Debates-Friday, 26th January, 2007

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Friday, 26th January, 2007

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





His Honour the Vice-President (Mr R. B. Banda): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week

Mr Speaker, on Tuesday, 30th January, 2007, the business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any.

On Wednesday, 31st January, 2007 the business of the House will commence with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any.

On Thursday, 1st, February, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any.

On Friday, 2nd February, 2007, the Business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. Then the House will consider questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then consider any other outstanding business, if there will be any.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, as Members will be aware, the Government commissioned a technical and financial audit of Indeni Petroleum Company at the end of 2005 following the severe disruptions in the supply of petroleum products that the country experienced during that period.

The findings of the audit were reported to the House last year. Among the recommendations of the technical audit was the need to recapitalise Indeni in order to improve its operational efficiency.

In the light of this recommendation, the Government and Total, the shareholders of Indeni, have agreed on a recapitalisation programme. The re-investment programme was agreed at US$55 million. In order to carry out the first phase of this programme, the refinery was shut down from late September to mid November, 2006.It is expected that performance of the refinery will be greatly improved following the completion of the recapitalisation of the plant.

Mr Speaker, regarding the current shut down of the refinery that occurred on 30th December, 2006, this was to facilitate urgent works that were required on the stability of power supply and the catalysts in the refinery unit. Throughout this time, the Government has made sure that the country is well supplied with petroleum products. It is also important to note that since 2005, there has been no disruption in the supply of petroleum products in Zambia and even during the periods when the refinery has not been operational. This is as a result of the steps that the Government has taken to guarantee supplies on the Zambian market. I, therefore, expect no disruption with petroleum products during the year 2007.

Fuel Price Adjustment

Mr Speaker, prices of petroleum products are adjusted every second Wednesday of each month using a pricing mechanism called the Import Parity Pricing (IPP) Method.
This mechanism deems that the country imports refined products rather than crude into the country. It, therefore, factors in a number of cost variables, which any importer of refined products would have to pay to bring fuel into the country. These variables are:

(i) The international oil prices;
(ii) Ocean freight Charges;
(iii) Land Transportation;
(iv) Various charges at the port of Dar-Es-Salaam;
(v) The exchange rate of the kwacha per US Dollar; and
(vi) Taxes.

Mr Speaker, the IPP, which was introduced in 2004, is a common use method of determining fuel prices by countries which import crude oil for refining. For instance, South Africa uses the IPP formula and adjusts prices every first Wednesday of each month. The IPP pricing methods achieves several objectives.

(a) It puts competitive pressure on the refinery to produce fuel efficiently;

(b) it ensures prudent procurement of crude oil as the prices at which refined products are sold are set independent of the cost of procurement;

(c) it makes pricing more transparent.

Among the key IPP variables stated above, the three that drive the price changes on the market places are:

(i) the international oil prices;
(ii) freight charges; and
(iii) exchange rate.

As these three variables constantly change, an average of the previous month is used in the formula to arrive at the current prices. Therefore, the prices for January 2007 are based on December, 2006 values. In December 2006, the average prices of petroleum products on the international markets increased when compared to those obtaining in November, 2006.

As already stated above, one of the key variables in the pricing of fuel is the exchange rate. Zambia imports all its petroleum requirements from the international market where pricing is in US Dollars. Therefore, any fluctuations in the local exchange rate have an effect on the domestic prices of fuel. For instance, between September, 2005 and March, 2006 when the kwacha appreciated, fuel prices were reduced despite the fact that international oil prices increased in the same period.

Future Outlook

Mr Speaker, the prices of petroleum products have exhibited a downward trend in the month of January to date. It is my hope that this trend continues to the end of the month to the extent that it may be reflected in the fuel price adjustment for February, 2007.

The Government is committed to mitigating the adverse effects of the price volatility on the international petroleum market. To this effect, the Government has established the Strategic Reserve Fund, the purpose of which is two-fold, firstly to stabilise the prices of petroleum products in the country and, secondly, to be used for the procurement of key strategic petroleum reserves. Further, as a means of rationalising the petroleum industry, the Government has appointed Tazama as managers to the Ndola Fuel Terminal. My ministry is also considering options for making the procurement of feedstock more competitive to the benefit of the Zambian public.

In the medium to long tern the blending of refined products with bio-fuel such as petrol with ethanol from molasses and diesel with bio-diesel from jatropha will further strengthen the national security of supply and mitigate the adverse effect of the international petroleum market.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members will now ask questions which will enable the hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development to clarify points which he made in his ministerial statement.

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister, please, confirm that the price that is being charged now for petroleum products has been pegged to the price which BP wishes to have after it was given the sole right to bring in fuel and other lubricants into Zambia which were over priced and they brought in a lot. Now, in order for them not to suffer a loss, the fuel price has been pegged at that particular figure.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, when Indeni was shut in October last year, we gave BP a contract to supply fuel on the Zambian market during the shut down period. The determination of the fuel price on the Zambian market, as I already said, follows the IPP. So, it is irrelevant whether BP or any other person is importing it. The pricing mechanism is fixed independent of imports.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister explain why this Government expects to recoup from individuals or the public any shortcomings arising from the pricing mechanism and yet they do not want the transporters to recoup as well. There is a time lag between when the prices are announced and when they authorise the transporters to recoup. Why is the Government not putting in the mechanism to make sure that the public recovers as much as they do?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I know that the hon. Member is referring to prices, particularly of bus fares, in terms of timings for recouping. The adjustment of bus fares follow a channel under the Ministry of Communications and Transport where the operators must justify the increase in prices.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nsanda (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has explained the mechanism of pricing which they are using. The price of crude oil at the highest was US$73 per barrel and now it is costing slightly below US$50. Could he clarify why Zambia is charging more when the producers of crude oil are charging less or when they are importing the crude oil cheaply?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I did explain that in arriving at the price for a particular month which is fixed on the second Wednesday of that month, we take the average of the previous month. So, the effects of the price which has gone below US$55 in January, will be felt during the month of February. That is the way we fix prices. The hon. Member may be aware that two days ago, when President Bush announced that he was going to increase his reserves on fuel, the prices moved from US$54 to US$57 per barrel. So, the price moves according to the international demand and supply variables.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Scott (Lusaka Central):  Mr Speaker, I am just following on from that answer. The current prices are based on the exceptionally high prices of two months or six weeks ago. Can we now expect that within the next review the prices of fuel and oil will drop at the garage?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I have already indicated that during the month of January, the trend in the price has been such that it is coming down. So, the arithmetic in pricing under the IPP should give us a lower price of fuel during the month of February. That I can confirm.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Mr Speaker, one of the contributing factors to the high prices in this country is as a result of the Statutory Instrument that was issued by the Government to surcharge Zambians at the time when there was a severe shortage of fuel. May I know when this Government will give relief to Zambians by withdrawing that Statutory Instrument and pass the benefit to Zambians so that they can have a relief?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the purpose for the surcharge, as I explained, was two-fold. First, it was to attempt, as much as possible, to cushion the price effects. Secondly, it was in order to build up reserves so that in periods of disruptions we can draw upon the reserves.

Mr Speaker, we have commenced the process of building up reserves. Until the country has sufficient reserves to forestall any disruption on the market, it will not be rational for this Government to withdraw the surcharge.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, I would like find out from the hon. Minister whether he can prove to this House that each time there is an increase of price on crude oil, the reduction is proportionally done when, subsequently, the price of crude oil falls. Do the people enjoy the reduction of the prices proportionally? Can he prove to us that in the last six months this has been done?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I did mention the fact that the variables that affect the price beyond the international oil prices is the exchange rate. Sometimes, these variables do not move in the same direction.

So, the issue of proportionality can only be achieved if these variables are moving in the same direction. I have been informed by my colleague from the Ministry of Communications and Transport that the average increase in cost for a bus operator to the Copperbelt and back is K200,000.00. The operators have increased by an average of K700, 000.00. It is an issue of proportionality and, therefore, is it an issue of proportional increase or not?

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether there are punitive measures being undertaken against filing station operators because when there is an increment in the price of fuel, they immediately change the pump prices but when there is a reduction, they stick to the old prices in the guise that it is old stock.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, under the Energy Regulatory Board Act, there is a penalty prescribed against someone who continues to charge a price other than that which has been prescribed by the Energy Regulatory Board.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, in answer to the question by Hon. Hachipuka, the hon. Minister stated that the ministry increased a fee to cushion people who were importing oil at the time we had a fuel crisis in the country. He, then, again imposed another K152.00 for the fuel reserves. According to the calculations, when there were reserves, we had enough fuel. You will find that the component you increased at the crisis time was not removed. When are you going to remove or reduce it because there is a positive development and so that the people can benefit?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the correct position is that we did not have two adjustments made on the fuel price. We only had one adjustment of K152.00 per litre. The reason we did this is that prior to the disruption of 2005, we did not have the muscle to be able to respond to a crisis and, because of that, we learnt a lesson. Therefore, going forward as a nation, we have to put in a mechanism that can complement the supply side of fuel in this country and that is the reason we have for the K152.00.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware of the very high cost of fuel in the rural areas and some areas along the line of rail. In the past, the hon. Minister stated that he was undertaking a review so as to bring the fuel price in the rural areas at parity with that charged on the Copperbelt and Lusaka. Is the hon. Minister in a position to inform the House how far he has gone in that direction so that relief can be brought to the people and transporters, especially in the rural areas and also to encourage economic development in the rural areas?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament has continuously asked this question and on the Order Paper, there is a question from him on the issue of common price. I would like to say that during the last sitting, my ministry committed itself that before the end of this quarter, which is the end of this Parliamentary Session, we shall come to Parliament to announce the issue of common pricing. So, give us space because we are carrying out necessary work that is required for us to have a prudent mechanism that will be long-term rather short-term.

I thank you, Sir.



Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I know that His Honour the Vice-President was on the Copperbelt a few weeks ago trying to visit the mining companies. I would, therefore, like to find out from him how the hardworking miners were being deprived as far as salaries were concerned in comparison with their expatriate counterparts. What is the Government doing to bridge the gap?

The Vice-President (Mr R. B. Banda): Mr Speaker, what the hon. Member of Parliament for Kantanshi is saying is true. Recently, I was on the Copperbelt and visited the mines. I talked to the Mineworkers’ Union of Zambia, the hon. Members of Parliament who were available and to all stakeholders including the investors. We discussed matters concerning the conditions of service for the hardworking miners. I must say that as responsible hon. Members of Parliament, our interests should be to find solutions to the problems of the miners, which do not alienate ourselves to the new mine investors. As we all know, the history of the Copperbelt has taught us that in the past, when these new investors were not there, life was much more difficult for the Zambian people, not only the mine workers but all the people on the Copperbelt as well as in the whole country.


The Vice-President: Therefore, the Government is prudent in approaching this matter to ensure that we do not do something wrong by discouraging new investment and the present investors who, in addition to mining, are investing in smelting and in processing of copper. I want to assure the hon. Member of Parliament that we are very conscious of these factors and are looking into them. We will also ensure that the decision that will come out will be for the good of all the Zambian people.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, we are all aware that the cost of borrowing in this country is extremely high. Consequently, Zambians are unable to invest in whatever ventures they intend to engage in. In other countries, especially the western countries, the Governments have a mechanism of effecting controls on the interest rates. Are we not in a position to emulate the democratic governments in the west who are controlling interest rates to ensure that Zambians access financing from banks and other institutions?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze for raising, perhaps, what I would consider one of the most important questions affecting our economic life.

The question is: Can we as a democratic government in Zambian emulate the democratic countries of the West?

We are controlling the interest rates so that our people borrow cheaply. I think the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central and all hon. Members here will agree that that trend is coming. It is now cheaper for Zambians to borrow than was the case a few years ago and all necessary steps are being taken by this Government to ensure that the economy is on the right course.

As I have said, we are encouraging new investments like those in the mines as well as in other industries such as processing and agriculture to ensure that our currency is strong and the interest rates continue to go down. This will enable the cost of borrowing for Zambians to be affordable in order for them to invest and become wealthier as is the case in other countries.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chilembo (Chama North): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what Zambia’s Foreign Policy is towards the Israel/Palestine Conflict.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Chama North wants to know the Zambian Foreign Policy towards the country known as Zaire. Before I come to that point…

Hon. Members: Israel!

The Vie-President: Thank you. Israel. I am sorry.

Mr Speaker, the foreign policy with Israel and other countries in the Middle East is that we belong to the African Union (AU) and, as we all know, the policies of the AU and the Zambian Government on the question of the world and the Middle East have been those of ensuring that there has to be peace in that area which has suffered for long time and has suffered a lot of wars. Even as we are speaking now, Lebanon is almost on fire. Therefore, the policy of our Government is to condemn violence by anyone that is perpetrating it in that region.

Mr Speaker, we do not have any diplomatic representation in Israel nor does Israel have diplomatic representation in Zambia. Therefore, we feel Israel should be advised by the international community to refrain from inflaming the situation in that area. We support the people of Palestine and we support all those that are fighting for the independence of their countries. Therefore, our policy on Israel is very clear and it is our hope that they should not do anything to worsen the situation in the Middle East.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kanyanyamina (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, could His Honour the Vice-President assure this House about the food reserves under his mitigation agency, the Disaster Management Agency…

Mr Mwenya: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwenya: I rise on…

Mr Speaker: Order! I am most reluctant to allow you to raise a point of order when His Honour the Vice-President is on his feet being asked or answering questions of national or international importance that you have just heard. Therefore, the hon. Member will have to reserve his point of order for another time. We are busy right now.

Mr Kanyanyamina: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for your protection.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Kanyanyamina: Mr Speaker, since we are receiving reports from all over the country of disasters that crops have be been submerged and destroyed, could His Honour the Vice-President assure this House and say how safe are we are under his office because most Zambians were hoping that the budget would be released soon, but it is taking a bit of time.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you, once again, for giving me this chance to answer the questions from hon. Member of Parliament and, in particular, the hon. Member who asked about food security.

First of all, I would like to clarify that the Food Reserve Agency is not directly under the Office of the Vice-President. However, food relief is and as I said a day or so before answering other questions from hon. Members who were concerned that the areas where they come from were experiencing a lot of disaster particularly in the North Western Province.

Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the House that the Vice-President’s Office is keenly interested and is making every effort with all relevant ministries to ensure that adequate food supplies are purchased and put aside in order to be able to combat hunger and shortages in our various constituencies. With regard to other disasters, we are also aware of the fact that there are all sorts of disasters taking place in our countries especially in our rural areas, and also in our urban areas as a result of the good rainfall that has been falling in the various provinces of our country.

Sir, right now, my office is busy assessing these problems with the help of most of you hon. Members of Parliament though, unfortunately, we are meeting now. I am sure that your representatives in various provinces and constituencies are working together with the Government, district commissioners and all stakeholders to co-operate with the Disaster Management Unit to ensure that we come up with a clear understanding of the needs of hon. Members in their various constituencies. As we are here now, the arrangements are being made for the funding of the current food shortages in various provinces.

I, therefore, wish to assure hon. Members that this Government will not sit idly by and see hon. Members of Parliament and their constituencies suffer regardless of their political affiliation. It is the duty of this Government to ensure that all your requirements, where possible, are attended to.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Mr Speaker, the Democratic Republic of Congo is a very important market for Zambia. The Joint Permanent Commission has not met for sometime due to elections here, in Zambia, and our sister republic. When are we going to have this Joint Permanent Commission meeting?

Secondly, the Governor for Katanga is a wanted person as a result of corruption cases and is being pursued by the Task Force on Corruption. Will this Government give him exemption to enable attend that Joint Permanent Commission meeting?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you, Mr Speaker, together with my hon. Colleague, the hon. Member seated across from me, for this question. It is the commitment of this Government to ensure that these Joint Permanent Commissions which have been set up for the purpose of smoothening and strengthening the relations between various countries falling under these joint commissions always meet and discuss and resolve these problems.

With specific regard to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), this has been an on-going concern to hon. Members of Parliament as well as the Government that this meeting should take place. I am sure that there will be a meeting of the Joint Permanent Commission of our two countries as soon as possible.

With regard to the Governor of Katanga Province who we sought, it is well known that no one is above the law. If the law lays its hands on you, it will deal with you accordingly. However, in respect to this particular case, I do not have enough details to give a specific answer. However, if he is being sought and one day he strays into Zambia, I am sure that the Zambian law will visit him.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Malama (Mfuwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out how the Office of the Vice-President is tackling hunger situation in places like Chiefs Nabwalya and Mukungule were people cannot reach due to the fact that there are no bridges at Kampamba and Mutinondo Rivers. As a result, government workers are failing to reach these places because these rivers are over flooded and the headmaster for Nabwalya Basic School is stuck at the Boma.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mfuwe has expressed deep concern over the situation which his constituents are facing as a result of the difficulties caused by hunger and breaking down of bridges and inaccessibility to other areas to obtain food. Sir, my office has already stated what we are doing. However, taking advantage of this important question which the hon. Member has raised, I would like to urge hon. Members of Parliament not to hesitate or wait for the Vice-President’s Question Time on Friday, but proceed to the Disaster Management Unit and discuss with the people there. We have put them there to attend to these problems. I wish to invite all hon. Members whose constituencies are found in the same situation as my hon. Colleague and inform them that our people are ready at all times to attend you, listen to you and to participate, with you, in resolving these problems and finding solutions.

May take this opportunity to give, as an example, the hon. Member of Parliament, Dr Machungwa, who came to my office and I was happy to see my cousin, but I was also happy that he drew my attention to the problems in his area. He explained the problems in such a way that I understood them much better than I would have done if it was merely by reading documents that are flying around or in newspapers that are talking about disasters. It is so very important that we consider ourselves partners in making it easier for our people to access facilities and the food that is available.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Hamir (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, sorry your Honour the Vice-President for having taken you back to relief food, but I would wish to say that the situation is quite bad. Before we lose lives, when is his office distributing the relief food?

Hon. Members: Where did you get that information? Where?

Mr Hamir: In Chitambo, we have the same problem.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament has shown concern for his people. It is good to see that hon. Members of Parliament are concerned over the plight of their people. I have seen the questions on documents that are coming through to my office. They are like the one that the hon. Member has raised and I am sure he will get a reply when that question comes on the Floor.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Milupi (Luena): Mr Speaker, His Honour the Vice-President is aware that in 1990 when this country committed itself to achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by the year 2015, we had twenty-five years to go. This year means that we now have only eight years to go. If we had all the statistics with respect to all the MDGs, especially those that relate to poverty reduction like education for all, water for all and so on, it is quite clear, your Honour, that this country is not going to achieve these goals by the year 2015. Will His Honour the Vice-President tell this House when the Government will admit that this country will not achieve those goals or if they have the intention of achieving those goals, what measures are going to be put in place to ensure that we do achieve these goals by 2015.

Mr Speaker: May you switch off the microphone.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Luena, who is popularly known as the ‘giant killer’ for raising this question regarding the MDGs. Mr Speaker, it is not for the Zambian Government alone to ask themselves that question, it is for all of us, leaders, particularly Members of Parliament, to address ourselves to the attainment of the MDGs. That is why the Government is asking all well-meaning citizens to be concerned about the issues of investment in this country, the issues of tourism and employment of our people, so that our country can have more money in order to invest in those areas which will enable us to achieve these MDGs. Education, in particular, we need to have money from somewhere other than from donors but from within the country. We need to have money for wells so that the lives and health of our people are better so that our people can work harder in the mines, on road construction sites, on the farms and when they are fishing because of healthy bodies.

It is necessary that all of us, all the time, when we are discussing national issues, consider ourselves partners in this important task. I can assure all hon. Members that we will attain this if we attract enough investment in our country to open up more mines, farms and factories so that the people can have more money.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr C. K. B. Banda (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, may His Honour Vice-President tell the House when the Government intends to revert to the old system of employing controlling officers, namely, Permanent Secretaries on permanent and pensionable conditions of service.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government is in the process of doing so. Hon. Members will take note of the fact that controlling officers or Permanent Secretaries and the other staff all over the country are employed on permanent conditions other than when they are given a contract because of particular skills that the person has been called in to undertake a contract. It is the policy of the Government to employ controlling officers on a permanent basis.

I thank you, Sir.

Major Chizhyuka (Namwala): Mr Speaker, for as long as I can remember, the cut off point in Southern Province has been higher for a child who goes into the next grade like 8 or 10 and the time they are going to university. The reason that has been given is that the Southern Province has more schools. Is there any desire by the Government to change this segregative policy, which only serves to de-civilise Southern Province.


Major Chizhyuka: If the children in Southern Province are brainy, is there a desire to build a university for these brainy children in Southern Province so that they are absorbed?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I wish to assure the hon. Member who is a very good friend of mine and one who has exhibited great knowledge when he has always stood up in this House …


The Vice-President: …to speak about issues that many of us may not have considered. Therefore, I listened very carefully to your question.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there is no intention by the Government to de-civilise the Southern Province. It is not even possible because the people of the Southern Province would not allow their children to be de-civilised. However, this problem does not just affect the Southern Province because there is a difference in the cut-off points for boy and girl children and there is also a difference in cut-off points for every province. Therefore, I would like to assure my colleague that this situation has not been intended for de-civilising the Southern Province. After all, if we did that, we would be de-civilising ourselves all over the country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr D. Mwila (Chipili): Mr Speaker, an hon. Member raised a question to the Vice-President in regard to the adjusting of salaries for civil servants and teachers in the Government and the response was that it was up to this House. I would like to find out from His Honour the Vice President in regard to the bargaining process in the Industrial Relations Act Cap. 269 and I would like to know if the law has changed.

Mr Speaker: Order! It is time up. His Honour the Vice-President may resume his seat.





109. Mr Simama (Kalulushi) asked the Minister of Works and Supply when the Government would start resurfacing the Kitwe-Kalulushi Road.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, the Ministry has intentions of resurfacing the existing Kitwe-Kalulushi Road. To this effect, in the 2007 Annual Work Plan there is a provision of K3 billion to resurface 9 kilometres of the Kitwe-Kalulushi Road. The road is a 12-kilometre stretch, which requires K5.4 billion in total. We will try to find an extra K2.4 billion in 2007 to reconstruct the damaged 3 kilometres. If we do not manage this year, we will do it in 2008.

The 12-kilometre road is divided into two parts. The first 9 kilometres is easy to resurface. We will do a porthole patching and apply a coating. However, Sir, the remaining 3 kilometres is badly damaged and this needs reconstruction and tarring. This is the part which we think we can find K2.4 billion for.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simama: Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister know that at his ministry, it shows that the contractors were supposed to be on site on 20th July, 2006 but up to now, the contractor has not been on site?
Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, this road was advertised last year and China Zianzhi was the only bidder and was awarded this contract. We could not sign the contract until we had the money. We have provided the money in this budget to the tune of K3 billion. When we get this money, the contractor will start working.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwenya: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member is always missing the right time to raise a point of order.


110. Mr Simama asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives when Kalulushi would be declared a farming block to enable the district benefit from the distribution of farming inputs.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Kalenga): Mr Speaker, the ministry has no immediate plans to declare Kalulushi as a farming block, However, there are nine proposed farm blocks throughout the country, one from each province. The proposed farming block on the Copperbelt Province is either Musakashi (SADA - Sustainable Agriculture Development Association) in Mufulira or Machiya in Mpongwe District.

I also want to tell the hon. Member that the allocation for agricultural inputs is done at district level and not at farm block level. Input distribution under the Fertiliser Support Programme (FSP) is through co-operatives and other farmers’ organisations and not farm blocks. Kalulushi District has been benefiting from the FSP since inception. If you want a farm block to be established in Kalulushi, you can see the hon. Minister of Lands. I think that is the right ministry which establishes farm blocks in the districts.

I thank you, Sir.


111. Mr Kambwili (Roan) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development what the Government response was to the closure of the 14th, 18th and 28th shafts at Luanshya Copper Mines Plc, considering that the shafts were still viable and could create employment for the people in the Roan Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, Luanshya Copper Mines Plc (LCM) own 14, 18 and 28 shafts, by virtue of them having purchased the assets in December 2003.

The latest position is that LCM has initiated an assessment of the viability of re-opening these shafts. The assessment is envisaged to be completed in the first quarter of 2007. The viability and date of commencement of operations will be determined after the study. As a Government, we would like to see that shafts operate to increase employment opportunities in the district.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Before we continue, I wish to guide the House that there is another reason why we, Presiding Officers discourage running commentaries.

Last evening, I was listening to your live debates on radio. I was very surprised to overhear a number of running commentaries coming through live on radio and some of the running commentaries were very unpleasant. I could hear very unpleasant commentaries, some of them very insulting, in fact, and some of them very unusual. Just to give you an example, without embarrassing the hon. Member referred to, I could overhear a new hon. Member whose voice I actually identified on radio, asking repeatedly, “Where is Jonas, where is Jonas?” I was unaware who the Jonas that Member was referring to was.


Mr Speaker: So, that was happening even when one hon. Minister was answering a very important question. I could hear the hon. Minister, but I could also overhear these very unpleasant running commentaries coming through very clearly on radio. Now, I do not know, whether, you desire your constituents to hear such unpleasant running commentaries through the radio as they are listening. I do not think that is your intention. I know the rules that you should not pay attention to outsiders, but remember we are live on radio and we are being assessed on whatever we say well and whatever we say badly.

The hon. Member for Roan wants to follow up.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if he is aware of the fact that there was a letter of abandonment issued by LCM in respect of the three shafts and the fact that they claimed that the shafts were not viable to mine and that these shafts have been flooded with water.

Mr Mwenya: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Again, hon. Member, you have missed.


The Minister of Mines and Mineral Development (Dr Mwansa): Mr Speaker, we are not aware that LCM submitted to us a letter of abandonment. They have never done that. They were purported to do that, but they have not and that is why the assets still belong to LCM. We are also aware that the assessment which is going on is both technical and financial and that the mines were flooded, but there is technology that can be used in flooded shafts, like Mopani is doing. It is called elicit releasing and that is what they use.

I thank you, Sir.


112. Mr Kambwili asked the Minister of Mines and Mineral Development:

(a) What the Government response was to the Australian investor known as Puku who wanted to open up the 18th and 28th shafts at Luanshya Copper Mines Plc;

(b) when the Luanshya Copper Mines Plc would submit the Letter of Abandonment to pave way for the new investors; and

(c) whether there was any evidence of asset stripping at the 18th and 28th shafts at Luanshya Copper Mines Plc and, if so, what action the Government had taken.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, shaft number 18 and 28 and the other related infrastructure were acquired by J & W under LCM. The sale and purchase agreement were signed in December 2003. Puku Minerals Limited showed interest in Open Shafts 18 and 28, but could not be granted a mining licence over these assets as they already belonged to LCM. Puku Minerals Limited was instead granted the prospecting licence which does not permit one to mine. This prospecting license was later cancelled because it was issued in error.

LCM has not applied for Certificate of Abandonment. However, the company has embarked on an assessment of the viability of the shafts to determine whether they should re-open these shafts or not.

As explained earlier, Mr Speaker, shafts 18 and 28 are part of the assets owned by LCM. However, the Government has observed that water pumps, tramming infrastructure and switch gears have been relocated to operate Baluba Mine. New machinery will be procured when shafts prove viable.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, it is very disheartening to learn that …

Mr Mwenya: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwenya: At long last, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwenya: Sir, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is it in order for His Honour the Vice-President to demean the hon. Members of Parliament on the Copperbelt and to mislead the nation that it is on only Members of Parliament from the ruling party can bring development to their constituencies? This statement was attributed to him and appeared in The Times of Zambia. Is it not the duty of the Government to provide development? Is it the intention of this Government to deny development to the Copperbelt and to create the impression that the Members of Parliament on the Copperbelt have failed?

Mr Speaker, The Times of Zambia of 13th January, 2007, says and I quote:

‘The Vice-President said that it was sad that during the campaigns, people on the Copperbelt decided to listen to political rhetoric and voted for Opposition MPs who had no ability to deliver.’

Sir, is this in order?

Hon. Members: Lay it on the Table.

Mr Mwenya: I will lay it on the Table.

Mr Mwenya laid the paper on the Table.


Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair has difficulties ruling on that point of order because the so-called Times of Zambia is truncated. It is not a Times of Zambia that we know of.


Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Roan continue, please.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I was saying that it is very disheartening to learn that the Government which is supposed to govern has got no data regarding the ministries that they run.

Sir, I want to find out whether the hon. Minister is serious and if it is true that there was no Letter of Abandonment because I am aware of this and I will lay this evidence on the Table later next week. This is to the effect that there was a Letter of Abandonment which was issued by Luanshya Copper Mines Plc when Hon. Kaunda Lembalemba was Minister of Mines and Minerals Development. Later, Puku Minerals Limited was awarded the Prospecting and Mining Licence for 14, 18 and 28 Shafts. Eighteen months later, this offer was withdrawn by the Government and the matter is in court.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Queen’s language can be very slippery. There is a difference between notice of closure and notice of abandonment. What Luanshya Copper Mines had requested for was to close Shafts 18 and 28, and not for abandonment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify this because only yesterday, we were told that Luanshya Copper Mines was privatised at a fee of US$35 million. There is also Ramcoz which is still under receivership and not actually privatised. Now, we are being told that there is Luanshya Copper Mines operating. Can he clarify that? Maybe, that is where the problem is.

Dr Mwansa: Mr Speaker, the mines in Luanshya are operated by Luanshya Copper Mines Plc that acquired the assets in 2003.

I thank you, Sir.


113. Mr Chimbaka (Bahati) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) why the ministry had taken so long to rehabilitate the collapsed sewer line and the blocked water pipes in Mansa Township residential areas; and

(b) what plans the ministry had to improve the provision of water and sanitation in Mansa District.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that under the Water and Sanitation Act of 1999, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government and Housing, through water utility companies formed by councils, to supply and provide sanitation services to the communities. However, budget constraints have made it difficult for the Government to rehabilitate the collapsed sewer line and damaged water pipes in Mansa Township residential areas.

Sir, the ministry has sourced funds from the donor community for water supply projects that are going to be used to improve the provision of water and sanitation, not only in Mansa but in Kawambwa, Chililabombwe, Mpika, Kasama and Mbala. The project has started in January this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Next, the hon. Member for Bahati.

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, according to the Act, there should be water utility companies to look into the water reticulation …

Mr Speaker: Order! May you resume your seat.

There was a time I wanted to you to raise a supplementary question on No. 113 but when you did not, also, indicate, I then called upon you to raise the next question. Are you on the next question or you are raising the supplementary question on the previous question?

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, I wanted to raise a supplementary question.

Mr Speaker: Since some of the hon. Members are still learning, I shall allow you to do so.

Mr Chimbaka: Thank you for your kindness, Mr Speaker. Learning is a process and I appreciate your kindness, Sir.

Mr Speaker, since the Act stipulates that there shall be creation of water utility companies to look into water reticulation in Mansa and other districts, when is the Ministry of Local Government and Housing intending to facilitate the creation of such a water utility company for Luapula, in particular?

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mrs Masebo): Mr Speaker, the ministry is in the process of ensuring that all the nine provinces have utility companies to provide water supply and sanitation, in particular, to Luapula Province.

I thank you, Sir.


114. Mr Chimbaka asked the Minister of Education:

(a) How many students from Luapula Province were offered places at the University of Zambia in the following years:

(i) 2004;
(ii) 2005; and
(iii) 2006;

(b) how many students were enrolled in each school;
(c) how many were sponsored by the Government; and
(d) how many were self-sponsored.

The Deputy Minister of Education (Ms Changwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to inform the House as follows:

Year  No. of students offered places

2004    59
2005    69
2006    105

With regard to part (b) of the question, the following were enrolled in each school:

School    Academic year  No. of students

Humanities and Social Sciences  2004    15
Education    2004    31
Natural Sciences   2004    13
Education    2005    30
Humanities and Social Sciences  2005    15
Natural Sciences   2005    24
Natural Sciences   2006    30
Law     2006    1
Education    2006    58
Humanities and Social Sciences  2006    16

As regards to part (c), the following were sponsored by the Government:

  Year   No. of Students

2004    4
2005    5
2006    14

As regards part (d), the following were self-sponsored:

  Year   No. of Students

2004    17
2005    3
2006    91

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, a year ago, the ministry announced that there were a lot of problems, such as examination leakages, in accepting students to the University of Zambia. As a result of this, they were going to enforce extra examinations at the university before each intake. Is this applicable before they enrol the students?

Ms Changwe: Mr Speaker, at the moment, the ministry is trying to come up with a National Qualification Framework and it is in this document that we are going to set standards for those examinations to be taken. When that is done, we will come back to the House and inform the hon. Members.

Thank you Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chimbaka: Mr Speaker, the number of students sponsored by the Government is very minimal, especially that there are many people who want to improve their academic qualifications. Why has the ministry imposed a policy that will only allow those that are ready to sponsor themselves? Why has the ministry also restricted the number of unsponsored students? Why is it so?

Ms Changwe: Mr Speaker, it is true that we are trying to look at, perhaps, increasing the number of Government sponsored students and to reduce the number of self-sponsored students. This is because students would be accepted at university, and after, maybe, a semester or, perhaps, one or two years, come back to the Government to seek sponsorship. This was creating a problem because such students would not have been catered for in our budget. At the moment, we have not yet finalised the way forward whether we are going to accept the self-sponsored students or whether we are going to limit the number of self-sponsored students. This is also because the space at University of Zambia was not enough to cater for the increasing number of self-sponsored students.

Thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, in view of the answer given by the hon. Deputy  Minister and following upon the answer given to another question yesterday, dealing with the number of admissions to the university in various provinces, it is evident that some provinces are getting very few people admitted into the university because there is no adequate space. Would the Government, as a long term measure, not begin thinking about establishing a university in each province, especially in those provinces where we can see that they are not getting many people admitted to the university?

Ms Changwe: Mr Speaker, the reasons given for the low number of students coming from various places is not because there is no enough space at the university, but it is because of many factors. Some of them were talked about yesterday. For instance, there is lack of exposure in certain provinces where, perhaps, students are not exposed to Information Technology (IT) systems where they can get information like in Luapula Province in this case. There is also lack of other modes of tuition and, as such, those students that are better placed or economically sound are able to access all this other information and, as such, perform well. This is just one of the reasons. So, we are not saying that it is because we do not have enough space that is why we cannot accept more students. We are saying it is the performance. If the performance in one province is low, then the acceptance of the number of students will obviously be low. So, it is not the problem of space.

In terms of considering putting up universities, at the moment, that issue is not yet captured. What we are doing is to provide for partnership. We have other universities. We also want to turn the former President’s Citizenship College (PCC) into a university. Maybe, in future, we may consider that.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Sinyangwe (Matero): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Deputy Minister aware that the bursary that she is talking about is given mostly to children who have parents who can afford? Even hon. Ministers’ children get bursaries when their parents can afford to pay and the poor children in the rural areas are languishing. Have you put in place mechanisms to scrutinise the children that you are giving bursaries to? Secondly, have you ever thought of turning some colleges into universities? You do not need to build. It will just be an instrument. You turn them into university colleges in the provinces. We have the infrastructure.

Ms Changwe: Mr Speaker, in the first place, I am better positioned to answer that question on bursaries because I actually chair the Bursaries Committee. We have criteria that we use to pick students to be sponsored. So, if the criteria favour certain children, it is not our problem.

Like I said yesterday, we have also put in a formative action to cater for the vulnerable children, for instance, the girls. We have also partnered with other organisations like FAWEZA and other NGOs to help those vulnerable children.

In terms of changing other colleges into university colleges, I am sure the hon. Member is quite aware that at the moment, we are trying to see how we can affiliate our colleges to the University of Zambia. I am sure that is why she is asking. So, the answer here is that we are in the process of considering affiliating certain colleges to the University of Zambia, and if possible, turn some of these into universities.

Thank you, Sir.


115. Mr Hamir (Chitambo) asked the Minister of Agriculture and co-operatives:

(a) How many Food Reserve Agency (FRA) depots were constructed in the Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency from 2004 to 2006; and

(b) how many new FRA depots were currently being constructed in the constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Kalenga): Mr Speaker, in response to the hon. Member for Chitambo’s question, the FRA has not constructed any depots in the Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency from 2004 to 2006. However, the FRA has been operating mobile depots during this period.

There are no new depots currently being constructed in the constituency. I am glad to take this opportunity to advise the hon. Member that since he is coming from the constituency, he is supposed to be telling us how he wants us to improve the marketing and the distribution of inputs instead of asking us because we are at the Headquarters in Lusaka. Since he is coming from the people, he is supposed to know the number of depots in the constituency.

I thank you, Sir.


116. Mr Hamir asked the Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives how many tonnes of the following agricultural inputs were sent to Serenje District in the 2005/2006 farming season:

(i) D Compound fertiliser;
(ii) Urea fertiliser; and
(iii) Maize seed.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Mulonga): Mr Speaker, in response to the question raised by the hon. Member for Chitambo, 500 metric tonnes of D compound, 500 metric tonnes of Urea and 50 metric tonnes of seed were sent to Serenje District.

Mr Speaker, I wish to advise hon. Members that as we go to our districts, this is basic information that we are supposed to have at our finger tips so that when you come here, you just ask us why we did not increase or why we were in short supply because this is what we are supposed to do to our people.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamir: Mr Speaker, with due respect, we are new Members of Parliament. We just came in last year, and that is why we are asking.

I would like to ask the ministry whether they are sensitising peasant farmers on the need to save money to enable them expand their businesses with farming activities after they have sold their products.

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, a sensitisation programme is an on-going programme. We have district officials and other officers whom we have sent to the depots and the constituencies from the districts who are doing the sensitisation and educating of our farmers.

Hon. Opposition Members: Order!

Mr Kapita crossed the Floor.

Mr Lubinda: Kambani.

Mr Mulonga: These officials are doing the sensitisation period by period depending on what is needed during that particular year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, from the answer given by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives and the ridicule on my young brother from Chitambo, is it possible that this ministry could circulate the distribution of fertiliser at the beginning of each year to Members of Parliament so that we are able to assist them?

Mr Mulonga: Mr Speaker, the distribution of fertiliser is dependent on other things differs from district to district. It may be difficult for the Government to circulate what they are going to distribute to each district in the beginning of the year when the returns are not yet at the office. Only after the compilation of what each district needs can that be done.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, is the Government considering paying those who will be investigators in the ministries to see how the distribution exercise is being conducted since they do not have records of what they are going to send?

The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Kapita): Mr Speaker, my ministry is working with people on the ground. The first people to decide how much fertiliser comes to an area are the camp officers who work with the farmers on the ground. The next line is the block officer who co-supervises the camp officers. In districts, we also have the District Agricultural Committee composed of all stakeholders and a chairman per district. This committee, working with the camp officers and the block officers will work with the District Agricultural Committee (DAC) and the District Marketing and Co-operative Officer (DMCO) to compile the list of people who are going to benefit. Then, they send the list to the Provincial Agricultural Co-ordinator. The nine provincial co-ordinators send the final lists to the Headquarters, to the Permanent Secretary responsible for co-operatives and marketing and then the lists are approved.

It is our desire to work with elected Members of Parliament, councillors and stakeholders in agreeing as to who should be the beneficiary. I am hopping that will happen this year, and that is the message that I have been giving when touring the areas. We can begin the exercise early so as to ensure that the right people who are vulnerable, but viable small-scale farmers qualify.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matongo (Pemba): Mr Speaker, I find it incredible that the hon. Minister is saying that information cannot be circulated to Members of Parliament because we are coming from a background of deficiency. The actual requirement is about 1.3 million tonnes. What they have distributed is 160,000 tonnes. Such a small exercise does not require a list of officials as the hon. Minister has told us. Will the hon. Minister simply state that it could be done? After all, you have an information department where you can announce on the local radio for us to be able to get the information. We want this information to be circulated to us because we are the ones elected by those people you are under supplying fertiliser and, hence encouraging food insecurity.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Pemba was debating and I believe that the hon. Minister has got the message.


117. Mr Misapa (Mporokoso) asked the Minister of works and Supply when the Mporokoso Kasama road would be tarred.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the ministry does not intend to undertake any new major works such as upgrading or reconstruction of any existing road, including the Mporokoso/Kasama Road, until some of the on-going major projects are completed. The ministry is concerned that there are some major projects that commenced as far back as 1995 but have not yet been completed. This has resulted in the Government incurring wasteful expenditures through payments for interests and standing time claims. The ministry, however, intends to continue carrying out maintenance of the road. The ministry provided, in the 2004 and 2005 budgets amounts of K1 billion and K1.5 billion, respectively, for the maintenance of the project road. The works were carried out by the Zambia National Service and supervised by the Regional Roads Engineer for the Northern Province.

Further, under the periodic maintenance of Trunk, Main and District roads being carried out by Output and Performance Based Road Contract, financed by the European Union (EU), 30 kilometres of the Kasama/Mporokoso Road between Kapatu and Mporokoso is being maintained by Messrs Sable Transport Limited. The maintenance of the road started on 30th June 2006. In the first six months, the road received light rehabilitation and, thereafter, it will continue to receive maintenance for three and half years. The total contract sum for all roads included under this package awarded to Messrs Sable Transport, including a portion of Kasama/Mporokoso Road, is K36 billion.

I thank you, Sir.


118. Mr Misapa asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services when the ministry would send and information officer to Mporokoso District.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services (Mr D. Phiri): Mr Speaker, an officer to be sent to Mporokoso as District News and Information Officer has already been identified, and will be at the station within the first quarter of the year 2007.

I thank you, Sir.


119. Ms Chitika (Kawambwa) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) whether the construction of the University of Zambia foot bridge was subjected to tender procedures and, if so, how many companies tendered;

(b) how many of the companies above were short-listed, name by name;

(c) when construction of the foot bridge would be completed; and

(d) what the estimated cost of the foot bridge was and how much had so far been spent on the project.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the construction of the foot bridge across the Great East Road at the University of Zambia was initiated by the private sector following the death of one Evelyn Hone Student …

Mr Speaker: Order

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, before break, I was in the process of explaining that Messrs Alliance Media, a private institution, sourced funds and engaged a private sector, Messrs Zuthona Engineering to undertake the design and construction of the footbridge at a contract price of US$250,000. Further, Messrs Lused, a local consulting firm, was engaged to supervise the construction of the footbridge. The above stated respective works and services were procured without any tender authority and approval since no public expenditure was incurred.

However, when the Road Development Agency (RDA) took over the construction of the footbridge, tender process was followed by requesting Zambia National Tender Board authority and approval to single source services of the contractor and consultant already on site. The Tender Board granted authority to single source the services of Messrs Zuthona Engineering to carry out the redesigned bridge construction at a price of K780,000,000.

In order to avoid stoppage of work and additional costs, the ministry found it prudent to continue with the contractor who was already on site.

Mr Speaker, there were no companies short-listed for the construction of the University of Zambia foot bridge as the works and services were procured by single sourcing. The original completion date for the construction of the University of Zambia foot bridge was 31st December, 2006. However, the completion date was revised to 15th January, 2007. The estimated cost for the construction of the University of Zambia foot bridge is K1,655,659,438.42 excluding the cost of constructing the steel barrier estimated at K404,000,000

The background to this is that the construction of the University of Zambia footbridge was initiated by Alliance Media and the Lusaka City Council (LCC) in 2005. LCC allowed Alliance Media to erect the bridge at their cost provided that they have full advertising rights on the bridge.

It was the death of an Evelyn Hone Student on 13th April 2006 on the Great East Road at the UNZA bus stop that led to the joining of efforts of the Ministry of Works and Supply, Alliance Media, Lusaka City Council, the Road Development Agency and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) to expedite the construction of the footbridge on 18th April, 2006. The Vice-President, then acting as the President of the Zambia, in his letter OVP/10/1/2 dated 20th April 2006, requested the Ministry of Works and Supply to generate the working programme for the construction of the footbridge. In the meeting held on the 18th April 2006 at the Ministry of Works and Supply, the following points were noted:

(i) A standing Task Force chaired by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Works and Supply would monitor progress of the construction of the bridge;

(ii) The RDA would co-ordinate the implementation of the project to full completion;

(iii) ZESCO management agreed to absorb the cost of re-locating the electric cables    estimated at K60 million;

(iv) A barrier would be constructed from the University of Zambia main entrance to the turn-off to Kalundu in order to stop pedestrians from crossing the road other than using the footbridge; and

(v) The meeting also noted that Alliance Media would not be able to fund the entire project which also included the cost of the street lighting and steel barrier construction among other costs, thus the involvement of other stakeholders.

Sir, it should be noted that the RDA was instructed to expedite the start of the works which had stalled for some time since 2005 and thus their role was to be limited to co-ordinating the implementation of the project to full completion. Bearing in mind that the RDA is responsible for all public roads, their involvement was paramount owing to the high priority attached to its successful implementation.

Messrs Alliance Media procured steel components of the proposed footbridge which was designed and fabricated in Kenya. The cost of erecting the bridge was to be undertaken by Messrs Alliance Media and was valued at K875 million. Zuthona Engineering was contracted by Alliance Media to erect the bridge. The contractor started works on the proposed footbridge on 1st May, 2006. The project was scheduled to be completed within a period of eight weeks. However, the slopes of the ramps of the proposed footbridge were identified to be higher than the standard design slope. This necessitated the redesigning of the ramps of the proposed footbridge with the inclusion of the staircases. That is why works were temporarily halted on 20th June, 2006 until the alternative designs were finalised and accepted.

Mr Speaker, need also arose for the funds to cover the costs of the modifications. The alternative designs for the proposed footbridge were finalised with four way ramps on either side of the bridge at reduced slopes on 26th July 2006.

Sir, the new design also included a pair of staircases on either side of the bridge. The modifications necessitated the signing of a new contract between the Road Development Agency and the contractor Zuthona Engineering due to the inability of Alliance Media to fund additional works on the proposed footbridge. This new contract was signed on 21st August 2006. The Ministry of Works and Supply sourced funds from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning totaling K1 billion to cover the cost of modifications.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Chitika: Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister of Works and Supply visited the site and inspected the bridge, it was reported that the performance…

Mr Katema: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Katema: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Speaker for guiding the House and we have also learnt that we are not supposed to lay on the Table documents which are not in order or torn. However, I would like to know if the Vice-President is in order to do that because when he visited the Copperbelt, he addressed the people and told them that the elected hon. Members of Parliament should be taken to task so that they can account for the promises which they made that they are capable of fostering development in their areas. This is demeaning to the integrity of the hon. Members of Parliament who have been elected and it is also demeaning to the integrity of the people who elected these hon. Members of Parliament.

I have, with me, The Times of Zambia dated Saturday, January 13, 2007 and I quote,

“Mr Banda said that MPs made a lot of promises and Zambians should make them accountable over the things they said. He was speaking in Chingola on Thursday, when MMD Carders welcomed him. The Vice-President said it was sad that during the campaigns, people on the Copperbelt decided to listen to political rhetoric and voted for opposition hon. Members of Parliament who had no ability to deliver.”

Mr Speaker, is it a deliberate policy by this Government to deny developmental projects to the people who elected the opposition hon. Members of Parliament? Is he in order to say that? May I be allowed to lay this newspaper on the Table as evidence.

Mr Katema laid paper on the Table.


Mr Speaker: From the excerpt quoted by the hon. Member for Chingola in his Point of Order, he is in disagreement with what the newspaper called The Times of Zambia is said to have reported on His Honour the Vice-President during one of his visits to the Copperbelt. The hon. Member of Parliament and the House at large may wish to know that there was an elaborate guidance made by the Speaker of this National Assembly last year on what constitutes a Point of Order.

Of course, I know that the majority of the hon. Members of Parliamentary are new and were not present at that time. Accordingly, I ask the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly to extract that volume on what constitutes the point of order for circulation or recirculation to all hon. Members of Parliament. We will all appreciate when we have studied that points of order of that nature do not constitute what should be raised in this House as a point of order.

I wish to add that, in any case, listening to what you, hon. Members have been saying in the Chamber, hon. Members of Parliament from the constituencies where His Honour the Vice-President visited ought to have been present and ought to have formed part of the entourage of His Honour the Vice-President. If that were the case, then, you, hon. Members of Parliament, who His Honour the Vice President was referring to in his statement ought to have approached him and sought clarification on the matter on the spot instead of waiting – I do not know for how many days or weeks  -  and then raise a point of order in the House.

Hon. Members, let me guide you what has been said in this House on this matter. I heard the Executive clearly say that they do not discriminate when they service….

Hon. PF Members interrupted.

Mr Speaker: Order! I am guiding you and I am not the person to whom you should direct that rude remark. I have heard it here that the Executive are committed to develop the Republic of Zambia equally - meaning irrespective of which political party is elected from any constituency. That is the official position and I have heard it being said many times in this House. However, if the Executive say other things out side this House, you are free to debate them there on this matter. I am guiding you that this is the official position.

Could the hon. Member for Kawambwa ask her question.

Ms Chitika: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was saying that when the Minister of Works and Supply visited the site to inspect what was going on, it was reported that he was not happy about the performance of the contractor and from the layman’s point of view, most Zambians have complained, including myself. When I look at that bridge, it looks like something else. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the situation has improved.

Mr Speaker, the other question is that I want to ask the Minister to inform this House whether that bridge is user friendly to the different able-bodied persons.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, at the stage the bridge construction is now, it has improved very much. I have been there four times. Of course, I have not been carrying the press with me, but I have been able to meet the consultants, contractors and everyone involved in that bridge construction.

Right now, the bridge is very firm and strong. If you look at all the connections that have been made and all the welding that has been done, the strength of the bridge is guaranteed. The problem which is still there is the infirmity. These are some simple things that make something look beautiful and that is why even now, I am still taking the contractor to task. Like the hon. Member says, if you are approaching the bridge from here and look on your right on one of the ramps, you will see that one of the guiding rods is not straight , but that does not take away from he strength of the bridge. The bridge is very firm and it will stand for the life span that it has been constructed for.

Mr Speaker, I have been reliably informed that eight disabled people were requested to try the bridge just after Christmas and I am told that they did it very successfully. They did not have to labour going up the bridge. I must say that the bridge is quite high and it is seven meters to the deck. It is, therefore, quite high. According to the design they did that because they could not see how they could divert the big trucks coming or going elsewhere from that road at that point. You all know that the foot bridge at Manda Hill is low and, therefore, the big trucks have been diverted to use Katima Mulilo Road. Before that point, they could not find another alternative. Hence, the reason it had to be high. Therefore, the bridge is quite high and that is understood.

Like I have said, I have been there and it really feels like you are actually on the ground. You feel very safe. Therefore, the strength of the bridge is there. It is just the beauty that, maybe, we will be struggling with at the moment.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the process of redesigning the bridge affected he original cost of the bridge.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am grateful that the hon. Member has asked this question. I think I should make it very clear. I did read in the answer that there was an additional cost of K780 million to redesign this bridge and make additions of the staircases.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Mumbi: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out something from the hon. Minister, because we have heard complaints from the representative of the disabled people. I would be very glad if the hon. Minister could go with me with one disabled person to see if they are really able to cross that bridge. My question is on whether they are seriously considering putting up a provision for the people who are disabled. At the university, we have the blind and the wheel chair cases. Is this Government seriously thinking of putting up a provision for those people?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, when we discuss these issues we must be very serious. There are running commentaries by some hon. Members saying, ‘apologise’, I do not understand. The reason why the bridge was redesigned was because of the disabled people. Able-bodied people could use the stairs to get to the deck but the ramps were made for the disabled. That is why it was redesigned. Like I have said, eight disabled people were made to try that ramp just after Christmas and they were happy with it. I was not there. If the hon. Member of Parliament wants, we can make an arrangement to have people try the ramps then we can have the same conclusion.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, before the hon. Minister of Works and Supply got involved in the project, Lusaka City Council was about to conclude a contract with the Alliance Media like the hon. Minister explained and, in that offer, they wanted exclusive advertising rights for between ten and fifteen years after which the advertising rights would revert to the council. Given this scenario where the Government has put in an extra K1 billion because of the redesign of the project which was initially estimated to cost K1 billion, I wonder what period the Ministry of Works and Supply and its partners have given to Alliance Media and who shall take over in charges after that period.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, it is true that Government has put in K780 million in this bridge which it initially was not part of, but it was Lusaka City Council that were in league with Alliance Media. For this reason, we will get back to the drawing table and see how the Government’s participation will be exposed vis a vis advertising rights. We have not yet come to that.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hachipuka: Mr Speaker, during the construction of that bridge, some metal barriers were damaged. What arrangements has the hon. Minister put in place to ensure that that barriers remain in place and are maintained all the time? I see that will be a source of the next accident because students, by nature, will try to cross over even when the bridge is there.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the solution that the University of Zambia took was necessitated by the killing of one of the students from Evelyn Hone College. Apparently, people got irritated and the Lusaka City Council had to do something about it and putting up the bridge was the immediate solution. The Government came in to support that project because it could not stop it and it was well advanced. So, the concerns of the hon. Member for Mbabala are very true. It is possible that some students might decide to jump over the barrier instead of going up the bridge, because the usual course of a person is to use what is lower.

Not just that, we have had quite a number of accidents where cars ram into the barrier. As you might have heard, the workers are already removing the humps on the main road, meaning that the speed limit will go up. That is a problem that needs to be attended to.

Our way of approaching this after the bridge has been constructed, is that we will try as much as possible to make the people aware that they will be expected to use the bridge. We are also approaching it from another angle by putting the UNZA station at the back of the University of Zambia, so that the present station can be closed. Most of the people using this station are students and other people coming from Kalundu, but then they can cross using the bridge coming to the station at the back of UNZA then we will not have the problem of students crossing that bridge as they do now. Only those who want to go to Kalundu will use it. Those going to Longacres or town will have to use the main station.

So, there are other ways in which we are looking at it. However, due to the pressure that had arisen then, the bridge was the obvious solution.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, delaying a project attracts penalties. I have noted here that originally the project was to take only eight weeks. Now, it is eight months. That is unacceptable. Definitely, there must be somebody who did not do his job properly. May I know if the hon. Minister will institute investigations to penalise whoever is responsible for the delay?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I thank my fellow engineer, the hon. Member of Parliament for Moomba, for that question. Indeed, a mistake was created and this was caused by redesigning the ramps with a very big angle which did not take into account the disabled at that time. I must say, here, that that is why I keep on asking the Zambian people to talk about these projects when they are being made. It is important that people speak out and air their views.

The person who designing this probably did not think about the disabled. However, when other people looked at it, they found that the bridge would be very difficult for the disabled to cross. The Government and the designer listened to the complaints. The issue of redesigning was part of the delay in this particular project. The other problem arose when it was discovered that, initially, the design only included the ramps and there was no staircase. Therefore, it was concluded that it was not the most effective way of making a bridge and so, there should be two approaches to it. There should be a staircase also to supplement the ramps. Now, that required extra funding. So, it took some time to organise extra funding for the addition. These were the two main reasons why the delay was created in this particular project.

As to who should be punished for this, I cannot say at the moment. Maybe, we need to re-investigate the whole issue and see if there is really need to punish anyone.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa (Luapula): Mr Speaker, my colleague, the hon. Member for Mbabala alluded to the fact that the partition, which is a metal grid, along the middle of the road has been rammed into several times during construction. I am afraid this will continue especially that humps are going to be removed. Has the ministry and the council put in place measures to ensure that there will be funds to keep repairing that steel barrier because these accidents will continue. Further, what is the ministry thinking of in terms of the aesthetics of the place? As you are driving, you feel like you are in some kind of prison entrance. Is there some way of changing the aesthetics so that, maybe, we put some flowers or whatever and so that it looks a little bit natural.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the steel barrier is a concern to everyone. Maybe, at the time they were designing the bridge, that was the immediate solution they thought of. We have been thinking of finding money to make a bank alongside the steel barrier so that if a car skids off the carriageway, it gets to an angle where the driver will realise that he has come off the road. Now, the steel barrier is there purely to stop people from crossing the road but we need something to stop vehicles. That is what we are still looking at.

Mr Speaker, the idea of planting flowers is a very good one and I think we will look at it.

I thank you, Sir.



120. Ms Chitika asked the Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources:
(a) What the impact of the pollution of the Kafue River by Konkola Copper Mines Plc was on the people living down-stream, in particular, and on marine life, in general; and

(b) whether the Environmental Council of Zambia had taken legal action against Konkola Copper Mines Plc for polluting the river and, if not, why.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources (Ms. Tembo): Mr Speaker, reports were received soon after the incident that the people downstream were negatively affected after drinking contaminated water from the streams and river. In particular, some residents of Hippo Pool Village which is located off the Chililabombwe Road near the confluence of the Mushishima Stream and the Kafue River near Kafue Bridge were reported to have suffered from diarrhoea and vomiting. As for marine life, some fish was reported to have died.

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Environmental Council of Zambia (ECZ) has not yet taken legal action against Konkola Copper Mines Plc for polluting the Kafue River. Upon weighing the options available, the Environmental Council of Zambia decided to take a route that was in the best interests of the nation and that is to compel Konkola Copper Mines Plc to repair the damage.

Therefore, the Environmental Council of Zambia compelled Konkola Copper Mines Plc to undertake corrective measures, and these include;

(i) Dredging the Mushishima and Chingola streams and the Kafue River, including the Hippo Pool, affected by the mining operations;

(ii) Provision of alternative sustainable water supply service such as boreholes to the people living along the affected areas of the Mushishima Stream and Kafue River;

(iii) Provision of assistance to persons that had been or may be affected by the pollution with medical and other social expenses for the inconveniences;

(iv) Entering into discussions with the two water utility companies, Nkana and Mulonga, and assess the damage caused by pollution from the Nchanga operations, including the effects of acidic discharge. This is with a view to the company assisting the water utility companies repair damaged infrastructure and address the issue of lost revenue;

(v) Establishing a working relationship with the communities where it is operating, contributing to the general well being and supporting infrastructure development in their areas of operations; and

(vi) Taking any other necessary measures for any issue that may arise as a result of the pollution.

Therefore, it is only when Konkola Copper Mines Plc fails to implement these measures that the Environmental Council of Zambia will take legal action against the mining company. In other words, Konkola Copper Mines Plc will be prosecuted by Environmental Council of Zambia if it fails to make good of the damage caused by its operations. The decision to compel Konkola Copper Mines Plc to repair the damage is done in accordance with the law. Section 90(1) of the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act, Cap. 204 provides that:

‘Where the inspectorate establishes that pollution or despoliation is occurring or has occurred, the inspectorate shall inform the polluter and order him to take appropriate abatement and control measures specified by the inspectorate under this Act”.

Mr Speaker, having given the foregoing, the House may wish to know that the Government is in the process of reviewing the Environmental Protection and Pollution Control Act in order to make it meet the obtaining challenges in the sector.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Chitika: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just confirmed to this House that the people living down-stream were adversely affected by the pollution. We also saw, in the newspapers, certain individuals who reacted there and then. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether these identified individuals have been compensated and if not, why?

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Mr Mutati): Mr Speaker, one of the measures that we have asked KCM to comply with is to support all those that were affected by the pollution and, therefore, all those affected by the pollution are being encouraged to take medical reports to KCM for the purpose of compensation.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Scott (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, when we last discussed this matter in this House, questions were asked and undertakings were given that the condition of the waterfall in its entire length down-stream of Chingola would be looked at. I would like to remind the temporal hon. Minister that the water from Chingola goes on to Mufulira and from Mufulira on to Kitwe where it is pumped out and used for drinking purposes. These pollutants are salts. They dissolve and are carried along in the water and at the time of the spillage, the flow in that river was very low and the dilution effect, one can only expect, was going to be very low. We were assured that the ministry, before reviewing any Acts, would simply test the water for some distance or for all the distance down-stream because all the way up to this House, we drink from the same river that has been polluted. When is the ministry going to provide this information to us?

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, the Environmental Council of Zambia, working with the Department of Water Affairs in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development, have got some samples along the Kafue River up to the confluence and these have been sent to the University of Zambia for analysis and once the come out, we will know what corrective action to take.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Imenda: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister the measures taken to ensure that there is no repeat ever again.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, as in the case of KCM, the Environmental Council of Zambia has prescribed the conditions under which KCM should operate and that if they violate these conditions, they will be prosecuted.

I thank you, Sir.


121. Mr Tembo asked the Vice-President whether the Government had any plans to create new provinces from the existing large provinces like Eastern and Northern provinces.

The Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Ms Lundwe): Mr Speaker, there are no such plans as of now.

I thank you, Sir.


122. Mr Tembo asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing whether the Government would consider exempting local councils with a limited resource base from contributing to the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kazonga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that it is a statutory obligation under the Workers’ Compensation Fund Act Cap. 271 of the laws of Zambia for institutions which are not exempted under the same law to pay annual assessments to the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board (WCFB) so that in case of an accident or injury involving workers on duty, the board can compensate such workers.

Mr Speaker, as you are aware the Workers’ Compensation Act exempts Government ministries and other public institutions and public workers such as civil servants from paying annual assessments to the board and yet, councils, despite being public institutions created by the Government under an Act of Parliament, the Workers’ Compensation Act does not exempt councils, as public institutions from paying annual assessments to the board. To this effect, my ministry has made proposals to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to consider exempting councils from contributing to the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board.

Mr Speaker, councils have their own adequate arrangements stipulated in the local Government Service Regulations issued under the provisions of the Local Government Act and Local Government Conditions of Service of compensating workers involved in accidents or injured on duty. The compensation package paid by councils is more lucrative than the meagre package paid to the victims by the Workers’ Compensation Fund Control Board.

Mr Speaker, the justifications for the proposed exemption of councils are as follows:

(i) The definition of Public Service and public officer, under the provisions of the Workers Compensation Act, exclude officers serving under councils, and yet, the provisions of Section 103 (A) of the Penal Code and the Constitution of Zambia define Public Service to mean service of the Government or local authority or of Statutory Board or Body including any institutions of higher learning, corporation or company where the Government has majority interest or control.

(ii) Councils are not private institutions, but public institutions created by the Government under an Act of Parliament to provide services to local communities.

(iii) Councils have been experiencing financial difficulties resulting in failure to meet their mandates of providing services to communities and pay personal emoluments to workers, and yet, they are compelled to make payments of annual assessments to the board, which do not benefit councils and their workers as, in most cases, years pass without recording any accident or injury of a worker or workers on duty.

(iv) Councils, as public institutions, have adequate internal arrangements to compensate injured workers on duty, in the same way the Government compensates Public Service workers when they are injured or involved in accidents on duty. For example, if a council employee is injured on duty, the councils shall pay compensation to the officer at the rate equivalent of five times a worker’s annual salary. If a worker dies while on duty, the council will determine the compensation in consultation with the union in the case of unionised workers or with Local Government Association of Zambia (LGAZ) in the case of officers in management.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Tembo: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out what the ministry is doing about councils which have a low revenue base.

Mr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, actually, we have already answered the question, but I will repeat or re-emphasise for the benefit of those who did not hear the response. For those councils that have these problems, we are doing our best to assist them in different ways since now it is more of a general question to explain what we are doing about those councils that have a low revenue base. One of them is through updating the valuation rolls and also to ensure that these councils collect what is due to them because, in some cases, the local authorities have actually failed to collect what is already due to them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Nyimba, you have only one chance to follow up. I am told that is the hon. Member for which constituency?

Mr Mwale: Chipangali, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Chipangali.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out approximately how much the ministry remits to the Pensions Board annually.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, the amounts that are remitted …

Mr Mtonga covered Mrs Masebo’s scarf around her shoulders properly.


Mrs Masebo: … vary from council to council, depending on the number of staff that each local authority has. However, just for the information of the House, currently, local authorities countrywide owe over K8 billion to the Workers’ Compensation Fund, apart from other amounts of money that are owed to other institutions like Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASIF), just to mention a few. That is why we are asking the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security to reconsider exempting local authorities from paying to the Workers’ Compensation Fund because he has powers within the Act and we are asking him to invoke those powers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, it is a well-known fact that during the Second Republic, all councils used to perform extremely well but, of late, it has been discovered that councils have been undergoing financial hardships. I would like to learn how often they release the grants to the councils.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, firstly, it is not correct to state that councils were doing well under the UNIP Government. In fact, that is when the problems began when the Government and the Party were one and the same. We saw over employment in the local authorities on party lines.

Secondly, with regard to the question of grants, the Government, since 2003, has been releasing grants to local authorities. In the last two years, about K80 billion has been released to local authorities country wide. In this year’s budget, again, some amounts are being proposed and these will go towards assisting local authorities in service delivery and, also, in restructuring councils by way of payments to retrenched workers and also just assisting them with recurrent expenditures in addition to capital grants.

I thank you, Sir.


123. Mr Mukanga ( Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Communications and Transport:

(a) How many vehicles were registered in Zambia as of 31st December, 2004; and

(b) how many of those vehicles at (a) above were registered on the Copperbelt.

The Deputy Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Mubika): Mr Speaker, there were 111,205 motor vehicles registered in Zambia as of 31st December, 2004. 25,005 were registered on the Copperbelt.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to know whether the Government carries out inspections on the vehicles being registered prior to registration, or during registration, to ensure that they comply with the current environmental pollution regulations so that they use safer and cleaner fuels.

The Minister of Communications and Transport (Mr Daka): Mr Speaker, the Government has ensured that the fuel that is imported in the country is the one used by these vehicles. This is unleaded and leaded fuel.

I thank you, sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, is there any regulation for importers to bring in vehicles with an apparatus which can be used in the exhaust pipe so that it releases gases which are not dangerous to human beings? Is this not possible?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I think this will depend on the type of vehicle and the Government has no problem with that.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if the hon. Minister is aware that there is rampant corruption in the issuance of test certificates by the Road Transport Commission Department. Are there any measures being undertaken to curb this trend?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I think Hon. Kambwili should help by submitting the names of the people who are corrupt to the Anti-corruption Commission. As a hon. Member of Parliament, he has a duty in the whole country, Zambia, to report corrupt practices.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Machungwa: Mr Speaker, the world today has been talking about the greenhouse effect as the world is getting polluted. Is the ministry not concerned that from now, we should be looking at all vehicles that have catalytic converters so that we can help preserve our environment?

Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, that is a very good question. I think we can start with boats on Luapula River and that would be good. First and foremost, we have not even invented fuel from grass.

I thank you, Sir.


124. Mr Mukanga asked the Minister of Health:

(a) How many beds were in wards at Ronald Ross General Hospital in Mufulira;

(b) how many beddings were given to the hospital from 2001 to 2006, year by year; and

(c) what was the recommended frequency for replacing beddings in hospitals.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Puma): Mr Speaker, as at present, there are 208 beds and sixty cots. However, according to the establishment, there are supposed to be 200 beds and seventy-eight cots.

Further, Ronald Ross General Hospital was handed over to the Government by ZCCM in 2000. The hospital came with 200 bedsheets and 200 blankets as stock in stores. Therefore, the hospital has been replacing the linen according to wear and tear and losses, using the Government grants.

2001 - The hospital purchased fifty blankets as replacement.

2003 - The hospital purchased fifty bed sheets as replacement

2005 - The hospital purchased fifteen blankets and twenty bedsheets as replacement.

2006 - The hospital purchased twenty bedsheets and fifty blankets as replacement

2002 and 2004 - Stocks were adequate.

Mr Speaker, it should be noted that the bed occupancy rate for Ronald Ross Hospital is between 36 per cent and 40 per cent, as there are other hospitals in the area. These are Malcolm Watson Hospital, Kamuchanga Hospital and the Zambia Army Hospital.

Further, the hon. Member wanted to know what the recommended frequency for replacing beddings in hospitals is. In response, linen should be replaced according to wear and tear and losses. I would like to further note that the Ministry of Health has a decentralised system in place in terms of planning and management of health service delivery. So, what is going on is that from the central level, we provide an operational grant which is in line with the ceilings for individual institutions. These institutions are requested to prepare their own plans and budgets which are funded and they purchase linen and other beddings from these grants.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, is it Government policy to have a situation where, when a patient is admitted to hospital, he carries his own linen so that he uses it for the time he is in hospital, especially that the occupancy of the hospital is about 40 per cent and there is supposed to be more linen than the patients? What is the ministry doing about this since patients are carrying their own linen?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I have mentioned that in the current system, at the point of service delivery, at the hospital and district levels, we have a system where local management prepare their plans and budgets and these facilities are funded according to the plans. The present situation is that the hospitals have enough linen for the patients.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushili (Ndola Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister has just said that the frequency of replacing linen in hospitals depends upon wear and tear.

In the same vein, there are seven lifts in Ndola Central Hospital whose performance has been down for the last 11 months today. There is only one which is functional. I wonder whether the hon. Minister is aware of that fact and if he is aware, what preventive measure does the ministry have, knowing that there are so many people suffering from various diseases at the moment and they are all being carried in the one lift? Some of the diseases are very contagious and some of you are even afraid of using the same lift and some of you are even going to…

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member is debating. May you ask your question, please.

Will he continue, please.

Mr Mushili: May I, please, know what the ministry is doing to repair lifts in Ndola Central Hospital.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, the question that was asked concerned linen and beddings at Ronald Ross Hospital in Mufulira. However, on that particular issue, we shall look into it and see what can be done.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kasongo (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister has just informed this House that the replacement of linen is dependent on wear and tear. We have a situation, for example, where you may not even find a bed sheet or blanket. What is the ministry doing to ensure that the same linen is sent to these places where there is literally nothing?

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, I have mentioned that the system that we are using in the Ministry of Health is a decentralised system where each facility receives funding from the Central Government every month. I am aware that the lowest that a district receives is more than K50 million every month. So, the issues of where there is no linen can be dealt with at that level because funding goes to these districts every month.

Thank you, Sir.


126. Mr Imenda asked the Minister of Health when the Government would provide an ambulance to Lukulu District Hospital.

Dr Puma: Mr Speaker, Lukulu District Hospital received an ambulance on 23rd October, 2006, donated by the Netherlands based Non-Government Organisation, the Wild Gees of the Netherlands to whom the Government and the communities are indebted for the good gesture.

Mr Speaker, at this point, I would like to urge hon. Members to visit their constituencies to acquaint themselves with what is going on to avoid using this House to find out happenings in their constituencies.

Thank you, Sir

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


127. Mr Imenda asked the Minister of Finance and National Planning when a National Savings and Credit Bank branch would be established in Lukulu District.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the National Savings and Credit Bank will, upon approval of their Institutional Development Plan (IDP) by the stakeholders, conduct a feasibility study of Lukulu District in its first phase of branch opening. If the study will be positive, the same will be submitted to the Bank of Zambia for approval to open a branch. All the above activities are to take place during the year 2007 and 2008.

I thank you, Sir.


128. Mr V. Mwale asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing whether the Government would consider the previous policy of transferring staff from one council to another as a capacity-building measure, particularly for newly-created local authorities with a limited resource base to engage qualified staff.

Mr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House that my ministry has already considered the policy of transferring council staff from one council to another in the national interest. This is yet to be decided upon by the Government.

My ministry, Mr Speaker, is currently working on the amendment of the Local Government Act Cap. 281, Section 92, to give powers to the hon. Minister responsible for Local Government and Housing to make regulations prescribing the transfer of staff in councils.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kasongo: Mr Speaker, how soon is the proposed amendment that we have been waiting for for a long time will be presented to this House?

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, we have already, as a ministry, submitted that proposal to the Ministry of Justice and we hope that within this sitting, the proposals to amend the Local Government Act can come and we hope that the hon. Members from this House will support us.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Matongo: Mr Speaker, I am a little confused in the sense that decentralisation is likely to be accelerated and, at the same time, these councils will not employ the people that they are comfortable with, a situation experienced before. Will the hon. Minister clarify please?

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, let me say that it is true that this year, in 2007/8, as a Government, we will try very hard to speed up the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy.

However, the fact that we are devolving functions from the centre to the peripheral does not mean that we are replacing the Central Government for local government. What it means is that whilst local authorities shall continue employing most of their staff below the directors’ level, the intention is that the top positions of Town Clerk and directors, should be employed by the Central Government, maybe, through the re-establishment of the Local Government Service Commission.

The question that was asked was specifically referring to transfers of senior officers as a means of capacity building especially to councils that are not able to attract skilled workers.

In the same spirit of implementation the Decentralisation Policy, it is important that we build capacity so that in the interest of local government administration; and in exceptional cases, there shall be need to transfer officers.

It is not against decentralisation, but support of decentralisation policy.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




His Honour the Vice-President (Mr R. B. Banda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1219 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 30th January, 2007.










125. Mr Mukanga (Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a) How many tarred roads were rehabilitated or resurfaced on the Copperbelt from 2002 to 206, district by district; and
(b) what was the cost of rehabilitation or surfacing, road by road.

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the roads that were rehabilitated or surfaced on the Copperbelt Province from 2002 to 2006, district by district, are as follows:

Item      District              Road name

1.         Luanshya         T3 Luanshya-Kafulafuta
2.         Luanshya         Township
3.        Chingola            T3 Lima – ZCCM underpass
4.        Chingola            T5 Chingola-Solwezi (three separate maintenance
                                     contracts have been executed in 2003, 2004 and 2005 respectively)
5.        Chingola            T3 Chingola-Chililabombwe-Kasumbalesa
6.        Kitwe                 Wusakile-Ndeke
7.        Kitwe                 Freedom Way and Zambezi
8.        Kitwe                 Lunda via KTTC – Mindolo Chingola Road
9.        Kitwe                 Luangwa-Maternity Clinic
10.      Mufulira              Buteko-Butondo

The cost of rehabilitation or surfacing, road by road is as follows:

Item     District                 Road Name                              Km            Cost

1.         Luanshya           T3 Luanshya-Kafulafuta          45             32.9 billion
2.         Luanshya           Township                                 2.8            1.4 billion
3.         Chingola             T3 Lima-ZCCM underpass        4.8            11.23 billion
4.         Chingola             T5 Chingola-Solwezi                                  20 billion
5.0       Chingola             T5 Chingola-Solwezi                 36             27.2 billion
5.1       Chingola             T5 Chingola-Solwezi                 168           30.8 billion
5.2       Chingola             T3 Chingola-Chililabombwe       45             53.9 billion
6.         Kitwe                  Wusakile-Ndeke                        5.5            2.2 billion
7.         Kitwe                  Freedom Way and Zambezi      4               2.5 billion
                                       Lunda via KTTC – Mindolo         5.5            2.23 billion
8.         Kitwe                 Chingola Road (Kitwe)
9.         Kitwe                  Luanshya-Maternity Clinic         3.2            2.71 billion
10.       Mufulira               Buteko-Butondo                         8.7            4.3 billion

Currently, we have signed contracts to do accelerated urban roads in all the towns including provincial headquarters throughout the country. We are now processing advance payments so that works can immediately start when rains stop.

I thank you, Sir.