Debates - Friday, 17th July, 2015

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Friday, 17th July, 2015

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Her Honour the Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I rise to acquaint the House with the business it will consider next week.

Mr Speaker, on Tuesday 21st July, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will, then, deal with the Second Reading Stage of the Local Authorities Superannuation (Amendment) Bill, National Assembly Bill (N.A.B) No.9 of 2015. After that, the House will deal with the Report Stage of the Anti-Terrorism (Amendment) Bill, N.A.B No. 2 of 2015.

Mr Speaker, on Wednesday 22nd July, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will, then, debate a Private Members Motion entitled, Ban Indiscriminate Use of Firearms. The Motion will be moved by Hon. S. T. Masebo, Member of Parliament for Chongwe Parliamentary Constituency. Then, the House will consider the Committee Stage of the National Pension Scheme (Amendment) Bill, N.A.B No.8 of 2015.

Sir, on Thursday 23rd July, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with questions, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. After that, the House will debate the Motion on the Report of the Committee of Lands, Environment and Tourism on the merits and demerits of agriculture vis-a vis industrial activities. The House will, then, consider the Second Reading Stages of the following Bills:

(i)    The Income Tax (Amendment) Bill, N.A.B No.7 of 2015;

(ii)    The Mines and Minerals Bill, N.A.B No.12 of 2015; and

(iii)    The Gold Trade (Repeal) Bill, N.A.B No. 13 of 2015.

Mr Speaker, on Friday, 24th July, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. This will be followed by Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. After that, the House will deal with the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will debate the Report of the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to scrutinise the Presidential Appointments of Hon. Mr Justice Marvin Sitwala Mwanamwambwa, to serve as Deputy Chief Justice of the Republic of Zambia, Mr David Matongo to serve as a member of the Electoral Commission of Zambia, and Mr Geoffrey Wamusula Simukoko, to serve as a member of the Judiciary Complaints Authority.

Then, the House will consider the Second Reading Stage of the Tourism and Hospitality Bill, N.A.B No.14 of 2015. The House will, then, deal with any other business that may be outstanding.

I thank you, Sir.



Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, before we commence Her Honour the Vice-President’s Question Time, I will initially give her an opportunity to clarify matters that arose from last week’s session of Question Time.

Her Honour the Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, following the question which was raised in Parliament, last Friday, on lifting the immunity of Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, the law enforcement agencies and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) have advised the Government that they are still assessing issues related to this matter.

Mr Speaker, these agencies are independent bodies and the Government will await their response on this matter.

Mr Speaker, in relation to the issue concerning Konkola Copper Mines (KCM’s) importation of copper concentrates from Chile into the country, which concentrates contain high quantities of arsenic, I wish to inform this august House that the Government has been consulting and has had consultative meetings with relevant stakeholders, including the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Ministry of Lands, Environment and Natural Resources as well as the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) on the said matter. I wish to assure the House that this matter is receiving the utmost attention it deserves to ensure that it is finalised in a prudent manner.

Mr Speaker, once the consultative process is completed with all relevant public and private stakeholders, we will come back to this august House to give the Government’s final position regarding the way forward on the same matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, we are all faced with very serious load shedding and, therefore, many small businesses have resorted to using generators which require the use of gas, diesel or petrol, and yet the Government has decided to increase the price of fuel. Can Her Honour the Vice-President tell this House why the Government has decided to punish its people by raising the price of fuel when there is load shedding?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this Government has no intention of punishing its people. As the hon. Member may be aware, the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) is an independent body. It makes decisions regarding the cost of fuel when the situation demands that it be so. This is done to ensure that the economy is run effectively and efficiently.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, Judge Chikopa came to Zambia on invitation from the Government of Zambia to do some work. May her Honour the Vice-President update this House on how far his work has gone, what conclusions have been arrived at and the cost that we incurred through his engagement?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, a question was raised in the House, early this week, regarding commissions of enquiry appointed by this Government and their findings. I believe that the Judge Chikopa Inquiry will be one of those commissions that we will bring to the House.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutale (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President when the Government will bring the Bill to deal with non-contentious issues in the Constitution on the Floor of the House?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Bill is almost ready and will be sent to Government Printers. I request that when the Bill is made public, the general public should scrutinise every detail and make its own assessments and observations. It will be brought to the House as soon as it is possible.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President has powers to pardon people. For example, just yesterday, Mr Clifford Dimba, also known as General Kanene, was pardoned. When will the same mercies be extended to the Western Province? Our youth, the Barotse activists, are still in prison.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo: We also have bo Liato in prison. When are we going to see the same things happening to …

Mr Speaker: What was the reference you made, Hon. Mutelo? I lost you at some point.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Austin Liato and the Barotse activists are still in prison kwa Western Province alu ikutwi hande.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, pardon powers are the prerogative of His Excellency the President.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, now that the Vice-Chancellor at the Copperbelt University (CBU), who is at the centre of the conflict between management and academic staff, has gone on an indefinite leave, when will the Government reopen the university?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the CBU Council is looking into this matter and the lecturers still seem to have some issues to raise and, perhaps, their concerns will be brought before the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education. So, we will leave the council to deliberate over the matter and when the situation is clear and a solution is found, the university will definitely be opened.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out how prepared the Government is in terms food relief to areas which were affected by poor rainfall. I have in mind my constituencies in areas such as Chief Ngabwe, Chief Chipepo, Chief Mukonchi and Chief Nkole and the Luano Valley and Chitambo at Rueben Island.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, sometime in April, this year, the Office of the Vice-President held a meeting with the relevant ministries to address the issue of the poor rainfall pattern for the 2014/2015 Rain Season. Following this meeting, immediate measures were taken particularly relating to food security in the country. By that time, we had received some save our souls (SOS) from various districts where hunger was threatening the communities.

Mr Speaker, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) immediately dispatched food relief to some of these districts in the Southern, Western and Eastern provinces. During this period, an in-depth assessment was carried out throughout the country to determine which areas were affected most so that relief maize could be sent.

Sir, as a result, more food will be sent to some of the areas that the hon. Member has talked about because we realise that only forty-eight districts were affected initially. However, there are seventeen more districts which seem to be facing the same problem of food shortage. So, all these will be covered in the programme of relief distribution, together with the hon. Member’s constituency.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, can Her Honour the Vice-President confirm that there is no board at the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO). If there is none, considering that this a critical moment of load shedding, when is the Government going to put in place a board at that important institution?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the members that compose the board are not chosen just at random. Therefore, in due course, the Government will put a board in place. This matter is being considered at the moment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, following the question by the hon. Member for Parliament for Mafinga about the Government’s action of increasing the price of fuel, I would like Her Honour the Vice-President to indicate to me whether increasing the price of fuel was the only initiative that was available to the Government. This is considering that sometime in the past, specifically in 2009, a prudent Government, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), suspended the 25 per cent tax on imported finished products in order to cushion the impact of the increased price of fuel on the world market.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government is concerned about the welfare of its people and it will do everything possible to protect the Zambian people, particularly with regard to negative impacts of certain decisions made. Seeing that the issue is of great concern to hon. Members of Parliament, perhaps, the hon. Minister responsible should come to the House with a ministerial statement to explain why certain measures, including the increase in the price of fuel, have been effected.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I cannot remember which year it was exactly, but I think that it was early this year when the Government of Zambia obtained a loan to repair the Kariba Dam wall that is cracked. We are aware that the dam is a shared resource. Under very unclear circumstances, it is only Zambia that obtained that loan. Now that we are faced with this crisis of electricity supply, we have been told that we will have to import electricity at double the price that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

May I have order both on the left and right.

Ms Imenda: ... is charging its customers, especially the mines. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President whether this would not be an opportune time to ask our partner, Zimbabwe, to refund its share of that loan we obtained so that we can subsidise the importation of electricity from other countries?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may know that the Kariba Dam is a shared asset between Zambia and Zimbabwe and the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) is in charge of the administration of the works in the surrounding water and the Kariba Dam. Therefore, the ZRA acquired a loan which Zambia guaranteed, on the understanding that Zambia and Zimbabwe will be responsible for that loan. I can assure you that Zimbabwe is paying or will pay towards retirement of that loan.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, of late, we have witnessed certain reports in the newspapers. The Daily Nation, in particular, castigated the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), for having written to His Excellency the President with a view to inform him of the intention to arrest one of his particular appointees. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President the rationale behind writing to His Excellency the President over the ACC investigations when the law does not provide for the ACC to seek authority from him. The ACC only has the mandate to report to Parliament. Therefore, what is the rationale behind the communication between the ACC and His Excellency the President, pertaining to the intended arrest of individuals?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Ministers or Permanent Secretaries (PSs) at State House are working with His Excellency the President on a daily basis. If any issue arises and His Excellency the President has to be informed about it, I suppose it is possible for any Government institution to inform him. I cannot say much on the issue because we know the implications of doing that, given that one of the people who divulged this letter is already in the hands of the police and the matter is before the courts of law. Therefore, I do not need to dwell on the matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Siliya (Petauke Central): Mr Speaker, when will the Government declare a national disaster on an issue that directly affects the social and economic development of our country? With 40 per cent of teenage girls between fifteen and nineteen years old falling pregnant, Zambia is third from war torn countries, that is, Chad and the Central African Republic, in Sub-Saharan Africa when it comes to teenage pregnancy statistics. Last year, in 2014, there were over 16,000 teenage pregnancies. Is that not enough to declare a national disaster, Your Honour the Vice-President?

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the number of teenage pregnancies may not have reached disaster proportions, but it definitely is a national crisis which …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us listen to the response.

The Vice-President: ... should involve all of us be it parents, political, traditional or community leaders. This is something that affects us all.  

Mr Speaker, triggers of teenage pregnancies are coming from different directions. The final analysis, however, is that our girls are impacted negatively. A young girl of twelve or thirteen years, who is pregnant, is risking her life and that of the child she is carrying because her body has not matured enough to carry a nine months’ pregnancy.

Mr Speaker, Zambia is rated as one of the countries with the highest maternal deaths. It has been discovered that the majority of these women who die in child-birth are young girls.  So, in order for this country to reduce on maternal deaths and teenage pregnancies, we need to put our heads together so that we confront this matter more seriously than it seems to be on the surface because this is likely to undermine the development of our country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, I want to find out the position of the Government on the matter where the Ngambela of Barotseland and others have taken the dispute of the Barotseland Agreement of 1964 to the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights for determination and also what measures the Government is taking to amicably resolve the dispute on the agreement.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, it seems that this subject generates a lot of enthusiasm in this House whenever it is talked about.

Mr Speaker, the Government welcomes the decision of any Zambian to take a matter to some form of arbitration court. There is no reason the Government should be apprehensive of these activists who sent their case to the African Commission of Human and People’s Rights in the Gambia. Since the case has been taken to this commission, the Government will await the decision of that court and respond accordingly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, on the issue of fuel, Her Honour the Vice-President simply indicated that the Government is concerned about the lives of the people of Zambia. Why is it that people rioted in Livingstone over the increase of fuel prices and nothing has been said about it?

Sir, besides the increase of fuel prices, this Government has ordered wrong fuel that has high acidic levels for Indeni Oil Refinery to process. This is most likely to result in the reduction or total lack of the commodity altogether. Why does this Government have a tendency of doing extremely wrong things that affect the people of Zambia negatively?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there is no Government in this world that wants to make wrong decisions all the time.

Sir, contracts to order fuel are given to contractors. These fuel agencies, which are parastatals, are the ones that bring fuel into the country. Once fuel is brought into the country, it is taken to Indeni Oil Refinery. We can only know the quality of the fuel after it has been processed at the plant. It is unfortunate that the fuel that was imported had corrosive agents. However, the Government will definitely look into this and identify which companies are bringing in wrong fuel and deal with them.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapyanga (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, the kwacha is depreciating at an alarming rate thereby ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kapyanga: ... causing a lot of distortions in the economy.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kapyanga: May I find out from Her Honour the Vice-President what immediate measures the Government is putting in place to prevent further weakening of the kwacha against major currencies.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka: Ema MP aya!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this question was raised on the Floor of this House last week ...

The Vice-President: ... and an answer was given.  

So long as we do not export enough goods, the inflow of foreign currency inflow will be so low ...


Mr Speaker: Order!

The Vice-President: ... that we may not be able to ensure the stability of the kwacha.  

Sir, this may sound very simplistic but, in real terms, it means that this country may have to work harder to manufacture and process agricultural products for export for us to earn foreign exchange and stabilise the kwacha.

In the meantime, the Bank of Zambia is looking into the matter and will make appropriate interventions ...

Mr Livune: Question!

The Vice-President: ... to arrest this fluctuation of the kwacha.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President when this Government will bring, to this House, the Access to Information Bill.

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Bill is still being considered.


The Vice-President: There are many other Bills that are still being considered, including this one. Therefore, when it is ready, it will be brought to the House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, from the time His Excellency the President, Mr Lungu, became President of the Republic of Zambia, he has, at various occasions, talked about one Zambia, one Nation, in a quest to promote national unity and peace. To the contrary, during his reign, we have seen an escalation and growth of intolerance and violence by the Patriotic Front (PF) leadership and its cadres.

Mr Speaker, instances in mind include the attack on Mr Hakainde Hichilema when he was simply touring Kamwala, the shooting of innocent people in Mulobezi during the by-elections and, only a day ago, an insensate attack by the Patriotic Front (PF) carders in Kitwe on Mr Hakainde Hichilema preventing him from appearing on a live programme at Radio Icengelo. How does this sit with Her Honour the Vice-President? Is it logical, therefore, to continue talking about one Zambia, one nation when the actions of your Government and your carders are diametrically opposed to what you are talking about?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I consider that question a generalised one ...

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

The Vice-President: ... and posed by an hon. Member who seems to be extremely upset.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!


Mr Speaker: Order!

The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Kambwili: Upset and guilty.

The Vice-President: ... violence should be condemned wherever it raises its head. I condemn any violence that has been perpetrated anywhere by anybody, especially political cadres.

Mr Nkombo: Chama.

The Vice-President: However, this violence is not a one-sided story.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

The Vice-President: All of us, as political leaders, should take blame and find ways of correcting the situation ...

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

The Vice-President: ... before our country is set on fire.

I thank you, Sir.




639.    Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:
(a)    when the construction of a concrete slab at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) Depot in Kabompo District, which was abandoned, would be completed;

(b)    who the contractor for the project was;

(c)    what the total cost of the project was; and

(d)    how much money was paid to the contractor.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Monde): Mr Speaker, the 3,000 metric tonne slab in Kabompo District, which was abandoned at sub-structure level, is expected to commence this year and will be completed within twelve months of commencement of works under Phase II of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) work plan.

Sir, the contractor was the CRB Business Limited. The total cost of the project ...


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Monde: ... was K601,419.50. The contractor was given an advance payment of K261,486.50. The FRA has since taken legal action against the contractor to cover the advance payment that was made.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, this is very disheartening.

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, you have guided us, especially before we reform, on the way we should dress in this House. I remember that you once made a ruling that Hon. Kaunda, who had worn a scarf with his shirt ...

Mr Livune: Kafwaya!

Mr Kafwaya rose to leave Assembly Chamber.

Mr Muntanga: He is going.

Hon. Opposition Members: Where are you going?

Mr Muntanga: Hon. Kafwaya is dressed ...

Mr Hamududu: Like a dancer.

Mr Kafwaya resumed his seat.


Mr Muntanga: Apart from them being told to dress properly, is it in order for some hon. Members to have their hands in their pockets when we are singing the national anthem?

Hon. Opposition Member: Like who?

Mr Livune: Kambwili.

Mr Muntanga: Some hon. Members like Hon. Kafwaya have their hands in their pockets even while we are praying.

Mr Shakafuswa: Even Ministers.

Mr Muntanga: Is it in order to behave in that way?


Mr Speaker: I am not able to see clearly from where I am seated, but I will be advised by the Clerks at the Table on the first part of your point of order. However, I agree with you, and I have made a ruling in the past, that when we rise and speak, it is inappropriate to put our limbs, being the word I used, in the pocket.


Mr Speaker: This also includes when we are worshiping, as it were. I hope that we can all take heed of this position. This is as far as I will go, but I still need to consult with the Clerk of the Table on the particular dressing. It is not very clear to me yet.

Mr Kambwili left the Assembly Chamber.

Hon. Opposition Members: This one is also running away.

Mr Livune: That one likes to put his hands in the pocket.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, as I was saying that it is disheartening for Zambia to be running small projects like a slab for two years without completion. Is it possible to coerce this contractor into paying the poor peasants who assisted him in working on the project because they have not been paid up to date? What is the Government doing to assist these poor peasants get their money from the contractor?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, it concerns the Government that these slabs have not been completed on time. This is the reason the Government terminated this contract and will get a contractor who is serious and responsible. We can investigate the issue of the workers that worked with this contractor, but whether or not the contractor paid the workers for the work they had done under this contract has not come to our attention. The Government is concerned and that is the reason we said, in our response, that we will start works on this project.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katambo (Masaiti): Mr Speaker, where else has the construction of maize storage shed slabs been abandoned in the country?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, for the avoidance of opening the issue up to many other questions, we mentioned that there were 97 contracts which were terminated. Out of that number, twenty-seven are almost complete, but I am not able to give which specific areas these are because that is a loaded question. Suffice to say that many other contracts that were terminated are currently in court while others are going through arbitration to ensure we can recover the money that we paid to contractors. The overall situation is that the Government is concerned and wants to create these storage sheds in these districts.

I thank you, Sir.


640. Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    when the construction of an airstrip in Luwingu District would commence; and

(b)    what had caused the delay in the commencing the construction works.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Siamunene): Mr Speaker, it is anticipated that the construction of an airstrip in Luwingu District will be done in the second quarter of 2016. There has been no delay in commencing the construction works.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, initially, we were told that the construction of Luwingu Airstrip was going to be done in 2013 and that land was given by the council, but from that time, we have not been told anything. Why has the construction of this airstrip been moved from 2013 to the second quarter of 2016?

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, I think it is just a question of funds. We have phased the construction of airstrips and Luwingu is in Lot 2 which will be done in 2016.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, there are limited aeroplanes in Zambia. Therefore, what is motivating the Government to construct an airstrip in Luwingu?


Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, it is not true that aeroplanes in Zambia will still be limited in future. We anticipate that with the development that is happening, aeroplanes will also increase in Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.


641. Mr Mbewe (Chadiza) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a)    how many dip tanks were earmarked for construction in Chadiza Parliamentary Constituency in 2015;

(b)    at which locations the dip tanks would be constructed; and

(c)    what the total cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Ng’onga): Mr Speaker, one dip tank is earmarked for construction in Chadiza Parliamentary Constituency in 2015. The dip tank to be constructed is located at Kalemba. The estimated cost of constructing the dip tank is K160,000.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Zayellow, ...


Mr Mbewe: .... Sorry. I mean I thank Hon. Lubinda for the answer.


Mr Speaker: Continue.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, the number of animals in Chadiza is increasing every year as such, the dip tank which is going to be built at Kalemba is not enough. Is it not possible for some more money to be sourced so that we can have more dip tanks in places where animals have increased in number?

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, it is not only one dip tank that is available in this good area, Chadiza. Currently, there are four dip tanks that are being rehabilitated. For the hon. Member’s awareness, there are dip tanks that are being rehabilitated at Kulika, Chilenga, Mulolo and Tafela Nsoni. The contracts have been awarded and works are currently going on. Even if the numbers of animals are increasing in Chadiza, I think, the service that is being provided through dip tanks is still commensurate to your requirement.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I am a cattle rancher, kachema. I got specifications to construct my dip tank at the farm from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock and it cost me not less than K30,000. We have standard specifications on how to construct these dip tanks. Therefore, why is it costing the Government more to construct a dip tank than it costs an indivudual?

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, indeed, the amount of K160,000 for a dip tank sounds like a huge amount of money and it may be recalled that this question was also asked in the last sitting. When it was asked, I said I would come back to the House with the details, which I did provide. Now that the hon. Member is saying that the specifications for the dip tank that he was quoted for are exactly the same as the specifications for this Chadiza Dip Tank, I would like to request him to come to this House or even to my office, if he so wishes, to show me the specifications so that we can clarify this matter. However, the information we have, which I also shared with the House earlier, was that the K160,000 is not only for the construction of the dip tank. It includes other auxiliary facilities such as boreholes and holding panes. That is what justifies the K160,000. If Hon. Shakafuswa has specifications which are exactly the same as the ones for this Chadiza Dip Tank, please, come forth so that we can compare notes and see the way forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, a K160 million is a lot of money for a dip tank. Can the hon. Minister breakdown the cost? What is the actual cost of the dip tank and other auxiliary activities or infrastructure? If it is K30,000 it follows that it cannot go beyond K100,000 for everything.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, like I said, I had responded to this particular question in the last sitting and I gave the breakdown. All that is required by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mafinga is for her to go to the Hansard and check what I had said. If she wants me to do her work, I have no problem. I can come back to the House and provide those answers. These answers were provided in this very House to a very similar question. I did come to the House and gave a break down. If she insists, like I said in answering Hon. Shakafuswa, I am amenable to coming back to the House to provide that information yet again.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, why we ...

Ms Namugala: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. I can guess where it is headed.


Mr Mbewe: Zayellow!

Mr Speaker: Let us have it.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order that has to do with the way we carry on with our work in this House. If a question is posed to an hon. Minister, is he in order to make reference to an answer that he gave months ago when the question that is being posed arises from his responses to a question on the Floor of the House at present?

Sir, the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock answered and I raised a question arising from his answer. Is he in order to refer me to an answer that he made I do not know how many months ago?

Mr Speaker: Well, my ruling is simple. If a question has been put to the colleagues on the right and they have provided an answer, I think, it is our responsibility, especially the colleagues on the left, to take note of those answers. I do not to think that to repeat a question to which an answer was previously provided is an efficient way of conducting business. In this particular case, the hon. Minister, in my opinion, has been quite generous and accommodating and he has undertaken to repeat his answer, in addition to extending invitations to those who would like to compare notes with him about the cost of these facilities. The bottom line is that once a question has been posed and an answer has been supplied, in my view, it is inefficient to go back on the same issue where an answer has been previously and precisely supplied.

You may continue, hon. Member for Mpongwe.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, as Back Benchers, we try to help the Government use the meagre resources prudently. Following the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Katuba, we need as many dip tanks as possible. The concern is that the Government loses millions of kwacha when individuals pay less over the same things. Can the hon. Minister indicate whether there is a possibility to investigate further on why the Government spends more when individuals spend less because these concerns are meant to protect public resources as well as demand for more services being provided to the public.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the concern by Hon. Namulambe is our concern too. That is the reason I indicated that those who have quotations either from the Government or the private sector are at liberty to bring them to my office. As they bring those quotations, they should also bring the specifications. This is because a dip tank is a dip tank. There are eggs and there are eggs. There are dip tanks and there are dip tanks.

Mr Speaker, there could be a dip tank that is meant to hold only 200 herds of cattle and there could be another that is meant to dip 2,000 herds of cattle and the specifications and costs could be different. There are some dip tanks that do not go together with a holding race or pen, but there are others that have a holding pen. In addition, because the Government is concerned about the prudent utilisation of resources, it would not like to encourage contractors to construct dip tanks that will collapse after a year or two. So, there is also the question of durability. How durable are these dip tanks? These are the different issues that we have to compare. So, we should not just compare two dip tanks and assume that the cost must be the same. A car is car. However, there are people who drive the Rolls-Royce and others who drive the fiat, but they are still cars. That is the reason I encourage all those who have information which would assist us to arrive at the right cost of constructing dip tanks to kindly come forth. I am amiable to receiving them.

I thank you, Sir.


642. Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    how many students at the University of Zambia (UNZA), Great East Road Campus, were provided with accommodation as of April, 2015;

(b)    how many students were not accommodated;

(c)    what measures had been taken to address the shortage of bed space at the institution; and

(d)    when the university would provide adequate accommodation to the students.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, 3,254 students at UNZA were provided with accommodation as at April, 2015. 20,746 students were not accommodated.

Mr Speaker, the Government is constructing 4,160 capacity hostels. UNZA, through the public private partnership (PPP), is also expected to construct 5,000 capacity hostel blocks. It is important for this august House to be aware that in addition to that, there are also six universities that are being constructed intended to decongest UNZA.

Sir, the university will provide adequate accommodation to the students in the next three to five years.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Miyanda: Mr Speaker, mathematically speaking, when we add 3,254, 4,160 and 5,000, there will be 12,414 students that will be accommodated when all works are completed. However, in the meantime, where are the 20,746 students that are not accommodated staying?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the 20,746 students who are not officially accommodated at UNZA have made arrangements to reside in boarding houses. There are so many boarding houses in Lusaka at which these students are being accommodated. This honourable House should commend the Government because, for the first time in the history of this country, 4,160 hostels are being constructed at UNZA. So, this is a big milestone in terms of addressing the accommodation shortage at UNZA.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the efforts that the Government is making in increasing the number of rooms at the university. However, some students charge other students K500 per month for bed spaces. What is the ministry doing about those students who charge others?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, these are issues that the UNZA management should look at because when accommodation is offered to a student, we do not expect him/her to charge others for that bed space. Since there is a shortage of bed spaces at the institution, probably, these students think it is a way of generating income. However, as a ministry, we feel this is wrong and is a matter that we need to discuss with the UNZA management and devise a way in which we can address it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mucheleka Mr Speaker, is it possible that the Government sponsored students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) can enter into an arrangement with private property owners around the university and Lusaka in general to be accommodated by them. Is it not possible for the ministry to facilitate that arrangement?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, when I referred to boarding houses in my earlier answer, I said that the arrangement for many of these boarding houses has been done through UNZA. So, it is not that the students are just going into these private boarding houses without the knowledge of UNZA.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, is the ministry aware that the 20,000 who are not accommodated are the majority and are from the rural areas? There is a newly-built mall next to the University of Zambia (UNZA), and yet 20,000 students are not accommodated. Has the Government taken time to investigate this? I also want to find out whether the hon. Minister has taken keen interest in knowing what kind of life these 20,000 students are leading and what measures have been put in place to ascertain this because most of them are from the rural areas.

 The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, this is a very interesting question and I want to use it to make an appeal to all those who went through the University of Zambia (UNZA) to check their souls and see how they can help the university to alleviate the problem of accommodation.

Hon. Opposition Member: Which ones?

Dr Kaingu: Sir, all of them. I am not going to mention any names, but I am sure that the guilty are afraid.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon, Minister, that is part of the search you are making.    

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, indeed, there is a possibility that most of the 20,000 students could be from the rural areas although we have not carried out a research to find out how many are from the rural areas.

 Sir, the comfort that we have is that the students are in school and are learning. It does not matter where they are coming from, but they are in school and they are learning. We have already indicated that there are boarding houses which are providing accommodation to students. Whether students are from urban or rural areas, the fact is that they are being provided with accommodation. As a ministry, we regret the fact that there are some students who are charging their fellow students although they are doing it as more or less an act of benevolence to assist their colleagues.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I have searched my soul and I am one of the beneficiaries of the Government-sponsored programme to the University of Zambia (UNZA).

Sir, we have debated and suggested on the Floor of this House, and I think some of us will agree that bursaries for some of us were a contract between the Government and the students. We, as students, understood it as a form of a loan that we were to pay back at a later date. Has the ministry not thought of collecting about K100 every month from former UNZA students who are willing to contribute? How many are we and how many are willingly to pay K100.00 per month which will go towards helping the institution? Has the ministry thought about that or is it a very far-fetched idea?

 Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, my nephew, Hon. Shakafuswa, is very brilliant and that is why he attained his degree from UNZA. I, therefore, want to accept his proposal and appoint him the Chairperson of this committee.  o that effect, I want to immediately get his K100.00 and he will be followed by the Hon. Mr Speaker …


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I am sorry, it is a slip of the tongue.

Mr Speaker: Order1

I suspected so.


Dr Kaingu: Otherwise, it is quite a brilliant idea. I also want to take advantage of this question to make an appeal to UNZA and my senior hon. Prof. Lungwangwa to work on the UNZA alumni because that is the only way we could, probably, have a properly designed way of contributing to the university.

 Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, the situation at the University of Zambia (UNZA) and …

 Prof. Lungwangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

 Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I really appreciate this rare opportunity of being given a chance to raise a point of order.

Sir, is the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education in order, in a way, to insinuate that there is no alumni association at the University of Zambia (UNZA) when the idea of the alumni association was put in place way back in 2003 when this Member of Parliament, who is speaking now, was actually Deputy Vice-Chancellor at UNZA? An office was established for the alumni association. To that effect, a lot of work was done to publicise that office and a lot of data was put in place to reach out to the alumni of UNZA. Is the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, who is my young brother, in order to insinuate that we do not have an alumni association at UNZA when, in fact, even the Hon. Mr Speaker, who is an alumni of UNZA, is actually on record on the data of the alumni office. I need your serious ruling.

 Mr Speaker: Order!

Well, it is a very difficulty point of order …


Mr Speaker: … because it requires me to rule in a matter where I have been somewhat personally involved, but nonetheless, I will obviously expect that the hon. Minister will take that into account and that as he continues engaging the administration, it will seriously look at that option. Indeed, your statement is factually correct.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I was saying that the situation at UNZA is a reality and the majority of the students actually find themselves renting some rooms in Kalinga linga.

That being the case, Sir, may I find out from the hon. Minister whether he does not think that we need to put up prefabricated rooms to enable the pupils renting outside campus to come onto campus to access the library so that we can do away with producing half-backed graduates as we are doing at the moment.

 Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I get worried when the hon. Member of Parliament for Senanga says ‘Do you not think because I actually think.’  


Mr Speaker, UNZA has an alumni association, but it is inactive. If it was active, then, the hon. Member of Parliament for Katuba Parliamentary Constituency would not have proposed another methodology of trying to help UNZA. So, the association may be there, but the majority of almost all my colleagues here are from that university and have confirmed that the association is not active. So, it is not a question of having a tool that is not effective. We need a tool that is effective and will help the university. This is a serious issue and so, we are trying to ask His Excellency the President to re-launch the Alumni Association of UNZA.

Sir, as for the proposal by the hon. Member of Parliament for Senanga, I want to say we understand the situation at UNZA and as a Government, we are trying our level best to address the situation. That is why we are putting up 4,160 permanent structures. The other area that could help us is the corporate social responsibility. We are appealing to all business houses to help in this area. This includes my younger brother from Senanga, who is running quite a lot of businesses. He should search his soul and help alleviate the problem of accommodation shortage at the university.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kapyanga (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, the students have become vulnerable and fall prey to businessmen and women who are operating private boarding facilities. I would like to find out whether there is any regulation in place to protect the students, especially that these people providing private boarding facilities are charging astronomical rates. What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that the vulnerable students are protected?

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I sympathise with the students. However, this private arrangement is between the students and the accommodation providers. So, there is nothing that the Government can do about it.

I thank you, Sir.


643. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock when the Government would facilitate the setting up of maize milling plants in provincial and district centres to ensure low prices of mealie meal.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Ng’onga): Mr Speaker, the Government has, under the Presidential Milling Plants Initiative, drawn up a programme to facilitate development in rural areas by setting up plants close to the production areas. The plan involves setting up ten milling plants in all the ten provinces, as well as small solar- powered milling plants. The small solar-powered plants will be managed by the co-operatives. The programme aims to ensure that value-addition is done near production areas. This will also help to reduce the cost of mealie meal among our consumers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, it is good that the Government is planning to initiate the setting up of these mills in each province. However, has the Government assessed the viability of the ten mills as well as the quality of the product compared to what is currently being produced?

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, at the beginning of this year, the Government did inform the nation, through Parliament, its concern about the price differentials on mealie meal. That report indicated that mealie meal was relatively cheaper in urban areas than it was in areas where the maize is grown, and I think I gave an example of Kasama and Solwezi. Although I cannot remember the exact figures, I indicated that while a bag of mealie meal costs K60 in Lusaka, the same bag of mealie meal would cost about K75 in Kasama. I lamented the fact that the people who are producing the maize should not be subjected to buying mealie meal at such high prices.

Sir, the reason for the price differential is because the milling capacity that we have in country is along the line of rail. I did indicate that the Government was hoping that the private sector would take advantage of the absence of milling capacity in rural areas for them to set up milling plants there. This initiative, therefore, is as a result of that realisation. So, in answering my dear brother’s question, yes, this initiative has been driven from our experience, and the issue of quality is a different matter. The mills that are being brought in are of similar quality to the mills that are operating in Zambia. Further, let me explain that the initiative is not for the Government neither is it for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock or the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry to run those milling plants. Those milling plants are being procured by the Government for onward lending to the co-operative movement, the Zambia Prisons Service and the Zambia National Service (ZNS). The milling plants that will be provided to the ZNS and the Prisons Service are not for commercial purposes. They are largely, for producing maize to feed the Government institutions such as prisons and hospitals. That way, the Government will be cushioned from the high prices that are charged by private millers.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I want to find out if the mills that the Government is planning to import and pass over to the private sector will also include rice millers and not just maize.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I am indebted to the hon. Member for that question because it gives me an opportunity to say that the plants we are talking about also include cassava. We are thinking about getting in one or two plants that will be dedicated to milling cassava because we know that it is an important crop and we are encouraging its production. So, rice is also under consideration.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has partly answered the question I had, except ...

Mr Shakafuswa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. The way Her Honour the Vice-President is taking questions from this side has brought dignity and respect to this House compared to the previous situation where the Vice-President would answer us as if we are children who had come to a school picnic. Therefore, is Hon. Chenda, my elder brother, in order to just keep to himself instead of putting this on record and thanking Her Honour the Vice-President for the good work she is doing in this House? I need your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: Well, I do not normally encourage hon. Members to put words in the mouths of other hon. Members. We will, therefore, leave it to Hon. Chenda if he so wishes to do so.

The hon. Member for Lubansenshi may continue.

Mr Mucheleka: Sir, our past experience in this country is that any presidential initiatve has been abused or taken advantage of. What measures are going to be put in place to ensure that the funds that will be lent out for the setting up of the milling plants in the rural areas will be repaired timely with, perhaps, a bit of interest? In other words, what mechanisms are there to make sure that this initiative is not abused or used for political expediency?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I indicated that the ten main milling plants will be given out on loan to the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF) and other Government institutions, namely the ZNS and Police and Prisons Service Commission (PPSC). Those are the institutions that can easily be followed by the Government. The solar-powered plants are the ones that are for onward lending, or, maybe, I should say for onward distribution to co-operative societies in the rural areas.

Mr Speaker, just yesterday, I was talking about matching grants. As the hon. Minister responsible for agriculture, I am in consultations with other Government ministries to see whether or not we could add a component of a grant for the solar-powered milling plants to empower our rural women. This is because it is the women who suffer the most when they do not have milling capacity close to their homestead. They are the ones who have to carry buckets of maize to a milling plant and walk back with mealie meal. If we take these plants as close to the village as possible, the ones we are empowering are women.

Secondly, Sir, we are also going to raise the nutrition standard of the children in the rural areas. So, the issue of repayment is a concern for the ten big milling plants. For the small little units that we want to spread across the country, if it were only up to Hon. Mucheleka and I, I am sure we would have agreed that this programme must be considered to be gratis to our people. This is a matter, however, that I am still consulting with my colleagues, the hon. Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Finance, Community Development, Mother and Child Health, and Chiefs and Tradition Affairs. Like I said yesterday when I was answering Hon. Siliya, we are extremely consultative. So, I will not give a definite answer here now on the small milling plants.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, having listened to the hon. Minister’s lamentations on the non-participation of the private sector in this particular activity, one wonder think that he would be working on ensuring that there are incentives put in place to attract the private sector to rural areas. If there are any incentives, can the hon. Minister just tell us what some of them are. If there are none, what is he thinking of doing to ensure that the Government does not participate to this extent, but create an enabling environment for the private sector to go to the rural areas to provide milling facilities?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) is charged with the responsibility of attracting investment. I do not have the Act before me, but I am sure that many people are aware of the fact that there is preferential treatment that is given on taxes for those companies that set up industry or business in rural areas. That is just one example of the incentives that are there. Beyond that, however, the availability of the market and proximity to the source of inputs must be an incentive on its own. It is easier for one to set up a milling plant in Chipata, for instance, because there is demand for mealie meal and maize is grown there.

Sir, I do not think that I should be misunderstood to be lamenting. I did not lament, but only reported that the private sector did not respond at the time that we made the call. This is not to generalise because as soon as I made the statement, one company called Cargill Zambia Limited took the initiative and opened a brand new milling plant in Chipata. As the hon. Minister responsible for the agriculture sector, I also facilitated for another milling plant to be reopened in Chipata. So, the private sector is responding well, but we think that it is time for the Government to also give facilities to the ZCF for it to participate in milling.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, what will be the production capacity of these mills that will be distributed to the ten provinces?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I am afraid that I do not have the figures for the capacity with me, but they will be different from province to province.

I thank you, Sir.




Ms Imenda (Luena): Sir, I beg to move that the House do adopt the report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and Other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2013, for the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 15th July, 2015.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, as a preamble, may I say, I have got influenza. I hope the House will bear with me. I do not know why it had to come at this time.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, in line with its terms of reference as specified in the Standing Orders, considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2013.

Mr Speaker, allow me to start my speech by paying tribute and thanks to my predecessor, Hon. Vincent Mwale, now Minister of Youth and Sport. He is missed by your Committee and its Members will try to emulate his dedication to public finance accountability.

Sir, I am humbled to present your Committee’s Report in this sitting, especially that your Committee has worked hard to have this ready for the House. On this score, let me sincerely thank my colleagues for the hard work and the focused manner in which they deliberated on the matters that came before us. Allow me also to thank them for giving me an opportunity to lead them.

Mr Speaker, there were seventeen parastatal bodies and statutory institutions that were captured in the audit report, which was considered by your Committee. These institutions are spread over many economic sub-sectors, including utilities, commercial, economic, welfare, and social sectors, and they operate under the supervision of different sector ministries.

Sir, most of these parastatal bodies provide critical services and hence, there is a great need for them to be effective and efficient in their operations with particular emphasis on accountability and transparency. It goes without saying that our scrutiny in this area is, therefore, of …

Mr Speaker: Order, on the right.

Ms Imenda: … utmost importance. Having said that, I will now touch on a few issues that are highlighted in your Committee’s Report.

Sir, I will start with the query regarding the failure by parastatal bodies to produce audited financial statements required by their own articles of association. In a democracy like ours, accountability is one of the cornerstones of good democratic governance. It is important, therefore, that officials who are given the authority and responsibility to manage public entities and enterprises clearly convey actions taken and also state whether these fall within the prescriptions of the law and the community’s wishes. The only way to achieve this is through the timely production of financial and annual reports. Your Committee is greatly saddened to learn that the number of parastatal bodies that failed to produce audited financial statements have remained static at twenty-one in 2012 and twenty in 2013. The main culprits in this regard include the Times of Zambia, Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), Zambia Institute of Legal Education, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited and Zambia Postal Services Corporation.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, your Committee is aware of the Government’s efforts to devise stringent policy guidelines to State-owned enterprises and strongly urges the Government to fully implement it in order to enhance the supervisory role of the Government on these enterprises. Your Committee is of the view that the policy should be enhanced to give the Government more leverage to take action when a company has failed to meet its reporting obligations.

Mr Speaker, another issue which caught the attention of your Committee was the lack of good corporate governance in these institutions. Allow me to state that good corporate governance practices require that the roles of the stakeholders are well separated to reduce conflict of interest in the day-to-day running of organisations. For instance, the roles of the board of directors, board members and executive officers must be separated to enhance the oversight role of the board over the company. This entails that major decisions that affect an organisation’s current and future operations are made with a view to ensure efficient utilisation of funds for the benefit of the organisation and its shareholders.

 Sir, your Committee has observed, with concern, the general poor corporate governance exhibited in most parastatal bodies during the period under review. In most cases, the decisions were made by management without approval of the board while in some instances, there was poor or no composition of the board, which is at variance with the various Acts governing their mandates.

Mr Speaker, some of the organisations where this weakness was highlighted included the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZPSC), the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) Plc, National Housing Authority (NHA), Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) and the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF).

Sir, in most cases, this resulted in decisions being made that were not in the best interest of the organisations. The worst case scenario in this regard was at the ZCCM-IH Plc where the major shareholder, the Government, in addition to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), who was already in office appointed, a board chairperson who was also carrying out the functions of the CEO. This is contrary to good corporate governance practice Section 5(42) of the ZCCM-IH Plc Board Charter and the listing requirements of the Lusaka Stock Exchange.

Sir, your Committee observed that this anomaly was actually created by the major shareholder who appointed the executive chairperson against the Board Charter of the company. During its scrutiny of this matter, your Committee further observed that the terms and conditions of service of the so-called executive chairperson should have been tabled and considered by the board, but it was surprising to learn that his conditions of service were only agreed between him and the appointing authority. This is unacceptable and in contravention of the ZCCM-HI Plc Board Charter, Paragraph 9.1.

Mr Speaker, still talking about the issue of poor corporate governance, the reasons stated by most controlling officers supervising these various institutions were worrying and suggested to your Committee that the process of installing new boards is cumbersome and needed an urgent revision. In view of the foregoing, your Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that effective boards are always in place in all parastatal bodies and that roles are segregated amongst the various players in order to ensure that the principles of good corporate governance are upheld.

Your Committee further urges the Government to consider revising the process of appointing or renewing members to the boards with particular interest on reducing the time it should take for the process to be completed. Your Committee particularly urges the Secretary to the Cabinet to ensure that no organisation is allowed to operate without an effective board.

Sir, another issue which your Committee dealt with is the failure by these public entities to secure their properties with title deeds. One of the culprits in this area is the Zambia Telecommunications Company limited (ZAMTEL).

Mr Speaker, let me be quick to mention that the Lands Act No.29 of 1995 requires that institutions or individuals owning land possess title deeds as proof of ownership. It is of great concern that ZAMTEL, in this period under review, has 159 properties without title deeds. Given the scenario above, you will agree with me that although these properties exist, there is no proof that they belong to ZAMTEL.

Mr Speaker, your Committee expresses concern that this can result in them being lost as there is no proof of ownership, especially during privatisation. Your Committee considers this a very serious omission and urges the controlling officer to ensure that ZAMTEL resolves the matter without any further delay.

Mr Speaker, let me now comment on another worrying trend exposed by the Auditor-General analysing the general performance of these parastatal bodies that were audited in this period under review. The financial performance in most of these institutions needs to be addressed without any further delay. Allow me to define financial performance in very simple terms as:

“The level of performance of a business over a specified period of time expressed in terms of overall profits and losses during that time.”

Sir, let me also add that evaluating the financial performance of a business allows decision-makers to judge results of business strategies and activities in objective monetary terms. On this issue, your Committee observes that ZAMTEL is one of the key culprits, again, in this area.

Mr Speaker, after examining its statement of comprehensive income, the Auditor-General discovered that ZAMTEL recorded losses of K50.6 million, in 2011, and K224 million, in 2012. As if that is not enough, the revenue had decreased from K573 million, in 2011, to K390 million in 2012. Yet surprisingly and disappointingly for that matter, its cost of sales had quadrupled from K5 million, in 2011, to K19 million, in 2012.

Further, examination based on ZAMTEL’s statement of financial position revealed that shareholder funds had greatly reduced from K624 million, in 2011, to K385 million, in 2012. Technically speaking, the company is insolvent and requires urgent intervention by its shareholder, the Government.

Sir, your Committee observes, with great concern, that the company is facing liquidity problems and urges the Government, particularly the Secretary to the Treasury, to ensure that there is an urgent recapitalisation at ZAMTEL and further that management puts in place turn-around strategies to address the matter relating to poor performance without any further delay.

Mr Speaker, let me report that the Government financed ZAMTEL with an amount totalling K1.5 billion, in 2010, prior to the company’s privatisation to Lap Green Networks for the settlement of liabilities owed by the Government before the actual take over. Your Committee learnt that the amount in question was actually a loan to ZAMTEL. This is questionable because it was not clear why ZAMTEL, then, treated it as capital reserve. Due to a lack of an official position from the Government, as of October, 2014, the current external auditors of ZAMTEL had not yet finalised the 2013 Financial Statement and your Committee finds this state of affairs highly irregular and unacceptable. The Government is urged to ensure that it states its position regarding this matter and the controlling officer from the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication should ensure that this is corrected in ZAMTEL’s books, accordingly without any further delay.

Mr Speaker, still on liquidity issues, your Committee observed, with concern, the alarming current state of affairs at LASF. If left to continue this way, it will defeat the purpose of its existence. According to the National Pension Scheme Act No. 40, of 1996, all associated authorities’ employees engaged after 1st February, 2000, were required to pay their pension contributions to NAPSA rather than LASF. Contributions to LASF were to be regarded as occupational schemes. Let me elaborate on this issue by speaking of the spirit of the National Pension Scheme Authority Act No. 40 of 1996. As its name implies, NAPSA is a national scheme modelled on the United States of America’s Social Security Administration (SSA) programme to provide benefits to every retired worker and to ensure that no one is left behind, including domestic servants. The existing pension schemes at the time, like LASF and other Public Service pension funds, were to convert to occupational pension schemes. For this reason, the contribution rate at NAPSA was deliberately made reasonably low in order to enable employees and their employers to also contribute to their occupational pension schemes. The failure to adhere to this posed a challenge on the financial capacity of the superannuation fund, as it depended on membership contributions.

Mr Speaker, your Committee urges the controlling officer to ensure that the process of issuing a Statutory Instrument (SI) to address this omission is expedited. Your Committee also urges the Government to consider recapitalising LASF, through the National Budget, by financing its huge actuarial deficit. In addition, there is an absolute and urgent need for a clear and holistic approach in the pension sector that should provide a clear strategic direction in the management and sustainable operations of all the institutions in this sector.

Mr Speaker, I wish to conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and support rendered to your Committee during its deliberations. I further wish to thank all controlling officers and chief executive officers of the institutions that were audited for their co-operation. Finally, I wish to acknowledge and show appreciation for the advice that was rendered to your Committee by the officers from the offices of the Auditor-General, Accountant-General and the Controller of Internal Audits.

I beg to move. Thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mr Mucheleka: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion to adopt the Report on the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year ended 31st December, 2013.

Mr Speaker, the mover of this Motion has ably articulated the views of your Committee on this Motion and, therefore, I shall only comment on one or two issues that require emphasise. Let me state that this report under review has highlighted some serious financial and other irregularities  with the highest number of irregularities being the non-remittance of statutory contributions, standing at K142.5 million, followed by inadequately supported payments at K6.4 million and missing vouchers at K6 million. Therefore, I will restrict my discourse to these irregularities.

Mr Speaker, let me start with the non-remittance of taxes and statutory contributions. Your Committee is saddened to learn that despite the figure dropping from 2012, the number of institutions failing to remit statutory contributions has remained high and worrying. Let me illustrate my point by using one example of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost). During the period under review, Zampost did not remit statutory contributions and taxes on rentals to the appropriate authorities, amounts totalling K139.3 million, which were deducted from employees and tenants as of 31st December, 2014. Your Committee was saddened to further learn that due to this failure by management to pay their statutory contributions on time, the corporation was charged a total amount of K230,000 as penalty for outstanding obligations to the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) for the year ended 31st March, 2013. Your Committee found this unacceptable. This hinges on poor liquidity levels in most of these parastatal bodies, as already ably articulated by the mover. Your Committee has taken note of the efforts made by Zampost management to start meeting the corporation’s statutory obligations, but strongly cautions it to ensure that this is done expeditiously in order for the corporation to avoid further penalties. Your Committee challenges the management of the corporation to be innovative and endeavour to become market leaders in the market environment it operates in. Your Committee feels that markets are readily available for most of the products that the corporation offers. However, management has failed to match their competitors.

Mr Speaker, your Committee also urges the Government to capacitate management of these parastatal bodies. There is a need for innovative and business-minded management teams in these parastatal bodies for them to achieve organisation goals.

Mr Speaker, management teams in these parastatal bodies must consider entering into time-to-pay agreements with institutions they owe in order to reduce their arrears on statutory obligation. As a lasting solution, your Committee strongly urges the Government to consider relieving the debt burden on the parastatal bodies by paying on their behalf to help enhance liquidity of the limping institutions.

Sir, let me also touch the other two problems in these parastatal bodies. Allow me to mention that the problems of inadequately supported payments and missing vouchers are closely related by nature. The lack of provision of required documents during audits is a clear failure by officers in the institutions to prepare adequately for external audits which can result in serious consequences with significant costs, both in terms of disruptions to an organisation’s daily operations and the penalties associated with any compliance failures.

Mr Speaker, your Committee is of the view that the failure associated with the missing of documents is a deliberate move by officers in an attempt to conceal information from auditors. Your Committee lamentably regrets this recurring problem as it is now evident that officers are adept in weakening systems to their advantage.

Sir, your Committee finds it unacceptable to learn from the controlling officers, during its sittings, who reported that documents are available for verification by auditors. Where these documents which were not there during the time of audit would have come from is of great concern. It is further surprising to hear controlling officers supervising these various parastatal bodies complain of staff levels or lack of capacity as the reason payments were not supported or why the documents were missing.
Mr Speaker, allow me to use the example of MOFED. Contrary to MOFED’s financial regulation No., which states that documents which justify and authorise expenditure shall be attached to payment vouchers, in this period under review, there were 173 payments amounting to K41.2 million that were inadequately supported with receipts, authority and acquittal sheets.

Sir, during enquiries by your Committee, the controlling officers submitted that some figures were erroneously captured as the United States dollar amount when it was, in fact, Tanzanian shilling amount and further that there was double entry of certain figures by the officers. This is evidence that there is serious laxity by officers charged with this responsibility. Your Committee is of the view that stern disciplinary action must be instituted to deal with culprits for causing such serious omissions in order to deter other officers.

Further, Sir, your Committee feels that the punishment for such irregularities must be stiffened to deter officers from perpetuating this vice. Additionally, the controlling officer is urged to ensure that internal controls are strengthened in all parastatal bodies to curb recurrence of this irregularity.

In conclusion, allow me to join the mover of the Motion in thanking you, Mr Speaker, for according us the opportunity to serve on this important Committee. I also wish to thank the Members of your Committee for affording me this opportunity to second the Motion.

Mr Speaker, I beg to second.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, thank you for letting me contribute to the debate on this Motion which has been ably moved this morning.

Yesterday, we were fortunate to attend a workshop by the Ministry of Health where elephantiasis was explained. It was explained to us that this particular disease is caused by worms which are transmitted by a mosquito resulting in the enlargement of body parts, especially the legs.

Indeed, the Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Kasonde, elaborated that the vision of the ministry is to eliminate this neglected tropical disease through a focused strategy to reduce the disease burden. It was also refreshing to see the number of Doctors of Philosophy (PhDs) and other specialities that were littered during the presentation. It gives me hope that this country can change.

Mr Speaker, today, we had a presentation by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) which has indicated, in the main, that the swelling of the Budget deficit is being caused by irregularities and inconsistencies that it are being transmitted by parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions.

Mr Speaker, elephantiasis, like incompetence, is curable, but irrational behaviour is significantly resistant to treatment. The overall summation of this report is that the poor financial performance and the weak governance structures and institutions are part of the main cause of the Budget deficit that we now grapple with. Indeed, the Chairperson indicated to us that twenty-one parastatals are unable to produce audited accounts. This is worrying.

Mr Speaker, when we go to the specifics in the report, starting with the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH), as an example, the report indicates that the company outsourced the legal services on conveyance. As a consequence of this decision by management, the ZCCM-IH paid almost K9 million within a period of two years, as opposed to when this service was undertaken internally and only costed K1.8 million. When management was interrogated, it said that it did not do a cost benefit analysis in the hope that the cost would not rise.

Mr Speaker, it is the same with the environmental technical services. We are now paying K800,000 incremental costs every year. The decisions that we make, therefore, will always have consequences. This is what is swelling up the Budget deficit.

Mr Speaker, we heard from the seconder of the Motion that the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost) is not remitting its taxes. In the report, however, there is an indication that the losses that are accruing at Zampost are a consequence of a decision taken by management to increase salaries. The general rule should be that you cannot give what you do not have, even if you are charitable. All I am demonstrating are the things that are swelling up the Budget deficit.

Mr Speaker, there is also an analogy between elephantiasis and the Zambia Telecommunications Limited (Zamtel). We have been told by the mover of the Motion that Zamtel not only has liquidity problems today, but incurs losses, like the disease that continues to increase, to the extent that it is now loosing K224 million. The answer to whether the solution is to implement a turnaround strategy or redirect the focus of Zamtel lies in the hands of its management. The key thing to note is that this is like elephantiasis which is increasing and swelling the Budget deficit.

Sir, another case is that of the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). The report tells us that management of the DBZ is not bothered about maintaining proper accounting records. This is a cause for serious worry. The controlling officer, when questioned, said that the DBZ has no robust loan accounting systems and, therefore, is not able to know how much it is owed and how much is to be collected.

Mr Speaker, you are aware that US$20 million of the Eurobond was given to the DBZ in the hope that it could be clawed back and used to repay the bond. When you have an institution that is not even aware of what it has and whose core business is loan administration, you begin to worry that the swelling of the Budget deficit is caused by the decisions of men. It is a worrying situation.

Sir, what is even more worrying is, as the mover of the Motion has indicated, that the parastatals that your Committee interrogated, including statutory bodies, have not been able to contribute or remit taxes to the extent of K140 million. The hon. Minister of Finance is borrowing to try to cure this disease that is being transmitted by the decisions of parastatals and statutory bodies. When we fail to control poverty, it is because of the transmission of this disease.

Mr Speaker, we can even equate these parastatals and statutory bodies to carriers of a parasite, which makes them mosquitoes.

Mr Mtolo: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: We need to find a way of killing this mosquito.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Prof. Lungwangwa: Get rid of it.

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, we need to think soberly as a nation. We have the ability to do things better, as exemplified by the intellect that I saw, yesterday, at the Ministry of Health. Sometimes, you wonder whether the situation that we are in is due to deliberate neglect because the issue is not incompetence. It is very clear that we have what it takes to pefrom better.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, I urge my colleagues to harness the talent and tools that we have so that we no longer read repetitions in the Auditor-General’s Report and so that we can begin to assist the hon. Minister of Finance to refrain from going to borrow more money just to kill and cure a disease that is being transmitted by the mosquito called parastatals. Let him borrow for development. Borrowing must be for development.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutati: Mr Speaker, unless we are able to arrest this irrational behaviour, this situation is going to end up being an epidemic which will cripple and regress the growth of the country. It is no wonder that our gross domestic product (GDP) is declining and we have instability in the exchange rate, as the hon. Member for Bwacha said. It is no wonder that our trade deficit continues to increase exponentially month-by-month. These are the things that we need to arrest.

Sir, I have hope that this is not a lost cause and that we have the capabilities to do what needs to be done. However, we will only do this if we can divorce ourselves from irrational behaviour. We must feel sorry for the poor people of Zambia who are the shareholders in these parastatals. Let us protect their interests and give them dividends for investing in parastatals. Let us not ask them to pay more through more taxes. Let them get a return. There is hope that the day shall come when that return shall be made.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I will be very brief ...

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Question!

Mrs Masebo: Ndeo?

Mr Speaker, I will be very brief. I just wanted to make reference to what the mover said. In supporting the Motion on the Floor, I heard the mover say that one of the challenges our parastatals or statutory bodies are faced with is that some of them go without boards for long periods of time. She made an appeal to the Secretary to Cabinet that this should not happen. I want to make this my starting point. In my view, that recommendation should not go to the Secretary to the Cabinet, but to the Executive because the function of appointing boards rests with it.

Sir, one of the challenges I have noticed with a number of our statutory bodies is that some of the board members selected by the Executive are not really qualified for the sectors in which they are placed. Boards do the day–to-day supervision of these statutory bodies. Therefore, it would help the Executive to ensure that it chooses members who have skills are commensurate with the sector they are appointed to.

Mr Speaker, it is also important that we balance the boards with equal representation from males and females. I have noticed that when you have more women on a board, that statutory body will be very effective. This is because many professional Zambian women are very serious and committed.

Mr Speaker, I would like to urge the Executive to appoint more women. It should desist from just decorating the boards with three women as board members. It should endeavour to have, at least, seven women against three men on a board and it will see that a number of the problems that keep appearing in the Auditor-General’s Report, year in and year out will come to an end.

Mr Speaker, the other point I want to talk about concerns the statutory bodies. Even in politics, when you have women ...

Mr Mucheleka: The police!

Mrs Masebo: Yes, even in police, we have women such as Ms Stella Libongani who are doing a very good job.

Mr Mucheleka: No, you cannot do that.

Mrs Masebo: Oh!

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Member for Lubansenshi, allow the hon. Member for Chongwe to debate in peace and quiet without any unnecessary interventions.

Continue, hon. Member for Chongwe.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, the issues that have come out in the Auditor-General’s Report are the same stories that we have heard time and again. Sometimes, when you read through the report, you even wonder whether it is an old or recent one. You will even think that just a paste and copy. You then realise that it could be a new report which contains same issues as the ones in the old reports. This clearly shows that there is a problem that we are not sorting out.

Sir, in the past, when we created these statutory bodies, we felt that a particular function of a sector ministry, under a statutory body, would perform better than a department.

Mr Mucheleka: On a point or order, Mr Speaker.


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, it was felt that the sector ministries, under the Government, were not performing efficiently and effectively. It was felt that a department would do better once it was a statutory body. Over the years, when we began to compare how these statutory bodies were performing when they were under a particular ministry, we found that their performance was actually worse. What was only good was that they were in a better office building with nice furniture and good conditions of service. When we looked at how this Government department had performed in the past, we found that it was actually better than a statutory body. It was actually noted that under the statutory body, people were not served well.

Sir, in terms of products, we also found that we were actually losing out when products were under the statutory body as compared to the Government department. I have in mind the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) under the Government and when it was a statutory body. I also have in mind other quasi-Government departments that are now independent and are not doing well on account of various reasons.

Mr Speaker, my view is that the system of boards in Zambia is actually not working as expected. We were told that when you have a board of directors, the system would be more efficient, but that is not the case. In fact, we have, in some instances, seen boards that get compromised by a chief executive of a statutory body and no real supervision goes on. We have also seen that the line ministries which are supposed to be the overall supervisors of these statutory bodies are not playing their role. This is due to the distance which is created between the statutory bodies and the line ministries. We keep seeing the same lapses in the audited accounts because the Permanent Secretaries (PSs) and the hon. Ministers are not supervising the statutory bodies, hence lapses which are legal requirements which state that any company must have audited statements of accounts at the end of each financial year.

Mr Speaker, the other point I want to bring out, arising from the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year ended 31st December, 2013, is that if you investigate deeper, you will find that most of these statutory bodies which were supposed to be giving dividends to the State are not doing so. You will also find that some of these statutory bodies have not been giving dividends to the State for the past ten years when some of the profits they could have earned would have been taken to Control 99. Some of these statutory bodies only wait for the Government to give them money which goes towards the salaries of the executives.

Sir, when it comes to policies of salaries and sitting allowances for the Chief Executives, you will find that whilst the sitting allowance may be regulated by the hon. Minister, the salaries of the executives will be regulated by the boards. In many cases, you will find that there is a big difference in terms of salaries and sitting allowances for the executives in a holding ministry for a particular statutory body. In the end, you will find that these statutory bodies are actually the ones that have distorted the salary structure of Zambia. The Government is now having difficulties in regulating the salary structure of the civil servants and, indeed, the statutory bodies. This is because, over the years, they have pushed their salaries so high such that it is now difficult to catch up. These are the difficulties that we are facing today.

Mr Speaker, I support the stance of the State of looking at a number of these statutory bodies to see which ones should continue and which ones should go back to the State. My hope is that, through that process, we can really end up with only those that are worth being called statutory bodies. When you look at a number of other statutory bodies or Government departments, ...


Mrs Masebo: Sir, there is too much noise.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order! Please.

 I think that those consultations that are loud are normally frowned upon. I hope you can consult less loudly, especially the hon. Members closer to the one debating.

You may continue.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I was saying that I support the idea of reviewing all these statutory bodies. I was suggesting that some of them should be considered as Government departments. This is because they are not performing the functions for which they were actually established and that they are draining resources from the State. Therefore, it is a good thing that the State is looking at

Mr Speaker, the other point which I thought I should also comment on, which came out in the Auditor-General’s Report, concerns the contributions. The problem of non-remittances of statutory obligations by a number of statutory bodies has continued. When the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) Bill was being debated, on the Floor of this House, these are the same issues that came up. We discussed how the Government has, over the years, been trying to reconsider realigning the whole pension system and a number of difficulties that were found.

One of the reasons is as a result of these statutory bodies which, over the years, have been allowed to come up with a salary structure which is non-sustainable and, now, we are told that the Government cannot reduce somebody’s salary and this puts a lot of pressure on the Budget. Also, when it comes to policy alignment, it becomes very difficult for the Government to find its way out of the mess that has been created on account of statutory bodies.

Mr Speaker, lastly, I want to talk about how some statutory bodies were established. In the past, when African States were dependent on running their governments by way of borrowing monies from the donors, they were given conditions to establish statutory bodies that would be autonomous. However, the concept of autonomy is no longer there because, at the end of the day, the State interferes in the running of these statutory bodies and sometimes the interference may be positive or negative. So, that concept of autonomy, in my view, falls off. I think that we should not create a structure simply because we want it to be autonomous. Since there are many rules on corporate governance, the Government can run a department that falls under a line ministry and still apply the same corporate standards.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Sichalwe (Chawama): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me an opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the report that is on the Floor of the House.

Sir, of the many failures highlighted in the report, I have taken particular interest in one that is on Page 71, item two, which addresses the failure to take possession of repossessed mortgage property, stand No. 14553 Makeni Lusaka.

Mr Speaker, on face value of this item, there was a court order which had given the Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) the powers to repossess this particular property. However, why have they failed to repossess this property to date?

Sir, I wish to bring it to your attention that this property in question, in essence, is in Chawama Constituency and not Makeni or Kanyama constituencies. If the Committee had taken interest to visit the property in question, especially with the aspect of the demolition of a large illegal settlement, it should have realised that somebody pulled a quick one on the ZNBS.

Mr Speaker, two days ago, I took interest in this particular issue because of the demolition aspect that has been highlighted in this report and I went on the ground. Having been on the ground, I interacted with the community and discovered that the oldest member of the community had constructed that particular property in 2002. The ZNBS gave monies to somebody who claimed to have title of the property in question in 2009. So, at the time the ZNBS disbursed these monies, there was already a large group of squatters who had occupied the land in question.

Sir, they say that beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder. The ZNBS should have gone on the ground to verify. Had it done that, it would have discovered that the land was already occupied by squatters. This is a problem which has been passed on from the title holder to the ZNBS.

Mr Speaker, there must have been a very serious procedural era by our officers at the ZNBS. Therefore, how many other properties have been dealt with in the same way? These are some of the issues that must be brought to a halt as these finances are literally being wasted by the same employees working with some scrupulous individuals in the community.

Sir, with these few words, I implore your Committee to take interest in such cases once brought to its table and go on  the ground to verify to avoid further losses of finances.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I wish to contribute to the debate on the Motion that is on the Floor of the House which is the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and Other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year ended 31st December, 2013, for the Fourth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly.

Sir, the issues that have been raised in the report of your Committee should normally have sent a lot of concern among the hon. Members of the House and we should have seen the hon. Minister of Finance present in the Chamber. Even if he has other commitments, we should have seen the hon. Deputy Minister ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

There is an Acting hon. Minister of Finance who is the hon. Minister of Justice. So, continue with the debate.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, even the demeanour of the hon. Members is not one that reflects the amounts of monies that are being wasted by these parastatal bodies. Everybody looks calm. I can see my elder brother, Hon. Chenda, is relaxed and our Whip, Hon. Mtolo, does not look seriously concerned.


Mr Simfukwe: Sir, there is a reason for this. The findings, irregularities and amounts are the same every year since these parastatal bodies were created. Our forefathers saw it prudent, in the famous Matero and Mulungushi Reforms, to nationalise several private companies and create parastatal bodies. The vision was that this would be one way of enhancing economic development in this country. However, every year, we hear that most of the parastatal bodies fail to prepare financial statements, which is one of the transparent ways we can know how they are performing. Every year, we learn that some do not even bother to submit their statements for auditing. This is not peculiar to this particular Government. It has been there since the founding Government of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and it was there even during the tenure of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) and it has continued under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government.

Mr Speaker, this very poor co-operate governance among our parastatal companies is a shameful waste of funds and it continues to be a deliberate …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: …failure to follow procedure. These resources that are wasted are not ordinary funds. They are tax-payers funds. In most cases, …

Mr Mtolo: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member, who is debating so well, in order to allege that I am not paying attention because there is nothing being done to the culprits mentioned in this report? I have been busy tirelessly making sure that hon. Members of this House come into the Chamber so that this important matter can be heard by everyone because it is a concern for every hon. Member of this House to make sure that something is done about these erring officers since year in and out there is nothing that is being done. Is he in order to make that allegation?

The Deputy Chairperson: To the extent that he erroneously thought that you were not paying attention, he was out of order.

May the hon. Member, please, continue.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, I thank you for that guidance. Since the demeanour has even changed now, I have noted ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Not only that, you are looking at the hon. Member from the back. The Chair is wondering how you are able to assess demeanour from somebody’s back.
Please, continue.


Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, the gist of this particular argument is that we have seen revelations of wastage of funds and irregularities over many years, since the 70s, but nothing has been done.

Sir, I think that the reasons nothing has changed are well-known to us. There are underlining causes and we know them. We know one of the top underlining causes of why the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) has lost so much of Government value in just a few years and this is the political patronage.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, every Government enjoys the patronage of these parastatal companies. This political patronage bears serious internal problems where the management and the boards do not follow co-operate governance because the manner in which they are entrusted to oversee the running of these parastatal companies gives them extra political powers to circumvent certain procedures.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Sir, we know that there is a serious lack of control mechanisms and the loopholes for control of these parastatal companies is well-known, but there is a lack of political will to take care of these control mechanisms. This is because every succeeding Government wants to enjoy the patronage of these parastatal companies.

Mr Speaker, it is not difficult to set performance standards. We have experienced co-operate experts who can put and enshrine targets for performance in these parastatal companies against which we can easily measure the performance of our management and the boards of these parastatal companies. However, no one has bothered because it does not suit every succeeding Government to do that. They leave these management and boards to perform with no set targets and standards for performance. Indeed, even companies like ZAMTEL, which is an Information Technology (IT) based company, as we have read in the report, has no IT strategy.

Hon. Opposition Member: Why?

Mr Simfukwe: That is one of the serious underlying causes of why these companies are reported to have irregularities every year.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, what are the mechanisms for punishing failure? The mechanisms for punishing failure are not adequate to ensure that the management and the boards of these companies follow proper co-operate governance. They are aware that they can get away with it.

Sir, look at the administration cost, we have heard in the report that in one parastatal company, and I think, it is the Zambia Postal Services (ZAMPOST), the area manager for Lusaka is paid housing allowance to pay rent for a house which is his, and yet, he is the boss for ZAMPOST in Lusaka. In which case, he is a final authority on how much rent he should be paid for that house which is his and in which he is sleeping. This is in the report.

Mr Speaker, that kind of lack of transparency and irregularity is, obviously, because we have very few control mechanisms on these parastatal companies and it has continued since the Mulungushi Reforms.

Sir, there is no target placed on these parastatal companies on how high they can go to incur administrative costs. We know that a normal undertaking should not incur more than 25 per cent as administration but, maybe, the leaf has been taken from the fact that even our own Civil Service system consumes over 80 per cent of the Yellow Book funds, and yet it is an administrative wing of Zambia. The administration of Zambia consumes over 70 per cent. Only 30 per cent is left to actually deliver the goods to the Zambian people. Maybe, that is where the leaf has been taken.

Mr Speaker, there is no mechanism or rule on how much parastatal companies can spend to administer these companies. Some of them spend even in excess of their revenue, just for administration. The underlying causes are well-known.

Sir, we heard in the speech by the Chairperson of the Committee, Hon. Imenda, that instead of downsizing, restructuring or reforming so that they are lean and are able to deliver the necessary financial performance, some companies ask for recapitalisation.

Mr Speaker, ZAMTEL had over US$600 million capitalisation, but it has dropped by over US$200 million capitalisation. Instead of downsizing and restructuring so that it can become lean and effective, as a financial institution, it wants recapitalisation, ...

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Simfukwe: ... more money to spend.

Sir, these are straightforward matters. Why are we allowing our parastatal companies to consume the few resources that we have? Instead of disciplining them so that they are efficient, we borrow from the international market. This has been going on since the UNIP reign. It went on during the MMD and it has continued under the PF Government. Instead of disciplining our parastatal companies, most of which are potentially very profitable companies, we decide to fund them expensively by using borrowed funds. The Euro Bonds were taken to the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) and a few months later, the Managing Director (MD) there said that it was not enough. How can US$120 million not be enough? He wants US$500 million. This shows that there is something seriously wrong with the way we are managing our parastatal companies.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, let us look at the situation where we have parastatal companies competing with private companies. Just as a control measure, maybe, we are being unfair to them. ZAMTEL has competitors and these are MTN and Airtel. They do not get any money from the Government. They actually pay tax, but are making profits. Some of them are only a few years old in Zambia. MTN took over from Telecel only a few years ago, in the early 2000s, but it is already one of the biggest companies. It has even superseded ZAMTEL.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: ZAMTEL was the first company to market cellular phones in Zambia. It has been overtaken by MTN, a company which has only been in this country since 2000. Airtel is profitable and it also pays tax. As regards the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), it is even hiring parastatal companies from other countries to carry out some work on its behalf. Some of the hydro plants are being set up by Chinese companies which are themselves parastatal companies in China and are profitable in that country.

Mr Speaker, they, therefore, have no excuse for failing to perform because their counterparts in the same industries or sectors are making money. The underlying causes that I mentioned earlier that have been mentioned by the other speakers are the reasons for this anomaly.

Mr Speaker, I want to emphasise the fact that parastatals, on their own, are not wrong because even the most capitalist countries still maintain parastatals. America, which is an example of a capitalist, has parastatals, especially in utilities. That is the same for England as well. British Airways is a parastatal. Parastatals are here to stay and we need them because they are an important arm of economic development. However, they have to stop abusing tax payers’ resources.

Mr Speaker, four of the top ten companies in the world are Chinese parastatals. A Chinese parastatal called Dongfeng recently bought off Renault in France. A parastatal has bought off a private company in France. This company has representation here in Zambia too. The Mbala/Nakonde Road is being worked on by a parastatal called China CAMC Engineering Company. The Chinese company that built the Heroes Stadium, next to Mandevu, is also a parastatal. We are failing to run our own parastatals and we think that they are bad. Parastatals are okay, we just need to deal with the underlying causes that are making us fail to manage our parastatals properly. This is a non-partisan issue, but one that calls on all of us Zambians to prove our worth and that we can actually turn our fortunes around. The money that the parastatals are abusing is the same money that you are borrowing in form of the Euro Bond, as well as the money that the former Governments were borrowing. It is money the Government is taking to replace stolen or abused money as well as money that has gone through loopholes of irregularities.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, let me bring this issue closer to home and talk about a South African company called Sasol. It is a parastatal involved in the manufacturing of fertiliser, which it exports. It also has big plants which process gas in Mozambique. It has a gas pipeline running from Maputo into South Africa. It is a parastatal and is profitable.

Sir, maybe, we should also look at local cases of success. The Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) is a parastatal. The reason it has done well is obvious. It could be because of the engagement of the private partner. ZANACO declares dividends to the Government. Another example of a successful parastatal in Zambia is Indo-Zambia Bank. It also pays dividends. So, there are cases that are success stories within our midst and that shows that it can be done. There is something that these two examples that I have given are doing that the other twenty-seven parastatals are not doing.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the way forward. Having heard from the Chairperson of the Committee and other debaters, it is obvious that there is a need for new legislation. It is an opportunity for the Government in power to do something. You can choose to do something or leave it the way the previous Governments left it. You can bring legislation which can put in place measures for us to manage our parastatals properly, if you have an opportunity.

Mr Mucheleka: Walanda bwino saana boi.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, I am being disturbed by Hon. Mucheleka.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, he is complimenting me, but also destructing me.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Mucheleka, please.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I am complimenting him.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

 The hon. on the Floor is saying that he is being disturbed. So, let us desist from disturbing.

You may you continue, hon. Member.

Mr Simfumkwe: Mr Speaker, I would like to call upon the PF Government to use this opportunity now because it is still in power and looking at the way things are, the PF might remain in power for a long time.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: ... we would like to ask you to use your time in power to bring legislation so that we can streamline these parastatals ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Simfukwe: ... and turn them into viable, financially sound and performing companies.

Mr Speaker, I know that ideology and issues of patriotism do not mix well with business, but from the way we are going and since the Kaunda team left, you will agree with me that ideologically, we have lost direction. Maybe, this is another area that the PF Government could consider. Maybe, we do not know what these parastatals mean to us. It could be that there is a need for the responsible ministry to look at how ideologically sound we have become. We have lost our direction. Suffice to say that these parastatals are our own babies and, therefore, we should not abuse them.

Mr Speaker, the Bank of China is here. You will not find a Chinese company facing problems when it wants to get bank guarantees because the Chinese have brought a bank for themselves. We have lost total control of our banking system and economic development is strongly linked to the banking sector. We need to re-equip our control of the banking sector, assuming that we can manage without abusing them. We need to get back our ZANACO. If we can increase the ownership of ZANACO and make sure that Zambians can access services from their own banks, it will make a difference. The reasons the Bank of China is here are the same reasons former President Kaunda and his team created ZANACO and other financial institutions.

Sir, the PF Government should reconsider why Zambians are running all over the street and failing to secure even a single bond to undertake a contract. It is because there is no local bank for Zambians. As I conclude, I want to implore the Government to look at the calibre of people they appoint to serve on various boards in the country’s institutions. I know that there is an industrial development co-operation coming up, and I hope it will help. However, the calibre of board members should be sought in the legislation so that we do not have people who cannot even run a kantemba sitting on these boards and administer Ndola Lime Company Limited. So, we need to reconsider that. I also want to recommend that as we replace issues of nepotism and political patronage, let us look at the issues of meritocracy. There are a lot of capable and competent Zambians roaming the streets because we are not following meritocracy. We have Doctrate of Philosophy (PhD) holders sitting on their farms with others rearing chickens, and yet you do not want to bring them into the system. Bring them in and let them help us bring in quality in the way we manage our parastatals.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Justice (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to respond on behalf of the Executive. Firstly, I would like to commend, ...


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Dr Simbyakula: I would like to applaud and commend the mover and seconder of this very important Motion, as well as the members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for coming up with this very incisive report.

Sir, it is evident that these hon. Members put a lot of thought when coming up with this report. I also wish to thank all the hon. Members who have contributed to the debate on this Motion on the Floor. The report has raised very pertinent issues which we will seriously reflect on in our efforts to revitalise the parastatals sector. Indeed, critical issues such as ...

Ms Kalima: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I am trying to resist raising this point of order, but it has been going on for some time. Being a born-again Christian, I cannot allow this to continue. Are we in order to continue with the business of the House without a quorum?

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: Ring the bell so that we ascertain whether there is a Quorum or not. I am advised that some Committees are sitting. So, those sitting are taken to be part of us here.

Business was suspended from 1225 hours until 1226 hours.

The Deputy Chairperson: We have a Quorum, so business continues.

Dr Simbyakula: Mr Speaker, I was saying that critical issues such as the non-remittance of statutory obligations by some parastatal bodies are of serious concern to all of us. We will ensure that the parent ministries under whose purview these parastatal bodies fall step up their supervision of these entities so that they deliver to the expectations of the Zambian people.

Mr Speaker, we are not taking a business-as-usual approach to this report. Those management teams which will be found wanting will face stern action. As the hon. Member for Mbala mentioned, the Government is in the process of establishing the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) which will, among other things, have oversight on parastatal entities. We hope that will go a long way in enhancing the performance of parastatal bodies.

Sir, we have taken note of all the points that have been raised and will seriously reflect on them. With those few words, I would like to thank everyone who has debated on this Motion.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I am very grateful to the hon. Members who have debated as well as those who intended to debate, but did not do so.

Hon. Mutati raised some very important issues. I agree with him that the Budget deficit caused by the irregularities and inconsistencies of parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions is equivalent to mosquitoes transmitting the parasite that causes lymphatic filariasis.

Hon. Masebo talked about the challenge of selection of board members by the Government, which leaves much to be desired. It is true that we should not have the same issues being repeated every year.

Hon. Sichalwe, the Member of Parliament for Chawama Constituency, mentioned the issue of squatters on titled land, although he was defending them. I think let us look at the definition of squatters in the dictionary. Those are illegal occupants and they should not be defended. The person who holds the title deed is the bonafide owner of the property.

Mr Speaker, Hon. Simfukwe from Mbala raised a lot of pertinent issues. I cannot elaborate all of them, but one of them was the absence of relevant hon. Ministers in the House when this report is being presented. I know that the acting hon. Minister of Finance is here, but since we are dealing with parastatals, I felt the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry should have been in the House because this affects her portfolio. The issue of political patronage vis-à-vis caliber of board members should also be addressed. I would like to thank all the hon. Members who raised these pertinent issues.

Mr Speaker, thank you very much.

Question put and agreed to.




The Urban and Regional Planning Bill, 2015

The Forests Bill, 2015

The Referendum (Amendment) Bill, 2015

Reports adopted.

Third Readings on Tuesday, 21st July, 2015.




The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Sir, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1234 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 21st July, 2015.