Debates - Friday, 2nd October, 2015

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Friday, 2nd October, 2015

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No. 131, the following changes have been made to the composition of the following Committees:

Committee on Government Assurances

Mr B. Chitafu, MP to replace Mr M. Habeenzu, MP

Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services

Mr M. Habeenzu, MP to replace Mr B. Chitafu, MP

 I thank you.


The Minister of Justice and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I rise to give the House some idea of the business it will consider next week.

Sir, on Tuesday, 6th October, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answers, if there will be any.  This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, 7th October, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answers, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. The House will then continue with the debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address.

Sir, on Thursday, 8th October, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answers, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will debate the Motion to suspend Standing Orders 19, 20, 21 and 31 to enable the House to sit from 1415 hours until business is concluded on Friday, 9th October, 2015. The Motion will also seek to suspend the Vice-President’s Question Time. This is intended to enable the hon. Minister of Finance to present the 2016 National Budget. The House will then wind up debate on the Motion of Thanks to His Excellency the President’s Address, which was moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Luanshya on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015.

On Friday, 9th October, 2015, the hon. Minister of Finance, as already stated, will present the 2016 National Budget starting at 1415 hours.

I thank you, Sir.




The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, recently the Zambian economy has been a subject of commentary from some sections of society, in particular, with respect to the exchange rate developments. As a Government, we are duty bound to provide some insights on this important issue so as to keep our citizens and international community adequately informed and forestall injurious distortions.

Sir, I would like to state from the outset that the Government is aware of the difficulties that the volatility of the exchange rate has had on the business community and the general public. We understand the impact the disruptions have had on the operational costs of the business community because they have affected their planning. On the Government side, the depreciation of the exchange rate entails that the Treasury is required to provide more kwacha to service its foreign obligations. The reallocation of resources in the Budget has had an effect on provisions in other equally important areas, an action that has a negative impact on other programmes particularly those that are of a poverty reduction nature.

Mr Speaker, as I have indicated in my past submissions to this august House, the volatility of the exchange rate during the last nine months, increasing rapidly in September, is as a result of developments in the domestic economy as well as the global economy. On the domestic front, the deceleration in the mining sector due to falling prices and reduced production has had a negative impact on the exchange rate as the sector accounts for around 70 per cent of our foreign exchange earnings. Although non-traditional exports have been increasing over the past few years, the magnitude earned from this segment has not been enough to moderate pressures on the kwacha.

On the external front, the global economy has experienced strong headwinds, which in part have led to increased volatility in most financial markets as well as the near collapse of commodity prices. The global economy is at its weakest pace since the economic and financial crisis of 2008/09 as mounting weaknesses in major economies ranging from China to the Eurozone add to a long list of forces restraining the robust growth of the global economy.

Sir, Zambia, like most developing countries, Zambia remains vulnerable to developments in the global economy. Specifically, our balance of payments position has deteriorated reflecting a widening current account deficit mainly due to a stronger decline in the export earnings relative to imports. This has resulted in lower foreign exchange supply by major suppliers. The downward movement in the kwacha parity is distinctly a reflection of the demand/supply disequilibrium.

Mr Speaker, officials from the Government and the Bank of Zambia are closely monitoring the developments. Necessary measures with decided circumspection are being taken in the short and long-term to ensure relative stability in the market.

Sir, in the short-term the Government will undertake stability measures through the use of appropriate policy instruments. We will, however, be precautious not to undertake any measure that will lead to the depletion of our meagre foreign reserves. Further, the Government will ensure that it consolidates its fiscal position to avoid fiscal slippages that have an adverse impact on the monetary side and stability of the exchange rate. To this effect, the Government will ensure prudent levels of fiscal deficits going forward.

Mr Speaker, over the long-term horizon, the Government is taking steps to diversify the economy particularly through agriculture and energy sectors where short-term gestation projects have been targeted. These areas give the best export potential that will diversify our sources of export earnings.

Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude by stating that the Government is committed to maintaining a free-floating exchange rate, but calls upon the different players in the economy, including the private individuals, banks and the business community to ensure their actions are supportive of our efforts to ensure stability in the currency as all of us will be affected by any movements that arise out of any irresponsible action.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement just given by the hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that ministerial statement. Hon. Minister, can you be courageous enough to tell Zambians to prepare for hard times coming ahead of them.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Sir, usually when we are moving towards elections, the kwacha is always sliding. Is the hon. Minister sure that as we go towards the elections in 2016, the kwacha will not slide further than it is now.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I share the hon. Member’s legitimate concerns. The exchange rate of any currency is not a function of politics. You cannot just wake up and ordain the currency to assume a certain level as result of political administrative fear. The exchange rate is essentially a function of the levels of production in the economy. Our joint collective efforts as Zambians should be to increase the levels of production. We need to diversify our exports so that we can earn more as a country. That is the only route open to us as a country.

Mr Speaker, I think it is unbecoming for anyone of us to expect that when we make dazzling speeches we will influence the level of the kwacha. The level of the kwacha will only be at a desirable solid level when we increase the levels of production in our economy.

Mr Speaker, the Zambian economy is not about to collapse. Let us not create panic as leaders. The Zambian economy is very strong. In fact, the figures which we use to calculate our gross domestic product (GDP) and other components are not an adequate reflection of the economy because the informal sector is larger than the formal sector. That is why you find that all the roads are now over congested not only in Lusaka, but also even elsewhere, like the Copperbelt and provincial centres like Chipata. The people are buying vehicles and building houses all over the country.


Mr Chikwanda: That suggests that the economy is quite buoyant and resilient.

Mr Mweetwa: There is nothing like that!

Mr Chikwanda: Well, Choma has got strong agriculture economic activity. Thus, expect an economic boom most of the time. So, that is the position, Mr Speaker. I wish to make a passionate plea to all of us as leaders of our nation not to create panic.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, hon. Minister, some people are placing the blame on the President …

Mr Livune: Yes!

Mr Musonda: … regarding the depreciation of the kwacha.

Mr Speaker: Wait a moment.

Hon. Member for Katombola, please, desist from doing that. I know this is a very topical and sensitive issue which is close to everybody’s heart. However, that is not the reason to behave in that fashion.

Hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi, you may continue.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, I was saying that some citizens of our country are placing the blame of the depreciation of the kwacha on his Excellency the President. Now, hon. Minister, is it possible for the Government to appoint one or two of those who are blaming the President to travel to China and negotiate for better copper prices.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I think that the people who want to blame our President are just pursuing very negative politics. The President is a very able leader whose …

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: … leadership attributes will help this country to go forward.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the Chinese cannot buy copper which they do not plan to use. The Chinese economy bought a lot of copper when they were building their economy. Now that they have built their economy to an extent whereby it is cooling off, its growth rates have dropped from double digits to a single digit. The growth rates were around 11 per cent and beyond, but now they will hover between 5 and 7 per cent, suggesting that the economy had grown to a very high level, but has now come to a point where it is cooling off.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the foreign exchange rate, like any other commodity, is tied to supply and demand issues. We know that the supply side is affected because of our weak export base.  In times like these, austerity measures need to be taken. Is the Government not considering reducing demand by, for example, putting a quota system on the importation of second hand cars and second hand clothes? I am not saying that you ban them completely, but that you use the quota system so that we can save a bit and reduce the demand.
Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I just want to indicate that it would be worthwhile for us on this side of the House to tap into the wisdom of the hon. Member for Luena at a different platform.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like tag onto the question which was raised by the hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi who alleged that the people of Zambia are blaming the President for the falling value of the kwacha.

Mr Speaker, the President of the Republic of Zambia is the Chief Executive of the company called Zambia. It is the responsibility of the Chief Executive of the company called Zambia to manage it properly.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Thus, the people of Zambia are right to blame the President. In other jurisdictions, chief executives …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Monze Central, what is your question? You are making a statement.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, why is the hon. Minister of Finance continuously giving us similar statements pertaining to the fall of the kwacha from the time the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power. When the PF came into power in 2011, the kwacha was at K4,700 to a dollar. Today, it is about K12 to a dollar and they keep on giving us the same reasons, answers and measures that are not working. Why can you not think outside the box and address this issue?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, we give reasons which remain valid over time. The things that bear on the exchange rate of any currency are that same. In any case, the volatility of currencies is a global phenomenon. The movement in the strength of the dollar will pull all other currencies down. In fact, we will have a bit more to say later on about this issue on a later date.

Sir, we have to look at this issue in the global context. It is not only the kwacha which has depreciated vis a vis the dollar. Even countries which are neighbours with the United States of America (USA) are facing similar problems. The Canadian Dollar, for example, has depreciated by 30 per cent in the last six months vis a vis the dollar. So, I think that we really have to be a bit realistic when discussing this issue. I do not want to tell the House things which are not true. Hon. Mwiimbu is a very resourceful person, but I do not have his rich fantasy infrastructure.


Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Chikwanda: However, I will note with interest what he has said.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, since I am not an economist, I would like to get clarification from the hon. Minister. During the Vice-President’s Question Time, I asked why the kwacha was weaker against other currencies. The answer was that we have fewer exports.

Hon. Member: One of the reasons.

Mr Namulambe: Sir, I would like to understand why South Africa which exports more to other countries has its foreign exchange rate at almost R14 to a dollar and ours is at K12. What are the variables in the global economy that make the currency of a country which has more exports lose its value?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the variables in the global economy are multi-dimensional. It would take up a lot of time to deal with them right here. However, as regards the variables concerning the foreign exchange rate of the South African Rand, the situation is the same as ours. The principle exports of South Africa are gold, platinum, palladium and other minerals. If you have access to financial channels like the Bloomberg, you will see that gold and platinum have taken a beating. This is why the exchange rate of the rand has gone down now to around R14 to a dollar.

Mr Speaker, for developing countries and emerging economies, it is the plummeting of the commodity prices. Other countries are in much worse situations. For example, Brazil is a large exporter of iron ore to china, but the Chinese cannot buy any more iron or steel than they need. So, this has had a very terrible impact on the Brazilian economy which, in fact, unlike our economy whose growth rate will be 5 per cent or just below, is expected to show a negative growth. Its growth rate will be below zero.

Mr Speaker, this is the world in which we live. There will always be volatility in the world economy. The dynamics of the world economy will always move in different directions. Currently, the world economy is not growing at a robust pace. In fact, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have reduced the forecast of the world economy growth this year from 3.4 per cent to around 3.3 per cent. So, this is the situation that we have to grapple with. Let us get ready.

Mr Speaker, the only way that Zambia can insulate itself against externally-induced shocks is to diversify the economy. In fact, we have opportunities which other countries do not have. It is not always negative. In some cases, we do quite well. For instance, in the Southern African region, Zambia and Tanzania were the only countries with surplus maize. If you look at the production of other crops in the agricultural sector like wheat, Zambian large-scale farmers have the highest yields of wheat. In some cases, up to eleven tonnes per hectare. These yields are only comparable to a place like Oregon in the USA where it is genetically modified. For non-genetically modified wheat, so far and until somebody comes to replace us, we are registering the highest yields of wheat.

Mr Speaker, if you look at the sugarcane production at Nakambala, you will note that the yield there per ha is 130 tonnes. If you go to South Africa, the yield per ha is just 70 to  80 tonnes. So, there are areas where we are very much ahead of many countries in the world. I think that going forward, we just have to work hard. Instead of importing power, we should be exporting it. We should be exporting both hydro and solar power. I do hope that we will get a lot of investment in the power sector, relating to solar energy, in the next few months. In eighteen months, as the President hinted, we can transition from being a power importer to an exporter.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for that statement, hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister was absolutely correct when he said that the exchange rate is the function of level of production, and is ultimately, connected to how export earnings relate to the expenditure on imports. Copper has been, and continues to be our major foreign exchange earner. We all know that the backbone of our economy is the mining sector. Can the hon. Minister say to what extent the inconsistencies in the mining tax regime that occurred during this fiscal year, have had an effect on the economy? Have they exacerbated the volatility of the exchange rate?  

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, categorically, the mining tax regime changes have not had an adverse effect on the performance of the mining sector. Adverse effects on the performance of the mining sector relate just to the fall in the demand of copper, and to some of the difficulties we have had, like the power challenges and so on and so forth. The mining companies are not producing at the levels we expected. There has been a decline in the volume of copper produced. This situation has been compounded by the low prices on the international markets. The price of copper has dipped from an average of US$7,000 per tonne a year ago, to US$5,000 or below. On Monday, the price of copper hit below  US$5,000 per tonne. It was about US$4,800 per tonne. By yesterday, it had crept up to US$5,100 per tonne, going by the London Metal Exchange price mechanism.

Mr Speaker, again, I want to emphasise that the changes in the tax regime have not had an adverse impact on copper production.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, my question is almost in line with the one which was asked by the hon. Member for Kabompo West. I will try and change it a little.

Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Minister that the current situation is as a result of both external and internal factors. I also share his observation that 70 per cent of our export earnings arise from selling copper and that we need diversify our economy. I am concerned that 70 per cent of our export earnings come from copper.  To date, copper, still remains the mainstay of our economy. At a critical time like this, I want to know how we are going to give hope to the Zambian people. What measures is the Government putting in place, especially in the short-term, to ensure that the mining sector is helped by the Government to contribute positively to the growth of the economy and, indeed, the stability of the kwacha?  The perception out there is that there is no good relationship between the Government and the mining sector. We need to bite the bullet if we are to remedy the situation.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the submission of the hon. Member for Chembe can only be summed up by saying he is advising the Government to have more meaningful and frequent contacts with the mining companies.  Sometime next week, my colleagues, the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, and the hon. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development, and myself, will go to the Copperbelt to meet with the mining companies and the labour movement, which I must say, has acted very commendably under the very difficult circumstances, which among other things are a threat to the jobs in the mines. We interact very frequently with the mining companies and we will continue to do so. We will brainstorm together to see if we can minimise the damage arising from the forces that essentially have their origins in the movements in the global economy.

Mr Speaker, I assure the hon. Member that we take his counsel very seriously.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, admittedly, the kwacha depreciation is an effect of the happenings in the global economy. However, we must also admit that inconsistencies in the policies of the Government have also contributed to the depreciation of the kwacha, to a large extent.

Mr Speaker, from the time when we had those two statutory instruments (SIs), that is, SI No. 33 and SI No. 55 introduced, we, on this side, advised that it was not right to introduce them. Unfortunately, the Government went ahead and introduced them. When it realised that what we had said was correct, it reversed them. We have heard statements to the effect that if the situation continues, exchange controls will be introduced. Such statements are contributing factors to the depreciation of the kwacha. Yes, currencies are expected to depreciate, but not at the rate that the kwacha is depreciating.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that in order to strengthen the kwacha, we need diversification in the economy. How do you expect to diversify at the moment when the people that we want to lead the diversification of the economy are businessmen? At the moment, it is very difficult to borrow, and diversity the economy. How do we plan to reduce the interest rates? Companies cannot borrow from the banks now because the Government is borrowing from them.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the world community respects people called hon. Members of Parliament. Some of the statements which are made by hon. Members can be very damaging to our economy because the outside world takes what they say very seriously because they are people who are seen to be knowledgeable and are held in high esteem. So, let us be very cautious with the statements we make. The issue of foreign exchange has been dealt with very decisively by our President. There will be no exchange controls that will be re-instituted in the country. Again, I repeat, almost ad nauseaum, that the only way the kwacha will rise is if we work hard.

Mr Speaker, the Zambian leadership, on both sides of the House, should spend more time trying to cultivate a better work ethic in our people because the Government will not be in the field to run companies. It will not service the various sectors. Our people have to do it. Let us call for an improvement in the work culture in this nation. There are some countries around us where people are very hard. Some Zambians do not work hard. This is why we find Zambia’s participation in the regional trade is very low because every one of us wants to be politicians instead of putting our hands on the plough to do something.

Yes, Hon. Pande, the interest rates in Zambia are too high to encourage small and medium enterprise participation in our economy. The question of the interest rate is what we should address. We always benefit from reasonable hon. Members like yourself, Hon. Pande, because you worked for the Central Bank and you have a lot of knowledge in this area. So, let us put our heads together and see what we can do to induce reasonable movement in the interest rate parameters.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, in his response with regards to addressing the current economic malaise that the country finds itself in, the hon. Minister stated that the only way out is diversification.

In a country like ours, which is presently plagued with unprecedented persistent load-shedding, high cost of energy and high cost of fuel, which stifle productivity, especially in the agricultural and manufacturing sectors, is the Government not considering taking certain measures such as re-introducing fuel subsidies in order to lower the cost of production so that it can promote productivity thereby sparing economic development?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the earlier part of the hon. Member’s submission was very good. He pointed out the challenges that we must vigorously address in order to get our economy going.

Mr Speaker, we cannot subsidise fuel because that will only increase the budget deficit which, again, will have adverse effects on the economy. The Government will then have to go to the market to sell Government securities. To sell these securities, you have to raise the price in order to entice individuals and institutions to buy those instruments. This way, the interest rates will rise and the impact on the commercial lending interest rates would be unsanitary. I, therefore, think that this solution, Hon. Mweetwa, cannot be embarked upon.

Mr Speaker, unless we address the challenges or constraints of load-shedding, high cost of energy and fuel, we will not move our economy forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, the melting of the kwacha against other currencies, particularly the dollar, is a very negative scenario and very disturbing.

Sir, the Government has denied that the fall of the kwacha is due to the bad leadership of the Patriotic Front (PF). If this is not the case, why is it that information in the public domain characterises the kwacha as the worst performing currency in the world? Do you not think that assertions that the PF and yourself, as Minister of Finance, should resign …

Hon. Government Members: Ah!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: …are appropriate because you have run down this economy down?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Hon. Member for Sinda, those are politics.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Chikwanda: I have been to Sinda. I know that the people of Sinda would rather you were a promoter of fellowship and reasonableness rather than be an unabashed apostle …


Mr Chikwanda: … and merchant of bitterness and hatred.


Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, continue.

Mr Chikwanda: Do not worry about some of us resigning. In my case, …

Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: No point of order.

Mr Chisala: Sit down, iwe.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: No point of order, and order on the right!

 Mr L. J. Ngoma interjected.

Mr Speaker: Take your seat, hon. Member for Sinda. Hon. Minister, you may continue.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the kwacha is not the worst performing currency in the world. I have given examples of exchange rates of other countries in Africa and beyond. We should all just resolve to working diligently to get our economy going. Zambia has a huge advantage because it is a large country with arable land and water. We have 40 per cent of Southern Africa’s surface waters. Thus, we have many advantages.

Mr Speaker, there are some positive things going on in the country which some people may not know about. There are some forms of diversification which are taking place. For instance, one company called Zambeef is running a huge palm plantation in Mpika. At the moment, our importation of palm oil costs about US$60 million. Zambeef resolved to start the plantation and in two to three years’ time, we will substitute all the palm oil imports and export our own. There are many other things that are going on in the country which some hon. Members of Parliament do not bother to know about. So, the kwacha will rise because we will increase the levels of production. As a Government, we are doing everything possible to promote diversification. Hon. Member for Sinda, join us. Do not be proud to be a very ardent high priest of malice and hate.


Mr Chikwanda: You can do better than that. Be patient. You referred to me personally and I want to say that I think that I am too old to continue. I do not think that I will continue beyond next year. Maybe, if you work hard enough, President Lungu, who will win decisively in 2016, can appoint you as hon. Minister of Finance.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance has informed the nation that our economy is strong.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order! Everybody sit down.

May I repeat myself. I am not allowing points of order.

May the hon. Member for Katombola, please continue.

Mr Masumba: Ema Speaker, aya!


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, a strong economy gives relief to the citizens. In a strong economy, we expect to have a lot of employment creation. However, what is happening right now is that every day, we hear of retrenchments in this country. Just yesterday, the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security was threatening some employers.

Sir, at the moment, we have falling copper prices and serious load-shedding. I want to understand from the hon. Minister’s point of view, where he draws his confidence to inform us that our economy is rock solid when we have got negative vices impacting negatively on the lives of the people of this country.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister should tell us about the serious measures which are being taken to give the Zambians the confidence that we are doing well despite the problems our people are going through.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, in my statement, I did not paint a glorious picture of the economy of Zambia. I have admitted the weaknesses in the economy. That is why we are putting in place programmes to push the country forward. Even the power deficit will not be continuous. We are working hard to ensure that the huge encumbrances affecting the economy are ended. We all need to work together. Where those of us who are in the Government are in doubt, we will not hesitate to enlist support from the hon. Member for Katombola, in terms of ideas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, of course, Bloomberg rated the kwacha to be the worst performing currency in the world.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Konga: I mean that is documented.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Konga: Mr Speaker, recently, Moody’s Investors Service, another rating agency, rated the performance of Zambia’s economy as negative. The country, through the hon. Minister of Finance’s representative, disputed that rating. Following that denial, the kwacha plummeted to K13 per dollar. Instead of disputing the observations of rating agencies, how can we instil confidence in them that things are okay?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I wish to urge the hon. Member for Chavuma not to swallow every hook and line which a misdirected reporter of Bloomberg uses to report about the kwacha. That is a normative statement. It is a valid judgement. It is not an empirically ascertainable statement. The reporter did not induce any empirical evidence or something that is measurable.

Sir, I hope that people who are very thoroughly schooled like the hon. Member for Chavuma who is an educated engineer will take with a pinch of salt some of the reports about the kwacha by news agencies like Bloomberg. It is not everything that Bloomberg says that is gospel truth.

Mr Speaker, regarding the statement by Moody’s Investors Service, as a ministry, we pay attention to what it says because it is a very respectable rating agency. When we give it correct information, I am sure that it will adjust its findings. We did that with respect to a rating agency of equal repute as Moody’s Investors Service which I do not want to mention to avoid causing them the embarrassment. When we gave it enough data, it adjusted its rating of Zambia from a negative to a positive one.

Sir, it is up to us to give the rating agencies proper information on the economy about our economy. When proper information is given to them, rating agencies can revise their ratings. It is a pity that an overzealous officer in the Ministry of Finance commented on Moody’s Investment Service’s rating. That is an embarrassment to us as a ministry. I think what that officer did showed zeal instead of making sense. We have no intention of getting into quarrels with rating agencies. We will just give them correct information.

Mr Speaker, we are now in the process of establishing a website on the internet so that we can feed Zambians and the international community with correct information about our economy. Let me categorically state that our economy has challenges at the moment. However, I wish to state that the economy is not on the brink of collapse.

Sir, as regards employment, there may be some adjustments in employment levels in the mining industry, but there are also other areas where new jobs are being created.


Mr Chikwanda: It is a fact.

Sir, I urge hon. Members to stop promoting malice. They should not have permanent axes to grind when we debate. This is our country.

Mr Speaker, there was a hon. Member from the other side who debated very well yesterday. I think he is always like that. He has no axes to grind and has no bitterness. He debates very well. The only thing that I would love to correct is what he said about the creation of a Ministry of Development Planning. This is a very welcome move. If the Planning Division stays in the Ministry of Finance, it will always be sidelined. The Ministries of Finance all over the world are very conservative, orthodox and ritualistic. So, it is a very good thing to take away the Planning Division which is so important to our country and make it a different ministry. I hope hon. Members of Parliament will supply inputs to that ministry once it is created.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, the body language is key in how people are perceived when they are talking. I would like to see the hon. Minister talk about the economy of this country with a lot of confidence and vigour.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, there are actually certain individual, who are causing havoc and giving a wrong perception about the economy of the country. For example, the Government Spokesperson, the Spokesperson at State House and the Spokesperson at the Ministry of Finance …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member for Senanga, you know what you are doing now. You are debating individuals. You want individuals to be the subject of this debate when you know our rules. Yesterday, I recall very well when you said that we should not debate individuals who are not here to defend themselves. If you go to the verbatim reports, you will find your voice to that effect. Today, under 24 hours, you want to debate individuals.


Mr Speaker: Do you have another question?

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I have a question …

Mr Speaker: Go ahead and pose it.

Mr Mufalali: ...and it is clear.

Sir, perception is a very cardinal item in economics and in anything that you are doing. Does the hon. Minister mind putting some of the voices that have no authority or that are not respected in economic circles behind so that him and other people who have positive attributes and are perceived to have authority are the only ones who should be giving out statements?

Mr Speaker: That is more objective.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I think that the hon. Member for Senanga Central has given some very wise advice. I do not think that I should, in any way neglect the value of what he has said. Policy consistency and, above all, policy predictability are very important for any economy. When we somersault frequently and when we are giving statements which are clashing with each other, that will not help our economy in any way. Perception, as the hon. Member for Senanga has observed is a very important matter. In fact, in the world, in terms of human psychology, very often, perception or appearance matters far more than reality. So, the issue of perception is very important.

Mr Speaker, what we say here as leaders of our nation can make the international community have a wrong perception. They can get the perception that Zambians are on each other’s throat when, in fact, that is not true. Zambia is beyond us the politicians. Every time, the ordinary people interact very well and do not have the difficulties of who comes from where. A lot of Zambians easily speak different languages. That is the reality. Zambia is one meaningfully united country. It is unfortunate that when we talk on the Floor of this House, it is like there is a civil war in the country. That is creating a wrong perception.

So, the ball is very much in the court of those who are part of the Opposition. You should make very intelligent submissions because you are very talented. The hon. Member who has been on the Floor is one of the talented people who can help this country go forward. He should just remove malice and ill will in his approach. This country belongs to all of us. Nobody, as the hon. Member for Katuba says, owns this country. This is a country in which we are all stakeholders. Even babies have the same stake in Zambia as the President of the Republic of Zambia. It is our country. Therefore, let us all put aside the bitterness and the business of the perpetual axes to grind. When this is done, then we will all easily contribute to the development of our country. We are all leaders of our country.

Mr Speaker, I, again, want to urge the hon. Members from the Opposition to ensure that they do not say things which will create a wrong perception about Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I also share the concern of the falling rate of the kwacha, considering that we are an import-oriented country. What is the effect of the falling rate of the kwacha on the debt that we have contracted, especially considering the fact that in those good old highly indebted poor country (HIPC) days, the heaviest noose on our neck was the fact that at the time of contracting the debt, the rate was at K2 per dollar, but when it came to paying back, it was at K5 per dollar? We had to raise the kwacha to pay the debt, which kwacha has got a lot of competing demands especially now. How are we sitting in terms of paying back our debt considering the rate of the kwacha against the dollar?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the effects of the depreciating currency on debt servicing are very telling. I said in the statement that it means the Treasury has to find more kwacha than was budgeted for. Very often, it will mean affecting other programmes. We are taking money away from other programmes in order to service the debts. We can never default. It would be fatal and detrimental to the country if we defaulted. Even as hon. Ministers, we have to pay promptly and on time when the debts are due. The effects on individuals who have sent their children to schools abroad are that they have to find more kwacha in order to buy the sterling, dollar, yen and other currencies.

Sir, in Zambia, there is so much addiction to the dollar. That is why the people are worried about the slippage in the kwacha exchange rate against the dollar. How is the kwacha relating to the sterling now? At the moment, it is K18 to the sterling. So, think of our fellow citizens who have sent their children to the United Kingdom (UK) for school. The effects on their pockets are that they will have to find a lot more kwacha in order to pay the sterling costs of the students that they have sent to study in the UK. The effects are unsanitary. That is why we are saying that we must work hard to try and get the economy to, first of all, increase the level of exports and, also, to produce more things within our country, which we are importing. What sense does it make for the shelves in all the South African retail shops to be stocked with juices from South Africa when we have better soil and climatic conditions to produce those things here? That is one of the things we should think about.

Sir, there are so many things that Zambia imports, which should be made in Zambia. That is the only way we are going to strengthen our currency and not by political gimmicks and dazzling rhetoric.

I thank you, Sir.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Rev Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, through you, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia has called for the nation to go into prayer on the 18th of October, 2015. As we pray, which Government efforts should we ask God to bless?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: A theological question.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I think prayers are good and necessary to acknowledge the primacy of God in our lives. However, we should not substitute prayers for our actions. Let us not take refuge in praying when we should be working productively and intelligently.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, the blame for the fluctuating kwacha lies with the falling copper price. However, not too long ago, the copper price was high. What did the Government use the profits for when the price of copper was high? Now we are saying that because the price of copper is low, our currency has been affected. If we had used the profits well, we would have been sustained well through the current period. Even if we diversify the economy and do well, but do not put measures in place with regard to revenue expenditure, we will not be able to sustain ourselves when a crisis comes again.

Mr Speaker: I hope the hon. Minister has followed that question.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I followed the question and can amplify on what he is saying. What he is saying is that when the times are good, we should make enough savings for us to fall on in the rainy days. So, that is a good point. I listened carefully to what the hon. Member was saying.


Mr Chikwanda: He is not always coherent.


Mr Chikwanda: However, in his incoherence, he is very profound and philosophical.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, when the price of copper was high, of course, we made investments and some of them were very heavy. For example, the construction of the road from Mongu to the hon. Member’s place was very costly. So, we used the money for development projects. We did not have wild parties. We used the money to develop the country. Some of the effects of the expenditure will be seen soon. We built hospitals to improve the expenditure in the health sector. We also built schools to improve the expenditure on education. Our investments are long-term and intended to improve the productive capacities of our citizens. So, we used the money properly. However, given the backlog of development arrears, the money was not enough. We would hope that the next time around copper prices will go high enough to help us fund more development projects. However, the emphasis is to shift away the reliance on minerals to other sectors like agriculture and power. Such sectors are self-sustaining and not dependant on international forces.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, as we stand today, we should not be ashamed to say that the economy of Zambia is doing very badly. Even the price of chilli on the streets has been increased because of the fluctuating kwacha. The hon. Minister will soon announce the National Budget for 2016. Zambia depends on imports for its revenue and I know that the National Budget was prepared when the exchange rate was different. Is the Government going to adjust its National Budget taking into account that the inflation rate in the country is so high?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I listened with interest to the concerns expressed by the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, but because of the way he framed the question, I think it is prudent for me to elect silence.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Understandably so.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, one of the most important regional markets for Zambia is the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Typically, in the DRC, the transactions are done in United States (US) Dollar cash terms. There is an existing cap in terms of how much can be deposited in cash limited to US$5,000 notwithstanding bonafide export documents. I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether considerations have been made to lift the cap from US$5,000, particularly where there are bonafide export documents.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the issue raised by the hon. Member for Lunte needs addressing. The cap does not seem to make much sense. It is only proper and logical that we revisit it with due immediacy.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the nation is facing a severe budget deficit …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: … and the fast declining value of our national currency coupled with many other things including the semi drought. Between 2000 and 2008, we experienced very similar conditions.

Mr Muchima: It was worse!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance then took two main measures to address the situation by controlling Government expenditure and curtailing the use of foreign exchange by the nation to minimise imports. The two measures which were taken back then still fall under the responsibility of the hon. Minister of Finance. Why is the hon. Minister insisting that it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce the imports on our shelves …


Mr Simfukwe: … when it is him who has the instruments to do so? He can produce a list of goods that can be banned from being imported into the country. That is not a form of exchange control. Among many other measures, these are two main measures which are principle and a common denominator for any Ministry of Finance when an economy goes through a tough situation and even in Greece, they are using these measures. What specific measures have been taken in the last few weeks or months, since this problem showed its ugly head on the scene, to control Government expenditure …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: … and the use of foreign exchange on things which we do not need like salaula and wigs? We can produce some of these things within the country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I think this Government will not be induced into banning the importation of all sorts of things. What we need to do is to increase the level of production so that some of the things which we talk about which are on the shelves in our shops should be made locally. Banning the importation of certain things will be going backwards. So, let us substitute the imported things with locally ….

Her Honour the Vice-President entered the Assembly Chamber.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

 May the hon. Minister of Finance, please, continue.

Mr Chikwanda: Sir, I was saying that let us substitute the imported things where we can with the locally produced goods other than banning the importation of certain items. We are not going into those crude forms of running the economy. It is not a good route to go, hon. Member Mbala.

Mr Speaker, the exchange rate of any currency continues to fluctuate over time. It is not possible to have just one permanent exchange rate. It was not a long a time ago when the euro was at 1.4 to a dollar, but now, it on only 1.1. The exchange rates fluctuate all over the world.

Sir, certain crude forms of controlling economic transactions have no place in a liberalised economy. Let us all work to ensure that our exchange rate does not fluctuate to levels whereby the cost of certain things go high.

Sir, hon. Members may wish to know that the weakness of the kwacha means that all the things which we import will cost more and, of course, the trading communities in Zambia are taking advantage of that. When the mushroom starts coming out in the next few weeks, you will see that the people selling it will adjust their price alleging that the kwacha’s power had declined. So, that is the nature of things. Let us not institute panic because of the movements in the exchange rate.

Mr Speaker, the positive way to think is for us to increase the levels of production and generate more exports and to eventually substitute mineral exports for other forms of exports. When the mines are at an economic level, we shall enjoy the benefits. However, we should, therefore, working towards restructuring things in such a way that mineral exports do not remain our primary exports. We need the agriculture, tourism and energy sectors to take the place of the mineral export earnings.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, first of all, let me congratulate Hon. Chikwanda for his clear statement which has given us a very clear picture of what tomorrow may bring.

 Mr Speaker, arising from the point of order raised by the Hon. Allan Divide Mbewe, hon. Member of Parliament for Chadiza Constituency on 24th September, 2015 and the subsequent ruling you made,  ordering the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to prepare and present a ministerial statement on the same point of order, I now do so.

Sir, before I do that, allow me to use this opportunity which you have created for me to welcome and congratulate Hon. George Mwamba, hon. Member of Parliament for Lubansenshi Constituency, Hon. Anthony Kasandwe, hon. Member of Parliament for Bangweulu Constituency and Hon. Teddy Kasonso for Solwezi West Parliamentary Constituency for emerging victorious in the recently-held three parliamentary by-elections. I wish to welcome them to the world of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I hope that they will grow the CDF funded projects from level at which the predecessors left them.

Mr Speaker, secondly, as I respond to your order to present a ministerial statement arising from a point of order, I would like to allay the fears and misgivings if there are any in the House that Government only responds when it is awakened to do so. On the contrary, the point of order came at time when sufficient progress was being made in handling the subject matter. However, I am no way belittling the point of order, but rather thinking the hon. Member of Parliament for raising it because it shows the important role which the CDF plays. Similarly, the point of order raised by Hon. Victoria Kalima, hon. Member of Parliament or Kasenengwa Constituency a few days ago in the House shows the critical role the CDF continues to play in the development efforts of our nation.

Mr Speaker, if I sound guarded in my submission on the CDF disbursements, it is because I respect the roles the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing and the Ministry of Finance working together play in the administration of the CDF. The ministry which I am privileged to lead scrutinises and approves projects earmarked for implementation by the CDF committees and councils. Thereafter, the ministry recommends to the Ministry of Finance for the release of funds to the constituencies.

Sir, let me remind this House that before 2014, my ministry was responsible for disbursing the CDF to constituencies. However, following financial irregularities as regards the disbursement of the funds, the Ministry of Finance started disbursing funds directly to constituencies.

Mr Speaker, in June 2015, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing had requested councils to justify the reasons they were still holding onto huge balances in the commercial banks. The information was received in July, 2015 with justifications. At that time, it was established that 112 of the constituencies had utilised the funds. On 6th August, 2015, my ministry made a formal recommendation, as requested by the Ministry of Finance, calling for the release of the 2014 CDF to thirty-seven constituency and the 2015 CDF to 113 constituencies whose projects were approved and which had utilised most of the their 2013 and 2014 allocations, respectively.

  Mr Speaker, the Government has disbursed the 2014 CDF to 113 constituencies amounting to a total of K158.2 million leaving a balance of thirty-seven constituencies that are yet to receive their 2014 CDF allocation amounting to K51.8 million. The delay to release the 2014 CDF to the thirty-seven constituencies was due to, among other factors, huge balances of the unutilised 2013 CDF allocation, which was held in the commercial bank accounts.

Sir, we have just heard from the hon. Minister of Finance on the fiscal limitations and competing demands on the National Treasury, and so, I want to echo those sentiments regarding the fiscal limitations and competing demands on the national Treasury. This is why I want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for confirming to my ministry that the payments for the 2014 CDF to the thirty-seven constituencies are being deposited into the council accounts today, 2nd October, 2015, while the 113 constituencies whose projects have been approved and have low account balances in their CDF accounts will start receiving their 2015 CDF allocations this October, 2015.

Mr Speaker, allow me to lay, on the Table of the House, two documents. The fist document contains the names of the 113 constituencies which are earmarked to receive the 2015 CDF while document two contains names of the thirty-seven constituencies that are earmarked for the 2014 CDF, as from today.

Dr Phiri laid the paper on the Table.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, in order to lessen the burden of the hon. Members looking into the documents, I will announce the names of the constituencies which are scheduled to receive their 2014 CDF. These are: Kankoyo, Nchanga, Kalulushi, Kamfinsa, Kwacha, Nkana, Chifubu, Kabushi, Chingola, Chimwemwe, Ndola Central, Katuba, Keembe, Mkushi South, Kasenengwa, Petauke Central, Milanzi, Malambo, Msanzala, Chawama, Kabwata, Kanyama, Lusaka Central, Mandevu, Matero, Isoka, Solwezi Central, Livingstone, Chikankata, Katombola, Moomba, Sesheke, Nalikwanda, Chimbamilonga, Senga Hill, Kasama Central and Lukashya parliamentary constituencies.

Sir, I also have the honour to lay the 2006 guidelines on the management and utilisation of CDF for the perusal of hon. Members of Parliament, especially hon. Members of Parliament who have recently come to the House.

Dr Phiri laid the paper on the Table.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the Government is committed to ensuring that all the 150 constituencies are allocated the 2015 CDF as they are all budgeted for and eligible for funding. I apologise to the hon. Members of Parliament for the delay in the release of the CDF and call upon them to closely monitor and supervise the projects to ensure timely implementation.

Sir, allow me to thank all the hon. Members of Parliament for the successful utilisation of the 2013/2014 CDF. I urge all hon. Members to ensure that these projects contribute to the uplifting of the lives of our people as they have done in the recent past.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to state that it is my sincere hope that hon. Members of Parliament will assist the Government in ensuring that funds are no longer held unnecessarily for long periods so that projects are speedily implemented for the benefit of our communities. Hon. Members, I want to remind you all that CDF is for all the 150 constituencies and as such, the Government attaches great importance to ensuring that this resource reaches all our constituencies without delay or partiality.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement just given by the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Members of Parliament and councillors job in the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) process is basically approval. Implementation is purely the job of the officials in the councils. Where the pace of implementation is slow, abuse and misuse of CDF has nothing to do with Members of Parliament and councillors because we are not involved in the execution of the projects. So, the reports sometimes reflect badly on hon. Members of Parliament when it is the non- performing council officials whom they cannot hire and fire. What are you doing to improve the management of the CDF in the councils so that this fund is spent speedily and abuse and misuse is minimised. As things are, we are helpless. The Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) is the one that appoints these non-performing officers littering all councils. If you cannot give us powers as councillors to hire and fire council officers, thereby improving the implementation of the CDF, what are you doing to improve the management of the CDF?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I share the anxiety of the hon. Member. I know that, generally, all hon. Members of Parliament feel the same anxiety. We have put in place measures to try and streamline the implementation of the CDF. Although it may not sound very nice to say that we are reviewing the CDF guidelines because we have done this in the past, I still have to say it. We want to capture the elements which impinge the implementation of the CDF. I am very clear in my mind that there which affect the speedy implementation of the CDF. We will, with the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) and my office, through this revised CDF regime we are preparing, which will come before you hon. Members to comment on, see to it that we remove some of these bottlenecks which we have planted in councils over the years. It will take a bit of time, but we are determined to make these councils work.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, it breaks my heart to see the abuse of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) by councils. The councils inflate the cost of doing various projects. For example, today, I was paying for a borehole that had cost me K7,000. If I had engaged the council, this borehole would have cost me between K33,000 and K35,000. Borehole drilling is cheap and affordable. You can do three boreholes or more in the amount the council charges for a single one.

Mr Speaker, as Hon. Hamududu has said, hon. Members of Parliament are not involved in the procurement process of projects under the CDF. All we can do is advise. Sanity has to be brought in the usage of the CDF by the councils. I would love to see that at least fifteen boreholes are drilled from the amount it is currently costing to drill five boreholes so that we serve more people in communities. What is the hon. Minister doing to ensure that what councils are doing is brought to a stop?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, again, this is an open wound the ministry is aware of. The wound must be healed.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, we are taking measures that will create an atmosphere where hon. Members of Parliament can monitor the projects more meaningfully than is the practice now. This is taxpayers’ money sent to the councils to create an opportunity for our people to live a better life. In many cases, it has, indeed, been used to create this better life. If you go to any constituency or district, the most visible signs of development are the projects done by the CDF allocations. We would like to improve on that by making sure that our technocrats in councils do not manipulate the implementation process to suit their pockets. So, we are very aware of what is going on.

Mr Speaker, as I said, as we review the CDF guidelines, we will seek the support of the hon. Members. We should tighten the guidelines we set for ourselves so that people in councils become more accountable in the use of the CDF. I will be communicating to this House when the CDF guidelines will need the input of hon. Members. I hope we can get everyone’s support.

Mr Speaker, there is a lot of disorder out there. We cannot continue putting money of this magnitude, K1.4 million per constituency, into a system that is clearly disorderly. We need to tighten our systems at the council level. Yes, the councils may not be manned by the expertise that we require but, we think that, moving forward, we could better utilise the CDF as it is.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, arising out of the hon. Minister’s answers in recognising the contribution of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to development in our rural constituencies, why is it that he has questioned us on the utilisation of the CDF towards building classroom blocks or health centres and not on projects that directly impact women, for instance? If he, who has questioned us, appreciates the way we use the CDF, why are we doing this …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.


Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, before we went for a break, I was asking the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to clarify one issue. Why is it that the hon. Minister appreciates the use of the CDF on infrastructure development and yet, his ministry has been asking us why we have been using this money predominantly for infrastructure development such as in education and health when there is need for direct community benefits such as women and youth empowerment, as per guidelines? Why is it that he is asking this when he can see the benefit of the CDF in these sectors?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the seemingly opposing direction from the ministry is unfortunate because the CDF is primarily for micro projects, as the hon. Member of Parliament knows, and we will stick to that. However, where there are any other ideas, hon. Members are welcome to discuss them with the ministry. That is why there are proposals given and we say whether the local authorities can go ahead or advise otherwise, if need be.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, something strange happened in Kaoma. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) was sent to the National Assembly Constituency Office in Kaoma in November last year. Then it was retrieved in April this year, I am sure, by the Ministry of Finance. This matter was reported to the hon. Minister. I would just like to find out what the progress is on this issue. The Council Secretary and I have personally been pursuing this issue, but we do not seem to be making any progress. May I get an update from the hon. Minister.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, an update is not possible now. All I can say is that, this is an administrative issue which can best be pursued by the Council Secretary in the area coming over to the ministry and the appropriate directorate will take care of it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for a very good statement.

Sir, I heard the hon. Minister say that now the monies for Constituency Development Fund (CDF) will be disbursed directly from the Ministry of Finance to the respective councils leaving behind the previous situation whereby the money was going through the Ministry of Local Government and Housing.

Mr Speaker, may I found out from the hon. Minister whether in our law books we have any clause which indicates how the CDF can be protected. Do we have any law that backs the operations of the CDF?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I did state in my ministerial statement that the Minister of Local Government and Housing was responsible for the disbursement of the CDF until 2014 when there was a scam surrounding the allocation of the CDF. From that time, the Ministry of Finance took over the handling of the CDF in order to further review the process.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Member for Chembe.

Mr Mbulakulima expressed surprise.


The Deputy Chairperson: You are on my list.


Mr Mbulakulima: I will hammer one.

Mr Muchima: It is Keembe not Chembe.

The Deputy Chairperson: I know the difference between Keembe and Chembe.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, sometimes, we underplay the importance of the radio and the impact it creates. Like myself, being a former sports administrator, I am sure the hon. Minister remembers Mr Simon Kaudi Kaushi who was one of most prolific strikers at the 1974 Africa Cup of Nations. He was a terrific player. At break time when the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabushi was asking me why her constituency was not on the list, I realised that there was a mix up. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing said Kaushi instead of Kabushi.


Dr Phiri: Question!

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I wanted to find out from the hon. Minister as to when the guidelines, which have been a constraint and a hindrance in the progress of CDF, will be brought to this House for panel beating.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I did indicate that technocrats are working on the guidelines. They will soon parade the guidelines before the Members of Parliament. Even though, I do not know in which form the guidelines will be presented to the hon. Members, I still hope that their input will make a difference in the way we operate at the moment.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I followed the list for 2014 when it was being read out by the hon. Minister. I noticed that Chisamba was left out. I want the hon. Minister to go through the list again. If Chisamba is not on the list, why is that the case?

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, if Chisamba is not on the list of the thirty-seven eligible for 2014 allocation which is being released, I will need to find out why that is the case. If it is not on the list of the thirty-seven councils, then it could, perhaps, be on the list of the 113 councils awaiting the 2015 allocations.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Chisamba has been on us trying to resuscitate the fortunes of his office. I have repeatedly assured him that we will do what we can for him to catch up with the developments in other constituencies. That stance is still the same from our point of view.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his ministerial statement, has indicated that one of the reasons some of the constituencies have delayed to receive their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is that there were huge sums of money or balances sitting in the accounts of the commercial banks. I think one of the reasons those balances have been in those banks is, in certain instances, that those balances have been waiting to be used as balances to clear earth-moving equipment that a number of councils had undertaken to purchase from Techmere Commercials whose transactions, you know very well, have ended up scandalous. Arising from the revelations of the Public Accounts Committee that Techmere Commercials had actually failed to supply the equipment and yet it had received huge sums of taxpayers’ money. The company failed to supply the earth-moving equipment to a number of councils including the Choma District Council. The hon. Minister made an undertaking on the Floor of this House in the last session that the ministry would take up the matter. This stopped us from directly engaging with the suppliers on the issue. This is despite us having already started making headway. What is the position of the hon. Minister on the matter since he made an undertaking that he was going to ensure that the taxpayers’ money was retrieved?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, that undertaking is still valid except we are constrained because these matters are now in the hands of our security agencies. However, that does not prevent me from saying that we are putting together mechanisms which will guide the hon. Members of Parliament when it comes to procuring heavy equipment so that we forestall some of these challenges.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central was very right to point out that they were huge balances in the accounts of certain councils on account that they had ordered equipment and kept some money which they needed to pay as the remaining balance of the bill. From the list of constituencies, you notice that many constituencies on the Copperbelt Province were primarily in this position because of the purchase they made of heavy equipment. While I congratulate them for procuring heavy equipment, I wish to also caution tell them that keeping large amounts of money in our commercial banks disadvantages them in many ways. For example, the Government usually borrows from the same commercial banks which means that it borrows its own money. That cannot be allowed to continue. Let us help the Government by using the money that has been allocated as quickly as possible on issues that can have a very visible effect on the lives of our people.

I thank you.

Bishop Lt. Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in Keembe was deposited in our account in December, 2013. We decided that we were going to buy a grader which was paid for in February of 2014. It was finally delivered this year. In the meantime, because the money was considered to still be in our possession, we could not receive the 2014 CDF. The council chose a supplier who was on the Copperbelt Province who had experience in the supply of graders. However, the provincial committee decided to change the supplier who supplied the grader after many months. The grader, which was supposedly new, worked for 27 km and broke down. Now we have to find close to K100,000 to bring in the spare part from China.

Ms Lubezhi: It is Chinese?

Bishop Lt. Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister investigate this case and bring it before the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) in order for people to be dealt with because the supplier has since run away to Nakonde.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the ministry needs to be fed with information by the hon. Member who sits on the CDF Committee in Keembe or any other source. This will be very welcome. We need to do something about corrupt practices in our councils. In fact, the corruption has grown to an extent whereby we might not make a meaningful impact on its eradication. I await the report, Hon. Bishop Lt. Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha. I can assure you that we will pursue the allegation on that basis to its logical conclusion.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, councils have been blamed for failing to utilise the CDF in the period it is supposed to have been used. Is the hon. Minister aware that his ministry, not through the guidelines, but through a letter that was crafted by the then Permanent Secretary, required that councils should not disburse the CDF until the hon. Minister or the ministry discusses the decisions of the councils pertaining to the projects that they intend to undertake. The councils have to wait for the ministry’s determination over the projects. In most instances, the ministry is the one that has been delaying projects being undertaken in various councils because authority outside the guidelines is not coming from the ministry. I am aware of councils which have been submitting the decisions of councils pertaining to the projects to be undertaken, but the ministry has been taking long to approve these particular projects.

The Deputy Chairperson: What is your question?

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, why is the ministry still insisting on approving the projects when that authority is outside the 2006 CDF guidelines?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I wish this was the gospel truth. The guidelines are very clear. Once the proposals are presented to the ministry, with very few exceptions, they are approved because they are based on the guidelines, although limited. Once this is done, the only time councils can come back to the ministry is when they want to change or improve on the list of projects.

Mr Speaker, let me assure the hon. Member that there is no way the ministry could be an impediment to the utilisation of the CDF. If you needed any assurance, let me say that the circular did not provide the needed guidance to our councils and, therefore, I urge all the councils to abide by the guidelines that I tabled before this House for those of us who needed refreshing. The guidelines are so straightforward. There is no need for the ministry to bulldoze the councils because this money is meant to change the lives of our people. Thus, the councils must be given the latitude to implement what is agreed upon to be implemented.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is doing well.

Mr Mbewe: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: I am very impressed.

Mr Mbewe: Ema ministers, aya!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister must be aware that some people on the right are undermining him by desiring that he does not fund constituencies that are run by Opposition hon. Members. We are aware of that. I wish to urge him to continue with the same spirit.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, rural councils like mine depend wholly on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I do not see their relevance without the CDF. It is the only funding which helps them to do great work. The CDF is determined by our councillors who have very humble education and are just used by your council officials as their tools. In fact, it should be the other way round. Councillors are supposed to be board directors. However, in rural areas, it is the opposite. The council officials take advantage of the councillors’ low levels of education.  The hon. Members are very far from the fund and have no authority over it as a result of the new guidelines which have been put in place.

Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister  has seen that there are problems, abuse by your officials and exaggerations, why is it that you cannot let the hon. Members of Parliament, who want to be re-elected, become chairmen of the CDF committees? We are chairmen of serious committees here at Parliament and we deliver. What can stop us from chairing our committees and be answerable for the development and the money for our people??

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, let us follow the guidelines as they are laid down until they are reviewed. I know that this is a difficult time for hon. Members because we are nearing the finishing line. During this period, hon. Members might be tempted to use any leverage around them to help them bounce back to power.

Mr Speaker, I know that hon. Members of Parliament have been very diligent in the way they have exercised their power in guiding the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) committees, and where they have guided the committees, the results are very visible; the implementation of projects has been very smooth. However, where we have had problems with hon. Members of Parliament, things are not as good as they should be. Yes, the calibre of our councillors may be wanting, but under the leadership of the hon. Members of Parliament, the councils could make a difference in the way we administer the CDF and implement the projects.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that in many councils, the technocrats have taken the upper hand in trying to force themselves to implement the CDF projects. That is why we are taking measures, together with the LGSC, to ensure that our technocrats make the work of the elected councillors and hon. Members of Parliament more beneficial to the people than it is today.

Mr Speaker, I thank him for his compliment, but he should please know that this is taxpayers’ money. There is no way we can discriminate when disbursing it. I wish I could discriminate against the Opposition to serve my party, but I also know that the Zambian people, regardless of which party they belong to, deserve a better life. That should be our focus. I must say that the contributions to my statement have been very positive. They are not coloured by any sense of bitterness because all of us realise that we are serving one Zambia, and that Zambia needs a better station in the international community. The President alluded to a smart Zambia, and the CDF allocation can take this country a little closer to a smart Zambia, if we use this little money on projects that can create a happy life for our people.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, economy and efficiency is lacking in the execution of our Constituency Development Fund (CDF), mainly on account of the so called nchekelako mentality.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Meaning what?

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, it means that some people basically want to get bribes from contracts that have been signed. In certain councils, this nchekelako mentality has gone to the extent that the chief officer does not allow anybody to sign for any payment vouchers when he is away and, mostly, these chief officers go away from the councils even for two or three weeks. This is exactly what is delaying the execution of some of these projects in certain councils such as Kabompo Council.  

Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister give me comfort that these new guidelines will take care of this nchekelako mentality so that projects can move forward, whether the principle officer is there or not.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I feel reluctant to comment on speculations, and I can only urge the hon. Member for Parliament to make the details available to the ministry, if this scam exists in Kabompo, so that together, we can deal with this problem that you call nchekelako mentality.  It is not a culture that is Zambian. Let us not play around with this danger. Avail us with the details and the law will take its course. Otherwise, if we just go round in circles like this, we are allowing the nchekelako syndrome to grow. That is not the way to go. Let us work more closely with each other, hon. Member of Parliament, so that you avail us with details. When you do that, we will work with the Local Government Service Commission to curtail such nchekelako habits if they exist.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, this is just a follow-up to the observation made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo West. The technocrats, that is, the management and staff of the councils, are hiding behind the so-called guidelines to inflate the cost of the projects. As a result, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is not serving the purpose it was meant to serve. Initially, the CDF was supposed to fund small projects which need small amounts. For instance, when we want to build a 1 x 3 classroom block, the technocrats tell us that we have to follow the standard of the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education. Hon. Minister, you know that when contractors come, and they know that it is a Government project, they inflate the cost of the project. Can the hon. Minister, please, help us. Do we have to follow the standard of either the Ministry of Health if we are building a health centre, or that of the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training, and Early Education if we are building education-related infrastructure? Do we have to follow that? This has drained our CDF because we are told that we have to follow those guidelines and the cost of these projects is inflated. Can the hon. Minister, please, help me and give me comfort so that I can go with confidence and challenge those technocrats who have assumed ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

The question has been made.

The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing may answer.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I know that there are challenges regarding the contracts that are given to various contractors in councils. What I can say is that all the contracts must follow the laid-down procurement procedures. If those are followed, we will minimise these unnecessary diversions by the council authorities. This is one of the items we hope the new guidelines we are working on, will clarify. So, wait until we engage you over the new guidelines. If there will be no sufficient roadmap towards getting a contractor, then, you will benefit from your judgement.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, what have you done to those councils which purchased machinery like graders and second-hand motor vehicles, which never even worked?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, as I indicated when I answered a question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central, most cases which might be linked to corruption are still under the watchful eye of our security agencies. When the agencies finish their work, I will let this House know as to what has been done.

I thank you, Sir.


                                                                 QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER


76. Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a)    how many lapidaries were in Zambia; and

(b)    what the status of the structures at the former Ndola Copper Refinery was.

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Musukwa):Mr Speaker, we have a total of eighteen registered lapidaries across the Republic of Zambia, comprising eleven large-scale and seven small- scale individual lapidaries.

Mr Speaker, the status of the former Ndola Copper Refinery is that it is now in private hands. It is now owned by Phoenix Materials Limited. It is the current Sub-Saharan Gemstone Exchange Industrial Park.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, last evening I was one of the people who supported the disbanding of this ministry. Is the hon. Deputy Minister on the Floor in order to answer questions under a ministry that does not exist?


The Deputy Chairperson: The hon. Deputy Minister answering the question is in order. Hon. Member for Mpongwe, you may continue.


Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that there are eleven large-scale lapidaries in the country. Cutting and polishing could add value to our precious stones. What quantity of the precious stones passes through the lapidaries so as to add value to them? It would actually be more profitable for the country if the stones are cut and polished as opposed to selling them in a raw form.

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I do not have the exact amount in terms of volume, but I want to state that there are several mining operations and individuals that are involved in the production of emeralds. These are the people who are in the forefront of managing these lapidaries.

As I indicated, apart from the large-scale ones, we also have lapidaries that are being run and managed by individuals. Unfortunately, on the list of individuals, people like Hon. Mtolo are not there because they are concentrating on agriculture.

I thank you, Sir.


77. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health:

(a)    when solar power systems would be installed at Lutwi and Numa Health centres in Kalabo Central Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b)    when the construction of additional staff houses at the health centres would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Mr Chisala): Mr Speaker, Lutwi Health Post had solar powering a vaccine fridge, lights and sockets at the facility installed in 2014. Further, a vaccine fridge, powered by solar was installed at Numa Health Centre in July, 2015.

Sir, the district’s priority in the 2016 Infrastructure Operational Plan is to construct additional staff houses at the hospitals. Health centre staff accommodation will be prioritised in subsequent infrastructure development operational plans.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, a health centre …

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: … constitutes the …

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir (speaking softly).

The Deputy Chairperson: You are whispering.

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir (speaking loudly).

The Deputy Chairperson: You have your point of order.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I thank you. I would like to apologise to my brother for interrupting his thought process. I am compelled to rise on a point of order in view of the absurdity that is obtaining out there.

Mr Speaker, not too long ago, the Patriotic Front (PF) Administration, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, introduced various pieces of legislation pertaining to adjustments in the retirement age. These pieces of legislation have come into effect. Out there, the majority of the civil servants who are supposed to be either the beneficiaries or victims of the pieces of legislation have not been afforded the opportunity to fully understand their implications, especially the evil part.

For example, many civil servants out there do not know that as a result of the new legislation, if you forfeit your right to retire at the age of fifty-five, it means that when you retire at the age of sixty, you are only entitled to 10 per cent of your terminal benefits and the rest is to be paid in monthly installments or allowances.

Mr Speaker, on the ground, however, especially in the education sector, teachers who are retiring are being recalled to work by their headmasters because the Government has changed the retirement age to sixty and they are unaware that they are actually not bound by the new legislation unless they decide to forfeit their right.

Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, whom I have communicated to over this issue, in order to enjoy the comfort of this House without providing sufficient information to the civil servants so that they can decide whether or not to continue working or retire as they are entitled to? At the end of the day, the civil servants who have already forfeited their right will actually suffer as a result of the negligence of the hon. Minister. Is the hon. Minister in order to continue being quiet while looking at me as if he does not know that what I am talking about is what he should have done?

The Deputy Chairperson: The serious ruling is that if you want the issues to be handled or answered decisively, you should raise appropriate questions, some directed to the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education and others to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security so that the two ministries can clarify these issues for the benefit of all and sundry.  

Hon. Member for Kalabo Central, you may continue.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, a health centre constitutes staff houses and clinics. The response by the hon. Minister indicates that there is are vaccine fridges powered by solar at the institutions in question. At these same institutions, there are workers. In Numa, there is one member of staff who is occupying a house which has no solar power. Is it not possible to raise the morale of the worker by providing solar power to the staff house as well?

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, I want to salute the hon. Member for his wise suggestion. It is our responsibility, as the Government, to motivate the workers.


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Mr Chisala: Mr Speaker, we are going to look into the suggestion which has been provided by the hon. Member so that the worker at the health centre can get motivated.

I thank you, Sir.


78. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Tourism and Art:

(a)    when the renovation of the Zambia Wildlife Camp houses in Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency would commence;

(b)    how many houses were earmarked for renovation;

(c)    what the estimated cost of the project was;

(d)    whether there were any plans to construct new houses; and

(e)    if so, when the plans would be implemented.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Art (Mr P. Ngoma): Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA), has prioritised infrastructure development as a key feature in the management of game management areas (GMAs) and national parks. In this regard, the Government, through ZAWA, planned in 2014 to construct houses for game scouts and other staff throughout the country which included the Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency. However, this could not be done due to the lack of funds. As regards to the renovations of the staff houses in Lumezi, this activity has been planned for in the 2016 Budget.

Mr Speaker, forty houses have been earmarked for renovations and these are at the following wildlife camps: Ngongomwa, Changachanga, Chikwinda, Chanjuzi, Mbuzi, Zokwe, Chipuka, Chikomeni and Chakolwa camps.

Mr Speaker, I wish to state that the estimated cost of the project is K800,000.  The Government through the Ministry of Tourism and Art plans to construct new low and medium cost houses for field workers. In this regard, one house has since been constructed at Changachanga for a park ranger this year at a cost of K68,690. The implementation of such plans is dependent on the availability of funds.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, the Government’s policy is to encourage the diversification of the economy. Of course, after mining and manufacturing comes tourism. How does the Government think that it is going to encourage tourism if it delays in releasing funds to develop the industry? The people of Lumezi largely depend on tourism to earn a living. Why does the Government  delay such projects? I have been asking questions on the Floor of this House for the past one year about the renovation of the ZAWA houses in the area.

The Minister of Tourism and Art (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister has already alluded to the fact that in the 2016 Budget, we are going to allocate money for the renovation of the ZAWA houses. Yes, we are aware that tourism has now become number three from mining and agriculture. We are aware that the lack of infrastructure is one of the challenges that the ministry is facing. We will do everything possible to improve on what we can.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I have got a passion for this place. As you know, these wildlife camp houses are supposed to be scattered in various chiefdoms, for example, the areas of Chief Chitungulu, Chief Kazembe and Chief Mwanya.

Mr Mufalali: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, my point of order is procedural in nature. Is the House in order to continue allowing the Cabinet Ministers to behave the way they are doing? I have observed with dismay how the House remains mute when hon. Ministers ridicule or disparage hon. Members from the Back bench using repulsive, repugnant and unpalatable language. I will give an example. This morning, the hon. Minister of Finance, whilst answering the question from the hon. Member for Sinda, had this to say:

“I know that the people of Sinda would rather you were a promoter of fellowship and reasonableness rather than be an unabashed apostle and merchant of bitterness and hatred.”


Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the other issue has to do with what the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting said yesterday. In his debate, he stated that Hon. Mutelo was an elected hon. Member from a corrupt group. As if that was not enough, the hon. Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that Mr Geoffrey Bwalya Mwamba was buying cheap maize and yet he was not in the House.

Mr Speaker, the culture of the House has been that any person who is not in the House to defend himself/herself should not be mentioned.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: However, the hon. Ministers mentioned Mr Mwamba, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), …

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mufalali: … and many others who were not in the House. Is the House in order to allow hon. Ministers to refer to people who are not in House using repulsive language and yet Back Benchers have been admonished for mentioning names of people who were not here to defend themselves?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: First and foremost, points of order must be made contemporaneously. One wonders whether that point of order is being raised contemporaneously. However, be that as it may, we are now debating the President’s Speech which contains a certain portion which addresses civility. It is not only the Front Benchers or Back Benchers who should show respect to their colleagues. I think we have got it wrong. As the Chairperson, I am cognisant of the fact that, sometimes, the Back Benchers are, themselves, very disrespectful to their friends on the Front Bench and vice versa.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: My ruling, therefore, is that as we debate, we must remember that we are all hon. Members of this House. The tag honourable imports that whenever you are debating, you must behave as such. It has been very common, even for the Back Benchers, to be disrespectful to hon. Members of the Front Bench and vice versa. I think this is an opportune time for us, as Presiding Officers, to give guidance. How do hon. Members expect others to respect them when they do not respect each other?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: Therefore, the message from now onwards is that you should all learn to use appropriate language. Let us learn to respect one other.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: If we are to remain hon. Members, we must be honourable in word, thought and deed. So, my ruling is that what is good for the goose is good for the gander.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Chairperson: I have made myself clear. I am not apportioning the blame to either side. All I am saying is that let us all behave honourably. Let us encourage behaviour that is befitting of hon. Members of Parliament. Most of us go off course because we spend time politicking. Politicking is for outside the House. I am not siding with nobody, but with justice and honourable behaviour which is called of all of us.

Continue, hon. Member for Chembe.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I was just emphasising the point that these wildlife camp houses are scattered in Chitungulu, Kazembe and Mwanya chiefdoms.

The Deputy Chairperson: I did not hear you.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I said that the camp houses are scattered in Chitungulu, Kazembe and Mwanya chiefdoms. Last year, a similar question was asked and the Government promised that these camp houses would be attended to this year. Now, the hon. Minister is stating that the houses will be attended to next year. These houses are in bad shape. Can the hon. Minister assure us that the houses will be worked on, come 2016, because the people of Mwanya are very concerned about their state?

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member would like us to bring a factual answer to this august House with regard to that issue, he can file in a question. We are currently dealing with the areas which were indicated in our answer to part (b) of the question.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


79. Mr Namulambe asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    what the source of the problems at the University of Zambia between management and lecturers was; and

(b)    what measures the Government had taken to promote a conducive working environment at the institution.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the problems between management and lecturers at the University of Zambia (UNZA) began several years ago when management was no longer able to settle outstanding contractual and statutory payments to the lectures. The challenges at the university range from industrial disharmony and insufficient financial and human resources. With the growing student population at the institution from 3,000 students in the early 1970s to 20,000 in 2015, more resources are needed to be channelled to UNZA. In short, insufficient grants from the Government and unsustainable employment benefit schemes have contributed to the current operational challenges at UNZA.

Sir, the Government is working out mechanisms to resolve the debt management at UNZA, and, further to find a sustainable formula for offering higher education in Zambia. Some of the short and long-term measures include:

(a)    universities being encouraged to scale-up income-generating ventures, especially through private- partnership programmes (PPP), like the construction of the East Park Mall;

(b)    transforming the bursary scheme into a loans and scholarship board. A Cabinet  Memorandum is currently in circulation to that effect;

(c)    appealing to the Ministry of Finance to increase budgetary allocation to higher education;

(d)    increased enrolment of private and self-sponsored students and expansion of distance, evening and parallel classes;

(e)    the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, in consultation with the Ministry of Finance, should take over the financial obligations of UNZA and, further, the two ministries should also collaborate to secure loan financing to offset the accrued debts; and

(f)    encouraging universities through their councils to restructure staff benefits so that they are consistent with what is happening in the Public Service.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education has appealed to the Ministry of Finance to help resolve the historical challenges at UNZA. Is he sure that once those historical debts are serviced, the problems at the institution will not continue because I did not hear him address other issues very precisely?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, like I said, the problem begins from the point of the UNZA management not being able to meet the contractual and statutory obligations to the members of staff.

Mr Speaker, to sort out the problems, the debt which is owed to the all lecturers and the retirees has to be paid. Further, the pension and contractual system needs to be restructured so that it is in line with what is prevailing in the Civil Service. Our expectation is that the conflicts that exist between the management and the lecturers are going to be minimised after that is done.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I am very sad because whereas the hon. Deputy Minister’s general statement has told us that the problems at the University of Zambia are as a result of the failure by management to contain the debt situation, no pragmatic strategic plan has been outlined on how the PF Government hopes to deal with the situation.

 Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that his ministry has requested the Ministry of Finance to increase its allocation to UNZA so that it can sort out its debt problem. What is the sense of asking the Ministry of Finance next week to announce an increase of its allocation to UNZA when the funding which is released to the institution usually falls short of what is announced in the Budget? The Government fails to release 50 per cent of what is announced in the Budget. In the last three to four years, what has been released to UNZA has been less than 40 per cent of what was announced in the Budget. So, what is the sense of asking for a further increment when the Government is failing to abide by the law of allocation in relation to the way UNZA is funded?

 Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the Government tries its level best to ensure that all the funds which are allocated to UNZA are released. The short-term measure is for the Ministries of Education, Science, Vocational and Training and Early Education, and Finance to clear the debt.

Sir, further, in terms of the strategic focus, I have indicated that we need to transform the bursary scheme into a loans and scholarships board. That body is going to have the authority to borrow money to finance the loans to the students. Therefore, this would mean that UNZA is going to have the requisite resources to manage its operations. This will be unlike the current challenge which Hon. Mweetwa described whereby not all the money that is provided in the budget goes to UNZA.

Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we have continuously encouraged UNZA management not to completely depend on the Government for funding. I do not think universities are operating like that all over the world. We need to make our universities as centres of excellence. We need to make UNZA a hub in the region which will attract foreign students so that we can earn foreign exchange. We need to do away with the dependence syndrome of saying that the Ministry of Finance needs to keep funding UNZA. Universities need to engage in PPPs such as the East Park Mall which I spoke about earlier.  

 I thank you, Sir.




(Debate resumed)

The Deputy Minister of Southern Province (Mr Mubukwanu): Mr Speaker, I would like thank you for affording me an opportunity to add my voice this Motion as this Assembly records its thanks to the exposition of public policy contained in His Excellency, the President’s Address.

 Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for a well-delivered speech on the occasion to mark the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly on Friday, 18th September, 2015.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency, President Lungu’s Address on that occasion was not only concise, but, most importantly, warmed the hearts of many well-meaning Zambians, those at home and aboard.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mubukwanu: Sir, considering that this was President Lungu’s maiden speech, he acquitted himself very well. The speech was well structured and effectively delivered.

Sir, many issues were raised by his Excellency the President in the Speech, whose theme is:

    “Embracing a transformation culture for a smart Zambia now.”

Sir, I would like to reiterate and underscore what the President meant when he said that:

“To attain this transformation, we need to change the way we think, behave and do things.”

Mr Speaker, the President reminded us that Zambians deserve the very best. We as the Government are determined to ensure that we give them just that.

Sir, this statement is a very big challenge to all Zambians especially the political leaders in our country. The transformation culture which the President is urging us to embrace demands of us leaders to move from politics of hate, insults, regionalism, malice and character assignation. The President was spot on by insisting that this transformation culture should be embraced by everyone.

Mr Speaker, despite the numerous developmental undertakings embarked upon by this hard working PF Government, those that are opposed to us as a party have endlessly preached insults and malicious criticism against President Lungu and his Government to the extent of demining the President of this Republic.  On this point, I adopt Hon. Bishop Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha’s debate.

Sir, in this day and era, politics of insults should have no room in our societies. We have a moral obligation, individually and collectively, to respect our leaders whether we like them or not. In order for the PF Government to create a smart Zambia and future that we want, the President has decided to put in place bold measures which included among others, the re-alignment of our intuitions where necessary to make them more responsive to the needs of the nation.

Mr Speaker, I would like to acknowledge this House’s support towards this re-alignment by overwhelmingly endorsing the move. Those who specialise in opposition and criticism said, on the Floor of this House, that, in principle, they agree with this re-alignment, but the timing, according to them was wrong.

Sir, there is no better time to introduce these re-alignments than now because His Excellency, the President has work to do. Delaying the re-alignment would have meant postponing the realisation of the intended benefits in the lives of our people.

Mr Mufalali: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the quorum has collapsed.

Business was suspended from 1216 hours until 1217 hours.


The Deputy Chairperson: You may continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Mubukwanu: Mr Speaker, I thank you. As a responsible Government, we shall continue taking necessary measures required of us to improve the lives of those who entrusted us with the responsibility to govern this nation. This is regardless of the financial implications, as long as the majority of Zambians benefit from those measures.

Sir, President Lungu is convinced beyond any reasonable doubt, and so is his Government, that through creating smart institutions and smart budgeting, the Government approach to public service delivery will tremendously be improved.

Mr Speaker, as a province that is predominantly pastoral and agrarian, we stand to benefit from these re-alignments. We want to see increased support to our livestock sector through disease control and an improvement in the cattle and goat breeds. As a province, we want to export beef and its products to the western markets and contribute to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Sir, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, our cries for communal dip dams and dip tanks shall be prioritised and no longer compete with the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) for Government resources.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency, the President acknowledges the challenging times that our country is currently going through. The self-styled and Google economists blame this Government for the depreciation of our currency and choose to ignore the global trends. As of yesterday, the Cable News Network (CNN) was reporting that Saudi Arabia is facing a very serious cash crunch whereas Chinese factories are still struggling. Teachers in Kenya have been on strike for the past six months over the Government’s inability to meet the teachers’ demands for salary increments.

Sir, it was only this past week that the former Vice-President, Dr Guy Scott, Member of Parliament for Lusaka Central Parliamentary Constituency, commended the Government for the manner in which the hon. Minister of Finance and the Bank of Zambia team have averted a worse off crisis in the financial sector. The people of Zambia should remain calm as the country is in safe hands under President Lungu.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mubukwanu: Sir, we shall manage the exchange rate to acceptable levels no matter how long it takes. Towards the end of his address, His Excellency, President Lungu proclaimed 18th October, 2015 as a day of national prayer and fasting for reconciliation, forgiveness and generally to seek the face of God. This is a very welcome move which, we, in the Southern Province, have whole-heartedly embraced.

Mr Speaker, I am glad to inform you, and the nation at large, that preparations for this very important national event have reached a very advanced stage in the Southern Province. My provincial Permanent Secretary (PS) is under instruction to co-ordinate the provincial event to be held in Choma while our District Commissioners are co-ordinating the preparations in their various districts. All churches, traditional leaders, political parties and civil society organisations have expressed their desire to participate in these prayers. Our hon. Members of Parliament are also welcome. Those who will choose to stay away will do so at their own risk.

Mr Speaker, this is an occasion where we shall all come before God to seek his guidance and blessings. Hon. Members who will choose to stay away from the national event will definitely disadvantage themselves.

Sir, contrary to the views expressed by the hon. Members of Parliament for Mazabuka Central and Monze Central Parliamentary constituencies, President Lungu is very well received by their royal highnesses, the chiefs of the Southern Province when he goes there. I am yet to see which one of them does not like him. I know, without any doubt, that the chiefs of the Southern Province wish President Lungu well.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mubukwanu: Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I want to assure the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency that the reconciliation that President Lungu is promoting is not between the PF and the United Party for National Development (UPND) as was the case in his debate yesterday.  This is a national event. The hon. Member indicated that the PF Members needed to go and confess their sins before them in order for them to reconcile with us. That is not the spirit of the reconciliation that we are talking about. He referred to himself as being a Catholic, which I am also. I would like to indicate that if there is any one section that needs reconciliation and forgiveness, it is those who are on your left. Everyone knows that a few months back, we had debates from your left side where people were making utterances such as chabwino ayende in reference to the late President. It is not only unparliamentary, but also inhuman. It is those people who require reconciliation and forgiveness. So, for us to lead normal lives as a community, this reconciliation is very critical. I would like to draw the attention of my colleague and friend, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency, who prides himself to be a good Catholic, to the words of His Holiness, Pope Francis, the First, who describes forgiveness as:

    “The sterilisation of the soul, cleansing the mind and deliberation of the heart.”

Sir, according to the Pope, anyone who does not forgive has no peace in his soul and communion with God. Forgiveness brings joy and healing. That is a very critical message that we need to heed as a Christian nation. As I conclude, allow me, as per tradition and practices of the House, to congratulate the new hon. Members of this House. These are hon. Members for Bangweulu, Lubansenshi and Solwezi West Parliamentary constituencies for emerging victorious in the just ended by-elections.

    I thank you, Sir.

    Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister for Muchinga Province (Mr Mwimba H. Malama): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to add my humble voice  and join others that have already expressed their opinion regarding the address to this august House by His Excellency President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on the opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly.

Mr Speaker, allow me to consider the debates from the following hon. Members of Parliament as my own. The debate of Hon. Shikapwasha in this House was very good. It was well delivered. I was also very happy with the kind of debate made by Hon. Namulambe, Hon. Chilangwa and Hon. Kapembwa Simbao. I think that is what we need.

Sir, there may be many other hon. Members of Parliament who debated well, but since I was occupied with some other national duties at the time they debated, I missed their contributions. I wish to also encourage them to continue expressing their views on important national matters.

Mr Speaker, allow me at this juncture to lament the absence of hon. Members of the Opposition. It is not good for hon. Members of Parliament on your left to run away from this House when the time for us to respond to the issues they raise comes. When they are speaking or debating, they want us to listen. Of course, it is our duty because we are in the Government, but they should take the responsibility of staying in the House so that they listen to how we respond to their misinformation.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, in a democratic dispensation such as ours, every hon. Member of the House is by law accorded the right to express himself/herself in a way he/she feels befitting the situation. As such, every view expressed and yet to be expressed is, indeed, welcome.

Sir, I wish to categorically and for the record state that for a long time in the history of opening of the National Assembly, this particular President’s Address to the National Assembly has been one of those moving speeches with the power to captivate and leave the listener pondering for a long time over the matters articulated so diligently. I have heard from reliable sources that many organisations and individuals are not only talking about the contents of this speech, but also praised how he delivered it.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, as I earlier on hinted, since we are in a democracy, we expect, of course, some criticism from our brothers and sisters from the Opposition. This is so because they are always under instruction to oppose and condemn everything and anything from your right hand side regardless of whether, as individuals, they feel it in their hearts that here and this time around the Government has scored honourably.

Mr Speaker, I think this is one of the failings of democracy. Yes, failing to call a spade by its name and choosing instead to call it a big spoon, contrary to what everyone is calling it, just for the sake of pleasing our masters. This kind of attitude has for a long time been preventing this nation from realising its full potential. Going by what the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has done within a short period of time, the moral thing that one would have expected to see is for the Opposition to give credit where it is due.

Mr Speaker, contrary to public belief, this attitude does not weaken the Opposition as it would if a spade was going to be called by another name rather than what it is. It is only in this nation where we have seen some media houses shamelessly turning into political parties for their personal gain contrary to the universal ethics which guide the media against falling prey to such machinations because by doing so, one would undoubtedly be compromising the media and allowing a cancer of partiality to infect the very fabrics that these media houses stand to protect when reporting on important national issues.

Mr Speaker, the media is an important component of any democracy because of the important role it plays in keeping the nation informed. It can be a very important vehicle for development when used correctly. However, I must equally add that the media can also be the feeble little fox which spoils the grapevine if abused. In our nation, sadly, some newspapers from the time His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu convincingly won this year’s Presidential by-election have set themselves an agenda that is aimed at making it difficult for him to conduct his duties diligently. There seems to be an agenda that says if you cannot find a fault to criticise then fake it. How else can one explain the continuous and unprecedented negative reporting we are seeing on a daily basis? That is not Zambian. No amount of defending one’s action can excuse that. This is no longer ethical.

Sir, I wish to remind fellow hon. Members of the House that though it may be true that positions in Government can be obtained through personal effort, it is equally important to remember that they are also gifts from God.

Mr Speaker, at this point, allow me also to state that if God in heaven declared that Mwimba H. Malama will be appointed Deputy Minister during this particular time, no one, regardless of what …

Mr Sikazwe: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: … he or she does would prevent that from happening. This is a fact.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, allow me to remind my colleagues that it was time for Mr Edgar Lungu to be President of this nation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Therefore, what we need as a nation is to support him.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: That is what is important.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: That is the more reason some of us do not make a fuss when our colleagues are appointed to big positions because we know that everything comes from God.

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, at this time, allow me now, to also congratulate Hon. Siamunene for the position he was appointed to by the President.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, before my brother was born, it was indicated in heaven and under the sun that one day he would be a Minister of Defence. Nothing would happen to stop that. We just have to support him.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwimba H. Malama: Mr Speaker, the same can be said about the President. It is his time. If we want him to continue working very well and taking this country forward, we need to ensure that we support him.

Mr Speaker, I am happy with the President’s Speech because it was an honest one. For example, on Page 8, the President was not ashamed to admit that despite the many successes this Government has scored in such a short time, it has not been rosy all the way. There are equally many challenges that the nation is facing and will continue to face. Had the President included every success that the PF scored in his Speech, no one would have had the strength to lift the written script because it would have been bulky. That is a fact.

   Mr Speaker, the people of Muchinga have also sent me to come and thank the President for increasing the floor price of maize from K70 to K75 per 50 Kg bag because this is the only source of income they rely on.

Sir, the people of Muchinga have sent me to also come and convey, through this House, that they fear that too much bickering in the name of democracy, as being reported in the media, if unchecked may drive this nation into strife.  

Mr Speaker, there is too much politicking in Zambia to the extent that as a people, we are now literally thriving on it. Everything and anything that the Government does for the people of Zambia is construed as politics. We cannot continue like this. There is nothing, it seems, that the Government can do because it is obliged to do so by the mandate of its citizenry.

Sir, allow me to assure colleagues in the Opposition that the problems that are being faced by our nation today are not insurmountable or unique to this country and hence, in order to overcome them and move forward, it is inevitable that every well meaning Zambian should join hands with other progressive Zambians to take the country back on track.

Mr Speaker, sometimes, one wonders as to whether those in the Opposition when one day take over Government to run the affairs of this country would do so with peace given the animosity that is being sown right now. When I think deep, I wonder to myself as to whether the freedom of expression which is being exercised in our nation is not being overly abused by any standard.

Mr Speaker, I would like to believe that the Presidency, without adding any unnecessary pressures, is a demanding service to the nation. I am strongly convinced that as citizens, we are not giving the President room to work and as such, if we continue on this dangerous path, I fear that we may make the country ungovernable.

Mr Speaker, when we look at the history of the world, especially that of a country like the United States of America, we learn that by the time it had reached its fiftieth year of independence, it had already passed the level of unnecessary bickering and had instead developed the spirit of respect and tolerance for one another. For our country, at fifty, we are struggling to take off the ground. When then, are we ever going to reach the cloud as our nation’s eagle says we can? With this level of politicking, it is very hard to imagine being able to do so.

Mr Speaker, kindly allow me to turn to another cancer that has been gnawing at the fabrics of our nation which the President alluded to on Page 37 where he emphasised on the need to change our work culture.  I recall very well that when I was on your left, I gave an example of how we enjoy working with staff here at Parliament. They are good workers. I gave that example when I stood to debate in this House.

Sir, I want to continue on this path by saying that the work culture in this nation has really hit low time and no one can argue with me because I have been hon. Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication and at provincial level and have seen the problems that I am facing. This is fact. If we expect Edgar Chagwa Lungu to be found everywhere at any time, then this country will not go anywhere.

Mr Speaker, we need a smart Zambia with smart people who would give credit where it is due and criticise the Government when it goes wrong.

Mr Speaker, as I begin to conclude my speech, I know, as a Provincial Minister and someone representing a rural area that it is important that as a nation we all move in unison by supporting the initiative to bring about rural infrastructure development as outlined by the President on page 42 where he talked about private-public partnership (PPP).

Mr Speaker, PPP encourage institutions other than the Government to participate in the development agenda of the nation, leaving the Government to channel its resources to other needy areas, especially rural development. I believe this is one way that this nation’s rural areas can also develop.

Mr Speaker, the Speech we are debating today is full of directives to us, hon. Ministers and department heads, who are implementers of Government projects, and this is very good. This is in light of the fact that bureaucracy in places of work has now been cited as responsible for inertia in commencing projects. For projects to take off, it takes ages for those responsible to finally decide to put their shoulders to the grinding stone, and a developing nation such as ours cannot afford this kind of attitude.

Mr Speaker, finally, we learnt from the Speech that in the last two years, we raised K545 million as road tax, using only fourteen weighbridges. This is indicated on Page 43 of the President’s Address. In view of this, I cannot see any reason we should move slowly in implementing toll-gates. This will be a good thing for us because it will help us to raise money to build our nation.

Mr Speaker, on this note, I wish to thank you, and may God bless this country.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity accorded to me to make a contribution on the Motion on the Floor of the House.

Mr Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate and welcome the newly-elected hon. Members of Parliament. I welcome the hon. Member of Parliament for Bangweulu, Mr Kasandwe, the hon. Member of Parliament for Lubansenshi, Mr Mwamba, and the hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi West, Mr Kasonso. You are welcome, colleagues.

Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this time to comment on such an inspiring Speech by His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The Speech touched on all the key areas, and my comments in this limited time given, are meant to emphasise a few areas and acknowledge the resolve by the Government to seriously address the current national issues.

Mr Speaker, I will begin with energy, which is on Page 3, paragraph 4, of the President’s Speech.  The President acknowledged the frustrations that the Zambian people are facing. He went further to mention a number of people that are frustrated by this energy crisis. These include the barbershop owner, hair salon owner, and other small and medium enterprises.  That clearly shows that the President is feeling the pain that his people are going through. He is doing everything possible to ensure that this issue is addressed.

Mr Speaker, the energy shortage is highly regrettable, but we should also use this as an opportunity to evaluate our consumption levels. The consumption levels do not reconcile with the average economic growth rate of 6 per cent recorded so far. Our consumption levels, all things being equal, should translate into a more than 12 per cent economic growth rate per annum. It is either there is too much wastage, or the national statistics are misleading, mainly due to a large informal sector.  If the reason is waste, a serious national zero wastage programme should be put in place in order to arrest the situation so that we can be able to channel the much needed energy into productive areas.
On the other hand, if it is misleading national statistics, urgent measures should be put in place to adequately capture the informal sector so that we can have credible and good statistics to enable us plan effectively and efficiently. The measures outlined by our President should, therefore, increase economic activities beyond the 6 per cent growth so that the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) can also grow.

Mr Speaker, let me talk about the cultural transformation and the need for high performance as articulated on Page 6 of the President’s Speech. The cultural web devised by Jerry Johnson as part of his work to attempt to explain why firms often fail to adjust to environmental change as quickly as they need to is very relevant to this scenario in this country, in terms of transformation.

Sir, transformation cannot happen within the existing culture. I am glad that the hon. Minister for Muchinga Province has alluded to that. It may be easier to change the formal organisational structure than the established routines and habits. There is a situation in this country whereby things have to be done as usual. It has been business as usual and so people may tend not to change quickly, thereby neglecting the most important things that can drive this nation forward.

Mr Speaker, transformation and higher performance should begin with us leaders, hon. Members of Parliament and indeed, any other civil servant holding a high position so that we lead as examples and drive the performance and implementation of various aspects of the economy. We must be tuned into the signals that provide insights about the needs and wants of the present future generation. Unfortunately, those who think destructive criticism is the answer, are likely to remain irrelevant to the process of transformation and high performance, as correctly and properly articulated by the Republican President.

Mr Speaker, it was quite sad to hear some economist, who is an hon. Member of Parliament, question why we are planning for 2064 this early. We want to plan ahead because planning is in various phases. There is the short, medium and long-term planning. There was also an hon. Member who stood on the Floor of this House and asked why we were planning for imaginary people because none of us will be there in 2064?

Sir, this kind of thinking is what has brought us to this level. If those colleagues of ours who had the opportunity to plan for this country had planned for many years to come, maybe we would not be facing the power deficit that we are currently experience. Maybe we would also not be going through the issues we are going through that are affecting the lives of the Zambian people negatively. We plan for the future, and so, planning must embrace even those who are not yet born. That is how you safeguard the nation.

Mr Speaker, on Page 7 of the Speech, the President talks about cost-effective operations. A lot can be learnt from the private sector for cost-effectiveness to take root. The private sector embraces a lot of controls that are aimed at ensuring that they grow the wealth for their shareholders. That can also be emulated by the various Government departments. Dell Computers is widely known as one of the most successful and resilient entities. A number of good practices can be used in Government operations. For example, each civil servant must be involved in at least one business process improvement project.

Mr Speaker, value engineering and value analysis are cardinal. We have no choice, but to accelerate the implementation of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Act No. 14 of 2009. The Kaizen Institute and the proposed national productivity centre should provide the needed catalysts in this area. The culture of savings could reduce the cost of borrowing which eventually, will reduce the cost of doing business in Zambia. By so doing, we will be able to grow our GDP. The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) should do more than it has done in the past.

Sir, our financial institutions have uncompetitive cost structures which fail to support a number of Government initiatives. While the Government is pushing so hard to try and ensure that we promote the medium or low income earners and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the banks are not helping in any way. They are not moving at the same pace with the Government. Instead, they have quite a very bad kind of cost structure.

Mr Speaker, on Page 14 of the Speech, the President calls for a timely greater prosperity and inclusiveness. We are significantly losing out on the enormous contribution which our brothers and sisters, especially those in the diaspora can make to the growth of the economy. The brain drain plays a major part in the lack of meaningful contribution to the prosperity of our country.

Mr Speaker, in 2009, the members of the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC) reported that one-third of all African scientists live and work in developed countries. They called on the G8 Summit to increase investment in science and ensure better global co-operation to correct the imbalance.

Sir, on Page 15 of the Speech, the President talked about the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF), the Zambia National Service (ZNS) and the national airline. I am of the view that a formal meeting, a lessons learnt review summit or may be a conference be held to ensure that the President’s vision is attained. We should ensure that positives are recreated while negatives are avoided. In addition, those who will be appointed on these boards should take into account Professor Mervyn E. King, SC’s recommendations on corporate governance. In King 11 Report on Corporate Governance, self interest, greed, self concern and sloth are indentified as enemies of corporate governance. The President is also clear on zero-tolerance to corruption. Corrupt elements should not find themselves in these strategic entities.

Mr Speaker, on Pages 12 and 13, the President talked about poverty levels. We must not encourage poverty which results from laziness. Again this is an issue that we need to address as a nation. It is one thing to be in poverty, but it is also another thing that certain individuals do it deliberately because there is what is called dependence syndrome. Laziness is a sin and must not be condoned. The Government is keen in addressing poverty brought about by economic imbalances and not as a result of laziness. The main victims of this poverty are the women and children. Let us embrace the President’s call for prioritising education in general and mathematics and science, in particular. We are still struggling with the wide spread poverty, health and other issues mainly because scientific research is not prioritised. Developed countries continue to use scientific research to resolve problems. Trades training schools also can be used to assist in reducing poverty.

Mr Speaker, in 2006, the African Union (AU) endorsed a new target for African countries to spend about 1 per cent of their National Budget on research and development. Four years later, the organisation reported that only Malawi, Uganda and South Africa had management to hit that target in 2007.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)

The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 6th October, 2015.