Debates- Tuesday 30th January, 2001

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Tuesday, 30th January, 2001

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





[Debate resumed)

Miss Mwansa (Mfuwe): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to continue my debate on the Budget Address delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Dr Katele Kalumba.

Mr Speaker, this year’s Budget focuses on the improvement of productivity, promotion of growth and improvement in infrastructure that would eventually promote poverty reduction in line with this year’s theme, ‘Empowering People for Prosperity.’

Mr Speaker, I want once more to congratulate the hon. Minister, his staff and the entire MMD Government for coming up with such a responsive Budget, which seeks to address the needs of the people.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Mwansa: It is also a clear testimony that the Government has been listening to the voice of the people.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Mwansa: Mr Speaker, it is no wonder that the whole nation, including the Opposition, has welcomed the Budget.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I want to commend the Opposition for acting responsibly over the Budget. This is the way it should be that, as Zambians, we give credit where it is due and that we criticise to build and not to destroy.

Mr Speaker, having said that, allow me to critically look at the various sectors and how they have been affected by this Budget. Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development did announce that he had allocated a total sum of K64 billion for inputs to service the peasant farmers, especially female headed households and small scale farmers. In addition, the hon. Minister stated that he had set aside another K10 billion for the purchase of agricultural produce by the Government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

Mr Speaker, other measures have been put in place to support agriculture through financing of feeder roads, irrigation and rural electrification. This has been possible because of the accession to HIPC resources.

Mr Speaker, when the 1999 Budget created a tax relief for imported agricultural machinery, it was criticised as a Budget aimed at empowering commercial farmers and not the small scale farmers, the bulk of who comprise Zambians.

Mr Speaker, this year’s Budget is truly a people’s Budget as it has addressed itself to the needy in society.

Sir, I have only one difficulty within the agricultural sector and that is that we have tended to regard the provision of inputs as a seasonal activity, instead of looking at it as an on-going activity.

In my view, Mr Speaker, this stems from the under-funding of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries for the procurement of inputs. To expect farmers to repay their loans in one season and then use the same money to procure further inputs for use in the next farming season, is almost wishful thinking. We have put too much pressure on the farmers, who for one reason or another, may not be able to meet their obligation of the payment.

In my view, a grace period should have been allowed for funding the ministry sufficiently so that they can procure inputs for at least two farming seasons without depending on the recoveries, while, at the same time, the recoveries are going on.

Mr Speaker, even governments, when they borrow, are given a grace period and I do not see why we can not do the same for our farming community.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Miss Mwansa: Mr Speaker, the Public Service Reform Programme is another area which has caused great concern to a number of people in Zambia. The resultant staff separations has caused untold misery to retrenchees because of delays in paying them their separation packages, many of whom have been rendered destitute.

Mr Speaker, it is heartening to note that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development has provided K36 billion to the Public Service Pension Fund in order to address the issue of retired civil servants and also that he will in future ensure that no more arrears are allowed to accumulate to the Pension Fund, by remitting to the fund in full and in a timely manner the K22.3 billion allocated for employers’ contributions.

Mr Speaker, I want to appeal to management of the fund to come up with regulations that will ensure that retrenchees receive their money in the quickest possible way which will cut down on their travel expenses and waiting time.

I have no doubt that with the promise of new funding from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, indeed a new culture at the fund will be seen.

Mr Speaker, poverty has reached alarming levels in Zambia and Government needs to arrest the situation as quickly as possible. The hon. Minister announced, in last year’s, Budget that Government will develop a poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP) that will spell out Government’s priorities for actions that will be the greatest impact on economic growth and poverty alleviation.

Mr Speaker, it is sad to note that this is still not in place, one year later. While I appreciate the need for a broad-based consultation, I also feel that there is need to quickly deal with some issues before they cause irretrievable damage.

I, therefore, urge the Government to quickly come up with the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) , which will critically look at some of these programmes. For instance, the hon. Minister has stated that, out of the savings arising from our accession to HIPC, resources allocated to HIV/AIDS will be for support...

Mr Nkabika: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkabika: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the Government in order to keep quiet over reported secret plans to deport the Leader of this august House, which is an important pillar of our democracy and constitution?

Mr Speaker, I have in possession a newspaper, The Post of yesterday, Monday, 29th January, 2001, on the front page headed, ‘Plot to deport Lieutenant-General Tembo exposed’, and I quote:

    ‘The ruling MMD Government has worked out a scheme to deport incumbent republican Vice-President, Lieutenant-General Christon Tembo to neighbouring Malawi before the Party’s National Convention to be held soon. Lieutenant-General Tembo yesterday confirmed, they were maneuvers to have him deported to Malawi, but warned that whoever was behind that would draw a blank. Government sources in Malawi disclosed that a team of MMD officials led by a senior Cabinet Minister were recently in that country’s capital city of Lilongwe to buy off some Malawian villagers to be paraded as Lieutenant-General Tembo’s relatives. All they want is to have Tembo out of Zambia before their party holds its National Convention ...’

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Member of Parliament for Kapiri Mposhi is an experienced parliamentarian, who ought to have known that in this House we do not engage in debates or points of order that affect hon. Members. If that were allowed, that would be tantamount to debating yourselves, at the expense of debating issues, for which your electorates have sent you here.

The Chair, therefore, will not allow the hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi to go ahead with that point of order.

May the hon. Member for Mfuwe, please, continue.

Miss Mwansa: Before I was interrupted, I was stating that I would like to urge the Government to quickly come up with the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) which will critically look at some of these programmes. For instance, the hon. Minister has stated that out of the savings arising from our accession to HIPC, resources allocated to HIV/AIDS will be given for support and drugs for home-based care and public awareness campaigns.

Mr Speaker, I submit that indeed, the nation needs to critically analyse the issue of home-based care and what effect it has to women.

With the deteriorating standards in the social services especially in the health sector, more and more women have had to bear the burden of care-givers through home-based care. The effect has been that more and more women than men have had to stay away from the market economy because they have been care-givers, looking after the sick at home.

Mr Speaker, it was for this reason that, I for one and many more, were happy to note that we had qualified under the HIPC initiative so that we could use the money saved for the provision of basic social services for our people.

In this vein, I would be failing in my duty if I did not applaud the Canadian Government for suspending all debt claims on Zambia.

Mr Speaker, in order for the Government to achieve its objectives, it will require to spend over K5 billion this year. Of this amount, only K2 billion will be internally finance while the balance will have to come from our corporation partners.

Mr Speaker, the situation is critical and requires that we, as a nation, should start thinking of raising our own resources, at least up to beyond fifty per cent. In order to do this, Mr Speaker, we need to broaden the tax base, by including the informal sector.

Mr Speaker, at the moment, the burden of paying tax is shouldered by the few people in the formal sector and it is doubtful whether the tax relief given by the hon. Minister, which is aimed at ensuring that workers take-home pay is increased, will actually make a difference when the tax base continues to be narrow.

Mr Speaker, I want to call upon the Zambia Revenue Authority to institute measures that will broaden the tax base immediately.

Mr Speaker, when everything else is said and done, the Budget will only be tested when it comes to implementation stage.

The hon. Minister did state that, last year, our economy faced two major macro-economic challenges. The first one is the rise in the World oil prices and the second one is the low level of pledged balance of payments by the donor community. These two challenges adversely affected our Budget, to a level where inflation was revised upwards to nineteen per cent and the Government domestic budget deficit was revised also upwards to 2.3 per cent of GDP.

Sir, Zambia will be facing even more challenges, notably the presidential and general elections, which are due to take place sometime this year, and also the on going implementation of the good governance programmes, all which are recipes for donor withdrawal of pledged funds.

Mr Speaker, the only way Zambia and many African countries ought to raise their financial capacities, is by insisting that the western countries give us equal trading terms.

Mr Speaker, I want to end by reiterating what the hon. Minister said, during the Budget Address that, Zambia must play to win.

Sir, I beg to move.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Shimonde (Mwembeshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for the progressive budget that he has presented to the House this year. 

My main concern, Mr Speaker, is that if we have to achieve the points that the hon. Minister has mentioned and highlighted in the budget, there should be co-operation from all the stakeholders including the Permanent Secretaries, who are controlling officers, to make sure that the desired and intended goals are achieved. I want to mention that we are pleased to receive the empowerment package that the hon. Minister has given us, which includes us the peasant farmers. It has empowered us although, on the other hand, we are slow developers or small entrepreneurs. Again the Government has given us a relief by introducing the empowerment budget for this year. 

Sir, my concern is on the village levels where our feeder roads need rehabilitation. I hope implementors for this year will make sure that the roads, dams and a few bore-holes are actually maintained.

As regards the tax base, yes, it is, indeed, important that the ZRA should improve and widen the base. They should cast the net wider in the informal sector so that the little that is there can be brought into one basket and then share the cake properly. 

Mr Speaker, I will also mention that the substance in the speech by the President has now been cleared by the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, that this is the vision for the way forward in this country. This country needs this kind of budget to progress and cover all these problems that we have been alluding to. 

Mr Speaker, I just wanted to air my views and say that this has been a progressive budget.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Dr Sondashi (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you most sincerely for the opportunity given to me to debate this motion.

Firstly, allow me to congratulate you upon your successful presiding over the affairs of this legislature. This legislature, to which you are entrusted to administer, is one of the most important organs in the state. Secondly, allow me, once again, to commend the President, Dr. Chiluba, for officially opening the proceedings of this House. I was unable to do so because of the time factor. I was unable to speak when the debate was on in this House.

Kindly, Sir, allow me again to clarify one point which was raised by the hon. Chief Whip, Hon. Mwaanga, whom I have great respect and admiration for. However, the record must be corrected regarding Hon. Sibetta's and my expression of displeasure upon the inability of the First Lady to attend Parliament.

Mr Speaker: Order! The Chair sincerely requests the hon. Member for Solwezi Central to leave that matter alone and deal with the motion on the Floor now. 

Can he continue, please, and leave that matter alone.

Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, I will leave it but I meant well. I was going to say very good things. I was just going to clarify. I meant well, but I will leave it as per your guidance.

Thirdly, Sir, allow me to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on his brilliant presentation of the budget to this House. The theme of this budget is not what he has stated in the budget, that is, ‘Empowering People for Prosperity.’ But the theme is ‘The U-turning of MMD Government towards the Poor and Disadvantaged Groups in our Society.’ I will show how the Government has ‘U-turned’ to the right path now through this budget which the hon. Minister presented.

I congratulate the hon. Minister and his Government on this because it is better late than never although this is their last time. I do not know whether they will come back or not. It is better to present it though.

Mr Walubita: You have retired.

Dr Sondashi: It is definite, I am retiring, but I do not know whether you are coming back. That is the problem.


Dr Sondashi: You see, I cannot speak with certainty that you are coming back, because you are a Lozi.

Mr Tetamashimba: He is not coming back.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, the enhanced funding for agricultural production, health and education is a commendable effort which the hon. Minister has made. The hon. Minister has allocated K64 billion, which he has made available for the input grants and soft loans to peasant farmers. This is a good start but the money is too little to enable the intended programme to take root. I hope that in future, you will give more grants and loans to this area. 

Mr Speaker, the Government must strive to spend more in subsiding agriculture. I am talking about subsidising agricultural production and marketing without being shy-driven because of the co-operating partners. It is quite important that this is done because there is no country which does not subsidise agriculture.

Mr Tetamashimba: Throughout the world.

Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, I will quote the circular which you tabled before us from the World Bank Group. It is written by Mr James D. Wolfenson who is the President of World Bank. This was circulated to, I am sure, all hon. Members. On page 2, of this letter, I will just quote briefly. He states as follows, and I quote: 

'Last year, for example, industrialised countries spent more than US$300 billion on agricultural subsidies. This is roughly equal to the total GNP for all of Sub-Saharan Africa. Debt relief without increased market access is futile.'

Mr Speaker, a capitalist organisation is telling us this. And this circular was given, at least, to ...

Mr Sibetta: To everybody.

Dr Sondashi: ... yes, you are quite right, and to us and also to the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development. Now, if these people can subsidise agriculture, what about us, whose economies are not developed?

Mr Sibetta: Surviving under HIPC.

Dr Sondashi: If we made a mistake by saying that we shall not subsidise agriculture, fortunately, we have got ammunition in our hands to ask to change that benchmark conditionality so that we subsidise agriculture and we should do this as quickly as possible. Otherwise, our economy will never take off.

Mr Sibetta: Bo Simasiku, listen!

Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, another good development in this Budget is the provision of funding for the trunk and feeder roads. This is a very good development although it has come late but, as I said, late is better than never.

I propose that the K9 billion which the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development has provided for feeder roads should be distributed equally to provinces because there are nine provinces. No province should get a bigger share than the other.

Mr Speaker, I have some criticisms to make with regard to the Budget and these are as follows:

On page 20 paragraph 130 of the Budget, the hon. Minister has reduced the Excise Duty on clear beer from 100 per cent to 85 per cent.

Mr Speaker, I have misgivings about this and I feel that there should not have been any reduction on clear beer ...

Mr Ngulube: Why not?

Dr Sondashi: ... because this is a Christian Nation.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Dr Sondashi: Is it not a Christian Nation? You are laughing.


Dr Sondashi: When we say that it is not a Christian nation, you argue and when we say it is, you are argue again. What should I say, Mr Speaker?

Mr Mwaanga: Christianity is not against drinking. 

Dr Sondashi: It is, actually. Now, I will tell you that there are so many young men and women who are resorting to the bottle these days than before, unless your children do not drink. I am worried about the drinking of my children. Maybe, Hon. Mwaanga’s children do not drink, but I know they do.


Dr Sondashi: So, we must not reduce the cost of beer. I can tell you hon. Minister since the cost of beer was raised, there has been some harmony in a lot of homes because people are not going to drink as much as they used to do.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: It is a priority.


Dr Sondashi: You carry out a research and you will find out about this.

Mr Speaker, I would urge the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to consider this matter very seriously next time he is presenting the Budget. He can ask sociologists, church leaders and, I am sure, they will be able to advise him and even the economists will be able to analyse these issues more properly than I am doing.

Sir, on page 21, paragraph 138, the hon. Minister should not have increased duty on commercial vehicles. I may not mind very much about saloon cars, but for commercial vehicles, hon. Minister, you should not have done that because the commercial vehicles are used as a means of transport these days by the poor and you should understand hon. Minister that in Zambia even poor do not use bicycles. For past two days I have been looking along Cairo Road after you presented this Budget, I have not seen a single person cycling.

Hon. Members: It is dangerous.

Dr Sondashi: It is not because it is dangerous. They do not want to cycle. Even in Shangombo, you will not find people cycling.

Mr Walubita: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Walubita: Mr Speaker, I am reluctantly rising to raise a very serious point of order. It would appear, Sir, that since Hon. Sondashi started debating this afternoon, he has been making very dangerous and unprecedented statements, even alleging that I am not coming back to this House because I am a Lozi ...


Mr Walubita: ... and now, Sir, he is alleging that in Shangombo, you will not find anybody cycling when Shangombo is part and parcel of the Republic of Zambia and enjoying all the benefits accrued to us as a district as a result of the abilities of this wonderful Government. Is he really in order to allege that if you go to Shangombo now, you will not find a single bicycle? I require your serious ruling, Sir.


Mr Speaker: That point of order requires the Chair to seriously guide the hon. Member for Solwezi Central to take note of that information provided by the hon. Member for Sinjembela, Minister of Foreign Affairs. May he continue.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, thank you very much, I will protect the Lozi interests.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, on page 8 paragraph 48 of the speech, the hon. Minister is called upon to arrest the ever-increasing price of electricity consumed by companies and individuals in this country. I do not think that it is fair for the hon. Minister to start complaining about the ever increasing prices of electricity. He must come out clear. He is empowered by the Budget to state what he will do to put in place measures that will ensure that this scourge of the ever increasing prices of electricity, without justification, is brought to an end.

Mr Sibetta: From midnight tonight.

Dr Sondashi: From midnight tonight, yes. So, we do not want him to come here and start grumbling because if he complains, who else will put this right? I think this should be the last time I will allow the hon. Minister to complain.


Mr Mwaanga: You do not have the powers.

Dr Sondashi: I now have the powers as you can see I am now acting.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, on page 13 paragraph 83, I have taken note that there will be some measures to ensure that foreign exchange is conducted in a regular manner, but my humble request to the hon. Minister is that there should be some limited measure of control in foreign exchange especially to discourage foreigners who just come into the country to buy dollars. You will find people coming in from Zaire, Tanzania...


Dr Sondashi: Yes, they just come to buy dollars, it is happening.

Hon. Government Members: Not Zaire.

Dr Sondashi: Congo DR, thank you very much for correcting me on that one. I forgot.

So, there should be some control to make sure that people who go there are genuine and are people who are supposed to get foreign exchange. Otherwise, this flight of foreign exchange will not end.

On page 14, paragraph 95, the Government requires 50 per cent or K2,605 billion to finance the Budget from outside efforts, but if we are going to finance this from our co-operating partners. I call upon this Government to commit itself to the agreements and benchmarks. If we breach in benchmarks, like good governance and what have you, we are going to have a lot of problems because we will not be able to receive this money. So, it is important for all of us, here, to assist the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, as Cabinet and us here, to adhere to the benchmarks.

On page 8, paragraph 50, since the Government abhors poverty, it should not be proud with the HIPC Initiative. When mentioning this, you even laugh, as if it is good to say that we are poor. This denotes failure by the Government to uplift the standard of living of the people in ten years. That is why we have qualified to be the poorest country in the world.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Dr Sondashi: Yes, we are the poorest country in the world. So, it is not something to celebrated. We should take stock to ensure that we come out of this poverty because the hon. Minister said that he abhors poverty and I do abhor poverty too. Yes, I agree with you. So, let us come out of this as quickly as possible. Zambia is a rich country. People who have made Zambia poor are us the leaders. We are not doing well in our jobs.

Mr Speaker, apart from these observations, I commend the hon. Minister for presenting a realistic Budget, but I do not think that you have the necessary tools, hon. Minister, I always tell you. You must resolve to implement this Budget. That is where the problem is. It is not a question of making policies, but it is a question of implementing those policies which matter and you alone, hon. Minister, cannot do it. I always tell you that you will not succeed if you do not have the co-operation of your friends in Cabinet. Otherwise, we support ...

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

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika (Mongu): Mr Speaker, I rise to congratulate the hon. Minister for his very energetic and vigorous Budget Speech. He worked very hard on it. The manner in which he delivered it, I can summarise it in Sikololo as kulimela mwahanu, which literally means cultivating in the mouth, ...


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: ... but what it, really, means is somebody who talks as if the work has already been done. Mr Speaker, as I get into the heart of the speech, I want to reflect on some of the statements of wisdom that were given by the elders of the Front Bench, as we prepared for the Budget Speech, that we should not forget our past. We should remember where we have come from. We were reminded that at one time the people used to die in queues, they slept there and now the markets and super markets are flooded. That is very true. I congratulate the Government and I am sure they know that it is the well-to-do, actually, who go to these markets and super markets. Not all the Zambians are flooding the markets. Some of them have not even been anywhere near these shops in nine years.

Mr Speaker, I want also to congratulate the Government for many, many of their very exciting ventures, including the fly-over bridge to Manda Hill, which the children are using as a play ground, they are having a wonderful time. If you have noticed, it is mainly children who use it because most of the people who go to Manda Hill drive, they are very comfortable there.

Sir, in celebrating the ten years reign of the MMD, I want to state that the hon. Minister talked about local, regional and national museums. That is a very good idea. In 1964, we did not have that foresight. Very valuable goods were taken from all over Zambia, including at Sefula Mission, where the missionaries first landed in this country. They had a museum there, but because of that error of over-centralisation, they took all those things to Livingstone and now we have lost them. So, hon. Minister, I want to congratulate you very much. That is a very, very good measure. 

In fact, I want to urge you to remember to make Kalundu House a historical museum because that is where MMD started. Remember the roots, do not get rid of the ladder. Sir, I want to congratulate the very brave men, women and children who have supported the movement very vigorously in the past ten years, particularly old men and women who walked and gave their counsel. Mr Speaker, you will recall that children participated actively in the 1991 election and we need to ask ourselves how come they are quiet today.

I also want to commend the women who were not afraid of ‘come November 1’. We had four women in the National Executive Committee and I am sure the numbers have increased, but at that time it was pioneering and some of them, unfortunately, have not been treated fairly, but I just want to support the idea, do not forget the ladder.

Sir, I note that this was the hon. Minister’s farewell speech, just like last week’s speech, he forgot to say farewell.

Hon. Member: To go where?

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Farewell for this term. 

Mr Speaker, good economics of a country goes hand in hand with the social, political environment and climate. The economy cannot exist in a vacuum. It is supported by the social and the political environment and although the Government has done many, many good things, I want to say not all Zambians are free. Maybe, many of them are not free. It is true we have freedom of expression on paper, but in reality it is not really there. Even freedom of association may not be so free. This may be the only country where the citizens cannot demonstrate. Permits are very difficult to find and sometimes they are denied. Only members of the ruling party are allowed to demonstrate and express themselves.

Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development did a super job and he has gained a lot of respect from the delivery of this speech. He, really, gave it very well and I want to remind all of us leaders that respect is earned, not demanded. You do not threaten people to respect you. Just do the work and the respect will flow. If you look at people like Mandela, their thoughts are translated in words and actions that the people respect. In fact, not too long ago somebody insulted him in England and even the Government of England was very frightened, but Mandela said, ‘Let him speak, I am human’. So, respect is earned. It is not through threatening or bulldozing people. Just do your work and the respect will follow you.

Mr Speaker, last year I requested the hon. Minister to bring to this House an engendered Budget. I can see that he heard what I said. I am not quite sure what the problem was because what has, really, come out in the forefront is the gender vocabulary such as ‘female-headed households in the peasant farming,’ which we welcome and assume he means it too.

We hope that in the future the Government that comes into power can bring to this House, an engendered Budget. For example, we would like to know specifically, how women will benefit. 

I would like to urge the hon. Minister and his colleagues to be very careful and make sure that among the peasant farmers, women will be in majority. He has rightly pointed out that we have female-headed households. We know that the money is not enough for all the poor female-headed households, but we would want to be sure that we target those women in most difficult circumstances such as widows, old people and destitute women and make sure that they benefit in a systematic manner and not ad hoc or because they belong to the ruling party. This money is for the Government and it is for all Zambians. It is not party money.

Mr Speaker, I was very disappointed at not the mention of children. We are looking in a future for a budget that will highlight children specifically, not by accident because they are immunised or they go to the Ministry of Health, but specifically any child care stimulation. That is the foundation. We do not have so many advisers so that we can reduce on the other group in the long-term, but we should lay the foundation now by investing in the children, particularly the ages between zero to seven, before they start school. That is really where the bulk of the Budget should go so that we can have our own experts, or have people who can sharpen the economy, or have people who can get rid of HIPC. 

I also expected the hon. Minister to show us how the young people are going to benefit specifically. We must commend our young people in our country that despite being left out in the cold, they have really done a tremendous job in organising themselves and trying to survive.

Hon. Members: Order! Order!{mospagebreak}

Mr Kangwa crossed the Floor.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, unfortunately too many of them are still on the streets selling tomatoes and all sorts of merchandise. Our future leaders cannot be left to the streets. We need to spend sleepless nights budgeting for them. They need to be seen as a high priority. 

Sir, although our life expectancy has gone down drastically in the last ten years, we still have old people all over the country who are destitute. We are not suggesting that the Government should go door to door, but we just want to make sure that all the programmes that are put in place will touch these people because they cannot even walk.

We also would like to see some measures to support people with disabilities. We would like to see children, men and women, old and young with all forms of disabilities catered for in the Budget. 

Mr Speaker, although we are told that the Electoral Commission is independent, or it is supposed to, this being a crisis year and an election year, nothing has been done to facilitate the registration of voters. I want to ask the hon. Minister to do all he can to encourage and support the registration of voters. Obviously it is too late now to register the voters. As I am talking now, Mongu is under water and it is going to be like that until July or August. It should have been done a long time ago. 

Therefore, I propose that all the money, I know there is a lot of money the partners and the Government have set aside to support the voters’ registration, I suggest that all this goes towards National Registration Cards to make sure that Zambians vote by National Registration Cards (NCR). Obviously the Government cannot cope with two exercises; the voters’ registration and NRC. So, let us put all the resources into NRC and then make sure that Zambians vote by NRC. There are too few people who are registered. We do not want a minority Government coming here, but a majority.

Mr Speaker, the people of Mongu were not too excited with the hon. Minister’s speech, particularly when he said, he was so happy and was alluding to the economic progress in the United States of America and Europe, ...


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: ... they were not amused. Of course, they cannot really celebrate on behalf of other people. They do not hate them but wanted to know more about the money in their own pockets and food in their stomachs.

The statistics that were read were fantastic, I am sure the partners are happy and we people in the House are happy, but the people really are not listening to those statistics. They would like those figures to be translated into household food security, meals at the table and all care basic services. Therefore, I would like to advise the hon. Minister to learn local economics. The villagers ask us to tell them more about this currency which they are saying is picking. Then they would ask, “How much was a box of matches in 1964, 1999 and 2001? If the currency is picking, how come now we are paying thousands and yet before we used to pay a penny?”

I learnt some more economics from them. They told me in 1964, 1991 and 2001 a piece of fish has been sufficient for relish but this money keeps getting lighter and lighter. So, the people are not poor. They have a lot of resources. I want to encourage the Government to zero in on supporting and encouraging local production. Utilisation of local resources, even sand should be encouraged, so that our people can create their own income. They are not poor it is just that we are not helping.

Our language of economics needs, indeed, to be on the international economic order but we must also address the economic situation of our people. They are getting poorer and poorer, some of them are even saying they have no words to describe the economy, even the ‘saliva is dry in their mouths.’ We need to make sure that we support our people.

Sir, I would like the hon. Minister to make sure that he encourages Zambians abroad to invest in Zambia. I hope we can take this up as a project so that some of the money which is outside can come back to Zambia which, of course, will help us as we are talking about shortage of foreign exchange. Also, the hon. Minister can monitor how many Zambians are paid locally in foreign exchange and remit most of that exchange outside. 

I would be grateful, if the hon. Minister can clarify the truth whether the US $50,000 salary for the Governor of the Bank of Zambia is actually a loan that we are accumulating per month. I understand that it is a loan and that US $20,000 is remitted outside. Maybe, he can clarify that with his expertise.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to give the hon. Minister two pieces of advice, and one of them is that the speech is a good programme and we can use it as a foundation. The hon. Minister should not feel that he should always be there to be Minister of Finance and Economic Development to complete his programmes. In life we do not work like that. 


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: You lay a good foundation and other people build on it. You start a good programme and other people continue.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: When the Lord says pack up and go, you cannot say, “Sorry my Lord I have to finish my programme.”

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: In life there is no a such thing as finishing programmes. 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister knows very well that in New York City, the people who made plans for the underground train, made them hundreds of years before, for the future generations to use. They did not say just because we are planning underground train we shall live forever to finish our programme. In life there is no such a thing.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Sir, even the Lord Jesus did not finish his programme, ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear, hammer!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: ... but he left his programmes to the Holy Spirit, disciples, apostles and us who love him.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: He did not stay here forever to finish his programmes.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to help us by giving a farewell package to those people who came and camped  at the National Assembly Motel and vowed not to go back until the President said he would stay in power forever. We hope he can give them a package so that they can go. We were really harassed because they were so many such that even the food was running out.


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: My last piece of advice to the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is to utilise the traditional rulers to enhance long term economic development and not to give them pocket money. We are afraid that some of the Royal Highnesses were already beaten and so, please, do not jeopardise them, again, by giving them pocket money, but involve them in economic planning and development. Lastly, Sir, I would like to urge the hon. Minister to ensure that this money for the peasant farmers is not handled by hand, it should go through the Government channel. The money should not be handled by Members of Parliament or party cadres, let the structure and channels of the Government work and deliver to all Zambians and not to some of them.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu (Nominated): Mr Speaker, I would like to begin by congratulating you, although belatedly, on your election to the important office of Speaker of the National Assembly. I do remember when you came into this House for the first time, you occupied a seat where the hon. Member for Kamfinsa sits and I take note of the various offices that you have held. You have practically sat on every bench, the back, middle and the Front and now you are the Chairman of the biggest House in the land. I would like to congratulate you on being Speaker of the House.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu: Sir, I would like to thank all hon. Members who welcomed us when we came into this House. It was a very warm welcome and I do hope that we shall all respond the way I am responding because even those who were not able to speak have always extended a warm hand towards us, and we are grateful.

Mr Speaker, I also take note of the unfortunate loss of so many hon. Members of the House since 1991. We have lost many hon. Members and I would like to thank your office for making it possible for some kind of memory to be reserved in the library. I have seen pictures of some brave men in the land such as Joshua Lumina, Lumizu Shimaponda, Muonga and the rest and I would like to suggest that, perhaps, all the hon. Members who are not there be included because it appears that everyday the list is growing.

Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Movement for Multi-party Democracy,...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu: ... although belatedly, on having done it again in 1996 and consequently and subsequently in by-elections. The people of this country have demonstrated that they are interested in programmes rather than politics of personalities and I think this is a great thing. Sir, any political party that wants to form a Government must have a programme and without a programme, I do not see them forming a Government. I think the situation, now, is nice.

Sir, let me also congratulate the Government on having introduced two very crucial policies, one of privatisation and the other of liberalisation. When we came into power in 1991, we had no independence but today, we have that factor and I think this is good and it is a sign of growth. Sir, I do remember that at one time the ‘great leader’ ordered UNIP not to contest elections, some brave men in Western Province such as the hon. Member for Luena (Mr Sibetta) and the hon. Member for Lukulu East (Mr Luhila) went independent and they are in this House now.

Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate them on being brave. Keep it up and I do hope that in the next few weeks, they will cross and come here where they rightly belong.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu: Mr Speaker, liberalisation in politics and economics has been very good. We have seen the birth of so many NGOs. If only these NGOs had directed their energies and resources towards poverty alleviation and if only they had brought money to serve the people that they intended to, I think by now, we would have reduced poverty by between 15 and 20 per cent. Sadly, their agenda is not helping the poor ...

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu: ... actually practically they are political. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on having ably brought a Budget which he has called ‘Empowering People for Prosperity’. I would like to amend it so that it reads ‘Empowering Zambians for Prosperity’ because other people are not our concern.


Mr Musakabantu: Mr Speaker, the Budget addressed many key issues the mining sector, agriculture, construction, tourism and many more. The Budget did also address social services but I would like to pick three sectors. The first one is mining and agriculture and if there is time, I will talk about tourism.

Mr Speaker, during the period of nationalisation in this country, so much harm was done to the mining sector. I had the privilege of working for NCCM then, Chingola Division and I do remember that just during the transition between the private sector operations of the mines and the nationalisation, we did see the collapse of social services. We did see the investors in mining begin to withdraw their investment. We began to see old machinery run down. But, Sir, now that we have privatised the mines and they have gone back into private hands, I think we are beginning to see, and I think the hon. Minister has indicated that there is new capitalisation. They are now putting in new machinery and getting the mines to work towards optimum levels so that this country can benefit by way of job creation.

Mr Speaker, we have seen low productivity but I think this will be a thing of the past. Now, the only thing I would like to suggest that, now that the mines are going to operate well, the Government should take good stock of what has not been done. The mistakes that were made in the Second Republic must not be repeated. Already I do see that we are not interfering, we are only intervening when it becomes necessary.

Mr Speaker, I would like to propose that a legal framework be worked out. Maybe, a sub-committee of Cabinet to include labour, mines, finance, local government and environment be established. I indicated that since the Government is not going to participate in mining, the mines are going to operate as a private sector, it means, therefore, that the Government cannot go to bed, they must stay standing. Now, what this means is that the Ministry of Labour and Social Security must ensure that the laws pertaining to wages and salaries and conditions of service of our people on the mines are such that they are commensurate with the qualifications, experience and nothing more or less. 

Sir, I do not want to see a situation which we have seen in the past where A-level holders from the UK come into this country and are trained by a holder of B.Sc.. Degree from the University of Zambia. After the UNZA graduate has taught them for about six weeks, they become his supervisors. I think the late Hon. Remmy Chisupa was one such victim.

Mr Speaker, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development still has the responsibility, especially that for a long time the mining industry is going to remain the largest foreign exchange earner, whether we like it or not. Now, this means that for us to benefit from the wealth that the mining industry generates, we must have a proper monitoring system. But I also do note that the production of minerals results into water and atmospheric pollution. The people who have lived in Kabwe are aware of the lead pollutants that used to go up in the air, making curtains in houses very dirty. People who have lived in Nkana will be aware of the air pollution which was for a long time, uncontrolled making breathing very difficult and creating breathing problems for children.

We are also aware that the pollution of Kafue River, which, I think, is the only river which waters more than three quarters of the country, that is Copperbelt, Northwestern, Central, Lusaka, Western, Southern provinces. Sir, the discharge from the mines in the past, were left in the hands of the mines. You cannot leave the mines to control the levels of water pollution. That must be the responsibility of Government or the Government working jointly with the mining industry.

Mr Speaker, I have known of a country where leading industries get involved in education. I feel that with proper co-ordination between the Ministry of Education and the mining industry, we would see the curriculum of our institutions channeled towards industry and the mining industry supporting education and vice versa. When the curriculum addresses industry, employment problems will not arise because we will have trained people for whom there is a market. Now, if we are going to train people without knowing whether they are going to fit into the industry, then we will get a very high level of graduate unemployment.

Sir, I believe that the mining industry in this country has a very great opportunity and future. I am glad that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in the Budget, has made it clear that he will support the industry and that, in fact, he has seen what somebody used to say, ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ may be it is the light at the end of privatisation of the mines.

Mr Speaker, coming to agriculture, which is my mother ministry, this is the largest employer in the informal sector. I want to classify farmers in this country into four categories. The small scale farmer, they are many and scattered all over. They have very poor lobby and no spokesman. They just shout and sometimes, when things go wrong, they will complain about the Government and if there is nothing to complain about, they complain about the weather.

Now, Sir, we have the second category, the intermediate farmer. Someone emerging out of the small-scale farming. This person is enlightened. He could be a retiree from the Civil Service or the mining industry. He could be a small holder on the outskirts of Kalulushi or Kabwe. Now, this person is increasingly demanding the use of technology. He wants to use a water pump, tractor and he wants to have access to forex. 

Mr Speaker, we then we have the individual large-scale farmer whose understanding is very wide, almost unlimited. We also have the large scale corporate farmer, perhaps even difficult to classify. What I want to say here is that all these farmers have different needs. They need Government and to a certain extent, would like to play their part to ensure that this country is self-sufficient in food production.

Mr Speaker, I wish to request that in view of the fact that Government has removed duty on machinery, there still remains a very big problem of spares for agricultural machinery.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Musakabantu: Sir, the small-scale farmer or the upcoming farmer would like to buy a second hand tractor and would like to buy spare parts for it, but the VAT is so high that one cannot afford them. You get a tractor at K1 million and the spare parts are K20 million. We cannot move forward like that.

There is also a situation where the upcoming farmer wants a water pump. For it to be serviced, he has to get a spare part from Honda, but he cannot because it is too costly. Mr Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to consider revisiting VAT and duty on agricultural spare parts.

Now, Sir, historically in this country, agriculture has been about maize and fertiliser. I listened to the debates of hon. Members in this House. Perhaps, we cannot be blamed for talking about fertiliser and maize, but I must say since 1991, MMD has always said that they want to diversify. The portfolio for the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Fisheries is more than maize and fertiliser. We have fish, vegetables and other crops like tobacco, wheat, livestock, etc. We also have the need for drugs to ensure animal health. 

Mr Speaker, it does happen very often that the diseases that attack animals, eventually attack humans. So, if animal health is weak and if this country cannot look after animal health, then we have not looked after human health. Hon. Kavindele is working hard at the Ministry of Health, but his budget will be growing all the time. 

So, Mr Speaker, I want to request that the Government pays attention to all the sectors of agriculture. I am happy that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development has addressed the issue of water. We want more dams and boreholes. They have not been specifically mentioned. We need them because we want food throughout the year, as we eat throughout the day, then we must produce throughout the day. If we rest and wait for rains, we have not done well. It is embarrassing that right now, we have a very good amount of rain all over, except for Monze, Namwala and a few other places, but by and large, this country is now doing very well, but all this water, in three months’ time, will be in the Indian Ocean. We shall have no water here. I think we must catch this water. I congratulate the Government on having ordered the machinery from China. I do hope that the Commandant for the Zambia National Service will exercise discipline to ensure that this machinery is not run down before it serves its purpose.

Sir, I would also want to ask the Government to support the production of cattle and animal drugs and fertiliser, locally. When hon. Members here say that there is no fertiliser in Lundazi, Katete or Ndola Rural, the problem is that the fertiliser is coming from very far away places. Government has no control. So, we must support Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) and in my view, it is one of those industries that must be saved from privatisation.

Mr Speaker, I would further want to ask the Government to extend the hand that they have extended to Southern Province to other provinces. The problem with cattle diseases like corridor, is that they are tick borne and a tick moves. If cattle are moved from the Southern Province, through the line of rail, the ticks drop in Chisamba and attack livestock there. Today, as I am talking, Mkushi and Chongwe District have been attacked by corridor disease. So, it would be a good idea that we combat corridor disease in all the provinces where we have cattle. Although there is no cattle movement towards the Eastern Province the ticks move, so we must take measures.

Sir, I want to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development on having, at last, remembered the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). I think this bank, for a very long time, has not been adequately funded. This is most unfortunate. This is the only bank that could have enabled Zambians to buy some of the privatised companies, but because we had no credit facility, there was no way many of us could have bought the privatised companies. Most of the people who have come to this country to buy privatised companies have either borrowed from a bank like DBZ, in their own home country or they have a kind of ‘godfather’ who perhaps, is a retired millionaire and who has got the capacity to sponsor a son for adventure to Africa.

I would, therefore, say, Mr Speaker, that for DBZ, there is need to have a desk for agriculture because for a long time it has always been concerned with businessmen only. While I agree that all these people deserve support, I think the support DBZ has given to agriculture has been minimal, if not nothing. They should be part of the agricultural process. 

In fact, I would like to extend my request to Government, through the Vice-President, that if we are serious about agriculture in this country, we must employ a multi-disciplinary approach. All ministries must consider themselves capable of putting something in agriculture. We would like to see the Ministries of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Environment and Natural Resources and so on talking agriculture, not just the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

Mr Speaker, I would also, therefore, say, perhaps, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, which is in charge of NGOs, should make it a must that they allocate 50 per cent of their donor funds towards agriculture. They have to extend their money to the rural people of this country. Lusaka and Copperbelt Provinces are now over-populated because everybody wants to come to these provinces. Now that the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development has devoted resources to rural areas by developing roads, I do hope that people will stay where they are as long as there is water, electricity and good roads.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. L. Phiri (Chipangali): Mr Speaker, may I take this opportunity to thank you for having identified me to contribute to the debate on this serious Budget Speech, which was tabled in this august House last Friday.

Sir, may I start by putting the record straight in this august House, especially to those who say that the Opposition debate to impress the public gallery and the media. The debates by the Opposition are well-meaning. The only side which helps people and talks about their sufferings is the Opposition. We do not fear to be expelled and labelled as being against other people continuing in their offices.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hammer, hammer! {mospagebreak}

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, as Opposition Members, we stand here for the people who are suffering. So, our debates, this side of the House, should be taken seriously because we mean well. Therefore, Sir, I would like to appeal and urge the Front Bench that it is high time they started learning from people who tell them the truth.

In 1990, the former President, Dr Kenneth Kaunda toured the country before the 1991 elections. In the Copperbelt Province, people told him, ‘ifintu filibwino kuno, do not worry’. It was like that everywhere. What happened when elections came? It was disaster. So, if people are not telling you the truth now, it is very unfortunate. They might not be advising you correctly. So, the only people who can advise the Government properly is the Opposition.

Hon. Government Members: Who are you?


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, may I also congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, who presented the speech in this august House, which was coated with honey. If the way he was dancing and talking here is what will happen practically, then it is a job well done, even if it has come too late.

Mr Speaker, this type of a Budget is supposed to have come some two or three years ago because the Government would have followed their programmes properly. People who are analysing this Budget are saying that it is a job well done because there will be elections this year. Such budgets should not only come during elections, people have suffered for nine years.

Hon. Government Members: They have not suffered.

Mr L. L. Phiri: If you go to rural areas, people are dying in their homes because they are failing to acquire money to pay for their medical care. Sir, if you go round the country to get statistics of how many children have failed to go to school in the past nine years, the percentage is higher than before MMD came into power. Parents have completely no money with which to take their children to school.

Mr Speaker, since 1991, the number of people dying in Zambia because of lack of food has gone up. People are dying not of diseases but of poverty. So, if this Budget came some three years ago, ...

Professor Luo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Professor Luo: Mr Speaker, I rarely rise on points of order, but the debate on the Floor has forced me to rise and raise a point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Chipangali in order to come to this august House and mislead this nation about death for which he has no statistics and to talk about going round the country when he has not even been anywhere else apart from Chipangali and Lusaka?


Mr Speaker: That point of order by the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport could form a good background for her when she decides, if at all, to debate the motion that is before the House at the moment.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Long live, the Chair!

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

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am ready to take the hon. Minister of Communications and Transport because I am the next of kin. So, if she is seriously thinking of going back to Eastern Province, I am ready for her.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Sir, what I have just been saying is the correct situation of Zambia as of now. So, for the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development to have come up with this Budget this year, he meant well, but it is too late. Why am I saying so? This will be the busiest year in Zambia because right now, there is the national registration cards exercise going on. We are also going to host the OAU summit and then there will be elections. So, the Budget will not be implemented and monitored seriously.

Mr Speaker, it is very unfortunate that the Government should be making promises, while the real issues are not being solved. I would want to encourage and appeal to the Government, through the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, not to depend on donors to fund this Budget. It will mean well to the people of Zambia because even my own relatives who are still UNIP will still benefit.

Mr Speaker, we can only accept this Budget if the resources will properly be accounted for in all circles. A well meant Budget is usually diverted in a lot of ministries because there is no accountability.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister informed this House that K12 billion will be given to agriculture. What we require is not what they will fund the ministries, but how the money will be channelled.

Mr Simasiku: Can you explain to us so that we follow up.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hon. Simasiku, I know you had been a senior district governor for a long time. Do not think of how you had been there.


Mr L. L. Phiri: This is a new culture. You have a problem in catching up. In fact, you will fail this Government again the way you failed UNIP. 


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, if they invest this amount in agriculture while following the policies which MMD has put in place from 1990 to date, if not checked, agriculture will never be boosted. We do not want the Government to politicise agriculture and leave it in the hands of party cadres. What these party cadres in co-operatives are doing is not good at all.

I arrived from Chipangali this afternoon. There are thirty co-operatives and five of them belong to a Mr Silwimba. Some youths have been seen in the corridors of hon. Ministers who approve co-operatives, which do not even assist the poor Zambians. But you will be surprised to note that some bags of fertiliser or inputs are now being sold in Indian shops and everywhere in the corridors and roads of Chipata. This is being done. 

Mr Walubita: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Walubita: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. Is the young hon. Member of Parliament in order to debate in such a manner. His ideas are disjointed and not co-ordinated thereby making it difficult for the Government to understand the real issues he is trying to highlight? Is he in order to make a very serious racial remark by referring to some businessmen and women in Zambia as Indians? I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Do not interfere. Wait for your day.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs raises a point of order with regard to the unusual manner, in his opinion, that the hon. Member for Chipangali is debating. What is important in this case is the fact that the Chair is clearly following what the hon. Member for Chipangali is saying.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Tetamashimba: Fifty years to go as the Chair.

Mr Speaker: And it is the assumption of the Chair, that the rest of the House is following the manner in which the hon. Member is debating as well as the points he is making.

With regard to the other aspect of his debate, the Chair recognises the fact that reference to who owns shops in the Eastern Province, particularly Chipata, was made in good faith, not in a disparaging manner. Said otherwise or put otherwise, the Chair would rule against any racial remarks in the National Assembly of the Republic of Zambia.

Will the hon. Member for Chipangali continue, please.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for your protection. I do not know which language I should use to make the hon. Minister understand because if he was a Bemba, I would have hammered him in Bemba, especially if it was Hon. Sata. 


Mr L. L. Phiri: Now, since it is him, even if I use Nyanja, he will not get the points because I do not know which language he understands as he is involved in peace talks. He is never in the House and in the country. In fact, he does not even know how the people of Zambia are suffering. So he should put the points the way he wants them to be put.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, many Zambians will benefit from the money that has been provided for agriculture, if properly monitored. The poverty reduction programme they are talking about, which has hammered us for nine years, if properly monitored, can change the situation. This is a serious issue which MMD Government has embarked on. There should be accountability. They should not issue things to party cadres the way CDF committee and agriculture co-operatives did. If they do this, they will mess up the Food Reserve Agency by making it have a lot of defaulters who regard loans as bonuses. 

Those running these co-operatives are asking people to firstly present party cards before they join co-operatives. For example, in Chikuni area, where I come from, at Ruji, my own village, one branch official was caught last week asking for voters cards before distributing fertiliser. This has happened. I am just from there and this is a very correct record. It is a sad state of affairs. I wish to advise the Government to let co-operatives be run by those who have the experience and the capacity to deliver to those who are suffering. Politicians should just be members of co-operatives. They should not be leaders. That is what we are trying to say. 

Co-operatives should have proper banks. Like we had ...

Mr Kapangalwendo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kapangalwendo: Mr Speaker, I also rarely rise on points of order. 

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Kapangalwendo: Is the hon. Member for Chipangali in order to debate in such an arrogant manner. Must he point his finger at and threaten Mr Speaker? I need your serious ruling, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Chipangali may resume his debate but avoid threatening the Speaker!


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, my hon. Brother means well, but it is unfortunate because I do not think they will repeat the elections in his province. He will not get the chairmanship. In fact, I can see Hon. Kapapa in good health again. So, whatever he is vying for is drawing blanks.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, MMD removed Zambia Airways and brought in Zambian Airways. They also removed district governors but they have brought in district administrators. They are just changing names, they mean well. This is how agriculture should also be done. If they think that Lima and Co-operative banks are UNIP institutions, they can still set up other banks similar to those so that the Zambian people, who are suffering can be employed. In fact, we will say it is a job well done. I am in Opposition, but we do not eat politics. This is a very serious issue. When we talk about agriculture, we talk of people's lives and the economy that is not doing well. 

Sir, the second point is serious because this speech is, really not to waste time but to advise them where they can at least do one or two things for them to be, maybe, forgiven as a listening Government so that when we come into power next year, we can accommodate a few of them.


Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has addressed tourism, the mining sector and so forth, but as for local Government, he did not mention any figure he wants to give to this ministry and yet it is the heart of the people who are out there suffering. It is not well-funded in this country. Whatever the Central Government is going to put in place, it is zero.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: They have no heart.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, I would appeal to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development that Local Government should also be given priority. The ministries UNIP used to first give priority were the ministries of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, Health, Home Affairs, Education and many others. These others do not matter to the well-being of Zambians who are suffering.

May I end up by once more thanking the hon. Minister who presented this, but he should take care because it is already in the dying minutes. We would only appeal to them to effect proper accountability and use our own Zambian resources. It should not be a donor driven Budget.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel (Lusaka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate my good friend, the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for a well presented speech. However, Sir, I did say to the hon. Chief Whip, after the Budget presentation, that the speech sounded very good and I spent the week-end reading it and as they say ‘the devil is in the detail,’ so, I am not very impressed. The theme is ‘Empowering People for Prosperity,’ but I would like to rename it because I have now read the Yellow Book, the Economic Report and also the previous nine Budget speeches of the MMD.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: I would like to give it the theme ‘Empowering the Big Investor  for Prosperity and Keeping the People Alive’


Mr Patel: I know, but I think that is what it means.

Mr Ngulube: Bauleni.

Mr Patel: Sir, if you keep in mind ...

Dr Sondashi: On a point of order Sir.

Mr Speaker: A Point of order is raised.

Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, I am sorry to raise a point of order on my friend. We were together when we were organising MMD successfully.


Dr Sondashi: Mr Speaker, is Hon. Sikota Wina in order to pretend to sit there, quietly, without telling us what he is up to when he is advising his wife and sister-in-law, Hon. Inonge ...

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: His niece.


Dr Sondashi: ... to dress in red without telling us what the occasion for the celebration is ... 


Dr Sondashi: ... and without him knowing that red is specially reserved for the Speaker? Is he in order, Sir?


Mr Speaker: This point of order from the hon. Member for Solwezi Central is one where the Chair must rule as to whether the hon. Member for Chililabombwe is in order to tolerate the manner of dress that hon. Members for Kanyama and Mongu Central are in. For a very obvious reason, both are royal.


Mr Speaker: And red is a royal colour.


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

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, as I was saying ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, nice to see you, again.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear! {mospagebreak}

Mr Patel: Sir, I must congratulate the Government on having worked so hard and diligently over a long period of time to break the backs of the International Community and financing organisations to have achieved HIPC and in particular, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. I also want to pay tribute to my friend, hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development for having been appointed on the Advisory Council of the World Bank. He makes all Zambians proud. Thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, one cannot look at the Zambian economy from year to year because we have many natural shocks and events like droughts, man-made things like potholes etc. in our economy. Therefore, one has to look at it from a long period of time and if you look at a long period of time of ten years, you will see that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has gone from bad to worse. We are almost 300 dollars per head at the moment. So it has been stagnant and it started at $650 in the 1980s. At the time the UNIP Government devastated it all, it was at $397 and that devastation has caused the Government a lot of pain and hurt to resolve. However, the GDP stood at about $322 in 1999.

The issue here, really, is that the stagnant economy plus the growing population, equals increasing misery and I think HIPC and other issues are trying to resolve that, but one of the biggest issues, which I have a different opinion with is in regard to inconsistency in implementing policy. The hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development last year read and I quote in his last year’s speech, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, in his Budget 2000 address, despite the evidence to the contrary said,

‘We, the MMD have remained steadfast resisting the desperate and half hearted, disjointed attempts to promote the structural adjustment that were typical of the Second Republic.’

With due respect, please excuse me, that is not the correct statement and it is this inconsistency that has brought us where we are today. This year’s Budget of almost K5.015 trillion, almost half of it is to be financed by the internal community and yet we have arrived at most of the agreements with the International Community. So we have the Budget that has been announced but, maybe, 30 to 40 per cent is not financed. 

Mr L. L. Phiri: More than 50 per cent.

Mr Patel: The hon. Minister in his television debate last night acknowledged that it needs to be looked at but he said something very interesting which is not in the speech and that is, 'Please look at the structure of the Budget, in the event that we have problems with the International Community with regard to getting less money than they promised us, as has been the case in the past, the Budget has been structured in such a way that a lot of the programmes will be implemented from our own domestic resources.’ 

The question I, therefore, ask the hon. Minister, is: what will be the impact if we do not receive most of the funds during the course of the year?

Sir, the hon. Minister talked about empowerment. Empowering who? Let me give an example. The Presidential Housing Initiative is building an OAU village which has empowered Malaysians. I was there yesterday. I was there during the weekend and I was there last week. There are Malaysians who are using shovels to dig holes in our ground and pushing wheelbarrows. What sort of empowerment example is that? I really question that.

Sir, the other issue is trade policy. This policy is a shambles and I say so for the following reasons. The millers in our country are going to depart from here. Having acceded to the Free Trade Area when we should have, really, asked for stand still agreement, meaning a waiver until we are ready. But we did not do that. So, the impact is going to be on our direct economy. Ask the maize and wheat growers in this country by December or early next year, we will hear the screams from our producers that they are unable to sell their produce because it is cheaper today to bring bags of mealie meal from Harare, transport it all the way to Lusaka and distribute it in Zambia than to use and distribute our own in our country. These issues have not been dealt with in the Budget.

Another example is the duty reductions given on issues like barbed wire and other things. Why? I thought we should have given to value-added industries. What are the value-added industries in Zambia? That is what we can make out of copper, the copper wire, leather, timber and cotton. Those are the value-added products of our country where we can have value-added and export. So, we leave more money behind. Again, this disparity in policy about empowering and providing reduced duties on products that are traditionally imported, to me, does not sound logical. To reduce duty on opaque beer when, traditionally, you would not want to enhance drinking of beer or cigarette smoking as I do is not sound logic, but, nevertheless, the hon. Minister has done that.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister on last night’s television debate was waffling, if I may use that word, when he was asked, ’how do you put these things together, extreme poverty of 70 per cent and then spending K64 billion on the OAU Village and holding an OAU conference where the country will only hold the Chair for four months before we go to elections?’

Mr Mwaanga: No. It is for the whole year.

Mr Patel: Another President will take over the chairmanship after October, 31st. So, the question, really, is there.

Mr Walubita: It is the country.

Mr Patel: Yes, I agree with what the hon. Minister said. We are not an island, but we must hold these things when we can afford it, when there is stability and growth in the economy. It is no use buying a Mercedes Benz if you cannot afford to service it or to put fuel in it. So, I cannot understand the priority with regard to that and I do accept that the hon. Minister had great difficulty in answering that question.

Mr Speaker, on the pension arrears, it is good that the hon. Minister has began paying these, but from what we learnt from our Committee reports last year, the liabilities are in excess of about US $500 million. That is a huge amount. We do not see the real issues in the Budget. If arrears are an important part, they should be reflected in the Budget. We do not see all the problems and the liabilities. So, when the hon. Minister says, ‘I am paying K36 billion towards the Pension Fund and I will make sure it is paid every month’, everybody feels very glad about it, but what the country does not understand is what are these total liabilities? 

Look at the problems we had with the selling of the mines and the problems that we still have to carry forward even in this year’s Budget. Over K200 billion is to be paid to suppliers of former ZCCM. What is the total domestic debt? The Yellow Book does not show anything, hon. Minister. You do not reflect real issues in the Yellow Book. They are not there at all and we want to have the real questions with the real answers so that we understand where we stand because this is just glossing over things.

Mr Speaker, on tourism and I want to declare interest here, I have an interest in Siavonga. Hon. Members, why only Livingstone and the hon. Minister talks about ...

Mr Mwaanga: Interjected.

Mr Patel: Hon. Mwaanga, I am talking to the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, with due respect. My issue here is, the hon. Minister talks about leveling the playing field a number of times in his speech. How do you level a playing field if you only give Sun International the incentives whilst Zambians cannot invest in their own country with incentives unless your name is Mr Van de Gist or, perhaps, you come from Johannesburg or Pretoria.

Hon. Member: No.

Mr Patel: Yes, it is true. Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs, you have received incentives yourself.


Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, the playing field must be level. It is the same issue with the mining industry. Only one group of people have received incentives. The rest have not. So, the playing field is not level and I would have thought that this Budget would have began the process of trying to level the playing field. All the tourism sectors in our country require the incentives. Siavonga is dead. The only reason Siavonga works, for example, is that the Government is the biggest supplier of business to Siavonga because as many as possible seminars and workshops are held there, not because of tourism. So, there is a fundamental flow there and yet on the same lake on the other side, there is tremendous development of tourism.

Mr Speaker, on conditionalities, the hon. Minister and his two Deputies over the weekend have been hair splitting about Zesco and Zambia National Oil Company. I can quote from agreements that have been reached, but we should stop hair splitting because it is this hair splitting that causes confusion. The President himself, in his opening address to Parliament last year was categorical and he said it, in English and in simple language too, that they will privatise these utilities. If there has been change of mind, why, as late as December, 2000, the hon. Minister was fighting hard to get HIPC agreed? All these conditionalities and bench marks were agreed and in less than thirty days there has been a complete reversal and now they are hair splitting. ‘We have never said we are not going to privatise, we are still studying the option.’ It does not help credibility, hon. Minister. What will be your credibility where you go to discuss and negotiate if you have to hair split and defend positions that you had previously agreed to, which you now want to reverse or U-turn on?

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister and the President, in his speech, talked about strengthening the Attorney-General’s offices. If you look at the Yellow Book, there is no significant improvement in the allocations to the Attorney-General. So, rhetoric and no action.

Mr Simasiku: Is it the Auditor-General’s office or the Attorney-General’s office?

Mr Patel: Auditor-General, sorry. If you look in the Yellow Book, there is no significant money allocated to the Auditor-General and the hon. Minister said, ‘I will not allow indiscipline by my Controlling Officer, I will not allow abuse of office’. The hon. Minister talks about all these things, but he talks and talks until he cannot talk no more because your Committee reports, Mr Speaker, tell a story otherwise. The Public Accounts Committee state what action we want, hon. Minister. You do not always have to put money into a problem. 

You do not need money to strengthen the Auditor-General’s office. It is not only the money that you need but you can do a lot of good work if you simply take the Public Accounts Reports and take action against those culprits. In the nine years, according to the parliamentary records, maybe, two or three or a handful cases have been taken to court. If you can only do that, then you will do a lot of good to the Auditor-General’s Office.

Mr Speaker, malaria kills more people than HIV/AIDS does. It could have been better if the hon. Minister allocated a few billion kwacha to start spraying the swamps etc., which could have gone a longer way than reducing duty on mosquito nets. I think the hon. Minister knows that.

Mr Sibetta: He is a doctor! {mospagebreak}

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, in the previous year the President said the Government would allocate US $10 million to Development Bank of Zambia, but we have never heard anything about it, it has been a closed case and has been put away on a shelf. Which developing country can survive without a long-term financing institution? These Sun International Hotels, Anglo-American Corporation who have come to our country, have borrowed money on long-term basis from the South African Development Bank and other development banks and because we have no foreign exchange controls, they come here and invest. Let us deal with it. The President directed you, hon. Minister, to deal with Development Bank of Zambia, but your Budget Speech has kept quiet about it. This year alone, everybody in the Front and middle benches have kept quiet but we here at the back bench are not going to keep quiet.

Mr Sibetta: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: We need a development bank in our country otherwise we are not going to progress.

Mr L. L. Phiri: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: Mr Speaker, on the issue of forex control, I would like to see the hon. Minister circulate some rules and regulations that have been announced publicly so that we debate with some knowledge. I am getting a little concerned with whatever agreement the hon. Minister reaches with regard to regulations or rules regarding forex. The agreement that the Government has reached with the ancestors of Cecil Rhodes in Anglo-American Corporation, clearly states that no matter what controls the Government of the Republic of Zambia brings in the country, they are guaranteed free movement of foreign exchange for twenty years. I want to know how you will deal with the situation, whether you have a set of rules for everybody but an exception for one. I would like to hear about that.

Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to explain to me on what I heard when he was debating on television last night. He said this year there will be the reduction of liquidity and the deficit to 0.5 per cent. I would like to understand how that is going to impact on the Budget.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, I will not be able to debate vigorously today because last night I had a very sad dream. I dreamt that the hon. Chief Whip announced to me that the MMD had won a landslide victory this year. I was so upset that I woke up and I had heart palpitations.


Dr Kabanje: But, fortunately, Mr Speaker, I remembered that this year is known as the ‘Year of the snake’, all over the world. According to Chinese mythology, this year the snake will triumph or it will be killed.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: I remembered also that the UPND has a President whose name symbolises that precisely. So, most likely, we are going to see not only the eclipse of the moon but also the eclipse of the MMD this year, Sir.


Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, let me also associate my sentiments to a vigorous manner in which my old friend, if I may call him that, presented the Budget. They say in Nigeria, ‘He was my friend before he became a big Chief’, the Right Hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development was a very good friend of mine and ...

Mr Walubita: No, not Right Honourable!

Dr Kabanje: Yes, that is a proper method of addressing the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Tizamionani benangu muzalila!

Dr Kabanje: It was such a vigorous and inspiring presentation. I said to myself, hon. Minister, you are ready to move to higher office, as Lucas Phiri would say, there is a vacancy in the Constitution, why not take over?


Mr Patel: Katele for President!


Dr Kabanje: But I also remember that it was such a moving and inspiring presentation that there would be no problem in establishing a Katele ministry.

Mr Sibetta: Hear, hear!

Mr Patel: Dunamis!

Mr Sibetta: Hear, hear! You have not understood that!

Dr Kabanje: I was extremely delighted by one important innovation and acknowledgment by the hon. Minister that the NGOs have played a very important role in conscietising the international community to address precisely the question of poverty. This is highly commendable for the first time to hear the voice of Government acknowledging that democracy is not about the majority that enjoy on the other side of the House but a triangular of forces comprising the ruling party itself, the Opposition and the NGOs.

Mr Speaker, it is extremely important if these measures should be concretised by establishing a budget line for the NGOs. It is very important for all of us not only to preach about the importance of NGOs to the democratic process but also to empower them by giving them a specific budget. 

Mr Walubita: Aah, are you responsible?

Dr Kabanje: I know that some people are still wounded about the extreme fantasies that the Mwandi seat was won by the NGO. That is an extreme fantasy, Mr Speaker.


Mr Tetamashimba: Supper Ken!

Dr Kabanje: The Mwandi election was won by the party which was able to show clearly that Mwandi has been marginalised to extreme poverty which would even make the devil weep.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hammer!

Dr Kabanje: It is important that when we talk about democratic process, we must remember that NGOs are the best expression of the people’s freedom of association and free speech.


Mr Walubita: That is why you riot!

Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, although unfortunately, that was his farewell Budget Speech ...


Dr Kabanje: ... and also the last Budget by the MMD Government.


Mr Tetamashimba: Hammer!

Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, there is also a very important allusion which the hon. Minister referred to, and that is the question of disaster management. Disaster management is a very important aspect ...

Mr Ngulube: On a point of order!

Hon. Opposition Members: Awe, go ahead!

Dr Kabanje: ... unfortunately, Mr Speaker, for a very long time now, the Government has been unable to fulfil its statutory obligation to the Zambia Red Cross, which is very important and pivotal for disaster management.

I would like to see a much more favourable approach.

Hon. Members: That is a point!

Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, it would have been important for me to dwell on the question of poverty reduction in a different sense. Sir, we all know that even those who pretend to know economics, although their economic theory is far worse than that of a Grade Seven dropout, should remember that in the final analysis...


Dr Kabanje: ... we will not be able to deliver our people if the cost of money is expensive. The Free Trade Area will be a disaster to Zambians because a Zambian borrows money at a very high interest rate. It is always important to know that the product is a product of the input. The Zambian interest rates are very high and I know that if we were to talk like Zambian citizens, not on party lines, the people who are on both sides of the House who have ventured into business can agree with me, if not openly but, at least, privately, that they are suffering from extortionate bank rates.

Mr Speaker, many hon. Members in their heart of hearts know that they have shadows of bankers trying to get their property, to dispossess them and that is not development or progress. All of us would like to leave a legacy to our children but will not be able to do that if one night when you are preparing to present a beautiful speech in Parliament somebody says, ‘You are long overdue, we are getting your House’. We all know that in one African country, the Government legislated to control the interest rates, but here, you always talk about free markets. There are no free markets anywhere, just like you argue that there is no absolute freedom, there are no absolute free markets.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: I know that many people on the other side do not know how an ordinary Zambian would prostrate himself or herself before a bank manager showing various securities that the person may have, only to receive a ‘no’ for an answer. But some hon. Members without producing any security just say, ‘I am hon. such and such, holding such and such a post in the party’, they are given loans which are unsecured.

Mr Sata: Where!

Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Wait for your time to talk.


Dr Kabanje: But let me assure you Hon. Sata that times are closing in, the hour is reaching a dismal failure and those who took money, will be able to account for it.

Mr Sata: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Sata: Mr Speaker, I always enjoy the speeches made by the hon. Member of Parliament, who is on the Floor. Sir, is he really in order to bring unsubstantiated allegations, Malikopo stories, that other people use party titles to get loans without laying anyone of them on the Table. Furthermore, is he in order to contradict my dear sister, who simplified, for our own benefit, that a villager understands the depth of economics so that she can compare what the fish was costing a few years ago and today. Is he in order to mislead this House?

Mr Deputy Speaker: Will the hon. Member continue and take note of the point of order raised.


Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, there is a new cousinship developing over the years between the Lozi and the Bemba and so, we must promote that for the unity of our country...

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kabanje: ... or those who pretend to be Bembas. 


Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the whole focal point of our Government must be the question of overcoming poverty. Somebody asked if this was a Budget against poverty or is it a reflection of the poverty of the Budget. That paradox, perhaps, will be answered when we debate the Estimates.

One important point that I would like to draw the attention of the hon. Minister to, is that the days when the hon. Minister and I were young men some thirty years ago, at the University of Zambia when the kwacha was very important, I remember the hon. Minister and I used to get about K27 as an allowance and we did a lot of things with that money. He was a good musician and we did a lot of things but today if you ...


Dr Kabanje: ... produced K20 - the other day, I had K100 in K20 notes and I wanted to buy some bananas, the sales lady ran away, she could not believe that somebody could produce those K20 notes.

Mr Speaker, tying up the contradiction of HIV/AIDS and the retirement age of our people, I think it is time that the Government addressed this squarely. The life expectancy of Zambians has fallen to below 42 years. The retiring age in the Civil Service is 55 years and so it is obvious that many of us, of the hon. Ministers’ age are statistically living other people’s lives. We are statistically dead and, therefore, it is important that we have a reflection beyond party lines on the need to reduce the retiring age.

Mr Speaker, it is important that - I have been in the public field...

Mr Chikwakwa: How old are you?

Dr Kabanje: I am older than you.


Dr Kabanje: Mr Speaker, what happens is that there have been experiences of an administrator of an estate dying, you appoint another administrator, the administrator dies and then you appoint the administrator of the deceased administrator who also dies before they can access the pension benefits. I appeal to the compassionate hearts of my Christian friends in power to reflect very deeply of the need...

Mr Tetamashimba: They are not Christians.

Dr Kabanje: ... to come with a lower retiring age.

Finally, Sir, I would like to say that this Budget is an extremely deceptive Budget. First of all, when you look at it very carefully - The Chief Whip is not around, I would have liked to know whether I am holding the official Budget Address...


Dr Mbikusita-Lewanika: Walasa, walasa!


Dr Kabanje: ... because my Budget Address begins at page 25 and it ends at page 4 and so I wanted a clarification, particularly because on the cover there is amatebeto, I do not know whether it is empowering the Amatebeto  ceremony.


Dr Kabanje: I have said it is a deceptive Budget on two accounts. The first account is that it makes an assumption that the HIPC Initiative will not be torpedoed. This is a very important consideration but from what we know the HIPC may be theoretical money. Why I say so is that among the conditionalities was that there would be no sacred cows. But today the Government is saying that ZESCO and the Zambia National Commercial Bank may not be nationalised and So, HIPC initiative may not actually take off. Secondly, and more importantly, Mr Speaker, there is an assumption that K3 trillion will come from the donor community and they are assuming that good governance will proceed uninterruptedly. This means that the topic which is being discussed outside freely, but which we are not allowed to discuss in this House, may impact on the whole process.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear! You have a point.

Dr Kabanje: This is extremely important. That is why I am glad, Mr Speaker, to end on a happy note that my friend, the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development, is good enough to be a good candidate for higher office.


Dr Kabanje: Finally, Mr Speaker, I wish to commend my friend, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development - I do not know whether you will allow me to call him my friend. We were friends once.

Hon. Members: Former friends!

Dr Kabanje: As an hon. Friend, I want to wish him well when Parliament goes on recess and we say good bye, with God’s luck, you may be on this other side of the House.

Thank you, Sir.


Mr Chipili (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for affording me this opportunity to contribute on the motion on the Floor. I would also like to congratulate the powerful Minister of Finance and Economic Development on moving and presenting a very powerful Budget. Contrary to our colleagues on the other side who seem to think we will not be here, we will be here next year.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipili: MMD produces and grows by numbers. So, if you are five and start dreaming with your eyes open, it becomes very dangerous.


Mr Chipili: Mr Speaker, getting to the point on the matter, this Budget is the true reflection of the MMD ideal from inception. Those that have read our manifesto cannot agree more. This agrees with our manifesto, except those parties that have no manifestos.

Mr Speaker, one point I would like to make clear is that I have looked at the process of privatisation in this country and elsewhere. Privatisation does not simply mean that you only privatise when you sell to Indians, Japans, Tanzanians, etc. so that when you sell to Zambians it is not privatisation. That is a wrong conception. It is a mis-conception per se. Privatisation means that you can privatise by floating shares, which we are saying that we will do to Zesco, ZAMTEL and any other company that is of strategic importance to this Government and national security. No Government has privatised itself. So, you do not privatise the instruments of power and still remain a Government.

The donors are well aware that their good will is shown in this Budget. The hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development said that some portion of the Budget will be financed by our international co-operating partners. Why I am saying so is that we have done everything that was requested for this Government to do. With the help of this House, some legislation has come here to facilitate the sale of ZCCM, etc., all in good faith. So, why should a good turn not deserve another?

Mr Speaker, as Zambians, it is dangerous to keep thinking that everything we do ourselves is inferior and cannot work especially, if it is done by MMD, then it is impossible. In MMD, we do not believe in impossibilities. Difficult it may be, but not impossible. This particular Budget is manageable and it can be done. No question about that and I am sure even those that are speaking merely because they want to air their views may condemn solely that it will not be done because of this and that, but nobody has told us specifics up to now.

Mr Speaker, in commending this Budget, I would like to put in a few  words of appeal to the Government. On the Commission Studies on Modalities and Commercialisation and the nationalisation of ZAMTEL, ZESCO and the corporations that we intend to retain as strategic industries, we should add on Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) because to me, that is another strategic industry.

Right now, we have been spending a lot of money in foreign exchange by procuring fertiliser from outside the country. That is more the reason why the fertiliser comes in late because we do not have the money in good time to buy fertiliser. So, whatever savings we are going to make from HIPC, this thing which we have just acquired, let some of it, apart from going to the Ministry of Health, go into agriculture through recapitalising NCZ. We need to do that. Whatever we do, the soils now cannot go minus fertiliser because we have been fertilising it. We do have this problem, it will not go away. Let that plant be another strategic industry which we can privatise through using proper rational means which will not leave the Government wide open by selling it to unscrupulous companies which will only end up blackmailing us. That is one request I would like to make, Sir.

Mr Speaker, secondly, whilst I agree that the construction industry has expanded publicly and privately, I would like to request the Government to look at it closely. This is one area where the money has been going out very tactfully. If we give foreign contractors, even the smallest of contracts, without reservations, what we are actually doing is that the contractor makes profit today, at the end of the contract he is paid and then he externalises the money. The Zambian small-scale contractor has not expanded with this expansion. It has been the foreign contractor who has expanded with this expansion and they have not kept the money here in Zambia, but have sent outside this country. All the contracts, even small projects like painting are now being done by foreigners and the Zambian small-scale contractors are given projects which are not funded or have to wait for a year or two to get paid.

So, this, I think, the hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development must look at this. This is another dollar drain. Without reservations, it is a dollar drain and that is how we are putting pressure on our kwacha.

Mr Speaker, getting to ...

Mr Nkole: Get a contract.

Mr Chipili: I do not need contracts. I have been running contracts for many years and I have got a lot of them. I am speaking for the silent majority out there. The struggling small scale contractors who cannot come to this House.

Mr Nyundu: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipili: Sir, the Public Sector Reform Programme has worked very well in line with our policies and it has streamlined the Public Service considerably to manageable levels, but it has also created one problem, especially in schools. We should have retained the cleaners, guards and office orderlies. The Government has transferred the responsibility to Parents Teachers’ Association (PTA) and they have to levy the parents in order to pay wages and salaries. This is at the same time breaking the law because they are not paying the correct wages to these cleaners, guards and office orderlies that they employ as casuals and they remain casual workers for as long as four years. This is not correct. Even if the Ministry of Education is now, going to give them grants, that is just K2 million, this money is not enough so parents are being asked to contribute every month.

Now, when we introduced the reforms, I do not think the idea was to get rid of even cleaners and guards. The infrastructure belongs to the Government. So, it is up to Government to guard these infrastructures. If they can not employ, let the police start guarding these infrastructures because the parents are already over burdened and it cannot go on like this. This must also be checked on by the Government.

Finally, I am also asking the Government that, indeed, the HIPC savings will go to drugs, but there is something dangerously wrong with the way these drugs are missing from these hospitals. What is happening today is that there is a pharmacy in every compound, hospitals and everywhere, which is selling the same quality of medicine. So, even if we put in US$40 billion, this money will end up with these unscrupulous traders through drugs.

So, the first thing the Ministry of Health must start looking at is how best to secure these medicines because right now if you go to where they procure drugs, you will find out that the records show that a lot of drugs have been sent to Copperbelt and Eastern provinces but when you go to Eastern Province, you will find no drugs. So, where are these drugs ending up? Maybe, the drugs should be labelled GRZ so that whoever is selling must be compelled to produce a receipt.

With these few words, I would once more commend the hon. Minister and encourage him not to be swayed by funny talk. We will be here in Government next year. Those who would want to succeed us should do better than issue rhetoric in this House.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order! The hon. Minister of Finance and Economic Development is, now, indicating to speak, which will mean winding up debate.

The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Speaker, before I adjourn the House, let me remind the hon. Members that last week, they complained that the amount of time allocated to debate is very short. Now, I can see that it is just past five and we still have three hours to go to 2000 hours, yet, nobody is indicating. I think that this is an indication that we do allocate sufficient time and also that the hon. Members have nothing to contribute.


The Vice-President (Lieutenant-General Tembo): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.

The House adjourned at 1719 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 31st January, 2001.