings and surroundings which require continuous maintenance, as the buildings are old and repairs are inevitable. We would like to ensure that the State House and State Lodge compounds, which house our members of staff, are maintained to acceptable standards. It is my considered view that sufficient funds will be allocated to this operation in order for His Excellency the President to operate in a conducive environment.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Madam Chairperson, I will be very brief in my debate. I thank you for affording me this opportunity to debate the State House Vote. My debate will be confined to two items in the estimates for State House.

Madam Chairperson, as much as we appreciate the importance of State House, I found it very unusual or quite unacceptable that we are going to provide K450 million for the maintenance of State House every year. Last year, we provided K503 million and this year, State House is asking for K450 million for maintenance of the State House. One would want to ask what they maintain that would cost K503 million per year. We, as a House, need to be given details of this expenditure because there are a lot of other Government institutions and departments that need maintenance. We are not only going to look at the State House gobble K503 million last year and K450 million this year. If you look at institutional houses, such as teachers’ houses, they are in a dilapidated state. Therefore, the resources of the country must be taken to all these institutions other than continuously giving large sums of money for the maintenance of the State House every year.

The other issue that I would like to talk about is the landscaping at State House. Like I said, last year on this issue, we keep putting money in the Budget, but we are not seeing any improvements on the grounds of the State House. We only see the State House green during the rainy season. Where does the money go? Last year, we provided K112 million, and yet from February to October, 2007, we saw dry grounds at State House.

Hon. Government Members interjected

Mr Kambwili: You have eyes, but you cannot use them. Start seeing. We want to see results where we put our money. I would like to urge the people who are in charge of looking after the State House to pull up their socks and use the resources accordingly. It is disturbing to note that for some of the hon. Members, when you mention the State House, it is like you have touched their hearts. The State House is a national institution. It does not belong to Hon. Jonas Shakafuswa and his relatives. The State House is a national institution which belongs to all of us and whatever happens at the State House, we are concerned.

I would like to see an improvement on the grounds of State House now that we are giving them K120 million.

With these few words, Madam Chairperson, I beg to move.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank you for allowing me to contribute on this very important Vote. From the outset, let me adopt Hon. Chishimba Kambwili’s debate as my own, particularly on the physical condition of State House.

Dr Kazonga: When did you go there?

Mr Lubinda: It is clear that not all of us are privileged to go right into the kitchen of the State House. And I do accept Hon. Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing that I might not have gone into the kitchen of the State House, but every Zambian has the privilege of seeing the State House from the outside, which is the nearest that we can see, we, the ordinary people. It is very clear that as you drive along the President’s Lane, you will see that, indeed, that the State House has been run as though it has not been allocated resources for the maintenance of its yards.

I would like to agree with Hon. Chishimba Kambwili that it is as though we have not been allocating more than K100 million every year to the maintenance of the State House. I have to state that, over the last few weeks, those of us who use that road frequently were delighted to see that at long last there is some activity taking place with regard to fencing up of the State House compound. That could have happened several years ago, given the amount of resources that this Parliament has been providing to the State House.

We ay this, Madam, because we are concerned about that House because it belongs to every Zambian and that is the reason this House has always been generous in providing money for the maintenance, landscaping and gardening maintenance of the Sate House. I would like to pose this question to His Honour the Vice-President: How many years shall it take to landscape the State House? Last year, we allocated money specifically for landscaping. In 2002, I remember, again, we allocated money for Landscaping. Every year, we allocate money for Landscaping. How long does it take you to landscape, and yet we do not see any improvement? Is it because you contract ill-qualified landscaping specialists? I hope that this will be the last time that we are seeing an allocation to Landscaping. There will be no problem at all for us to allocate money for the maintenance of gardening, but for goodness’ sake, we cannot keep landscaping.

You should drive along Independence Avenue, Madam, and look at the sad state of the garden that was established there by one Mr Michael Sata when he was Governor of Lusaka. Sometimes you wonder where the K112 million we gave them last year went to. Is it because of lack of staff to maintain the gardens?

Madam Chairperson, let me move away from that and talk about a matter that the hon. Deputy Minister for Finance and National Planning last year responded to. This was a matter concerning staff welfare. This is a general matter, not necessarily for the State House, but also throughout the ministries.

Last year, when I was debating this matter, I asked why there was such a huge increase in the staff welfare allocation at State House and all other ministries and, in particular, the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. The response offered by the Executive was that this was money that was meant to boost the morale of staff. They said that this money was for loans to staff and so on.

Madam Chairperson, at that time, we hoped that this would be a revolving fund because loans are not supposed to be taken away forever. When a person gets a loan, it comes back to the institution. However, if you look at the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, you do not see any collection to loans. This means that the vote itself has maintained the K200 million allocated last year for Staff Welfare. This year, the State House is asking for an additional K80 million. What is the reason for this? I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and, in particular, the Vice-President to give a response to this. Why is it that the Revolving Fund of K200 million that was given last year has been written off and another K80 million is being asked for now?

Madam, another matter which I discussed last year which I would like to refer to again is the matter of transport management at the State House. When I debated this matter last year, I said that K5.1 billion for the management of transport sounded like a large figure to me. This year, the figure has been increased to K6 billion.

Madam Chairperson, can I get a categorical answer this year on whether that transport management includes the air transport for the President or is it just motorised transport? Surely, is K6 billion per year not far too much for the President’s motorised transport? Is that justified in a country where, unlike what the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning said, poverty is ravaging and unlike what Hon. Mulongoti said yesterday, that we should not talk about poverty in rural areas because those people are content with what they have, …

Hon. PF Members: Shame, shame!

Mr Lubinda: …all of us know that the people in the villages are content because they have no other option, but to accept their circumstance? They are expecting the Government to provide some kind of relief to them. Is it justified in a country like this, to spend K6 billion on motorised transport for the President?

Madam, a matter that I talked about when I was debating the Budget relates to this Office, Office of the President. All of us remember that His Excellency the President moved his hon. Deputy Minister from the State House to another Ministry before the close of 2007. In place of that position of Deputy Minister, he established the Office of Minister for Presidential Affairs.

Ms Mumbi: MMD Minister!

Mr Lubinda: If you look at this official register of establishment, you will see that the position is not provided for.

Ms Mumbi: He is an MMD Minister!

Mr Lubinda: On page two of this document is the establishment register for the State House. You do not find it in here. There is no position of Cabinet Minister for Presidential Affairs.

Mr Nkhata interjected.

Mr Lubinda: I would like to seek clarification from His Honour the Vice-President.

Mr Kambwili: Ichongo. Finshi waishiba, iwe, Nkhata?

Mr Lubinda: What is provided for here is Deputy Minister.

Mr Kambwili: You are just a cadre!

Mr Lubinda: Is this what is also provided for in the Budget? Is it the Deputy Minister’s emoluments or the Cabinet Minister’s emoluments that are provided for?

Madam Chair, I reiterate what I asked. I hoped that in winding up debate, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning would respond to the question I raised. I also hoped that when the Vice-President was presenting the policy debate on the State House, he would refer to the matter that I talked about. What is the clear job description of the Minister for Presidential Affairs? He has been away the last two days and we know that he is in Kanyama organising cadres.


Mr Lubinda: Madam, even after the Chief Whip wrote to all of us emphasising the importance of Parliament …

Mr Mulongoti: On a point of order, Madam.

Mr Kanyanyamina: Ikala panshi, iwe, pantu tamufwaya ukumfwa ifishinka, ebwafya.

 Mr Lubinda: … would the Chief Whip also, on the other hand, allow the recently appointed hon. Minister for Presidential Affairs …

The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kanyanyamina: Ulandeko ifyamano lelo.

Mr Mulongoti: Madam Chairperson, is the hon. Member debating in order to misinform this House that the hon. Minister for Presidential Affairs is not here because he is in Kanyama, without seeking facts?

Dr Katema: I saw him there.


The Chairperson: Order! The concern of the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting is that Hon. Lubinda, who is debating, has stated that the hon. Minister for Presidential Affairs is in Kanyama. The hon. Minister says that this is not a fact. Can Hon. Lubinda clarify? Please, withdraw that statement if it is not a fact.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Lubinda: Madam Chairperson, several politicians are currently in Kanyama and several of them, who have interacted with the person in question, …

The Chairperson: The point of order was on one specific hon. Minister and, therefore, you may state it as a fact. If you have not seen him, then that is misleading. We know there are many politicians in Kanyama Constituency, but we are talking about one particular hon. Minister. Can you state your fact as you know it and not hearsay?


The Chairperson: Order!

Mr Lubinda: Madam, since that information is hearsay, like you said, and not that I saw him myself, I, therefore, wish to withdraw it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Nonetheless, I still reiterate my request for clarification by the Executive on whether it was a slip of the tongue by His Excellency the President when in swearing in his Minister for Presidential Affairs, he stated very categorically that he expected him to organise the MMD cadres. If that be the case, I am sure that these custodians of the tax payer’s money would like to withdraw the allocation that is meant for that position.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Madam, it would be totally irresponsible to expect these hon. Members of Parliament to come to this House and appropriate money for the functioning of a political party.

Dr Katema: Ebaume aba!

Mr Lubinda: It would be unacceptable to the Zambian people that these hon. Men and Women, gathered in this House, should come and appropriate millions and billions of the taxpayer’s money for the sake of somebody going to organise branches, sections and wards in Kanyama Constituency for the benefit of one political party to the exclusion of others. That would be extremely shameful.

Hon. Kanyanyamina: Indeed.

Mr Lubinda: This is what I am pleading for. I am actually requesting that you should not lump us with the responsibility of going to answer to the people because when we pass this Vote without an answer from the Executive, we shall be held equally responsible. I do not want to go to the people of Kabwata and say yes, today we passed a Vote for State House and, included in there, is a person responsible for cadres for MMD.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: That is to expect blood from me …

Mr Kambwili: Bwekeshapo apo.

Mr Lubinda: … and I am not willing to be party to that decision. All I am asking is for you to remove the controversy. Can you, please, clarify the actual position? In addition, I am thinking for my good brother Hon. Cecil Holmes, a man who hails from Chisamba, close to my mother’s village, who, like me, is connected to the family tree.


Mr Lubinda: I would like to say that he must be feeling extremely humiliated wherever he is.

Ms Mumbi: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Member: Alangizi.

Mr Lubinda: Could you, please, clarify that statement by His Excellency for the sake of Hon. Holmes too?

Finally, I would like to ask my good brother Hon. Shakafuswa who, last year, mentioned to me that the animals at the State House are sacred to explain something to me. Last year, he gave me the figures of the animals and when he and I computed the figures, we agreed that every animal at the State House was being allocated K78,000,00 This year, I see that there is an increase to K80 million. Is it because there have been new calves at the State House or is it because the animals at the State House must be protected against inflation?


Mr Lubinda: If so, how come you have not protected the children in schools against inflation? Have some of those animals qualified now to go the university and require extra stipend?

Ms Mumbi: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa: Buluya!

Mr Lubinda: May Hon. Shakafuswa, please, not answer back, but get the opportunity, through you, Madam Chairperson, to clarify these issues because I think, I am asking, very innocently, on behalf of the people who have no opportunity to come and ask Hon. Shakafuswa.

I thank you very much, Madam.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shakafuswa Stood up.

Mr Kambwili: Iwe, ku State House te kumushi kumyenu. Ikala panshi!

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I would like to begin by responding to the issues that have been raised by Hon. Kambwili. I also would like to say that, in his debate, he engaged himself in gross misrepresentation of facts …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mponbo: … because there is no basis for what he said. When you talk about landscaping, you are talking about an item that is not only confined to the State House, in Lusaka. You are talking about the State Lodge and the Presidential Guest House in Ndola. If you go to the State House, you would be amazed at the amount of work being done out of these little sums of money.

Mr Kanyanyamina: Tatuyako. Nomba tukeshina shani?

Mr Mpombo: Therefore, those facts are totally misplaced. The State House will continue to lead by example, as the highest office on the land. The areas outside the State House are a responsibility of the Lusaka City Council which is under the Patriotic Front (PF).

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Mpombo: Yes!

Mr Shakafuswa Stood up.


The Chairperson: Order! Let us not turn the House into a situation where people even stand up to speak across the Floor. There is only one hon. Member who is given the right to speak at any given time. I think we already know, as hon. Members of this Committee, how to respond either to affirm what the other person is saying or to disagree. Let us not fail to have personal or self control. This is expected of us.

May the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House, continue, please.

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, like I was saying, everything is in order. The State House has proceeded in a very tide manner.

Mr Kanyanyamina: Bikenipo ka bombastic word, kabili!

Mr Mpombo: The records are there for anyone to see. We would like to emphasise the point that the State House is a national institution.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: It does not belong to President Mwanawasa. Therefore, when we are speaking, we must avoid political innuendos.


Mr Mpombo: Hon. Lubinda commented on the issue of the welfare of the staff at State House. Madam Chairperson, every civilised society must place emphasis on training because if you do not expose your staff to the latest techniques, they will not be able to deliver. Therefore, the State House will continue to make provision for the training of its staff.

Mr Kambwili: Welfare!

Mr Mpombo: Yes. Welfare includes training.

With regard to transport, although Hon. Lubinda would have raised this issue, as per our tradition on the next stage of discussion, …

Mr Lubinda interjected.

Mr Mpombo: … because you raised the issue of transport, but I would like to give you the details of transport. The increase is due to the change in the prices of fuel and increase in the fleet of vehicles. Petrol is K960 million, …

Mr Shakafuswa: It is not only about the Presidential Motorcade.

Mr Mpombo: … diesel is K1 billion and insurance is K3,960 million and the total is K600 million.

Therefore, this provision is meant to service, –of course, everybody is aware, if they have been keeping abreast with developments in the world today, about the way the prices of fuel have been going up. We are also, equally, affected. This is not something that could be out of this world. It is within the expected norms of operations.

Madam Chairperson, with regard to Hon. Holmes’ appointment, I would like to emphasise that there is a tendency, in this country, of wilfully distorting facts.


Mr Mpombo: He is an hon. Minister and the President has powers under the Constitution to appoint ministers. Therefore, that is not debatable although somebody raised an issue therefrom. The President referred to Hon. Holmes as his right hand man who would assist him in the State crafts or in running the State’s affairs. There is nothing wrong, really, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: … in the President sending him to the Copperbelt or even anywhere. He is under the President and you can never divorce your office from your party. No Government, not even the United Kingdom (UK) Government, would divorce itself from the ruling party. The Prime Minister would never divorce himself from the ruling Labour Party.


Mr Mpombo: Yes! For instance, there is nothing wrong in me …


Mr Mpombo: Therefore, we would like to state that there is nothing fishy in that situation. I would like to clarify that issue because it has been blown out of proportion. The President did not say he was appointing a party cadre. No. You are misrepresenting the facts. The President can assign anybody to do anything, but not that he would be a fulltime party cadre. No.

Mr Shakafuswa: Sometimes!

Mr Mpombo: Hon. Holmes is a man of impeccable credentials.


Mr Shakafuswa: Mwalitemwa ukwiba e problem.

Mr Mpombo: Therefore, I would like to assure everybody that the State House will continue to operate in the manner it is operating to ensure that, as the highest office on the land, it continues to discharge its functions in an efficient manner for it to deliver.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 01/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.{mospagebreak}

VOTE 02 – (Office of the Vice-President – K23,363,476,335).

The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Madam Chairperson, I rise to present the Estimates of Expenditure for my office which is Head 02. In doing so, allow me to thank the mover of this Motion, Hon. Nga’ndu Magande, MP, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, for coming  up with this enabling and development focused Budget. I also extend my thanks to the seconder of the Motion.

Madam Chairperson, I present these Budget Estimates against the background of the devastating floods that have engulfed the whole of the Southern Africa region, including our country, Malawi and Mozambique being the most affected. Large areas in the Southern Province and along the Zambezi and Kafue River Valleys are flooded, leading to destruction of traditional houses, crop fields, roads, culverts and bridges. I, therefore, trust that the hon. Members will take this into account as they consider this Budget.

Madam Chairperson, for the sake of the new hon. Members in the House, allow me to reinstate that my office derives its legal status from Article 45 of the Republican Constitution. My office performs its statutory duties through four departments namely; the Department of Human Resource and Administration, Parliamentary Business Division, Disaster Management and Mitigation Unity and Resettlement Department.

Additionally, by virtue of its position and as the second highest office in the land, my office also performs important cross-cutting functions on issues referred to it by the line ministries and other institutions, including matters such as social welfare, poverty alleviation, HIV/AIDS, chiefs’ affairs and traditional ceremonies, religious affairs, labour and public relations, to mention but a few.

Madam, in implementing its portfolio functions, the Office of the Vice-President is guided by a strategic mission statement which is to facilitate the effective conduct of Government Business in Parliament, management of disaster and resettlement programmes in order to enhance good governance and empowerment of vulnerable households.

Madam, necessary institution capacities have to be created and sustained to contain the increasing weather-related disasters that may continue to affect us in the context of the global warming. Similarly, to effectively respond to the increasing workload emanating from the ongoing Parliamentary Reforms, more resources are required to enable the provision of timely and well researched information for decision making.

Madam Chairperson, we need to provide adequate infrastructure in the form of access roads, schools, clinics and electricity in the resettlement schemes to enable them function as rural development growth centres that will attract investment into rural areas. Presently, most of the resettlement schemes lack basic physical and social infrastructure to make them truly habitable due to low funding.

Madam, at the beginning of 2007, the House approved a Budget Estimate of K20,788,677,995 for the execution of programmes and activities in my Ministry. This amount proved to be inadequate as we had to apply for a supplementary provision of K41,850,000,000 so as to cope with our workload.

Madam, as Leader of Government Business in this House, one of my primary responsibilities is to co-ordinate the performance of parliamentary oversight functions by ministries and other Government institutions. The Parliamentary Business Division in my office assists me to perform this role on a day-to-day basis.

Madam, among other things, the division co-ordinates the processing of Parliamentary Questions, Government Bills, Annual Reports, Production of Government Action-Taken Reports and all business which comes up for consideration by the august House. The workload of co-ordinating parliamentary work, among the twenty-two Government ministries, numerous public commissions and quasi-Government institutions and nine provinces is, indeed, quite challenging, particularly, in view of the on-going Parliamentary Reforms which have increased the workload without a matching resource allocation.

Madam, to enhance the increased flow of decision-making information required by this House and to promote transparency and accountability, it is necessary to provide sufficient resources to support these expanded activities. I am, therefore, counting on the support of the House to approve the estimates, as I now lay before it. These estimates are meant to assist me effectively discharge my role as Leader of Government Business in the House and, in the process, serve the House in an efficient manner.

Madam Chairperson, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Vote pertaining to the Office of the Vice-President. I will restrict myself to the vote pertaining to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Department.

Madam Chairperson, I have noted the lamentations of His Honour the Vice-President, Hon. Mpombo, MP, on the issue of flooding in the Southern Province and other areas. He has said the Government is ready and able to deal with the issues of flooding. The same statement was made by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning that the Government is adequately prepared to finance any situation that arises out of these disasters occurring today.

Madam Speaker, alas, the budgetary provisions in this year’s Budget indicate a reduction of more than 100 per cent compared to last year’s Budget when there was not as many serious problems of flooding as the one we have at the moment in the country. Why are they under budgeting if they know that there is a serious problem in the country? Why can they not provide adequate figures in the Budget so that there is transparency and all of us know how much money is thereto allocated? They were warned of the eminent flooding in this country in advance. Why did they not take measures to ensure that money was adequately provided for?

Madam, I note the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is referring to issues of contingency. The money that is under contingency which is approximately K90 billion is not adequate. If you look at the situation obtaining on the ground, most of the roads are no longer there and the crops have been destroyed. K90 billion is not adequate.

In this regard, I would appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to adequately cater for the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit in this year’s Budget. I do not agree with him proposing a Supplementary Budget at a later stage. Why should we wait for a Supplementary Budget when we have not approved the Budget? Why should we not transfer some of those funds for contingencies to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit?

Madam Chairperson, as the situation is obtaining now, most of the people affected by the floods in Zambia and the Southern Province in particular, have not received any assistance from the Government. People are lamenting and pleading to the Government for assistance. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit is placing adverts on television and newspapers soliciting for support because they do not have enough resources. Why should you mislead us that you have the required resources? We are trying to assist you by ensuring that there is adequate provision in the Budget.

Therefore, I would like to impress it upon the Government that it is not too late for the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and His Honour the Vice-President to make adjustments and indicate a figure that is reasonable to deal with the disaster situation in the country. I know some of you, when there is a disaster, are content and say that the people are happy because they are used to staying in flooded areas. That is not correct.

Hon. Opposition Members: It is immoral!

Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I would like to appeal to the Government to seriously address the issues of flooding in the country.

Madam Chairperson, with those few remarks, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I would like to begin by taking my hat off to Hon. Mwiimbu for the strong and helpful comment. This is a serious matter and, as a Government, we want to bring on board any constructive idea. Before I sit down, I would like to say that it is absolutely difficult to plan for the vagaries of the weather …


Mr Mpombo: … because of global warming. Presently, in China, they are experiencing the biggest snow storm in over eighty years. It is also the same with Hurricane Katrina in the United States and other natural disasters in Britain. Therefore, the whole world is having problems because of global warning.

Sir, the figure may look small, but this is only because some of the functions are handled by the Ministry of Works and Supply. However, we will certainly take into account your very constructive advice.

I thank you, Madam.

Vote 02/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 02/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 02/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 02/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 03/01 – (National Assembly - Headquarters – K163, 323,066,105)

The Chairperson: Before I go further on this one, let me remind the hon. Members of the Committee that we do not debate this Vote. We do not debate ourselves.

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Magande): Madam Chairperson, we had circulated an amendment, but after some discussions, I wish to propose that it be withdrawn.

Question put and agreed to. Leave granted.

Amendment, by leave, accordingly withdrawn.

Vote 03/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.{mospagebreak}

VOTE 05 – (Electoral Commission – K 30,201,925,190)

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I wish to thank you for the opportunity given to present the Electoral Commission of Zambia 2008 Budget.

Madam, the Electoral Commission of Zambia was established as an autonomous body under Article 76 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia to conduct elections to the Office of the President and the National Assembly. The Commission is also mandated to review the constituency boundaries into which Zambia is divided for purpose of election to the National Assembly.

Madam Chairperson, the core purpose of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, therefore, is to enable citizens to elect their representatives. In addition to the constitutional functions, the Commission has statutory functions that include the supervision of a referendum, conduct and supervision of Local Government elections and the performance of any other statutory function that the National assembly may call upon it.

The Electoral Commission Act, No. 24 of 1996 provides for the composition and operations of the Commission. The Electoral Act, No.12 of 2006 empowers the Electoral Commission to enforce the Act, make regulations providing for the registration of voters, conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections and election offences and penalties.

Madam Chairperson, the Electoral Commission of Zambia recently revised its mission statement which is:

“To be a professional Electoral Commission with excellence at every stage of the electoral process by 2011 that every electoral management body can look up to.”

Madam, the Commission’s mission statement justifies the fundamental purpose of its existence and provides for a vision to strive towards, a framework with the Commission’s policies will be made and programmes and activities carried out to enrich and further strengthen the electoral process, thereby, contributing to democratic governance in the country. It further gives the staff of the Commission a clear sense of what their organisation is all about, thereby, increasing their commitment to achieving the Commission’s goals and objectives.

Madam Chairperson, the Electoral Commissions of Zambia’s goals are:

i. to be an efficient, effective and responsible electoral body;

ii. to excel in the management of electoral activities and conduct of free and fair elections;

iii. to improve public perception of the ECZ by fostering co-operation and understanding with all stakeholders to promote the credibility of the electoral process;

iv. to achieve financial stability for smooth flow of operations and enhanced performance; and

v. to improve the capacity of staff in the implementation of the mandate of the Commission.

Madam Chairperson, following the 2006 Tripartite Elections, the Commission undertook several activities last year.


Sir, during the year 2007, the Electoral Commission of Zambia conducted two parliamentary by-elections for Kapoche and Nchanga Constituencies and Local Government by-election in twenty-one council wards.

Election Petitions

Following the 2006 Tripartite Elections, a total of forty-one election petitions were filed in the High Court. Forty of the petitions were parliamentary and only one Local Government election petition was filed. There was no presidential election petition. By 31st December, 2007, all the 2006 election petitions had been decided by the High Court.

Review of Electoral Information Management Systems (EIMS)

Madam Chairperson, in the period leading to the 2006 Tripartite Elections, the Electoral Commission implemented new Electoral Information Management Systems (EIMS). The EIMS consists of three major modules namely; Centralised Permanent Voters Registration System (CPVRS), Decentralised Candidate Management System (CMS) and Decentralised Election Results Management System (RMS).

In May, 2007, the Commission with the assistance of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) engaged two consultants to review the EIMS. The objective of this consultancy was to ascertain the following:

(a) whether the EIMS Project objectives had been met and at what optimum cost;

(b) gaps between ECZ operational requirements and functionality of the EIMS;

(c) the steps ECZ needed to take to bridge these gaps; and

(d) the long-term sustainability of the technology employed in the existing solution and proposed alternatives where possible.

The consultancy reports noted a number of enhancements to the modules to make them comprehensive and other areas in which the Commission could benefit from computerisation.

Madam Chairperson, in 2008, the Commission will continue to address the areas identified by the consultancy and, indeed, those from lessons learnt arising from the 2006 Elections. The issues being addressed include the efficient correction of errors in the voters’ register, enhancing the candidate management system and the efficient compilation and transmission of results.

District Audits and Collections of Election Materials and Equipment

The Commission, in liaison with the Office of the Auditor-General, undertook a countrywide audit of voter’s registration and elections funds. There has been some improvement in most councils’ accountability of funds due to the accounting controls which have been implemented by the Commission.

The Commission also conducted a countrywide stock take of all election materials and equipment and those requiring storage at the Commission were retrieved from the districts.

Stakeholder Interaction

The Electoral Commission of Zambia continues to interact closely with the political parties, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to further improve the electoral process.

In 2007, the Commission established the Political Parties Liaison Committee which is a Committee of the Commission, comprising representatives from registered political parties.

Terms of Reference Provide for the Committee to undertake the following:

(a) be a form for consultation and co-operation between the Commission and  registered political parties on all electoral matters;

(b) promote harmony, trust and confidence among stakeholders in the electoral process; 

(c) enhance Members’ understanding of the role of the Electoral Commission of Zambia and the political parties in the process; and

(d) share knowledge, skills and strategies of participation in the electoral process and acknowledgement of dissenting view points.

Madam Chairperson, currently fifteen registered political parties are Members f the Committee.

2008 Budget

Personal Emoluments

The Commission required competitive salaries and other conditions of service to attract and retain qualified personnel to effectively manage and develop human resources for the efficient operations of the Commission.

General Administration

Madam Chairperson, the Commission will need to manage both human and material resources efficiently to derive maximum benefit from its asset base. The expanded fleet of vehicles entails an upward movement in the cost of insurance and maintenance of vehicles. However, the Commission will capitalise on its own service bay to minimise the cost of maintaining the vehicles.

Madam Chairperson, this Vote has a provision for the liquidation of 2006 Elections arrears.

Financial Management System

The Commission has in place an enhanced financial management system. This Budget line covers the operations of the financial management systems aimed at enhancing accountability, internal control and financial decision making.

Enhancement of Procurement System

As part of the enhancement of the Commission’s Procurement Department, provisions have been made for the renovation of office accommodation to cater for the increased number of staff in the Department.

Corporate Image Building

Madam Chairperson, the Electoral Commission of Zambia will continue to inform the public about its roles and functions as well as endeavour to improve its public image to build and sustain public confidence in the Commission and the electoral process as a whole. It is in this regard that the Budget line also provides for the operations of the Commission’s Political Parties’ Liaison Committee.

Madam Chairperson, the Commission is continuing with its review of the electoral registration that it commenced in 2006. There is also a provision for the enforcement of the electoral laws and petition hearings.

Continuous Voters’ Registration

Madam Chairperson, the Commission still intends to commence continuous voters’ registration in compliance with the law that was passed in 2001 and to meet the stakeholders’ demands and expectation. However, the financial requirements for implementing the programme are beyond the scope of this budget due to budgetary constraints. The amount required to commence continuous voter registration is K119 billion.

Enhancement of Information Management Systems

Madam Chairperson, the Commission’s advanced election information management information system will require continuous maintenance and software upgrading to keep abreast with the technological changes.


As required by the law, the Commission will need to conduct Parliamentary and Local Government By-elections, should vacancies occur for various reasons. The District Conflict Management Committees will be operational in case of By-elections. The Commission is committed to accountability and transparency, but, due to financial constraints, will not be able to undertake audit visits to all the seventy-two districts as planned.

Voters’ Education

In compliance with the Electoral Act, the Commission will continue to educate and inform the general public on the electoral process and Commission’s activities. A provision has been made for the establishment of a first voters’ education resource and information centre in Lusaka.

Madam Chairperson, I now seek the support of the House in approving the Commission’s budget.

I thank you, Madam Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muyanda (Sinazongwe): Madam Chairperson, to start with, I would like to say that I am very disappointed that in this Year’s Budget, the Electoral Commission, specifically, breached the law of this Government. Why are they not obeying the law this august House made.

Madam, the registration of voters is supposed to be a continuous process. The law that so stipulates is in place. Time and again when we say, we shall offer constructive criticism, this is what we talk about. There is no money this year. Why? Could we have an explanation on the Floor of this House? The voters must be continuously registered.

Madam Chairperson, it is also surprising that there is a provision of K4 billion for By-elections which are not foreseen. Why? Let us have an answer because this is a factual debate. We should have allocated the K4 billion to voters’ continuous registration. Suppose we have no by-elections the whole year round, what will they do with the K4 billion? This is what we mean when we say it is wrong or bad management of a Government. Can we have this redressed?

Madam Chairperson, I have registered the point and I believe this point is valid.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Thank you, Madam Chairperson. I would like just to underline the last debater’s concern because we share that concern, I share that concern. It is legally binding on the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) or the Government to register voters continuously. However, when we see absolutely zero money voted to that line, as opposed to a mere 84 million which was small enough last year, we get worried that we are looking at another bit of massaging of the voter’s roll in future elections.

Madam Chairperson, you will recall that in the last general elections, the ECZ found itself in a most unfortunate position. They were almost a million voters short of their target because the Ministry of Home Affairs, National Registration Department, seemed to suddenly have got itself 2.5 million people behind in registration. Then, in areas such as Chibombo and Mpongwe, we saw mobile registration teams going virtually house to house, resulting in a 100 per cent registration. In many areas of the Southern Province and the Copperbelt Province, there was only 60 per cent registration because people had to travel and look for their national registration cards.

Madam Chairperson, what we do not want to see on this side of the House this time around, is a similar delaying exercise that suddenly turns into a manufactured panic, where the job cannot be done properly because there is insufficient time. We are getting this picture all over Africa. There is a long report that has just been written on the preparations for the Zimbabwe elections where they talk about the differential registration of voters in different parts of the country. We have seen the same kind of problem in Tanzania, and I do not want to mention Kenya yet again.

Therefore, Madam Chairperson, what I think we and I are worried about is this potential for manufactured imperfections in the voter’s roll. Also there is a concern that the ECZ has even less to spend this year than last year when there were also no general elections. It is down from K37,865,215,510 to K30,201,925,190. The question is: are we shutting it down, waiting for a sudden election sometime when they cannot do their job? The ECZ should be spending times like this perfecting their control of elections. For example, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs has told us that he intends to bring new identity documents, new national registration cards.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: We need assurances that the new identity documents will click with the electoral requirements of this country and not provide another filtration system for voters. K9 million for Conflict Management is a small number of conflicts that the people are foreseeing having to manage. K9 million may be for one or two meetings or a workshop. Some of these figures are not realistic and are far from strengthening ECZ and allowing it to get better control over the electoral process, especially in the rural areas. Without that, we will just be complaining until suddenly we find it has come upon us unawares again. Therefore, you can rest be assured, Madam Chairperson, that I am speaking for what this side of the House, not one part of it or another part of it or one faction of it, feel as well.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I would like to begin by stating that this Government is founded on the bedrock of good governance.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mpombo: We have taken both what Dr Guy Scott and Hon. Muyanda have expressed. They are very important points. I would like to assure you that the Opposition are indispensable political partners in this process.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpombo: Therefore, we will always consult you and when you bring up valid points they will be taken on board.

I thank you, Madam Chairperson.

Vote 05/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 06/01 – (Public Service Commission – Office of the President ─ K3,509,530,177).

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity accorded to me to present this year’s estimate of expenditure for the Public Service Commission.

Madam Chairperson, the Public Service Commission, established under Section 7A of the Service Commission Act No. 24 of 1991, Section 13C6 and 21 of the same Act empower the Commission to make, with the consent of the President of Republic of Zambia, regulations regarding its operation procedures and confer powers or impose duties on any other or authority of the Government for the purpose of discharging its functions.

Madam Chairperson, the work of the Commission is directed by the following mission statement. To ensure integrity, equity and professionalism in the conduct of appointments, promotions, disciplinary control and separation in the Public Service in order to enhance delivery of quality service.

Madam Chairperson, the functions of the Commission are prescribed under Section 93 of the Service Commission up to as follows:

(a) To make appointments to any officer of senior service;

(b) to make appointments on probation, confirmation, in appointments, promotions retirements and transfer in the civil service;

(c) to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in the establishing of service posts and remove any person from such office;

(d) to prescribe policies and procedure for employment in the public service;

(e) to provide advice to the President on policies and procedures for employing and for the conduct and discipline of officers in the public;

(f) to act an apparent body of the Public Service;

(g) to implement and review the rules, policies and procedures for employment and for control and discipline in the public service;

(h) to authorise any withholding, deduction, deferment, suspension of salary increment or pension benefits in the administration of the disciplinary code; and

(i) to prescribe the disciplinary code and procedure for handling offences in the public service.

Madam Chairperson, the Commission has had, during the year 2007, to strive to fulfil its various functions already mentioned above and under the tight budget of K3, 489,017,984. Though this amount was more than the approved allocation of K1,404,668,732 for the year 2006, the Commission was not able to fulfil all the programmes planned for the year.

Madam Chairperson: Order

Business was suspended from 1815 hours to 1830 hours.

[THE CHAIRPERSON in the Chair]

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I am glad to report that during 2007, the Commission purchased two 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicles, thus improving the transport situation to an extent. However, the Commission hopes to purchase two more 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicles and a thirty-two seater bus to further boost the vehicle fleet. The Computerisation Programme, which began in 2000, is earmarked for completion this year. Two to three foreign study tours to sister Commonwealth countries are planned for, in view of the ongoing restructuring of the Commission.

The refurbishment of the commission’s office premises, staff welfare and training are the other programmes being implemented during 2008.

Madam Chairperson, it is in view of this that I present for this year a Budget request for the Commission amounting to K3,509,530,177. This should, all things being equal, enable the Commission to meet its targets for the year. This year’s Budget is more by K20,512,193 as compared to last years. The increase is due to the newly approved organisational structure of the Commission which has resulted in the increase in the personal emoluments vote.

I thank you, Madam.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Madam Chairperson, I stand to support these small amounts of money, as allocated by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, with a lot of reservations. The real issues will come when we debate the ministries that are directly supporting the poor. The Public Service Commission is merely an institution that facilitates the supporting of the poor. Against that background, I support the Vote. However, today is Valentine’s Day and I urge all my friends to go back home and wish their spouses a Happy Valentine.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Madam Chairperson, compassion starts from a family. You cannot have a community with compassion if it does not start from families. Therefore, it is very important for all the people who believe in the values of family to bear this in mind. If they are not dressed with some red on them, it is time they do so. We shall only love each other if we love our own wives or husbands and children.

Hon. UNPD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Madam Chairperson, finally, …


Mr Matongo: … I have one message for the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House and this must be taken seriously. The distortions in the Public Service salaries and pensions in this country, for many years, have bred hatred and lack of compassion and love that I have just advocated. I would like to call upon his office, while we are looking at the national Constitution, to appoint a national salaries review commission that should look a few years back so that we can address the pensions of those whom we hurt when we came into power or when the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) came into power in 1991. We need such a commission because the distortions of salaries in the Public Service are amazing. It is like those who go first to negotiate get better incomes. We want relativity.

Madam Chairperson, what is the justification for the fact that our own top public servants in the Judiciary and those unmentionables, for we are not supposed to debate ourselves, cannot be compared to the Zambia National Service Commander who receives the same salary as the Secretary to the Cabinet? There is something absolutely wrong. I would like to remind the Acting Leader of Government Business in the House that petty jealousies cause a lot of trouble. I can go further because this is a rare opportunity and I must debate this. What is the justification for the fact that a civil servant who has spent all of his or her life in the Public Service never gets to become a permanent secretary and remains a director because he or she is on contract? To be a permanent secretary is insecure. I call upon that Commission to review the contracts of public servants. We need permanent civil servants.

Madam Chairperson, by the time somebody is ready to be Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet, he or she must have served in the principle ministries of the Government. By your chart, it means the Ministries of Finance and National Planning, Home Affairs, Defence and Foreign Affairs. This is how Botswana and Kenya, even with their instability, have secured security. India is another example. The whole idea of negotiations for positions and salaries of public servants must be discontinued.

I, on this Valentine’s Day, appeal to this Government to look at small issues because compassion is about equitable distribution of incomes. Let us reinstate a Public Service that will be non-partisan and based on qualifications. Yes, there shall always be fast track people in business and the Public Service, but, please, let us establish an equitable salary arrangement. I shudder at the fact that hon. Ministers cannot dictate to the permanent secretaries because money is power.

Mr Hamududu: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: For one workshop, hon. Ministers are given K1 million which they do not even get here at Parliament, unfortunately. I am very genuine because I lack nothing and I am very contented. Therefore, if an hon. Minister, and I am very happy I am not one, wants a car, it has to be dictated by some young man who has been appointed permanent secretary. Due to the fact that they are all on contract, they are not practical. Actually, compliment goes to Parliament here for a steady flow of staffing.      

Madam Chairperson, there are problems in the Judiciary today and we should speak about them because during the last regime, Judges who are in the top positions had their salaries negotiated. They forget the Magistrates and the rest of the staff in the judiciary. I would like you to argue with me if that is incorrect.


Mr Matongo: That is the truth.

Mr Mwiimbu: I am agreeing!


Mr Matongo: There are strikes every year, but an institution which I will not mention because we cannot debate ourselves, has been sharing with others properly. In the Executive, others negotiate. Therefore, we must stop salary negotiations based on who talks to the top most person, the appointing authority. The duty of the appointing authority is to identify a good person for a particular job. The conditions must be leveled down because it is breeding hatred and is going to cause problems as it is bad management. I, therefore, request you, Acting Leader of Government Business in the House to, please, come with a Public Service Salaries Review Commission to cover the Judiciary, the Public Service and Manda Hill.

I thank you, Madam.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasongo (Bangweulu): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to compliment my neighbour, the hon. Member of Parliament for Pemba who has equally paid tribute to our Commissioners, who are doing a good job under difficult circumstances.

Madam Chairperson, I have said before and I would like to emphasise what I said that, it is one thing to create institutions, and yet another to make sure that these institutions are given sufficient support to enable them perform their functions to the best of their ability. We had turned our Commissioners destitute. Instead of funding them sufficiently to enable them accomplish their programmes of appointing and confirming civil servants, you allow them to spend hours and hours at Cabinet Office, doing nothing. This must come to an end. We should be able to review the functions of our Commissioners and the work that they do on behalf of the Government.

Those of us who have been privileged to work in the Civil Service understand the role of our Commissioners. Without them, I can tell you, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, through the Chair, that many of our people cannot be confirmed and promoted. In other words, please, give the Commissioners sufficient funds to leave their offices to confirm the officers on the ground. If we are able to make a request of a list of our civil servants who have not been confirmed in the Central Province up to Chibombo or any other district in a rural place, you may even say, “yes, there is need for us to fund these people sufficiently for them to go and confirm many people”.

Madam Chairperson, how many of our civil servants have died without being confirmed, promoted and how many of them have been promoted posthumously because of our laxity? These are men and women who do commendable work. The moment they go to the Southern Province and are stationed in Livingstone, you will be amazed at the amount of work that they accomplish within a short a time.

You are aware that the movement of files from one place to the other, for instance, from the Eastern Province to Lusaka, is cumbersome. One may send a letter from the Eastern Province at the level of Permanent Secretary, instructing you to confirm certain officers and so on. May be a poor person in Chama District would get that information late because it was stuck perhaps in Chipata and before that information reaches the Public Service Commission, we will be talking about the same places for one year. However, if our Commissioners are allowed to undertake this responsibility on the ground on the spot, they will be able to confirm many people. There is nothing that you can do more than mitigating the sufferings of our civil servants by confirming them after they had recorded six months of service. However, even the question of when one is going to be confirmed is not even known. You may be employed and begin work under the same conditions of service which have been given to you. However, after you have worked for six months, you will be confirmed. If you are going to be confirmed during that stipulated period of time, you may be lucky.

Madam Chairperson, our Commissioners are supposed to undertake the role of promoting our people on the spot, just by going through their files. They will be able to discover that Mr X has been employed in the Civil Service for maybe one year, therefore why has he not been confirmed? Can we go through the documents? Upon looking at the information on the file, they will take action as quickly as possible.

Therefore, the question of mobility is cardinal. I said this last year. How do you feel, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning? You are the one who apportions the cake to all of us, including our Commissioners. How do you feel at the level of hon. Minister to hire a bus to take you to your office and back home? You make a comparison simply because you are driven early in the morning. The driver comes to pick you up, but the Commissioner you have subjected to hard conditions is expected to go to the bus station, use public transport and go to his office and then come back using the same form of transport. How do you feel?

These are Commissioners who may have been retired a long time ago. They are credible people. You look at their performance. They are men and women of integrity, but you want to lower their integrity by letting them use public transport to go to their offices and to other places to perform their duties. This is embarrassing. Mind you, we are in these positions today, but these positions are not permanent. Some of you may be appointed Commissioners, and the same hardship that you inflicted on these Commissioners will be the same that will be inflicted on you. Therefore, how are you going to react? Let us make sure that we provide comfort to our Commissioners. You look at their functions in order for them to perform their functions to the best of their ability and in line with the aspirations of the civil servants and Zambians as a whole. If you want to create an efficient Civil Service, the question of promoting and confirming civil servants on the spot is cardinal. This can only be done if, for example, our Commissioners are sufficiently funded. You look at, for example, a number of the Commissioners, where do they come from? They cover long distances to report for work and they have shown that commitment, but that commitment should not be misplaced. You are supposed to support them in one way or the other.

Madam Chair, the problem that we have is that the moment you are in these positions of responsibility, you ignore the plight of the other people, which is a very bad approach.


Mr Kasongo: Most of us who are hon. Ministers here were at one time civil servants and we understand what it is for one to work for a long time without being confirmed or promoted. However, when we say, can you sufficiently fund Commissioners to undertake their role in a credible manner, you think they are asking for too much. One day, depending on how we are going to move together in this area, we may reduce your Vote, hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, so that we give it to the Commissioners. We are going to do that.

If you do not change your attitude, hon. Minister, I will move a motion one day to ensure that your Budget is reduced so that you can see the impact. Sometimes when you prepare a Budget and give yourself a lot of money and paralyse other institutions, you take it that all of us are happy. One day, we will make sure that we reduce your Vote so that you feel the impact. That is when you will begin to share the cake equitably.

I thank you, Madam

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Pemba for his comments on maintaining and deepening family values. This is true because the national character is formed out of good family values. His advice should be taken seriously such that today we should show a banquet of love to our spouses.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mpombo: Madam, we have noted Hon. Kasongo’s call for the streamlining of the operations of the Commission and to remove operational hiccups that are prevalent. I think we have taken serious note of all the submissions.

I thank you, Madam.


The Chairperson: Order!

VOTE 06/01 – (Public Service Commission – Office of the President - K3,509,530,177).

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Madam Chairperson I would like to find out why there is a reduction on Programme 11 – HIV/AIDS Awareness, K37,550,00. Last year, we had K73 million and I am wondering why it should be reduced to K37 million and yet the disease is still pandemic.

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, last year, we had robust activities on HIV/AIDS, but we are scaling down a little this year.

I thank you, Madam.


The Chairperson: Order!

Mr Lubinda: Madam Chairperson, both the President’s as well as the Budget Address, mentioned the increase of the work force in the Public Service. I suppose the Public Service Commission has a significant role to play in the placement of those public servants. Given that background, I would like to ask His Honour the Vice-President why when they are anticipating to make the Public Service bigger, there is such a huge reduction in the allocation to the particular vote that is meant for placement of public servants as captured under Programme 12 - Public Service Reform – Activity 01, K96,775,000 where there is a reduction of more than K103 million. What is the reason for this and yet the Government has actually promised to increase the number of public service workers?

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, while I agree with the point the hon. Members has raised, I would like to indicate that this is not for the whole Civil Service. It is just for a particular department. I also would like to say that this year’s budget has been subjected to stringent ceiling. The budget has been cut down. Therefore, we had to plan within what we were given to work around.

I thank you.

Mr Lubinda: Madam Chairperson, I appreciate the answer by His Honour the Vice-President. However, this is the budget which is going to support …

The Chairperson: I think you have to go straight to asking questions on clarification. Do not open up debate which you already had opportunity to do.

 Can you go straight to asking what it is you want clarified?

Mr Lubinda: Madam, can His Honour the Vice-President be clear on which civil servants shall be provided for under this reduced amount from K199,035,000 to K96,775,000? In so doing, can he also indicate which other votes shall be used do employ the other civil servants they intend to employ?

The Chairperson: I will ask the Leader of Government Business in the House to clarify the issue on this vote. He is not really the one to give the general distribution at this point. Can you clarify this particular issue on this vote?

Mr Mpombo: Madam Chairperson, I have two answers. The first one is that last year, the Commission was subjected to restructuring. The Public Service Reform Programme will be required to cater for the completion of the Public Service Commission restructuring process and other related expenses. Activities will include selection and placement of staff and monitoring of the programmes in the restructured ministries and department administration. A total amount of K188,053,474 has been proposed for 2008.This figure is less than the figure of K326,287,500. The reduction is due to the low budgetary ceiling for 2008, as I had indicated.

I thank you.


The Chairperson: Order!

Mr Mukanga: Madam, I think the Leader of Government Business in the House has not answered the question. I would like to find out further on Programme 5 – Capacity Building, K61,240,000. We have a situation were Activity 01 - Staff Training has been reduced further from K71,110,000 last year to K24,600,000 this year would like to find out what is actually happening.

Mr Mpombo: The programme is to cater for staff training locally. The proposed amount of K61,240,000 will cater for related expenditure such as student meal allowances, examination and tuition fees. The amount proposed for 2008 is less than the amount approved for 2007. The drastic reduction is because the Commission, once restructured in the year, will have a qualified work force that may require only short-term training whose courses can be accommodated within the proposed amount.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

I thank you, Madam.

Vote 06/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)




The Minister of Defence (Mr Mpombo): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1916 hours until Friday 0900 hours on 15th February, 2008.