Debates- Thursday, 31st January, 2008

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Thursday, 31st January, 2008

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






84. Mr Chanda (Kankoyo) asked the Minister of Health:

(a) what the doctor/patient ratio in the following hospitals was:

(i) Kitwe Central Hospital;
(ii) Ndola Central Hospital;
(iii) Ronald Ross Hospital ; and
(iv) Kabwe General Hospital;

(b) how many hospitals were in Lusaka Province; and
(c) how many clinics were in each of the following districts:

(i) Lusaka; and
(ii) Kitwe.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House that at Kitwe Central Hospital, there are sixty-five doctors for in-patients against 45,776 patients giving a ratio of 1 to 700. As for out patients, there are sixty-five doctors against181,520 patients, giving a ratio of 1 to 2,792. The aggregate per year is sixty-five doctors against the total number of patients of 227,296, giving a ratio of 1 to 3,500.

Mr Speaker, as for Ndola Central Hospital the aggregate per year is sixty-seven doctors against 168,214 patients, giving a ratio of 1 to 2,500.

As for Ronald Ross Hospital, the aggregate per year is seven doctors against 58,408 patients, giving a ratio 1 to 8,000.

As for Kabwe Central Hospital, the aggregate per year is twelve doctors against 48,108, giving a ratio of 1 to 4,000.

Sir, the information used to calculate the doctor/patient ratio is based on the 2006 annual retains. The 2007 annual returns are still being compiled.

Sir, as for the hospitals in Lusaka, we looked at the public institutions.

(a) Lusaka Province has six public hospitals and these are :

(i) two mission hospitals (Katondwe and Mpanshya); and

(ii) one district hospital (Kafue); and

(iii) three level three hospitals (University Teaching Hospital (UTH), Chainama Hills College Hospital and the Cancer Diseases Hospital).

As for the number of clinics, again, we looked at the public institutions where we found that Lusaka Province has twenty-six while Kitwe has thirty health centres.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Chanda: Mr Speaker, clearly from the answer that has been given by the hon. Minister of Health, the situation in our hospitals is disastrous. Why is it that this Government is misapplying resources by advocating for the construction of a district hospital instead of improving the existing hospitals?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the question is specifically on the doctors/patient ratios.

In practice, hon. Members are aware that we have clinical officers. There is now a between clinical officers and medical doctors some medical officers called a licentiate. These are clinical officers who are able perform minor operations and other major ones in some cases. Therefore, in practice, the patients are attended to by clinical officers and nurses. However, the ratios given here are specifically on the doctors and it should not be looked at in isolation. If we had to get a clear picture, we would need to look at how many nurses and clinical officer we have so that we get the overall picture of how patients are served.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi) Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the doctor/patient ratio at Ronald Ross hospital is 1 to 8,000. I am sure this is not acceptable. How does the Government expect Ronald Ross Hospital to provide proper and quality medical care when the ratio is beyond acceptable limits.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, in a place like Ronald Ross Hospital where the ratio is low, there are clinical officers who assist the doctors to attend to patients. It does not mean that the seven doctors who are there are the only ones who attend to all the 58,000 patients. It is not like that. There are clinical officers and when clinical officers have problems, they refer or consult doctors so that patients are served better.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minster implying that actually, it does not make any difference whether we have doctors or that we should not train doctors, but instead concentrate on clinical officers? It looks like the doctor does not see any difference between doctors and clinical officers and he does not even look at the gravity and complexity of illnesses that doctors should attend to. Could he clarify?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Member did not understand what I said.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Dr Puma: I did not say that there is no difference between clinical officers and nurses and doctors. What I said is that clinical officers and nurses assist at various levels and doctors come in only in critical cases which only they can manage.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: This does not mean that we do not need doctors. In fact, if you look at the ratio in some of the districts, especially where there are only clinics and not a single doctor, you cannot even talk about it. How can you even calculate the ratio? It does not even apply. However, in those areas, the services are provided by clinical officers. It does not mean that we do need doctors. The services of a doctor are required. We need to ensure that more and more doctors are retained in the country.

For your information, hon. Member, for the past three to four years, we have had very few Zambian doctors leaving the country. There has been a good number of doctors coming in. This is because of the schemes that we have implemented as a Government. We have tried to improve the conditions of service in terms of salaries, retention packages and provision of car loans. These are attracting doctors back into the country.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Mulenga (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, what is the acceptable doctor/patient ratio?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the doctor to patient ratio varies in various countries because of the differences in the disease burden and the type of diseases that are dealt with. So, if the hon. Member is interested, he should come to my office and I will give him the different doctor to patient ratio in various countries.


Dr Puma: Even in developed countries, such as the United States of America (USA) and United Kingdom (UK), the doctor to patient ratio varies.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Katema (Chingola): Mr Speaker, considering the answer given by the hon. Minister about the various doctor/patient ratios across the country, I would like to find out from him what the acceptable minimum doctor/patient ratio is, as outlined by the World Health Organisation.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I have stated that the hon. Members who are interested can come to my office so that I give them …

Hon. Opposition Members: No!


Dr Puma: … the doctor/patient ratios for various countries.

The other issue I would like to mention is that when a patient goes to a health facility, it is not always that they must be seen by a doctor. It depends on what the problem is. If it is a family planning issue, they might only be attended to by a nurse.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Puma: If it is something that needs some advanced medical training, that is when they will need a doctor. The fact that we have so many people who visited these facilities does not mean that all of them were supposed to be seen by a doctor.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Dr Puma: You have to look at what the conditions that warranted this patient seeing a doctor were. This way, we shall know the kind of service that is provided.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: For the benefit of both the hon. Minister of Health and the Members of the House, it might be a good idea if the hon. Minister of Health went back to the office, looked up this information for both Zambia and the rest of the world or a selected number of countries in Africa and elsewhere, and made circulated this information to the hon. Members. I can see hon. Members are keen on finding out what the ratios are.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The fact is that the hon. Minister does not have that information now. Therefore, there is no need to continue making follow-up questions on this particular question.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, last year, there were two reported cases of people who pretended to be doctors and worked at Arthur Davison Hospital and at one hospital in Sesheke. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how possible it is for a person who is not qualified as doctor to be employed by the Government to work as a doctor?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, we have a process in place that people who would like to work as doctors in this country go through. They have to go through the Medical Council of Zambia which makes arrangements with the University Teaching Hospital to ensure that these people are examined.

Sir, in a few isolated cases, some people have gone through this process and it is only afterwards that they are discovered. This is because some of these people could have worked as clinical officers, and have good medical knowledge, through experience. Therefore, they fake papers as doctors, come in, and somehow find their way into the system. However, in most of these cases, we have been able to identify them sooner or later.

For example, in Ndola, there was one case where a fake doctor had not worked for six months before he was discovered. He was isolated and his job terminated and appropriate action was taken.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Kapata (Mandevu): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Health has mentioned that where there are no doctors, clinical officers and nurses attend to patients. Is he aware that the nurses and doctors are not enough, resulting in most clinics in Lusaka, especially in my constituency, operating half day instead of twenty-four hours?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is aware that, as a Ministry, we have acknowledged on the Floor of this House that we are operating at 50 per cent capacity. In this vein, we have put systems in place to ensure that the availability of nurses is enhanced by improving the training institutions; funding all the training institutions in the country, expanding their capacity and opening new schools such as, Nchanga, Roan, Kaleni and Chipata direct entry for midwives. This is in an effort to ensure that the number of nurses in the health institutions is increased. Therefore, we are aware of that and we are working very hard to ensure that most of our institutions have staff available.

The other matter I should mention here is that last year, as I mentioned during my debate that we reserved funds enough to recruit 1,900 nurses so that we could solve this problem. Unfortunately, when we advertised, we were only able to capture 1,200 nurses. Therefore, it means that the people we thought existed and had no jobs are not actually there.

In any case, since, as a Government, we have taken measures to ensure that the number of students going into these training institutions is increased, we are hopeful that in the near future, the problem of nurses will be a thing of the past.

I thank you, Sir.


85. Mr Kambwili asked the Minister of Justice:

(a) what measures the Government had taken to narrow the remuneration gap between judges and magistrates; and

(b) whether the Government had any plans to introduce a personal-to-holder car facility or a car loan scheme for magistrates.

The Minister of Lands (Mr Machila) (on behalf of the Minister of Justice (Mr Kunda, SC.): Mr Speaker, following the completion of the process of attainment of the autonomy of the judiciary in May, 2007, in accordance with the Judicature Administration Act, Chapter 24 of the Laws of Zambia, the Judiciary can determine the conditions of service of its staff. Proposals for improved remuneration for magistrates will be considered as and when funds become available.

The Government is determined to narrow the remuneration gap between judges and magistrates, but the hurdle has been the restrictive resource envelop.

Mr Speaker, with regard to part (b) of the question, currently there are 167 magistrates countrywide.

Given the resources at its disposal, the Government has no immediate plans to introduce a personal-to-holder car facility for magistrates. The Judiciary has, however, a car loan facility for magistrates. It must be mentioned, however, that due to budgetary constraints, the allocation is not sufficient to go around.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Tembo: Quality!

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that magistrates handle a lot of sensitive criminal matters, is it surely fair for the Government to continue paying them far much lower than the judges, who, most of the sometimes, only handle civil matters.

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, the Government recognises and appreciates the important role that magistrate play in the Judiciary. The conditions of service applicable to magistrates and judges are based on what capacity the Government has in terms of the remuneration. The fact that magistrates may be lagging behind the judges in remuneration does not in anyway detract from the importance attached to the role they perform.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Mulenga: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister indicate to this House when funds will be available so that the magistrates are also remunerated properly.

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, the availability of funds is obviously subject to the allocations in the Budget. The Ministry of Justice has continually been told to improve on the conditions of service and those in the Judiciary.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, it is a fact that for several years now, conditions of service for judges have been improved, whilst those of magistrates have remained stagnant. This is a matter that has been brought to the attention of this House. Is the Government now in a position to redress this anomaly so that those who are working in the lower ranks in the Judiciary can also get something that is equitable?

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, the sentiments expressed by Hon. Dr Machungwa are, in fact, correct, as are those that Hon. Kambwili expressed on the quantity of cases that magistrates handle. As a Government, we are striving to improve conditions of service for judges and magistrates. We have made strides in as far as the judges are concerned and the conditions of service for magistrates are being looked into and shall be improved in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm that, upon retirement, judges get 80 per cent of their basic salary plus 100 per cent of liability salary in terms of housing allowance every month for life, while magistrates and other judicial staff are not entitled to these privileges?

Mr Machila: Mr Speaker, I can confirm that the new conditions of judges are such that upon retirement, they continue to be paid equivalent of 80 per cent of the salary of the serving judges. This was arrived at after many years of consideration and negotiation. The intention of the Ministry of Justice is to pursue the avenue whereby we can in turn improve the conditions for magistrates. We are not oblivious to the fact that they are also deserving.

I thank you, Sir.


86. Mr C K Banda, SC. asked the Minister of Health when a resident medical doctor would be posted to Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, the establishment for Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre is as follows:

(i) Health Centre-in-Charge who is either a Registered Nurse or Clinical Officer;
(ii) Zambia Enrolled Midwife;
(iii) Environmental Health Technologist;
(iv) Medical Record Clerk;
(v) Watchman; and
(vi) Cleaner.

Mr Speaker, from the above, it is clear that for at a Zonal Health Centre, there is no position for a medical doctor. Therefore, the Ministry has no intention of deploying a resident medical doctor to Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, it is scandalous to hear a ratio of 1 to 800 and yet, the hon. Minister is saying, he does not even have intentions of taking a resident medical doctor to Kanyanga Zonal Rural Health Centre. Can the hon. Minister tell this House what measures they are putting in place to redress the situation? We need interventions very urgently to address this situation otherwise, without any medical attention, our people will be dying.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health has arranged health delivery systems. There are health posts, health centres, first level care, second level care and third level care. For health centres that are under district management, there is an establishment which does not include a doctor. There are arrangements under the district management for the big health centres to be visited by doctors. However, in the establishment clinics should not be run by medical doctors. This should be clearly understood. The doctors are expected to be at first level hospitals so that when the clinical officers have failed at the health centre level, then they can refer the patients to the first level hospital which is a district hospital. That is why, as a Government, we would like every district to have a district hospital so that at least the clinical officers and nurses at the health centre level refer the patients to a place where the services of a doctor are available.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr C K Banda, SC.: Mr Speaker, what conditions or criteria does a zonal rural health centre such as Kanyanga need to attract a doctor, especially that this rural health centre services more than 60,000 people.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, among the requirements for sending a doctor to a particular facility is the full utilisation of the doctor in terms of capacity. If there is a theatre at the health facility, the doctor should be able to perform operations and other advanced services to be offered at that high level.

However, if it is just a health centre where a doctor is not able to conduct operations apart from giving out medicines, then it is not deserving of a doctor. That is why in some situations where the population is big and there are a number of cases that need advise from a doctor, we have allowed visiting doctors to advise clinical officers and other staff.

I thank you, Sir.


87. Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when a bridge would be constructed on Lunsemfwa River to replace the pontoon on the Old Mkushi/Tuyu Road via Kabwe.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Ndalamei): Mr Speaker, the construction of abutments, piers and approach roads at five identified sites in the country, including the Lunsemfwa River site on the Kabwe-Old Mkushi Road was awarded to Messrs Agro-Fuel Investment Limited at a contract amount of US$334,705.47 in March, 2005, through a loan from the World Bank, under the Emergency Drought Recovery Programme, managed by the Office of the Vice-President.

The progress of the construction of the Lunsemfwa Bridge achieved to date includes the construction of both abutments and improvement of the approach road to the bridge site. There have been late payments to the contractor for all the sites, resulting in delays to carry out and complete the works.

The Ministry, through the Road Development Agency, has recommended for a termination of the contract due to passage of time which has resulted in significant changes of the bridge site conditions. Further, the unit rates applied by the contractor have also become outdated.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is giving the wrong answer. I am asking about replacing the pontoon on the Old Mkushi-Lunsemfwa Bridge. I am not talking about the bridge which is being constructed in Mbosha.

Mr Speaker: In that case, there is very little that can be done now. The hon. Member will have to ask the question, again, so that we can factor it into the current arrangements.

However, the hon. Member for Moomba wanted to make a follow-up question to the question with a wrong answer.


Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I would like to have the details of how that site has changed.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, I do not have the details the hon. Member would like to have, but he understands that with the passage of time, the site deteriorates. That is why, in most cases, we have to carry out a follow-up feasibility study. This project has taken a lot of years and the site has changed.

I thank you, Sir.


88. Mr Tembo (Nyimba) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) when the accounts for Nyimba District Council were last audited; and

(b) what the findings of the auditors were in respect of the following:

(i) use of council funds; and

(ii) use of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, Nyimba District Council was last audited for the accounts for the financial year ending 31st December, 2005. The Ministry has, however, constituted an audit of the 2006 accounts for the council, but audit has not yet been finalised. This is in accordance with the Local Government Act Cap. 281 of the Laws of Zambia which provides that all local authorities prepare annual accounts in readiness for audit six months after the financial year ends.

Mr Speaker, with regard to part (b) of the question, the audit revealed that there is adherence to financial regulations in the utilisation of public funds by Nyimba District Council.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the use of the CDF, the utilisation of these funds is guided by the provisions of the 2006 Guidelines on the Utilisation and Management of CDF and the Financial Regulations No. 125 of 1992. The audit report did not reveal any instances of misapplication of CDF for Nyimba Constituency.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mumbi (Munali): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister the penalty for the councils that do not submit their audit reports according to the stipulated time. Please, excuse my voice, I have a cough.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, as far as the legal provisions are concerned, all councils are supposed to have their accounts ready six months after the expiry of the financial year. If any council does not do that, it is breaking the law and this attracts penalties. There are many penalties that the Government has put in place through legal provisions. It is also possible to punish a council that has not done what is supposed to be done in the legal framework. For instance, it is possible for the Government to withdraw further grants to that particular council.

It is, therefore, important that we all encourage our councils to make sure that the financial statements are ready within that period. Let us also ensure that even the use of CDF is properly done. I am happy that the question also included the use of CDF. We must make sure all processes are properly done, starting from the documentation as the first step. Secondly, we must also ensure that the projects that are identified are concrete and the money that is used can be verified according to the work that is done.

Mr Speaker, in short, the answer is that the legal provision has penalties for breaking that law which states that we need to have these financial statements ready six months after the expiry of the financial year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, what would the Ministry do about a situation where a council has its statements ready for auditing, but the Ministry does not send auditors there in the same year and probably only send auditors after a year or two?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is determined to ensure that these financial statements are audited in accordance with the legal provision. I will give an example of the year 2006. In this year, auditors were appointed by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing in time. Therefore, we hope that very soon, we will have the reports for all the councils submitted to us, that is, for the year end 31st December, 2006.

Within the limited resources that we have in terms of manpower and others, we are always keen to ensure that the legal provision is strictly adhered to. As for their council, for last year, which is up to 31st December, 2007, we will make sure that by June this year, they are ready. The hon. Minister will then appoint auditors to look at those financial statements.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, in some councils, the council general workers go without pay for months. What measures has the Ministry put in place to see to it that these monies and grants which are sent to councils are accounted for and not misappropriated by council officers who normally give themselves loans?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, for every grant the Ministry disburses to any local authority, there are specific instructions given. However, for recurrent grants, that is where the council can look at its own priorities. I will give an example of the previous year 2007. The Government released K17.7 billion to all local authorities in terms of grants in lieu of rates. We indicated that this was supposed to be used for projects that were relevant to improving the facilities in those areas. In some cases, we have sent grants to some councils for specific purposes while others, out of ignorance or pretence, have diverted those funds to unauthorised areas. That is called financial indiscipline and it attracts punishment.

Any council that has its own chief officers who will give themselves loans, without following the financial guidelines, are committing an offence and the law will visit them and appropriate action will be taken. It is important that we emphasise that once we send these grants, they should be for specific purposes and local authorities must use them as indicated by the Ministry. After all, these things have to be approved by the full council. Therefore, I would request the hon. Members to make sure that as they sit in these council meetings, they ensure that these financial guidelines are strictly adhered to.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, could I find out when the Government will disburse the CDF for 2007 to the councils that did not receive it? I would also like to find out why the Government has been very selective in disbursing CDF even to councils which are financially sound in as far as auditing is concerned.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, in the previous year, we did our best to ensure that this money was disbursed to the constituencies, but not to those that had problems of accountability. It was one of the conditions to account for the previous CDF. We had to ensure that before further disbursements, whatever was wrong was corrected. Therefore, the hon. Members of Parliament can rest be assured that as long as they can account for the CDF, they are assured of the next trench of the CDF. What is important is to make sure that there is accountability in the disbursement of these funds because that is where problems arise. In some cases, people think it is pocket money, which is not the case. This money is meant for the communities.

Mr Muntanga: MMD!

Dr Kazonga: The Government is committed to ensuring that the quality of lives of the people is improved. Therefore, let us ensure that we account for this money so that there will be no problems to us, as a Ministry, as to when it will be released because everything will be in order.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Mr Beene (Itezhi-Tezhi): Mr Speaker, at very short notice, the Government gave a directive from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to halt recruitment in councils because a Local Government Service Commission was to be formed. However, there are councils where they do not have staff in accounts. Therefore, what measures has the Government put in place in councils where there are no accounting staff to assist them to prepare financial statements?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, true that recruitment was put to a halt because we wanted to make sure that when we have a Local Government Service Commission, all such issues could be looked at. For now, we have put in place a mechanism for those councils that are really in dire need of certain key principal staff to contact us as soon as possible so that we can make arrangements for possible secondment of an officer. The issues of finances are very critical and we would not like Itezhi-Tezhi to be in arrears due to lack of staff to prepare financial statements.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the essence of introducing CDF was for the community to come up with projects that are required in the constituencies through the area Member of Parliament. In the recent past, there have been situations where District Commissioners, through the District Development Co-ordinating Committees (DDCCs), are redirecting resources to projects that have not been proposed by the CDF Committee. I would, therefore, like to find out from the hon. Minister what action is being taken against such DDCCs.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, as far as approvals of CDF projects, the starting point is the Constituency Development Committee (CDC) that identifies projects in the constituency. The next step is the DDCC which looks at harmonising these projects. If, for instance, the Constituency Development Committee has identified that there is a need for two boreholes at a particular village known as X and according to the members of the DDCC, they say there is another donor who has targeted another term in that village, why should we waste resources that are really needed by all the people in the constituency? As DDCC, they will be able to say that instead of that village, it is better we sink it at village Y so that all of these wards and other areas can benefit.

Therefore, in terms of functions, the Constituency Development Committee will be able to identify the project. That is step number one. Step number two will be harmonisation of these priorities by the DDCC. The third and final step is the full council meeting for the full council to engage these projects and to get a blessing from the councillors who include the Members of this House.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Quality!

Mr Silavwe (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, one of the reasons most of the councils are unable to be audited is the huge amount of allowances that the auditors demand from councils. Why is it that the Ministry allows the councils which are struggling to survive to pay the auditors who come from the Ministry and yet they are doing their normal Government functions?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Tembo: Walasa, iwe!

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, as he has indicated, the Government sends auditors to the councils at specific time intervals. Ideally, audits are supposed to be conducted every year. However, there are some councils whose financial base may not be good enough to engage an auditor. The Government is doing everything possible to ensure that the financial base to enable councils recruit auditors is improved. Last year, the Government disbursed a lot of grants to councils to enable them deliver the services they are supposed to deliver and also perform the functions that are required by law. 
We will, therefore, still continue to make all the efforts that we can to ensure that these councils can also improve their financial bases to enable them do what he has just indicated.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Member: Quality!

Rev. Nyirongo (Bwacha): Mr Speaker, I would like to simplify the question here. What we are asking is why the Ministry of Local Government and Housing cannot introduce a centralised system like the way the Auditor-General operates?

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, we have an issue of centralisation versus decentralisation. Each one of these has its own pros and cons. However, we have to weigh them on the risk scale to see which one weighs more. For now, we think that the current arrangement seems to have more benefits than what is being proposed.

Rev. Nyirongo: Awe!

Dr Kazonga: We are not saying that it has no disadvantages. It also has its own disadvantages except that when put on a scale, it is a bit better than the arrangement being proposed.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed on 11th January, 2008, to scrutinise the appointment of Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia for the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 29th January, 2008.


Mr Speaker: Order! There is too much loud consultation. Please, let us follow the procedure.

Is the Motion seconded?

Reverend Nyirongo (Bwacha): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Speaker: Order! It is extremely rude for any Member, especially one who wishes to be called honourable to engage in a conversation when the Presiding Officer is on his or her feet. It is an offence. I stand here because I respect all of you. You have to respect me as well.

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, the terms of reference of your Committee was to scrutinise the appointment of Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia, pursuant to the provisions of Article 15 (1) of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia which states:

“(i) There shall be a Solicitor-General of the Republic whose office shall be a public office and who shall, subject to ratification by the National Assembly, be appointed by the President.”

Sir, your Committee kept sight of the fact that the Office of the Solicitor-General is an important institution that is expected to enhance good governance in Zambia. In particular, your Committee noted that in accordance with the provisions of Article 5, the position of Solicitor-General is in effect that of Deputy to the Attorney-General.

Mr Speaker, Article 55 (5) states that and I quote:

“Any power or duty imposed on the Attorney-General by this Constitution or any other written law may be exercised or performed by the Solicitor-General.”

Your Committee, therefore, took into account the need for a nominee to the Office of the Solicitor-General to have the highest levels of eminence, soundness of character, integrity, efficiency, diligence and total commitment to the people of Zambia.

Sir, in order to satisfy themselves, that the nominee did not have any adverse security, criminal or indeed drug-related cases against him, your Committee requested for submissions from the Zambia Police Service, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Drug Enforcement Commission.

Mr Speaker, the reports your Committee received from these three investigative agencies of the Government showed that the nominee did not have any adverse corrupt, criminal, security or drug-related offences against him that would warrant his disqualification to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia.

Your Committee also received submissions from Transparency International, Zambia, the Judicial Service Commission, the Attorney-General and the Law Association of Zambia to ascertain the professional suitability and integrity of the nominee.

Sir, your Committee are also happy to report that the hon. Minister of Justice, on behalf of the appointing authority, briefed them on the merits of appointing the nominee. In his submissions, the hon. Minister stated that the appointing authority had considered the nominee because he was qualified to hold the position of Solicitor-General, having been admitted to the Zambian Bar in 1996. He was qualified to be appointed Judge of the High Court as he had the relevant qualification in that he had been a member of the Bar for over ten years.

Your Committee, after due and thorough evaluation of the evidence presented to them by the witnesses, the appointing authority and their subsequent interview with the nominee, find that the nominee is suitably qualified for appointment as Solicitor-General.

Your Committee observed that the nominee’s profession has exposed him to a wide range of civil litigation. This valuable experience will enable him to contribute positively to the operations of the Ministry of Justice. The nominee also has personal attributes which have inspired confidence in your Committee that he will perform his duties as Solicitor-General in an impartial and competent manner and with commitment.

Mr Speaker, it is also noteworthy that the nominee had a distinguished career in the Public Service spanning over a period of over six years. Your Committee are also happy to note that the candidate exhibits remarkable maturity despite being youthful.

In view of the foregoing, your Committee recommend that the House do ratify the Presidential appointment of Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, finally, your Committee wish to record and express their appreciation for the advice and services rendered by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly and for the submissions received from the investigative agencies, Transparency International Zambia, the Judicial Service Commission, the Law Association of Zambia, the Attorney-General and the hon. Minister of Justice.

Above all, your Committee wish to express their profound gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for appointing them to serve on this very important Select Committee. It is our hope that the report and the recommendations contained therein will receive the unanimous support of the House.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Reverend Nyirongo: Now, Mr Speaker.

Sir, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to second the Motion that this House do ratify the Presidential appointment of Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, the mover of this Motion has adequately articulated the position of your Committee on this important matter. However, may I add that your Committee did not encounter any difficulties with scrutiny of the nominee as he is eminently qualified to serve as Solicitor-General of the Republic Zambia.

Sir, the nominee, whose ratification is before this House today, is a young professional. The appointing authority deserves praise for their trust in the young generation of professionals.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: This is commendable because it will encourage and motivate other young professionals to be exemplary in the way they carry out their work.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: It is also encouraging that the nominee is product of the Public Service, the Ministry of Justice, in particular.

Sir, when this young professional appeared before your Committee, first of all, his appearance was very commendable.


Reverend Nyirongo: He looked attractive, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order, the House should not go there!


Mr Shakafuswa: We mean well!

Reverend Nyirongo: He articulated himself well before the Committee. His presentation was very good and he looked very diligent. He was very consistent in the manner …


Reverend Nyirongo: … he presented himself.


Reverend Nyirongo: Sir, we also discovered that this young man was very available in executing his duties.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Reverend Nyirongo: He told your Committee that he was ready to be called upon any time. Therefore, with regard to availability, he is the right person and, for the position of Solicitor-General, we need someone who is available …


Reverend Nyirongo: … at all times. He was also willing to take any challenge …

Hon. Member: He means well!

Reverend Nyirongo: He means well.


Reverend Nyirongo: Looking at his performance, your Committee was very satisfied because he had really performed exemplary well. Although he looked young, he is a young person with a very good vision for this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: Sir, this is a good gesture which the President has shown and should be applauded because it will not only attract lawyers to the Public Sector, but also motivate those who are already serving in the system.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: Mr Sichinga proved his capability to your Committee by stating that if things were difficult, where it demands him to run when doing his job, he is going to run.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: If the situation demands that he walks, he is going to walk. If it demands that he crawls in order for him to do his job, he is going to crawl.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Reverend Nyirongo: Therefore, he proved beyond reasonable doubt that he was capable for the job and was able to do it.

Mr Speaker, allow me to also report that most of the witnesses that appeared before your Committee expressed concern over the limited time they were given to look into this matter. Most of them were given one or two days which was not good enough. They need, at least, a week for them to look into such a matter. However, because of the qualifications that Mr Sichinga has and the good report that we had, we had no doubt that he is the right person.

Finally, allow me to thank the mover of this Motion for the able and fair manner in which he chaired your Committee’s meetings.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Musokotwane (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to contribute on this Motion. From the way Hon. Reverend Nyirongo described Mr Sichinga, I have no choice, but to support your Committee’s report.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Musokotwane: Although I do not know the gentleman, but the picture drawn by Hon. Reverend Nyirongo, …


Mrs Musokotwane: … forces me to agree that we adopt the report and accept Mr Sichinga as Solicitor-General. All the things the hon. Member of Parliament for Bwacha has described that he is available, smart and handsome, ...


Mrs Musokotwane: … I hope those qualities will not distract him from doing his job.


Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, my concerns today are about the Investigating Agencies. In the reports, all of them describe the curriculum vitae of a nominee. They state where he was born, where he did his primary school, secondary school and university. You will also notice that all of the reports will end up in their registries. If they do not find my name in their registry, then I am a perfect person.

Sir, when I read Mr Sichinga’s investigations, I found that he worked abroad, but none of our investigating agencies had gone to find out how Mr Sichinga performed abroad. This concern is not only about Mr Sichinga, but also all the nominees who have been brought to this House. The investigating agencies have not gone beyond their registries. I believe that even when the President is nominating a person, he looks up the person’s background. We have people who have been nominated, but do not have clean records because the investigating agencies have not gone beyond their registries. Due to this, these people are given jobs.

Mr Speaker, if the Investigating Agencies cannot go beyond their registries, can nominees then be publicised so that if there are any members of the public who know more about the nominees, there ways can be brought in the open so that when the name comes to this House, everything about that person will have been investigated.


Mrs Musokotwane: They will only investigate me. They will neither investigate my husband, May His Soul Rest In Peace, nor my sons and daughters. My sons could have done a lot of things. There are sons who have killed people before and some are armed robbers and all these things will not be considered. I feel the investigating agencies are not doing enough. They should leave the curriculum vitae to my employer and I. They should not investigate my curriculum vitae because it has nothing to do with what I have done out there. This is my very important concern.

Sir, I hope the hon. Minister in charge of the investigating agencies will take this issue very seriously. It is better we publicise the names of the nominees so that the public can comment on them before their names are brought to this House.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to contribute to this debate. I feel duty bound to do so seeing that I personally worked with Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga. I would like to share with the rest of the House my experiences with him and my thoughts and perceptions of him as a person and also as a professional.

Sir, I would like to start by thanking the mover and the seconder of the Motion for their brilliant presentations. I also would like to thank everybody else who has contributed to this Motion.

Mr Speaker, it is important for anybody who is going to ascend to the position of either Solicitor-General or Attorney-General to realise that they have a very big responsibility. The responsibility they have is that of being a fearless advocate for the people of Zambia. Although the Attorney-General, being the principal, and the Solicitor- General, being his deputy, they have a great duty to the people of Zambia. That is the way they should approach their job. They should, therefore, be fearless when giving advice to the Government and not be afraid to tell the Government what may not please it. This way, they will help the Government to do the right things.

Sir, I would, therefore, urge the in-coming Solicitor-General to act a little like his predecessor who, only a couple of months back, in spite of the Government not wanting a certain political party to hold meetings and in spite of some members of the Front Bench actually stating that they will not allow such meetings to take place, the former Solicitor- General stuck his neck out quite rightly and stated that it would be illegal and that the police should not stop them.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, that is what is expected of a Solicitor-General. I only hope that the former Solicitor-General was not removed because of that advice he gave.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, I think it is also important for us not to leave vacuums in important offices such as that of the Attorney- General and Solicitor-General. Surely, if there is forward planning by the Government, it is possible for them to identify who will take over from a serving Attorney-General or Solicitor-General well in advance and commence the process of seeking ratification so that we do not have a vacuum created. As one leaves the office, this process of ratification of the one who will take over would already have happened.

Mr Speaker, this is important because in the Office of the Attorney- General, there is a shortage of staff. Leaving vacuums such as what happened when the current Attorney-General was put into office and now the current Solicitor- General, means that a lot of man hours are lost. The courts, quite often, are saying that there are delays in the dispensation of justice because of delays from the Attorney-General’s Chambers. If you leave these vacuums, it will mean that we are part and parcel of the cause of the delays and everyday occurrence in our courts.

Therefore, my plea is that unless you are saying that you cannot plan in advance, let us have this done well in advance. It would also cater for what the hon. Member for Katombola was talking about. She said that not enough time was given for the witnesses to conduct their investigations. If we planned in advance, we could give the various witnesses who will come before the Committees sufficient time to carry out a diligent and thorough job and be as useful as possible to the Committees.

Mr Speaker, I fear that I may, at this point, disappoint quite a number of people because I hear that a lot of people were excited that Mr Sichinga is available. I would like to point out that he is married with children.


Mr Speaker: Order! The House will recall that, on the misunderstanding of what the hon. Member for Bwacha was saying, I called for order and I said, “Do not go there”.


Mr Speaker: What I meant was that the House was picking up a misunderstanding. Then secondly, I did not mean exactly what the hon. Member for Livingstone is almost implying.


Mr Speaker: He may continue.

Mr Sikota: Mr Speaker, I am obliged and my apologies.

Sir, the nominee is somebody who has a vast experience for the job that he will have to undertake. That experience even extends to international exposure in various law offices and law settings. As most of you will know, the Office of the Attorney-General and the Solicitor-General quite often requires that the holder actually undertakes litigation or gives advice to the Government on matters pertaining to cross-country international litigation. Therefore, having somebody who has had exposure in different jurisdictions is definitely a plus.

Mr Speaker, it has been stated that Mr Sichinga is young. That is true. However, those of us who have worked with him know that although he is young, he is mature beyond his years. Mr Sichinga is somebody who is very affable. I have never known or come across any of my colleagues who have had an adverse word to say about him. He is somebody who is always ready when he appears in the court room. He is somebody who would have done his research and organised his witnesses and would have a proper understanding of the case that he is coming to prosecute.

Mr Sichinga is certainly somebody who is a formidable opponent in the courtroom. In spite of his affable nature, he is quite aggressive when pursuing a case on behalf of a client. At one point Mr Sichinga was enticed by the Judiciary to join the Bench. This shows the kind of calibre that he has. In spite of his young age, he is recognised not only by his peers, we, the lawyers, but also by the Bench, which recognises that this is a person with exceptional talents. Therefore, it is not surprising that he has had what would seem to be a meteoric rise in his career. I think that he is somebody who will give some kind of stability to the high Office of Solicitor-General.

Mr Speaker, it is sad for me that he has been nominated to become Solicitor-General rather than Judge because if he had become Judge, for me, it would mean that there would be one less lawyer to fear …


Mr Sikota: …at the Bench. Sir, with those few words, I would like to support and endorse the ratification of Mr Dominic Yeta Sichinga to the Office of Solicitor-General.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Mr Chilembo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to support the Motion. The appointment of Mr Sichinga is a correct one. As evidenced by the various witnesses who testified, he is a man I have known to be humble. As a professional, he is honest and among fellow lawyers, he commands high respect.

We do have lawyers with whom you agree to have a matter adjourned, but proceed with the case in court without indicating to the Judge that there actually was an agreement. All you see later are bailiffs grabbing goods from your client. Mr Sichinga does not fall in that class. He is reliable. If he undertakes that a matter to be adjourned, you can, indeed, keep away and he will do just that.

Mr Speaker, it is also very good that this appointment has come at a time when a lot of doors are open for this promising young lawyer. At the stage that he has reached, he could easily get an international job or indeed, establish a law firm where he would earn himself a lot of money. However, this move to appoint him as Solicitor-General will definitely stop him from going away. We need to keep these talented people in our system.

I recall having worked as a State advocate in the Director of Public Prosecutions’ Chambers and Attorney-General’s Chambers. There was an attempt to promote me after three years so that I could be in-charge of the Livingstone office, which would cover the Southern and Western Provinces. However, by that time, I was already very marketable and I chose to go for a job in a parastatal organisation where they could pay me better. It is, therefore, for this reason that I think that this appointment has come at the right time. We are not dealing with a person who is stranded. We are dealing with somebody who is very marketable, in addition to all the good things that we heard from the seconder.

Mr Speaker, the report of your Committee states that, in fact, Mr Sichinga was being considered to be a Judge in the Industrial Relations Court and that the Judges were very satisfied with his professional competence. I can confirm those views from the Judges because I had the honour of representing Parliament on the Judicial Service Commission. I am sure that everything that was said about him as a professional was very positive and I am very sure that by now, maybe, we would have been dealing with a motion for his appointment as Judge.

Therefore, in a way, we are saying that it is a matter of time before we deal with his appointment as a Judge because he has the qualities, and all the reports and statements of the Judiciary were favourable. On account of his age, we would say let it be for now because he definitely forms part of the pool from which this country can benefit when we are looking for competent people to be appointed as Judges.

Given that background, I have no iota of doubt in my mind that we are dealing with a correct person to take up this high Office of Solicitor-General. I support the Motion.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, I stand to support the report of your Committee. I find the man’s names, Dominic Martin Luther Yeta Sichinga very interesting. I do not know the man, but the names alone show that he is a breed from a mixture of everything. Having listened to the people who know him and support him, I believe that he is a qualified young man to be Solicitor-General at the age of thirty-nine.

The seconder had to tell us a little more about the young man. Perhaps she saw him.


Mr Muntanga: I was sitting here thinking that this Dominic Martin Luther Yeta Sichinga must be some magnate, and Mrs Musokotwane was also following the debate.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I only would like to implore the Government that this job of Solicitor-General comes with security of tenure. That is the problem that is worrying me because this is a Constitutional office. Names come here for us to ratify. We check and approve and turn the people upside down and say go and take up the job. When they are fired, we find it later that the man whom we had proposed to hold that office is no longer there. There is no job security for the Solicitor-General and Attorney-General. We should have commissions such as the ones we give to judges. For instance, for a judge to be dismissed, there must be a tribunal to find out what could have gone wrong, but for these two Constitutional offices, there is no job security.

This reminds me when I was invited to be a master of ceremony when some two young people were marrying. You are called to be a witness and you have to advise, but when they divorce, they do not come to you for advice.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, Parliament is asked to ratify, yet it is not consulted when these people are removed. It is important that measures are put in place to ensure that very job security for them because we are now employing young men. This young man should have some security so that he knows that he cannot be removed by someone who just wakes up one morning and say you are fired and leave some speculations that, perhaps, he was fired for having allowed some Opposition political party meetings or something like that.

Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I am also imploring the Government to re-think about these two Constitutional Offices and go further to provide job security for these two offices.

Mr Speaker, with those two words, I thank you.

Mr Milupi: Mr Speaker, having listened to the debate on the Floor, it is quite clear that the House is unanimous in supporting the appointment of Mr Dominic Yet Sichinga and this confirms the good work that your Committee undertook in investigating the suitability of this young professional.

Mr Speaker, with that, I would like the whole House to support the adoption of this report.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.



(Debate resumed)

Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, yesterday, I was talking about the Task Force and now that there are some grey areas in the way they were operating in as far as undertaking the work that they wanted to carry out.

Sir, I was saying that corruption, in the true sense, will be a stumbling block in as far as development is concerned.

Mr Speaker, there are also other ministries which have been culprits of corruption. We have seen double payments of salaries, unretired imprest, unsupported expenditure, misapplication of funds and misapplication of grants in the Ministry of Health, but nothing has been done about these malpractices. The Auditor-General has brought these issues out in the open. The Auditor-General’s Report seems to be toothless because although issues are brought out, nothing seems to be done about them. Therefore, it is difficult for the report to support our Budget.

Mr Speaker, sustainable development can only be achieved through co-operation stakeholders. How do we expect sustainable development in Zambia when every we come here and approve the Budget, and yet, at the end of the year, the disbursement of the monies approved are returned to the Treasury.

Mr Speaker, I am talking about the K900 billion that was meant for development and was sent back to the Treasury. This is a scandal. Even if this year, we are going to approve the Budget, we will see that a some money will be returned to the Treasury.

Mr Speaker, if the money went back, who will benefit from the return of this money? Is it the Zambians or a few selected banks and who selected those bank? They definitely made profits at the expense of the 7.5 million vulnerable Zambians. Yet, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning went out and proudly announced that, in the name of prudent financial management, the money had to be returned. While he did that, I discovered that in Kantanshi, the youths were still suffering. They needed jobs. Through that money, they would have created jobs and their financial base would have improved.

Mr Speaker, if you divide K900 billion by 150 constituencies, it will come to about K6 billion per constituency. Definitely, there would have been a change. There would have been a face lift in the constituencies.

Sir, this year, we are looking at K13 trillion. What is going to happen to this money? Obviously, part of the money will still be locked up. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has said that he has the key to unlock these funds. We would like these funds unlocked. We do not want a situation where disbursement becomes a problem this year.

Mr Speaker, returning the K900 billion, it becomes a very big problem for us to explain because when we go back, we see that there are roads that are impassable. In Kantanshi alone, no one can use Changa Changa Road. It is also difficult for people to get to Ronald Ross Hospital. Even if you have a 4 X 4 vehicle, getting to Kamuchanga Hospital is difficult. If anything, if you are sick, you will become worse because of the state of the roads, and yet the money is sent back to the Treasury.

Sir, on disbursement of monies, they should be disbursed on time so that we do not have this problem.

Sir, talking about these facilities, there was an Abuja Declaration on 27th April, 2001, where the Heads of State met, discussed and agreed that 15 per cent of their National Budget will go towards the health sector. Seven years down the line, nothing has happened.

Sir, in this Budget, we are talking about 11.7 per cent to the health sector. What are we doing? Are we just talking attending these protocols, but are not effecting whatever we discuss or are we just spending taxpayers money to sit in these meetings and append our signatures thereto, and yet we are not serious about implementing what we discuss? There is a need to change this attitude. We need to change this mind set, especially when the people of Zambia have given us the mandate to rule them.

Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about water and sanitation. People say, “Water is life!” However, we have seen a reduction in the amount of money that has been thereto allocated this year. From 6.7 per cent to 6 per cent, and yet the people of my constituency, Kantanshi, are suffering because they are compelled to drinking polluted water. How can we have a Government that cannot support them, and yet the money that they need to source a different supply of water is about K7 billion? How will this be done with this reduction that we are seeing?

Sir, this Government does not seem to be serious in addressing issues that pertain to the livelihood of the people. The people of Kantanshi were supplied with water that had a pH of about 4 to 6. If water has a pH of about 7, then it is neutral. If it is less than that, then it is acidic. This means, the people of Kantanshi were almost made to drink acid. People are dying slowly, and they are saying that they are working on legislation. How can you work slowly on legislation, and yet our children and people out there are dying slowly? It cannot work.

The Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) and the Government are watching on the terraces while the people out there are at the mercy the investors that this Government has brought.

Mr Speaker, looking at the sector performance of the various sectors in the Government, I would say that most of the sectors performed below target. If they performed below target, then the entire nation did not perform the way it was supposed to perform. In other words, it did not perform well.

In agriculture, we had a growth that was about 3 per cent in 2006. In 2007, it came to 2.8 per cent that means we are going down. Again this year, we do not seem to be any more serious. How are we going to fair as far as agriculture is concerned when there are lot of floods, when people needed a lot of fertiliser, but they were not given the fertiliser and when people need a lot of concessions in as far as farming implements are concerned, but none were given?

Mr Speaker, this Budget, in my view and according to the people of Kantanshi, is a rich man’s Budget. It is only a rich man who is going to buy mechanical hoses. We do not have the money to buy mechanical hoses. What benefit are we going to have as the people of Zambia? Unless we start making a budget that will uplift the livelihood of the poor people of Zambia, this definitely is not a Budget for the poor.

Sir, coming to the mining sector, I would like to say that we have been talking about taxes and advised this Government to change the tax regime. They were there refusing and shouting that it cannot work because for fear of a litigation case. However, when the Boma spoke, everybody was shouting, “Hear, hear”. Do we expect the Boma to speak every time? Unless we start reasoning by ourselves and start looking at issues from a more positive angle, we will not change the scenario.

Mr Speaker, the 3 per cent mineral royalty tax we are talking about was implemented last year. However, this year, we are saying that all those taxes that were implemented should be all encompassing. They should cover all the mines and not only a selected few. Not only that, part of the mineral royalty should go to the Local Authorities directly at a percentage so that the Local Authorities can accelerate development.

Sir, I will not speak much on this. I will leave it to the others. However, I would like to talk about the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) management. ZESCO management, in whatever form, should go because it has failed us. ZESCO has failed to meet the aspirations of the Zambian people.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, even if there are some people who are sitting on whatever branch, but belong to a family tree, they must leave ZESCO. We know them because we worked with them. They are non-performers and should go. We cannot have blackouts in the name of the inter connector. No. These people should go.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Sir, on education, I would like to state that there were protocols that were signed by this Government that 20 per cent of the Budget will go towards education, but today, nothing seems to be happening.

You are now talking about the Mulungshi University. Why are you introducing the Mulungshi University and yet you have failed to manage the University of Zambia? Presently, students at the University of Zambia have showers outside the University buildings and you are happily seated there. Even the hon. Minister of Education at one time was …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that if the Government is going to introduce the Mulungushi University, it is important that it supports it financially. It is not good introducing an institution and not supporting it.

Sir, allow me to end by commenting on the Budget booklet pictures which preach a lot to Zambians. The picture on the cover page, which shows an overload, in my view, it is saying this Budget is an overload to the people of Zambia, whilst the Chinese are dancing on the picture behind. The investors are happy that you are giving big burdens to the people of Zambia. When will the people of Zambia be given a break to appreciate their work and sweat? This Government should learn that it is there for the people of Zambia and stand by them.

It is important that again at the end of this year, billions of Kwacha are not sent back to the Treasury. Who is getting the interest on those billion from the banks? We want to know. How much interest was given after the K900 billion went back to the Treasury?

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals (Mr M. Mwale): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute on the Motion that is before the House.

May I commend the mover, hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi West (Mr Mwanza) and the seconder, the hon. Member of Parliament for Lukasha (Ms Mwamba) for a job well done.

Sir, I will restrict my debate to mining and it will be quite short. However, I may be forced to tackle one issue in the social sector.
Mr Speaker, firstly, may I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for a well delivered Budget Speech …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: … whose theme is “Unlocking Resources for Economic Empowerment and Wealth Creation.” Sir, in my Ministry, we have gone further to describe it as “The Second Liberation of Zambia.”

Sir, from the debate in this House on taxes paid by mining companies, it is quite clear and implied that Zambians have had a raw deal. That is correct if you only look at it in a three-year timeframe. However, we could do well to remind ourselves where we have come from as Zambians.

We were taught that the human memory is too short except for the elephant. It hurt me to have listened to the many hon. Members who debated on this matter because they did not dwell on the historical facts. May I now go into the facts which have brought us to where we are.

In 1972, the mines were nationalised. In 1982, we formed one conglomerate called the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines. The House may wish to know that in 1973, we had attained the highest production figure of 750,000 tonnes of copper, but from then on, it was a downward trend in copper production.

In 2002, Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that we had reached a production level of only 250,000 tonnes. The copper price was predominately on the downward trend. For example, Mr Speaker, in 1995, the copper price was above US$2,000 per tonne and remained below US$2,000 per tonne up to 2003.

Mr Speaker, I would like to refresh the memory of all hon. Members of this House, of what was obtaining in the country. By 1989 we had shortages of food, services and goods. I wish everybody could remember that as we debate the mineral royalty taxes.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear! Tell them.

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, our country needed extensive surgery. The mining industry had run down infrastructure. There was an unfavourable investment climate prevailing in the country, compounded by low copper prices. The mines were largely making a loss. As we were part of the global village, we faced stiff competition in terms of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

In the mining industry, Mr Speaker, there was no investment in mineral exploration under ZCCM. I am sure Hon. Milupi can attest to it. There were no meaningful exploration activities undertaken. The House may wish to know that it is only through mineral exploration that we were assured of prolonging the life in the mining sector.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: At that time, Mr Speaker, the country had only three options. The first being commercialisation. The Government was the majority shareholder in the mining industry, but had no capacity or so to speak. It was not able to borrow money so that we could capitalise the mining industry.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, we had no capacity to source funds for recapitalisation, as the production infrastructure had deteriorated. May the hon. Member of Parliament, who is saying question, remember that we would not have gone to the Mining Royalty Agreement (MRA) if we had the capacity to borrow money elsewhere.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: The Government, being the majority shareholder, was in no position to raise the huge sums of money required and, therefore, this option was not tenable.

The second option, Mr Speaker, was liquidation. This evil would have had caused disastrous consequences as mining was the engine gear of the Zambian economy. We had a test of it when Roan Antelope Mining Company of Zambia (RAMCOZ) went that way. It was liquidated and Hon. Kambwili can tell us what that meant.

Mr Speaker, we know what happened to Zambia Airways, a number of employees met early death due to depression when Zambia Airways was liquidated.

The third option, Mr Speaker, was privatisation and this was the only practical option and thus, it was set in motion in 1995. In order to successfully privatise the mining industry, the Government had to take the necessary steps. Mining operations by nature are long term and new investors demanded for special conditions. This explains the 0.6 per cent mineral royalty tax, the stability periods of up to 10 years and many other concessions. These were incorporated in one single document which we call the Development Agreement (DA). The concessions were necessary to attract FDI.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, eleven years down the line, these measures have yielded positive results, better still we have been blessed with an up turn in commodity prices.

Mr Speaker, there is an increased investment in mineral exploration. That is why we are discovering so many minerals around the country now. There has been an increase in investment in mining infrastructure. A new shaft is being sunk at Konkola Copper Mines Plc. Over 30 years, there has been no shaft sunk in this country. Investment in green fields such as the Lumwana Mine has taken place …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M Mwale: … and we hope to start producing copper. The first yellow cake may come from the Lumwana Mine.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, this country has had no history of nickel mining, but now and I can proudly announce to the nation that we hit the ore body at Munali Hills in Mazabuka.

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

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, the situation has been made better with increased metal prices. That is why the Zambian people have been crying for increased benefits from their resources. The price of copper is well above US$6,000 per tonne as compared to $2,000 per tonne in 2003. This scenario is the reason His Excellency made an appropriate pronouncement. His Excellency did not correct any wrong, he only made a rightful pronouncement at an appropriate time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: This is where the unlocking of resources comes in. The new fiscal regime will avail this nation resources for national development.

Mr Kambwili: It was a PF policy.

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, we have reached there. The incentives have achieved the intended objectives. May I be quick to add that we should not be seen to be a country that is chasing away investors. There is a common adage in the eastern part of Zambia where the wise men come from …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M Mwale: … that we should not have a friendship which is explained between a man and  an axe.

Hon. Government Member: Zoona.

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, when you want to harvest honey in a tree, you nicely secure your axe on a shoulder, but immediately you have harvested the honey you let the forces of gravity take care of the axe as it goes down.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: Wekeshapo.

Mr M. Mwale: That is not what we are. We believe in persuading our friends in development. The changes in fiscal and regulatory regime are about balancing sharing the fortunes of the mining sector to benefit both the Zambian people on one hand and investors and shareholders on the other.

Mr Speaker, the message to our partners in development is that extremely low taxes result in low revenues to the Government and high poverty levels which may lead to public dissatisfaction and civil strife. War destroys everything and that is the message to our investors.

Mr Speaker, a mad politician can assume power and nationalise all these assets and take us backwards.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: Kokolapo!

Mr M. Mwale: In that scenario, Mr Speaker, an investor loses everything. Taxes on the other hand, only take away a share of the profits and leave the operator conducting the business profitably. A win-win situation for both investor and Zambians call for an increase in the tax regime. For the benefit of Hon. Sejani, who, unfortunately, is not in the House, we will lose the key to un-locking the resources due to the natural disaster that is in the Southern Province. This is because the resources which are meant to be used on new development will be channelled to repairing the infrastructure which has been damaged due to the floods.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Quality!

Mr M. Mwale: Other than that, Mr Speaker, the resources have been un-locked for economic empowerment and wealth creation.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, the other thing is that, as a Government, we would like to issue a wake up call to the Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC). CEC is supposed to maintain minimum supply levels of power to the mines and I am sure that Hon. Milupi can attest to that. The flooding at Konkola Mines Plc. is unacceptable. The minimum supply levels to be maintained by the turbines at Luano, Mufulira, Konkola and Luanshya are supposed to have taken care of the situation at the mines to ensure that the mines do not flood. We are, therefore, giving a wake up call to CEC to improve their supply of electricity.

Mr Kambwili: First, you must answer the question.

Mr M. Mwale: We are talking about minimum supply levels and I am sure it is an engineering jargon that Hon. Kambwili will not be able to understand.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Nalaisa, boyi.

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, this Government has embarked on empowering Zambians. In doing so, we have seen a situation where Zambians are being favoured in awarding contracts. However, we, as Zambians, are a big let down. This is why we are now being blacklisted. Some hon. Members have even stopped talking to me because of what happened in Malambo Constituency. If a contractor does not look at his or her current job as a future reference job, then there is a problem.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: A contractor should carry out or execute his or her job perfectly so that in future, we will tell whoever looks at it that it was done by such a contractor and he or she will be given another contract.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, this Government embarked on empowering Zambians with houses. However, what we have seen in Kamwala is that most of the houses in the Madras area have been sold and, therefore, the blame should not be on this Government.

Hon. Government Members: No!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about mining rights. My Ministry embarked on a principle of empowering Zambians by issuing artisanal mining rights only to Zambians. However, what is now happening is that some people have gallantly come to the Ministry with a view of out rightly selling their mining rights, but the Ministry has intervened to avoid what happened in Kamwala.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: We would like to give a warning to Zambians who have mining rights that the Ministry is not going to entertain out right sales of mining rights. They should go into joint venture partnerships and even have free carry shares. Merely having a mining right is nothing to them ,but they need to embark on joint venture partnerships.

Mr Speaker, seeing that time is not with me, I would like to comment on what the hon. Member for Nchanga talked about, which is casualisation or the high level of outsourcing of labour in the mining industry. The hon. Member should know that the core business of the mining industry is copper production and not provision of security or running parks and maintaining gardens. This is why investors are now outsourcing persons to run their parks and gardens.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chipili, who happens to be my cousin, said that cleaners are manning the rural health centres in his constituency. I hope and pray that he is familiar with the Government’s programmes. The people he is calling cleaners may be traditional birth attendants.


Mr M. Mwale: This is a caring Government and we know how shy our mothers are to have male nurses attend to them as midwives.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: They resent having male nurses attend to them in maternity wards. This is why this caring Government embarked on a programme to have traditional birth attendants take care of that.

With those few words, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka): Mr Speaker, I would like to express my gratitude for catching your eye in order for me to contribute on this very important Motion. I would like to begin my debate by agreeing with the Head of State’s Speech where he indicated that the Zambian people are actually very anxious and yearning for accelerated economic and social development. This statement is loaded and the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning in his Budget presentation said the following on page 1 of his speech, and I quote:

“Sir, our cherished and chosen vision is to be a prosperous middle-income country by 2030. This will be achieved by creating a nation of dynamic, self-confident and vibrant entrepreneurs. Our foremost challenge, this year and in the medium term, is to create the fiscal space that will allow us to marshal both human and financial resources. This will enable us to accelerate the implementation of the Fifth National Development Plan.”

Mr Speaker, this is, indeed, a very flamboyant statement from the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. I would like to, first of all, find out what yard sticks this Government has used to determine the performance of the everyday song about the Fifth National Development Plan. The plan is nearly halfway through its term and I wonder if the Government has done a self appraisal to find out and determine the actual successes of this plan.

Mr Speaker, Zambia has been independent for forty-four years today from the time the imperialists and colonialists who actually determined the pace at which this country is going through the manner in which they released the so-called independence to us. Quite alright they gave us political independence, but I believe that the economic independence is, somewhat, still held in their hands.

Mr Speaker, there are many reasons this country has progressed at a snail’s pace in terms of economic development and social causes for the people. One of them can be defined as simple carelessness on the part of the people who govern. The other can probably be the world recession, which I believe the people who govern may not have direct control over, and sometimes just mere insolence.

Mr Speaker, I would like to speak about the mining industry which the hon. Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Hon. M. Mwale, has just talked about. This Budget, in my view, does not take care of the social status of the people …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: … because if the Budget had taken care of this, this Government would have realised, a long time ago, that it needed to implement this tax regime that they have brought today. It is my belief that they missed the boat and never made the hay while the sun still shone. A minute ago, Hon. M. Mwale, in his debate, said that at Munali Hills, the mining investment has hit the ore body. I sometimes tend to wonder whether the Government actually has shares in these investments because we, all inclusive …


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, this mining investment that has hit the ore body displaced 1,500 people.

Mr Hamududu: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Last year, the Head of State on 4th April ground broke the investment that the hon. Minister spoke about. What I remember is that the Head of State said that those who are in the way of development must march to hell. It was an unfortunate statement because …

Mr Speaker: Order! Where are you quoting that unparliamentary expression?

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the expression because I do not have anything to lay on the Table.

Mr Speaker, the displacement of the people in Mugoto (1,500 of them) to the Lantana Farm to pave way for the Munali Hills Nickel Project has caused more suffering for those people, as confirmed during my visit to the Lantana Farm two weeks ago.

Mr Speaker the people at Lantana Farm, whose social care is in the hands of this Government, are living in squalor at moment. They are living in a dambo and the floods that you have seen in Lusaka in the last few weeks are child’s play in comparison. These so-called newly constructed houses by the mining investment for the people at Lantana Farm are flooded. They do not only have cracks, but are also flooded. This is the beginning point. The result of poor workmanship which I believe has been supervised by the so-called investor has caused pain and suffering to our people. The nearest school from where the people have been taken is nearly 12 kilometres away. There is no clinic and the place is infested with malaria parasites, mosquitoes.

Mr Speaker, if this Government put their mind to social protection, they would have heeded my call when I said whilst this investment is welcome, I would like them to find suitable dwelling for the people whom they have displaced for the investment.

Mr Speaker, the insolence that this Government has displayed by not responding to the cries of the people at Lantana farm in Mazabuka Central Constituency, whom they displaced to a farm is unacceptable. A farm that has never been inhabited by any of these people who came from Europe at the time they came to get prime land has been given to the Tonga-speaking people of Mugoto as a dwelling place. The fact of the matter is that even livestock cannot survive in that terrain.

Mr Ntundu: Shame!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, livestock cannot survive in that terrain because the place is a dambo. When cows try to move, they get stuck in the mud. The result is that the cows are living on the road, the gravel road that the mining investment constructed in that compound. It is impossible to drive along that road because the cars simply stop on the road as the cows are all on the road and in pain as their hooves have got sores. What more human beings?
Mr Ntundu: Shame!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, if this Government cared about the plight of the people, I believe that the hon. Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, Hon. Maxwell Mwale, would have gone there to see what I am talking about. This was not a secret. It was on national and private television and the print media, but the people whom you consigned to hell at the Lantana …

Mr Speaker: Order! The word “hell” is unparliamentary.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word “hell”.

The people whom you consigned to a place which is equivalent to the place I spoke about earlier are going to make sure that posterity judges you very harshly when the time of reckoning comes.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I think it is only important that you know something about this problem. I will give some strong advice that no matter how clever you think you may be, there is someone out there who can do it better than you.

As I speak to you, through Mr Speaker, it is common knowledge that the Sakala Commission of 1972 indicated that Mazabuka had no extra land. Almost all the land is titled.

Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: These are the issues that you ought to have taken into account at the time you were partnering with the Albidon Mine to displace the 1,500 women, children, widows and infants.

Mr Speaker, posterity will judge this Government very harshly.

Mr Ntundu: In heaven!

Mr Nkombo: When the time of reckoning comes, posterity will judge them harshly. In my opening remarks I asked that what the yardstick they had used to determine what they call poverty alleviation or their successes? In my view, the simplest yardstick to use to assess your determination is to reflect on just one month back and go to Nchanga and hear what the people in Nchanga are saying.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr M. Mwale: Monga nibamene banawina!

Mr Nkombo: The simplest yardstick that you are going to use to determine your success is what will happen in Kanyama.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: In case you do not have the variables to determine how well you have performed, do not give us the feeders of fiscal discipline, Hon. Minister Magande. Go to Namaila where you come from and see how the people are living.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Do not give us flamboyant language here.

In agriculture, we have a terrible situation because agriculture has failed. In his Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning stated, on page 10, and I quote:

“Mr Speaker, agriculture remains a key sector for the nation’s economic development. The focus of 2008 will be on improved cash crop production, livestock and fisheries development that enhance crop production such as the Fertiliser Support Programme.”

This is the hon. Minister’s own statement.

Mr Speaker, I will quote the Farmers’ Gazette of last month on page 3 to illustrate the inconsistency that is there. It reads:

“Mr Kapita said the FSP programme has lost credibility and it was being viewed as benefiting the people who were already secured by this type of programme design. He said the FSP was designed to benefit the vulnerable, but viable farmers who were expected to be weaned-off after two years. He, however, said farmers were being used as conduits to access fertiliser which was later sold to unscrupulous individuals. The hon. Minister also accused some District Agricultural Co-ordinators for perpetuating dishonesty by allowing fake co-operatives to access the fertiliser.”

In the same Farmers’ Gazette that you gave us today, I will quote the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives on page 37. He says:

“The Government is still scouting for money to pay farmers countrywide for the maize supplied to the Food Reserve Agency.”

This is according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives Permanent Secretary Dr. Sam Mundia.

He goes on to say:

“He explained that the funds will trickle down at a very slow pace because the rate at which maize is being sold in the neighbouring countries was slow. Until recently, the Government banned the export of maize by the private sector. The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) was the exclusively authorised exporter of maize. I would like to appeal to all farmers who are owed by FRA to be patient.”

This is contrary to what the Head of State said. The Head of State wanted to see accelerated economic and social development. In one voice you are telling us this while in the other you are telling us to be patient.

Mr Speaker, in my own layman’s understanding, this Government owes the poor farmers money. In other words, the farmers have been financing the Government. They have used the FSP as a way to defraud farmers.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: In this edition of the Gazette, they are saying “FSP under threat due to rampant fraud.” Who is the fraudster?

Hon. Opposition Member: Themselves.

Mr Nkombo: I think it is the Government. You have not paid K30 billion to people who do not have regular income. These people have to take their children to school. Tell me how they will do it.

Hon. UPND Member: They will not come back.

Mr Nkombo: Hon. Leader of Government Business in the House, just tell me. Your children, I am sure, have Cerelac at home after school. Our farmers have failed to take their children to school because of you.

Hon. Opposition Member: You resign.

Mr Nkombo: They will also judge you harshly when the time of reckoning comes.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: They will remove you from the Government.

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

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, through you, I would like to give my colleagues on your right very strong advice …

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: I would like to give them extremely strong advice that, for as long as they continue with this inertia and arrogance, the people of Zambia will remove them and put us in power.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: There is only one reason we are here on your left. It is that the people who voted for us had some confidence in us. If they continue not to heed friendly advice, such as the one I am giving them,

Hon. UPND Member: They will go. They will not come back.

Mr Nkombo: … they will be outside this House. I would like to make a quick comment on the social protection vis-a-vis education and health. It is puzzling to learn, today, from the hon. Deputy Minister of Health that the average patient to doctor ratio in some constituency on the Copperbelt, at Malcolm Moffat Hospital in particular, is 1: 8,000 per annum. I think that is an admission of failure.

Mr Speaker, it is shocking to learn from the hon. Deputy Minister that some major operations can be conducted by clinical officers. Are these clinical officers given allowances to perform doctors’ functions? The answer is no. For as long as they do not put their act together, vis-à-vis luring the doctors who have left this country to serve in other countries, these people will fail to make it back to this House.

Mr Speaker, the Protocol of Education For All to which this Government appended its signature dictates that by 2015, it should have literacy levels of up to 37 per cent. I am very worried. If you go to Northmead Basic School, just less than 1km from here, to see the chaos that is there in terms enrolment of children, they run risks of enrolling eighty children to one teacher. How can one teacher teach eighty pupils? It is impossible. Are you just trying to promote a schooling system or an education system?

Hon. Opposition Members: They do not understand that.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, in the past few years a lot of children missed the boat, and yet we are being told by this Government in Hon. Magande’s Budget Speech that all children who have attained the age of seven must go to school. What about those who are nine, ten and eleven and have not seen the walls of a classroom? What plans do you have for them, hon. Minister?

You must make consideration for all those who have missed the boat. I will not actually accept this idea of the hon. Members saying this is the New Deal Government of the MMD. To me, MMD is MMD.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: The MMD has been in power for sixteen years.

Mr Mulyata: No! It is New Deal now. You should know the difference.

Mr Nkombo: That is half way through the period that the gallant son of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, ruled the country. Even for the Mulungushi University you are singing about, you are just converting …

Mr Speaker: Order! Address the Chair.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, these hon. Members of Parliament are just annexing and converting buildings thinking they can get credit for someone’s hard work.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: There is no difference between the MMD of 1991 and this one. Otherwise they ought to have changed their name.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I would like to end by thanking you because my time has expired.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on this very important Motion on the Floor of the House.

Sir, from the outset, I must state that since I did not have a chance to contribute to the President’s Address, when I speak, I will refer to both the President’s Address and that of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Sir, in any case, the President’s Address forms the basis of the hon. Minister’s Speech for the Budget in the House. Therefore, the two are related.

Mr Speaker, the President’s Address was unprecedented and will go down in the history of this country, both in the colonial, that is, Northern Rhodesia and independent Zambia, as the only Official Opening of Parliament President’s Address that had a break in the middle. This was, indeed, very unprecedented.


Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, apart from that, the President mentioned a number of issues. One of the issues he noted was that Parliamentary Radio Broadcasts were now reaching along the line rail, from Livingstone all the way to the Copperbelt. He hoped that by the end of the Session, broadcasts would be reaching provincial centres. These broadcasts are extremely important in availing the people access to following the proceedings of the House. It is important that they go beyond provincial centres to districts and constituencies.

However, a little support has been received from bilateral partners. For example, the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) has been supporting the extension of these services. However, is the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning willing to put in the necessary resources to sustain this programme and enhance it so that when the partners have gone, it will still continue? This is a challenge because our people need to listen to what the hon. Ministers are saying and what their representatives are deliberating.

This also goes for constituency offices. It is my belief that adequate resources ought to be provided so that constituency offices in all the 150 constituencies can function effectively. The process of establishing constituency offices in all the constituencies is underway and this is commendable. Unfortunately, somebody, somewhere, decided to misinform the President that he had to announce that these offices have been established in all the constituencies.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: This is unacceptable! You expose the Head of State to ridicule.

Mr Kambwili: That is why I said, “question!”

Dr Machungwa: We know that these constituency offices are still in the process of being established. As I am speaking, officers from Parliament are in some constituencies interviewing would-be employees in these constituency offices. Therefore, it is unfortunate that somebody somewhere made the President say something that is not true. You reduce the credibility of the Head State. However, the most important matter is that these offices should be funded. Let us say the truth because the truth shall set us free.

Sir, much has been said about the National Constitution Conference which will resume its sitting after Parliament adjourns sine die, that is, at that conclusion of the Budget Debate. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has allocated considerable amounts for that purpose for the process to go ahead.

Mr Speaker, let me say that the Constitution of any country provides the fabric that binds the country together and is the foundation of all laws. It is an important document that determines political relations, economic and social intercourse in any country. The pinnacle of a legislative activity is the taking part in the legislating of a constitution. Most often, Members of Parliament come to this House and their term ends. They do not get a chance to participate in legislating or amending the Constitution. We, fortunately, in the Tenth National Assembly have the opportunity to participate in this process.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, I believe that it is the pinnacle of a Member of Parliament to participate in making the mother of all laws in any country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Therefore, for me, it is extremely important that we participate.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Sir, in any case, the people of Zambia have been calling for a Constitution to be made and the Constitution of Zambia will be made regardless of whether Hon. Dr Machungwa participates or does not.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: For me, I chose to participate.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Sir, the only regrettable issue is that, and this is important, the Government rejected, ignored, was not amenable and was not magnanimous enough to accept to take on board amendments to the NCC Bill when it was debated in this House. These amendments had been subjected to scrutiny by Mr Speaker’s Committee so that the process would become more inclusive and include everybody.

Mr Sichilima: On a point of order, Sir!

Dr Machungwa: The problem we have – you sit down – is that …


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Sichilima: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member who is debating so well in order to mislead this House and the nation at large that the Government did not agree to the amendments, and yet he was part of this Parliament which passed the NCC Bill? Is he in order to refer to that Bill?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister of Energy and Water Development is challenging the hon. Member for Luapula’s debate, as he heard for himself. However, since the hon. Member for Luapula is on the Floor, he will take that point of order into account as he continues.

He may continue debating.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, I am most obliged.

It is a fact that amendments which had been suggested by a Committee of the House and by various hon. Members were rejected. I am trying to say that if those amendments had been taken on board, most of the acrimony on the process and the boycotts you are seeing would have been avoided.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: What we must do, as a country, is to try to avoid unnecessary strife and acrimony which is causing problems in some African countries that we are seeing.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: We should take everybody together. I am participating in the Constitution making-process because I believe this an important issue for the country. It is also important that we, as a country, try to move the people together. This is basically what we are saying, hon. Deputy Minister.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Sir, despite these problems, the NCC process has started and to date, it has gone fairly well. It is our hope that it will bear fruit and produce something that the people of Zambia can appreciate.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, perhaps, the issues that was received with the most applause and excitement was the announcement by the President of the Republic of Zambia that the tax regime in the mining sector would be changed and to include the windfall tax profit and variable profit on taxes. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning covered this in his Budget Speech from Paragraphs 144 to 149. This is welcome.

However, for over two years, the Opposition has been crying, like John the Baptist in the wilderness, for a windfall profit tax to be introduced and changes to the tax regime to be effected. When we spoke, our colleagues looked at us like we were speaking in tongues.

Dr Scott: Like we had funtad.

Dr Machungwa: Maybe we were speaking in Greek. They had to wait until the President came in. What has suddenly changed? The people of Zambia, not only through this House, but also the non-governmental organisations, bilateral partners, the churches and professional associations have been calling for this to be effected. Why were we delaying?

Sir, the Government must provide a vision, direction, momentum and leadership for the country and its people to move forward and gain from their natural resources. The Government is waiting to be moved, like what we are seeing now. Instead of the Government being the engine to marshal the people along, it is the people who are dragging it along, as in this case.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Where is the leadership? You have the technical expertise, the civil servants and the resources. You should be looking forward to seeing what is needed instead of us signing about the same issues and only after we have spoken and spoken is when you follow. That is unacceptable!

Mr Kambwili: Copy cat!

Dr Machungwa: Why do I say that the Government is so reluctant? Last year, this House passed an Act empowering the Government to talk to these mine owners and come back and raise the mineral royalty tax to something like 3 per cent. Instead, what do we get? We get technical committees to discuss this matter. In the end all they recommend is that, yes, indeed, the Zambian people are not getting their dues from this. This is what we knew and the reason we passed that Bill. We expected you to come and report that this is what we have collected so far. You seem so reluctant to do this.

Look at the windfall tax that has been introduced. On page 19, under paragraph 147, item (f), the hon. Ministers says:

“A windfall tax will be introduced to be triggered at different price levels for different base metals. For copper, the windfall tax shall be 25 per cent as the Copper price of US$2.5 per pound.

Of course, he tries to graduate it as he goes on.

Before I analyse that statement, let me talk about the price of copper in the world. The price of copper in this country, since mining started, has been between US$1,000 up to US$2,800 per tonne. You talk to the people who have been in this field to ascertain this. The price of copper has been somewhere between US$1,600 up to US$2,800 per tonne. It has never ever reached US$3,000 in the eighty-five years of copper mining in this country. Now, in the last one and half or two years, the price of copper has shot up and reached US$8,000 per tonne. This, of course, cannot be for long. Eventually, it will have to come down to its regular price.

However, in the days of ZCCM, when copper prices reached US$2,200 per tonne it was considered a bonanza and the Government used to take everything above 100 per cent profit. They used to retain it because it was like the windfall tax. In this case, the hon. Minister introduced a windfall tax that will be applicable only when the price of copper is at US$2.5 per pound. If you compute that, it works out to US$5,600 per tonne.

Dr Scott: And even then it is only 25 per cent!

Dr Machungwa: Sir, I weep for the people of this country. The price will never get there. Right now, it is about US$6,000 but when it drops, it will revert to US$1,000, US$2,000 per tonne or maybe, if you are lucky, US$3,500 per tonne. It will never rise to US$5,600. So, what are you talking about? This means that we will never get any money out of this. Hon. Minister, what you would have done is …

Mr Speaker: Order! Address the Chair!

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, we are exciting the people of Zambia that we will be getting windfall taxes from these windfall profits, but in the actual sense, once the price comes to its normal level or even higher, we will never get anything therefrom. I would suggest that we review the threshold and reduce it to something that is reasonable for when the prices will come down. If you go to US$2,800, per tonne maybe if you add 5 per cent windfall tax and if it rises, then we can graduate the figures. To peg it at US$5,600 per tonne and then calculate up to US$6,000 or US$7,000 per tonne is unrealistic because we will never get there. Maybe you might be able to get it for the few months before the price drops. This is chicanery.

Mr Speaker: Order! That word is unparliamentary.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the word, “chicanery”. We are being told that we will get something and yet we will not get anything from this measure.

Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister does not review these prices, he will, year in and year out, report on improved macro economic performance which will only mean something to the mining companies and not to the Zambian people.

Sir, on Page 3, the hon. Minister reported that Zambia’s external debt had increased slightly from last year’s. The debt at the moment is US$2,035.2 billion which is US$2 billion. From 2005, when we reached the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative Completion Point, the debt was only half a billion United States dollars. In this very short period, it has increased to US$2 billion. The hon. Minister said that some of this is owed by private companies, but at this rate of increase, I wonder what is going to happen in the next five, six to seven years. We may end up going beyond US$8 billion. I urge the hon. Minister not to be quick to append your signature to some of these loans.

Sir, permit me to talk about poverty. In Paragraph 65, the hon. Minister stated that poverty in the country has declined from 68 per cent to 64 per cent between 2004 and 2006. In the case of urban poverty, there is a dramatic reduction from 53 per cent to 34 per, cent. This is unbelievable.

Mr Speaker, if poverty has dramatically reduced so much in the urban areas, are there more medicines in the health centres? Are prices lower and more affordable to our people? Do people have more buying power? Are there more school places, better sanitation, more jobs and more food for the people to eat? Therefore, as long as we do not see these things, it is extremely difficult for me to say that there has been a dramatic reduction in poverty. I hope the hon. Minister goes to Kanyama Constituency during this by-election. He should tell the people in Kanyama Constituency that poverty has dramatically reduced from 53 per cent to 34 per cent and see how many votes you will get.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: Let us talk realistically. What can I tell the people in Luapula Constituency? There is nothing there. These issues are not supposed to be addressed like that.

Sir, let me go back to the issue of infrastructure. I would like to quote from a speech delivered on the Floor of this House, to be precise, on Friday, 14th January, 2005 and I quote:

“Preparatory work on the tarring of the Pedicle Road and the construction of the Chembe Bridge in Luapula Province has started. This will open and enhance trade opportunities between the Copperbelt and Luapula Provinces and also between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

Mr Speaker, this was said by the President when he officially opened Parliament. I am happy that construction on the Chembe Bridge has started, but the tarring of the Pedicle Road has not started. In this regard, to actuate the President’s Speech, the hon. Minister should ensure that there is money in the Budget for this activity. This was published and the people are waiting. It is incumbent upon the hon. Minister to ensure that the President is not considered a person who tells untruths. Therefore, we are waiting and, perhaps, this time around, we will let him get away with it, but next time, we will expect that he would have put in a line to put into effect what the President stated.

Mr Speaker, finally, let me talk about the issue of K900 billion. Hon. Minister, you need help.

Mr Speaker: Order! Address the Chair.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, the Government needs to restructure itself. We cannot have, in a country where there is so much poverty, such huge amounts of money returned, unused because there is a need for them in the country. It may not be the problem of the hon. Minister, but the whole system needs to be redesigned so that it can be effective to address the issues of the people.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sichamba (Isoka West): Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to join many of my colleagues who have spoken before me in wishing you and all the members of staff who serve under you a Happy New Year.

Sir, my debate would be incomplete if I did not congratulate His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, for the wonderful Speech he delivered during the Official Opening of this Parliament. Whoever is out there would take it that the President has a calling from the Lord.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I am saying so because he took the sufferings of the Zambian people on board.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I would like to simply state that, at the end of the day, I will say that Adam was inadequate and that is why Eve was created. This is because the President’s Speech was very well-meaning. At the end of the day, the people implementing these programmes need to be there so that the President’s Speech can provide the basis for determining what we need to do and what the Zambian people need to achieve.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Sir, I would like to state that even the theme of the Budget, which has been given by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, which is, “Unlocking Resources for Economic Empowerment and Wealth Creation” is very cardinal and vital. If the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning does not release these funds, it means that this theme will not be achieved.

Mr Speaker, I would like to say the theme will still suit the well-meaning President’s Speech if funds will be released on time. My debate is based on the President’s Speech because many of my colleagues in this House have stated that the 2008 Budget Address is meaningless. I see value in the pictures on the Budget Speech because if you look at some point, you will see His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC. and Dr Kenneth Kaunda sitting next to each other. To me, this shows that the President has wisdom.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: If you cannot consult from someone who has been there before, you will be considered useless at the end of day. All I mean is that this is a consultative Government. We mean well, as a Government, and we want to start from somewhere. This is telling me something else, which is on my mind.

Mr Speaker, as I comment on investment, I will still talk about the pictures on the Budget Speech. I would like to pose a question with regard to the Chinese. Which country can achieve development without …

Mr Speaker: Order! You address the Chair.

Mr Sichamba: … investors?  When you see a Chinese, you are seeing an investor. It does not matter where the resources are coming from as long as we alleviate the suffering of the Zambian people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order! Only the hon. Member for Isoka West is permitted to speak in this Chamber right now. The rest, please, listen.

Mr Sichamba: I thank you, Sir. Some hon. Member talked about the Task Force. This Government is mean well. On the Task Force, I would like to ask who brought the issue of the Task Force. It is the New Deal Government.

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

Mr Sichamba: It is this New Deal Government which brought the Task Force on board. Therefore, in fighting corruption, which was started by someone, it has to be ended by someone. If you achieve something, the credit should go to the person who mooted the idea. If you say that there is no corruption, you will not be listened to. However, if you contribute constructively, the Government will listen to you. However, to condemn that which is good is wrong.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I say this Government means well because it can be seen in ventures such as the windfall tax that has been talked about. The President is consultative. He cannot start talking about windfall tax without having consulted. He has a Front Bench, the Cabinet Ministers ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: … whom he consulted extensively before coming here to talk about it. You cannot just dream and say “this is what I will take to the Zambian people”. You need to consult so that you are able to articulate the issues comprehensively.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about some of the achievements that this Government has made. People have talked about the Community Development Fund (CDF), and many other issues. There are some people who were in the previous Government and used to get K30 million as CDF. Today, we are talking about K400 million.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Really, this is a credit to the Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: It is a credit to the Government. All we need is appeal that the CDF is increased to K1 billion. However, as a Government, when we say that we mean well, we mean well.

Mr Speaker, still on the achievements of this Government, some of the commodities that you see today such as Coca Cola were not there. We used to drink Tip-Top and Tarino.


Mr Sichamba: Surely, you are able to drink Coca Cola because of the policy of liberalisation which was introduced by the Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, let me get back to my speech. I was just saying what was echoing on my mind. Sir, I would like start with education.

Mrs Musokotwane: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mrs Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member who is debating in order to condemn Tarino which was a Zambian initiative and praise Coca Cola, which is a foreign product? Is he in order to condemn a Zambian initiative and promote foreign investment?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Katombola is challenging the debate of the hon. Member for Isoka West. The hon. Member for Isoka West will answer that challenge as he resumes his debate.

He may continue.

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much.

Sir, I said that because of the liberalised economy, anyone is able to invest and compete favourably on the international market. The Tarino company would also have excelled.

Further, I would like to make a brief comment on health. I wish to appreciate the health service delivery because this Government meant well in putting up the first health post in Chief Katete’s area where I come from.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: That is a credit to this Government. However …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: … I would like to make this appeal to my listening Government. The construction of the Isoka District Hospital started way back in 2000, but has not yet been completed.

Hon. Opposition Member: Ooooh!

Mr Sichamba: It has taken eight years to construct that hospital.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Health, who is capable, to ensure that the project, which was started years back, is completed. Hon. Members of Parliament who debated before me talked about it. It is my view that it is time for the Isoka people to have the quality health care that they need. These people really need the Isoka District Hospital completed. These people voted wisely and elected me as their Member of Parliament because they knew that this is a working Government.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Therefore, I expect that part of the K117 billion, which has been allocated for infrastructure development, will go to the completion of Isoka District Hospital.

Mr Speaker, as we start new projects, we should ensure that we finish constructing the old infrastructures that were started a long time ago. That is the only way we are going to be measured.

Mr Speaker, I would like to move on to education. Sir, I stand here as the most disappointed Member of Parliament.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichamba: Sir, I say so because this is my listening Government …


Mr Sichamba: … and the listening Government should be there to listen to everything. I am trying to say that the District Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit under the Office of the District Commissioner has taken long to erect infrastructure which was blown away by the rains. Five schools were blown away. This august House heard from His Honour, the Vice-President, who meant well in saying that this infrastructure would be worked on, but have not been worked on. I appeal to this listening Government to work on this infrastructure which has not been worked on. Pupils are failing to attend classes. I appeal to you, hon. Minister to look into this matter. We had a dialogue with the hon. Minister, who is capable, except maybe, when he starts with a lot of programmes …

Mr D. Mwila: Tell us!

Mr Sichamba: Hon Minister, I would like to appeal to you that the Chaswata and the Isoka High School which has produced great leaders of this world are taken care of. I would also like to appeal to the Government to ensure that Lualwizi and Mweleka High Schools are rehabilitated. I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Education that these resources be shared equitably, especially the K118 billion which has been thereto allocated in this years’ Budget. Let us have these monies shared equitably.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: People have started praising Hon. Masebo and Hon. Namugala because the CDF has reached their constituencies and the money under Community Development has also gone to most of the constituencies.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Having said that, I would like to say that I am the most disappointed person because you have talked about I,500 classrooms to be constructed, but you have not specified which constituencies are going to benefit.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Let us specify that the 1,500 classrooms will go to such and such a constituency. Then, we will know that yes, I will have one or two classes which will be constructed in my constituency.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Therefore, my appeal is that although we have seen so many classrooms in the Yellow Book, there are no specifications as to where these classrooms will be constructed. Therefore, let us indicate so that we know where these classrooms will be built.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, I would like to appeal through you, Sir, that the K4 million which was released to every constituency is not enough. This money was a source of a lot of confrontation last year because the money was not enough. When we talk about women empowerment, we must empower them to the fullest. If you increase the K4 million to about K20 million, it will be much better.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: This will reduce the poverty levels in the constituencies.

Mr Speaker, I would not have completed my debate if I did not talk about agriculture. Where I come from, we are not lazy people. We are very “powerful”. We mean well.


Mr Sichamba: We are not beggars.

Mr Speaker, what I mean is that this Government meant well in introducing the Fertiliser Support Programme. Why do I say so? I say so because we were able to give out surplus food to other countries and it went on well. Therefore, I would like to say that the weaning of these farmers came too abruptly. If we have to wean these farmers, we should do it gradually so that, at the end of the day, when they graduate, more farmers will succeed.

Sir, what I saw is that they received the increase of their contribution from K17,000 from K36,000 with dismay. This is what my people are complaining about from.

Having said that, I want to wish the capable hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives a quickly recovery because he is a very hard working Minister. Therefore, let us support these farmers fully.

The other appeal is that we should know where we are coming from. We have been voted into office because of the rural set up and agriculture.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: There is a saying by Henry Fell that reads:

 “Those with no vision, they perish”.

If we do not manage our farmers very well, we, as a Government, will have problems.


Mr Sichamba: Therefore, my appeal is that we ensure that we go back to the drawing board because our farmers need our help.

Sir, I would like to appeal to the capable hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to increase the CDF. Having said that, I would like to congratulate him for the K400 million which he has given us. This simply means that we worked very hard to have this money allocated to us.

Sir, the water reticulation for the people of Isoka is still something that we need to talk about. I was there in accordance with your advice that hon. Members of Parliament should go and attend council meetings. I did and we budgeted for these things, following the instruction from the hard working hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing. She also clinched a deal with the Japanese Government. Therefore, my appeal is that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning should release the funds to the Ministry of Local Government and Housing so that water problem in my constituency can be solved.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: You know, in talking about this money, I would like to urge that the Decentralisation Implementation Policy be accelerated because we need it articulated as each and every district has its own district situation analysis. Those who pretend not to have this analysis are not being truthful. Therefore, at the end of the day, we need the Decentralisation Implementation Policy to take root.

His Excellency, the President, meant well when he made this announcement. Therefore, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing should ensure that the much-talked about Decentralisation Implementation Policy takes root. When this happens, it will mean that we also mean well.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: Mr Speaker, in terms of interest rates, I would like to echo Hon. Matongo’s sentiments. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning should work with the commercial banks and ensure that interest rates are reduced to, at least, a lower level so that smaller entrepreneurs like us can succeed in our businesses.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for allowing me to speak on the Budget Speech of Hon. Ng’andu Peter Magande, which was premised on the President’s Address to this House.

Mr Speaker, I think we should put things in their right context in order to build where we are going and construct where we want to be.

Mr Speaker, this Budget is based on the premise that it is the first year of the Fifth National Development Plan. It is also based on the basis that we shall be a middle-income country come 2030. The trend of thought based on that may necessarily sound correct, but it must be put in the right perspective.

Sir, these two documents are National Documents. However, the question of figuring out and identifying issues for the delivery of what the people are expecting from us should be kick started.

Therefore, it is here that I elect to state very clearly that, in fact, this Budget is worth about K13.7 trillion, but, like I have always complained, I have not received the last year’s summary Economic Report that I was promised two days ago. However, I will venture to shift the debate from rhetoric to practical application. I will then comment on the very definite shortfalls, nay failures. However, I am a little too polite to carry along my colleagues to see the pitfalls rather than the failures because we, on this side are used to leading and transferring ideas to them and it takes …

Hon. Government Member: Aah!

Mr Matongo: Yes, it does.

Hon. UPND Member: You are from UPND.

Mr Matongo: With regard to windfall tax, it was February last year that we noticed the pitfall, but you are only acting on it this year. Your own party President …

Mr Speaker: Order! Address the Chair.

Mr Matongo: Yes, Sir.


Mr Matongo: Mr Speaker, their own party President admitted that we have lost money and the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has also admitted that the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and Ministry of Education did not spend all the money that needed to be spent. This is in The Post Report of a date all of us saw. We want help and here, we are the leaders. We are the engineers of the ideas. What is it that is not leadership, when in fact our own councillor today, is a leader …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: … of the House.


Mr Matongo: And when our own Provincial and run away Minister, a run away miner, today was articulating our policy on mining, making a mark.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Therefore, we lead from behind and they follow, but we want it to remain that way. My debate today is on the conscious of this Government and that is.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: I would like to sate clearly that there is nobody, but all of us to blame. We spend more time on little production and talking. We spend more time on disagreeing to correct a wrong on pulling down each other more so the people on your right, Mr Speaker.

I would like to put it to you, Mr Speaker, that this year’s Budget is an all-Executive Budget. There is only 1.2 per cent for the Legislature and 29 per cent for the Judiciary. I will neither debate ourselves nor shall I debate the Judiciary. I would like to debate how to advance this economy. Hon. Minister Magande, presupposes that the economic paradigms of inflation, interest rates, less borrowing from the Central Bank and, indeed, all those macro-economic issues that we all know are on the right track. I would like to state clearly, without fear or favour, that those are mere economic indicators. I think he agrees with me.

Mr Speaker, I also want to agree with some of our colleagues who believe that it is only the delivery of kapenta and nshima on the table that, in fact, is a true indicator of economic development. I also agree that economic development means pumping water out of Kanyama from one house to the other and damaging more, I agree.


Mr Matongo: The truth of the matter is that much as we do not eat statistics, much as we do not pump water with statistics and much as we do not carry goods with statistics, there must be some fundamentals on how to utilise statistics which any household that plans must have. In our view, on this side of the House, when inflation is at 9.3 per cent, as announced by the Director of the Central Statistical Office this morning, then our bread basket should be in that region or less. When it is expensive, then for those of us who want delivery of kapenta and nshima on the table will think differently. I expect the hon. Minister to say, dear brothers, that is why there is an indication that the prices are coming down. The bread basket today is much higher the inflation rate. Inflation simply means too much money chasing too few goods. Which villager will say I have too much money …

Hon. Opposition Member: None.

Mr Matongo: … and, therefore, I am chasing too few goods? This is a principle of the argument, Hon. Magande, and be very kind, please …

Mr Speaker: Order! Address the Chair.

Mr Matongo: … to the people who think statistics is not eatable. Please, argue, like I am that statistics is an indication of the better times to come, especially when better managers from this side are in charge.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Mr Speaker, may I further state that for a better deliverance of services, let us be friends. It is just a matter of faith to be MMD. It is simply a matter of trust, careful planning and foresight for the future to be UPND.

Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: It is a wonderful matter for agitation and pushing those with a conscious of the method to develop to be cleared. Therefore, we need each other. Now, if we need each other, we need ask what we should do when these economic podiums are in the right direction in order to deliver services to the people.

Firstly, those in agriculture must appreciate that they have invested and they are getting money for their investment to create wealth and jobs. The workers, like most of us, - Mr Speaker, before I came to Parliament I thought, it is not a job to be in Parliament. I thought it was a service. I have learnt from many people that it is not more than a service. I want to stick to my belief that it is a service.

Mr Speaker, for those of us who are in employment, the tax levels must be user friendly. I should be very willing to pay tax because it is within my means of doing so. I will be asking my hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to look at his bands. These proposed tax bands are not any different from last year. The current systems is 0 to K500,000, K500,001 to K1,200,000, K1,200,001 to K5,200,000 per month and above K5,200,000.

Now I come to clarify the matter and I will take the last two in the interest of time. From 0 to K600,000 and K600,001 to K1,235,000 per month. The next is 30 per cent and the next is 35 per cent. Meanwhile, the bottom here is K4 million and bottom last year was K5,200,000. Who is saying what? We are exactly where we were last year because last year it was K5,200,000 bottom at 35 per cent tax and this year it is K4,000,000 at 35 per cent. Therefore, we are exactly were we were last year. May I persuade my hon. Friend that the little movement must be met and Hon. Magande, Minister of Finance and National Planning, please, let us negotiate these bands so that, in fact, they leave some money in the pockets of the workers which will be the true Gross Domestic Product (GDP). They need the money to buy mealie meal and kapenta, as the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry likes to say.

Do not agitate all the time if you want a battle. Sometimes when you are losing, join them and eat them from within and win. I would like to persuade my friend that we are not here to fight, but reach a consensus. I have come this afternoon to be given an opportunity to negotiate some of these aspects of the Budget not to change the principle figures, but the minor figures so that our people will actually see that there is value in their money.

Mr Speaker, I would like to say to my friend and the Government that the average of Value Added Tax (VAT) in the region has been 14 per cent for the last six years. In Zambia, it has been 17.5 per cent. It has now been dropped by 1.5 per cent to 16 per cent. Really, why should we be the exception? Why not 14 per cent? I am saying Zambians feel heavily taxed in terms of income tax, VAT and all the other taxes.

Mr Speaker, I am honestly saying that whoever is the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning must balance revenue and expenditure. Yes, whoever is the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, at any given time in this country, must be careful to ensure that the Government operations are sustained.

With the introduction of withholding tax, which I demonstrated ably on this Floor on 15th February, for if I do not state it nobody will remember, what is the good reason for company tax to remain at K1.3 billion while Pay-As-You-Earn is at K2.3 billion? We were expecting that the corporate bodies would contribute a little more than the man with a small income, in the literal sense.

I am very certain that the legislation on windfall tax and variable tax is not here. I hope the hon. Minister will say that it shall be a bonus to all us when it becomes law and, therefore, we shall be paying less on taxes. I, again, would like to persuade him to see the reality that, perhaps, it is time we started moving towards saving the small employee in this Republic.

Mr Speaker, finally, I would like to persuade my hon. Friend and his Cabinet colleagues that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is real. It is a small amount, but it goes to the people right at the grassroots. We should not suffer the incompetence of those who cannot account for the use of the funds because of poor management of councils.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Matongo: Councils are well empowered. Let us have that money so that we can deal with small development projects such as small roads, gender issues and other minor issues such as repairing schools and loans to youths. I would like to persuade the hon. Minister that the K400 million that he has provided is a little less than the K1 billion that we asked for. He needs to trust the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, some councils and us. If we are given a little more responsibility, we will help the Government develop this country. I would like to persuade my hon. Friend because he needs more commendation than condemnation to review this matter. The money that goes to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services for women empowerment, K2 million per constituency, is no longer in the Budget. It has been transferred, if I am right and correct me if I am wrong, to the Citizen’s Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC). That is a business outfit. How can a women’s club from Hamakowa, Limulunga, Liuwa and other places write a feasibility study just to get K2 million …


Mr Matongo: … to buy goats or grow vegetables in order to empower themselves. I again want our technocrats to be persuaded that yes, for those who go for business, so may it be. Let the money for the rural people be separated from funds for the urban people. I am aware that the allocation to the CEEC is only K50 billion. It can actually be spent at Manda Hill alone. The ward at Manda Hill here will swallow this money. Therefore, in order for equitable distribution, I persuade my colleagues, some of whom we share the same village heritage, without rancor and with a lot of respect, that we continue the women’s clubs in the villages without the feasibility study because if they shift from there, there shall be a feasibility study.

Further, I would like to talk about the money for youths. We need to be given money that enable proper economic empowerment for the youths. There are youths in the rural areas like where I grew up. Again, I think there should be a separation from that wonderful commission chaired by an extremely competent person whom I know. He used to be my junior a few years ago. Please, let us ensure that what is for social services, rural youths and the poor people in the CDF goes back. It does help. It is a persuasion, not out of anger and with a lot of respect. We can help take development forward.

Mr Speaker, having stated that, I would like to say I will be more technical during consideration of the various departments. I would like to rest my case and I need the Government’s urgent reply.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, just before we go for the break, I could help with your campaign to improve the standard of English in this House. The phrase that says, “they mean well” is always used in connection with failure and the excusing of failure. When the Americans invaded Somalia to restore it to what they considered an acceptable State and actually failed and were defeated because of their ignorance of the situation, they said, “but we meant well” and every body agreed with them.


Dr Scott: However, the important things in life have to do with doing well and understanding the problems that you are dealing with, and not doing foolish things like thinking you can take over a country full of warlords using helicopters. This is just a small introduction.

Mr Speaker, …


Dr Scott: … I am doing well.


Dr Scott: Sir, I mean well. Seventeen years ago, I was elected to the National Executive Committee (NEC) of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). The first elected NEC. In those days, I believed very sincerely that the MMD was the engine or saviour of the Zambian situation; that it would turn around the decline and decay in infrastructure, education, living standards and the all-round decay in the country. Some years later, I lost my faith. I was like one of those priests who had joined and given his life to the Church and wakes up one morning and finds that he does not believe in God anymore.


Dr Scott: That is the way to become lost. That was not during the time of the New Deal, but way before the time of the New Deal that I lost my faith. But the New Deal, when it came, gave me no hope of restoring my faith …

Mr Speaker: Order!

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, I do not deny that the people on your right mean well. I was just explaining what it meant and what it could mean. When I am asked why I lost my faith in the MMD and why I failed to get it back and people want a brief answer, I tell them very simply …

Mr Sichilima: You were fired!

Dr Scott: … that I lost my faith in the MMD party because it became an engine for the advancement of the interest of the elite, as has happened to so many political parties in Africa and is happening here. The rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer, the educated people are getting so sweetie you would think they were from another planet.

The hon. Deputy Minister of Health, who has not come back into the Chamber yet, was suggesting the other day that only university graduates should be allowed to stand as Presidential candidates. Here now, we are advised to remember that 50 years ago, there were White colonialists who spoke in that way. You will recall that the voters’ roll was never divided up on literally racial lines, but on educational and property lines, which has the same effect of creating an apartheid voters’ roll.

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

Dr Scott: It is really shocking to me to come back 50 years later and hear the same kind of patronising talk about the poor people.

Hon. Government Members: Budget!

Dr Scott: I will give you an example from the Budget. The Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives budget has been cut from nearly 9 per cent of the Budget to just stand at 6 per cent. If you analyse the Ministry’s Budget’s components that is supposed to make what is happening here very plain, you will find that in the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, the apamwambas are just fine because they have taken the cut. The Headquarters is getting the same amount, while the planning people are getting more money and the administrators, the accountants are getting the money and the District Agricultural Co-ordinators are taking part of the cut and the farmers are taking the rest of the cut from the reductions in the subsidies of the farmers for fertiliser and financing from maize buying.

Mr Speaker, the poor are taking the cut in this section of the Budget and the rich are fine. They are well off despite the one third slash in the agriculture budget.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Dr Scott: If that is not evidence of an elitist Budget, I do not know what it is.

Mr Speaker, the former Mayor of New York, Mayor Kronos, some years ago, said politicians can campaign in poetry, but they must govern in prose.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear1

Dr Scott: What that means in Budget terms is that in poetry sometimes two and two make five or maybe three. However, in prose two and two will always have to make four. Therefore, I would like to look at how this Budget adds up to see if two and two can make four. I would like to look at the shape of the Budget rather than the detailed components.

Last year, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning brought us a Budget with predicted expenditure levels of K12 trillion in the currency of that time and that was a huge deficit because deficit is the planned expenditure monies for revenue. The huge deficit was extensively to be made up from some domestic borrowing plus a quantity of foreign aid which everybody who looked at the Budget immediately said there was no way the donors were going to give you that.

Actually, it is a pie in the sky. It is based in the bush, but you are writing down here.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: It is duikers on the other side of the river. I think it came to pass to pay that they were right because in the end, the total expenditure only came to K11 trillion and K1 trillion was missing from the revenue side and had to be taken off the expenditure side.

Mr Speaker, our listening and meaning well Government has come told us that this cut on the expenditure side was due to incompetence of the administration of this Government at the technical level. It is not saying that it is due to the fact that there was no way these revenues were ever going to be realised. This story about the K900 billion return, I am looking for a parliamentary term, is fancy foot work.


Dr Scott: It is prancing like stretching out of a butterfly and singing like a bee.


Dr Scott: I think that is parliamentary.

Mr Speaker the level of mathematics of this strategy that is revealed in this Budget was aiming for a growth of 7 per cent. Last year, we were also told that they were yearning for a growth of 7 per cent. This year, we were told there was going to be a 6 per cent growth which is everybody said was not going to be anywhere.

Therefore, 6 per cent will have to relate to other figures in the overall recommended plan. The figures have to add up or have to, at least, be consistent and mean well for each other.


Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, 6 per cent growth in cash terms was the average for all of Africa last year and that was only 1 per cent above the world rate of growth. 6 per cent if you take the rate of growth of the human population in Zambia, especially if Dr Puma does his job as Minister for AIDS, is merely 3 per cent. 6 per cent minus 3 per cent gives you real growth in this country of 3 per cent per annum. This is 3 per cent under the most advantageous conditions you could imagine of copper and nickel boom and you are only getting 3 per cent per capital growth and idly boosting that you are going to reach a middle income status by the year 2030. I think it is a mistake. It should be 3030 as at that state of growth.

Mr Speaker, the question which the hon. Minister has to satisfy this House is why he is going for such a low growth strategy. We know we have a lack of growth, yes. We were told that the agricultural sector is growing large and the rate of increase of population. The year before last year, it grew to 3 per cent while last year, it was 2.8 per cent. That is lower than the rate of growth of the population. This means individuals in the rural sector are getting poorer and why are they getting poorer according to the hon. Minister’s own Address? They are getting poorer because the prices of export commodities and some import substitution commodities are dropping because the Kwacha has been overly appreciating. Why? Because that suits the elite because the elite are the importers in this country and they want cheap imports while the exporters are the poor in this country other than the copper investors. The exporters are the people paying the cost of that subsidy.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: It is not a theory that is debatable. It is just mathematics. If you change the rate of exchange, the price of imports was down due to the price of exports. It happens to suit the Government. Look at their cars and how many cars they have, but how are we going to see how many cases of malnutrition there are? Have we gone to see how many cases of inadequate education facilities there are? I think when you check the numbers today and you look at them, it becomes more interesting. We are aiming for 7 per cent inflation rates and we are told that the rate of inflation …

Mr Sichilima: On a point of order, Sir!

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Scott: I am sure he means well, Mr Speaker.


Mr Sichilima: I am glad you can acknowledge that.

Mr Speaker, it is very rare that we interrupt someone who debates with facts. You have guided us many times that we need to come on the Floor of this House with facts. Is the Member of Parliament for Lusaka Central, Hon. Dr Guy Scott, in order to mislead the nation by mentioning cars without specific figures and without indicating that there are more cars in rural areas?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichilima: Yes! It is a fact that there are more cars in the rural areas now because of this hard working Government …


Mr Sichilima: … and in the compounds that he is referring to. Is he in order to mislead this House and not tell the truth? I need you serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development has raised a point of order to the effect that certain expressions made by the hon. Member for Lusaka Central are incorrect. The hon. Member for Lusaka Central will justify the information that he is giving.

He may continue.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: Mr Speaker, I cannot give you the chapter and verse, but on the Floor of this House, we heard about the perilous state of our road infrastructure blamed on the increase of traffic due to the wonderful policies of this Government. Unless the Government would wish to withdraw that allegation, I think it is fair to say the number of cheap Japanese vehicles on the road that have come in since the appreciation of the Kwacha is great. They are second hand in many cases, but nonetheless vehicles.

Mr Speaker, I did not say that the elite are confined to the cities. There are also rural elite. There are elitists to be found throughout the country, sometimes visiting and sometimes resident. I would not want to dispute that.

Mr Speaker, let us just get these numbers in some kind of perspective. If we have a planned inflation rate of 7 per cent, I do not believe that the cost of living in areas such as Bauleni, the cost of rent, charcoal and all the other necessities, that are now squeezing people, would be low.

Mr Speaker, if we have a target of 7 per cent inflation, has the hon. Minister prepared the worker in this country, particularly the workers in the public sector, for the fact that their wage increases must be balanced with the rate of inflation? You cannot have a situation where your real increases in wages are 10 or 20 per cent a year. It does not work out. The numbers do not add up because if that happens and the connectivity, whatever that may mean, in the case of the public servant, does not go up too much. Eventually, the public sector will swallow the entire economy and public servants will eat every ngwee and every mini-kobo in this country.

Therefore, has the hon. Minister prepared to tell us that wage increases are going to be caped? Are the workers, who are so happy about the alleged low inflation, also going to be happy about the low increments in the wages? The wage increases have to be balanced with price increases and the gross has to be balanced also with the increase in the size of the public sector. All these numbers must be balanced.

However, what has he done? He has given us a Chicago School.  I do not want to use in-words like that, but I believe that the inflation rate is somehow the most important variable in the world. The most important variable in economics is the welfare of the people ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: … especially the poorest people. It is not the rate of inflation or the rate of chakuti,  chakuti. Sorry, I do not wish to use vernacular.


Dr Scott: He needs to justify why he is producing an anti-growth, tight money elite-favouring Budget instead of doing what any Government that meant well and mean well would do, which is to let us reap in terms of growth. China sits there with a 12 per cent growth rate based on our copper.

Hon. Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: They grow at 12 per cent. We think that somehow, because we are riding on China’s cocktails, we can hardly exceed what President Chiluba managed with much worse copper prices. I think this needs a big review of the numbers on how they tie up and what they mean for the poor ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Scott: … and where the real political power is; where the real influence is …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear! That is right. Tell them.

Dr Scott: … in this country. I think it needs a review. If the people on your right do not want to understand why they lost Nchanga by such a massive landslide and why they are going to lose in Kanyama, and they do not want to know they and are so proud of what they have achieved, that is their problem.

Hon. Opposition Members: They mean well.

Dr Scott: It is not our problem. We do not have to sit here and just take it and say “yes, you mean well.”

Hon. Opposition Member: Well done.

Dr Scott: You are excused. Mr Speaker, briefly on the subject of copper, I have mentioned in this House before that Ian Smith waged war on us for 15 years, using revenues from our copper and electricity from our inter-connector.


Dr Scott: The Rhodesians waged war on this country for 15 years and I went there to negotiate on ZESCO’s behalf the money that was owed to us by those people. I did not find a single pothole. In fact, the word was unknown in Rhodesian English. If you asked where to find a pothole they would ask you what a pothole was. That was with our copper money. They do not produce anything down there that is worth very much. During the Federation of Nyansaland, Northern and Southern Rhodesia, the money was siphoned out of our copper mines at the same time as they were paying 100 per cent bonuses in some years. The money was taken down and they built Southern Rhodesia.

Dr Machungwa: Even Johannesburg.

Dr Scott: And we cannot even fix the roads in Nyumba Yanga to make them passable to anything less than a 4 x 4 wheel drive vehicles in the middle of the biggest copper boom that has ever occurred.

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Dr Scott: And I look in this brick (Yellow Book) …


Dr Scott: … this nchelwa or, I do not know, nkuru, ...


Dr Scott: … this piece of firewood, to see where the copper revenue is coming. Only the 0.6 per cent is there. The existing tax rates are here. They do not even have, it seems to me, on that side, a belief in their own windfall tax and their own reformed system. I am inclined to believe it is another case of fancy footwear …

Hon. Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Dr Machungwa: That is what I said.

Dr Scott: Floating like a butterfly.

Mr Kambwili: Tabomfwa aba!

Dr Scott: … so that we will not be able to turn around and say the Government did not listen because they brought it to the Floor of the House. And yes we passed it, and then it ended up in court and it was stuck there for three years because that is what the Investment Agreements said.

Ms Mumbi: Umusungu alelanda nomba.

Kambwili: Aikona ukupanga ichongo.

Dr Scott: I would urge everybody on this side of the House (the left side) to campaign both inside and outside this House to actually realise these changes to make them more realistic. Yes, we can discuss the details, the threshold levels and so forth, but we have to campaign because my own belief is that there is fancy footwear and meaning well going on there (right side).


Dr Scott: I think that instead of going wamuyayaya to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, we should be saying, like my good friend from the UPND, “well done”. We want to be able to say “well done” genuinely, from the bottom of our hearts, without any trace of sarcasm or cynicism so that when that day comes, we can spend two to three million United Stated dollars a year per constituency, fixing these roads which have degenerated and degenerated to a shameful level.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Dr Scott: Then we will be happy and we will say thank you. You do not only mean well, but you know well and you have done well, well done.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Dr Scott: I am sure that Hon. Muntanga will be the first one to humbly kneel and say, “Thank you, well done.”

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

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Njobvu (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this important debate. First of all, I would like to say that in 1964, the United National Independence Party (UNIP) nationalised the country’s resources.


Mr Speaker: Order! The House will listen to the debater from Milanzi Constituency.

Dr Njobvu: Sir, UNIP nationalised the country’s companies and resources to build this country. We now have the Kariba North Bank, Kafue Gorge, …

Dr Chituwo: On a point of order, Sir!

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Milanzi in order to blatantly mislead this House that in 1964, UNIP nationalised companies?


Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, there are so many people listening to the debates now. I seriously need your ruling. Is he in order to mislead this House and, through this House, the entire nation?

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Health is not satisfied with the history …


Mr Speaker: … that the hon. Member for Milanzi is referring to. May the hon. Member revisit his history with regard to what he was saying so that we have a correct record and those who are listening will also understand exactly what is going on.

Dr Njobvu: I thank you, Mr Speaker, and the hon. Minister who raised that point of order. It was a slip of the tongue.


Dr Njobvu: Mr Speaker, 1964 was an independence year. Nationalisation came in 1968 …

Hon. Government Members: 1969!

Dr Njobvu: Mr Speaker, I would like to say that when UNIP nationalised the copper mines, we meant well.


Dr Njobvu: I am talking about when nationalisation started. However, I would like to say that the nationalisation process was intended for the purpose of developing this country, reducing poverty and hunger. As I said, UNIP built the Kariba North Bank, Kafue Gorge and the University of Zambia. In 1964, the Eastern Province had only four secondary schools. This time around, there are more than twenty secondary schools. All these were built by the UNIP Government.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Njobvu: Mr Speaker, I would like to say that while the new tax regime has come now, we hope that the revenue from the mines can be used to benefit the Zambian people. It must be used for developing this country and reducing poverty.

Mr Speaker, we started talking about the issue of windfall tax during the last sitting of the House. I would like to say that this country needs the money to develop. However, the level of corruption in this country is increasing. If this Government cannot handle corruption, the money that will be realised from the windfall tax will not be utilised properly. It will be misused by selfish individuals and that is why this Government should now start controlling corruption.

Sir, I would like to turn to the agriculture sector. We have been told in this august House that there is a bumper harvest in this country. I would to remind this august House that the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives dissolved the co-operative union in Chadiza District because they allowed people to go to Mozambique to buy maize. That was a misleading situation. It meant that the bumper harvest we were talking about was not actually there.

Mr Speaker, when I went to see the people in Milanzi Constituency, farmers told me that the buyers of maize were going to Mozambique to buy maize. When that maize was bought, it did not remain in Katete District, it was transported to some other areas. It gives a very erroneous picture that there is a bumper harvest while people are suffering. There was a drought, there was too much rain.


Dr Njobvu: Yes, there was a drought and this has been a consecutive situation.

Mr Speaker, that has affected the production of maize. This year, the farmers have not received fertiliser.


Dr Njobvu: Sir, farmers in Katete District are asking the Government to give them fertiliser. These farmers only received the first consignment of fertiliser. The second consignment has not reached the farmers in the district. This is the process of creating poverty and hunger in the country. We heard, not long ago, that the farmers who sold their produce to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in Mbala District were still owed K2 billion. How can these farmers produce more food if they are not paid their money on time?


Dr Njobvu: Mr Speaker, if the farmers are not paid for their produce, it means that they cannot produce enough food.

Mr Speaker, I would like to request the Government to ensure that the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning co-ordinates properly so that the issue of returning money to the Treasury is not repeated this year. Sir, if this is the rate at which we will be moving, we will not achieve the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty and reducing hunger in the country.

Mr Speaker, we need a Government which will consider farming in rural areas. In rural areas, the percentage of poverty is higher than in urban areas. To reduce poverty and hunger, we need to support the farmers in those areas. We can only support them by providing fertiliser and paying for their produce adequately and at the right time.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Njobvu: Mr Speaker, this year, the Budget has been reduced by 3 per cent and this is from 8.8 per cent to 5.8 per cent. This means that we are not serious in reducing poverty and hunger in this country.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about education. In Katete District, there has been no funding for the rehabilitation of schools. I know that last year, only four schools out of ten which were affected by the disaster in that district were supported. I would, therefore, like to urge the Ministry of Education to consider supporting the remaining schools. The money which was released was meant for supporting the schools which were affected by the disaster. I would like to add that the normal rehabilitation of schools and teachers’ houses has actually stopped. We need to support the people in rural areas.

Sir, the rehabilitation of feeder roads has not been supported in Milanzi Constituency. I hope the Ministry of Works and Supply will take note of this situation. I also wish to say that when we give advice or mention some of the shortfalls, we do that in good faith. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to join my colleagues who have congratulated His Excellency the President on the new tax regime. I hope we will support the President in his fight against corruption because corruption is robbing the money which can develop this country. I am saying so because we are not seeing any activities of development in some of the ministries. I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Local Government and Housing on doing well in increasing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). We actually need more than that because we can easily see where that money goes.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, may I also join the rest of the hon. Members of Parliament who have congratulated the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning on his well prepared Budget.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulonga: Sir, I will strictly talk about agriculture and would like to start with fishing. As the hon. Minister announced, as a working Government, we had to find our own means to restore the fisheries in our country. By this, the House may wish to know that this year, we are going to have about thirty graduates trained in fisheries. These are going to add value to the protection of fish in the country.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, it is not only a monetary increment which can make agriculture do well, but also manpower. This is needed for the advancement of the agriculture sector.

Mr Speaker, the Budget was presented and the Government has always been talking about food diversification. I, therefore, would like to inform the House that what we meant, as a Government, by saying that agriculture is the engine block of development in the nation did not only mean that we were only going to grow or promote the production of maize alone. To the contrary, for this country to develop, it needs a diverse approach to food production. It is in that vein that we are promoting the growing and buying of rice and cassava. Questions have been asked by my colleagues from Luapula Province and the North-Western Province. In some instances, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has been buying cassava, but on a small scale. The problem which we had which this Government has worked on was lack of a cassava processing plant. We could not go full swing in this regard or operate on a large scale because we did not have a milling plant for cassava.

Sir, this has now been dealt with and as I speak, we have a milling plant for cassava in the Luapula Province, specifically in Mansa. In reference to the statement by Hon. Mukanga, we have milling plants which were set up by the help of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Serenje, Mansa and Samfya. We want to promote the growing of cassava so that the consumption of cassava meal is promoted. I hope the hon. Member of Parliament will be very happy when we do that.

Mr Speaker, much has been said about the failure by the FRA to pay farmers for the maize which they produce. I may wish to remind the House that last year, this House approved K205 billion to buy maize worth 250 metric tonnes for the strategic reserves of this nation. When we saw that our farmers produced more than that we expected the private sector to help to buy the rest. This is being practised in Tanzania where the Government is only buying for strategic reserves. The rest is for the free market. Unfortunately, this is not happening in Zambia. As a Government, what we did was look after our own people because we realised that the people of Zambia brought back the MMD Government because of its good policies.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulonga: That is why in Livingstone, Kafue, Lusaka, Chilanga and Kabwe, people voted for the MMD. It is for this reason that we said we should not disappoint the people of Zambia. We went out and told the FRA to also buy the extra maize so that we could put money in the pockets of the farmers.

Mr Speaker, by 30th September, 2007, the K205 billion which we had planned for was given out to the farmers. However, because of the over production and buying from the Government, we had a credit of K56 billion remaining and the question was where to get this money because what we had planned for had already been exhausted. We had to tell the FRA to export some maize. This is because by that time …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mulonga: Listen.

Sir, I would like the House to listen because everyone has been talking about this. I would like them to get the message so that they realise that this Government is working and that the Budget means well.

Mr Speaker, what happened was that instead of buying 250,000 metric tonnes with the other K105 billion, we have bought 398,013 metric tonnes of maize, meaning that the maize is now worth K305 billion. Therefore, we had to look for K100 billion extra which we did. By 15th December, 2007, the other money which was remaining for the farmers had been found.

Mr Speaker, after this, our friends from the Southern , Eastern, Central, and Northern Provinces came up with other budgets worth K16 billion. Even for these farmers who are claiming now, after we did all the calculations and closed the buying of maize on 30th December, the money has been found and there is a surplus. These four provinces have come up with new figures amounting to K16 billion and that is the money they are claiming the Government has not paid. We are saying if that maize is there, we are going to send people to inspect it and we will look for money to pay this K16 billion. However, we cannot pay for it now because we do not know where it is coming from. We have to first verify the K16 billion. This is why you have heard that we have not paid the farmers here or there. It is not the problem of the Government.

Mr Speaker, I would like to come to the issue of the Fertiliser Support Programme. Last year, this House approved K150 billion for fertiliser worth 50,000 metric tonnes. We did just that, we procured that and we sent out that fertiliser. May I remind this House and the nation that additional fertiliser is not a second programme. Additional fertiliser is mandatory, but demand driven. Therefore, we cannot say that we will buy 50,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser and in time, we will add 20,000 metric tonnes. This means that we are not planning. When you plan, you plan for what you have. Additional fertiliser will only come in when there is a demand and the demand which is coming this time had it come in November, when we delivered correctly, as a Government, we would have known what to do. However, the demand has come so late this time.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, if I were to give…


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sichamba: …the principle behind the Fertiliser Support Programme, it is to wean the farmers. However, what would it profit the Government if it were to wean off a farmer who has been given fertiliser and whom we know is only going to produce two bags of maize? Will that be logical, Sir? It will not. Therefore, we have to plan now for the coming season. Yes, there might have been one or two lapses in the fertiliser distribution exercise this farming season, we cannot argue to that extent, but, that has already passed. What we have to look for is which way forward?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Member: Refund!

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, because people took it for granted that there was another programme for additional fertiliser, farmers started depositing this money in expectation of the second allocation of fertiliser; not the normal one.

Mr Speaker, because the farmers had already deposited that money, what we are doing, as a Government, is look into ways and means of refunding it. We are not refusing. The only problem we had was when we came to this House, for a supplementary budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives which was K54 billion, some of the hon. Members who are here went to mislead the people that we had approved K54 billion for fertiliser. To the contrary, it was for the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives.

Mr Muntanga: Aah!

Mr Mulonga: Yes. That is why when that money came and because the farmers had not yet been paid, what we did was take K35 billion to FRA to pay the farmers so that we refund them. We took the other K19 billion and paid the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia. That is how that money for which some people have been parading themselves before the cameras of Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulonga: …to say we had approved. The nation must know the current situation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichamba: You mean well.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, as for the flood victims, it can be seen that we mean well. This Government is working hard in agriculture. That is why in all the districts which had problems of floods last year, we used about 6,000 metric tonnes to supply to the people who were affected. This year, we reserved 30,000 metric tonnes in FRA for flood victims. However, may I also remind this House to give proper information to the people out there. When we say there are floods in Mazabuka, it does not mean that everyone is affected. Therefore, we cannot come here and say “I have 7,000 people in Mazabuka, but you are sending twenty bags of mealie meal, are you fair?” Out of the 7,000, how many are affected? It could only be 200. We want you, the elected Members of Parliament, to also benefit from that.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, what we do …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to raise a point of order. Is the hon. Deputy Minister in order to insinuate and allege that hon. Members of Parliament are looking for relief food to feed themselves instead of the people who are suffering due to floods? Is he also in order to fail to explain in detail that the District Agriculture Co-ordinating Officers were the ones collecting money from the farmers without the involvement of the hon. Member of Parliament? Should he not mention that the Permanent Secretary phoned the fertiliser supplier to deliver to the districts and involve the hon. Members? Is he in order to insinuate that hon. Members here are asking for food?

Mr Speaker: My ruling on the point of order which has been raised by the hon. Member for Kalomo is that the hon. Deputy Minister is out of order. Not only that, I would like to take this opportunity to, yet again, guide the Executive to speak from prepared texts to avoid slips of the tongue which may, in the end, mislead not only this House, but also the nation at large.

Hon. Cabinet and Deputy Ministers must speak from prepared texts. I mean ready prepared texts because whatever you say here is an assurance and is also policy, and not common sense. Do not debate from common sense here because you will make mistakes and mislead the House and the nation. You have officers in your various ministries who are speech writers and technocrats who have the facts and statistics at their fingers tips.

I urge you, in fact, I order you …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: … to speak from prepared texts. There are few factual orators on earth, very few, and those are the lucky ones. Otherwise, the rest of us, even those in Government, including the hon. Deputy Minister himself, because he is also in the Government, particularly the Executive, rely on the facts and figures supplied to them by their technocrats and their speech writers  in their ministries.

I have said this before because I listen to you. Some of the things that you say are contrary to articulated Government policies and this can be very unfortunate.

May the hon. Deputy Minister continue.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, I have heard your guidance quite well, but …

Mr Speaker: Order! Order! You cannot qualify the Chair. I guided you and the rest of the other members of the Executive and you should have sat down while I was guiding you.

I do not wish to say what I am going to say next. I speak from experience. I reluctantly say so, but it is true.

You may continue, hon. Deputy Minister.

Mr Mulonga: I thank you for your guidance, Sir.

Mr Speaker, when the Government is helping those who are affected by floods, firstly there is district team which goes round to ascertain the extent of the problem. Therefore, it is based on the district team’s report that, as a Government, we accordingly send the relief.

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

Mr Mulonga: It is not just done without figures. Therefore, maybe, that is why you may find that there may be 500 people in a locality, but if only two are affected, only those two will be given assistance.

Mr Speaker, it is true that there is a reduction in the percentage that we have been given as Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, but in itself does not mean the performance of agriculture will go down. It means that we have some activities like irrigation which we did not carry out last year which are going to be carried out this year that will improve on the operations of the sector. Therefore, it is true that I would like people to get the truth about how this Government is working, especially how FSP and FRA operated, how much was spent thereon, how well we are prepared and how much we have been allocated in this year’s Budget so that we continue doing the business of the Government in general and of our Ministry in particular.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.
Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Ms Njapau): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker, for according me this opportunity to debate. I wish to acknowledge the contributions made by all the earlier speakers. I also would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and his officers who worked so hard in bringing a Budget to this House which most people have praised.

Mr Speaker, the New Deal Administration is a listening Government. When people cry to their Government, our duty is to address their concerns. This Government has brought a good number of projects to develop the country which no one of us in this House can dispute, unless those who have eyes, but do not want to see.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, there is a boom in the mining, agriculture and tourism industry in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, on the detailed new measures on the mining sector, I would like to say that the New Deal Government has laid a firm foundation for the people of Zambia to fully benefit from the exploitation of our natural resources.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, in the country, including the North-Western Province, which I am part and parcel of, great things are happening. A province, which was once called a Cinderella Province, is now a place of milk and honey.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, all this is because of the wise leadership of His Excellency, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, let me say something on the security of this country. The Ministry of Home Affairs is doing everything possible to make sure that there is peace and order in this country so that Zambians should feel that this is their country and also to entice investors.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, on public order and safety, this New Deal Government has proposed to spend a total amount of K1,262,600,000 on public order and safety functions, on Police Service, Immigration, Passport, National Registration Cards, construction of houses, to mention but a few. This is a working Government and once all these monies are approved, the Ministry will address some of the problems the men and women are going through.

Mr Speaker, yesterday, I heard Hon. Sing’ombe, Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi Constituency misleading this House and the nation, that the Department of Immigration in the Ministry of Home Affairs employees unqualified officers, and send them in foreign missions. This is not correct because most Immigration Officers, who are sent in these missions, are highly educated and experienced. We do not know of any Immigration Officer who is unqualified. Therefore, I challenge the hon. Member to submit to this august House the names of those he is referring to.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, I am cautioning the hon. Members who say things without facts to stop misleading this august House and the nation at large.


Ms Njapau: Mr Speaker, in my conclusion, I would like to urge my colleagues from your left side to attend the National Constitution Conference and stop pretending that everything is well for them.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about corruption. We should not just leave it to the Government or President Mwanawasa alone. We are making a mistake in doing so. All of us here have to fight this disease. Therefore, I urge those who do things without following the correct procedure, because some obtain driving licences, yet do not know how to drive, to desist from doing so. As a Ministry, we shall follow them.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Njapau: With these few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Beene (Itezhi-tezhi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. First of all, I just would like to advise the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that when he designs the cover of his Address, it is important that he reconciles the pictures with the headings of those pictures.

Mr Speaker, I would like to interpret the pictures on the front page. What I can see on the first picture is a truck that is heavily loaded moving on a road that has no plan for any maintenance instead of maybe using a railway line so that the road would not be damaged. I also see another picture on which people are viewing agriculture implements when funding to this sector has actually been reduced, which is extremely misleading.

Hon UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, on the right side of the front page, I can see His Excellency President Levy Mwanawasa consulting with the former President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, which I think is inadequate because Hakainde Hichilema should also have been in the middle, for the future.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, the preamble in the speech of the hon. Minister has a lot of sweet-coated words such as “unlocking resources”, “economic empowerment”, “achieving stability”, “growth or creation of wealth” and so forth. To the people of Itezhi-tezhi, and I am sure also to the people of Chilanga, nothing is getting to the table or into their pockets. I think that these are mere figures that are not translating in empowering Zambians and improving their well being.

Mr Speaker, I just would like to make an earnest appeal to the hon. Members of this House and I am happy that the Constitution is going to be revisited through the National Constitution Conference (NCC). I also would like to urge those who are still on the edge, waiting to get to the NCC to do so now because the Budget Cycle of this country is within the Constitution which also deals with the financial regulations. This is where we need to make improvements so that the Budget which is approved in this House can be meaningful to the Zambian people.

Major Chizhyuka: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: We need to carefully look at the clauses which deal with finances because that is where the Budget hinges. That is the starting point. Those who feel they can stand here and represent their constituencies and leave the Constitution in its current status are wasting their time and should come forward.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, in his Speech, the hon. Minister talked about poverty. As I am speaking here, the people of Itezhi-tezhi are halfway on their knees because the water table has risen and their homes are flooded. The hon. Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives was talking about floods. My people in Itezhi-tezhi, Namwala, and I am sure in the Western Province, and Mbabala as well have not received any tents. I feel this issue of floods should cover the whole of the Southern Province and other areas. That is very important.

Mr Speaker, I also would like to talk about external debt. The Zambian people tried to sacrifice. As a country, we were given benchmarks such as the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) behaving in a certain manner so that, at the end of the day, Zambians would benefit after reaching the High Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative Completion Point. Alas, what has happened? Conditions were given that the from the resources of this country as well as those from the donors, certain percentages going to health, agriculture and other sectors. However, what percentages are getting to these critical sectors? Even if we are spending money on health, how much of it is going for workshops instead of buying medicines? That is the question.

I think these are the issues which, as the Executive, we need to seriously look at. How are we implementing what has been given. All these problems of the K900 billion going back to the Treasury is because of the arrangement of the Budget Cycle.

Mr Speaker, we are not benefiting from the external debt as Zambians because we are not feeling it. The money needs to get to the people. It needs to get to the ground. I would like to remind the MMD Government at this point, that the people who have brought you back into Government are the people in the rural areas. The people in towns whom you are talking about because you read newspapers, you know where they are. It is very important that you place your priorities correctly. I am just giving timely advice.

Mr Speaker, on the sector performance in agriculture, I will base my debate from the rural point of view of a rural person from Itezhi-Tezhi. I have a farm and do farming. The fertiliser which was sent to the area is inadequate, but in the meantime, we are saying that we are going to have a bumper harvest and other things. Where is the problem?

Hon. Government Members: Nowhere!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, the delivery system of the fertiliser is completely unco-ordinated. At times, the top dressing arrives before the basal dressing fertiliser and we have been in existence for a very long time. Which agriculture are you proud of? There is nothing. On cattle restocking we have said in this House that in the Southern Province, money was misapplied.

Mr Sing’ombe: Omuchende wa Namwala!

Mr Beene: However, no action has been taken to date. You are proposing that the livestock restocking exercise be extended to other provinces and yet you have not sorted out the other problems.

Mr Speaker, I beg this Government to deal with the rightful things at the right time.

Mr Sing’ombe: Uma!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, on the issue of roads, how can a Government budget to tar 10 kilometres of a road for the whole country? Honestly, at the time we still have money in the coffers?

Mr Speaker, although we have been told that graders are coming from China, it is just stories. If you went to Kabwata, Libala and Chongwe, you would see people using wheelbarrows to get out of their homes.

Mr Speaker, are they telling me that even three graders in Lusaka to grade and put gravel is a problem?

Mr Ntundu: It is a problem.

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, the situation is pathetic. Let us do something so that these issues we talk about – the Budget should translate to the benefit of the people.

Mr Speaker, the road to Itezhi-Tezhi, the Namwala/Choma Road was a tarred road. I wonder how an engineer can tell me that he is going to improve the road by grading and gravelling it. I do not understand that. You want to gravel a road which was once a tarmac road? It is high time the Government tried to budget for maintenance of these roads because it becomes expensive if these roads are not budgeted for maintenance. My road in Itezhi-Tezhi has just turned into a river where there is also fish, unfortunately the Fisheries Department is not implementing a fish ban.


Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, on education, I do appreciate that the Government has done well to deploy teachers to schools, but those teachers are you sending with a huge budget under the education sector, where are they going to stay? What motivation do they have? What are the conditions of service under which those teachers are serving?

Mr Speaker, you cannot stand and say you have employed 10,000 policemen who are going to stay in compounds. The teachers who have been sent to rural areas have nowhere to stay. In Itezhi-Tezhi, the water table has risen. There are only few community schools in the area and people cannot even fit there. You may also wish to know that this is where one of the teachers was staying. Helicopters are flying without any logistics at all and I do not know which pictures they are picking.

Mr Speaker, animals Itezhi-Tezhi have moved into people’s fields. No one is going there to take care of that resource. This is serious.

Mr Speaker, if this Budget is going to be meaningful, let it be a strategic Budget where it should shift and deal with the problem that is on the ground. I think that is extremely critical.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about health. To date, my constituency has no transport facilities. For me to get to Livingstone, which is the headquarters, I have to cart for 1,000 km from Itezhi-Tezhi, then pass through Mumbwa and Lusaka to Livingstone. That is how bad the situation is.

Mr Speaker, there is no transport, but meanwhile someone is telling me that the economy is picking and everything is going on well.

Hon. Opposition Members: Where? Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, let us be very realistic, otherwise we should not be signing our ticket out. We are supposed to work for the Zambians, therefore, let us improve on these issues.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of HIV/AIDS, we have tried to do well as a Government by giving …

Dr Puma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. Is it procedural?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on the facts he has raised. We have been on the Floor of this House informing the hon. Members of Parliament that the Ministry has procured Land Cruisers and ambulances that we are going to give to each and every district, first level hospital, second level hospital and nursing school. Is the hon. Member in order to stand here and deceive the people that this Government has failed to provide transport and yet we have assured the nation that …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Dr Puma: … those vehicles are available and the process of distributing them has started as we have already given the Eastern, North-Western and Copperbelt Provinces? Is he in order to mislead the nation that the Ministry of Health has failed to provide transport?


Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling


Mr Speaker: The hon. Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health has cleverly debated his point of order. However, I guide him that unless he has already spoken, if he debates this Motion he could make reference to those facts he is referring to.

Otherwise, the Backbenchers and other debaters from the parliamentary groups in the House are free to say almost anything to annoy you. It is up to you to reply and correct them.

The hon. Member for Itezhi-Tezhi may continue.

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, I just would like to mention that in terms of providing transport in the health sector, it is inadequate to just provide a Land Cruiser which cannot swim in water. My terrain also demands that there be water transport which I expect the hon. Minister to include in his planning.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: Mr Speaker, regarding mining, it is about time that the minerals in this country were transformed into good roads, improved health services and meaningful employment and not employment of importing labour to this country. That is the only asset which is remaining. It should not call for the President of the Republic to give a direction on planning for this country. It is long overdue.

Mr Speaker, I would like to remind the Executive that Lumwana Mine is booming and as it is booming, it is also important to look at the inhabitants of the Lumwana area. That is very crucial because last year there was a situation where people were mining without acquiring title deeds in Lumwana. There was confusion at the Ministry of Lands. That is just a fact. It is just a word of advice. Let the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning be remembered for ensuring that the resources of the mines get to the Zambian people. There should be good and proper conditions of service for the miners. We just hope that the money that is going to be realised from the new tax regime will be used properly.

Mr Speaker, with regard to energy, if there is one sector which came with a lot of ministerial statements to this House, it is the Ministry of Energy and Water Development. It came with ministerial statements on problems of mismanagement, blackouts at a time Heads of State were in the House and lizards switched off the lights, …


Mr Beene: We are being told that because of the Southern Power Pool Connection, power had to be disrupted. We should be very factual in the way we address this problem. My advice is that it is not good to be defensive. ZESCO has a very big problem.

In this House, there was a time when the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) was changed. It was heard in this House that management also needed to be addressed. To date, nothing has happened.

There is no one who does not know simple physics. Power was not disrupted in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) under the Southern Power Pool; power was not disrupted in Zimbabwe; power was not disrupted in South Africa. The problem is that the national control centre is outdated. The hon. Minister should find modern equipment which is going to be self sustainable. That is just a fact.

Mr Kasongo: And he knows it!

Mr Beene: Sir, the management issue at ZESCO needs to be revisited for the good of the country. We do not need to talk about family trees …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Beene: … when things are wrong. I think this country has enough manpower. We have enough engineers. Let others retire either because of national interest or be put on forced leave. We cannot continue to have those funny excuses. Those mines are very huge and so many people go underground, but if these blackouts continue, we are going to lose lives there.


Mr Beene: I just hope that my hon. Minister is getting me.


Mr Kasongo: Another blackout!

Mr Beene: They are now upset and they want to switch off the lights.


Mr Beene: With these few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chongo (Mwense): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice to that of others on the debate of the 2008 Budget. To start with, I just would like to echo the sentiments made by many of the previous hon. Members that have spoken, especially on the issue of equitable distribution of wealth in this country.

Mr Speaker, indeed, for this country to move forward, we just need to go by this route. We have seen imbalanced distribution of wealth emanating from reasons known by the Executive. They have not explained why some areas cannot be developed at the same rate at which they are developing others. There is imbalance between rural areas and urban areas. The justification is not there. Not only that, there is imbalanced development between certain rural areas and other rural areas. People are made to think it could be this reason or the other. They have the right to think the way they want to because people cannot justify those imbalances.

Sir, we need to learn from lessons that we are getting for many places in the areas surrounding this country. I have in mind what is happening in Kenya where there is unfortunate turmoil. Just after elections, people cannot agree. One lost and the other one won. This is because certain issues are not addressed. It is because people believe that if they elect somebody who is closer to them, probably they will see development. People also believe that if they elect that person because he belongs to the other religion, they may not see development. If we will be thinking like that, we will be depriving ourselves of good leadership that we may have from many of the able women and men dotted around this country.

Mr Speaker, therefore, we need to address this problem. This is why I would support the idea that we even have to cater for this in the National Constitution. In the Constitution, this should come out clearly. This is the reason I need to support the process that we put this in place.

Mr Speaker, as we go out to formulate a constitution, there are some fears from this and the other angle. Many reasons that are being advanced are very genuine. Therefore, because these concerns are not taken care of and we have resolved, as a nation, that we go ahead to formulate a constitution, I would like to appeal to all Members of this august House not to participate.

As we go there, we must decide to do the right thing for the people of Zambia. Let us not look at which political party I belong to. Those sentiments that some people are expressing that they are not comfortable and cannot come along are very genuine, but, of course, if people would want to tackle these matters independently from their individual independence, at least, we will be able to do one or two things. I, therefore, call upon all the hon. Members, who are deliberating, that we do the right thing at the end of the day.

Mr Speaker, many are those who leave their usefulness for the sake of other people. Who is a hero? A hero is not one who kills in order to protect the interest of others, but he who dies in order to protect the interest of others.

Mr Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


The House adjourned at 1955 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 1st February, 2008.