Debates- 11th January, 2008

Printer Friendly and PDF


Friday, 11th January, 2008

The House met at 1000 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the chair]





Mr Speaker: I have an announcement to make. As hon. Members are aware, His Excellency the President Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC is expected to address the House this morning. I wish to advise the House that in the course of his long address it may be expedient for the President to take a short break. In that event, business will be suspended for about fifteen minutes.

Hon. Members will however be required to remain in their seats until the President resumes his address.

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: May His Honour the Vice-President indicate when His Excellency the President, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC arrives to declare the causes of his calling Parliament today. Before he does, I call on those who have in inadvertently brought in mobile phones, please, to switch them off.


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

Business was suspended from 1006 hours until 1036 hours.

The President entered the Assembly Chamber escorted by Mr Speaker.

(Assembly resumed)

The Clerk read the Proclamation.




The President (Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC): Mr Speaker, I believe that all the Members of Parliament have been informed that I intend to break my speech this morning in two parts. When I reach this stage, where I am about to make very important policy statement I will ask for an adjournment of fifteen minutes to enable me to reconstitute myself and to enable you to come back rejuvenated because it is important that you should be able to understand very well the purpose of this policy statement.

Mr Speaker, today, we assemble to begin the Second Session of the Tenth National Assembly. This occasion provides us with an opportunity to reflect on both our achievements during the last session and the challenges that still lie ahead of us.

I am delighted that the Tenth Session of the National Assembly which has just ended was very productive. During the session, this august House dealt with matters of great importance to our people. Overall, Hon. Members debated these matters with maturity and transparency. This is a good sign for our fledging democracy. I congratulate all hon. Members for this.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, to start with, let me commend you for the impartial and able manner in which you continued to preside over the business of this House as demonstrated once again during the First Session of the Tenth Assembly.

Let me also congratulate the hon. Madam Deputy Speaker, the Chairperson of Committee of the Whole House and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary, Sessional and Select Committees for the effective manner in which they discharged their functions. Their outstanding leadership enabled the House to fulfill its cardinal functions of legislating and exercising oversight of Government programmes.

In the same vein, allow me to congratulate His Honour the Vice-President, who is the Leader of Government Business in the House, for the excellent manner in which he steered our business. In this regard, all Government ministries must during this session of the House continue executing parliamentary duties efficiently in support of the Vice-President. This is an important aspect of how we must all be accountable to our people.

Finally, this House continues to function well because of the excellent services it receives from the Secretariat. I, therefore, and through you also commend the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for their continued good work and dedication.


Mr Speaker, sadly, death has once again, robbed this House and the nation of a vibrant and experienced national leader.

I am here referring to the late dear brother Henry Mtonga who was Member of Parliament for Kanyama who passed on last year.

Let me, therefore, request you all to be upstanding and join me in observing a minute of silence in honour of our departed brother.

Members of Parliament stood in silence for one minute.

The President: May his sour rest in eternal peace.

You may be seated.


Mr Speaker, last year, a total of three by-elections took place in three constituencies, namely: Liuwa, Kapoche and Nchanga.

I wish to take this opportunity to congratulate the newly elected Members of the House.

Bills Passed in the House

Mr Speaker, the administration is grateful to this House for the outstanding manner in which hon. Members debated and passed the bills which came before them in 2007. I note, with satisfaction, how hon. Members freely articulated their views on these bills, often leading to proposals to amend them in committees and finally, being adopted on the Floor of this House. This demonstrated the constructive manner in which this House scruitnised Government intentions and proposals. In total twenty-two Bills were passed.

Parliamentary Questions, Motions, Ministerial Statements and Papers Laid on the Table

Mr Speaker, hon. Members continued to diligently exercise their duty to hold the Government accountable to the nation by considering one thousand one hundred and twenty questions, six Private Members’ Motions and thirty-four Ministerial Statements. The number of questions considered in the last session was one of the highest recorded in the history of this House. This unprecedented record is testimony of the willingness and readiness of this administration to open itself to all manner of scrutiny.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, I am glad to note that the House considered twenty-one motions to adopt reports of the Sessional Committees and six motions to adopt reports of Select Committees and appointed to ratify presidential appointments to constitutional offices. Equally, backbenchers were active in this respect as demonstrated by the six Private Members’ Motions that the House debated.

In addition, the House considered one hundred and five (105) Papers laid on the Table by Government ministries. This is a demonstration of our efforts to foster good governance and our desire to remain transparent and accountable at all times.

Mr Speaker, more than ever before, the people of Zambia want accelerated social-economic development in addition to your legislative functions therefore, the pressure is on, not only on the Executive, but also on the Members of Parliament to deliver to our people. I, therefore, urge hon. Members from all parties to work with my administration when it comes to service delivery to our people. Sadly, incidents of opposition for the sake of opposition to deliver programmes have been noted in the past. This is a disservice to the electorate and we must avoid it.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Parliamentary Reforms

The President: Mr Speaker, I am pleased to note that the National Assembly has continued to actively implement Parliamentary Reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of this House. Some of the positive results in the reforms include the expansion of radio coverage of Parliamentary Debates and the establishment of constituency offices.

The coverage of Parliamentary radio broadcasting is currently reaching areas along the line of rail from Livingstone to the Copperbelt.

I am confident that by the end of this session the service will be extended to other provincial centres to enable the majority of our people in the country to follow the live debates of their representatives.

Mr Speaker, during my last address to this House, I directed local authorities to provide office space to house parliamentary constituency offices. I am happy to note that constituency offices have now been established in all the constituencies.

Hon. PF Members: Questionable!

The President: In addition, I am encouraged to note that the design of the National Sentries Media and the Visitor Centre has been completed in readiness for operation this year. Mr Speaker, I have been questioned about the non-existence of parliamentary offices.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: This is because some hon. Members of Parliament are scared to go to their constituencies …


The President: … to own up to the promises that they made, but they have put their constituencies …


The President: Mr Speaker, our Parliament has been actively participating in regional and international parliamentary conferences. Our involvement in these activities will be enhanced this year when Zambia hosts the 39th Commonwealth Parliamentary Association Africa Region Conference from 7th to 20th July, 2008.

I look forward to this happy occasion. Our parliamentarians will also be participating in the inter-parliamentary union meetings, the African Union Parliament, the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Zambia/Zimbabwe Annual Meeting.


Mr Speaker, in my address to the First Session of the 10th Assembly, I informed this House that the Government had received the report containing the recommendations of the Constitution Review Implementation Process Commission.

I am pleased to note that this House passed the National Constitutional Conference Act No. 19 of 2007, thereby establishing the National Constitutional Conference (NCC). The NCC has since become operational and sitting started on 19th December, 2007.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: During my address to the conference, I pointed out that this was the first time since our independence that Zambia had ushered in a consultative process of such magnitude in constitution making.


The President: We should be proud that the Government has remained true to its initial promise of providing governance founded on democratic principles.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Indeed, the NCC is a democratic process in which the people are to be involved in determining how they want to be governed.


The President: I wish to re-iterate what I said in my address to the NCC, that Members of this House should consult their constituencies extensively and ensure that the views and concerns of the people they represent are taken into account instead of always shouting questionable.


The President: I also wish to repeat my caution about the need to approach the NCC task in a non-partisan manner. What should guide all of us in this exercise is to arrive at a document that reflects national interests.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, equally, I would like to urge this House that when you receive the Constitutional Bill after determination and adoption by the National Constitution Conference, let us continue to uphold and maintain the confidence reposed in our National Assembly.{mospagebreak}


Mr Speaker, as I have always said, my administration shall continue to uphold the Rule of Law and ensure that the Public Service is transparent and accountable to the people of Zambia. Accountability and prudent use of public resources shall continue to be top priority in the governance of our nation.

My administration will therefore continue to strengthen the institutions that promote good governance in the country. In my last address to this august House, I discussed the need to enhance access to justice for the people. In support of this, I stated that the Government would endeavour in the next five years, to decentralise the operations of the Legal Aid Board and the Director of Public Prosecution Chambers. I am pleased to inform the House that the decentralisation of the two institutions is underway.

Mr Speaker, in terms of our continued fight against corruption, major strides have been made in developing the National Anti-Corruption Policy. This policy awaits consideration by Cabinet after countrywide consultations.

Further, we have now moved a step further towards institutionalising the prevention of corruption in ministries, departments and public bodies through the integrity committee initiative. To this end, eight pilot integrity committees were set up last year and thirty-two members sworn in with a mandate to address corruption and other malpractices.

In my last address, I also informed the House that the office of the Auditor-General would be further strengthened and would have presence in all the districts.  I am pleased to report that construction of office buildings in five provincial centres is nearing completion. As a matter of fact, I understand the one in Solwezi is completed and I am trying to find a day when I can go and officially open.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: These developments are aimed at decentralising audit services countrywide.

The Media

Mr Speaker, the fight against poverty and corruption cannot be won if the media is not fully involved. The media is a powerful educative and informative tool for development. It can also act as whistle blowers and provide checks and balances on society and government. It is for this reason that the Government remains committed to the creation of a conducive environment for the media to operate freely and to ensure a free flow of information among our people.

Mr Speaker, the Government has consulted widely and has taken time to learn from other countries where they have enacted similar laws. In re-determining the bill therefore, the Government intends to provide safeguards to ensure there is increased access to information that does not compromise our nation’s security nor violate people’s rights to privacy. It should therefore be appreciated that implementation of this legislation will necessitate more work on the part of the Government and I will begin to this over all and streamline Government institutions. 

Mr Speaker, under the Fifth National Developmentover, shall this year re-introduce the Freedom of Information Bill in this House.

Mr Speaker, the Government has consulted widely and has taken time to learn from other democracies that have enacted similar laws. In re-tabling the Bill, therefore, the Government intends to provide safeguards to ensure that increased access to information does not compromise our national security nor violate people’s rights to privacy.

It should, however, be appreciated that implementation of this legislation will necessitate more work on the part of Government as there will be need to restructure, overhaul and streamline public institutions.

Mr Speaker, under the Fifth National Development Plan, the Government has endeavoured to take the media close to the people by installing television transmitters in rural areas. The next stage is to take newspapers to the people. In 2008, the printing presses under the Zambia News Agency will be decentralised, starting with Chipata.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: This is aimed at having local language newspapers printed close to the intended audiences to enable them follow national events as they happen.

Mr Speaker, in my last address to this House, I stated that the Theatres and Cinematography Act will be repealed. I wish to inform the House that the Government has made progress in this direction. The Government is in the process of introducing legislation that will help in classification of materials for public viewing and check on the proliferation of illegal video houses.

In relation to media law reforms whose implementation commenced in 2002, I wish to report to this House that the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation Board of Directors will be in place this year. The Independent Broadcasting Authority will also be made operational after the board members have been ratified by this House.

Human Rights

Mr Speaker, my administration will remain committed to the promotion and protection of Human Rights. In particular, the Government will continue to ensure that the constitution and fundamental rights and freedoms are respected. To underscore the Government’s resolve to protect and promote Human Rights my administration has prioritised Human Rights issues in the Fifth National Development Plan.

Local Government and Housing

Mr Speaker, the Government is implementing a National Housing Bonds Programme through which the finance for housing construction in district councils will be raised from our capital markets rather than through the Government Treasury. This is being done through the National Housing Bonds Trust which was established to implement a pilot project on behalf of local authorities.

In all the project sites, roads, water and sewer networks and electricity will be part of the estate model.

Mr Speaker, the Government is concerned about the lack of regional and urban development plans, which should address the development imbalances among regions. It is for this reason that the Government will ensure that each district council has an up-to date integrated urban development plan, which will form the basis of all forms of development in the townships.

Mr Speaker, in our continued efforts to discourage mushrooming of unplanned settlements, the Government is intensifying the programme of upgrading unplanned urban settlements. This process will commence with preparation of local plans for twenty unplanned settlements in various major cities and towns in the country, including the demarcation of new plots for planned housing.

Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to improving the living standards of the rural communities. In this regard, the rural accessibility and mobility programme has been designed to improve community transport infrastructure such as footbridges, footpaths and embankments and provision of intermediate means of transport. Through this effort, the rural people will be able to access the markets and use appropriate transport facilities to enhance their productivity.

Economic Management

Mr Speaker, the sound economic policies that my Government has been implementing over the years have firmly established an economy that is stable and is consistently growing.

Mr Speaker, our economy has now been expanding every year without exception since 2002. This positive trend has continued in the year 2007 where sectors other than mining have taken the lead. This is an indication of broad-based economic expansion in line with our objectives as stated in the Fifth National Development Plan, to diversify the economy.

Inflation remained at single digit and the exchange rate against major currencies was relatively stable. Further, interest rats continued to fall, translating into higher private sector credit which in 2007 grew by 45.3 per cent.

Mr Speaker, in spite of all these macro-economic gains, we still have the challenges of equitably translating them into improved living standards for the people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The Government is dealing with this issue by diligently implementing the FNDP whose theme is “Wealth and Job Creation through Citizenry Participation”. The House will recall that I launched this document in January 2007. The plan is the overall policy framework which is guiding the development agenda of this country to ensure broad based economic growth, empowerment creation and poverty reduction. The FNDP will therefore continue to guide the allocation of public resources.

Mr Speaker, an important aspect of our economic management work is to implement structural reforms. These reforms are important to ensure that each Kwacha of public financial resources spent brings about tangible social-economic benefits to the country. The reforms are also crucial for wealth creation through which the efforts underway to promote the private sector. Regarding reforms in the area of public expenditure management and financial accountability, the key milestone this year will be to implement the computerised and integrated financial management information system which will be piloted in ministries, provinces and spending agencies.

Mr Speaker, despite the country having attracted massive investment in most sectors of the economy, the review of tax policy and tax administration shall be an on-going process so that tax is aligned to developments in the country. The long term objective is to have a predictable, efficient, fair and broad-based tax system.

Further as I shall demonstrate later in this statement, the Government will move swiftly to introduce new measures to increase its share of mining revenues.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, you will recall that this Government took Zambia out of a serious debt trap. Our challenge now is to strike a balance between maintaining sustainable debt levels while still accessing new financial resources for accelerating social-economic development in our country.

In this regard, my Government has begun the process of developing a debt policy which will guide the acquisition of new loans in the future.

Commerce, Trade and Industry

Mr Speaker, the Government has continued implementing measures to foster a conducive investment clime that will stimulate and attract local and foreign direct investment by embarking on reforms aimed at strengthening both the policy and legislative environment. These reforms are currently being undertaken at various institutional and sectoral levels.

Notable among them are the Private Sector Development Reform Programme, Citizens Economic Empowerment Programme and the Creation of a “One Stop Shop” for investment and export promotion at the Zambia Development Agency.

Mr Speaker, through effective partnerships with the private sector and cooperating partners, the Government is determined to bring down the high cost of doing business.

For instance, we are establishing one-stop point at various border posts throughout the country.

At these posts, a traveler clears just at one side of an international boarder and not at both as exists today. I am pleased to report that the Government shall soon commission such a point at Chirundu and establish another at Nakonde soon, thereafter …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … other initiatives that we have already completed include the streamlining of the immigration procedures and the reduction of the time for company registration.

Mr Speaker, under the triangle of hope initiative, my administration is now establishing multi facility economic zones, one in Chambeshi and two in Lusaka. The Government has since passed statutory instrument No. 65 of 2007 stipulating the general rules and regulations of these economic zones.

Economic Empowerment

Mr Speaker, since 2006, my Government has been working on the Citizens Economic Empowerment Policy. With the enactment of the Citizens Economic Empowerment Act last year, the Government has now set out to operationalised the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.

It is our desire to encourage citizens to be economically active on their own or through partnerships with foreign investors.

Mr Speaker, the Government will this year operationalised the Empowerment Fund under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission.

In order to ensure effective participation of Zambians in the economy, the Government shall encourage foreign companies to be involved in many other facets of this empowerment. These include share ownership, participation in management and board positions and provision of social services as part of their social responsibility.

Mr Speaker, the Government is promoting trade expansion overseas and within our regional trade blocks of common market for Eastern and Southern Africa and Southern African Development Community, where several initiatives are underway to advance this.

Already, the lowering of regional barriers and the improvement of border facilities has contributed to the expansion of regional trade. Approximately 30 per cent of Zambia’s export trade is now with countries in the region compared to 10 per cent in 1996. This shows the significance of the region as a growing and important destination for Zambia’s exports. During Zambia’s Chairmanship of SADC, we will exercise leadership in implementing the region’s integration agenda to further promote trade.

Mr Speaker, although Zambia is Chair of SADC she also belongs to COMESA whose headquarters she hosts. While we are in the SADC Chair, we will contribute to the harmonisation of activities and programmes within the two regional bodies to actively participating and influencing the agenda of regional meetings including the forthcoming tripartite summit. The Government believes that harmonisation of regional programmes is an important cornerstone to attaining the integration agenda of the African continent. At this stage, I suspend business.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Business was suspended from 1130 hours until 1145 hours{mospagebreak}



(Assembly resumed)

The President: For the sake of Hon. Hachipuka that money …



The President: Mr Speaker, in my last address to this House in October, 2006, I made an undertaking that my Government would introduce measures that would result in increased benefits to the economy and people of Zambia from the mining sector. These measures include the review of the mineral royalties, production of more geological maps and introduction of the mining cadastral surveys, formulation of a Mines Health and Safety Policy and the empowerment of citizens to participate in the mining sector.

I would now like to address this honourable House on the matter of the mining industry and the inadequacy of its contribution to the welfare of the Zambian people.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Many people have expressed concern that the country and indeed the people of Zambia are not getting the maximum benefit from the current high metal prices.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: This is because the mining companies are paying low taxes based on the concessions in the development agreements signed with the Government at the time of investment. As a result, there have been loud calls on the Government to renegotiate the agreements.

Given the history and importance of mining in this country, my administration has examined the matter with extreme caution. A special team of experts was therefore appointed to study this issue in great detail.

Based on the findings of the team, it has been concluded that:

1. The development agreements in their present form and in the current circumstances are unfair and unbalanced, and

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker,

2. Further, the development agreements no longer meet their intended purpose of providing maximum benefits to the Zambian people and an appropriate return to the mining companies. As a consequence, it has now been decided to put in place a new fiscal and regulatory framework for the mining sector.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, mining has been the mainstay of our economy for many decades. During the period covering the early 1980s and the 1990s, the mining industry went into a steep decline as a result of the collapse in metal prices and to a large extent a lack of investment.

Consequently, the contribution to the Gross Domestic Product by the mining sector declined from 16.1 per cent in 1980 to 6.4 per cent on 2000 while the sector’s net contribution to the treasury actually became negative. It therefore became imperative to privatise the mines in the late 1990s. The price of metals at the time was depressed and the prediction was that long term copper prices would remain fairly low. Given this situation, the Government offered tax concessions to the new investors which were included in the development agreements.

Mr Speaker, the objective of privatisation has in many respects been achieved. Investment in the sector has increased tremendously as can be seen by the opening up of large scale mines in various parts of the country and the recapitalisation of the existing mines on the Copperbelt. This has resulted in increased production and employment levels.

Only two months ago, the international conference on “Mines and Money” held in London, awarded Zambia with the “International Country Award for outstanding achievement for a country that has shown the most improvement, in terms of attractiveness to mineral investors during the period 2006/2007”

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The award is an indication of the confidence by investors in our development policies and general business climate for the mining sector.

Mr Speaker, during the recent years, the price of copper on the international market has increased to record levels. It has risen from an average of US$1,714 per tone in 2001 to an average of US$6,893 per tone in 2007, an increase of 400 per cent.

The implication of such a sharp rise in prices is that mining companies have had shorter periods to re-coup their initial capital investments …

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … and have made huge profits. Meanwhile, the stability periods contained in the development agreements, which were premised on low prices remain unchanged and the mining companies continue to pay taxes at the concessional rates. It should be noted though that because of the leveling of the playing fields with regard to taxation of the mining operations, development agreements that have been signed recently also have the concessional fiscal terms.

To illustrate the point of the effect of mining companies paying taxes at concessional rates, the companies only paid a paltry US$142 million in company taxes and mineral royalty to the treasury from total earnings of US$4.7 billion in the 2005 and 2006 financial year.

Hon. PF Members: Shame!

The President: If the current prevailing prices and production forecast hold, the mining companies under the development agreements tax regime will earn an estimated income in excess of US$4.0 billion in the 2008/2009 financial year while they will only pay an estimated US$301 million in taxes to the treasury.

Hon. PF Members: Fire them!

The President: Hon. Members, this position is so much and serious, and I wish to repeat.

Mr Speaker, by international comparisons, Zambia today earns far less from its mining activities than any other mining country in the world.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Our average effective tax rates at 31.7 per cent is 8 percentage points lower than the next lowest country in the world.

Hon. PF Members: Shame!

The President: By way of emphasis I, will read that again.


The President: On the basis of computations the following countries have much higher effective mining tax rates as follows. Mind you our rate is 31.7 per cent.

 (i) Mozambique 53.0 per cent
 (ii) Angola  52.9 per cent
 (iii) Botswana 49.1 per cent
 (iv) Namibia 48.2 per cent
 (v) Tanzania 45.4 per cent
 (vi) Indonesia 45.2 per cent
 (vii) Australia 40.5 per cent
 (viii) Peru  39.2 per cent
 (ix) Zambia 31.7 per cent


The President: Clearly, Zambia’s mining fiscal regime is extremely generous to investors and provides the lowest revenues to the Government. This to a large extent has been the source of the public outcry, including cooperating partners who contribute significantly to our national budget.

As I have already stated, the objectives of the development agreements are to “secure maximum benefits for the Zambian people and an appropriate return on investment for the mining companies”. It is, therefore, obvious that the development agreements do not meet their stated objectives.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, Members of this House will recall that in January, 2007, the Government made changes to the mining tax regime in an effort to secure more benefits from the mining sector. After the changes were legislated, the Government announced that it would negotiate with the holders of the development agreements so that they accept to move to the 2007 tax regime voluntarily.

Mr Speaker, it has again been brought to my attention that even if the mining companies were to move to the 2007 tax regime, the country would still not get fair returns on its mineral resources.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The Government has, therefore, decided to introduce a new fiscal and regulatory regime in order to bring about an equitable distribution of the mineral wealth between the partners, namely the Government and the mining companies.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Boma!

The President: It is gratifying now that Hon. Hachipuka now fully agrees to that.

Hon. Government members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the new regime introduces a windfall tax …

Hon PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … and a variable profit tax that has been designed to work in periods of both high and low prices and for both low and high cost mining projects. This will ensure that the tax system remains stable without the need to be changed if mineral prices change significantly.

With these new measures, the Zambia tax regime still remains competitive and moves Zambia into the median position in international comparisons at 47 per cent effective tax rate.


The President: For the benefit of Hon. Kambwili …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … these two measures, the Zambian tax regime will then be competitive and move Zambia into the medium position in terms of comparisons at 47 per cent.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: This effect tax rate will not adversely affect the companies’ viability as their returns will remain well within the international norms.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Assuming that current prices and production forecasts hold, and I do not see any reason why they cannot hold. We anticipate that the country will earn in excess of US$400 million in additional revenue in 2008 when the new fiscal regime is implemented by all the mining companies.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

The President: When the new tax system is enacted, and assuming that the current prices and production forecasts hold, the country will earn an estimated revenue of US$250 million in additional revenues in 2008 from the companies holding development agreements.

Mr Speaker, these additional resources will assist in reducing dependency on donor funding and should enable us implement vital programmes in the areas of health, education and infrastructure development.


The President: This will accelerate progress towards the attainment of the millennium development goals and realisation of our desire to become a prosperous middle income country by 2030 as provided for in the “2030 Vision”.

Mr Speaker, we also are proposing a new mining regulatory regime. The new regulatory framework will provide sufficient protection and rights for all those investing in the mining sector. It will have a modern licensing system based on transparent procedures. The new regime will also provide for transparency in the accounting and utilisation of mineral revenues.

It is the view of my administration that all the requirements for doing business and incentives should be in the relevant legislation and regulations and should not be a discretionary matter. In view of this, there will no longer be any need for special agreements with investors in the mining sector and eventually all the sectors in the economy.

It is our strong belief that such a system is transparent, accountable, and predictable and engenders investor’s confidence. Only on the basis of such principles will this country continue to be supportive and facilitative.

I am certain, and I assure the mining companies that the new regime will still be immensely profitable to them and the mining industry in Zambia will continue to be exceptionally attractive to investors.

Mr Speaker, in light of the foregoing, I ask the House to consider and support these measures when my Government brings the necessary legislation for the new fiscal and regulatory regime.

Hon. PF Members: Tomorrow Investment.

The President: Mr Speaker, I can assure that hon. Members that we are ready with all the papers.


The President: With regard to citizens’ empowerment to enable local participation in the mining sector, an increasing number of small scale miners have accessed the funds from the mining sector revolving fund.

In terms of mine safety, an issue of great concern in the country, following mine accidents in the recent past, the Government has stepped up monitoring of mining operations to ensure compliance with laid down safety regulations.

The mining sector is poised for greater growth in the coming year, with the commencement of new projects such as the Mulyashi Copper Project, Chambishi Copper Smelter, the new Nchanga Smelter and Konkola Deep in Chingola. Mineral production at Lumwana Copper Mine, and the Munali Hills Nickel Project.


Mr Speaker, allow me to applaud the efforts of our farmers for producing yet another bumper harvest during the 2006/2007 agricultural season. The sector recorded increased production in food crops such as cassava, rice, millet, sorghum and wheat. Maize production stood at 1.4 million metric tones.

As a result of this increased maize production, Zambia was able to sell and donate to other countries. Agriculture will remain one of the priority sectors for our economic growth and development.

My administration’s emphasis will continue to be on increased and sustainable food security at all levels, income generation through increased cash crop productivity, livestock and fisheries development.

Mr Speaker, the livestock industry is increasingly becoming an important part of Zambia’s agricultural sector. However, the sector faces a number of challenges among them livestock diseases and prolonged drought.

In order to address these challenges, the Government will continue to put in place measures and programmes such as active diseases surveillance and monitoring, livestock movement bans, bi-annual vaccination of cattle, restocking of animals and construction of dams.

Under the private sector development programme, the Government and other stakeholders have put in place a livestock working group which has been involved in reviewing the whole sector with a view to coming up with a vibrant and sustainable livestock industry.

Mr Speaker, my Government has noted with great concern, the depletion of fish in our main water bodies. Consequently, with the enactment of the Fisheries Act last year, enforcement of the fisheries regulations will be strengthened.

The fish disease on the upper Zambezi River last year negatively affected the livelihoods of so many of our people. Consequently, the Government commissioned an independent study to ascertain the cause and extent of the disease. Following the recommendations of the team, the Government will carry out a number of measures including revision of the legal framework regarding the definition of stock diseases to include fish and fish diseases, continued collaboration and improved consultations with countries sharing the Zambezi River Basin. It will also conduct routine monitoring in the Zambezi River system to determine patterns of disease occurrence and increase public awareness on the disease.


Mr Speaker, as stated in my last address to the House, one of the priorities of my Government is to improve the land delivery system. While the country has plenty of land, accessing this resource for development is very cumbersome and this should now end.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Our approach in this regard is to provide a clear land policy followed by a new legislative framework. A draft land policy has already been prepared in consultation with all stakeholders and it will soon be considered for adoption by Cabinet before the appropriate legislation for it is developed.

In order to ensure that the land delivery system is responsive to the demands for development, the Government has embarked upon a process of creating land banks in various places. The objective is to be proactive so that the land for immediate development is available most of the time. This avoids the old practice of searching for land only after a demand for it has been expressed.

In addition, multi-facility economic zones have been created to promote investment. To this effect, land has been identified in Lusaka and the Copperbelt.

The economic zones will include industries for production of goods for both domestic and international markets, warehouses and shopping malls located in strategic areas. This effort is in partnership with the private sector and will generate employment especially among our youths.

Mr Speaker, the Government through the land development fund will continue funding various councils throughout the country to enable them open up more land for development. Twenty-three councils have benefited from the land development fund since it was established.

Mr Speaker, since most of the land in Zambia is customary under the control of the traditional rulers, the Government has been negotiating with them to release the much needed land for economic development. Most of the land banks I referred to earlier were secured under this process. I thank traditional leaders for their understanding and cooperation in making land available.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, in order to deal with problems and irregularities associated with land allocation, the Government decided to reorganise the Ministry of Lands and to ensure transparency and efficiency in the land delivery system. Additionally, we are computerising the process of land allocation, issuance of leases and certificate of title. This will cut on the time it takes to process applications, thereby helping in reducing the cost of doing business.

In line with my Government’s policy of good neigbourliness and with regard to maintenance of international boundaries, the Government has continued to pursue efforts aimed at resolving border disputes.

 In the case of Zambia-Malawi, the Council of Ministers’ Meeting was convened to consider the report of the joint survey team of the remaining 604 kilometers of our common boundary. Discussions have also been initiated with other countries on the remaining international boundaries especially the Zambia-Congo and Zambia-Tanzania boundaries.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources

The President: Mr Speaker, the House will recall that in my last address, I expressed the Government’s commitment to the provision of supporting infrastructure to tourist destinations and the desire to reduce the cost of doing business in this sector. I am glad to inform the House that the Government is addressing accessibility to tourist destinations in the on-going infrastructure development programme.

Steps to increase both domestic and foreign investment to this important sector are also being taken through introduction of appropriate enabling legislation. In this regard, the Zambia Tourist Board Bill which is replacing the Zambia National Tourist Board Act and the Tourism and Hospitality Bill were passed during the last session of Parliament.

The enactment of these two bills will result in the creation of a “one stop facility” for licensing which will reduce the amount of time required to register a tourism venture.

The Tourism and Hospitality Bill will also create the Tourism Development Fund aimed at supplementing the Government efforts in terms of funding, project development, training and support to participating councils on tourism related infrastructure.

The already existing tourism development credit facility which was established in 2003 to allow citizens to participate in the tourism industry has been successful. It is the Government’s desire that these domestic investments are supported by public institutions as a means of ensuring economic empowerment for Zambian citizens.

Mr Speaker, as a strategy to develop the tourist attractions located in Northern Province, the Government intends to convert Kasaba Bay, Nsumbu National Park, Kaputa, Mbala and Mpulungu into the Kasaba Bay Tourism Resort Development Project through public private partnership.

The Government will ensure that the necessary support infrastructure such as roads, airports and airstrips are in place.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Through effective marketing of these facilities to investors once the infrastructure is in place, the Government hopes to develop this area into one of the top tourist destinations in the country.

Mr Sichilima: Mbala International Airport!


The President: In the coming years, other tourist areas such as Lower Zambezi will be addressed in a similar fashion.

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

Mr Speaker, Zambia is richly endowed with natural resources such as wildlife, water and forests. It is the Government’s intention that all these resources are managed sustainably. This will benefit the natural environment. The Zambian people, especially those in the rural areas, will also benefit because industrial raw materials like wood can create new jobs.

The Government has also been implementing the Forestry Development Credit Facility to enable indigenous Zambians to borrow at low interest rates for the development of forestry and related industries.

Many small-scale entrepreneurs have accessed the fund for business in carpentry, crafts and garden parks. Further, this year, the Government will focus on creating very large industrial plantations to reforest degraded lands. Through these plantations, I hope to see the development of a paper industry in this country which will employ thousands. We are already speaking to investors and we will approach traditional authorities for land.

Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of the competing demand for land which has caused mounting pressure on de-gazetting forest reserves in the country. Accordingly, the Government is engaged in consultation with traditional leaders for alternative land to be used for re-settlement and agricultural activities. This is expected to counter the negative effects of indiscriminate cutting of trees and encroachment of forest reserves which leads to soil infertility, lack of habitat for wildlife, rainfall instability, low water supply and eventually contribute to climate change.

Climate Change and the Environment

Mr Speaker, climate change and the environment are issues which have become topical globally because of their negative impact on development.

Although Zambia is not a major contributor to greenhouse gases, we are vulnerable to the consequences of climate variabilities such as droughts and floods. These, particularly, affect the small-scale farmers and the poor, threatening their food security.

Zambia has formulated a National Adaptation Programme of Action, whose main objective is to map out adaptation strategies to address the adverse impact of climate change.

Energy Sector

Mr Speaker, the Government recognises energy as an important factor in socio-economic development, especially, in a growing economy such as ours. We must, therefore, be concerned all the time about continuity and reliability in the supply of energy.

I am delighted, therefore, that in November, 2007, the Government adopted a revised National Energy Policy which seeks to promote new and diverse energy sources. Notable among these are solar, wind, bio-fuels and liquefied petroleum gas.

Mr Speaker, in order to avoid the erratic fuel supply and looming power deficit which I referred to in my address in 2006, the Government will ensure that effective policies, strategies and actions are implemented.

Mr Speaker, One of the measures to address the disruption of supply is the establishment of strategic fuel reserves. The legal instrument for ensuring that each oil marketing company maintains fifteen days mandatory stocks is in place.  However, enforcement and compliance have been unsatisfactory. To mitigate the situation, the Government has enhanced its monitoring of oil marketing companies to ensure that they comply without fail.

Further, the Government has established a Stabilisation Fund in order to cushion the high import prices of refined petroleum products during the times when the refinery is on shut down. I am aware that sentiments have been expressed to close down Indeni Refinery on grounds that it is too old and unreliable. I am pleased to inform the House that the Refinery is currently operating efficiently with reduced operational losses after the Government embarked on the recapitalisation of the Company.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In addition, the restructuring of the shareholding of Indeni will contribute to further investment for recapitalisation.

The Government and the oil company, Total, who are the two shareholders in Indeni have agreed to invite a third shareholder to take up 30 per cent of the shares. This process is expected to commence in the first quarter of this year.

To further stabilise the supply of crude for Indeni Refinery, the Government has put in place a mechanism for long term supply of 1,440,000 metric tones of crude feed stock over a two-year period, covering 2008 and 2009.

The feed stock will be supplied by the Independent Petroleum Group (IPG) who have been awarded a contract after a competitive tender bidding process managed by the Zambia Tender Board.

Mr Speaker, in order to deal with the looming power shortage, the Government is promoting the development of the Kafue Gorge lower, Itezhi-Itezhi Hydro-power Project and other hydro-power stations to increase generation capacity.

In addition, the Government is finalising the Rural Electrification Master Plan which will identify growth centres and energy options in rural areas and provide a framework to increase accessibility. It is unacceptable that access to electricity in rural areas is less than 3 per cent, yet the majority of our people reside in these areas.

Exploration for Oil and Gas

Mr Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to inform the House and the nation at large about the progress made by the Government on the geological exploration of oil and gas in the North-Western, Eastern and Western Provinces of our country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr V. Mwale: Kumawa!

The President: The exploration work began with my visit to Kabompo District of the North-Western Province in 2004 when the local traditional chiefs complained about prolonged fires in their areas.

In order to establish the cause of these fires, a team of Government Officials conducted preliminary desk and field geographical investigations which covered Kabompo, Chavuma and Zambezi Districts in the same year.

Later in August 2005, the geologists went back and collected soil samples that were sent to Germany for analysis using the technique of Microbial Prospecting for Oil and Gas (MPOG). Out of the eleven samples analysed, nine tested positive for oil and two for gas.

In a follow-up study on samples collected in July, 2006, out of 31 samples, 12 tested positive for oil and six for gas. These results were strong indicators of the presence of oil and gas in the districts of Kabompo, Chavuma and Zambezi.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Further, investigations were extended to the Eastern Province in 2007, where 153 soil samples were collected in North Luangwa Valley and whose laboratory results are equally encouraging.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In the Western Province, analysis of 277 soil samples also showed that Lukulu and Kalabo Districts have the highest chance of finding oil. Additionally, Mongu District has a very high chance of finding gas.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr V. Mwale: Ndalamei.

The President: I have since appointed members of the Petroleum Committee provided for under the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act. The Committee is already spearheading formulation of policies and guidelines relating to petroleum and its development in Zambia.

In this regard, it has become necessary to amend the Petroleum (Exploration and Production) Act of 1985 to provide for two separate licences for exploration and production of oil and gas. There is also need for stronger legal provisions on environmental protection than what is in the current law.

As a result, the Government has suspended the process of invitation to tender until the Act is repealed and replaced. The new Bill is expected to be tabled in the House within the first quarter of this year. I commend to you hon. Members to pass it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, let me now move to another important sector in the economy which is the water sector.

Last year, the Government undertook measures to facilitate water resources management in the country. The focus of these programmes has mainly been implementing infrastructure development as a priority for both surface and ground water resources management. In this respect, several dams around the country were constructed and rehabilitated.

The Government also constructed boreholes and water points for the Nansanga, Luena and Kalumwange Farming Blocks. This was being implemented in an effort to open the areas for agricultural production.

Further, the project on groundwater development and sanitation improvement for the Northern Province has been completed with the sinking of 153 boreholes. The Government also completed 850 water points under the Rural Water Supply for the Eastern Province during the year. Similar projects are being formulated for Luapula, Copperbelt and other areas.

Mr Speaker, my Government has introduced the Water Resources Management Bill in order to create an appropriate legal framework for the management and regulation of water resources in Zambia.

Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation

Mr Speaker, my Government is concerned with the well being of all citizens including the provision of sanitation services and safe water. I am pleased to inform the House that the Government launched the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme which is a roadmap towards the realisation of the Vision 2030.

Last year, I launched the “Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy” programme, a multi-sectoral programme aimed at maintaining a clean, green and healthy environment. This year, the Government, working with other stakeholders, will continue sensitising the people and implement this programme so that Zambia may once again be proud to be a clean country with “green towns”.

Infrastructure Development

Mr Speaker, the Fifth National Development Plan has placed infrastructure rehabilitation and maintenance as a priority. In implementing this, my Government’s focus is to develop transport infrastructure and create linkages with areas of potential economic growth.

Last year, we performed well on roads with the successful completion of Chingola-Kasumbalesa and Luanshya-Kafulafuta Roads.

Considerable progress has been made with regard to Kasama-Luwingu- …

Hon. Opposition Member: Twenty years umusebo.

The President: … Kasempa turn-off to Kabompo, and Lusaka-Chirundu Road which will be completed this year.

With regard to the Chembe Bridge, the contractor has completed the construction of all the piers and embankments on both the Zambian and Congolese sides.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The contractor will now proceed to construct 13 decks starting this month and the bridge should be completed by September this year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Clearly, our progress this year will be checked by the recent and continuing destruction of roads and bridges by the heavy rains.

In order to address problems of road maintenance, the Government last year secured a US$39 million loan from the People’s Republic of China to purchase earth moving equipment and necessary spare parts for road making and maintenance.

We have purchased 207 Units comprising more than 400 pieces of equipment which include bulldozers, graders, trucks, excavators, water bowsers, compactors, rollers and others. The equipment is expected to arrive in Zambia during March this year and will be distributed to all provincial capitals.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr F R Tembo: Boma isebenza!

The President: It is my hope that this will speed up road maintenance in the country as use of this equipment will not entail lengthy procedures associated with the hiring of equipment and engaging of private maintenance contractors. I, therefore, urge officials who will be involved in the use of this equipment to ensure that it is well looked after.

Mr Speaker, despite these efforts, the Government is still concerned with the lack of capacity among our local contractors and consultants compounded by cumbersome tender procedures and absolute dirty corruption …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … among the Government officers …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: …as well as contractors.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In order to address the capacity issues, the National Council for Construction is urged to take remedial measures including encouraging local contractors to partner with foreign contractors in joint ventures.

Mr Speaker, in terms of the construction of the Chipata-Muchinji Railway Line which was launched last year, the Government managed to lay a rail line of over 13 kilometres out of a total of 27 kilometres by December last year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: This project is expected to be completed in the first quarter of this year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In the field of air transport, the Government has embarked on the programme of rehabilitating and upgrading airport infrastructure to international standards.

The extension of the runway at Livingstone Airport from 2.7 to 3 kilometres to enable it handle bigger aircraft was commissioned last year. This will enable Livingstone to have direct flights from Europe, Asia and the Americas.

Mr Speaker, in an effort to expand aviation infrastructure, a new airstrip was built at Nyangwe in the Eastern Province while the one at Chitokoloki in the North-Western Province was rehabilitated.

The Government’s target in 2008 is to rehabilitate and upgrade Solwezi and Kasama Airports to international standards to serve mining companies in the North-Western Province and exploit tourism potential in the Northern and Luapula Provinces.

Mr Speaker, the Government recognises that the cost of infrastructure development is very high. If the country continues to depend solely on the Government and donor funding for infrastructure development, then our progress shall be slow.

In this regard the Government is in the process of considering the policy on public- private sector partnership so as to encourage private sector to contribute to infrastructure development. A Bill will be introduced later in the year to back this.

Other countries have taken this route and have achieved more in developing infrastructure.

Telecommunications, Information and Communications Technologies

In an effort to develop the information communication technology sector, my administration launched the National Information Communication Technology Policy on 28th March, 2007.

The Government now intends to introduce three Bills to Parliament, namely Information and Communications Bill, Postal Services Amendment Bill and the Electronic Communications and Transactions Bill which will provide the appropriate legal framework.

In terms of innovations in this sector, the Zambia Telecommunications Company has commenced the laying of the National Fiber Optic Cable that will form the backbone for the National Information Communication Technology infrastructure. The initial phase of this project focuses on the metropolitan area of Lusaka and will be extended to all districts.{mospagebreak}

Science and Technology

Mr Speaker, during my last address to this House, I indicated that the Government’s focus in the field of science and technology would be on research and development through enhanced linkages among our research institutions and the private sector. In line with this direction, the Government will this year review and revise the policy on science and technology to make it relevant to our economic situation.

Skills and Development

Mr Speaker, with the tremendous strides we have made in increasing access to basic and general education, the challenges for increased space and quality for technical education, vocational and entrepreneurship training in the country has increased. Consequently, the Government has intensified its effort to rehabilitate existing infrastructure in training institutions while building new and modern facilities.

Mr Speaker, the Government’s intention is to increase the number of school leavers’ access to skills training in public and private sector training institutions by 50 per cent in the next five years. The Government will continue providing an enabling environment for increased private sector participation in the delivery of quality skills training. These interventions are being complemented by empowering the graduates with tool kits, capital, access to land, market and other forms of support.

Mr Speaker, while this Government is making efforts to improve training facilities in tertiary institutions, we are saddened that student unrest has continued, often resulting in civil disturbance and destruction of property. Last year was not spared from unrest. While acknowledging that there may sometimes be merit in the grievances of students, it is unacceptable that students should conduct themselves in a manner that endangers property and people’s lives.

Employment and Labour

Mr Speaker, our efforts to improve the economy of Zambia will be of limited effect if it does not lead to enhanced employment opportunities for Zambians. This is why, in addition to investment promotion, the Government is working hard to improve skills training as I just indicated because this is the gateway to accessing quality jobs.

But we are also mindful …

The president Coughs and drinks some water

Hon Government Members: Water, drink some water!

The President: Yes it is true.


The President: Thank you for that reminder.

But we are also mindful of other factors relevant to the labour market. In particular, the Government is committed to dialogue with social partners and this has contributed to the relative industrial calm that we are experiencing. As a result of an effective social dialogue mechanism, the Government has concluded its consultations over the proposed labour law reforms and the relevant Bills will be brought to this House during the course of the year. These labour law reforms shall clearly reflect all forms of employer-employee relations that conform to the provisions of decent work.

In these reforms, casualisation of labour, the principle of “equal pay for work of equal value” and improved health and safety conditions at places of work will receive due attention.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Long overdue!

The President: Through the private sector development programme, regulations relating to terminal benefits will be reviewed to strengthen the pension delivery system of social security schemes. At the same time, labour practice that clearly discourages investment will be reviewed.

Public Service Management

In a bid to improve public service delivery system, the public service has been undergoing reforms for some time now.

The reforms designed to motivate public service workers have included the introduction of incentives such as the house loan scheme, redefinition of rural hardship allowances and fair administration of housing allowance.

As a mechanism through which the Government provides services to its people, it is important that the public service delivers services effectively, efficiently and in a timely manner.

Furthermore, the Government has increased funding to the Public Service Pensions Fund to ensure that civil servants who dedicate their lives to serving their people over many years are not unduly inconvenienced as they retire from public office.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

The President: Despite these positive developments, however, a number of areas still require attention. These include the brain drain, the labour disputes that sometimes result in strikes and the impact of HIV and AIDS.

Further, we must continue to push hard for even better service delivery by, among others, instituting service delivery charters between the public service and the people.

Such charters are already in existence in certain areas such as company registration, aspects of tax administration and immigration where assurance of delivery of service within a specified time frame is mandatory. The Government is developing similar charters to other areas such as land delivery as I mentioned earlier.


Mr Speaker, our ability to develop and the pace at which we do it shall depend on how we manage the education sector. A country, after all, is its people as has been demonstrated by countries that are very poor in natural resource endowment and yet some of these countries are highly industrialised because of the resourcefulness of their people who are highly skilled.

The main focus of the Government, therefore, is to increase access to education, improve the quality of education provided and address issues of equity in the sector. The primary objective of these measures is to ensure that a quality cadre of productive citizens is created.

It was for this reason that in my last address to this august House, I emphasised the need to recruit more teachers to narrow the pupil-teacher ratio, increase the capacity of teacher training institutions and expand infrastructure in the sector.

Mr Speaker, these commitments have resulted in an increase of more than 8 per cent in school enrolment between 2005 and 2007, recruitment of over 15,000 teachers, enhanced provision of education materials and better support to orphans and vulnerable children.

At basic school level, the Government policy is to encourage the enrolment of all children aged seven years and above. In order to meet this target, the Government will construct an additional 1, 500 classrooms this year to increase the enrolment capacity for children of school going age.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: The Government will also continue the construction of the 31 high schools which commenced in 2007.

At tertiary level, the Government will this year establish the Mulungushi University in Kabwe. The Government will also upgrade the infrastructure at Nkrumah and Copperbelt Secondary Teacher Training Colleges to enable them commence offering degree programmes.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: As a retention strategy, the Government has set up a revolving fund for teachers in order for them to access money for building houses anywhere in the country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kambwili: Help to implement. Do not just say hear hear!

The President:  Mr Speaker, in 2008 and beyond, the Government shall continue to work towards enhancing learning achievement among our young people. This, supported by a sustained programme of infrastructure development, will provide a major outcome under the Fifth National Development Plan.


Mr Speaker, like education, health service is one of the most important components of human capital development. Chronically unhealthy people cannot work or become innovative. Our health service delivery must, therefore, be effective.

Mr Speaker, the human resources crisis facing the health sector continues to be a major challenge. In response to this, I am happy to inform the House that the implementation of the Human Resources Rural Retention Scheme to other health workers other than medical doctors has been scaled up.

In my address to the House in October 2006, I indicated that the Government would employ 1,700 graduates from health training institutions in order to fill up the staffing gaps in the service. I am pleased to inform the House that a total of 1,200 health workers in various categories has been employed.

The next stage in implementation of the retention plan is to bring on board laboratory technologists, pharmacists, radiologists, physiotherapists and other allied health professionals.

Mr Speaker, the Government is expanding health training institutions as well as re-opening the schools that were closed some time back. In this regard, 10 health training institutions were rehabilitated and expanded.

Further, Kabwe School of Nursing was re-opened in 2007 and construction of thirty- three health posts in rural areas was completed. Kalene, Roan and Nchanga will re-open this year and construction of more rural health centres will be done this year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In addition, X-ray, theatre and maternity wings at Samfya Hospital were completed in 2007 while construction works for Mumbwa and Chadiza Hospitals will be completed this year.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: It will give me immense pleasure to announce that the Hospital at Shang’ombo has finally been opened.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, one of the achievements recorded last year was the completion and commissioning of the cancer diseases centre at the University Teaching Hospital. Treatment at the Cancer Centre commenced with a small number of patients in 2007 as more effort was devoted to completing the clinical start up activities.

This year, treatment will be scaled up from the 300 patients on radiotherapy in 2007 to 1,800 which is commensurate with the treatment capacity of the hospital.

In addition, construction of a new general hospital in Lusaka is expected to commence later this year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the HIV/Aids pandemic still remains a major challenge to our country. In order to mitigate its impact on the citizens and on development, the Government will continue to scale up the implementation of HIV/Aids programmes.

The Government will expand the provision of free anti-retroviral therapy through the public health care delivery system.

Gender and Development

Mr Speaker, in my address during the First Session of the Tenth National Assembly, I mentioned among other things, that the Government would ensure that Gender perspectives were entrenched in national development.

It is the Government’s intention to ensure that men and women are socially and economically empowered and have the means to effectively participate in the national growth of our country’s economy. I am pleased, therefore, that the Government has mainstreamed gender in the Fifth National Development Plan in order to ensure that our efforts are focused.

Mr Speaker, with regard to gender based violence, the Government amended the Penal Code through Amendment Act No. 5 of 2005 which aims at protecting our citizens against indecent assault, sexual harassment, defilement and trafficking in women and children.

In spite of all these measures that the Government has taken, the scourge of gender based violence has continued in our homes and communities.

In order to address this unfortunate development, the Government will, during this session, introduce a further Bill specifically dealing with gender violence.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In addition, the Government will accelerate the domestication of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women into national law.

It is my firm belief that these developments will greatly contribute to the eradication of violence, especially against women and children.

Sport, Youth and Child Development

Hon. V Mwale: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the Government recognises the key role sport plays in ensuring the health of our citizens. Sport is also a major unifying factor for our nation. As a demonstration of our commitment to sport, the Government has put in place measures aimed at accelerating the implementation of the National Sports Policy.

The measures include the recruitment and placement of sports development coordinators in all the provinces, and the re-construction of Provincial and District Sports Advisory Committees.

Mr Speaker, to enhance the implementation of the National Sports Policy, the Government is revising the National Sports Council of Zambia and the Professional Wrestling and Boxing Control Acts.

This year, the Government will do a lot to rehabilitate and construct sports infrastructure for our people. This will also enable us to host regional and international games. Increased capacity will enable us to successfully host the 10th All Africa Games in 2011 as well as host some of the teams for the 2010 World Cup scheduled for South Africa.

 In this regard, the Independence Stadium is undergoing rehabilitation and an ultra modern stadium is under construction in Ndola. Works on the Hope for Sport Centre by the International Olympics Committee in Lusaka is also underway.

Mr Speaker, Children and the youth are the building blocks of our country and account for the larger proportion of our population. We are, therefore, particularly concerned as the Government at the increasing number of orphans and vulnerable children, especially street children.

To this effect, the Government is implementing the National Child Policy which contains measures aimed at addressing children’s plight. Regarding legislative work to support this, the Government is going to enact the Children’s Act and revise the Penal Code so that they protect the children’s interests better.

Further, we will ensure that the African Charter on the rights and welfare of the child is ratified and domesticated. Beyond legislative work, the National Child Policy foresees the introduction of a youth programme under the Zambia National Service to reform street kids.

Currently, 450 youth are being equipped with varying survival skills in different Zambia National Service Camps. Further, the Government intends to establish youth empowerment industrial parks so as to provide space for the beneficiaries of the Youth Empowerment Fund.

The Government also intends to give priority to youth in resettlement schemes in order to ensure that they have access to land.

Defence and Security

Mr Speaker, the defence force plays a key role in protecting Zambia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty by ensuring that the country’s peace and unity are preserved from any form of aggression. In this regard, Zambia has continued to maintain a presence of troops along some of its borders to prevent cross-border crime.

Mr Speaker, allow me to commend the defence forces for their efforts in supplementing disaster management and mitigation in time of need. The year 2008, in particular, looks challenging because of the heavy rains so far.

The Zambia National Service and the Prison Service continue to contribute to economic development through food production. The farming skills acquired by inmates serve as correctional measures for them to contribute positively to their communities.

In addition, last year, the Zambia National Service constructed and maintained 185 kilometres of gravel roads and several earth dams in the country.

Mr Speaker, at international level, Zambia plays a critical role in maintaining peace and security in the region and the rest of the world. To this effect, Zambia has continued to participate in peace-keeping missions under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union. Further, we are equally committed to continue co-operating with the international community in combating terrorism, drug and human trafficking.

Mr Speaker, at the regional level, the launch of the SADC Brigade in Zambia during the SADC Summit held in Lusaka last year is testimony of our support and commitment towards peace and security in the region. In our continued efforts to promote peace in the region, Zambia has held a number of joint permanent commissions on defence and security with other countries.

Mr Speaker, due to our geographical position, Zambia is sometimes used as a transit point for illegal immigrants and illicit goods, including drugs. I am pleased to note, however, that there has been a decline in the quantity of illicit drugs entering the country due to the intensified operations by the Drug Enforcement Commission.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: In addition, traditional rulers have assisted in mitigating the scourge of drugs through their co-operation against cultivation of cannabis.

Mr Speaker, the Government is concerned with the critical shortage of staff housing and office space for police officers.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President:  To this effect, an infrastructure development programme has been put in place to construct 1,500 houses for the police this year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!
Mr Speaker, with regard to congestion in the prisons, the Government has embarked on a programme to rehabilitate and construct new prisons in order to reduce the ills associated with overcrowding.

The priority is, therefore, to construct Mwembeshi Prison Complex and upgrade Livingstone Prison to maximum security. Further, during the year under review, I was able to discharge from prison a number of prisoners who displayed reform and change of character. This was primarily intended to afford these offenders a second chance to lead decent lives while at the same time, it helped our de-congestion programme in the prisons.

Mr Munaile: Kwashala Mwila!


Regional Co-operation and International Relations

Mr Speaker, in conducting our international relations, the Government makes deliberate effort to promote the national interests and improve the quality of life of Zambian citizens. Zambia continues to support the attainment and consolidation of democracy and freedom, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Further, in recognition of the devastating effects that conflicts have had on the continent, Zambia pursues a policy which promotes the maintenance of friendly relations among countries and encourages negotiated solutions to conflicts.

Mr Speaker, when I assumed the Chairmanship of SADC in August, 2007, during the summit held in Lusaka, I promised that during Zambia’s tenure, priority projects would be identified which would include the launching of the free trade area by the end of this year.

 Similarly, I also promised to facilitate the creation of a Customs Union in 2010 and the improvement of infrastructure in the region. At continental level, Zambia participated in the 9th Ordinary Session of the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Accra, Ghana, in June 2007, which debated whether to establish the African Union Government immediately or gradually. Zambia favoured the gradual approach considering that there is need to accelerate the development in the different regions of the continent before forming an African Union Government.

Mr Speaker, as part of Zambia’s commitment to the cause of African Unity, the Government has presented the candidature of a distinguished professional for the position of African Union Chairperson, in the name of Dr. Inonge Mbikusita-Lewanika …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The President: … who is our current Ambassador to the United States of America.

Mr Speaker, in recognition of Zambia’s contribution to peace and security in the region, I am pleased to report that Zambia was requested to host the centre for the promotion of democracy, good governance, human rights and civic education within the Great Lakes Region Framework.

In terms of international relations, the Government is mindful of the long historical ties between Zambia and the Asian Continent. As the fastest growing economic region of the 21st Century, Asia is a strategic region and is, therefore, expected to remain an important source of technology, trade and investment for Zambia even as she consolidates her relations with her old friends. It is, therefore, gratifying to note that strategic countries in that region are showing keen interest in bringing significant investments to Zambia.

Mr Speaker, in relation to the Americas, the Government recognises the unique position of world influence and responsibility occupied by the United States of America. We are, therefore, committed to our relations with the countries of the American Continent.

In Europe, Zambia is keen to continue engaging its cooperating partners in meaningful political and economic dialogue and close interaction at various levels.

Mr Speaker, the European Union is Zambia’s largest donor and we shall continue to engage this block in various development matters that affect our country and the region. We also anticipate increased European participation in our national development programmes, particularly, after the European Union and African Union summit which was held in December last year and afforded both sides a rare opportunity to discuss critical issues of mutual concern.{mospagebreak}


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Conclusion


The President: Mr Speaker, as I conclude my address to this august House, let me re-iterate that as representatives of the people, we have a responsibility to discharge our duties with diligence, commitment and selflessness.

We have before us serious national tasks which include dealing with various legislative matters, approving the National Budget and above all, giving the people of Zambia a Constitution that will stand the test of time.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: Mr Speaker, the daunting challenges of youth unemployment, HIV and AIDS and the high poverty levels are still with us. However, we must not give up in tackling these head on. Already, through the tremendous achievements that we have made which are visible to any honest person, we have demonstrated that we have the capacity to solve our problems.

I, therefore, call upon each and every one of us to work tirelessly towards fulfilling the social contract that we have with the people, to serve them in an atmosphere that transcends partisan and individual interests. In that way, we will not betray the trust and confidence the Zambian people have placed in us.

To the Zambian people at large, I wish to thank you for the confidence and trust you have placed in us to conduct the affairs of the nation on your behalf. Even as I acknowledge the socio-economic problems still ahead of us as any honest leader should, I am also proud of the achievements that we continue to make.

In turn, this should give you the confidence that you have a leadership that is committed and, above all, knows what it is doing. Even for those of our people struggling under hardship, the progress being made is an indicator that with time, your particular hardship will be addressed. In an environment where there is little or no progress of any sort as we saw in the past, such hope would be misplaced.

I wish you all a prosperous new year. I want it to be as prosperous as you want it to be as we strive, together, to make Zambia an even better place for ourselves and for generations to come.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President: May the good Lord bless this nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The President left the Assembly Chamber.

Mr Speaker took the Chair.




The Vice-President (Mr Rupiah Banda): Mr Speaker, may I start by expressing on behalf of this House and indeed on my own behalf, my sincere thanks to the President of the Republic of Zambia, Dr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, for the wonderful speech he has just delivered.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: I am sure all hon. Members will join me as they have already indicated in congratulating the President on the thought-provoking address.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that His Excellency the President has raised a number of important issues which will need to be carefully analysed and properly understood by hon. Members. Consequently, I am of the view that the House should arise now so that hon. Members are allowed adequate time in which to study and analyse the speech in order to make intelligent and constructive contributions during the debate of the Motion of Thanks starting on Tuesday, 15th January, 2008.

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

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to thank you most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to support the Adjournment Motion.

Sir, after we broke off for Christmas and New Year, many of our hon. Members took time to visit their constituencies to acquaint themselves with the problems prevailing there. They are, quite obviously, anxious to inform the Government about the problems their constituents are facing.

In the same vein, may I mention Sir, that the hon. Members of this House are also participants in the National Constitutional Conference …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Muteteka: … and are not only going to study the President’s detailed speech, but also, take a deep reflection on the draft constitution which currently is in the process of debate.

Be that as it may, it is important, if not imperative, that time is given to the hon. Members to study His Excellency the President’s opening speech in order to make meaningful contributions.

Mr Speaker, taking into account that Parliamentary debates are broadcast live to the public through the media, members of the public are anxious to monitor how their representatives conduct their affairs in terms of governance and legislation.

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank all the hon. Members of the House for their support to this motion.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.


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


The House adjourned at 1345 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 15th January, 2008.