Debates- Thursday, 21st March, 2002

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Thursday, 21st March, 2002

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The Minister of Education (Mr Mulenga): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the nation that the Ministry of Education has now completed the processing of the 2001 Grade 12 Joint School Certificate and General Certificate of Education (GCE). The analysis of the Grade 12 results is as follows; there were 30,847 candidates. 18,916 were boys while 11,931 were girls. However, 929 candidates missed the examination. Consequently, 29,918 candidates took the examination. Out of 29,918 candidates, 19,822 candidates managed to obtain full certificates. 12,822 were boys while 7,000 were girls. Another 9,619 candidates obtained GCE. 5,238 were boys while 4,381 were girls. Unfortunately, 477 candidates failed the examination completely.

Mr Speaker, these results show that in 2001, 66.25 per cent of the candidates obtained full certificates as compared to 70.33 per cent in 2000. Individual results can be obtained from schools and centres where the candidates wrote the examinations.

I would like to make some observations, Sir, and these are as follows; the overall school certificate result has dropped from 70.33 per cent in 2000 to 66.25 per cent in 2001.

The possible reasons for decline in performance are as follows; during the year under review, we experienced prolonged work stoppage by teachers. The second reason was that most of our pupils and teachers were involved in the National Census of Population and Housing, countrywide. The third reason was the fact that a very good number of our teachers were equally involved in the preparatory stages of the 2001 Tripartite Elections. Teachers were involved in the registration process. They also took part in the Verification of Voters’ Registers and in the distribution of voters’ cards.

Only Southern Province has continued to perform better compared to other provinces. This is due to the large number of mission schools. A total of fifteen schools obtained 100 per cent School Certificate pass rate, of which fourteen are run by religious organisations while one is a Government school, that is, Hillcrest Technical High School.

Northern and Eastern provinces recorded improvements in performance over their 2000 results while Luapula, Southern, Copperbelt, North-Western, Central and Lusaka provinces recorded a decline in performance.

The North-Western Province has continued to produce pass rates below and around 50 per cent, with Mufumbwe Secondary School recording the highest pass rate of 15.85 per cent.

Mr Mushala: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulenga: As regards the drop in the national results, and analysis of the results show that although fifteen schools obtained 15 per cent results in the School Certificate Examination, eighteen schools had results which had drastically dropped in the 2001 Examination as compared to the results attained by those schools in the 2000 Examination.

In some cases, there were situations of the school dropping in their results by as much as 66 per cent . An example here is Chimpempe High School in Luapula Province which in the 2001 examination had 34.38 per cent pass rate as compared to the average pass rate in the 2000 examination. The rest of the schools that recorded drastically reduced pass rates in the 2001 examination are as follows:

Eastern Province            2001 (per cent)        2000 (per cent)

Lumezi Day Secondary School         48.54                 66.1

Copperbelt Province

Mpatamatu Secondary School        41.04                67.45
St. Andrews High School        53.85                73.33

North-Western Province

Solwezi Technical            33.92                40.74
Zambezi Boarding            32.57                48.88
Solwezi Day                36.13                59.84
Zambezi Day                26.83                40.00
Kyawama Secondary School        23.08                26.16
Lolola Day                 31.65                45.95
Mufumbwe Secondary School        15.85                31.94

Central Province

Mumbwa Secondary School        37.93                67.33

Western Province

Kalabo Secondary School        36.07                71.68
Kaoma Boarding            36.04                61.14
Sesheke Boarding            32.43                45.10
Sichili Secondary School        46.67                84.31

Lusaka Province

Lusaka High School            37.50                41.18

Examination malpractices

There were eighty-five reported cases of examination malpractices in the 2001 examinations as against the sixty-three cases that were reported in 2000.

Mr Speaker, may I take this chance to make my Maiden Speech.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Mulenga: But before I move away, I would like to amplify on one news item concerning school uniform in our schools. We should not be misunderstood. The intention is to assist those who cannot afford school uniform. School uniform should not be an impediment to education. Currently, good schools in urban areas such as Lusaka, the midlands and provincial centres are not exempted. Parents can afford to buy school uniform. 

Those schools in towns where parents can afford to buy school uniform are not exempted from the requirement except when and if the issue of school uniform becomes an obstacle to a pupil’s education. Such a pupil should not be excluded from school and this is only as far as Grades 1 to 7 only. For other Grades, it is still a requirement that pupils must go to school in uniform.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the issues covered in the hon. Minister’s ministerial statement.

Mr P. M. Zulu (Chadiza): Can the hon. Minister clarify more on the uniform aspect from Grades 1 to 7. He said that those in urban areas must buy uniforms. What is the demarcation there because I see that there will be a problem?

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I thought I made myself very clear. The Government has moved in to try and ensure that the issue of uniform should not impede a child’s education process. Currently, research available indicates to us that all parents in urban and peri-urban areas can afford school uniform.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Shemena (Solwezi West): Thank you, Sir. My question is on the poor results in North-Western Province, in particular. North-Western Province has a Teacher Training College but nearly all the graduates from that college end up on the Copperbelt. They fake marriage certificates so as to be transferred to the Copperbelt mainly because there is no accommodation at schools in the province. In the light of this, is there going to be a deliberate policy to build more teachers' houses in our schools so that we are able to retain teachers and improve on results?

Mr Mulenga: Sir, I will answer that question although it is not arising from the results that I have just announced. I was looking at Grade 12 results and teacher's trained in provincial colleges do not handle senior classes in our Zambian schools. Therefore, that question, Sir, will wait until such a time when I make a ministerial statement covering primary schools, secondary schools, teachers' training colleges and the University of Zambia. Yes, a ministerial statement is coming and a very comprehensive one. But today I thought, Sir, I had limited Members of Parliament to questions arising from the results that I have just announced. 

Thank you, Sir.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Siakalima(Siavonga):Thank you, Mr Speaker. The results which the hon. Minister has just announced for Grade 12 are actually alarming. And I want to find out, since he is saying that prolonged work stoppages by teachers contributed to this. Can he assure us that this year, there will be no prolonged stoppages by teachers and tell us what exactly he plans to do in order to forestall this. 

Mr Mulenga: Sir, among factors that contributed to poor performance, I explained, were the involvement of teachers in the tripartite elections and the National Census exercise in which most of our teachers and pupils participated. I want to assure the hon. Member that the events will not take place and definitely we are not going to hold any elections this year and neither are we going to conduct a census of housing and population. So, I have every hope that we are going to enjoy relative peace in our schools because the Government is really addressing the teachers' concerns.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr R. Chulumanda(Luanshya): Thank you, Sir. Before I pose my question, I wish to commend the hon Minister of Education, for comprehensively giving us…


Mr. R. Chulumanda: Hon Minister, looking at the results that you have just ably tabled, we are able to conclude from what we have heard that in fact leakages were not impossible in last year's examinations. The question is how much more are you doing this year to ensure that you tighten the situation further because we are told some pupils actually had papers which, though, never appeared?

Mr Mulenga: Sir, the Government is doing everything humanly possible to curtail all sorts of malpractices in our examination system. Currently, provincial education officers are holding a series of meetings to ensure that it will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for pupils to cheat in this year's examination.

Thank you, Sir.

Miss Sialumba (Mapatizya): Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Hon. Minister of Education, why have you not thought of reducing the price of uniforms as opposed to doing away with the uniforms completely?

Mr Mulenga: Sir, I take it that every parent loves and cares for his child. What the Government has decided to do is just to make the burden light for parents who cannot afford. The Government is not saying we should scrap uniforms completely from schools. Sir, this move is as a result of perhaps trying to assist those who can not afford to buy uniforms. And I am very confident, Sir, that this announcement will not affect town dwellers and peri-urban dwellers but we have instances of parents in remote areas where finding school uniform is a real burden. So, it is simply intended to assist those who can not afford school uniforms otherwise, Schools can still request pupils to buy uniforms. But even when such pupils fail to buy school uniform, they should be allowed to go to school. That is between Grade 1 and 7 only.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr L. L. Phiri(Chipangali): Arising from the poor results, could the hon. Minister confirm that poor staffing in schools and bad conditions of service are contributing factors to the poor results we have this afternoon.

Mr Mulenga: Mr. Speaker, factors that may contribute to poor performance in schools are numerous. In fact, I do not dispute, hon Member, yes it could be one of those reasons. As I explained earlier, Sir, I want to assure this august House that necessary measures are being worked out under the Budget to ensure at least minimum comfort is assured of our teachers so that they give out their best.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Kabaghe: Thank you, Sir. For us to appreciate the trend, of course, it is a saddening situation when you compare 2000 to 2001 

I think we would appreciate more if the hon. Minister could also explain to the House the performance between 1999 and 2000 so that we see whether or not we are really going down or it is just an incidence of the reasons he has given us.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

That was done last year. There will be another ministerial statement shortly in order to save a bit of time. I will give the hon. Member for Magoye.

Mr Haakaloba (Magoye): Mr. Speaker, I have an observation in the hon. Minister’s …

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Haakaloba: Yes! It will go into a question. Sir, If I heard the hon. Minister of Education’s comments, he praised Southern Province but half way through his analysis, he blamed the province and as such I got mixed up there. Could he clarify whether he is actually not blaming the Southern Province among the provinces which have not done well.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, it is not fair for me to blame provinces. My role is only to analyse pupils’ performances in provinces.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Speaker, may I know from the hon. Minister of Education whether he has taken into consideration the passing of Southern Province in correlation to the high cut-off point in the lower grades before they go into Grade 12 as compared to other provinces.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, the distribution of pupils from Grade 9 to Grade 10 is done regionally. Each region has its own cut-off point and, therefore, comparisons cannot arise.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr. Speaker: Order! I have also given the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing time to make a ministerial statement if he is ready.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Mabenga): Mr Speaker, in line with the proposed Parliamentary Reforms, I wish to inform this august House that following various consultative meetings held between the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and other stakeholders, my ministry has conducted a search on the possibility of securing office accommodation for hon. Members of Parliament in their respective constituencies to be used as Constituency Office Headquarters.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, an enquiry was sent to a number of Town Clerks and Council Secretaries directly and others through Provincial Local Government Officers on sample basis and all those contacted have indicated that they are able to provide office space for the said purpose.

The list, here below, has such information:
Chipata ; and councils in Eastern and Western provinces.

Mr Speaker, the conditions attached to the securing of office space are the following:

(a)    The location will be in the constituency either at council headquarters or such council building as may be available. In other instances, District Administrative Headquarters commonly known as Bomas will be used;
(b)    hon. Members of Parliament will be required to pay the rent as will be agreed upon by councils and such other owners of such buildings;
(c)    office services such as water, electricity, telephone facilities, type writers, stationery and staff will be at the expense of the individual Members of Parliament;
(d)    it is important to emphasise Sir, that offices to be secured will not be party offices at all. They will be constituency or parliamentary office headquarters that will be used by Members of Parliament in office irrespective of their political parties. It must be emphasised, Sir, that as hon. Members of Parliament are already aware, local authorities are already burdened with unpaid costs and debt for various services provided. It is, therefore, inadvisable that they are made to incur additional expenses on the securing of those offices which they may not be able to secure for themselves. There are unclaimed assurances in most well established districts that offices will be made available readily on the above conditions. However, in newly -created districts such as Lufwanyama, Mpongwe, Mungwi, Mambwe, Itezhi tezhi, Kazungula, Shang'ombo to mention but a few, it may be less easy to secure such offices.

The alternative, Sir, maybe, would be to share offices of respective District Administrators since there are District Administrator’s offices in each district.

In conclusion Sir, I have already directed all councils and Provincial Local Government Officers to submit written offers to my office to facilitate the process of Lease Agreements.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Order! As before, the hon. Members who so wish, may ask questions that may assist the hon. Minister clarify certain points which the hon. Members may not have understood clearly.

Mr Situmbeko (Senanga): Mr Speaker, knowing the poor emoluments of the Members of Parliament, could the hon. Minister clarify where the hon. Members of Parliament are going to get money to pay rent for offices and for buying the furniture and all aspects concerning the offices for Members of Parliament.

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, additional consultations are taking place between the office of Mr Speaker, and our ministry in order to facilitate this problem.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I would like to ask whether the hon. Minister’s ministerial statement is not in contradiction with the President’s directive and, therefore, who is running this country?


Mr Mabenga: Indeed, Sir, it was a directive and it has just been followed and this is what we are actually doing.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister has not done his full job, can he shed some light about accommodation? There cannot be offices without accommodation for hon. Members in these areas.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, the directive was for office accommodation and not sleeping accommodation.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, in some districts the Member of Parliament comes from a different party and so does the District Administrator and the hon. Minister is suggesting that they could share offices. How possible is it?

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, when I refer to District Administrators, I do not really particularly talk of a district administrator as such. I am looking at district administration, which talks of Ministry of Agriculture district office, Ministry of Lands and all those other ministries. So, there can be accommodation in those offices, Sir.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr P. G. Phiri (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, Vubwi Constituency is very far away from the district and it is on its own. What arrangements has the hon. Minister made to put the office in the centre of the constituency? We have already identified the place. The day secondary school, the hospital and the police would be central, but what arrangements have you made?

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, I have mentioned that where there are difficulties in a constituency, the district headquarters would be more appropriate for this exercise. Again, if there is a secondary school nearby, surely, there may be a small space at a secondary school where a Member of Parliament can get office accommodation.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing made reference to the fact that he is still consulting with your office. Would it not, therefore, be only fair for the hon. Minister to withdraw this ministerial statement and present it only after he has concluded the consultations so that he presents to this House and through this House to this nation, a conclusive ministerial statement?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair does not wish to get involved in that statement. It is advisable to point out that this is an interim progress report arising from His Excellency the President’s directive which was made here on the day of the Official Opening of this House. It would be required, from time to time, for the hon. Minister to come back to this House or for the Members to follow the hon. Minister to his office to find out what situation may obtain in their respective places. This should be the guidance the Chair would give.

Mrs Liebenthal-Nkumbula (Namwala): Mr Speaker, once we have these offices in the constituencies, which is a very good idea to do, who will be manning these offices when the hon. Members of Parliament are here? Has that been taken into consideration?

Mr Mushala: Cadres.

Mrs Liebenthal-Nkumbula: Party cadres? Are you considering some supporting staff for these offices? For instance, we have been here since January, who would be manning these offices?

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, even before we have offices in place right now, I believe very strongly that we have people doing work on our behalf in the constituencies. We have people that are liaising matters on our behalf in our constituencies. So, that is the kind of people who will be there to look after the offices.

Thank you, Sir.

Mrs Wamulume (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, after listening to the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, I have one or two questions to ask. First of all, I would like to know if we will only be renting the rooms or there will be furniture provided in those rooms that we are going to use.

Secondly, the hon. Minister talked of us sharing offices with district administrators. May I know, since those district administrators are also politicians, if they are going to be paying for those offices they will be occupying.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing may pick one of the two questions. 

Mr Mabenga: Mr Speaker, I know Liuwa Constituency very well and Liuwa Constituency has no district administrator. I am very sure that the hon. Member will be able to get office accommodation in Libonda very easily, because there is a lot of space there.

I thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

Mr Speaker: May I guide the House. From one or two questions I have been able to pick, it appears as if the 70 per cent of hon. Members of Parliament we keep referring to, may not have had an opportunity to study the document referred to as approved recommendations for reform in the Zambian Parliament. If I am right, I would like to ask your servants in front of me here to ensure that these documents are circulated to each hon. Member of Parliament as soon as possible. They answer some of the concerns which the hon. Members have raised here.



VOTE 29/01 – (Ministry of Local Government and Housing – K2,645,395,976).

(Consideration resumed)

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mabenga): Mr Chairman, when the House adjourned last night, I was just referring to one concern which dealt with the Constituency Development Fund and I was saying that there are committees put in place in every constituency. These committees are empowered by regulations and guidelines as contained in Cabinet Office Circular No. 7 of 1998. These are very self explanatory and the hon. Member of Parliament has very little role in as far as withdrawing of the moneys is concerned because the people who do this are, actually, the committee members. The schedules are there and they show this very clearly. So, I will lay this on the table, Sir, for people to look at.

Sir, there was a concern about allowances for councillors in our councils. Indeed, this is a growing concern and we have proposed figures in order to add to the amounts of the allowances that the councillors will be getting. Another thing, which came up strongly, is the orientation workshops that are going on just now. 

Mr Chairman, this is not going to be a one-week affair business, it will be a continuous process. As at now, like one hon. Member from the Opposition side talked about the Chalimbana Institute, it is true that the Chalimbana Local Government Institute is a very important institute and we are just looking into possibilities of having it renovated and put to acceptable standards. So, that is being done so that orientation can come, if possible, to Chalimbana.

There was a question of contractors to do works for councils. Indeed, at the headquarters we are, as at now, encouraging Zambian companies or Zambian contractors to take part. They may be small scale contractors, medium scale contractor or even large scale contractors, but we think that Zambians should be given an opportunity to get into this scheme.

Sir, I think a hon. Member mentioned that we were holding on to the money from ZESCO. That is not true, in fact, what we are doing is that we are pushing ZESCO every day so that they can release money for our councils so that councillors can get their money. So, you can see that we are doing it every day.

It is sad to note that Chadiza has got a backlog of thirty months in salary arrears. It is very sad and we are going to make a follow-up to see the reasons why this is so. We will, therefore, look at it and find the remedy for this.

Hon. Mwanza talked about the Director of Audit to help out councils. Indeed, what we are doing now is that we are actually appointing auditors to our councils so that we can get up to date audits on the money that the councils have been using. In this regard, I have reorganised the provinces. Our provincial headquarters or offices are either transferred or are asked to wait for a while or the places are filled in for those that do not have people working in them. So, we have begun at the provincial local Government level and also provincial local auditors level. We think that these, too, are very key positions which must be dealt with very quickly.

Then, the Local Government Act, like I mentioned, is being revised and is going to be brought to this House for ratification. The right sizing of the labour force, yes, it is true, we are doing that Hon. Chulumanda. As regards renovations of chiefs' palaces, Hon. Lungu, Yes, it is true we should be able to increase the money for the exercise and we should be able to get more funding coming to Chief Kamuchila’s palace.

Hon. Opposition Members: Kapichila.

Mr Mabenga: Kapichila, all right.

Now, transport for chiefs may not be very easy to get quickly as you know that vehicles are expensive items to have, but as time goes by and funds permitting, we should be able to meet that role.

Hon. Masebo complained about chiefs' representatives in councils. It is there in the law that chiefs must have representative in the councils. So, if a chief has no representative in the council, then that was a not a good thing to do. It is very important that chiefs must have representatives in the councils.

In the new policy that we are putting in for the new markets that are going to be built, as we start using also the old markets that we have in place, we are having an approach which will be able to make life very easy for the marketeers themselves. So, it will be targeted to the marketeers where we will have some workshops for them, capacity building as well as financing the marketeers, on loan basis of course, but then the interest will be very low. It will not be as high as the banks would charge. 

The bus stations are the same as markets and we would like to bring sanity to those institutions. An hon. Member asked for skilled manpower to be employed. Yes, skilled manpower is a very important thing to have in our councils and so we must really have them. Sir, we can only have this when we are able to entice them with good conditions of service.

As regards the calibre of councillors, I am sure this should come from this House to decide the level of people who should qualify to stand as councillors. So, this should come from this House and then it can go further.

Mr Chairman, the suggestion that the election of Mayors and Council Chairmen should be included is a good idea and again, it can come forth and then be looked at more closely. Sir, as regards hon. Members of Parliament to become ex-officio members- during yesterday’s contribution, I remember one of our hon. Members mentioned the position of the hon. Member of Parliament becoming ex-officio members of the council. Now, this is a good idea. In fact, under this arrangement, one is able to participate at the meeting of committees and be able to vote. Currently, and by law, all hon. Members of Parliament sit on the councils. They are also free to serve on any committee of their choice as appointed members. However, they are free to attend and participate at all committee meetings if they have the time. The only thing they cannot do is to vote at those other meetings in which they are not serving members. As a matter of fact, a lot of councils have complained that hon. Members of Parliament do not have time to attend to the committee or council meetings. So one wonders how hon. Members of Parliament will find time to attend to all committees of the council, when even the few, on which they are members, they have not been able to attend regularly. There is the issue of sitting allowances to councillors who attend and are members of all committees. So, it is a good idea, but then the problems of these intrigues should be taken into consideration.

Sir, a number of our colleagues here, talked about transparency and accountability. Indeed, this is very important. Again, hon. Members of Parliament will be doing a good thing if they also took part in ensuring that our councils are operating to expected standards.

Hon. Wamulume for Liuwa talked about the important buildings in the palace. She talked of the Kashandi and many others. Now, those are very important buildings in the palace. I think it is proper that Hon. Wamulume should find time to come and discuss with us so that we can see how best we can solve this matter.

On the friction between councils and district administration, it is a pity that this is there. We hope that we will be able to find a lasting solution to this friction because it does not augur well to have that friction for a long time.

Sir, we have projects running with regard to provision of water and those that may not appear in the Yellow Book will be able to be looked at individually. We should be able to find ways of how to look after them.

Sir, Hon.Mtonga talked about Soweto and City Markets. I think I have already alluded to this one. We will be able to find a way of making sure that the problems that are at our markets and bus stops are looked into and resolved once and for all.

I thank you, Sir.

Vote 20/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 29/08 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 33/01 – (Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry – Headquarters – K19,080,230,282).

The Chairman: I would like to have two maiden speeches.

Mr Nyirenda (Kasenengwa): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for according me this opportunity to deliver my maiden speech to this august House.

Sir, I would like to thank the people of Kasenengwa Constituency for having put their trust in me out of eleven of us who contested this parliamentary seat. I would like to assure the people of Kasenengwa that I am their servant in this august House. I will see to it that I do and say what they elected me for.

Mr Chairman, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my predecessors for Kasenengwa Constituency for what they have done for the people of Kasenengwa. I promised that I would do my duty to continue where they left.

Sir, allow me to congratulate His Excellency the President, Mr Levy Mwanawasa, on being elected during the tripartite elections.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nyirenda: In the same vein, I would like to congratulate Mr Speaker and you his Deputy for being elected as Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively.

Sir, I would like to thank our President for his speech to this House which, for the first time in ten years, has again given the majority of poor Zambians a source of hope for a better life. Sir, this hope has been further strengthened by the Finance and National Planning Minister, Hon. Emmanuel Kasonde who has given a lot of weight to agriculture which is the only source of hope for the poorest people in Zambia. I thank the hon. Minister for having used his experience to interpret the Presidential Speech into a possible reality. However, we have to wait and see, as you cannot count chicks before they are hatched.

Mr Chairman, it is now left to the New Deal team to see if it has the capacity, will and determination to execute these policies for the benefit of all Zambians despite their political affiliations. The past MMD experience has shown that only those constituencies where they have won needed to experience any development, if at all.

Mr. Chairman, we in the Opposition stand ready to help the President should he find that his New Deal team is wanting in the capacity to implement these well-intended policies. Sir, it is now my duty and privilege to highlight the wishes and aspirations of the people of Kasenengwa as I discuss some areas of the Presidential and Budget speeches.

Mr. Chairman the aims of the Government to increase GDP by 4 per cent, reduce inflation to 13 per cent, increase reserves by US$129 million and reduce deficit by 3 per cent of GDP may, even this year, remain a pipe dream. This is so, Mr. Chairman, because the possible sources to achieve these targets have already been put in very serious trouble. For example, the expected increased investment in mining is very much in doubt with the possible pull out of KCM. If the Government tries to invest any money in this by say, nationalising it again, the other sectors of the economy, especially agriculture will suffer.

Mr. Chairman, let me turn to the agricultural industry. Sir, on agriculture, the hon. Minister, in his speech, advanced the reasons on which he claimed agriculture declined by 2.6 per cent last year due to excessive rainfall and poor input availability. Though excessive rainfall has resulted in poor yields in some parts of Zambia, the major contributor in the decline in agriculture has been complete transfer of responsibility to an unprepared private sector by the Government.

Mr. Chairman, the UNIP Government had excellent policies on agriculture. Thank God that His Excellency the President has realised this, hence the introduction of the Crop-Marketing Authority(CMA). The President just avoided 're-calling' it National Agricultural Marketing Board for obvious reasons. However, both the President and the hon. Minister missed the point because in their speeches they want the CMA only to act as a buyer of the last resort and only for selected crops. CMA, like the then NAMBOARD must be a major buyer of all crops and in the absence of well-organised co-operatives, act as a determinant of floor prices of all crops.

Mr. Chairman, the whole population of 78,000 in Kasenengwa Constituency earns or ought to earn their livelihood on agriculture. However, the high cost and late delivery of inputs, low prices of produce and lack of reliable markets, bad road network have all made it impossible for the population to earn a decent livelihood through the agricultural industry.

Mr. Chairman, we in the rural constituencies are very pleased that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has included in his Budget Speech the wishes of His Excellency the President as alluded to in his speech to this House of putting agriculture as the cornerstone of our economy. We, therefore, appeal to the four hon. Ministers that have been given K50 billion to co-ordinate the use of this money to subsidise agricultural inputs to distribute the same to all constituencies in proportion to their populations with rural constituencies getting 70 per cent. Sir, this will ensure that all constituencies get a fair share whether MMD or Opposition controlled. Members of Parliament and councillors should play a prominent role in identifying the beneficiaries and must be held liable for any misuse.

Mr. Chairman, the same mechanism should be used in the distribution of K10 billion allocated as grants to vulnerable but productive groups. This should also apply to the allocation of K15 billion to small-scale farmers engaged in out grower schemes.

It is also a cry of the people of Kasenengwa Constituency that the Co-operative Bank be re-opened for a sole purpose of providing cheap credit facilities to farmers. This should be done, as co-operatives are being re-introduced. In the same vein we also expect the CMA to market agricultural inputs like seeds and fertilisers right at the doorsteps of farmers as it used to be during the UNIP era. Currently, farmers lose a lot of money in travelling to Chipata in the case of my constituency to buy inputs and market their produce.

Mr. Chairman, let me now turn to feeder roads. Mr. Chairman, my constituency is expected to benefit from the allocation of K27.8 billion to feeder roads and K161.8 billion for trunk roads, bridges, and pontoons. The principle of allocations should again be in proportion to the population of the constituencies except that we do not need pontoon and canoe funds allocation in Kasenengwa Constituency but funds for building dams instead.

Mr. Chairman, the state of roads in my constituency is no better than what all my rural Members of Parliament have complained about and I, therefore, sincerely appeal to the Government to immediately work on the following roads for easy marketing of the current crops: Madzimawe Road from Mtenguleni to Chongo Road, Chongo Road from Chiwoko turn off to Msoro Road, Msoro Road from Chipata to Msoro commonly known as Kazanya Road, Msoro road from Chiparamba sub-centre to Msoro via Chief Msoro’s palace and Kwenje Road off Chongo turn off to Kwenje and Samuel.

Mr. Chairman, the above roads are extremely essential if agriculture has to come back to life in my constituency. There are also so many other roads in Kasenengwa, which is not only the largest constituency in Chipata District but also has a radius of well over 150 kilometres. These are no longer worth to be called roads because they can only be accessed on foot. Mr. Chairman, working on these roads will also require the repairing and building of bridges that I cannot itemise here as they are too many to mention.

On Tourism, Sir, in his Budget Speech the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning acknowledged that tourism in this country is great. In paragraph 88, he has indicated that the Government will improve infrastructure such as roads and airports. It is in this regard that I request the Government to immediately provide funds to tar Chama/Mambwe or Mfuwe Road via Chiparamba sub-centre. This road leads to important tourist resorts in Zambia. The International Airport which was provided by the then caring UNIP Government now only needs major repairs. However, when you see this road, you see that Zambia is not very serious to improve the tourism sector.

Mr. Chairman, on Education, I would like to say that the idea of free education from Grade 1 to 7 as His Excellency the President has promised is good and welcome. A country like ours where over 70 per cent of the population lives below acceptable poverty levels, education must be free from primary to secondary level. In fact, it is Government policy to provide basic education to all pupils. This can only be achieved if basic education itself is free. At college and university levels, the Government should provide bursaries to all students who should pay back when they start gainful employment.

Mr. Chairman, Kasenengwa Constituency with a population of 78,000 does not have any school that goes beyond Grade 9. This means that most of the pupils finish school at Grade 9 level because high school places are very far and most of them are day schools. My constituency demands to have two basic schools upgraded to high schools with full free boarding facilities so that those who live very far but within my constituency can benefit from this. The people of Kasenengwa will assist…

The Chairman: Order! The hon. Member’s time has expired.

Mr. Katoka (Mwinilunga East): Mr. Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to deliver my Maiden Speech and to contribute to the debate on the Budget.

Allow me to sincerely thank all the chiefs and their subjects in Mwinilunga East for according me a chance to represent them in this august House. The people of this constituency gave me an overwhelming vote leading to a landslide victory over the then Deputy Minister for North-Western Province and the MMD.

Mr Speaker, the constituency I represent, is the least developed and has not received any meaningful development in the past ten years.

Sir, allow me to comment on four main issues raised in both the Presidential and Budget speeches as delivered in this House on 22nd February, 2002 and 1st March, 2002, respectively.

Mr Chairman, while appreciating the tax reduction on fuel and electricity, it must be remembered that not only did the above causes contribute to the poor agricultural production, but also to the exploitation of peasant and commercial farmers through money siphoning by the MMD Government through the Food Reserve Agency and Omnia.

Mr speaker, in 1991, the MMD Government created a policy of siphoning excess money from circulation to reduce inflation. Instead of siphoning money from drug dealers and money launderers, they siphoned money from farmers in North Western Province by increasing the cost of fertilisers from K10,000 to K80,000 while maintaining the selling price of a 90kg bag of white maize at K20,000 each.

Mr Chairman, a farmer who got five bags of fertiliser and produced twenty bags of 90kg bags of maize after business with Food Reserve Agency, accumulated a debt of K160,000 after delivering the twenty bags to Food Reserve Agency Depot. It must be realised that the tricky point was to maintain low prices for a bag of maize in order to collect money from the farmer.

Mr Chairman, for the New Deal to increase food production in Zambia, it must subsidise input heavily and maintain a floor price profitable to a farmer and advertise these prices to prevent cheating by agents, who will merely change company name. Like Food Reserve Agency to Crop Marketing Authority. The New Deal must fix ordering and distribution time to prevent delays in planting.

Sir, the calculated move discouraged farmers from accessing inputs as these were too expensive for them. This trend has reduced farmers to beggars as they now depend on relief food from the MMD Government.

Mr Chairman, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning allocated K12.5 billion to HIV/Aids prevention for the whole country. We all know that 38 per cent of the Zambian population is infected by the scourge and that it is the number one killer in Zambia today. Why then allocate a lot of money to unproductive DAs instead of HIV/AIDS in order to reduce the rate of infection?

Sir, we would like to find out from the Minister of Health how many Zambians would access the drug and at what cost, per course, per person. I am insisting on this because if the drug in Zambia will be costing K500,000 to K1 million per course per patient, only a small fraction of infected patients will access the drug and we shall defeat the idea of improving accessibility to drugs and reducing infection.

Mr Chairman, as regards free health care, it is a need that is extremely important because every citizen requires health facilities to be able to take part in meaningful development. The Republican President announced that only those above sixty years and below five would be entitled to free medical care. Does it help to offer such a facility to the over-aged only when the vulnerable group is between fifteen and thirty five years? Does the New Deal Administration know the essence of protecting the middle class from diseases? If so, why deny them free medical service and subject them instead to fees that they cannot even pay? Remember, 85 per cent of the Zambian population belong to the middle age group.

Sir, the middle age group are the leaders of tomorrow and, therefore, deserve the right to free medical care as three quarters of the Zambian population lives under the poverty datum line.

Mr Speaker, on education, the Budget allocation to the Ministry of Education only covers regular and basic education schools, leaving out community schools that have mushroomed all over the country.

Sir, the community schools in Mwinilunga East have no structures or books and classes are manned by untrained teachers whose salaries poor parents fail to raise. Hon. Members in this House are able to read and write because they had free education and accessed bursaries in the provinces. Can the hon. Minister of Education move in to support these institutions and deliver vehicles for focal point persons for community schools as promised in 2001. The schools in question in North Western Province are Kamanengu, Ngoma, Kanzezi and Lukokwa.

Mr Chairman, Mwinilunga East deserves the right to development. I say so because feeder roads in this area have never been resurfaced in the past ten years. This makes movement very difficult for the people and chiefs are unable to visit their subjects due to impassable roads and dangerous bridges.

HIPC funds released in the year 2001 were never used for the purpose intended. Controlling Officers opened companies and used third parties to swindle the Government. Chiluba’s party cadres were directors in inverted commas.

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

Mr Katoka: They ended up enriching themselves at the expense of the poor.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Katoka: Could the New Deal ensure sanity is restored in our nation. Mr Chairman, can the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing institute investigations in North Western Province to deter other officers from misusing the funds. Only a small part of the K3 billion allocated in 2001 was used. May the local authority be allowed to control the funds instead of the Permanent Secretary. In this case, may the New Deal increase the Constituency Development Fund, say, from K30 million to K100 million to enhance development.

Mr Chairman, I finally comment on District Administrators in the Yellow Book. The Yellow Book does not show or reflect to me, the Recurrent Expenditure, Capital Expenditure or the Emoluments for these DAs. Are they a special force, like in America, or are they civil servants in Zambia? If DAs are required, may these positions be advertised by the Public Service Commission so that qualified personnel are employed to qualify the new theme under the New Deal of better qualification, position and low wages.

I thank you, sir.


The Chairman: We should now debate the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. No more maiden speeches.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Chairman, in contributing to the Vote on the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, we would like to know, as Zambians, what has happened to the privatisation programme. We would like to know how many companies have been privatised and how much has been realised from the sale of these companies and where the money is.

There is too much speculation as to what has happened to this money. The mines were sold and that is the biggest asset that we have in this country but we do not know where the money has gone.

People are talking about the money and some are speculating that it is in the Bahamas. Some say it is in Switzerland. We would like the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the Zambia Privatisation Agency to tell us where the money that was realised from the sale of companies has gone. How has it benefited the Zambian people? In the beginning, we were told that privatisation is going to benefit us because the sale money was going to be used for development of roads, schools and hospitals. But the privatisation programme is almost complete and the roads, schools and hospitals are still bad. So, where is the money?

Mr Chairman, I have noticed in this year’s Budget that there is only a provision to resuscitate two major companies, that is Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia and Kafue Textiles of Zambia. What will happen to the other parastatal companies that were privatised or not privatised but closed down? Are we saying that we are only going to resuscitate two companies and the rest should remain closed? I am thinking about companies such as Kapiri Glass Products. People are languishing in Kapiri Mposhi because the company closed many years ago and the workers have not been paid. Some have died and nothing appears to be happening, and the Government is keeping quiet. I am also thinking of companies like Mwinilunga Canneries - what is going to happen to the big machines there? What will happen to all those companies like Mansa Batteries Limited that were once under the State and are now closed? No provision has been made to resuscitate these companies in this year’s Budget. We would like to know what will happen.

Mr Chairman, one of the objectives of privatisation was to create competition in this economy. I have noticed that the Government went ahead to create Zambia Competition Commission which the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is asking us today to fund. But, in many instances, this Zambia Competition Commission has been creating monopolies rather than creating competition in this economy.

I know, for example, that in the beverage industry, the Zambia Competition Commission has either allowed or has not allowed, but it has allowed Zambian Breweries to buy Zambia Bottlers. Now, we have a giant company to monopolise both the alcohol industry as well as the cold drinks industry. I hear that Zambia Bottlers are also buying Cadbury Schweppes. So, in essence, we have taken the whole drinks industry to one company eventually owned by South African Breweries. So, in essence we have sold many of the Zambian companies to just one buyer in South Africa. Why should the Zambian Competition Commission commit this country to only one foreign company that in the end might disappoint us?

Mr Chairman, we have been told in the past that the only way we can develop this country is through an export led development strategy. We have been told that this worked in many countries, including Mauritius, South Korea and Taiwan. We were told that we should move away from the import substitution development strategy to an export led growth. What has happened to that development strategy?

In this year’s Budget, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is quiet about export led growth development strategy. Has he now lost faith in that type of development strategy? If he has, why should we fund the Export Board of Zambia? What have they done to promote this export led growth? We have been talking about diversifying the economy to non-traditional exports. But the value of this non-traditional export for more than ten years has not been significant enough to diversify this economy. So, can they justify their existence and funding from tax-payers’ money.

Mr Chairman, the economy of this country will actually depend on how successful the small-scale industries perform. In the past, there was a lot of political rhetoric about promoting small-scale industries. But nothing tangible appears to be done towards promoting the sector.

In this year’s Budget, the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning is proposing to finance Small Enterprises Development Board (SEDB) to the tune of K1.1 billion. We know that SEDB owes creditors more than K19 billion, excluding retirees and retrenchees. So, what is one billion kwacha going to do to help the situation? Are we saying that even retrenchees will not be catered for this year. Why is it that donors who used to be the major finances of SIDO have stopped funding that organisation or is it the question of management? If it is the question of management, why can we not do something about that management?

Mr Chairman, I think we should be serious about promoting commerce, trade and industry in this country because that is the pillar of development. If we are going to neglect it by providing little to that ministry or the institutions that fall under it, then we are not going to have the envisaged economic growth.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Sichinga (Kafue): Mr Chairman, I rise and endorse this Vote. In doing so, Sir, I wish to make the following comments.

I wish to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning for dissolving the ZCCM Privatisation Team. I think the august. House would like to know what has led to a number of questions in terms of the privatisation of ZCCM. I am looking forward to the hon. Minister bringing to this House a Ministerial Statement on what has happened on the privatisation of ZCCM. As I said earlier, the issues of ZCCM non-core assets must be accounted for. We need a report to this effect and I can assure you that I will not stop talking about this issue until it is concluded satisfactorily.

I wish to commend the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry for availing some relief to companies in Kafue, Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) and Kafue Textiles of Zambia (KTZ). I observe that the figure of K20 billion has been provided for NCZ. I wish to say that my own calculations after chatting to my colleagues at NCZ is that really for them to be viable, they require K70 billion. I know you are going to remind me that I am one of those that are pushing you to lower the excise duty on petroleum products, so I should not be saying what I am saying. I would like to say to you that there is no contradiction whatsoever from an economic point of view.

Lower costs will always give you higher profits and better products for export. So I will insist that it is good for us to lower production costs including Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia that uses a lot of oil. So it is quite consistent as far as I am concerned. I am sure the hon. Minister will agree with me.

I wish to say that K70 billion is needed in order for Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia to produce not just fertiliser that we need in this country for our annual consumption but Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia, as it stands at the moment, is capable of producing ammonium nitrate that Kafironda requires in order to produce explosives in the mining industry. Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia is quite capable of producing special fertiliser that we require in the agricultural sector. Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia is quite capable of producing sulphuric acid that the mining industry requires. Besides all this, Nitrogen Chemicals Zambia is capable of exporting to neighbouring countries more especially to Democratic Republic of Congo who use similar products to those that we use on the Copperbelt. I think we should make this investment and hold management accountable to ensure that money comes back to the tax-payer. If we give them too little, they will not be able to realise the profitability that is so necessary for them to sustain themselves. But I am told half a loaf is better than nothing. So I commend you, hon. Minister, for making available K20 billion. But I hope when I visit you at your office, we can negotiate on increasing this amount a little bit more.

I wish also to commend the Government for providing K2 billion towards the work of Kafue Textiles of Zambia. I want this House to know that the privatisation of Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia and Kafue Textiles of Zambia have been problematic and even as we talk about this issue in this House, we do not have any obvious buyer. Yes, equipment at Kafue Textiles of Zambia is in good condition, almost in perfect condition. It can produce a lot of cloth that we should be earning to send into the AGOA Market in the American market. But what is needed in order for us to implement that is about K10 billion. With K30.5 billion going to production and another K2.5 billion required to support the value adding industries around Kafue Textile of Zambia so that they can produce not cloth but clothing which we can send to the American market and elsewhere for that matter. I think, hon. Ministers, it is very important that we support production and productivity of our industries. Our membership of COMESA and Free Trade Area will not be of any benefit to Zambia unless we have something to put on the COMESA market. I would like, therefore, to accept the submission that has been made by Hon. Kakoma as my very own that we need to look at industries that have not been privatised. To handle productive capacity that is idle is as good as expenditure. Very soon the plants in those areas will require to be rehabilitated. In fact, an industry that is operating is more attractive to a buyer than one that is moribund. I, therefore, urge that there is nothing wrong with parastatals. What is wrong is the style and quality of the management that goes into running those industries. 

I want to say that Singapore is one of the fastest growing countries in the world. In fact, in 1964, Singapore was at a level of GDP lower than Zambia. Today, using parastatal companies that are well managed and separated from politics, they have been able to make major strikes. I, therefore, have no apologies, whatsoever, to make about the need to support local industries and for the Government to invest. But by the central game, it is important that the management is left in professional hands to do the job for which they are supposed to do.

Mr Chairman, I wish now to turn my attention, therefore, to the question of the liquidation of Zimco. For the reasons that I have just stated, I believe that Zimco should not be liquidated. It should be maintained because there is no way that Zambia would have been where we are in terms of industrial development had we not had Indeco and Zimco and I worked in both companies. Therefore, I know what I am talking about. And I am sure that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry will agree with me that there can be no development unless there is investment and unless Government leads the way.

The Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairman, when business was suspended, I was making the point that the development of Zambian industries must be driven by the Government. It is not enough to say that we have liberalised markets and we must leave it to market forces. I am sure that many economists will acknowledge that market forces have also got the potential for destruction. Therefore, they need to be harnessed and to ensure that they are focussed in the right direction. I wish, therefore, to make an appeal to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry that we would like to see in this House a strategic change of direction for our country. We cannot rely on outsiders to develop our country. Look at what has happened in the last ten years. There were many South African companies that came to Zambia and after they had experienced what we normally experience as normal costs, they wound up after two years and packed their bags. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: We have a similar situation with Konkola Copper Mines. It is against that background, Mr. Chairman, that I am saying African and developing countries in general need to be very careful how we allow ourselves to be driven by external forces. It is important for us to understand that Zambia and developing countries can develop their own models and I think it is our duty to convince the World Bank and International Monetary Fund of this world that there are other alternatives to development. 

I wish to make an appeal. I have noted that on page 188, the ministry has made a provision for K2 billion to cater for the Export Processing Zones. I am very keen that this should be implemented as soon as possible. I know that K2 billion is hardly enough. If you go to Namibia, they recently had undertaken a similar exercise where they developed industrial estates with the express purpose of targeting their products to the export market more especially the COMESA market. I am not saying that we should replicate what Namibia has done. But I think it has been a worthwhile option to look at. Zambia has got comparative advantage in certain areas. We must turn that comparative advantage to competitive advantage. I am not saying that Zambia should have very low energy costs because the bulk of our output of energy is hydro-electric driven. We should not be importing electricity in this country. We should be exporting as one of our strategic directions. Therefore, the existence of Export Processing Zones should be cardinal and a very focussed issue. I know, hon. Minister, you are going to say to me that there is not enough money to go around. Yes I appreciate that and I am not even expecting that the Export Processing Zones will be built in one day. But we need to examine those areas that are very depressed, Livingstone, Kafue, Kabwe and Ndola. We must focus attention on those areas so that they can start to do their part in terms of export industries. I am reminded that Mbala, where the Mbala Mafia are found and especially my brother…


Mr Sichinga: …Hon Sichilima. I know you can do a lot of things there especially in mafia style. So, we will work to ensure that you can also export a few things from Mbala, whatever that is.

I wish to say this, Sir, that the examples that we talked about are for us in Zambia to utilise resources that we have available to us, copper, emeralds and semi-precious stones, Those are the industries where the materials are already available in the country. It will be much easier for us to build on that comparative advantage to turn into competitive advantage. And I stand ready, hon. Minister and Ministers, to sit down with you from the Opposition here. We have got many ideas of how we can improve on these industries.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr. Ng'uni (Chama South): I would like to thank you, Sir, for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the motion on the Floor. Guide me if I am wrong, Sir, that for a very long time, I feel the strategies we used in taking over of whatever assets and wealth that was created by UNIP were looked at it from a very nasty point of view. I am saying this because I do not seem to understand why even if you hated somebody so much you did not to continue certain good policies that were created. There was a lot of wealth and assets created by the former Government but because we did not like whatever suffering we were subjected to We just came and threw away everything. I tend to think that we made a mistake and it is not too late to go back and look at certain good things that the previous Government created in this country. I am looking at parastatal set ups that were created. A lot of them were vibrant. I do not understand why a foreigner in the name of World Bank or whoever could come in and dictate to us to destroy wealth that was vibrant. I do not, up now, understand, for example, why Chilanga Cement was privatised. It was making profits  So, I am making an appeal to the Government of the day that we should not listen to people who would come to our homes in this case, to our country which is a gift from God and tell us that we should be dictated to take on certain policies that are not very good. What has privatisation done? It has left people destitutes. It has led people into destitution, which should not have been permitted. So, if these people would like to help us to start thinking economically to make money and develop our country effectively, they must also have moral values instead of just coming to say we want you to privatise. And when you privatise what happens to the people who were in those organisation? So, privatisation should have certain noble objectives. And if we did look at that I think in future we will develop as a country. I am talking like this because I know there are certain parastatal organisations that are not privatised yet and I would not like us to make the mistakes we made in the past ten years. We have had to let go of certain vibrant and strategic institutions. 

Hon Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Ng'uni: Now. we are exposed. Chilanga Cement for, example, can wake up today and just hike the prices of cement for no apparent reason and make it prohibitive for people to construct decent and permanent structures. 

There have been investors in their own ways as many other hon. Members have just said. An investor will come with a briefcase in the morning and he is given all the incentives to walk away with hard earned money by people who have actually died and their children or their relatives have not even benefited. He comes here with a briefcase in the morning, in the afternoon he is a billionaire not in kwacha terms but in dollar terms. We should stop this kind of thing. I will give a good classic example of some eating place that was at Holiday Inn. The guy ran away at night. Where were we not to safeguard our interests? 

If an investor is really interested in participating in developing our country, they should be given conditions. It is very difficult for a Zambian to go to Zimbabwe or South Africa to set up a business. But our country is so easy to walk in and walk out and leave it in a more desperate situation than they found it. It is very difficult for a builder, for example, to go to South Africa or to Botswana and set up a construction company. But here they just walk in and pick contracts and go away with money. It is not as though we have a lot of money. Look at the poverty that is in this country. So, my appeal to the Government of the day is that we have made mistakes, yes, and some of those mistakes were made because of hate. I do not think that we should look at it from that angle.

I thank you very much, Sir.

The Chairman: Do not obstruct your friends.

Mr Muntanga: Thank you.

The Chairman: No, no, not you. It is the other one behind you. 

Mr Muntaga: It is Kalomo.

The Chairman: Order! I want to be fair to everybody. This is not Animal Farm where some animals are more equal than others. 


The Chairman: as far as I am concerned, you are all equal and you must have equal opportunities. Those who have spoken before please, make sure that you do not show up every now and then. Let us share. 

Mr Siakalima (Siavonga):Thank you ver much, Sir. Mr Chairman, mine is very short.


Mr Siakalima: My contribution


The Chairman: Order!

Mr Siakalima: Mr Chairman, when there is silence in the House, a psychologist cracks a joke. 

Hon Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Siakalima: Sir, what I wanted to ask is that, the capitalisation and the restructuring of NCZ which they are going to give twenty billion and two billion respectively will be prior to privatisation and I wanted to ask the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry what are you really planning after you have made these companies viable? Are you really planning to go and privatise thereafter? It beats my logic and I am sure it beats everybody's logic that, after you have made your own company viable, you want to sale it. What will be the purpose of making it viable? You pump in a lot of money and then it is making profit and thereafter you want to privatise it. I am very sure that and, I am convinced that this word privatisation is so much liked by the Government. But they would not want to scrap it in whatever they say. But I want to get it from the hon. Minister that, after making KTZ and NCZ viable, you want to scrap them.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Shemena (Solwezi West): Mr Chairman, I would want to know if the hon. Minister still thinks the idea of making Zambia’s economy liberal is still a good idea. I have a problem in understanding as to why our Government is still supporting the importation or the trade of second hand motor vehicles. I did come across a very important document from the George Masson University. It stated that the economy of Ethiopia was in a bad state because they depended so much on importing second hand utility vehicles. As a result, the cost of production went high because then they had to get it from the people (consumers).

Secondly, I would also want to know if the Government would want to make this ministry a chiefdom such that they do not even care about other ministries like the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Natural Resources. I just also want to know what precautions are being taken in making assessments of the impact such vehicles would cause on our environment.

Mr Chairman, making Zambia a liberal economy has taught us in the last ten years that it is not the best thing. It is important that our economy and environment are protected.

With these few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapita (Mwinilunga West): Mr Chairman, I know I have had to forfeit my maiden speech, but I think that the discussion is very important and I would like to add my word to this.

Zambia like any other country would like to attract investment to Zambia and the investors have their own criteria of choosing where to go and I do not think that the Government has been serious in actually attracting investment to Zambia. Why do I say this? If an investor is sitting somewhere in America and I think this is where we look for them to come and invest in Zambia, they will be looking at a country where they will have no problems trying to invest, but if they came to Zambia, the first thing they would do is to go to the Investment Centre, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry or, maybe, the Export Board of Zambia and so on. And yet, it may take them something like six months to eventually get an investment licence. I stand to be corrected by the hon. Minister, but this is what I know, coming from the consultancy field. 

Now, we are looking for investment. Surely, why should it take a person something like six months to get an investment licence. I know that the new Permanent Secretary who have had the opportunity to work with when I was at USID will obviously do a lot but he will need a lot of support to ensure that the Investment Centre, together with the Export Board of Zambia became one in order that the delays in submitting or granting investment licences are reduced.

When you look at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, even the officers that are supposed to negotiate on behalf of Zambia, the so-called experts in that ministry, those positions half the time are not filled, but we are expected to have people that discuss our bilateral and multilateral deals and yet that office is not really funded. I think a lot of seriousness should be put in this to enable the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry do a good job in terms of attracting investment to Zambia.

I would also like to talk about privatisation, for example. A lot of companies have been sold, including the Mwinilunga Cannery Factory, which I am very much interested in. Someone here earlier on said that there is a lot of equipment lying there. I would like to remind the hon. Member that actually there is no equipment. The buildings that were there have gone but that is the only company that existed in Mwinilunga that provided a livelihood for the people of Mwinilunga. There has been no explanation from the Government as to where that plant went.

Mr Chairman, those people need to eat and send their children to school. What has happened to that plant? Perhaps, the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry will be in a position to explain and I would really appreciate that he does so.

Mr Chairman if we are serious with investment in Zambia, I want to propose that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry is given a lot of support and I know that you have somebody there now who will help and, especially the Permanent Secretary.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Nawakwi (Munali): Mr Chairman, in supporting this Vote, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister for being appointed Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry. I know when he worked under me …


Miss Nawakwi: … that he is a dedicated worker. As you know, Sir, I trained quite a number of Deputy Ministers who later became Cabinet Ministers and one of them is my dear son, Hon. Lt. Col. Kafumukache.

Mr Chairman, on a serious note, I would like to urge the hon. Minister to take a critical look at the current proposal for concessioning of Zambia Railways. I know this is under the Ministry of Communications and Transport, but as a hon. Minister responsible for the portfolio of commerce, he will sure take our interest that Zambia Railways for us provides a lifeline for our country. 

If you look at the money that we are spending on resurfacing the roads yearly, we could save a lot if we could wisely handle over or concession to a company that will come here to stay. And I want to put it on record that I am very wary now of South African companies because we have had a bitter experience of Anglo-American Corporation who have even relocated their offices from Johannesburg to London and, therefore, they are now a British firm. We have had a bitter experience of selling Zamhort to a South African company called FoodCo who later retransferred it to a Management Buy-Out under the new name of Sunripe and my hon. Colleague when we worked together, I think he is aware of the frantic efforts that I tried to make the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to stop the re-export of the equipment at now defunct Zamhort later called FoodCo and Sunripe.

Mr Chairman, this country built Zamhort at a great cost of US $12 million. There is state of the art equipment at that site and it is a shame that this company can be transferred on a token fee to two South Africans who are later allowed by the Competition Commission to ship our equipment to South Africa. If they found that it was viable to get our equipment to South Africa surely, I would suggest that the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry should actually repossess this factory and get back the equipment so that we can have our own fruit and tomato juice.

I was closely associated with FoodCo. when it was operational. In two weeks I would deliver seven to eight tonnes of raw tomatoes and I would deliver tomato in the morning, by the afternoon, canned tomato paste would be in Melissa.

The price they used to pay me was K400. I do not want to tell you the price of tomato paste. It was over K14,000 per kilogramme. That factory is viable and we need it. We never got value from that. Our first President and the first Government helped us build that factory. We came into Government in 1991, there was privatisation and immediately, that equipment, still new, was exported out of the country. It is for that reason that I will be very wary in agreeing, again, with a South African firm to give them access to any further investment in this country, especially Zambia Railways.

I am making this point very clear. I think let us look up to Europe. There are many companies. These are assets where we could even allow our hon. Minister to go for solicited bids. There are big companies which helped us equip Zambia Railways, like Bombadier. You can go to Europe and many other countries and you will find viable industries because South Africa is equally a developing economy and it is quite unstable. We should not entrust all our assets in that company.

Hon. Minister, yes, we appreciate the allocation from the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to Kafue Textiles of Zambia Limited and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Limited. May I make a further suggestion that we have the money from the Enterprises Development Fund. That money is here for developing enterprises. As the hon. Member for Kafue was suggesting that we allocate more money, may I make a suggestion. Please, knock at the doors of the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning so that we can find a way of taking some of that money from the Enterprises Development Fund to help us revive Kafue Textiles of Zambia Limited and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia Limited faster than waiting for allocations from the Treasury. I think that would be easiest way to get Kafue town on its feet.

Hon. Minister, I would like, also, as you wind up, to know how far we are with the restructuring of the Development Bank of Zambia. Many people will not credit you with good things. This is one good thing which I am very proud of, as a former Minister of Finance Economic Development and I did manage to convince the World Bank that we needed a development bank in this country. Many people will tell you that you are getting prescriptions from the IMF or the World Bank, but, however, I think it is very important that we get what we ask for. 

When we told them we needed the Development Bank of Zambia, they agreed with us that if we could provide a viable way to restructure it, they would support us and I think we are getting that support. It is important that we start lending. We are in dire need of lending. When this money is lent, I think next time whoever borrows must pay. Some of these problems that we find ourselves in are because we are bad borrowers.

Mr Chairman, I have seen that you have allocated money to the Zambia Investment Centre, but before you proceed with your work, could you, please, get your staff to review the number of licences that have been given to the so-called investors. There are some investors, hon. Minister, who came here in caravans. They have now acquired large tracts of land. You know land is money. In terms of development, you just need land, labour and capital. 

They came without capital, they acquired land and they are now millionaires, foreigners. I do not think that a Zambian can go to South Africa and acquire 600 hectares. If I arrive there with my briefcase, it is very difficult to be given land. I think it is important that you take stock of who has what certificate, what are they doing. Some of them came here under the label of being farmers. We have seen them starting caravan take-away shops by the roadsides. We have seen them start tuntemba and drink-making processes, activities which Zambians should be engaged in.

As my colleague said, we have seen them start service industries, repairing DSTVs and providing services which our unemployed technicians from Zamtel and the mines can engage in. I think we need to flush out these people. We are an under-employed country. We do not have enough jobs. Hon. Minister, we will support you if you start checking as to who has what and where. Hon. Minister, it is not always that investors must arrive and get large tracts of land. They must be given as and when this particular service is needed.

I thank you very much and I offer you my support.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for affording me this opportunity. When I was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, we had no Minister. I ran the ministry alone and there were industries here like Dunlop, Johnson and Johnson, Colgate Palmolive and a lot of other companies here. I was able to run the ministry. 

Today, there is no industry. You have a hon. Minister and two Deputy Ministers who are stepping on each other’s feet. We brought privatisation which we handed over to MMD. When you came in, you scrapped that Act and provided your own privatisation and investment, your Investment Act which you brought in to replace the one we left for you. You have not been able to give the Zambian people an investor who is here to pay tax and to provide employment and give our people management skills. 

The people you brought in, like Shoprite, up to now, are not paying tax. You gave them exemption from paying tax. They have not built even one building. In all the buildings where they are, they are renting. You have not been able to create an industry for the ten years you have been in power. You found employment in this country. There were over 500,000 to 600,000 Zambians working. 

You, Gentlemen and Ladies, today we have 240,000, two-thirds gone because of your liberalisation policies. The country is no longer even on its knees. It is in the grave. You have killed this country. What has happened to the money for which you sold companies, which was supposed to provide facility for Zambians to borrow and go in business? Where is the money for the companies you privatised?

Hon. Opposition Members: To the Bahamas.

Mr Sibetta: Under the Privatisation Act, there is a privatisation fund for which Zambians must go to your board and borrow and go in industry. How many have you lent money to start new industries? I would like to hear this in your reply on the dispatch box. Do not run away, hon. Minister, I am talking to you.


Mr Sibetta: I am talking to him. He must not run away.

Mr Kasonde: Address the Chair.

Mr Sibetta: You are not the Chairman, Hon. Kasonde.


Mr Sibetta: You have killed this country.


Mr Sibetta: When you were a Permanent Secretary under Kaunda …

The Chairman: Order! Hon. Sibetta you have been here long enough to know that certain words are unparliamentary. The first time you said ‘killed’, I ignored it, but you have repeated the same word. Please, you know English very well and your vocabulary is wide. So, your selection of words is not a problem. 

Will you, please, continue and avoid those unparliamentary words.

Mr Sibetta: I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Minister, you have destroyed this country.


Mr Sibetta: You have destroyed this country. When you were Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Finance …

Mr Imenda: Under Kaunda!

Mr Sibetta: … under Kaunda.

Mr Shumina: And you where Minister of Commerce.

Mr Sibetta: This country had an industry and we were exporting. Today, we have very few exports. And you are begging for money from other people to supplement your Budget. This is very serious. One of the ministries that should have made money for your Budget is the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Hardly any trade fair in Europe, your people miss the day to go to these trade fairs. What do we export in return? Curios!


Mr Sibetta: Where did you see an economy running on curios?


Mr Kasonde: Flowers!

Mr Sibetta: Flowers, yes, you are doing very well but you found these flower programmes set in. Our big problem is that this ministry should be the engine like the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives. I know it very well because I headed it and we were running very well and people were in employment. Companies also paid tax. You, through the privatisation, our hon. former Minister of Finance is talking about it and your liberalisation, your SAP, there is nothing to write home about.

If you do not change these policies, at the next election, there will be only that side. That will be gone.


Mr Sibetta: There were will be only that side.

Mr Situmbeko: Yes, tell them!

Mr Sibetta: That will be gone! I can bet you a cow. I bet your friends about the last elections and beat them to the bet. You are definitely going because of your agricultural, educational and industrial policies. You are going.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister in the Office of the President (Mr Chitala): Mr Chairman, let me put on record the movement of our economy we you have traversed so far. 

In 1991, when we got into Government at which time people like Hon. Nawakwi were ministers, we found an economy under siege. 

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Chitala: This country was bankrupt!


Mr Chitala: You will remember, Mr Chairman, that in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and its Block was collapsing. And the Western World was at pains to try and force us to change our way of doing things. We were forced, at the expense of our country, to change the system of imposed state controls to liberalise. These were forced on us because of the change of global economy at the time.


Mr Chitala: Most of you were part of this game. And I am very happy that having transversed ten years and experienced what liberal economics can do to a country, where instead of building our own industries, we have come up with paupers. Now, this Government has come with new programmes to bring about accumulation method of surpluses.

Hon. Government Members: Tell them!

Mr Chitala: What we have put in place will allow for this country to expand its productive systems and allow for the growth of the economy.

In agriculture, all of you are so happy about what President Mwanawasa said. It is because there will be growth in agriculture starting from this year. We have visited DBZ and we are going to recapitalise it. Thank us, please, hon. Members.


Mr Chitala: We have difficulties at KCM which is true, but again, the issue here is to allow for Zambians to start accumulating invisible surpluses to allow for expanded reproduction. This is what this program is all about. I am very happy that these programmes which we are giving you in our Budget …


Mr Chitala: Yes, we agree that there have been difficulties and problems encountered in these reform projects. Now, we are beginning afresh and putting money where it is really required. I can assure you that with your support, this country will begin to grow again.

I thank you very much, Sir.

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Namuyamba): Mr Chairman, first of all, I must warn hon. Members that I will be here a little bit longer because I believe that my ministry is the catalyst for development in this country and that I have to touch on all areas of development. 

Sir, first of all, let me join other hon. Members of Parliament who have congratulated the Hon. Mr Speaker and yourself for being re-elected to position of Speaker, and Deputy Speaker, respectively. Let me also thank the people of Itezhi-tezhi for electing me as their representative in Parliament. 

Hon. Opposition Members: You are the survivor.

Mr Namuyamba: They have done good and, indeed, done the MMD party proud. I will only promise that I will deliver more developmental projects this time around.

Mr Chairman, I wish to thank you for affording me this opportunity to comment on some of the concerns raised by hon. Members of Parliament on my ministry’s Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for this year. 

Sir, before I go further, may I first of all, pay tribute to His Excellency Mr Levy Patrick Mwanawasa, SC, our Republican President for his opening speech to Parliament. His speech provides us with inspiration and direction for the next five years for our developmental efforts as a country.

I wish to thank the Minister of Finance and National Planning for presenting the National Budget for this year.

Mr Chairman, this year’s budget sets the foundation for the revival and growth of the Zambian economy. I have been compelled to say so, because not only does the Budget set out measures to enhance economic development, but also because the measures set out are long overdue.

May I, at this moment thank the Members that have constructively contributed to the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for my ministry. It is encouraging to hear all the deliberations highlighted and my ministry’s expected achievements. 

Mr Chairman, allow me at this point to remind this august House, that according to the Commercial Trade and Industrial Policy framework, the role of my ministry is to provide an enabling environment in which the private sector can develop and thereby promote economic growth, create jobs and reduce poverty. 

Consequently, starting this year and for the next five years, the overall mission for my ministry is to facilitate and promote growth, development and competitiveness of the commercial trade and industrial sectors in order to contribute to the socio-economic development of our country. 

Mr Chairman, in achieving this mission, we find ourselves charged with the responsibility of maximising the use of financial, material, human and institutional resources available.

Sir, we also recognise the main constraints the private sector face in their efforts to contribute to the growth and development of the country. The competitiveness of the private sector has been influenced largely by economic reforms embarked upon in 1991, which saw the shifting of the industrial and commercial policy from import substitution, protectionism and head public sector involvement to promotion of an open liberalised and private sector-led economy.

The liberalisation of our economy, however, opened Zambian companies to foreign competition before they had chance to re-tool and upgrade equipment. The result has been failure by Zambian companies to withstand pressure from foreign competition. It is in this regard that my ministry, along with the Ministry of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Finance and National Planning and Zambia Revenue Authority are working hand in hand to come up with safeguard measures. In addition, we will continue to identify distortions in the tariff and taxes structure, which discourage domestic production. Imported finished products should not have a lower tariff or be exempted from import duty while raw materials required in the production of the same finished products in the local market are subjected to higher tariffs and import duty. Therefore, the playing fields must be leveled. I hope hon. Members will support the legislative measures that the Government will soon bring to this House.

Mr Chairman, though some of the cross-cutting constraints are being addressed by other ministries in their respective departments, my ministry seeks to work closely with them to ensure harmonisation of efforts and, thereby, avoid undue duplication. 

Sir, my ministry is working together with respective institutions charged with a responsibility of providing services to the private sector, to overcome constraints in the private there. 

As a ministry, Sir, we have already started reorganising linkages among the private sector support institutions. These include among others the following:

(a)    Development Bank of Zambia;
(b)    Zambia National Commercial Bank;
(c)    National Savings and Credit Bank;
(d)    Small Enterprises Development Board;
(e)    Export Board of Zambia;
(f)    Zambia Bureau of Standards;
(g)    Zambia Competition Commission; and
(h)    Zambia Investment Centre.

The objective is to have a direction that will change the way we have been operating in the recent past. 

Mr Chairman, these institutions have in the past been operating in an unsynchronised and fragmented manner, without proper co-ordination. 

My ministry shall now ensure that linkages and collaboration among and between ourselves are developed where they did not exist and enhanced where they exist. For example, the Zambia Investment Centre will identify investment potential in a given sector and/or region, whereas the Export Board of Zambia will then assess the exportable products that can be produced in those areas or sectors, and the banks can endeavour to provide the investment finances.

The challenge before us under the New Deal Administration is the creation of energies such that in the final analysis these institutions register maximum contribution to wealth creation, poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth and national development.

Mr Sibetta: Aah!

Mr Namuyamba: You do not believe me?

Mr Sibetta: Just drink water!


Mr Namuyamba: Mr Chairman, in the area of micro and small scale development, through the Small Enterprise Development Board, we will empower small scale entrepreneurs to make use of the wonderful opportunity created by the 2002 Budget for the nationwide product to build houses for teachers, by providing training on the use of manufacturing, maintenance and distribution of manually operated block making machines, using soil and a minimum amount of cement. This will drastically reduce building costs and thereby increase both the size and number of houses with the same budget.

Furthermore, Mr Chairman, my ministry, through the Small Enterprise Development Board (SEDB), is in the process of sourcing small scale processing equipment from cooperating partners to set up an enterprise development incubator, which will serve as a multi faceted skills development centre. Graduates from this incubator would have been well equipped with technical and business skills to be able to obtain loans from our credit institutions like National Savings and Credit Bank or any other micro financing institution.

Mr Chairman, through the Small Enterprise Development Board, other programmes and projects we intend to revamp include the following: -

The operations of the Kabwe Tannery, which have not been impressive. The Tannery operations will be revitalised with the aim of reaching optimal production capacity.

The Sericulture Project, a highly beneficial silk production programme among the small scale farmers in the country will be implemented. The project aims to reach 600 small scale farmers. The expected job creation is in the order of 6,000 at the end of three years and earn the country at least US$3,600,000 every year.

Training Programmes will include stone masonry, leather goods, textiles, and food processing, handicrafts and quality improvement for export marketing.

Mr Chairman, in the area of export promotion, my ministry will support the Export Board of Zambia in its product and export market development activities with the objective of broadening the export production base and developing a wider export market.

To ensure that the good performance of the non-traditional exports is maintained, the Export Board of Zambia will this year visit the exporting companies to make sure the constraints of these companies are addressed without delay. The Board will also carry on with the enhancement of the small-scale mining sector.

Mr Chairman, to promote standards and quality of products, my ministry will endeavour to build capacity in the Zambia Bureau of Standards so that it can assist the business community to produce good quality products for both local and international markets.

Mr Chairman, many manufactured products are suspected to be substandard because they are not covered by any national standard. It is very important that products with safety or health implications conform to the international quality standards.

Mr Chairman, as of now the Bureau is incapacitated because it has no laboratory to carry out the testing of products. Zambia Bureau of Standards needs K2 billion for the purchase of a building, 

but only K900 million has been allocated in this year’s Budget. This is inadequate to meet the infrastructural requirements for Zambia Bureau of Standards. This will put us at a disadvantage in terms of exporting to international markets like the European Union and the United States where product quality standards are very high.

Mr. Chairman, competition and fair trading is a key factor to eliminating barriers that hinder fair trading in a country’s trading system. My ministry, therefore, through the Zambia Competition Commission, will work hard to promote free and fair trading practices.

Mr. Chairman, with regard to investment promotion, my ministry will review the Investment Act so that it provides for incentives to both local and foreign investors on a non-discretionary basis as a way of giving impetus to locals. The Zambia Investment Centre will seek to identify sectors that could be exclusively reserved for Zambians. Do you understand that Hon. Sibetta?

Mr. Chairman, as a way of giving impetus to locals, the Zambia Investment Centre will seek to identify sectors of our economy that could be exclusively reserved for Zambians where no foreigner would venture. As a country, we will not encourage foreign investors to come and take up general trading activities. Foreign investors should fill the gap in areas where the locals cannot currently venture.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Sibetta: Nandos.

Mr. Namuyamba: Mr. Chairman, we are looking into all that. Sir, we will venture to develop a national investment plan through the Zambia Investment Centre to identify opportunities for investment on a district level. We will harmonise the operations of the stakeholders at district, provincial and national levels to deliberately promote investment in all areas of our economy.

Mr. Chairman, the last Parliament enacted the Export Processing Zone Act. This Act is aimed at increasing and attracting investment in the country. It provides exemption from various taxes and these include corporate tax, withholding tax on dividends and tax on interest or loyalties, capital gains aid tax, duty on imported raw materials, duty on plant and machinery, duty on intermediate and capital goods and services and import excise duty.

Mr. Chairman, an Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is normally a relatively small geographically separated area within a country, the purpose of which is to attract export oriented industries by offering them special investment and trade conditions different from the rest of the host country.

Mr. Chairman, my ministry has begun working on the modalities of implementing the Export Processing Zones Act. It is envisaged that the Export Processing Zones Authority will be in place this year. I intend to come back to this House with a comprehensive statement on the Export Processing Zones at a later date.

Mr. Sibetta: Five years.

Mr. Namuyamba: No, I have said three years from now. Sir, in the near future, we also intend to harmonise all business related laws with a view to eliminating statutory conflicts and duplication in their administration and implementation. In the same vein, we shall also review the legal status of some statutory bodies in order to bring them in line with their business dynamics, Government policy and ever-changing economic environment.

Mr. Chairman, the overall aim of our strategic refocusing is to facilitate economic activities in every part of Zambia through the creation of systems and inter-relationships that will ensure that economic activity emerges in every district covering all outlying areas, while at the same time credit finance is made available through to the lowest level, broadly and at accessible rates.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr. Tetamashimba: Survivor, one out of nineteen.


Mr. Namuyamba: Mr. Chairman, as a ministry, we intend to create an environment in which entrepreneurs can have access to credit finance from National Savings and Credit Bank or any other micro financing institutions. On the other hand, development Bank of Zambia and Zambia National Commercial Bank will provide short, medium and long-term capital. Thus, Mr. Chairman, in all divestiture considerations pertaining to Zambia National Commercial Bank, this developmental role should not be lost or sacrificed at all.

We are also mindful of the fact that loans have to be recovered if continuity is to be achieved. Therefore, as my colleague, the Minister of Finance and National Planning indicated in is Budget Speech that all who owe the Government will be vigorously pursued. My Ministry will equally take steps to ensure that all those who obtain loans from banks must pay back without fail to enable others access the funds. The strategy to ensure high rate of repayment is the imparting of technical and business skills to the borrowers.

Mr. Sibetta: Arrest all those who stole.

Mr. Namuyamba: We have other wings of the Government to deal with that.

Mr. Kasonde: Ask the Inspector-General.

Mr. Namuyamba: Ask the Inspector-General, indeed. 
This training component will be undertaken by the Small Enterprises Development Board. That way, Mr. Chairman, the country will be developed on a revolving fund basis.

Mr. Chairman, privatisation will continue to be one of the cornerstones of the Government policy of developing the private sector and liberalising the economy. Already the private sector is taking the centre stage as the engine of economic development and growth.

Mr. Chairman, it is regrettable that some privatised companies were being liquidated and some put under receivership immediately after privatisation due to operational problems thereby reducing the number of jobs on the market. However, the general performance of companies bought by foreign investors has been impressive as compared to those bought by local private investors. This has been attributed to the inadequate working capital faced by the local investors and lack of credit facilities as compared to foreign investors who have a steady cash flow from their own countries.

Mr. Sibetta: You gave foreigners incentives.

Mr. Namuyamba: The Government will explore ways of dealing with these failed privatisations to see whether the companies could be revived one way or another. To avoid re-occurrence of these problems the post-privatisation monitoring will be strengthened so that all privatisation commitments are fully accomplished. In addition innovative ways of achieving private participation in state-owned enterprises will be explored so that the objectives of privatisation are fully achieved.

During 2002, the ZPA will work on the remaining parastatals as will be directed by Cabinet. Measures will also be undertaken to ensure that previously difficult parastatals are made attractive to investors. These include companies like NCZ, KTZ and so on.

Mr. Chairman, in the same vein, I wish to thank the Minister of Finance and National Planning for making provision for Kafue Textiles and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia. My Ministry will ensure that these funds are used for operations to revamp the companies.

Mr. Chairman, as regards international trade co-operation, Zambia is a member of the World Trade Organisation WTO which came into being on 1st January 1995. The WTO is the apex institution governing world trade. Our Membership to WTO is the initial step towards full integration of the country into a global trading system of shared commitments, rules and opportunities. We have since been reforming the various legislations to make them conform to the provisions of various WTO agreements.

Mr. Chairman, you may wish to note that the WTO statement that emerged at the ministerial meeting held in Doha, Qatar, in November, 2001 was a ministerial declaration that launched a new round of trade negotiations that will include trading services, agriculture, industrial tariffs, environment implementing issues, intellectual property, dispute settlement and World Trade Organisation rules. The negotiations under WTO follow a single undertaking process which means that countries are bound to the outcome of all the negotiations. This means that there is no option of pick and choose among the agreements.

The issues for negotiation pose a substantial challenge for developing countries like Zambia. We are taking prompt measures to quickly develop comprehensive negotiation strategies for each of the issues of importance for the benefit of our country. We will also need to formulate requests for consideration by other countries and actively participate in negotiations, committees and other relevant working groups in Geneva. Negotiations should end by 1st January, 2005.

Mr Chairman, Zambia is also a signatory to the Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU) framework of co-operation, which dates back to the year 1975 when the first Lome Convention was signed. The ACP-EU framework of co-operation from Lome I through to Lome IV has been based on non-reciprocal commitments and principles of collective negotiations between the two groups of countries, covering several aspects of co-operation. The European Union (EU) has thus offered the ACP countries preferential market access for products originating from these countries. In addition, technical assistance and finance have been provided to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries to enhance their exports.

Mr Chairman, however, the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union (ACP-EU framework of co-operation is not compatible with WTO. Hence, it has been operating under a waiver, which expired in February, 2000 after which the ACP-EU countries negotiated the Cotonou Agreement also operating under a waiver. The Cotonou Agreement waiver will operate until 2007. The Cotonou Agreement seeks to negotiate Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAS) between the EU and the African Caribbean and Pacific Countries (ACP). Negotiated economic partnership agreements should be compatible with the World Trade Organisation. Negotiations are scheduled to start in September this year and Hon. Sibetta can also come and participate.

My ministry is currently working on measures to draw up a negotiating strategy for the WTO and ACP-EU. Our negotiation strategy will involve full participation of the business community, Non-Governmental Organisations and all relevant Government institutions and various stakeholders. In view of this, I wish to request that organisations to be identified should make themselves available and give maximum support to the negotiation process.

Mr Chairman, the historic US Trade and Development Act of 2000, which contains the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into Law on 18th May, 200 by former United States president, Bill Clinton.

Zambia met all the eligibility criteria which include whether these countries have established or are making continual progress towards establishing a market-based economy, Rule of Law, elimination of barriers to trade and economic policies to reduce poverty, the protection of internationally recognised workers rights, and a system to combat corruption.

Additionally, eligible countries should not engage in activities that undermine United States National Security or Foreign Policy interests, should not engage in gross violations of internationally-recognised human rights and should not provide support for acts of international terrorism and must have implemented their commitments to eliminate the worst from of child labour. Zambia has done all these.

Mr Sibetta: What about street kids?

Mr Namuyamba: We are talking about child labour and not street kids, Hon. Sibetta.

Mr Chairman, my ministry is facilitating implementation of AGOA in Zambia. We have an AGOA implementation Committee to oversee Zambian’s participation under the Act, which predominantly involves the business community because it is the private sector at large that will provide the products for export to the US and it turn, enjoy the direct benefits. Benefits to the Government and the county at large would accrue through increased tax revenue and job creation. My ministry will soon be undertaking a sensitisation programme to provincial centres to enable the business community take maximum advantage of the export opportunities under AGOA.

Mr Chairman, export of textiles and apparel under AGOA requires a visa system. As a country, we formalised this visa system under Statutory Instrument No.127 of 2001 which was gazetted in November 2001. We have since received final approval of the visa system from the USA Government. Two Zambian textiles and apparels producing companies have since started to export under AGOA.

In conclusion, Sir, I acknowledge that resources are ever scarce but permit me to highlight the fact that it is very critical that economic ministries like mine, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, are adequately funded to carry out their intended programmes. Economic growth and development can only be realised with adequate funding of these economic ministries.

Mr chairman, I beg to state that our current economic environment calls for serious attention. It is now crystal clear that my ministry has a mammoth task ahead of it. Such a great task requires adequate financial support. But my ministry faces constraints of financial resources arising from inadequate funding. Last year, my ministry was allocated K16 billion. Out of this, only about 55 per cent was released adversely impacting on the operations of the ministry and its statutory bodies.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame! Too bad!

Mr Namuyamba: Mr Chairman the 2002 Budget allocation for my ministry, for lack of a better term, is just a drop in the ocean considering the great task ahead of us. Our initial Estimates for the year 2002 was about K40 billion. Out of this amount, only K19 billion has been accommodated. This amount is for the ministry and its statutory bodies. I am, however, optimistic that more financial resources will be made available next year to enable my ministry accomplish the aforementioned objectives.

Mr Chairman, let me now turn to questions which have been posed by hon. Members of Parliament. I will just pick a few relevant questions.


Mr Namuyamba: Mr Chairman, in view of the fact that hon. Members have noted and my speech has covered all their concerns …


Mr Namuyamba: The concerns raised on the Floor of this House are very pertinent, prudent, worthwhile and well articulated. I can assure hon. Members that these concerns will be attended to by the Government.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 33/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 33/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 33/03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 33/04 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 33/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear1

VOTE 34/01 – (Human Rights Commission – K5,753,235,178).

Mr Tetamashimba (Solwezi Central): Mr Chairman, thank you very much for allowing me to debate on this very important commission in our country. Before, I do that, Sir, allow me to quote some paragraphs from a document called 'National Human Rights Institutions, Best Practice for the Commonwealth.' Just in case, our leaders do not have a copy, if they wish, I will be able to lay it on the Table.

I would like to speak on the compositions of national institutions as per the Commonwealth practice. It states and I quote:

    ‘The Members should be accorded a rank and salary comparable to that of a senior judicial officer. If a sitting judicial officer is appointed to the national human right institution, his/her tenure shall not be affected.’ 
The other quotation I would want to quote is on the appointment of members to a commission like ours. It states and I quote:

    ‘The Executive shall not exclusively determine the selection of members of the national human rights institutions. It should be a transparent process that also involves both the Legislature and civil society.’ 

Mr Chairman, I must say that according to our Constitution, we are in line with the international conditions.

The Human Rights Commission was created under Cap.39 and the autonomy of this institution, kindly, allow me to be quoting because my debate will be based on the quotations. Section 3 states and I quote:

‘The Commission shall not, in the performance of its duties, be subject to the direction or control of any person or authority.’ 

We are grateful that we have an institution which is autonomous. Mr Chairman, I believe our Commission is autonomous because many people in this country, without doubt, have benefited more from this Commission than any other commission in this country.

Mr Chairman, according to our Act the composition, under Section 5 is 7 which includes the Chairman. Unfortunately, Sir, since we ratified the current Members of the Commission, the position of Vice-Chairperson has been vacant. The Commissioners are soon going to serve for five years on 4th April, 2002. For the sake of my new colleagues have come to the House, let me have the opportunity to mention these distinguished women and men who have been at our Commission. The Chairperson is Justice Lombe Chibesakunda, who I believe and I can vote for her. She has marshalled this Commission to the best of her ability. The rest of the other Commissioners are Hon. Lavu Mulimba, Mr Lewis Changufu, Rev. Foston Sakala, Mr John Sakulanda and Francis Nsokolo.

Mr Chairman, when we ratified these people in this House, I was one of the hon. Members of Parliament who interviewed them in a Select Committee. What we discussed and told them is that they were going to be full time.

And I am happy that the Government, for the past four years eleven months, put them on full time but that does not seem to be the case now. 

Mr Chairman, the tenure of office for our colleagues at the Commission, according to our Constitution and Act, under Section 7(1), and I would like to quote, it states that: 

‘A Commissioner referred to in sub-section 1 of this section, five shall be appointed for a term not exceeding three years subject to renewal’.

I am sure, Mr Chairman, you very well know that the Commissioners that we have today and it is very sad that since we ratified them even if you see them driving the Pajeros, they have never got a salary since we ratified them. What is on their pay slip is an advance - an advance against what? For four years eleven months, a person who is supposed to be on contract for three years, you give him an advance of salary.

And I heard one of our hon. Ministers on my left saying advance against salary. Why did you not pay the gratuity for you to remove your advance? Is this the way we are going to treat a commission where many people, even those on the left when they had problems had to go there? It is the Human Rights Commission which, because of the Act which authorises them, even to go to prisons, some people were removed from one cell to the other after the Human Rights Commission had visited them. Of course, you cannot be paying people for four years advances.

At the same time, cadres in the names of district administrators who are at the level Deputy Permanent Secretaries get gratuity every three years when, in fact, not even Deputy Permanent Secretaries get gratuity after three years. Really, it surprises me that people who are supposed to be on contract and they are given the job by Parliament are not given salaries, but advances. And for a cadre who is appointed because the Constitution gives some one person authority to appoint, that person gets the benefits more than a person ratified by this House.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame.

Mr Tetamashimba: Mr Chairman, of late, it is very sad indeed. Even before the new President could settle down in his Chair, the first thing our colleagues advised him was that the Human Rights Commission should be part-time. If you consider the Human Rights Commission and the Electoral Commission, really which commission is supposed to be part-time? We do not have elections every month. But everyday, if you go the Human Rights Commission’s offices, you will find a queue of people going to their offices. 

Mr Chairman, when you consider even the conditions of service, even if you are saying that it is an advance, the so-called advance, you have a Supreme Court Judge at the Commission whose salary is far much below that of the Chairman of the Electoral Commission. We also gave them the job. And we would want to appeal to the Leader of this House that if you want them to be part-time, first pay them what they should have gotten in the past first three years. Then let them be on contract up to after next year for the next three years. This is because it states – I am sure the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security will agree with me – when a contract between an employee and an employer, if there is a lacuna, the benefit of doubt is given to the employee. So, we do not expect our colleagues to go against that.

Mr Chairman, in the Budget, there is an amount of K5.7 billion, but there is nothing in the establishment under 34. We want to know why is it that there is no establishment to go with the K5.7 billion that you have given out? This year there is no reduction poverty and whatever. 

On decentralisation, we would want full-time Commissioners in the provinces. This is the only commission which, I think and I believe, is satisfying most of us. We want the provinces to have full-time Commissioners.

My last issue is that, please, we appeal to the Leader of the House to leave this Commission be permanent. The people have been doing a good job and they deserve, in fact, to be getting more than the money you are giving to the Commissioners at the Electoral Commission. You are paying people who are doing nothing more than the Human Rights Commission. Do not mislead the President by saying, it must be part-time.

Thank you, Sir.

Mrs R. C. Banda (Milanzi): Thank you, Mr Chairman. I am most grateful that you have given me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

Mr Chairman, my point is, in fact, very critical in that I do not think I trust that the Human Rights Commission has been doing its job as it should be. This is because we have witnessed agonies in the nation, especially in the opposition political parties. I do not know whether the Human Rights Commission has done anything commendable in this direction. I want to remind you that Dr. Kaunda was shot at in Kabwe.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes.

Mrs R. C. Banda: Dr. Kaunda was detained and accused of treason charges. There was the Zero Option, Black Mamba and there have been a lot of deaths. Some prominent lawyers or politicians have died. Now, I want this House to reflect back. 

What has this Human Rights Commission done for the first President to get his compensation because on the treason charges, the man was acquitted? And instead of the Human Rights Commission playing its role at that time, it was the Heads of State in the Southern Africa Region who teamed up that Dr. Kaunda cannot be in jail. President Mandela refused to come because they said that this man was not trusted. If we go there, we may not be treated properly.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame.

Mrs R. C. Banda: President Mugabe refused. Former President Nyerere is the one who came here because of violating human rights for your first President here. Now, this Human Rights Commission was just quiet and the first President was suffering. Now, I want to know whether you call that human rights. Maybe, it is just a body to protect a certain group of people or the whole nation. I am saying so because some people have died.

Hon. Government Members: Ah.

Mrs R. C. Banda a: Yes, some people can smile. But I know that some people have died over this. 

Hon. Government Members: Ah.

Mrs R. C. Banda: Do you want me to mention their names? Mr Cuthbert Ng’uni, Mr Ngenda, Mr Penza and Major Wezi Kaunda all died. They were all killed.


Mrs R. C. Banda: Just give me chance. The Human Rights Commission was put in place so that the human rights are not violated for everybody in the nation. But you can see that this Commission is just sitting there. Up to now, we do not know whether the Zero Option and Black Mamba people who were acquitted are going to be compensated. This Commission is supposed to spearhead and see that these people are compensated and seen that it is really a Human Rights Commission. So, I will not agree that these Commissioners are not being paid or they are doing a good job for the nation. I do not want to agree with that, no. Even in the women’s sphere, the Commission has not come up. We have fought it alone in the field. They have not given the women a chance. This is also a human right. We have suffered alone in the field. 

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

Mrs R. C. Banda: So, Sir, I would like to suggest that the names should not be proposed by the Government alone, it must be names based on broad situation in the country. Perhaps they would fight for those human rights as it were, not as it is now when they have their loyalties to the Government of the day.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kabaghe (Matero): Mr Chairman the role of the Human Rights Commission cannot be over-emphasized…

Mr Sibetta: They are toothless.

Mr Kabaghe: … and because it cannot be over-emphasized, we now know that we have six very seasoned, experienced and competent commissioners. 

Mr Chairman, they have, indeed, done a commendable job. Obviously, maybe, some of us do not appreciate the fact that the Human Rights Commission does not prosecute, it does recommend. So, if certain arms of the Government do not do their job, it is not the fault of the Human Rights Commission. We need, Sir, in this very House to recommend and make sure that the Human Rights Commission does not only recommend, but prosecute in areas where they have overwhelming evidence.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kabaghe: You know very well that the ACC, if it were not given the teeth to prosecute, it would have been just as impotent. I think we have to make a decision here and make sure that the Human Rights Commission is given the added task of prosecuting those offenders.

Mr Chairman, I fully endorse what Hon. Tetamashimba has said. There is serious disparity when you compare the role the Human Rights Commission is doing in this country, vis a vis their conditions of service and I think this has to be addressed and addressed seriously. I have looked at the Yellow Book here and I am pleased to note that last year, what was approved and authorized was K308 million in terms of their salaries but now this has more than tripped to more than K1.2 billion. I hope that this is going to be effected and I also hope that this is now from the Executive point of view an appreciation of the role that the Human Rights Commission is doing in this country.

Mr Chairman, I would also like to emphasise the issue of their representation both at the provincial and district levels. People only know about Human Rights Commission in Lusaka and, maybe, on the Copperbelt. There is very little known about the activities at provincial and indeed, district level. It is like the abuse of the human rights is only in Lusaka when in actual fact it is even more serious at district level.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kabaghe: I would like to recommend and put forward to this House that we have to decentralise. I have seen again in the Yellow Book that we are only talking about two provinces, but this should first of all go to all provinces and, indeed, to where our people are and that is at district level.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kabaghe: Mr Chairman, I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota (Livingstone): Mr Chairman, the issue of human rights is something which is very important and something which even the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry when delivering his sum up touched upon which assures us as to how it transcends all sectors of our economy and impacts on all sectors of our economy. So, it is important that we do look at it very seriously. As a Government we have for the past three years been paddling a document known as the ‘Good Governance Document” which was authored by the Government and has been floated all round the world as some of the things that we shall do in relation to good governance. I am hopping that the Government, which seems to have forgotten a good number of the things which are contained in the document will take time to go and read it and to rededicate itself to the things contained in the document.

A number of them are very good but like with most things, it would appear that this Government is very good with words, but always very short on deeds.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: With this Government, which talks about continuity with change, it should change this habit of being short on deeds and we shall see something totally different.

The Human Rights Commission we have, like everybody has stated, is doing a very recommendable job. They do try their best but it is those who are tasked at implementing the recommendations who are letting us down. There are lots of examples where the Human Rights Commission has brought out perfect reports, which are very good but the Government has simply ignored them and set them aside. An example would be the report by the Human Rights Commission with regards to torture of those who were alleged to be involved in the 1997 Coup attempt. There is a very thorough report and some of the people affected by that report are even hon. Members of Parliament. Unfortunately, I see Hon Nakatindi Wina is not here at the moment but she is somebody who is actually named in the report. 

We have got eminent persons such as Dean Mung’omba who were named in the report and we have got a lot of ordinary Zambians and we should always look at human rights in terms of those people who are eminent. The eminent persons only perform the function of highlighting the abuses, which are there but the people who suffer the most are in fact the ordinary people. So, my highlighting those names is not that their rights are more important than the others but it serves to prick people’s conscious. That report made recommendations which were far-reaching such as administrative actions which should be taken against people who violated the rights of our Zambian people and instead of action being taken, as per human rights report, the exact opposite happened. Violators were promoted.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame in it!

Mr Sikota: Up to date, this Government which states that it is going to be a Government which insist on accountability and rule of law is ignoring a properly constituted report. The question is why is that happening?

Mr Sibetta: How can we trust you?

Mr Sikota: How can we state that in fact we need the Human Rights Commission if we are going to deliberately ignore what it recommends after thorough investigations? If we are not going to take the reports seriously, we may as well not have it because then, it will merely be a drain on resources. I would therefore like to have a statement from the Government as to whether or not those recommendations of the Human Rights Commission are merely going to gather dust or whether or not we are going to place the required emphasis on those recommendations because otherwise, we are being asked to pass money for this Vote, for an institution, which is merely going to be ignored by the Executive.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikota: That will be wasteful. That goes against the very things that are contained in the …

The Chairman: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

Mr Sikota: Mr Chairman, I was referring to the good governance document and wishing to remind the Executive of some of the things contained in some of the assurances, which were given. At page 8, for example, of the report in paragraph 7 (221) on International Human Rights Agreements: 

“There was an undertaking that they would work towards ratification or assertion to the second protocal for continuing dialogue on the need to abolish the death penalty and for serious crimes and to endeavour to reduce the incidence of serious crimes as currently prevailing.

Secondly, to incorporate international treaties and instruments to which Zambia is a party into domestic laws.”

Mr Chairman, this issue of the treaties coming to this House for ratification is something I referred to even earlier in my maiden speech and I think that there is a need for that to be done if the Government is, indeed, serious about human rights.

Mr Chairman, at page 81 in paragraph 7 (223) there is also the following with regards to allegations on torture that:

“The Government will provide adequate finances to law enforcement agencies for the procurement of human rights friendly investigative technologies such as finger printing technologies and lie detectors”

Currently, the only detector the police seem to have is the famous Kampelwa or swing. That is what they consider to be the lay detector.

They also stated that they would introduce strict disciplinary and supervisory procedures so as to restrain or if need be, remove any officer inflicting torture on any prisoner or detainee. There is a report as I stated earlier from the Human Rights Commission singling out officers who tortured people and this has been ignored. Therefore, we would like to know from the Government whether they intend to continue to ignore this Human Rights Report or whether they shall actually action it.

I would also like to turn to the findings at page 96 and 97 very quickly before I get into a red light. It was stated that:

“There was a lack of institutionalised meetings between the Human Rights Commission, the Investigator-General, Drug Enforcement Commission and the Social Welfare”. 

Basically, they were saying that there was not enough co-ordination between law enforcement agencies and human rights agencies. Therefore, we would like to know what has happened in order to enhance this co-operation. It was stated that part of the action that will be done would be to review the functions of these bodies.

Now, one of the things that we need to do is to support the Human Rights Commissioners becoming full time because obviously the job they have to do is great. They have to cover large areas and if we are to build a culture of constitutionalism, we have to put emphasis on the Human Rights Commission. So, I join those who actually say that there is need to make Commissioners full time.

Equally, there is a need for the process of appointment to really take care to bring in Civil Society as there are lots of human rights and advocacy groups who would help in the work of the Human Rights Commission because, after all, that is what they are there for. We must also recognise the fact that when we talk about human rights abuses, we should not complain when the Government is or seems to always be at the receiving end because by the very nature of the human rights abuses, the main culprit will always be the Government and it is the one that will detain people and has prisons. So, the attitude of the Government should not be that these human rights bodies are always on their case so to speak because by the very nature of society, the Government will find itself in the dock.

What the Government should do is not be afraid of being in the dock but making sure that when they are placed in the dock, they have adequate defence. The only defence is that they respect and uphold human rights. That is when they will come out of the dock scot-free.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Agriculture and Co-operatives (Mr Sikatana): Mr Chairman, I thank you for being allowed to take part in the debates on an institution that I hold in high esteem. I support the proposals for the Estimates of this institution and I am positive that the Government  will continue to enhance the operations of this institution.

Human Rights, Sir, to some of us, are so dear that we do not take it as a sacrifice when we serve human rights except we take exception where we fail to recognise the role hon. Members of this institution are playing. I have seen the commission operate at odd hours and I have seen commissioners at night being moved to scenes and, sometimes, violent scenes and sometimes unaccompanied by any police force. They have exercised their diligent performance of public duty par excellence. We salute this commission and we appeal to this hon. House to give it the fullest support. Let it be permanent and be rewarded and above all, let us recognise what they are doing, but do not forget those that only talk about eggs and not the goose that hatches the eggs.

The MMD came up with this institution and for that you must give them 11 out of 10.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sikatana: Before that ….


Mr Sikatana: The Government has brought an institution that we must thank. Before that, if you remember correctly, there was a Constitution that constitutionalised torture and detention without trial. You had no institution to run to. Today, I have seen my bearded reverend, a man who, before his appointment, was a member of an institution that was so radical, who would not have been expected to be appointed to such a commission. He is there, a human rights fighter.

Mr Sibetta: Do not refer to strangers here.

Mr Sikatana: I know a little more than I am being reminded, but I want to say, Mr Chairman, that in order to strengthen this arm, this House should propose to the Government how to better their conditions. We are fully aware that an institution headed by a Supreme Court Judge will give supreme justice. They are trying their best. If you do not mind, look at Cuba. Today, on the island of Cuba there are detainees who are being detained by, maybe, what you would call, the world’s democrat number one, USA. You hear the voice against detention without trial for so long. In this Government, we will not tolerate any violation of human rights. Otherwise, we would not have the institution there. We will take action as and whenever you do not politicise anything that is so serious. Torture is serious.

I have represented people who were tortured. I have handled the Tongogaras, the Commander of the ZANLA forces, who was tortured using cigarette butts.

Miss Sialumba: By who?

Mr Sikatana: By you. I have seen torture, Mr Chairman. I have been involved, as an advocate, in the torture of a young man from Luapula, when eleven members of a family went missing. When they came to report that he had been tortured and buried the same day, we could not believe it. When we took over as private prosecutors to trace the whereabouts of the body, we used prisoners to go and exhume after a court order. We discovered a body that was so mutilated at the hands of the One-party State. Today, you have a commission that you must make full use of and the Government of the day should take care of that commission because they are fearless and I have seen them refuse to bend to authorities. I have seen the commissioners call on lawyers to say, ‘You cannot tolerate this, we want you to take the following measures.’ You salute those people. Who else do we thank? 

I am aware that what they have done is not all. We want more of their performances that will help the torch of the human rights activists, which some of us belong to, and it does not matter under what conditions. We should join forces between the Opposition and the Government to ensure that the role of the commission is enhanced. Everyone of us must support them because tomorrow it will be you, yesterday it was me. Tomorrow, do not turn round and say we did not tell you.

Thank you, Mr Chairman.

The Vice-President (Mr Kavindele): Mr Chairman, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up the debate on the Human Rights Commission. Mr Chairman, the commission plays an important task on behalf of the Zambian people. We, in this Government, who believe that our Government is of laws rather than of men, respect human rights and fundamental freedom is cardinal and we shall relish it. 

Sir, I am not too sure, Hon. Tetamashimba is not here, but he raised some very interesting points. The first point he raised is that of the commissioners not receiving any salaries at all, but advances. This cannot be correct because if you will see in the Yellow Book, even last year we paid salaries and other emoluments. I am not privy to the document that Hon. Tetamashimba has which shows that the salaries of commissioners are advances. Perhaps, I must take this occasion to remind hon. Members of this august House to be careful with these documents that you get anyhow because one of us is going to land in trouble. 


The Vice-President: The commissioners are only six and a Member of Parliament comes up with a commissioner’s pay-slip. I think that is not right. My advice is that …


The Chairman: Order!

The Vice-President: I would like to believe that it is legally obtained, but it is very misleading because the Yellow Books state that we have been paying salaries to the commissioners and not advances. Having said that, yes, I am aware that these things can be obtained, perhaps, from the commissioners themselves or from somebody else, but let me tell you now what technology does. The other day Hon. Patel came up with some documents here whose source we questioned. It was so easy finding the source; do you want to know how? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Torture.

The Vice-President: You do not even have to torture. To enter a computer, you put your password. Each individual who uses a computer has a password. So, it was very easy just to go back to the person who obtained it. We even know that it was obtained at 1401 hours and the other document was obtained at 1900 hours because by using a password to enter, you are leaving your details there. So, that is not torture.


The Vice-President: That is what technology can do, but take my advice with computers very seriously, indeed. 

We, as a Government have high regard for the Human Rights Commission and would like to see that they continue to be an autonomous body. For that reason, we have even looked at their conditions of service and you will see that there is a generous byline representing gratuity to those who will have come to the end of their service. Therefore, I do not believe that what I heard here was correct. We look after them well but, like anything else, there is room for improvement and indeed we shall do so. 

Hon. Tetamashimba was able to quote that we are in conformity with other Commonwealth countries regarding the tenure, selection of commissioners and, indeed, the fact that, we do not have a Vice Chairman there. I think that can be administratively done. 

As you all may be aware, a Supreme Court Judge heads, hon. Members, the commission on secondment from the Judiciary. We think that she is doing a commendable job. Indeed, I must combine this with what another hon. Member said, behind you, that they are not prosecutors. They come up with what they investigate and present their findings to another wing of the Government that is meant to prosecute if need be.

Sir, dencetralisation is also covered in the Yellow Book. We have to start from some point. So, we are starting off with two other areas and, thereafter, we shall continue. There is K310 million in this year’s Estimates but, I am sure that next year, you will see an improvement on that.

Hon. Sakwiba Sikota, talked about the torture report. We have seen the torture report and something is being done about it as far as I know. Some of those cases are quite serious and they cannot be ignored. Therefore, there will be a need to make a follow up. We are a Government of laws and not men.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: And so laws represent.

The domestication of international treaties, I think my colleague, the hon. Minister is attending to that and sooner or later you will be able to know that we have done something about it. 

Hon. Sikatana supports the Vote and so do a lot of my Colleagues here, that we set up a commission. Well, there is a Government that ruled for twenty-seven years under a state of emergency. Indeed, coming back to Mrs Banda’s contributions as you may be aware, many people died also in that Government. Sir, Hon. Banda came up with issues of black mamba, zero option and many others. 

Hon. Opposition Members: You were there.

The Vice-President: So that chapter is closed we are looking forward to the future and we hope that we will have the Human Rights Commission forever. It is here to stay. We shall continue to improve on its performance by getting capable people to that commission. We will also reinforce those that are there so that we all benefit from this very important institution which as you heard would affect anyone of us at any time, more or so, we who are in politics. So, it is important that we have a non-partisan organisation in the form of Human Rights Commission.

So, I wish to thank you all and my Colleagues that contributed to this debate.

 I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Vote 34/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 21/01 – (Ministry of Finance and National Planning - Loans and Investment – K950,260,923,957).

VOTE 37/01 – (Ministry of Finance and National Planning – K131,488,788,693)

Mr Hachipuka (Mbabala): I thank you, Mr Chairman, for according me this opportunity to debate on this very important Vote. If I may prefix my presentation by commenting on what the Leader of the House has just said. I thought it was very good for us to be told that a person can steal and if you report him to the police or to anybody or to this House, it is you who is committing a crime. It is very unfortunate.

Having said that, Mr Chairman, I have noticed that in Vote 37 the expenditure on Internal Audit at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning is provided for at K2.7 billion. The Auditor-General’s Office which we have already dealt with, was provided with K8.7 billion. 

Mr Chairman, I wonder if in allocating K2.7 billion to the Internal Audit Department at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, we are being judicious in the use of our resources. I would have preferred, through you, Mr Chairman, to the Minister of Finance and National Planning to, perhaps, spend this money at the Auditor-General’s Office. This is because the Internal Audit reports are practically not available to society. They are only available to the hon. Minister and I guess, his controlling officers.

Sir, with regard to the statements made by the Head of State when he was launching the NAMEC at Mulungushi where said that he has asked the Anti-Corruption to recruit some additional staff to assist him in looking at the Civil Service’s performance, he was alluding to the fact that he had a problem in his Government regarding the way the controlling officers are utilising the resources. He made reference and, indeed, we have made reference in this House, and elsewhere, in the newspapers that the problem the Government has is the effectiveness of the controlling officers. The problem the Government has is that most of the supplies to the Government are actually supplied by paper companies that the controlling officers own. 

Therefore, if you are going to spend K2.7 billion on internal audit, it becomes very ineffective because the internal auditors are familiar with the controlling officers. That is why they are able to cover their friends. So, this is why I prefer that these sums of money should have been added to the Auditor-Generals Office. Indeed, most of my Colleagues on both sides are aware that the Auditor-General’s reports have been far reaching in terms of investigations. They have also been available to the public for them to know what is going on. 

Sir, let me move on to the next point. 

I am concerned that since 1990/1991, when we opted, as a country, to pursue the privatisation policy, I wonder how much investigations or indeed preparatory works went into the design of the privatisation programme. Sir, on paper it looked fine, but I think that we have learnt a lot of lessons after ten years. I am happy and thank God that I have seen the privatisation programme being implemented, executed, and the programme is continuing, but I think we have discussed the merits and demerits of the programme.

One of the problems that the programme has left with us is that it has not assisted the Treasury or the Ministry of Finance to collect incomes through taxation. Even if Zambia Revenue Authority has been boasting that they have been exceeding their targets, the trend, Mr Chairman, other than for inflationary reasons in real terms, has not been able to. This is because the transition from public to private has not increased our taxes. This is partially because we did not foresee the impact it would have on our revenues as a country. Yes, we decided to invest in that direction but in the process some of the revenues were not available to the Treasury. 

I would like to add that we have, in fact, transformed our economy from major investor players to medium and low. The informal sector has grown over the years. And yet, I would haste to say I do not believe that the Ministry of Finance and indeed the country was ready to put sufficient tapings to make sure that the contribution from the medium and the social sector was able to contribute meaningfully in terms of taxes. I would like to repeat, Mr Chairman, that I do not think that we have put sufficient nets to make sure that the small and medium investor or business is able to contribute its fair share.

Mr Chairman, I was running a practice since I left ZCCM in 1992, and I saw my business go down. The reason being that in the transition, the South African investor, who predominantly took lead in the medium and small business – in South Africa they keep two sets of books, one for the bank and the other for the tax man. The books for the tax man do not declare any profits. And my business went down because the industry was handed over to the South African businessman who believes that he must keep two books. And if you, as a professional, refuses to do that, you lose your clients. This is happening in this country.

Even foreign exchange, despite the fact that we have liberalised and removed foreign exchange controls, it is true that within businesses in this country, there are two sets of books. It is true that in this country people are able to receive differently for the same work done. They are able to put into the books something different from the actual cash for that particular job paid for. In the process, there is a loss in taxes, revenue and there is externalisation of foreign exchange from this country in millions. 

Until and unless the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning can come to this House to adjust these laws and make sure that the medium and small industries are able to contribute to the Treasury, until he is able to enforce the law that makes sure that the books that are available to the tax office are the same books that are available to the banks for loans, we will not be able to make meaningful contribution to the Treasury. 

Mr Chairman, this is a serious issue because this economy has transformed from large investments. Investors of KCM type are few. 

If you remember, Mr Chairman, this country had a large mining industry and therefore, it was easier to account for it because this was a single large industry which you could be able to account for. We disbanded the mining industry. Even some of the major companies we sold them as individual small units. It is much more difficult to account for several units than big units. It is much easier to hide your profits in smaller units than in big units. Because of that, the Treasury will continue to suffer.

So, I implore the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning, should at some stage come to this House, not only to strengthen Zambia Revenue Authority in terms of legislation but, perhaps, more so to increase on manpower at ZRA, but also to design their taxation policies such that they are geared towards the medium and small-scale businessman as opposed to the present set-up which is only addressing the large businessman who is expected to register on the Zambian Stock Exchange.

Mr Chairman, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Chairman, thank you. In the first place, I would like to laud the move of changing the name of “Ministry of Finance and Economic Development” to that of “Ministry of Finance and National Planning”. Therefore, it is, indeed, my wish to see serious strategic planning for this country.

Sir, I would also want to comment on the behaviour of the employees at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. We have always been talking of corruption in Government ministries and what I have discovered is that for certain payments to be effected even at the Ministry of Finance, one has to pay something or offer some service of some kind. For this reason, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to caution the workers at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning to change from this tendency because they are there as a Treasury to effect payments so that things can move quickly in the nation. The behaviour that has been there of late is quite disgusting. 

With those few remarks, I thank you.

Mrs Inonge Wina (Nalolo): Thank you, Mr Chairman, I am grateful that I am given an opportunity to contribute to this very important debate.

We have been informed that the Budget has a very large deficit and we are hoping, as a country, that we will benefit from our co-operating partners, perhaps, through balance of payments support etc.

I have noticed also that the New Deal Administration is not very enthusiastic about calling for total debt cancellation, as international debt is one of our biggest hindrances to effecting development in our country. They are not as enthusiastic as the previous administration, and I do not know whether this is because the new administration is very happy with Zambia’s qualification to the HIPC Initiative.

Mr Chairman, talking about the HIPC Initiative, we are very concerned as Parliamentarians, particularly myself, as I was going around campaigning in my constituency, we were telling our voters that our co-operating partners internationally, have felt sad for Zambia and have released some resources to help us.

But the manner in which these funds are being allocated is not as transparent as we were hoping it would be. The HIPC resources should be primarily for poverty reduction but we observed that some time last year, just before the December 27 elections, they were large resources of money released to the Office of the President, as it was called then, and large sums of money for all the offices in the nine provinces. Mr. Chairman, I wondered what this allocation to these offices had to do with poverty reduction.

Mr. Chairman, we need to see these resources reaching the poor people in a more and transparent manner.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mukwakwa (Zambezi East): Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving me this chance to support this Vote.

Mr. Chairman, allow me to make a few observations. Sir, I have had time to check through the Budget speeches over the last ten years and when you go through those speeches for the last ten years, it is easy because there are various trends in terms of what the problems are in this country and yet, year in and year out, those problems do not seem to be solved whatever prescriptions are brought in this House.

Mr Chairman, that is an indication that there is something wrong. What technocrats seem to be telling the politicians, the politicians do not seem to listen to the technocrats. This happens both at the Ministry of Finance and National Planning or the Bank of Zambia because when you read through most of what is brought in the Budget speeches by the various Ministers, there is a trend of what the problems of this country are. But we have had problems of political will and problems of political misdirection in terms of how the economy should be managed. There is no way you would expect the Governor of the Bank of Zambia, once he is given a directive to transfer so much money and he does not do so.

Mr. Chairman, my next point is on the investment crisis in the country. We are talking now about why investors are leaving this country. The types of investors we are bringing in are not the right type of investors. It is not something that is like we have just woken up now. It is the manner in which we liberalised our country and it is the manner in which we allow these people to come and invest.

Mr. Chairman, most of those are short-term investors. When it comes to the long-term investors, like Anglo-American Corporation, I am not here to defend them but may I say this to the House, Anglo American Corporation are long-term investors, they have been in this country for a long time and when they say they are pulling out, we should not just blame them because they are pulling out. There are indications that they are pulling out because they perceive a political crisis in the country.


Mr Situmbeko: Your party is divided and your President has confirmed that.

Mr Mukwakwa: Mr. Chairman, in terms of the Budget, we have gone over so many years where the donors have had to fund a certain percentage of our Budget and we cannot run away from that fact. But the donors are also having donor fatigue and this fatigue is arising out of the following. In terms of their contribution, instead of going down, it is going up. In terms of our own resources, which should be going up, they are going down. And we hear, in this House, situations where money is taken out of the country…

Mrs Nsingo: To where?

Mr Mukwakwa: You do not have a television? I do not have to mention it, but you have heard for yourself where the money has been going to. The issue, Sir, is that the money is being banked in foreign countries. And the Western World know the people who are banking that money there and they know that this money is coming from Zambia and for that matter from Zambian leaders. Why should they, therefore, continue pumping money from their tax-payers at the expense of their own people? Those are the issues that we should be asking.

Mr. Chairman, we should not try to bury our heads in the sand. We may not have the courage to solve these problems but, Sir, there are children there who are seeing these problems. Poverty is increasing because of decisions which have been made. Mark my words, there will come a time when people will have to account.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Health (Dr Chituwo): Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to this debate. 

I stand to support the Vote and actually wish to pose some questions. Some eminent hon. Members have financial background, and to try to demean the role of the audit, really gives me a surprise. I would have thought that there are two areas of checks and balances. One is the internal audit and then you have the external audit. 

So, really my contribution is something that seems not to be quite correct. I support this Vote because the internal audit has a role to play in any organisation. What we can do is to try to strengthen the internal audit. Sir, on the external audit, the Auditor-General’s work will actually become even easier when you have your books in order as they come to audit any institution.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Captain Moono (Chilanga): Mr. Chairman, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this important Vote.

Mr. Chairman, I have gone through the Estimates of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, placing great interest on defence zones or something like that. I have not seen any money being allocated. There is not even a kwacha and I do not know the rationale behind it. The Defence Force, like any other force, needs to update themselves with new technology and new equipment. The peace we are enjoying now should be a chance to build up our technology because you cannot take peace for granted. A friend of today is an enemy of tomorrow.

Mr. Chairman, I do not know whether the purchase of this equipment is done through these dubious means like externalising…

The Chairman: Order! 

Captain, the Vote on the Floor is the Ministry of finance and National Planning taken together with Loans and Investments. What you are discussing is probably quite distant from these Votes. Will you, please, bring yourself to these Votes?

Captain Moono: Mr Chairman, I was debating on Loans and Investments under the Ministry of Finance and National Planning on Page 154 of the Yellow Book. However, I have not yet given my maiden speech. So, may I also be allowed to bring in issues which affect my constituency.

The Chairman: Order! I have given you the Floor to debate this Vote. It does not matter if you have not given a maiden speech. You are free to debate. 

Will you, please continue.

Captain Moono: Mr Chairman, I thank you for allowing me to dwell on this subject. I hope I will not be followed by the police the way Hon. Dipak Patel was followed the other day.


The Chairman: Order! 

If you are debating the issue on the Floor, you should not be scared of being followed by the police. Nobody is intimidating you. The police will only follow you for what you do outside this House. We are not responsible for that. We cannot defend you even though the police, when arresting you, will ask the permission of the Speaker because you are a Member of Parliament but they will not arrest you for what you are saying in this Chamber.

Will you, please continue.

Captain Moono: The Ministry of Defence should be given priority by the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in terms of up dating their warfare material. If we are well equipped, we shall be a proud nation. This is the reason why countries like Zaire, Angola …

Hon. Government Members: Congo, not Zaire!

Captain Moono: …find it easy to come into our country and kidnap our chiefs. Some are even raped in the process. This is because they realise that we do not put much attention to the Ministry of Defence. 

I am appealing to the Minister of Finance and National Planning, in the next Budget, to consider updating the Ministry of Defence. Even if you call it security, for instance, we can go on the internet and see America and the kind of machines or aircraft they are using against Afghanistan and Iraq. People out there know what type of material we have to defend ourselves. So, if we think we are keeping these things secretly without updating ourselves, it is as good as burying our heads in sand.

Sir, I have also looked at the Ministry of Education under Loans and Investments. I come from Lusaka Province, Chilanga Constituency. In my constituency, we do not have a single Government secondary school. I wonder what kind of lobbying other constituencies have used because to my knowledge or from what I have heard from my fellow hon. Members of Parliament is that at least in each and every constituency, there is a secondary school. Chilanga, twenty kilometres from here has got no secondary school.

I hope the Ministry of Finance and National Planning will take this seriously next year so that the people of Chilanga can also benefit from the national cake. Look at the Government policy now, they are talking of the girl-child. The girl-child in Chilanga is highly disadvantaged because each time she qualifies to Grade 8, she has to come to town or any other neighbouring constituency which has a secondary school, to squatter at someone’s home in order to go to school. In the process, you find that she will bring conflicts in that family because the head of the family may start eyeing her or abusing her.


Captain Moono: At the end of it all, she would not be able to complete her school. Not only that, our economic environment in Zambia is quite hostile. There is no family that is prepared to look after an extra mouth for the sake of education. I think Chilanga Constituency needs a secondary school where the people of Chilanga can send their children. If you do not do this, I think you will continue losing in Chilanga because I will take advantage of this and tell them that this Government of laws and not men does not care.


Captain Moono: Mr Chairman, looking at the Ministry of Health, from Chilanga Constituency point of view, there is no allocation to build a clinic. Right now, we do not have any in Chilanga. Most of our expectant mothers are giving birth on the way.

Hon. Members: To where?

Captain Moono: On the way to UTH. Most children in Chilanga are called Hamanzila, Nzila, Lwendo, meaning that they were born on the way to the clinic.


Captain Moono: We urgently need a clinic in Chilanga Constituency next month.


Captain Moono: If you do not bring the clinic – and the road to Mongu should be repaired. If you do not repair it, you should uproot it from constituency. It is very dirty and has a lot of portholes.


Captain Moono: It is a security risk. I am appealing to all the hon. Members from Western Province, Mumbwa and Kaoma to make a fly-over bridge to Mongu because I cannot afford to have such a dirty road passing through my constituency.


Captain Moono: Mr Chairman, we also need the feeder roads, failure to which you will need aircraft to bring cow dung to our constituency to revamp our agriculture.


The Chairman: The hon. Member’s time is up.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo): Mr Chairman, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, the ministry in charge of finances throughout the country.

I am glad to notice from the Vote that they have made several increases on personal emoluments and several other payments to employees. I believe that the Minister of Finance and National Planning will ensure that what he has put in this Budget is actually followed. I would like to urge the Minister of Finance and National Planning to make sure that his staff realise what is required of them and that they must be prepared to work flat out and stop being dogmatic by looking at one side. If they do not want to look at other avenues to suit the situation, then we have a problem.

Mr Situmbeko: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Now that these people, I believe, may be given some money, we want them to be able to work very fast because the problem with this country is economical.

We need people that will plan. Sometimes you wonder whether there are some economists in the ministry because they only think of one line.

I believe that there will be other ways if you find that there is a stone in front. When the hon. Minister of Finance gives certain authorities like Rotary Bond, he should be checking them. We listened to the Kwachamania and Spin the Wheel, but all of a sudden, it stopped. The previous week, there were piles of money on the table on television. People were buying tickets and promised that there was some Benz coming. Nobody has commented on that one. So many people have lost money and Kwachamania just stopped. One day they have piles of money on a table and the next day they are broke. What is going on?

I am urging the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to tell us what happened to that money you showed us on television. The Bank of Zambia must be enforced to control. Why is it that every other day, there is no check that the other bank is going to be closed. The only people who know when a bank is about to close are the Government. When you know it is about to close, you quickly remove your money and the poor fellow in Kalomo has not time to remove his money. Union Bank closed with all our money. Cattle died and even the money is gone. The hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning has disappeared.

I would like to urge all those who have been or will be Ministers of Finance and National Planning that if the head of state is difficult and he wants you to transfer money to the Bahamas, refuse and quit so that people see that you are serious. Let us show that as a Minister of Finance, you do not want to be party to the misuse of funds.

The Ministry of Finance and National Planning is confusing us. Every time you tell us there is no money. What is going on with the people we trained? What is going on with educated people with degrees? Sometimes, we think that the ministry is the biggest problem. At first, there was Cash Budget. We want you to handle financial matters of this country as diligently as possible. Only after they have been fired do hon. Ministers tell the truth. Even Hon. Kasonde told us that he was fired that is why things went wrong. Since he has now come back, we want to see changes. Officers should give good ideas to correct the situation. The formal meeting we had showed that the officers do not want to work. They are lazy. We asked this Parliament …

The Chairman: Order! The hon. Member on the Floor should not attack individuals who will not be able to come and defend themselves. Please, those are the people who equally voted for others who are here. If you annoy them, you are even annoying other voters. These are the people you have come here to represent. So, you should criticise the operations of the system and leave the smell aside. The individuals are not here to defend themselves.

Will the hon. Member continue, please.

Mr Muntanga: I said so because I wanted someone to tell me that the system restricts them.

Sir, I am appealing to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning that we want a system where those problems of financial indiscipline come to an end.

The other issue I would like the hon. Minister to deal with is that investors who come in the country should be given strict rules. They pretend they have US$50,000 as investment. There is nothing laid down by the ministry to ensure that the money is actually US$50,000. Some investors come with personal goods and declare that they have come with much more investment. After a year, when he cannot borrow local money, he runs away. So, I am urging the hon. Minister to look at the Investment Centre Rules and tighten the rules that apply so that we do not have people who do not come for investment.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze): Thank you, Mr Chairman, for giving me the opportunity to speak on this very important ministry.

Sir, I would like to appeal earnestly to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to look at issues pertaining to financial management in his ministry and the country as a whole.

Mr Chairman, of late, the nation has been endorsed with various issues pertaining to scandals over finance. There have been so many allegations against the current and the previous Government over financial mismanagement.

It is my considered view, Sir, that these matters must be investigated thoroughly and members of the public be advised as what has happened to their money. We have heard allegations of money being transferred to Bahamas. We have heard of US$90 million. We have heard of oil missing and various other scandals.

The Vice-President: Those are rumours.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairman, that is the trend that has continued in this Government. When you advise the Government, they always say it is rumours, when in actual fact it is the truth.

Mr Chairman, it is on record that the police have been investigating the issue of US$90 million. It is not a rumour. The President himself has alluded to that fact. So, it is surprising to hear from His Honour the Vice-President indicating that it is a rumour.

Sir, in order to enhance donor confidence in this country, it is important that we instill confidence in ourselves and in the system. It does not auger well, Sir, to prepare a Budget that is not going to succeed due to abuse of the little resources we have.

In my view, Sir, we have set an example if the New Deal has to succeed. If we do not do anything, the New Deal will become a Raw Deal. I have a lot of confidence in the current hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning and I intend to think he will take corrective measures to show that he is a man of integrity and to show that this country can be developed from our own resources. We should not allow a few individuals in this country to go scot-free after embezzling our little resources.

For my district, Monze, there is very little capital investment that has been provided for in this year’s budget. I earnestly appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning to look at this issue seriously taking into account that there is a every severe drought in my area and that my people there will have no safe drinking water. The animals they keep will have no water. Water is life. Let us look at this issue seriously and redress the situation.

I thank you, sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Thank you, Mr Chairman. 

I have one question for the hon. Minister of Finance and National Planning. Is it possible that you give us a full ministerial statement concerning the Kwachamania contract? How was it contracted? Who contracted it and why was it contracted? We have heard that these people have taken us to court and are demanding a lot of money from us as a country. I am also reliably informed that some of our chief executives who should be our witnesses were actually involved in some of these deals and we are likely to lose. History has shown us that every time we are taken to the international court as a country, we always lose because those that are supposed to be protecting us are some how involved in those shoddy deals. So could the hon. Minister avail us with the right information so that we can know as a House.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Finance and National Planning (Mr Kasonde): Mr Chairman, in the interest of saving time, I will not read my ministerial statement because I want to give justice to the important questions that have been asked this afternoon.

Hon. Hachipuka asked about internal audit and about the Auditor-General. In fact, as the hon. Minister of Health said, these are two different things. For example, before we vouchers for payments in our ministry, the cheque is never written unless the papers are, first of all, sent to internal audit to verify and ensure that no false payments are made. So this is a precaution against utilising public funds wrongly. The Auditor-General may come many weeks later to discuss whether we have done the operation correctly or not and then produce a report. And also we wish to keep the two very much apart because firstly he is a policeman trying to check whether the other person has done the job correctly. And I think that it is also important that we look at each other in a friendly way but at a distance. The Auditor-General should be independent of the Ministry of finance and National Planning. He should not take instructions from the Minister of Finance and National Planning. He should be free even to come and check my own office at his will. I should not stop him. So the two things are very different and I think it is in the interest of the public that they are kept different.

Mr Chairman, my colleague also mentioned the question of privatisation. My personal view is this; privatisation without a strong drive for investment always will end in a failure. It is very important that when you embark on the road of privatisation, you know that there will be casualties on the way. So unless you have an alternative parallel and equally strong investment programme, do not attempt privatisation.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonde: So I think that is where we have gone a little bit wrong in Zambia. We did not go at full throttle with an investment programme so that the people who are displaced have an alternative. In many countries that have done this programme, there is always a retraining programme because there is a parallel programme for investment so that those people can be absorbed.

With regard to the principle itself of privatisation, I am a very strong advocate of privatisation for the following reasons. Firstly, Government business is to govern and strengthen the institutions that provide service to the community, the roads, hospitals, schools, police, army and so on. If Government gets started by producing matches, shoes, shirts, ties, it gets its primary role mistaken.

Mr Sibetta: What about private companies?

The Chairman: Order! Will Hon. Sibetta, please, listen. There are many hon. Members who want to listen.

Mr Kasonde: Mr Chairman, my colleagues also mentioned a very important point about the foreign exchange and the way it is used. In fact, one of the problems is that people feel that if you have an exchange control, you keep your money in the country. If you remove the exchange control, people take money from the country. The facts of the matter are that people take even more money under the exchange control because of the fear. They devise ways and means of beating that exchange control. Bank of Zambia now has figures to indicate right today that the inflows into Zambia annually are higher than the out flows out of Zambia on annual basis. Now what would be the explanation for that? The explanation is that people have more confidence. When people have confidence that they can take their out when they want to, they tend to keep the money in the country. When people have a feeling that you are going to bottle their money in the country, they use every means to take their money out including Zambians. 

At the time when we had the exchange control, Zambians according to the study by an international organisation, had over US$450 million invested outside. After we removed the exchange control, over US$250 million of that came back by Zambians. We are not talking about others. 

Mr Chairman, Hon. Ngoma talked about planning. Indeed I prefer even to call it visioning because what are we talking about when we think of planning. We want to conceive in our heads what we want to happen to Zambia in ten years, twenty years or in thirty years’ time. We want to plan our National Budget like I am presenting this year to this Parliament. But this should simply be a segment of that long-term thinking which you have planned for yourselves. So a little later this year, I will be asking hon. Members and people from outside to assist in creating that vision. What do you want Zambia to be in ten years, twenty year or thirty years’ from now? When we all agree what we want to be, then I can budget on annual basis taking a slice of that long-term vision. That is the importance of this question of planning.

He also said that there are some people in my ministry asking to be given bribes if they are to be payments. This is an old problem. I think even people trying to get a voucher from an old pensioner always want nichekeleko. Is that what you say?

Hon. Members: Yes.

Mr Kasonde: But that is certainly not. If any member of the public listening to these debates is subjected to that I will be very happy to hear about it. I will take action. I will not only dismiss such an employee but I will have them prosecuted. That is what we want. We would like all members of the public to feel free. When they have a payment to be made by not only my Ministry, but, indeed, any Government Ministry, if the accountant is asking for a share of that payment, please, let us know and action will be taken. This is what we mean by the New Deal. We want to be totally transparent and absolutely free from troubling people, if that is the little money they have, we should not trouble them by asking for this cut from their payment.

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Inonge Wina asked about the deficit and wondered how the partners could close this and she also asked about the luke warm attitude that we appear to take on debt cancellation. Hon. Member, on this I would like to say that I have not taken this attitude, I am, in fact, the first Finance Minister to attend some of the meetings which were organised about debt cancellation. But the facts of life are that this HIPC which you mentioned, why do we thing it is important. I think I should explain to hon. Members of Parliament that HIPC Initiative means to achieve this. If we can stay on the programme until the end of next year, it means that your national debt of K7.3 billion will actually be cut in half. It will actually be reduced in half. That is only one part. The second part and the part which we are negotiating now is that if we can continue with that discipline for a period to be agreed, we are negotiating it, then I think the rest could be cancelled. But that has not been agreed.

Mr. Chairman, the idea is that in order to develop Zambia properly, hon. Members, we need to remove this debt over hand so that we can remove this debt service and then there will be a little more resources that we can put in our Constituencies to improve the quality of life of our ordinary people in the villages. If we have to spend K500 billion and K800 billion servicing the debt, that is the money which we are depriving our constituencies because we have to be honourable internationally and service our debt. But if the debt is cancelled or reduced in half, then there is a sufficient resource left for our country to develop.

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Mukwakwa asked about the problems. He said that he had read the Ministers of Finance speeches over the last ten years and he did not think that there was much change and at least that there was no impact on solving the problems. Well, I think that one should look at these problems in this way. The population of Zambia at the time of our Independence was hardly 2.5 million. The population of Zambia today is 10 million. If we actually kept 2 or 3 per cent positive growth, it actually means that we have done something. It may not be satisfactory but it means that, at least, the cake has been baked that everybody has a portion and nobody has a little left than they had at Independence. So, in terms of economic analysis and we have not stood still, we have made some progress, than I think, ordinary. Captain Moono who debated very strongly about Chilanga…


Mr Kasonde: Well, he mentioned two points which are very important that of updating the equipment of our army. I am a very strong supporter of this concept of army. We must have a small army but they should be well equipped, motivated and well paid and the rest of us should all undergo military training even for a couple of weeks in a year.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonde: I think that is the spirit so that if Zambia was attacked, we would have proper leadership in the field who are well trained and that everyone of us should be able to go out there and defend mother Zambia. Sir, the hon. Member mentioned a point which is very close to my heart and I will be discussing this with our leaders in the army. I will also want to say this that, yes, it is very important to keep secrecy. I think that I cannot come here and disclose totally. I will be totally irresponsible, if I disclosed totally what we are doing.

Hon. Member: But it is about our money.

Mr Kasonde: I know that it is your money we are spending in the army but, at least, you should trust me and the professionals who you have put in those institutions. I also feel that the hon. Member for Chilanga has to do his homework on getting a school. Normally, when you want to establish a school in a new place, we get the Minister of Education to do the research first and they justify it on the number of homes and the number of kids of certain ages and then the Ministry gives it a rating. And that rating determines when the school should be built.

Mr. Chairman, we in the ministry have nothing to do with it, we are just servants of the Ministry of Education. They tell us where they want primary schools and where they want secondary schools and we accord it according to the resources that are available. Sir, get on the road hon. Member and do your job on researching figures for the Ministry of Education for Chilanga.

Mr. Chairman, Hon. Muntanga questioned about the implementation. Now, ba Muntanga the important point is this. Let us agree on the way forward. Not all the money that is in this Budget is actually available on 1st April after you have voted. It takes time and sometimes the whole year to collect it. And, indeed, we have a programme and we have to agree on a programme with each and every Ministry as to how much we shall release every month based on the programme for three months. Each Ministry will be advised three months in advance what we can release and each month, we shall release accordingly so that at least we have a programme, it will not be by guessing, it will be by a pre-determined figure and a figure agreed with each Ministry. 

Finally, he also mentioned a question of closing banks. I am definitely very much worried about this problem, but I can assure the House that the strength of the banking institutions that are in existence today in Zambia are all viable. I think that you should not worry too much, we shall ensure that the strengths of the banking institutions to which people put their trust and their money are viable. I think that I would insist that the Bank of Zambia protects the public interest by ensuring that all commercial banks accord with the minimum requirements required to run a commercial bank.

On the issue Hon. Mwiimbu mentioned of the scams I have already mentioned to this House that at the appropriate date, I am going to issue a ministerial statement on the so-called US $90 billion, on the Oil Gate and on the cobalt sales. I will issue statements but as I said before, I am lost to issue part truth and I want to tell you the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth and next week, I can say something on Kwacha Mania because I think that I have more or less got all the information.

Mr Chairman, I beg to move.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Chairman: Order!

VOTE 21/01 (Ministry of Finance and National Planning – Loans and Investments K950,260,923,957). 

Mr Kakoma  (Zambezi West): Mr Chairman, under this total, which starts from 151 to 155 but on page 152 …

Hon. Members: Under which item?

The Chairman: We are not dealing with small items, we are dealing with big items. We have started with Poverty Reduction Programmes and the figure is K170 billion then the next one is No. 5, Capital Expenditure. Now what falls under Capital Expenditure covers page 150,151, 152, 153, 154 and the total of that is on page 155 which is K780,260,923,957 and the function total of this Head is K950,260,923,957.

Mr Kakoma: But the clarification Sir …

The Chairman: Progress!

Vote 21/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/02 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/3 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/4 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/05 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/06 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/07 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

Vote 37/08 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.

VOTE 37/09 – (Ministry of Finance and National Planning – Central Statistical Office – K12,057,187,677).

Miss Nawakwi: Mr Chairman, may I, please, have a breakdown under sub-head 9, item 02, sub-item 002 – Economic Census K1,000,000,000.

Mr Kasonde: That is, in fact, for a country-wide economic census that we intend to undertake throughout this year. 

VOTE 44/01 – (Ministry of Labour and Social Security – K4,782,619,024).

Miss Nawakwi: Mr Chairman, I stand here to support this Vote and say that successive Ministers of Finance, including myself, have failed to recognise that this ministry is not a service ministry, but an economic ministry. If we are ever going to handle unemployment in this country and induce growth, we need to elevate the status of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security to that of an economic ministry like Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance and National Planning and allocate this ministry sufficient resources for its effective operation.

We have privatised, left, right and centre and yet the policemen who are supposed to police these investors from far and wide have no tools. Take the Department of Factories and Factories Inspection, for example, this is a department which is supposed to walk in any factory and yet the inspectors who are supposed to be inspecting do not even have the tools, equipment or uniform to be able to walk into these factories. 

Until when I went to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Mr Chairman, we always, and even in this year’s Budget, never remembered that there was a ministry. You always thought that being sent to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is like a policeman being transferred to Kalabo.


Miss Nawakwi: I want to tell you something.


Miss Nawakwi: Maybe, being transferred to Nakonde. Is that better?

Hon. Members: Yes.

Miss Nawakwi: Sometimes when people are told that they are being transferred with immediate effect to Nakonde, they feel that that is punishment. Mr Chairman, it is important that this ministry is given the status that is due to it. There are many foreign investors who are here without any regard to our laws that are found in this country. 

You have investors who feel that they are the bosses in this country. The only way we can reverse this trend given that we have liberalised, is to support this ministry. You will notice that the total allocation this year, is just around K4 billion. This ministry has been in existence from time immemorial. If you look at the allocation to the Department of Planning in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, this ministry has been in existence for three months and yet, its allocation is K12 billion. Do you see that gap as compared to a ministry with several departments? There is the Department of Factories, Labour and …

Mr Sibetta: Pneumoconiosis.

Miss Nawakwi: … Pneumoconiosis…


Miss Nawakwi: … and Social Security.

Frankly, speaking how do we expect these young men and women to work? We have a lot of abuse of our people in farms and yet, the Inspector for Labour has no vehicle to be able to visit a farm just here at the next corner.

Mr Chairman, there is something called National Social Safety Net. I wanted to refer that to what was provided in last year’s budget where we expected that in order to cushion the poor, we needed to give some of safety. I think that the amount being provided there is just too little, K230 million. This money is supposed to be for training of people to provide the net. When you look at what was provided last year, and this is a point I wanted to make under Ministry of Finance and National Planning that in the sum total we were told that the Ministry of Finance and National Planning and Government were going to distribute input packages to vulnerable groups. When you look at what they distributed, and I hope this will not be the trend this year, input packages distributed province by province Lusaka, Maize seed, they distributed four tonnes, sorghum seed 0.3 tonnes, sweet potato vines 50 Kg bags 2,500. How many banana suckers did they distribute to Eastern Province? There were 700 trees. I know that last year; the Ministry of Finance and National Planning came here and said there was K60 billion for input packages. But when you break it down this is exactly what you get. I hope that our stuff will not go this way.

I always took issue with the Social Safety Net. This is a department where we are supposed to retrain people to look for new jobs and in a country where there are no jobs. What are you training a pilot to do? What are you retraining a mining engineer to do? I think that we should give more weight to the department of employment so that they work in conjuction with Ministry of Finance and National Planning to create new jobs. 

There are some very good ideas that can be implemented. For example, there are a lot of young fisheries experts just graduated. Some of them are crop experts whom the ministry of Labour and Social Security can round up to work in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives and the Ministry of Finance and National Planning. We can resettle them. That is a tangible way of creating employment. If you retrain a permanent secretary who has been retired after fifteen or twenty years, where is he going to get a job? Mr Chairman, I thought that it is important that we actually elevate the status of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security so that they help us in our quest for guiding us with employment policy.

Sir, the other point I would like to make is that in a country where you have liberalised, you need strong trade unions for people to be properly served. You will all agree with me that the Machungwa Amendment…

Mr Sibetta: Killed them!

Miss Nawakwi: … destroyed the trade union movement in this country. We must accept that we have made mistakes and make amends.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Miss Nawakwi: It is important that if people in the trading sector are going to be assisted in a liberalised economy, we need strong trade union movements in that sector. Miners’ activities are being undertaken by individual self-led mining companies. Unless, you have a strong trade union movement, you are going to have the effects of RAMCOZ. Unless you have a strong trade union movement in this country, you are going to continue having casualisation of labour. I am for the re-amending of the Machungwa Amendment. 

Mr Chairman, I hope that the Government will take this suggetion seriously because it is important that we give power to the people who can support us raise the status of our people given that we no longer run companies to support them.

I thank you, Sir.

Miss Sialumba (Mapatizya): Mr Chairman, I wish to add my voice to the vote that is on the Floor. 

Mr Chairman, I would like to say something about our farm workers. We have had a number of investors that have come, especially from South Africa, that have been given large pieces of land where they have grown their flowers for export. Some of them have even turned into maize farming. 

However, I wish to speak on behalf of their workers since they are not able to speak on their own. They have been subjected to work for many hours on empty stomachs and at the end of it all, they get very little salaries. They work under very hard conditions. Some of them are not even paid in terms of money but in kind. 

Sir, I would also like to speak about young men and women that have work in shops run by our colleagues from South Africa. They work for over twelve hours without break. Their salaries are so little that they cannot even afford to buy themselves food let alone take their children to school. Mr Chairman, the same is true of those that work in bakeries. They work for so many hours without any food. Some of them work throughout the night and they are even locked up in these bakeries. Sir, supposing there was a fire, what would happen? They would lose these lives.

Mr Chairman, I would further, like to say something about the reduction in formal employment. Sir, according to records, in 1999 we had a formal workforce of 479,508. In 2001, there was a reduction and figures dropped to 475,316. Employment levels stand at about 70 per cent.

Mr Chairman, we have just been talking about our nation having problems of finances and our economy going down the drain. Of course, if you are coming from a nation like ours, where most people have lost their jobs and go without payments, you have a problem. How do you expect one that has been working for a long time to go and start a new life without money? 

My suggestion, through the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security is that, when we retrench our people, can we make sure that the cheques are prepared. At the time they are getting the letter that their job has been terminated, we should ensure that their money is ready.

Maybe, before we could pay them their dues, Mr Chairman, it is important that we speak to them and prepare them psychologically. What is happening now is that most people that have lost their jobs have turned out to be street men and women because they were not psychologically prepared. For example, a person will just wake up one day, and maybe be allowed to work up to 1630 hours by his or her employers, and a few minutes before 1700 hours, an office orderly brings a letter to say he has been retrenched. It is quite a big trauma. So, I would like to speak through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, to try and notify these people that, in such and such a month or year, you will have to get out of the office. So that, as one prepares him, he will know what he was going to do.

Mr Chairman, still dwelling on retrenchment, I wish to state that what has been happening is that, once a person gets retrenched and may be after having worked for ten to fifteen years, and a little money is given to them, most people have not utilised that money accordingly, because they have not been ready psychologically. They will use that money like it is some sort of a loan that has been given to them. Within a year or so, these people will be out in on the streets, behaving as if they had never worked before. So, I think that, we really need to take into consideration that we set up time to prepare our colleagues psychologically so that they will be able to know that whatever little moneys that their former employers have given them, is something they have to look upon and maybe create a little bit more, for them to use for their future and their children.

Mr Chairman, before, I end my contribution, I would also want to say something about the levels of unemployment in our nation. We have had a lot of prostitution and crime. I believe this has emanated because of having a nation that has a lot of people that are not formally employed.

Prostitution has risen and so, the numbers of HIV/AIDS cases have also risen. If we took a little survey and went out in the streets of Lusaka, I am sure you will find so many of our young girls parading in the streets. I do not believe that they are doing this because they want to do it, but they are doing this because they believe and think that that is the only way of getting income.

Hon. Government Members: Occupation! 


Miss Sialumba: Absolutely! I do not think it is fair, Mr Chairman, that my colleagues on the right should believe and think that this is a joke. I am speaking as a mother and a very concerned mother. So, please may you lend your ears to me?

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

Miss Sialumba: Mr Chairman, the levels of crime have gone too high. What are the reasons for the levels of crime to go so high? It is because we are a nation that is full of nothing but unemployed youths. These youths have to survive and so, they believe that the only way that they will be able to make ends meet is to go to our homes when everybody else is sleeping.

For this reason, Mr Chairman, I would urge my sister here, to seriously look at this unemployment level, especially where we have girls and boys that have been trained but cannot find jobs. For instance, if somebody wants to run a kantemba, let her run it because she wants to do so. But, please can we try and create more jobs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kombe (Kantanshi): Mr Chairman, I thank you for recognising my presence, and I am also happy to contribute to this important ministry. I say so not because other ministries are not important, but all ministries are important in one way or the other, but this is a ministry that deals with labour, and this is a ministry that deals with investors who can throw money about and can easily corrupt any person or individuals in this ministry. That is why I agree with Hon. Nawakwi on what she said that we have got to upgrade this important ministry.

Apart from that, I would also like to salute His Excellency the President for having given us a lady of substance by the name of Hon. Mutale Nalumango. 

Hon. Government Members: Quality!

Hon. Opposition Members: How did you find out?


Mr Kombe: If her maiden speech is anything to go by, I would say they came to stay.

Hon. Government Member: Yes!

Mr Kombe: The other point I would like to mention here is that the ministry has done very well in the past ten years. Why do I say so? I say so because there are a number of  pieces of legislation that we amended. Namely: Employment Act, Cap 208, 268 was amended; the Industrial and Labour Relations Act, Cap 269 was amended; Employment Act, Cap 270 – Special Provision was also amended; the Minimum Wages and Condition of Employment Act, No. 25 of 1982 was also amended. This is a commendable job of the ministry.

The only thing that I would like to say is that the above amendments could only be enforced if in practical terms in tripartite monitoring is done. What is happening now is that the ministry is leaving everything to the labour movements for monitoring. For monitoring purpose theoretically they are very good and are a vibrant ministry, but when it comes to practical works they leave it. Especially, on the Copperbelt they leave it to Mines Workers Union of Zambia to monitor on their behalf. This is an anomaly that must be corrected. It must be corrected because we operate in a triangle form, the Government, the union and the employer. So, this triangle must move together in order to achieve the desired goals.

If you let the union act on its own, the investors will definitely ignore it. If the ministry is not participating physically and not monitoring then the discrimination at work places will continue. If the triangle is not working, this work permit problem is going to continue. So, we can only ask the minister to look into the work permit judiciously. We have seen situations were South Africans and other nationals come into this country and are given work permits. In the process, we end up employing cooks, carpenters etc. And when they come to Zambia, they come with their grandchildren etc.

The other aspect I would like to talk about is the strangulation of trade unions. I concur with what Hon. Nawakwi said as regards to strengthening the labour movement. The ministry has allowed strangulation of these labour movements by allowing casualisation in the industries and also by allowing contract employees in industries.

It is not true to say that this was a Machungwa problem because even when Hon. Nawakwi was there, she used to do that. In fact, we used to complain when I was in MUZ as Treasurer-General, I used to complain. It is Hon. Nawakwi who could ring us at 1500 hours and say that there will be an important meeting tomorrow without realising where you are going to get money for fuel and what kind of vehicle you were going to use. She would just say at 0930, there will be a crucial meeting.

Mr. Chairman, when we are here we had to start off sometimes in the night. You know when mosquitoes bite Shamenda, he also wears a different temper. And so when we are negotiating with her – oh my God, I cannot describe.


Mr Kombe: There is animosity and all sorts of things. So basically the ministry has contributed to this kind of animosity between unions and the ministry. What we are saying is that the ZCTU has no money at the moment, it is broke. FFTUZ is also broke. MUZ used to have a massive 65,000 employees and that used to bring a lot of money. So, 95 per cent of revenue for ZCTU used to come from MUZ but this is no longer the case. We cannot get that kind of money to give to ZCTU because the labour force has dwindled to about 25,000. What is bad is that we talk about KCM employing 11,000 employees, those are the unionised employees they have employed but on top of that they have employed 8,000 contract and casual labourers. They have employed these people because they want to under pay them and they do not want them to enjoy medical facilities and no housing allowance.

Mr. Chairman, they have employed these people because they can fire them on the spot and so we want the ministry to move in and arrest the situation so that we strengthen the Labour Movement.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Quality!

The Chairman: Order! Hon. Members, I know everybody is anxious to speak and especially when the camera is here for the television, everyone wants to talk…

Hon. Members: Where are they?

The Chairman: But we are on radio. Please, do not accuse me of what I am not. I have received some notes from hon. Members and the tone of the language is rude to say the least. Listen to this one:

‘May you, please, tell me why you are denying me chances of debating. I have been rising to catch your eye but it is like you have your blue-eyed honourables who indicate once, and you give them chance to debate.’

Who are my blue eyed honourables here? I am not abusive and I do not like other people to be abusive to me. Most of you hon. Members here are very new. I have never known you and as you can see, I do not even know your names. And when I want to give you a chance to talk, I am just pointing at you because I have not mastered your names. Do not force me, for God’s sake, to use the powers that are vested in the Chair. I am here to assist you and work with you and to share the knowledge that I have accumulated since I have been doing this job with you.

Mr Mushala: Forgive them.

The Chairman: I am not going to take an action against this Member, I can only say that you know yourselves – those who have written me rude notes. I am not going to take action, but do not mistake my patience for weakness. 

For your information, the hon. Member who has written this note has spoken several times. We take note of all hon. Members who speak and this particular Member has spoken several times.


The Chairman: There are some who have pleaded with me to deliver their maiden speeches, I am staggering them politely but somebody who has spoken several times decides to write this note and accusing me that some of you are my blue-eyed Members. Maybe, it is because I have just recently given the Floor to Hon. Nawakwi and that other hon. lady who I do not even know.

Let us stop this and from now on, I am not going to receive any note at all. Do not send it to me because I will not read it. I will just throw it away.


Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr. Chairman, the importance of labour as a factor of production cannot be over-emphasised. In saying that I would like to endorse Hon. Nawakwi’s sentiments that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security ought to be regarded as an economic ministry.

Mr. Chairman, while saying that and appreciating the problems that are encountered by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, I would like to talk about the treatment of labour in general in this country. I would like to start by referring to the employer of the largest numbers, the Government. One wonders how the Ministry of Labour would enforce a lot of the laws provided for, for the protection of labour when the Government itself is the biggest culprit. For example, the Government is known to be the employer that pays its workers lowest salaries. How then would you expect that private investors, whom this Government is so fond of, would pay living wages?

Mr. Chairman, the wage freeze of 1988/1999 which the Government failed to defend itself on in the Industrial Relations Court, we hope is a thing of the past and never to recur in this country. However, it is also clear that this Government has the tendency of imposing wage freezes indirectly by engaging in unnecessarily protracted discussions with Trade Unions when it comes to wage increases. I think that the Government ought to be serious on such matters to ensure that the labour force in this country is protected.

Mr. Chairman, besides the low wages and salaries being paid by the Government, it is also very saddening that in this year’s Budget the hon. Minister of Finance decided to get rid of the tax bands so that now in effect, he is bound to over tax the already under-paid Zambians. 30 per cent on a salary of K150,000 is over taxation. How will you expect the private sector to pay salaries to the Zambian workers?

Mr Chairman the Investment Act provides for foreign investors to bring a specified number of workers to come help them set up their industry and little shops like Nandos and so on. However practice in this country by these investors has shown that these foreign investors have abused that provision to an extent where they even bring cleaners and sweepers to come and work in this country at the expense of highly qualified Zambians. When will this stop, Sir?

Mr Chairman, to talk about labour in this country particularly, this year and to fail to refer to the gross abuse of the large number of unemployed Zambians by the MMD Government, when they decided to employ Malaysian labourers to come and dig trenches in this country would be to fail my constituency and this country.

Mr Chairman, I think the MMD Government under the new seal of the ‘New Deal’ ought to show a little bit more seriousness than their fore-runners, the ‘New Culture.’


Mr Lubinda: Mr Chairman, as a result of this mickey-mouse business, foreign investors have taken advantage. No wonder the so-called foreign investors in this country will ensure that they do not employ Zambians on pensionable jobs. All of them are casual employees. We have the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and we know that they do not have sufficient capacity but what are they doing about this? How can we allow our own people to be employed on three months contracts just for the sake of avoiding that they would join unions which are very important, to negotiate for their conditions of service, just to ensure that they are not pensionable? Where will this stop? When will the Ministry of Labour and Social Security show us that at least they have a little bit of teeth?

I know that this House would like to enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security but even with the little they have at least they can show that they have some teeth. We cannot continue, Mr Chairman, to see that Zambian children are abused to that extent.

Sir, in this country, for the information of the Minister of Labour and Social Security, there are employers who are employing Zambian people to work twenty four hours a day without a break. Examples are numerous. Madam hon. Minister, in case you are short of examples, please approach me, I will give them to you.

Hon. Opposition Member: Go to her home!


Mr Lubinda: Mr Chairman, another function of the Ministry of Labour is to address child-labour in this country. I am glad that the MMD Government ratified ILO Convention No. 182 concerning worst forms of child labour. I only hope that this is not going to be, yet another convention that is simply ratified and not domesticated.

Mr Chairman, in this country, the amount of child labour is escalating because the parents of those children themselves are casual labourers working only for two months These children have no other means but to engage in labour. The Government ought to be serious with addressing that matter.

Finally, Mr Chairman, the Budget shows an allocation of K20 million towards the Social Security Reform Programme. This was exactly the same amount that was allocated in the Budget last year. I only hope that that reform programme will really be a reformist programme and not a conformist programme. We are tired of hearing about reform programmes that at the end of the year, are not capable of showing any change to this country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Liato (Kaoma): Mr Chairman, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to contribute on this Vote.

Mr Chairman, I want to first make an observation that during my many years in the Trade Unions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been one of the least funded ministries. Even though we know that labour is one of the major factors of production, it has been neglected to corner positions in terms of budgetting for among the other many ministries in this country. 

Sir, I want to say that once the ministry is under-funded, there are many consequences that follow and I think many of these have been alluded to by many hon. Members who have spoken before me. The issue of the many employers who come to invest in this country and subject our citizens to unfair treatment such as searching them to point of stripping them naked at places and making them work abnormal working hours and many other unacceptable ways of conducting business at places of work have been as a result of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security being under funded.

If the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, especially the Labour Inspection Department was doing its job, many of these employers who subject our citizens to unfair treatment would have been discovered and dealt with. I wish to ask the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security to organise her Labour Inspection Department. I think with the assistance of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning e ensure that they are funded are able to move in industries to find out from our citizens what difficulties they are facing in their places of work. This will go a long way in not only attending to workers’ problems but also ensuring that employers who want to subject citizens to inhuman treatment are adequately dealt with.

Mr Chairman, if the Ministry of Labour and Social Security is well-funded, they will be able to interact and compare the working environment with their colleagues in many other countries abroad. I am aware that every year, the Ministry of Labour and Social Security undertakes a trip to the ILO in Geneva and that when they are not well funded, they carry very small delegations. As a result, they do not share widely with other people from other countries. Many other countries send delegations out there which consists of employers, workers and the Government itself to ensure that they are able to interact widely and share knowledge and also interpret a lot of rules that comply with the international labour standards. This is necessary so that we are able to appreciate what happens else. When we come back home, we are able to implement rules which are not very different from what our colleagues are doing elsewhere, especially in developed countries where we should be able to learn many things from.

Sir, the biggest problem I have observed in this country is lack of …

a clear and comprehensive employment policy. Since Zambia has no employment policy, it will obviously have these briefcase businessmen, so-called investors coming in with no clear agenda of what they want to do in the country and how they wish to help the country. When a person wants to come and invest, it should be clear, for example, how many minimum employees this person should be allowed to employ. The number of working hours must be stipulated to each employer and that whoever violets that, must meet stiff penalties. There must be stiff penalties stipulated for employers coming to invest in this country if they fail to comply with the numbers of the hours of work for an employee.

Mr Chairman, I also want to insist that we should be able, in our employment policy, to stipulate clearly that common labourers will not be allowed to come and work in this country. The example I will give is the Millennium Village where the Malaysians came to work. This is another example of the country not having a clear employment policy. I would like to implore the New Deal Government to ensure that we only allow experts to come and work in this country.

On the question of experts, I think that I would wish to advocate for a clear policy also on payment of wages or salaries to experts. I do not understand why since independence, we pay experts more money with qualifications similar to those of Zambians holding the same qualifications and doing the same job.

We do not understand why a Zambian holding a qualification of ACCA, for example, should be paid less than a person coming from outside Zambia holding the same qualification of ACCA.

Mr Kakoma: Even less.

Mr Liato: Or even less.

So, there must be a clear policy of equal pay for equal work. These are contained in International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, and  I think  Zambia has ratified most of them. But Zambia has failed to translate them into our internal laws to ensure that there is equity at places of work.

Mr Chairman, taxation in this country is very high. I would have raised this issue during the Vote on the Ministry of Finance and National Planning, but the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has the responsibility also of ensuring that they discuss with their counterparts to ensure that this issue of widening the tax base comes to reality. 

We have talked about widening tax base in this country for such a long time, but no measures have been taken to ensure that this is brought to practice. There are many people in this country who earn incomes and do not pay tax. I do not appreciate, Sir, that an employment workforce of 250,000 to 300,000 people can be taxed to cater for services of Zambians who are well over 10 million. It will not work.

The Ministry of Finance and National Planning, therefore, together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security must find ways of ensuring that there are widening the tax base to collect more taxes. The 35 per cent that workers will have to be subjected to pay is too high for these meager wages. I know that we will have a free pay of about K150,000. But K150,000 is not sufficient to see anyone live from day one of the month to the thirtieth day of the month.

Mr Chairman, with regard to payments to retirees, there are many retirees today who spend most of their time in this terrible situation because after so many years of rendering service to this country, they cannot get their retirement packages. I think the Ministry of Labour and Social Security must work hard on this one to ensure that they get their funding in order to pay retirees. There are retirees everywhere and every corner of this country who have retired and find themselves in this situation.

I would like to also discourage Government from getting involved in trade union matters. I am referring to the last ten years. I think that the history over the last ten years has been one of direct interference by Government into the running of trade unions …

Mr Kakoma: Even sponsoring trade unions.

Mr Liato: … even to the extent of sponsoring trade unions of their choice. I think this trend must stop. It destroys the integrity of trade unions and above all, it undermines the purpose for which they are formed. I would like to believe that the New Deal administration means well and will do well to ensure that trade unions are left to conduct their affairs. Let them encourage, instead, workers’ education programmes because most of the industrial disputes in this country are as the result of either little knowledge by the workforce in many industries or perhaps a situation where there has been lack of harmony because of perception differences or difficulties. If these are harmonised through workers’ education programmes, we will see very few industrial disputes. There are also disputes which are encouraged because the employers do not appreciate or understand the industrial …

The Chairman: Order! The hon. Member’s time has expired.

Mr Mwale (Chipata): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for giving me a chance after a long trial but I am sure I am not the one who wrote the note. I want the House to know.


Mr Mwale: Mr Chairman, I would like to lay my hand in supporting the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. 

Mr Chairman, first of all, I would like to question the negotiating capacity of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and other related ministries in the privatisation process in this country and in the labour laws pertaining to the privatised companies. Over the 10 years that we have gone into privatisation whether in Chipata, Nakonde, Copperbelt or wherever, the story is the same that the Zambian Government or the Zambian people have a raw deal out of whatever negotiations have taken place in the private process. I am beginning to question our negotiation capacity. I am not a lawyer but I think that in the law practice, if you are losing all cases, surely you end up getting a job in the Zambia Police Force in the Prosecution Department, …


Mr Mwale: … because you are a prosecutor and not a lawyer. Now if for ten years, whatever deal we go in, we are losers, there is something wrong with the people we are sending to negotiate. They must change jobs. We must get a crack team that can negotiate on behalf of the Zambian people and give the Zambian people benefit of what they are negotiating for. Whether in love or in war, negotiation is about you getting an advantage. Now we seem to be getting disadvantages all through. Now ten years is a long time. A ten-year old  child is very grown up and in the village, if she is a girl, she probably can get married.


Mr Mwale: Now what am I talking about? We have spoken about Konkola Copper Mine (KCM) and Kagem and I am really worried that even in the new negotiation about KCM now, we are definitely going to get a raw deal. And six months down the road, we will be back into this House crying about what happened and why we did that. We will say that we should have looked back. 

I will tune very quickly without wasting your time to two companies, for example, in the Eastern Province. If you remember, Lint Company of Zambia was sold and became Clarke Cotton of Zambia. In the ten years that this company has been sold, it has changed hands over five times, specifically as far as I am concerned to evade tax or something like that and the Government is looking by and not worried about it. As if that is not enough harm, every year when this company is changing hands, the workers must keep renegotiating their terms of employment. And when you look at the trend, the workers are slowly being reduced to daily employees. At every stage, they are losing out a right or something and the Government is watching. 

Now the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security is supposed to be there to regulate laws regarding trading factors and basically for the benefit of the Zambian people. In negotiating for these things in Lintco, for instance, it was a very large company and the companies that have changed five hands have carried on what Lintco and the Zambian management was running very successfully. They have got outgrower schemes. They have cotton all over. What has made the story worse is that cotton is grown and ready to be taken to the ginnery. We have two ginneries in the Eastern Province. They have to bring trucks all the way from Zimbabwe with drivers and lorry boys to come and ferry that cotton. Where are our transporters? We have transport businessmen in Eastern Province capable of transporting this. So, we render them redundant by bringing seven tone trucks from Zimbabwe to come and run our tobacco. And where is the creation of employment by the Minister of Labour? I thought we made a mistake by selling companies but, surely we should say we have got people that are running trucks from Mugubudu to Chipata. You do not need a brand new truck even a two-tone truck can go and solve the transport problem and creating employment. 

After the season is over, these trucks go back into Zimbabwe until the next season. Where is the creation of employment? There is also another company in the tobacco industry. A Malawian company for that matter, ‘Limbe Leaf’ which comes into Eastern province to buy tobacco and they bring trucks from Lilongwe to come and get tobacco from my villagers. Again, declaring our transporters and the creation of employment redundant. Where is the Government? Where is the love for people you are leading? Where is love for the Zambian?

Hon Opposition Member: It is not there.

Mr Mwale: At the same time, the people feel Zambians that are working in the gineries are working under slave labour. They are getting a slave wage. And yet, the Minister of Labour and Social Services is there. Mr Chairman, to echo sentiments made by my friends, we have killed labour union because if the labour union was there, they were probably going to fight for their rights. If this Government can strengthen the labour movement again it is not creating another job. It is not another course because the same worker who is already working there will be a labour leader and start working for his salary. So, there is no cost to the Government at all. 

We seem to know the disease and the medicine but we do not want to take it. That is what I think.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwanza (Mkaika): I thank you, Mr Chairman for allowing me to contribute on this Vote. I think the Ministry of Labour must be given support on this Vote. I want to join Hon Nawakwi in supporting this ministry. 

Mr Chairman, I think it is true that this ministry requires adequate funding. If you remember very well, in the days of UNIP in Kaunda’s Government, we had labour offices in various provincial headquarters. That is where most of our farmers and industries used to go and ask for labour. Our people used to register in labour offices. By so doing, if we have these offices opened up also in various districts especially that our economy has been liberalised and we have got a lot of small scale and medium scale businesses mushrooming. I think it is very important for the Ministry of Labour to expand in districts so that we can have labour offices there to address their problems. 

Sir, as alluded to by most of the previous speakers indeed, there are a lot of problems that our people are going through because of the so-called foreign investors. In some cases, you find that in the name of the so-called maintenance of skeleton staff in some of these industries that have been sold, some departments have remained with one man and as the result of this, our people can not even go on leave. There are a lot of examples, like Hon Lubinda said, if the hon.Minister would like to have evidence on such issues, I think she is most welcome. 


Mr Mwanza: Mr Chairman, it is true that some people for the last ten years have never visited their homes so that they could attend funerals because each time they asked to go on leave, they were asked who would work in their place. So, truly, I support the vote on the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that indeed, the Minister of Finance and National Planning must consider giving our hon. Minister adequate funds come the year 2003 so that she can be able to function well and help address the problems our people are going through.

With these few words, Sir, I thank you.

Mr Sibetta (Luena): Mr Chairman, the real issue here is that the workers of this country have been betrayed or sold out. They supported a group of men and women who promised to better their conditions of service, men like Hon. Newstead Zimba.


Mr Sibetta: You have betrayed the workers of this country. When I speak Sir, my heart is bleeding for the workers of this country …

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Sibetta: I started my life as a young man with Hon. Kasonde who was the first African Labour Commissioner at Independence in this country. He was very kind, he gave me a scholarship to go out to study and that was when I met people like the hon. dignified leader, Hon. Chitalu Sampa and Neswstead Zimba. These were Trade Unionists who hijacked the labour movement and misled the workers that if they gave them political power, they would better their conditions.


Mr Sibetta: I was in this House Sir, when our friend Dr Machungwa, a psychologist in Industrial Relations …


Mr Sibetta: … yes! He has a PHD in psychology and he came to this House to amend the law. Many of these people did not talk and you remember that I spoke against my friend, Hon. Machungwa …


Mr Sibetta: When he was removing the lid at the bottom of it and left the workers completely without protection. The minimum wages were removed …

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame on Machungwa!

Mr Sibetta: Enforcement of factory inspections were removed.

Dr Machungwa Interjected.

Mr Sibetta: You are the people who sold the people and as we are Sir, in privatised companies, we still have workers for United Company Bus of Zambia (UBZ) and the liquidated companies such as Contract Haulage and Zambia Airways who have not been paid their benefits. The privatisation deal was hatched by these gentlemen …


Mr Sibetta: … and sold the workers. Hon Newstead Zimba was the General Secretary of the Zambia Congress of Trade Unions. He was second to the second President of this country, Mr Chiluba. You killed our people.


Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, you are a consultant in labour. You know what I am talking about. The conditions of service for our people have deteriorated. The workers of this country will only recapture their glory if another party, not this party which has failed the people, takes over.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sibetta: The pension contributions of our civil servants have not been remitted. This Government is not remitting pension contributions. Instead, they put up conferences just for cheap popularity to be Chairman of OAU.


Mr Sibetta: That is cheap popularity, Hon. Zimba. You are the people who destroyed the movement.


Mr Zimba: On a point of order, Mr Chairman.

The Chairman: A point of order is raised.

Mr Zimba: Mr Chairman, is Hon. Sibetta, who is a specialist in labour matters, in order to divert and begin entertaining people with speeches that we have been hearing all the time about killing, instead of analysing labour issues here so that the House can benefit from his experience? Is he in order to advance in that way?

The Chairman: Hon. Sibetta, you are being advised to stick to the Vote on the Floor and stop using some funny expressions that make the House go roaring with laughter. Stick to facts.

Will you, please, continue.

Mr Sibetta: Mr Chairman, I will keep away from stepping on his cones.


The Chairman: Order! You are not debating individuals here. You are debating the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Do you still want to keep the Floor?

Mr Sibetta: I had sat down to give the Chair a chance. 

The Chairman: Are you finished?

Mr Sibetta: Sir, I can resume.


Mr Simenda (Mongu): Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on this Vote.

Mr Chairman, first of all, I would like to say that we in Zambia are facing all sorts of problems because we have let some of our best people to go and work elsewhere. I would like to ask the hon. Minister, in his response, to tell us exactly what concrete plans the ministry has in…

Mr Kazala-Laski: Do not read.

Mr Simenda: I think you are a schoolboy. Just keep quiet.


Mr Simenda: I would like the hon. Minister to tell us what concrete plans he has to try and address the question of our professionals who are working elsewhere so that they can come back and help us to resuscitate our country and our economy. There is no way we are going to develop by depending on foreign expertise.

The second point I would like to bring to the attention of the hon. Minister is that in Zambia, I think we believe in tripartism, that is, employers, unions and the Government. I am surprised that in the last ten years, we have not been able to conform to this desire by the three parties. In 1996, the unions, workers and employers agreed to have a choice in social security systems. We said that if an employer has got a pension scheme that is offering better conditions to its workers, the workers should have an opportunity to join that pension scheme and be exempted from NAPSA. Unfortunately, the Government ignored this. I do not know why.

Sir, the other point is that we have SI 119 and SI 120 which compels an employer to provide for retirement benefits to his workers. In our negotiations, we agreed that in the coming of NAPSA this Statutory Instrument would be removed compelling the employer to provide pension benefits. I am saying so because it is unaffordable by employers to be able to pay these benefits.  In fact, today if you went to all the companies in Zambia and you asked them to compute what they owe under this Statutory Instrument, you find that most of the companies will be insolvent. They will be bankrupt. 

So, I urge the hon. Minister that, she should look at this matter very seriously now that we have got NAPSA in place. The other matter I want to address is the question of collective bargaining in the civil service, in private industry we have always enjoyed relatively good industrial relations. We have had a few strikes, but in the public sector, we have had a lot of strikes. What is causing all this? Is it because we do not have people in the Government that can negotiate with the Trade Unions? The reason is that one you have a public sector not performing properly it affects the private sector.

I would also like to support the calls that have been made by my Colleagues that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security has been relegated to a ministry that is not considered to be important. This is a very important ministry. 

It deals with our own people, it deals with our manpower, and therefore, it deserves a very high profile status in Government rankings. 

The final point I want to raise is the question of Industrial Relations Court. We have had problems of the court failing to deal with industrial problems in good time. We have had workers who were dismissed from employment, and have taken their cases to the court and it is taking as long as seven to ten years to dispose of these cases. Most of them have actually died without receiving their benefits. What is the problem? Can the hon. Minister tell us what the problem is, because after somebody has been retrenched or dismissed, the anxiety in the family is so great. Some people have actually ended up getting very sick. They have committed suicide and the families have run away from them. They cannot even get the little money that they have worked for more than thirty years. 

Therefore, I am appealing to the hon. Minister to look at the question of the Industrial Relations Court so that these cases can be dealt with as quickly as possible. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mrs Nalumango): Mr Chairman, I feel greatly honoured to stand here today and support my ministry’s budget for this year. 

Mr Chairman, a number of questions have come up and a number of comments have been made, but I will start by reading what I prepared. I believe that some of the answers will come within my speech. Those that may not be covered, I hope I will be able to give my own remarks and answers to those.

Allow me from the outset to state that given the need to create investor confidence in our economy, it is our wish as Government that the situation on the labour market in the country remains calm and that there should be potential for generation of productive employment. 

Government’s role of facilitating the creation of employment, through formulation and implementation of appropriate policies is one sure way through which the current high levels of poverty can be reduced.

Mr Chairman, on the question of employment situation in the country, I wish to state that the problem of inadequate formal sector employment opportunities, particularly among the youth and women, create social distress. And therefore, pauses a major policy challenge to all of us. The ever growing labour force at an annual average growth rate of over six per cent calls for adequate measures that would ensure that a reasonable proportion of our labour force is engaged in one economic activity or the other, to earn a living. 

This will only be possible if we cultivate an environment that promotes active private sector participation and attracts foreign direct investment. I know there are a number of questions on this foreign investment. It is, therefore, the mandate of my ministry to formulate policies that do not stifle the operations of the labour market and facilitate productive employment creation.

Mr Chairman, the policy of liberalisation brought about an increased effective participation of the private sector in the economy, making it inevitably necessary for my ministry to require extra capacity to deal with industrial relations matters that come with some of the adjustments in economy in general on the labour market in particular.

Mr. Chairman, there is a lot of broad potential in the economy where employment opportunities could be exploited particularly in the areas of mining, agriculture and trade. To this effect, there are already indications that employment opportunities would be increased in these sectors in the nearest future. Further, the removal of undue controls in the trade, commerce and financial sectors over the years, provided an avenue for Zambians to engage themselves in economic activities of their own choice especially in the informal sector to earn themselves a living.

Mr. Chairman, in the new set up where we have opened up for new investment, it is a matter of great importance that the few employment opportunities, I know this has been spoken about, but I am saying that the few employment opportunities being created in the economy are firstly accorded to Zambians. I, therefore, agree with those who raised these sentiments. Sir, unless there is proper justification that the skills required for a certain job are not available locally which must be very few. As it has been noted, I do not see the need to bring in sweepers and cleaners and cooks, this is unacceptable.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Nalumango: I really do not see the need to deny Zambians a chance to engage in such openings where they are available. Industrial relations environment, the importance of a free, peaceful and harmonious industrial relations atmosphere in the country now is fundamental. As we strive to compete in attracting investments, there is absolute need to attain a high standard of peace and harmony in the labour market. My Ministry has received a number of disturbing reports. I am sure that even tonight, we have heard a number of disturbing reports on the labour market or in the industry concerning some employers. I am bringing out this because there was a point raised that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security should show that they have teeth.

Mr. Chairman, we have realised at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security that the people that are coming in are actually taking advantage of some weaknesses in our labour legislation. They are open ended and, therefore, leave room for some of these investors to take advantage of and my Ministry is working on this to try and have or at least, bring in this House some statutory instruments that will strengthen this Labour, Industrial and Employment Act.

Mr. Chairman, some of them are deliberately floating labour laws. They are simply floating them, they know about them but for others, it is also ignorance. For some of the new investors, it is ignorance and maybe we should encourage them to join the employers associations so that they know, although ignorance has no defence.

Mr. Chairman, the perpetuation of culturisation of labour is also a very bad thing, we have noticed as a Ministry but I must say that it also comes from the law. It is the way the law comes out about casual and contract labour. Again this is what I have said that we are working on that to try and bring it to some point where we will have a levelled playing field in the labour industrial relations.

Mr Sibetta: When?

Mrs Nalumango: Soon.

Hon. Members: Order! Order!

Mrs Nalumango: Is it in order?


Mrs Nalumango: Mr Chairman, protect me, I should not be confused.


Mrs Nalumango: Mr Chairman, I have said that my ministry is working out means to bring out Statutory Instruments. This will not be done by my ministry …

The Chairman: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progress reported)

The House adjourned at 2157 hours until 1430 hours on Friday, 22nd March, 2002