Debates - Wednesday, 7th October, 2015

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Wednesday, 7th October, 2015

The House Met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for permitting me to present a statement on the status of maize marketing and mealie meal prices. 

Sir, allow me to seize this opportunity to congratulate those who have been elevated to positions of Cabinet Minister and Deputy Minister.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: I would like to particularly congratulate my former Deputy Minister, Hon. Greyford Monde, who has now joined me on the front Bench. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: I have every confidence that he will steer the livestock and fisheries sector to high heights. 

Sir, this statement has been necessitated by the need to inform Parliament and the public at large the progress made in maize marketing this season as well as to address the issues that were brought out in the press last weekend by the Millers Association of Zambia.

Sir, according to the 2014/2015 Crop Forecasting Survey results, Zambia recorded a total maize production of 2,618,221 metric tonnes, as compared to 3,350,671 metric tonnes produced in the 2013/2014 farming season, representing a reduction of 21.86 per cent.

Mr Speaker, despite this reduction, Zambia recorded a surplus of 876,768 metric tonnes. The traditional maize growing areas of Southern and Eastern provinces recorded reduced production. However, the northern parts of the country recorded significant surplus production. 

Mr Speaker, as all hon. Members of the House will by now know, several neighbouring countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region have performed worse than Zambia, as they have deficits.
Sir, the House will recall that at the beginning of the marketing season, the Government announced that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the private sector would purchase all the maize from farmers. The FRA has since been purchasing maize at K75 per 50 kg bag whilst the private sector has been buying at K55 to K80 per 50 kg bag. The K75 offered by the FRA has been an attractive price, especially in the outlying areas where the private sector does not reach.

Mr Speaker, the FRA commenced the purchase of maize on 17th August, 2015. As at 1st October, 2015, the agency had purchased over 587,000 metric tonnes whilst the private sector had purchased over 567,000 metric tonnes.

Sir, the following is the breakdown of the maize quantities purchased per province:

    Province    Metric Tonnes 

    Central        65,886

    Copperbelt        25,716

    Eastern        94,286

    Luapula        70,102

    Lusaka        22,532

    Muchinga        65,550

    Northern        120,571

    North-Western        59,499

    Southern        52,980

    Western        9,882

    Total        587,004

Mr Speaker, the biggest quantities purchased are from Northern, Luapula and Muchinga provinces where the rains where more favourable than the southern half of the country. The three provinces account for 256,223 metric tonnes of the maize purchased. As at 1st October, 2015, the FRA had 1,004,979 metric tonnes of maize in stock valued at K880,506,675.00. 

Mr Speaker, the FRA has thus far paid the farmers K96,800,000.00, leaving a balance of K783,706,675.00.

Mr Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to correct the record on how much maize the FRA has purchased. When I was interviewed over the weekend, I inadvertently indicated that the FRA had paid out K186,000,000.00 to the farmers. However, the correct amount is the K96,800,000.00 that I mentioned earlier.

Mr Speaker, I am happy to report that the Ministry of Finance has released the full amount to the Bank of Zambia to be remitted to the Ministry of Agriculture to pay all outstanding arrears. 

Mr Mushanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the Government would like to assure the nation that all farmers will be paid without delay. 

Mr Speaker, according to the FRA Act, the marketing season for maize ends on 31st October, 2015. I shall continue to update the House on the position of national stocks as well as the situation on national food security for the 2015/2016 marketing season.

Mr Speaker, allow me now to turn to the issue of mealie meal prices. Last weekend, the Millers Association of Zambia held a press briefing at which they called upon the Government to ban the export of maize to neighbouring countries. The association further announced an impending price increase of between K10 and K15 per 25 kg bag of mealie meal. The justification they gave for the ban in the export of maize was that the millers were not able to access maize due to pressure from export markets. I would like to inform the House that mealie meal prices are as a result of the interaction of several factors, namely:

(a)    availability of maize;
(b)    purchase price of maize; 
(c)    cost of milling; 
(d)    domestic demand and supply forces; 
(e)    transportation, logistical and financing costs; and 
(f)    regional demand and supply forces amongst Zambia’s neighbours.

Sir, let me emphasise that the availability of maize is a major driver of maize prices and, ultimately, mealie meal prices. We are aware that prices of maize in Lusaka are as high as K1,950 per metric tonne. However, farmers are still selling maize to the FRA in other parts of the country at K1,500 per metric tonne or K75 per 50 kg bag. The private sector is, therefore, encouraged to purchase maize from outlying areas where it is being sold at K75 per 50 kg bag. 

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that my ministry chairs the National Stocks Committee, which is a forum at which all statistics and challenges regarding major food stocks in the country are discussed. The National Stocks Committee meets every month to deliberate on agricultural commodities. The National Stocks Committee comprises:

(a)    Office of the Vice-President;
(b)    Bank of Zambia (BoZ); 

(c)    Central Statistical Office (CSO); 

(d)    Grain Traders Association of Zambia; 

(e)    Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU); 

(f)    Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS); 

(g)    World Food Programme (WFP); 

(h)    Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute; and 

(i)    Millers Association of Zambia. 

Sir, the National Stocks Committee held a meeting on 15th September, 2015, at the ministry headquarters. However, the Millers Association of Zambia did not attend the meeting despite several requests for them to do so. It is, therefore, disappointing that the Millers Association of Zambia decided to rush to the press to make their demands and threats before discussing matters of national food security with the National Stocks Committee or my office. 

Mr Speaker, at the meeting for the National Stocks Committee held on the 15th of September, 2015, the stakeholders reported that the country had maize stocks in excess of 1,594,710 metric tonnes. Of this amount, the FRA had 957,930 metric tonnes, while the rest was held by the private sector. In addition, let me emphasise that the FRA and the private sector are still buying maize from farmers. As earlier reported, the FRA has since increased its stock to 1,004,979 metric tonnes as at 1st October, 2015. Further, some millers and grain traders also had carryover stocks from the 2014/2015 marketing season. Given the above situation, there is no justification for millers to claim that there is a shortage of maize that should necessitate the ban of export of maize or an increase in mealie meal prices. I wish to categorically state that at national level, Zambia is food secure, as there are sufficient stocks of maize to meet domestic requirements, with a reasonable surplus for export. 

Mr Speaker, the maize marketing season runs from 1st May to 31st October each year. As part of the Government’s policy, I announce to the nation, through this House, that the private sector, including millers, should take the lead in crop marketing and that the FRA would enter the market much later. This was the case this year because the FRA only started purchasing maize on 11th August, 2015, long after the private sector, millers and grain traders had gone into the market. 

Sir, the 567,000 metric tonnes of maize that the private sector has purchased shows that it actively participates in crop purchasing. On behalf of the Government, I wish to commend the FRA and private sector for their performance and call upon them to continue buying maize from farmers at reasonable prices. At the beginning of the marketing season, the private sector offered farmers prices ranging from K55 to K80 per 50 kg bag. Therefore, the calls for an increase in mealie meal prices have nothing to do with the lack of maize on the market. Some sections of the private sector did not fully participate in maize marketing when maize was readily available. Others do not have sufficient capital to purchase maize to store until the end of the maize marketing season while others lack storage capacity. It is for these reasons that they are urging the Government to ban the export of maize so as to put pressure on the FRA to buy all the maize and store it on their behalf.

Mr Speaker, I want to turn to other matters that were raised by the Millers Association of Zambia. The first one is the cost of electricity. The cost of electricity and fuel has been used as one of the justifications for increasing mealie meal prices. Everybody knows that there has not been any increase in the cost of fuel in the recent past. The Millers Association of Zambia is also advocating for a ban in the export of maize and urging the Government to only allow the export of mealie meal only. The Government is aware that some millers have been exporting mealie meal to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). I am on record as having called upon the private sector to invest in increased milling capacity for them to export mealie meal instead of maize. At no time has the Government stopped the export of mealie meal. Let me emphasise that the Government is happy with the mealie meal exports and encourage millers to continue exporting mealie meal. We encourage millers and traders to export value-added commodities like mealie meal rather than primary commodities like maize. We shall be happy if they come to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to ask for permits to export mealie meal rather than maize. However, for as long as their milling capacity is not enough to allow for more mealie meal to be exported than is being exported at the moment, they will have to wait until the Government puts up  the ten milling plants under the Presidential  Milling Plant Initiative. 

Mr Speaker, my office runs an open-door policy. I am always available to discuss matters of national importance such as mealie meal prices. It is, therefore, disheartening that the Millers Association of Zambia decided to go to the press before presenting their position to the National Stocks Committee or meeting with my office.

Sir, I wish to remind the House that the Government reduced the price of maize early this year after thorough consultation with stakeholders like the ZNFU, the Grain Traders Association of Zambia and the Millers Association of Zambia. We would, therefore, like to maintain this spirit of mutuality with all the players, including the Millers Association of Zambia. I was delighted to hear that the Millers Association of Zambia has announced, today, that their decision to threaten the consumer with price increases shall not proceed until after they have met with my office. 

Sir, the Census and Statistics Act of the Laws of Zambia has provisions for the collection of data from all stakeholders on the position of major food crop stock. However, it has been noted, with dismay, that some stakeholders are reluctant or refuse to provide statistics on agricultural commodities to the Government. This makes it difficult for my ministry and the Government to make policies. Let me take this opportunity to inform the stakeholders that the Government will enforce the provisions of the Census and Statistics Act to ensure compliance by all stakeholders. The Government is also considering amending the Food Reserve Act to oblige players in the industry to submit information on their stock levels to the Government. This will enable the Government to improve its oversight over food reserves in the country. 

Mr Speaker, Zambia is running a liberal economy. So, the Government cannot impose prices of commodities, let alone mealie meal. However, it is taking several measures to ensure the stability of prices and availability of stocks. Firstly, the Government will closely monitor the trade in maize grain and other commodities like wheat bran, wheat and edible oils to ensure that the nation does not export more than the declared surplus. I would like to emphasise that the Government will not ban the export of maize. It is important that the exports continue as they bring in the much needed foreign exchange and stimulate production. 

Sir, when I launched the harvest of wheat for this season recently, I reminded the wheat growers that I would not allow the importation of wheat. However, I also indicated to them that this is precedent on farmers, traders and millers not increasing the price of wheat above the import parity price. Any attempt to do so may compel the Government to review this position so as to protect the consumers.  

The second measure is that the FRA, which is currently purchasing maize, will only enter the market to sell maize at the close of the marketing season on 31st October this year. This will only be done after wide consultation with all the stakeholders in the industry. 

Thirdly, let it be known that the FRA’s main responsibility is to maintain strategic reserves. So, the agency will only sell commodities when there are compelling circumstances to do so. The Government would like to advise all the millers and traders to ensure that they have maize stocks to last them until the next marketing season and not depend on the stocks that are held by the FRA. Let me also emphasise that the FRA reserves the right of whom to sell their maize to.

The fourth measure …


Mr Speaker: A moment, hon. Minister. 

The right, you should be supporting your colleague. He is struggling to make himself heard. I have also noticed a body language that is being used but I, too, am avoiding disturbing him. So, please, support him. 

Hon. Minister, you may continue. 

Mr Lubinda: Thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker, the fourth measure is that the National Stocks Monitoring Committee, which is chaired by my ministry and is convened once a month, will continue to meet and provide updates on the position on national stocks. All players in the maize chain will be compelled to provide information on the stock levels that they are holding in accordance with the existing laws. 

The fifth measure is that the Millers Association of Zambia, in a meeting held with my ministry officials yesterday, agreed to provide figures to the Government on the stock levels. I hope that they will do that tomorrow. 

Sir, the price of mealie meal should be determined by the cost of maize. Using replacement and speculative costing is highly opportunistic and not sensitive to consumers’ plight. Therefore, we urge all those in the agricultural value chain to stop this trend. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: The Government will come up with a clear marketing policy on all commodities in the agricultural sector in order to create a predictable and transparent policy environment which, in the long run, will result in enhanced growth for the sector.  

Sir, in conclusion, I wish to emphasise that farmers can only make the necessary long-term investment decisions if the marketing policy is clear and consistent. My ministry is committed to developing Zambia as a major exporter of agricultural commodities in the region. This will create jobs locally and stimulate investment in value addition. The Government will continue to ensure that the interests of farmers, traders, processors and consumers are taken care of. However, I also wish to assure the nation that my ministry is fully committed to ensuring that the national food security is not compromised. 

From my statement, Sir, it should be clear that there are no justifiable reasons to increase prices of mealie meal. I wish to appeal to all players in the food value chain, starting from the farmers, traders, processors and retailers to be cognisant of the fact that they are in business to serve consumers.  On the other hand, the Government has the responsibility to create an environment for all players in the agricultural value chain that enables them to operate productively and efficiently for the satisfaction of the consumer. Any player in the food value chain who engages in practices that exploit consumers goes against the common aim of improving consumer welfare, and this must be stopped. 

I, therefore, wish to appeal to all players in the food value chain, particularly the private sector, not to test the Government’s resolve in this matter. My ministry is watching the market keenly in relation to mealie meal prices and stands ready to use the various options at its disposal to protect the consumers from unjustified price increases like it did in March this year. 

The Patriotic Front (PF) Government is there primarily to serve people who cannot protect themselves from exploitation. We are a Government for the poor people of Zambia. The PF Government shall work with those in industry who are patriotic, genuine and are willing to partner with us to better serve the citizens of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I think some parts of the hon. Minister’s statement was full of threats.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, where is the hon. Minister going to get the extra money to buy the maize because when he presented a statement earlier in this House, he only asked the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize? The figures that he has given in this statement have already exceeded the 500,000. 

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I just want to correct the impression that has been created that my statement was full of threats. My statement was full of emphasis and not threats. It clearly stated that if anyone in the private sector thinks that this Government will stand by and watch them exploit the poor, he/she will see us use the various options available to us to regulate prices and so that the poor can access food. We are not issuing threats, but emphasising that we have measures at our disposal to make sure that the prices are not exploitative.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the Budget, the hon. Member has been in the House for quite a number of years now and he has participated in various budgeting processes. I am sure he is cognisant of the fact that every Budget has a contingency allowance which is meant for circumstances such as this one. So, the Ministry of Finance will certainly look at the contingency Budget and release some money for use to secure the much needed maize to protect our hardworking farmers.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, the issue of mealie meal is a sensitive one. Further, the price increases were caused by the low supply of mealie meal on the market. The hon. Minister has indicated that there is no increase in electricity tariffs for millers. To maintain the number of bags of mealie meal on the shelves, considering that there is load shedding, a miller may be forced to buy a diesel-operated generator which may prove to be more expensive than the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) electricity tariffs. Is the Government going to subsidise the fuel to be used for the generators in order to avoid mealie meal shortages?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, it has been established that the cost of running an industry using diesel-operated generators is higher than that for hydropower. I am addressing the reasons that the Millers Association of Zambia are giving for increasing prices of mealie meal. The issue of utilising diesel-operated generators was not the picture at all.

Sir, the Government is not looking at whether or not to subsidise millers for the use of diesel-operated generators. If that were to be the case, it would not be limited to millers, but would cut across all industries.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, millers are business people. Further, we want to believe that in a liberalised economy, prices are a reaction to the forces of demand and supply. The hon. Minister has issued veiled threats to the millers that the Government will take measures to protect consumers. Can he indicate to this House the cost of producing a 25 kg bag of breakfast mealie meal so that we know whether or not the millers are making astronomical profits.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Member for showing that she is an attentive listener. In my statement, I mentioned the fact that there are various factors that affect the price of mealie meal. I also indicated that the cost of maize was one factor while that of milling was another. I suppose when I was reading my statement, my hon. Colleague may have been preparing to ask her question. So, she was not listening. I said, with your permission,:

“Zambia is running a liberalised economy and the Government cannot impose or dictate prices of any commodities, let alone mealie meal prices. However, the Government is taking several measures to ensure that there is price stability and stocks availability.”

Mr Speaker, I listed all the measures, none of which is a threat. I did not say that we were going to prescribe the price at which the millers should sell the melie meal. One of the measures was that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will release maize on the market to cushion the consumer. I also talked about the imports and exports. I also said that if the wheat growers decided to increase the prices of wheat above the import parity price, the Government might be compelled to allow the importation of wheat at a lower cost in order to cushion the consumer. These are not threats. Just because we are running a liberalised economy does not mean that we should allow people to exploit the market. We owe it to the people of Zambia to ensure that production is protected. I said that it is our duty to protect everyone in the value chain, starting from the farmer, trader, processor and distributor to the retailer with one aim in mind, that is, to satisfy the consumer. That is what we are doing.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the cost structures, I did not think that this would be a matter of interest today. That is why I do not have it with me at the moment. However, if my hon. Colleague would like us to discuss it, I am amenable. She can request your office to instruct me to provide the different cost structures and I will do that. 

You may recall, Sir, that when I was announcing the Presidential Milling Initiative, I also indicated that the price of mealie meal in outlying areas was much higher than that in urban areas because our milling capacity is concentrated along the line of rail. As a result, maize has to be transported all the way from the producing areas to the milling plants and then the mealie meal transported back to the producing areas. I also said that if we set put the milling plants at where the maize is produced, the cost of production for the producers of mealie meal will reduce. So, if my colleague insists that I provide the cost structures, I am sure that you will instruct me to do so.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, I hope my question will not be similar to that of Hon. Namugala. Suffice it to ask if the hon. Minister can categorically state whether or not this ‘roundabout’ way of issuing his ministerial statement is tantamount to introducing price controls in maize and mealie meal marketing.
Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister may respond to that question for avoidance of doubt.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, for avoidance of doubt, I said:

“Zambia is running a liberalised economy and the Government cannot impose or dictate prices of any commodities, let alone maize.” 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, the Government has bought a solar-powered milling plant for each province. Why is it discouraging the millers from increasing the prices when it can compete with them using the solar-powered milling plants that will be set up in the provinces?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the Presidential Milling Plant Initiative includes setting up ten large-scale milling plants across the country, some of which will be run by the co-operative movement. Others will be run by the Zambia Prisons Department. It also includes the setting up of 4,000 mini solar plants throughout the country. There are two main reasons for setting up the solar plants. Firstly, they are meant to increase the milling capacity so that we export mealie-meal instead of maize. The second reason is to make sure that there is milling capacity as close to the areas where the maize is produced as possible. Until such a time that these milling plants are installed, there is no way that we can compete with the private sector. Currently, we are dependent upon the private sector because the milling plants are yet to be manufactured. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, allow me to congratulate the two colleagues who have just been elevated to the position of Cabinet Minister in the limited time of their reign. 

Mr Speaker, the determination of the price of grain, which is a subject that I have slight competence in, includes the cost of production, transport, storage or warehousing, management, handling and insurance. In the last Sitting of this House, the hon. Minister came to this House full of buoyancy, and told us how the millers were co-operating with him in checking the price of the staple food. In his statement this afternoon, one gets the impression that the millers are either on track to economically sabotage this country or the Government is not very sure of what is taking place. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why the millers decided to stop co-operating with his ministry because he indicated that there is a committee that sits in order to ensure that the agro sector operates smoothly. At what point did the relationship between his ministry and the millers degenerate?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, twice in my statement, I registered my disappointment at the turn of events. I said that I did not expect the Millers Association of Zambia to go to the press and issue threats, forgetting that they are members of the National Stocks Committee and that since March, 2015, we have been collaborating and discussing matters behind closed doors before announcing to the public.

 Mr Speaker, whether or not they are sabotaging us or working against the Government, all I can do is refer to some statements that have been attributed to some of us, politicians, who are on record as having justified the move taken by the Millers Association of Zambia. There are some politicians who have sided with the millers and supported their plan to increase prices. However, they are supporting the move taken by the millers without taking into account the pricing mix and the nitty-gritty of the availability of maize. I am beginning to wonder if the politicians who are supporting this move are encouraging the Millers Association of Zambia to arm-twist the Government. If that be the case, like I stated earlier, the Government is on top of things to ensure that the consumer is protected. 

Sir, it may also be recalled that in March this year, when I came to inform the House and the nation that the Government would reduce the price at which the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) would buy maize so as to meet the eimport parity price, some hon. Members expressed concern over this matter and asked whether the millers would co-operate with the Government or would just get the subsidy and pocket it. However, the goal post seems to be changing today.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left!

Mr Lubinda: So, I would like to inform my hon. Colleague that I hope that this was just a ‘skip’ in our relationship with the millers. Today, they have announced that they will not proceed with the price increases until after they have met with my officials in the ministry. This shows that we are working together. I also said that when the FRA is called upon to release their maize stocks in strategic reserves, they reserve the right of who to give their stocks to. We shall sell the maize to those who are willing to partner with us in ensuring that there are no price controls. However, we have measures to intervene in the market to cushion the poor Zambians.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, allow me to comment on what the hon. Minister of …

Mr Speaker: Do you want to comment or ask a question because this provision is for asking questions.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister did not use any threats, then, the body language he used betrayed him. Secondly, …


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chembe, there is no provision for comments. If you have no question, I will give the Floor to your neighbour, the hon. Member for Luena.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, my question is in relation to the free market concept. The hon. Minister stated that the Government has no intention to stifle competition because it believes in the liberalised economy, which is a free market. Does the hon. Minister not think that the measures he has mentioned are tantamount to stifling competition? Does he not think that such actions lead to shortages? Does he not foresee shortages coming up in the country? 

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the hon. Member would do well to read the FRA Act and to find out why this institution was created. The FRA was created to ensure that there is national food security so that the maize that it holds is released onto the market at the time when there is a shortage. If there are no reserves held by the State, the prices of maize will spiral to a level where the consumers cannot afford. To cushion the country in the event of a calamity, there should be stocks that can be relied upon as we import from outside markets. All that I am saying is that we shall use this reserve for that very purpose. So, I am not threatening anybody or trying to control the market. 

Sir, I am only using the measures that this House gave to the Government to make sure that the poor of the poorest are protected from those in the market, who may either be manipulated by politicians to try to cajole the Government or those who think that they can make supper profits. Those who are willing to co-operate with the Government will realise that the price of K1,950 per metric tonne of maize is for Lusaka. Everywhere else in the country, the price of maize is still K1,500 per metric tonne.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Ms Imenda (Luena):  Mr Speaker, I have just learnt that two of our hon. Colleagues have been elevated to ministerial positions. Therefore, I too, would like to congratulate them.

 Sir, it is common knowledge that the export of maize is ongoing. It is also a well-known fact that some maize is produced in the country at a subsidised cost. Would the hon. Minister care to inform us what the export price of this maize is as compared to the arms-length production cost.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, as at last week, the figures that I was given as the average price for a tonne of maize in the region is US$230 dollar per metric tonne. As I have stated before, the challenge we have in our country is that we have been producing and celebrating the so-called bumper harvests. If you consider the cost that comes with this pumper harvest, you will realise that we actually celebrate a curse because the cost of production is very high. This is the reason I have been appealing to the farmers to increase their productivity. For us to produce 1.5 or 2 metric tonnes of maize per hectare when the regional average is 8 metric tonne per hectare and some farmers are actually managing to produce 12 tonnes per hectare in Zambia shows that the cost of production is too high.

 Sir, I acknowledge the fact that the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) is a subsidy because we are subsidising the production which is indirectly subsidising consumption. There is no question about that. What should we do if we have 876,000 metric tonnes of maize that are above the national requirement? For fear of exporting our subsidised maize, what should we do with the surplus? Can we sit back and watch it rot, obviously, not? So, we are caught up in this web. I would, therefore, like to encourage all the hon. Members to take a keen interest in farming and make sure that we produce efficiently.
Mr Speaker, let me take this opportunity to encourage the hon. Member for Luena that my relatives in Luena it would be more profitable to produce other crops than maize because it is too expensive to produce in some parts of the country, including Luena. It may be cheaper and more profitable to produce cashew nuts. Soon, I will be your guest in the Western Province to discuss these possibilities.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the prices of chickens in the country have escalated to more than K50 from K16. The prices of cooking oil, tomatoes and kapenta have also escalated. In fact, the prices of all commodities have escalated due to faulty Government policies.

Sir, that being the case, why does the hon. Minister not order the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to immediately release the maize onto the market so that the consumers can have cheap mealie meal  because we all desire to protect the consumer. So, why can he not order the FRA to release the maize and also buy chickens, cooking oil and kapenta for the poor?

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Speaker: Order!

 Your debate is limited to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).


 Lubinda: Mr Speaker, this is a very interesting House. I suppose the reason it is called an august House is that this is where we are allowed to exercise the ability to debate and raise issues.

 Sir, mid this year, at the onset of the marketing season of maize, my hon. Colleagues asked me why I was delaying to announce the floor price of maize and I said that there was no such a thing as floor price. I was told that if the FRA does not announce the price, the farmers will be exploited because the private sector will buy maize at low prices and, thereafter, go onto the market and increase the prices. We went onto the market and set the price at K1,500 per metric tonne to make sure that the farmers are well compensated for their effort. There is no real justification for increasing the prices of meal meal, especially if it is based on the argument that prices in Lusaka are K1,920 per metric tonne. Now, I am being told that I should go and get the maize from the FRA and give it to people for free. The same people who were saying that there was a need to protect the farmer are now saying that I should not pay the farmer next year. Instead, I should collect their maize and give it to consumers in order to protect them. Certainly, we cannot do that.

Mr Speaker, like I said earlier, this Government has the responsibility to everybody who is involved in the value chain, including the farmer, trader, miller, processor, distributor and retailer, with one intention, and that is, to make sure that the consumer can afford the food and is satisfied. Therefore, I cannot engage in these other experiments.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, my question hinges on policy and policy consistency.

Sir, during the last Sitting of the House, the hon. Minister informed the House that the Government was only going to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. Of course, the figure has since changed, but it hinges on policy and the confidence that the private sector will have on us.

Mr Speaker, today, the hon. Minister has appealed to the millers to buy maize, hoard it and mill it at their own price. Which miller would buy maize, keep it, mill it over time and accrue expenses when the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is keeping 1.5 million metric tonnes of maize in stock which it can release any time and distabilise the millers who are also hoarding maze? Honestly, what would be the rationale for any miller to buy and hoard stock at the moment with the amount of maize reserves that the FRA is hoarding?

 Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for that question. When the Government was pushed, particularly by hon. Members of this House, to go onto the market, I presented a similar argument. I mentioned that I did not want the FRA to crowd out the private sector because we want to run a private-sector led agricultural marketing system where the private sector is the one that buys the crop and the Government only buys the surplus for the sake of protecting the farmer.

Sir, the delay in the FRA entering the market has paid dividends and is still paying dividends. Like I said, the quantities that were bought are almost the same. The FRA bought 587,000 metric tonnes of maize while the private sector bought 560,000 metric tonnes. I have said that the marketing season is still ongoing. So, I am still appealing to the private sector to take advantage of this. The FRA does not have extra ‘appetite’ to buy and store maize. The FRA is satisfied with the 587,000 metric tonnes that it has bought. We are only buying crops because we do not want the small-scale farmers in particular to lack a market for their produce. We would be happy if the private sector could to mop up all the maize because then, we would not have to answer the question that the hon. Member for Mumbwa Parliamentary Constituency asked about the Budget provisions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, earlier, the hon. Minister talked about dismantling the debt that the FRA owes farmers. However, he has left out one of the key stakeholders in the whole maize matrix, and that is the transporters. Could the hon. Minister be kind enough to shade some light on the payment of the huge debt that the FRA owes the transporters across the country for the transportation of inputs under the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I acknowledge that I did not talk about providers of goods and services. I limited myself to maize purchasing. However, let me take advantage of the question to inform the House and the nation at large that the Ministry of Finance has released to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), all the money that is required for maize purchases and payment of all outstanding arrears to transporters and suppliers of raw materials for the FISP. I am confident that within the next two weeks, the FRA, Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will settle the arrears.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, I have a concern regarding the private sector, emanating from what I see happening in Kalomo all the way to Choma where there are 30 tonne trucks from Zimbabwe. They are taking advantage of the strength of the United States Dollar, which is used in their country, against the kwacha to buy maize from this country for a song. I want to find out who, at the end of the day, will be making super profits between our farmers and the Zimbabweans.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I mentioned we have a surplus of 876,000 metric tonnes of maize this year. Obviously, we would like the Zambian entrepreneurs to benefit from exporting that quantity of maize. The only way we can control that is by issuing export permits. So, when people come to get export permits from us, we check who it is that is exporting. However, there are people who are exporting without permits, and we have no control over that. I have to agree that this is a peculiar year because, unfortunately, the value of our currency has declined during the season that we are marketing maize and, obviously, our maize is much cheaper in dollar terms than the import parity price for many countries. So, the traders who are buying maize from Zambia and exporting it are making a big profit. I cannot argue that case at all because that is the reality. I hope that the Zambian entrepreneurs are also taking advantage of this.

Sir, I want to put it on record that during the time that the FRA was releasing its maize to the private sector for export, we insisted that the maize be released only to Zambian-registered companies so that they get a reward from the efforts of the Zambian farmer.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I want to join all those who sympathise with the hon. Minister for the alarmist and loose-cannon behaviour of the Millers Association of Zambia. Maize is a food security crop that is grown almost entirely using Government resources. This means that it is a Government crop. Any argument from the millers should have been based on production costs or budgets which they did not seem to have. To avoid this destabilising behaviour of some of the partners towards the National Stocks Committee, and to avoid members of your committee alarming those of us who eat nshima, do you intend to come up with a memorandum of understanding (MoU) or code of conduct among yourselves so that in future, the behaviour of each member of your committee is not regulated, but counter-balanced by the interest of all the members of the committee?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, we may not necessarily need to go the MoU route because what we have now is a loose agreement. It is certainly some kind of memorandum, albeit not written. I hope Parliament will support us to re-introduce the Food Reserve Act that was amended by this House and which compelled traders, millers and everyone who handles maize to register and be compelled, on a regular basis, to submit returns on the quantities that they are hoarding in order to allow the Government to oversee the strategic reserves. I think that is the route we should go because, at least, we shall have the backing of the House. Signing MoUs, which are not justifiable, may not even assist us because, tomorrow, somebody may decide to act with impunity. I hoping that Parliament will assist us to amend the Food Reserve Act so that we can control things.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, since the hon. Minister is not sure about the price of fertiliser since in some areas it is being sold between K300 and K400, may I know the recommended price for both top and under dressing fertiliser?

Mr Speaker: Order!

You have taken the hon. Minister away from the statement. Therefore, I will not allow him to answer that question.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) has released all the money that is outstanding to the farmers. He also stated that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) entered the market to buy maize from farmers in August. Why has there been a delay in paying the farmers? As far as we are concerned, it is him who stated that farmers will be paid as soon as take maize to the FRA.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I am sure you will agree with me that it is unfair to t put words in my mouth. For the sake of clarity, at no stage did I say that the BoZ had released money to pay farmers. I said the BoZ had received money and this money was being transferred to the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, through the FRA, to pay the farmers. I also indicated that by 1st October, 2015, a total amount of K96,800,000 had been paid and that, with the release of this ,money, all the farmers will be paid without any further delay. In answering the question …

Mr Ntundu interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Gwembe, I have put you on the list for Members to debate. So, just wait …

Mr Ntundu interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Actually, you have already asked your question.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, in answering the question raised by the hon. Member for Bweengwa, who is sitting close to my good friend, I indicated that within the next two weeks, I expect that the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ), FRA and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) will have paid all the outstanding arrears. 

Sir, let me just take advantage of this opportunity to also say that at no time did I say I was not sure about the price of fertiliser. I plead with hon. Members not to put words in my mouth. Only last week, I made a statement on the price of fertiliser. Probably, my good friend was not in the House then.

Thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that he wishes the private sector could buy most of the maize and then the Government only buys from far-flung areas where it is expensive for the private sector to reach. 

Does the hon. Minister realise that one of the reasons the private sector, particularly the millers, refuse to buy the maize they require from the farmers is that they know that, year in and year out, the Government will, at some point, release subsidised maize to them? In the long run, this has actually cost the Government a lot of money?

My second question is: What measures is the Government thinking of putting in place to reverse this trend which has been going on for the last twenty years?

Mr Lubinda: Sir, my colleagues in the Government and I realise that when the FRA enters the market too soon, this crowds out the private sector. This year, the Government decided that the FRA will not enter the market as early as it has done in the past. That is why, today, the private sector has bought the same amount of maize as the FRA.

Sir, I hope that hon. Members of this House, who have come to realise that when the FRA crowds out the private sector, it sets itself the trap of having to release maize to the millers before the next harvest season, will all stand up and support the Government. I hope they will support our effort in encouraging the private sector to buy maize and discourage the Government from sending the FRA to enter the market early. 

Sir, this Government shall continue encouraging private sector-led agriculture in Zambia. We shall use the FRA for the purpose of maintaining food reverses and only buying crops to make sure that all farmers have a market for their commodity. 

Sir, next year, this Government may increase the commodities or crops that the FRA will handle to try to address the question that was raised earlier in this House about commodities or crops that we are promoting which may not have an established marketing system. I will be announcing that before 31st October this year, in accordance with the law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that the price of mealie-meal has been escalating for some time now, resulting in some complaints from members of the public. I would like to find out from him what has led the Government to being so concerned about the intended increase in the price of mealie-meal, taking into account that the price of mealie-meal has been escalating continuously and the Government has had no intention of intervening.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, we may be misleading people by saying that this Government has not been concerned. Yesterday, in answering a question about the importation of milk, I said that this Government is composed of men and women who are level headed, who are not alarmists and do not play to the gallery.

Dr Mwali: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: We handle situations like a responsible group of elected leaders. There are many things that we do without necessarily having to go to the press. I am not going to be enticed, whatsoever, to start administering the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock through the press.

Sir, the statement by the millers was in the press on Sunday. I did not want to react there and then. I took my time to sit with all the players to find out what was motivating this. Thereafter, I realised that today would be the best day for me to make this statement. Again, this shows you that this is a Government of prudent men and women who are not emotionally disposed.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the reason I have been motivated to make this statement is to clear one statement that was made that the price of mealie-meal is to be increased because the Government is allowing the export of maize. It is my duty to make sure that every Zambian is made aware that the export of maize has nothing to do with the planned increase of mealie-meal prices.

Sir, I indicated earlier in my statement that I am aware of the fact that maize is selling at K1, 950 per metric tonne here in Lusaka, but it is still selling at K1,500 per metric tonnes in other areas of the country. The FRA is buying the maize. If the millers want to buy maize at less than K 1,950 per metric tonne, let them go and buy. They must not use the excuse of the price in Lusaka to increase the price of mealie meal. They must not play in the hands of politicians who have gone round saying this price increase is justified. The truth of the matter is that the price increase cannot be justified by that reason.

So, Sir, I want to rest my case by saying that as a responsible and highly skilled Government, we have been concerned and have been discussing this matter.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Livune: Question!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!
Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to apologise for having come a bit late to the House for the first time today.

Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Ntundu: It took me one hour thirty minutes to drive from Makeni to the National Assembly Members’ Motel because of the traffic.

Mr Speaker: Ask your question.

Mr Ntundu: I listened to the statement by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock on radio though the reception was not clear. I heard him mention the words reasonable or favourable when he talked about allowing the private sector to buy maize. I am sure the hon. Minister is aware that the private sector or millers have exploited the farmers by buying maize at low prices …

Mr Mwila: What price? Finshi ulelandapo?

Mr Speaker: Order!

Continue, hon. Member for Gwembe.

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, I know that in the past, the Government used to buy maize from the farmers in order to protect them from being exploited. I would like to find out whether the Government has now made it open for anybody who wants to buy maize from the farmers to do so at a favourable price. Hon. Minister are you sure you are going to let the Zambian farmers be exploited forever or it is a temporary measure that has been put in place because the Government has no money, and so the private sector should buy maize from our farmers at exploitive prices.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, once again, let me thank the private sector for participating in the purchase of maize. I would also like to thank Hon. Ntundu for being one of the leading private-sector players in the purchase of maize in Gwembe.


Mr Lubinda: He is doing very well and he is commended for that.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, in my statement, I said that the private sector have been active on the maize market. The information we have in the ministry and through the Central Statistical Office, is that the private sector has been buying maize at prices ranging from K55 to K80 per bag and FRA is buying it at K75 per bag. 

Sir, I stated that in Lusaka the private sector is buying at higher prices than the FRA. The private sector is buying the maize at K1,950 per metric tonne. I have not said that the private sector in Lusaka must reduce prices and buy the maize at K50. All I said was can the traders go out to Gwembe where farmers may be exploited by the people who are buying maize at less than K55 per bag. Those are the people we must keep an eye on.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: They must not buy the maize in the range of K55 to K80. That is the intention of the Government.

Sir, going forward, I would like the private sector to take a lead so that the Government concentrates on research and development, extension services, providing an enabling environment for the farmer, trader, miller, distributor and the retailer and to manage policy.

Sir, I would like to end by reiterating my commendation to my good friend so that he can continue to be an active player in the grain market of Zambia.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, from what the hon. Minister and the millers have said, are mealie meal prices going to be increased or not? I ask because in Washishi and Ubangwamu, a 25 kg bag of mealie meal costs K100. 

Mr Lubinda: It is the people in areas like Washishi, Senanga, Mafinga, Lunte, and other far-flung that led to the formation of the Presidential Milling Initiative to try to bring milling capacity as close as possible to the people of Washishi as possible so that they can grow the maize and mill it close to their farm hold and the cost of mealie meal is reduced. I want to assure the House and the nation that once the Presidential Milling Initiative is up and running, these issues we are discussing today will be a thing of the past. At that point, we shall do what my hon. Colleague was asking about, that is, competing with the private sector to stabilise prices. 

Sir, as I have already stated, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock is watching, with keen interest, the prices of agricultural commodities, especially mealie meal. When we see that the mealie meal prices are going out of hand, we shall use the measures that I spoke about which include using strategic reserves to stabilise prices.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, since there is continuous debate about the availability of milling capacity in Zambia and you have indicated that it remains inadequate, notwithstanding the superior export prices and the attendant value addition. To what extent do we have the deficiency in milling capacity? Why do you think the private sector is reluctant to increase the capacity? 

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I did not say that we have inadequate capacity. I said that there are some milling companies that are exporting mealie meal. There is no shortage of mealie meal in the country. The challenge that we have is the distribution of that capacity. Most of the capacity is along the line of rail. There are companies that are exporting mealie meal when they produce above the national requirement. There is no deficiency at all. I said that if milling companies increased their capacity, particularly with the ten milling plants to be set up by the Government, we shall get to a point where all our maize can be milled in Zambia so that we do not export maize but mealie meal. At the moment, we have sufficient capacity to mill for local consumption and a little to export. This is what forces us to export maize instead of mealie meal.

Mr Speaker, as regards why we are not investing in increasing the milling capacity, I am sure that going forward, when the private sector realises that we have surplus maize every year which is being exported, it will react as it does wherever it sees an incentive for profit making. I have no doubt that there will be private sector investment to increase milling capacity. I have already seen it happening. Very soon, I will be commissioning a brand new milling plant in Chipata. Only a few months ago, Cargill opened a milling plant and will be opening another one. Therefore, I want to assure my colleague that there shall be increased capacity because of the factors of production and increased production of maize in Zambia,.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Kalaba): Mr Speaker, before I present my ministerial statement, allow me to congratulate Her Honour the Vice-President on an additional responsibility that has been added to her office. I also wish to congratulate Hon. Greyford Monde …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: … and Hon. Stephen Kampyongo on the appointments that they have duly received. 

Mr Speaker, leadership is from God.


Mr Kalaba: The Lord who has allowed them to be appointed in those offices will grant them grace.

Mr Livune: You left out Chawama.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Kalaba: Congratulations also go to the Member of Parliament for Chawama Hon. Sichalwe. Thank you for the reminder.

Mr Speaker, I have the honour to inform the House that the high level segment of the Seventieth Session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly was recently held in New York, United States of America (USA) from 25th September to 3rd October, 2015. The session not only commemorated seventy years of the UN, but was also preceded by the Summit on the Adoption of the Post 2015 Development Agenda which ran from 25th to 27th September, 2015.

Mr Speaker, furthermore, in the Government’s continued effort to collaborate with the traditional establishments, their Royal Highnesses, Chiefs Mumena from the North-Western Province and Mwenda from the Southern Province also formed part of the Presidential entourage to New York. 

Sir, prior to the opening session, the Assembly had the occasion to listen to an address by His Holiness Pope Francis whose message called for peace, goodwill and a commitment to development that resonated with the aspirations of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President’s participation started with the UN Summit on the adoption of the outcome document for the post 2015 Development Agenda entitled, “Transforming our World, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. His Excellency the President delivered a statement alongside other world leaders on the adoption of this landmark blue print which commits the world to seventeen sustainable development goals with 169 targets to take over from the millennium development goals (MDGs) as the adopted benchmarks for successor global development agenda. 

Mr Speaker, the fifteen-year plan will unite the world, across the developed and developing world divide, in an effort to bring harmonious development and present greater opportunities for the global community of  nations to integrate in trade and investment while tackling issues that affect us all.

In this regard, Mr Speaker, the President’s statement emphasised the importance of the fight against poverty and the need to enhance all partnerships in ensuring that the MDG targets are fully realised.

He further highlighted Zambia’s development agenda and the many interventions that the Government is undertaking to address the challenges the country was facing. He specifically mentioned the linkages between climate change, weather patterns and the energy crisis being experienced in Zambia and stressed the urgent need to develop alternative sources of energy, while calling for the need for technology transfer and investment in this important sector.

Mr Speaker, the President also acknowledged the problem of gender-based violence as a challenge that his Government was vigorously addressing. Additionally, his address recognised the challenge of youth unemployment and what action the Government was taking under the recently approved National Youth Policy. 

Mr Speaker, as the House is well aware, Zambia represents the sub-region in the African Union Committee of Ten on the Reforms of the UN Security Council. Therefore, the President’s statement also echoed that of other leaders on the continent who continue to call for Africa’s due representation on the UN Security Council.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: I would like to further inform this august House that the participating Heads of State amplified the call for delivering development, health and security to all people and also to undertake collaborative action in the fight against international terrorism and climate change. 

Sir, the high level session also called for concrete steps to ensure that a globally binding agreement is reached at the 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which will be held in Paris this December. 

Sir, other crosscutting issues of the global agenda included poverty alleviation and terrorism. The gender dimension of development also received prominence during the deliberations. 

Mr Speaker, the importance of Zambia’s participation in this summit was signified by the critical pronouncements that a number of countries made which have an impact on the country’s development agenda. For instance, China announced its intention to join the new UN peace keeping system and that it would also establish a US$1 billion Ten-Year China Peace Development Fund for the UN. 

Sir, China also pledged to give US$100 million to the African Union (AU) in the next five years to establish a standby force to respond to crises. As a long standing peace-keeping contributor, Zambia will greatly benefit from this initiative as we seek to consolidate peace in the region and beyond.

Sir, as Chairperson of the Group of Landlocked Developing Countries, Zambia co-hosted a high profile event which His Excellency the President chaired on 28th September, 2015. The meeting was aimed at addressing the peculiar challenges facing this group of developing countries, particularly in their access to the global markets. As the House may be aware from my previous presentations, Zambia has taken a leading role in this effort because of the direct benefits that will accrue to the country as a result of the enhanced trade and investment that is targeted towards landlocked developing countries.

Mr Speaker, the Head of State also attended the high level interactive dialogue on hunger and poverty eradication, the African Union/United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) discussion on industrialisation and the Post 2015 agenda.

The country also participated in the meetings on enhancing the South to South Co-operation. In these meetings, His Excellency the President stressed the importance of industrialisation for Zambia and called for more investment and technology transfer to ensure that developing countries attained meaningful development and eradicate poverty.

Mr Speaker, Zambia’s case was well articulated and the country will benefit from future programmes, both through UNIDO and the South to South Co-operation Framework. 

Sir, the President also participated in side events that included a follow-up on the implementation of the 1995 Gender Blue Print, the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. This event was co-sponsored by the UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, and the Government of China. As may be recalled, this monumental declaration is in its 20th year of implementation. In his statement, the President recommitted the Government to working towards furthering efforts at reducing the gender divide.
Mr Speaker, I also wish to mention that the Heads of State from the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) to which Zambia is a member, also met. At this meeting, the leaders were briefed on the regional security situation and recommitted to securing peace in member States like Burundi, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). At this meeting, Zambia stressed the importance of peace and stability in the region as a pre-condition for any meaningful development. 

Lastly, Mr Speaker, in order to fully maximise Zambia’s attendance to the United Nations General Assembly, a business forum was arranged where a number of business entities that are keen on investing in Zambia met with the delegation. This is all in an effort to continuously explore every opportunity to uplift the living standards of the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, I wish to end by assuring this august House that the President’s visit to the UN meetings in New York was successful, and that Zambia made an imprint on the evolving development global discourse.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, according to the statement, China has pledged about US$1 billion towards peace-keeping activities. The hon. Minister also talked about issues of climate change and poverty eradication, which are critical especially to countries like Zambia, because the effects of climate change are real and are going to create a lot of poverty amongst our people. What pledges did the developed countries make towards mitigating the effects of climate change, as opposed to providing funds for people who are fighting? 

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, to set the record straight, the US$1 billion that China is going to contribute to the United Nations (UN) is for peace keeping in the world. As the hon. Member of Parliament is aware, Zambia is actively involved in ensuring that the world is a better place to live in. Currently, there are Zambian troops in the Central African Republic. So, Zambia is looking forward to benefiting from this fund in order to enhance its capacity in participating in UN activities. 

Mr Speaker, we will be meeting in Paris this December for the Conference of the parties popularly called COP21, where matters of climate change and poverty will be discussed. The hon. Member is aware that there is already a fund established under the auspices of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to which countries that have done a lot of harm to the environment, contribute to help recipient countries like Zambia alleviate the effects of climate change. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that statement. I am glad that he has stuck to his promise to brief the House after every big meeting. 

Mr Speaker, I have no quarrel with the fact that the President attended the United Nations (UN) meeting. I realise that the President travelled with a number of hon. Ministers. Hon. Minister, in your statement, you did not indicate what benefits the hon. Ministers brought back with them from the sideline meetings that they attended. I would like to know what benefits we got from the hon. Ministers’ attendance of the meetings in New York. I believe that in this time of financial crisis ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that I appreciate the hon. Minister’s presentation of the ministerial statement. I also appreciate the fact that the President made it to the United Nations (UN) meetings. That is how things ought to be. 

Hon. Minister, in your statement, you indicated the side meetings that the President had.  Unless I did not get you clearly, you did not bring out what side meetings the hon. Ministers attended, and what we have benefitted from their attendance of the meetings. Considering the economic situation the country is in, we should be reducing the size of delegations to such meetings. I would like to know why you left out the benefits the hon. Ministers brought back home.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I thank my uncle, Hon. Kabinga Pande, for that question. 

Mr Speaker, as I said in my statement, twenty years have passed since the last women’s conference was held in Beijing. So, a sideline meeting was held to critically analyse the progress that has been made over the last twenty years. So, the Minister of Gender and Child Development, Hon. Prof. Luo was part of the delegation in order to attend that meeting. 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development also travelled in order to attend a sideline meeting on the extractive industry. As you know, Zambia has been a mono economy. For years, we have been dependent on copper. So, the hon. Minister attended the meeting to see what best practices Zambia could pick from that meeting.

Mr Speaker, the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, also travelled in his capacity as Chairperson of the Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs). As you know, Zambia has been chairing that important committee comprising over thirty States. So, a meeting was held which was chaired by the President. We also went to learn best practices on how developing countries should interlink and how we can extrapolate this to our advantage despite being landlocked. We want to be land linked. 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Hon. Kabanshi, was also part of the delegation and she attended a sideline meeting on the challenges of health regarding children. The hon. Minister ably represented Zambia in that regard.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for giving an insight into his experience at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly. 

Sir, while the delegation was in the United States of America (USA), the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported that our President had confirmed that he would give an interview with them. We were all eyes and ears waiting to watch him on television, only to be told that he had taken to his heels because he did not want to face the BBC.


Mr Nkombo: Taking to one’s heels simply means running away. 

Could you clarify that position, hon. Minister, because people are talking about it on social media. Is it true that the President stood up the BBC? Could you kindly share with us under what circumstances the President absconded from the interview with the BBC. 

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, in 2011, the social media predicted that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government would not win the elections. It advocated that either the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) or the United Party for National Development (UPND) would form Government and came up with some permutations. 

Mr Livune interjected.

Mr Kalaba: On 20th January, 2015, the social media, which my good colleague relies on heavily, …

Mr Kalaba: …gave the UPND a huge advantage over the PF. Again, the social media did not help matters. 

Mr Speaker, I am building up a case. If there is anybody who should learn that sometimes one needs to be very analytical of the social media, it should be Hon. Garry Nkombo. For him to rely on the social media, …


Mr Kalaba: He has actually called it “social media”. The stories on the social media about the President taking to his heels are not true. What happened is not as has been portrayed in the social media. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kalaba: Yes, there was an intention by the BBC to interview the President and the notice was brought to him an hour before the interview was scheduled. As President, there are several other programmes lined up for him when he is attending such events. He does not just sit waiting for someone to come up with something for him to do. In any case, he has to be told what the interview is about before it actually takes place. We have to conduct some due diligence on some of these issues. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: You do not just wake up and grant an interview. Even myself, as Minister of Foreign Affairs, I do not attend interviews without seeking clarity on the subject. So, things did not happen as portrayed by the hon. Member. The fact of the matter is that the President did not take to his heels. He has gladly granted interviews before, and has ably represented this country whenever the opportunity has arisen. I am supremely confident that this is the trajectory he will continue to follow. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mafinga, you may ask your question on points of clarification. Hon. Member for Katombola, there is no need for running commentaries. 


Mr Speaker: She is not here. We move onto Questions for Oral Answer. 




87. Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    when the Pave Zambia 2000 Project would be extended to Mpongwe District; and

(b)    if the project would not be extended to the district, why.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, according to the Pave Zambia 2000 schedule and plans, no district will be left out. Each province has a roll-out schedule on which all the districts appear according to priority. The development of the schedule took into consideration, among other factors, traffic volume, prioritisation of urban districts and the total length of road network in the district. 

Mr Speaker, according to this list, Mpongwe District is envisaged to be covered in 2019. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!

Dr Mwali: That is barely four years from now. Mr Speaker, the project will be extended to the district. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the people of Mpongwe are tired of getting ‘promissory notes’. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Namulambe: Hon. Minister, your statement indicates areas have been prioritised. Going by the fact that Mpongwe will be considered in 2016, …

Hon. Opposition Members: 2019!

Mr Namulambe: I beg your pardon, 2019. Are you confirming to the people of Mpongwe that they are not a priority on your list? By considering the seven urban districts first, are you saying that Mpongwe is irrelevant and not a priority? 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, to start with, we did not consider seven, but ten urban districts on the Copperbelt. 

Secondly, this priority list was arrived at by authorities within each province, and Mpongwe was represented. The schedule will be followed and all the districts will be covered accordingly. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, there are ten districts …

Mr Namulambe: On a point of order, Sir. 
Mr Mbulakulima: …on the Copperbelt. 

Mr Namulambe: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mpongwe, I will give guidance before you raise your point of order. If your point of order is on the same subject, please, do not proceed. For any other subject, you may proceed. 


Mr Speaker: I have given guidance. 

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, it is on the same subject because there was misleading information. 

Mr Speaker: Then, we proceed with the hon. Member for Chembe. 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, like me, Hon. Namulambe comes from the Copperbelt. Hon. Minister, I need to clarify that there are ten districts on the Copperbelt. Seven are urban districts while three are rural. Mpongwe is one of the three rural districts. 

Hon. Minister, you indicated that the seven urban districts are being considered in the Pave Zambia 2000 Project. Why is it that the three rural districts, which need enhancement, have been left out until 2019? Do you not think that is an anomaly?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, there is no anomaly on this list. Like I said, all the districts in Zambia will be covered in this project. There are ten districts in the Copperbelt Province and all of them will be covered. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s response reminds me of a doctrine which says that those who have, more will be added unto them and those who do not have, even the little that they have will be taken away from them. Is it a Patriotic Front (PF) policy that those who do not have must be ignored up to 2019? What factors did the authorities that the hon. Minister referred to as having sat to determine which districts to prioritise, take into consideration for Mpongwe to be excluded from the ten districts?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, I really fail to understand where the term, “excluding Mpongwe” is coming from. Mpongwe is actually included, and will be covered in 2019.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, we are also in dire need of this facility in Rufunsa. What criterion is the Government using to identify districts to be included on the schedule?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the programme covers all the districts. However, when prioritising, that is where the criterion I stated is being employed.

Mr Speaker: What is the criterion? I did not get you.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are looking at the traffic volume, the prioritisation of urban districts and the total length of the road network in each district. In the case of Mpongwe, we are looking at 20 km which should be covered in the district.

I thank you, Sir.


88.     Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    what had caused the delay in completing Phase I of the construction works of Milenge District Hospital;

(b)    when the works would be completed;

(c)    when the completed Phase II of the hospital would be opened; and

(d)    when the works under Phase III would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Heath (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, the delay in completing Phase I of the construction works at Milenge District Hospital was due to the termination of the first contract under Mwasika Building Contractors who were initially contracted by the Ministry of Health to build Phase I of the hospital. However, the contract was terminated due to non-performance. 

Mr Speaker, the works for the completion of Phase I of Milenge District Hospital has been awarded to T & H Eminence Limited. The contractor has taken site and the works are expected to be completed by the end of 2016. 

Mr Speaker, the completed Phase II of the hospital will be opened in the next four to six weeks. The works for the construction of Phase III have been awarded to T & H Eminence and works have since commenced.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, following the termination of the construct by Mwasika, most of the workers, if not all, were not paid. Has the Government made any effort to help the poor people of Milenge get their money back from the contractor?

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I was not aware of that information. I will, therefore, make a follow up and revert to the hon. Member of Parliament.
I thank you, Sir.


89.     Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)    when construction of a maternity wing at Mwimba Health Post in Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency would commence;

(b)    what had caused the delay in commencing the project;

(a)    what the cost of the project was; and
(d)    what the time frame for the completion of the project was.

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the construction of Mwimba Health Post in Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency was planned to be executed under the 2014 Ministry of Health Infrastructure Operational Plan. However, due to inadequate funding to the sector, the project could not commence and has now been reprogrammed into the 2016 Ministry of Health Infrastructure Operational Plan.

Mr Speaker, the delay in commencing the project was as a result of inadequate funding. The project is estimated to cost K250,000 and is expected to be completed in nine months from the time of commencement. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, what can the ministry do to assure the local community that the project will be carried out in 2016? The community was asked to provide materials upfront and they did that. Everything is in place and we are just waiting for the funds. Now, the hon. Minister is talking about 2016. How sure can we be that we will get the money for the project?

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, it is unfortunate that the project did not begin as scheduled. This was beyond the control of the Ministry of Health because we did not receive the funding. However, we would like to reassure the people of Lumezi that we shall prioritise the project in 2016. If the Ministry of Finance releases the funds, we shall certainly execute the project.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


90.     Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to decentralise the operations of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to all the provinces;
(b)    if so, when; and

(c)    how the Commission implemented its programmes in rural areas and other districts where it has no offices.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Sampa): Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), has plans, in its 2011 to 2016 Strategic Plan, to decentralise its operations by establishing physical presence in all the ten provinces of the country in line with the Government’s policy on decentralisation.

Sir, further, the commission intends to devolve and share certain functions with the local authorities as part of the decentralisation process, beginning in 2016.

Mr Speaker, the commission is already decentralising its functions to other provinces. Currently, the commission has presence in all the ten provinces of Zambia. The provincial centres where the commission has presence are: Kitwe, Chipata, Kasama, Solwezi, Mongu, Livingstone, Chinsali, Kabwe, Mansa and Lusaka.

Mr Speaker, the commission uses several strategies to implement its programmes in rural areas and other districts where it has no presence. 

Mr Speaker, the commission has introduced a toll free number, which is, 5678 that can be used by consumers, whose rights have been violated, to lodge complaints with the commission from any district or rural part of the country provided there is a mobile service provider. The toll free line is accessible during working days on all the three mobile service providers.

Mr Speaker, the commission conducts regular sensitisation tours in all the ten provinces to sensitise people and businesses on their rights. This is done through road shows, drama in the local language, and talks to schools, higher learning institutions and business or trade associations. During the tours, the commission interacts with the traditional leaders and their subjects in various chiefdoms to collect complaints and other issues for immediate follow up during the same tours.

Sir, the commission uses inspectors as district focal point persons who conduct operations such as inspections on its behalf. As of September, 2015, 107 inspectors from seventy districts in all the ten provinces have been conducting regular inspections and submitting reports to the commission. This is also part of the Government’s policy on decentralisation.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, on the part of the inspectors …

Ms Imenda: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order. In view of the current economic problems that the country is going through, some companies are closing down. People have lost their jobs, thus adding to the number of jobless citizens. I have a copy of one of the letters that the management of Safintra Zambia Limited, a company that used to manufacture roofing and steel materials, wrote to their employees. The letter states that the company is closing down as a result of severe financial losses caused by the changing economic climate. So, they are giving notices of termination of work to their employees. Some employees will stop work on 31st October, 2015, and others in December, 2015.

Sir, is the Government, especially the hon. Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Labour, and Social Security in order to remain quiet and not inform the House about the magnitude of the problem? I believe this is just a tip of the ice berg.

Ms Imenda laid the paper on the Table.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Luena, if you would like to get the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry to account for whatever issue of whatever nature, file in a question. Letters of this sort are written quite often at different times and circumstances. So, if you want to engage the hon. Minister on some policy issues, raise a question. We have labour laws which govern how people are engaged and disengaged. However, if you want to engage the hon. Minister on a policy issue, I think the most appropriate thing to do is to ask a question. That would be much more useful both to yourself, the nation at large and, I believe, the Government in general. That is my ruling.

Continue, hon. Member for Kalabo Central.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, are the inspectors who are appointed in the ten provinces provided with funds and transport to enable them reach rural areas like Kalabo in order to sensitise people on their rights and the services provided by the commission?

Mr Sampa: Sir, as stated, the commission’s long-term goal is to set up offices in every district and employ people to conduct its operations. However, where they have not set up the brick and mortar type of offices, they have appointed inspectors. Some are full time while others are part-time employees. However, they are given logistical support. By default, the hon. Member for Kalabo Central is also an inspector. As hon. Members of Parliament, it is our duty to make observations on behalf of the commission. So, we should protect the consumers. If we see goods that are below standard, it is our duty to report to the commission in order to protect the citizens.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the mandate of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is to ensure that monopolistic companies like Zambia Breweries, Lafarge Zambia, Dangote Cement and others do not abuse consumers. It also ensures that big companies that produce similar goods do not collude to the disadvantage of consumers.
Sir, before Dangote Cement came on the market, Lafarge and Zambezi Portland cement was almost K78 per pocket. When Dangote Cement came on the market, the price of cement dropped to K56. This was obviously a case of monopolies colluding and abusing their position even with the existence of this important commission which was set up to stop that.

Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister the measures the ministry has taken to ensure that the abuse by monopolies of overcharging on products because they are the only ones producing them or colluding with other competitors so that they control the market does not happen again because it is also happening in the road sector.

Mr Sampa: Sir, the free market economy demands that prices are brought down when there is increased supply. That is what has happened in the cement industry. The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is there to prevent monopoly. It ensures that there are no collusion or business entities conniving to set prices at a certain level to disadvantage the buyers in all the sectors.

Sir, the commission is proactive and is going into other sectors, including the maize industry, to ensure that there is no collusion because it has to explain why prices are going up. If supply is going up, prices should come down. The commission is working hard to ensure that what happened in the cement industry also happens in the maize and other industries so that the increase in supply can bring down the prices. We are complimenting that with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA). The best way to do this is by bringing more investors in any industry as was the case with cement. The more the supplies, the more the prices will come down. So, we are bringing more investors in all sectors so that prices can automatically come down.

 I thank you, Sir.


91. Mr Pande (Kasempa) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    what benefits the Zambian Government derives from the contract with Japan Export Vehicles Inspection Centre (JEVIC) which was responsible for inspecting used motor vehicles imported from Japan;

(b)    how much money, form the contract, on average per annum, was realised by the Zambian Government;

(c)    who signed the contract with JEVIC on behalf of the Zambian Government; and

(d)    what the tenure of the contract was. 

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Kapyanga): Mr Speaker, this question falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry through the Zambia Bureau of Standards. However, I shall respond.

Sir, the Road Worthiness Inspection:

(a)    enables detection of any mechanical problems;

(b)    gives a great sense of confidence and assurance to the importer;

(c)     helps detect any mechanical defects in vehicles before they become more serious and costly;

(d)    gives the importer an idea of the condition  of the engine of the vehicle; and

(e)    helps prevent importers from buying vehicles that suffer irregularities such as ‘cut and joint’; and 

(f)    verifies the legality of vehicles.

Sir, on average, the money that is realised is between K15 million and K17 million per annum. The Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS) signed the contract on behalf of Zambia. The first contract ran for five years, from 2009 to 2014. The current contract started on 1st January, 2015, and will run for three years.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, from the benefits that have been listed, why it is that a vehicle, which has a JEVIC Certificate, is also subjected to a fitness test by the Road and Transport Safety Agency (RATSA) and some vehicles fail the RATSA test. Is it possible to rely entirely on the JEVIC inspection?

The Minister of Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, Sir, we have had a lot of challenges relating to the operations of the Japan Export Vehicles Inspection Centre (JEVIC). However, let me take this opportunity to inform the House that this is one of the issues that we are trying to address because we have had a similar experience the hon. Member has referred to and we are in the process of reviewing it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.




(Debate resumed)

The Deputy Minister for Copperbelt (Mr Mwenya): Mr Speaker, before the House adjourned yesterday, I was talking about the importance of diversification by looking at the challenges that we have had in regard to the dependence syndrome on mining in the country. I had heighted Southern and Western provinces as the two major provinces that need to be considered in terms of cattle restocking so that they can start contributing to the economy of the country.

 Sir, apart from that, we should find ways and means of protecting and increasing the breeding of indigenous fish in our various water bodies. I think this is important because it will enable us create more jobs and revenue for the nation. Controlled fishing and protection of all fish breeding areas such as the Chipyapya Fishing Camp in Serenje will go a long way in allowing fish to breed. 

Mr Speaker, when the President talked about transformation and making our country a smart Zambia, it means we should take full responsibility and ownership of our wonderful nature.

Sir, we have seen the depreciation of the wildlife and most rivers have run out of fish countrywide. Today, you cannot find adequate fish in most of our rivers. No wonder people are now calling for restocking or finding other means of fish breeding.

 Mr Speaker, the President talked about how passionate about the growth of small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs).


Mr Speaker: Order!

The conversations on my left are rather loud.

 Mr Mwenya: Mr Speaker, this can only be achieved when SMEs graduate from being just contractors or suppliers to the mines. This has resulted in the lack of growth among SMEs as the competition is quite big. SMEs should be innovate and come up with products that can be patented for local supply and export.

 Sir, the other area of interest is value addition to our raw materials. The Republican President clearly indicated that this is the way to go. For example, we produce a lot of timber, grow a lot maize, cashew nuts in the Western Province, pineapples in North-Western Province and we also produce a lot of mangoes and groundnuts, to mention but a few. Therefore, setting up plants to process most of our local products will add value and create employment for our people.       

Mr Speaker, we are a large producer of maize, some of which we have been exporting to neighbouring countries. Meanwhile, we import corn flakes from South Africa, which are made from maize. So, why can we not produce corn flakes locally? That is simple value addition to our maize which goes to waste at times.
Sir, the President brought out a lot of ideas that we can take advantage of as a country. If only the youths and the majority of the people who are not in employment can take advantage of that, then, the problem of unemployment would be addressed. For example, the resuscitation of the co-operatives movement would result in more people being self-employed.

In conclusion, allow me to mention that despite all the challenges that we may be passing through as a country, we, on the Copperbelt Province, are rallying behind the Republican President. We have resolved that in 2016, it will be ba Edgar chabe.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to debate in support of the speech delivered by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Fifth National Assembly.

From the outset, let me congratulate our colleagues who have been elevated to Cabinet portfolios. These are Hon. Kampyongo and Hon. Monde. I would also like to congratulate the hon. Member of Parliament for Chawama Parliamentary Constituency on his promotion to the position of Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President.

Mr Speaker, in his Address, the President made a clear statement of intent to transform Zambia into a nation of healthy and productive people. The President placed service delivery as the ful crum of all the interventions that we make. For the sake of clarity, service delivery refers to the whole continuum of care, promotion of good health, prevention of disease, curing of disease and provision of rehabilitative services. Our collective ambition, as the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, under His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is to ensure that all citizens have access to promotive, preventive, curative and rehabilitative services. In order for us to create access to the continuum of care for all Zambians, we have invested and have continued to invest in the fundamental inputs of service delivery. These include human resource, infrastructure, vaccines, leadership and financing of health care.

Mr Speaker, the PF Government regards health as an economic investment and not a cost. A healthy citizenry will be productive and innovative. So, our intellectual curve will shift with a healthy citizenry.

Sir, allow me to go through the interventions that the President informed the nation about. The President outlined the following roadmap to address the human capital deficit in the country: 

(a)    construction of a 3,000 student capacity training institute at the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital. This institute is due for completion in 2016 and will improve the human resource situation in the country;
(b)    Senanga School of Nursing has been opened to the public and has enrolled forty students under the Registered Nursing Student Programme; 
(c)    the rehabilitation of Lukupa Institute in Kasama in order to transform it into a midwifery school to be opened in 2016.  

(d)    Improvement of infrastructure enrolment and output of nurses at Lewanika, Monze, Lusaka, Kaleni, St Pauls, Mwami, Chipata, Ndola, Kitwe, and Kabwe Schools of Nursing. These have all been funded.

(e)    Construction of the Copperbelt School of Medicine which will enrol medical students by next year. This vision ought to be supported by all well-meaning Zambians.

Sir, the President emphasised the need for us to invest in infrastructure that shall anchor the whole continuum of care. This country has been challenged by inequitable and inadequate distribution of infrastructure. For us to challenge this, we have invested in a robust programme to create infrastructure that will anchor the whole continuum of care and we are firmly on course. Notable progress has been made in the construction of primary health care infrastructure. In October this year, thirty out of the 650 health posts will be commissioned and will begin to provide health care services to our rural people. By the end of this year, 200 health posts will be open to the public.

Mr Speaker, to strengthen the next level of care, the President informed the nation that we are constructing thirty-eight first level hospitals in various parts of the country. Equity underpins the distribution of the infrastructure. A first level hospital is under construction in Kazungula District of the Southern Province. This is happening for the first time. In Munyumbwe, Gwembe District, there is an ultra modern first level hospital. The late President was not joking when he made this promise about a first level hospital in Gwembe. The construction of Kalomo District Hospital is almost complete while Namwala Hospital is at Phase III of construction. Monze Mission Hospital is being modernised and a well equipped theatre was commissioned two weeks ago. Livingstone General Hospital was upgraded to Central Hospital status and is now a state-of-the-art third level hospital. Currently, renal dialysis machines are being installed at Livingstone General Hospital. This is unprecedented.

Hon. Government Member: Indeed.

Dr Chilufya: Sir, in the Western Province, ...

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Speaker: I note that even the question is quite mild.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, in the Western Province, various hospitals are under construction. These include Nalolo, Limulunga, Lukulu, Mulobezi and Mongu. There is no better demonstration of equity than this.
Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, other parts of the country where we are constructing hospitals include Chilubi, Mufulira, Masaiti, Serenje and Mukushi among others. 

Sir, let me now focus on the Modernisation Programme that the President spoke about. Modernisation will, in the medium to long term, negate the need for treatment abroad. Treatment abroad gobbles significant financial resources. So, it is important that we invest in infrastructure and capacity in our institutions for us to stop seeking treatment abroad. Under the Modernisation Programme, we have infrastructure expansion programmes taking place today at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). We have a new adult and medical emergency unit that is under construction. We have procured and installed modern equipment that has enhanced our capacity to diagnose and treat patients with various conditions. For instance, a cardiac catheterisation laboratory has been bought and is currently being installed at the UTH. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Chilufya: Sir, this will revolutionalise the way we treat cardiac patients. The computerised tomography (CT) scans that have been installed at Livingstone, Ndola and Kitwe have reduced the need for patients to be referred to higher institutions of health such as the UTH. CT scans have also been procured and are in the process of being installed at Kasama, Chipata and Mansa Hospitals.

Mr Speaker, in nephrology, seven mineral dialysis machines are currently being installed at Livingstone Central Hospital. Fourteen other renal dialysis machines are due for installation at other hospitals. Seven will be installed at the UTH to improve our capacity at the hospital, considering the population in Lusaka, and the other seven at Ndola Central Hospital.

Mr Speaker, to strengthen the national supply chain of medicines and minimise the risk of stock-outs, the Government has decentralised the Medical Stores Limited (MSL). We have established medical hubs in various parts of the country. The first hub was established in Choma, the second one in Chipata and the third one in Mongu. We are now looking at establishing hubs in the northern part of the country. We have learnt important lessons from this exercise. Establishing hubs reduces distances covered in the movement of drugs and also removes the last mile inefficiencies.

Mr Speaker, the President spoke about the National Social Health Insurance Scheme. This is the way to go. If our ambition is to attain universal access to health for our citizens, it is important that we introduce a pro-poor social health insurance scheme so that patients access preventive, curative and rehabilitation services without facing financial difficulties. This will also enable us to reserve resources for essential medicines and health services. We are firmly on course in establishing the social health insurance scheme.

Mr Speaker, if we support the policy direction given by His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, we can collectively transform this country into a nation of healthy and productive people. Investing in health is a must. We are a consequence of a functional health system. We survived childhood through effective immunisation programmes. If we do not invest in the health of our country, we will not have the productive workforce that will be able to plan and move the economic development agenda. 

So, it is important that we support the policy direction that the President has provided to strengthen the primary healthcare provision for our people. This will enable us to equally modernise our tertiary institutions of health so that for those who cross the wall and we fail to promote good health and prevent disease in them, we are able to adequately treat them in our facilities.

Mr Speaker, I must emphasise that equity shall be the fundamental principle in our provision of health services. The distribution of infrastructure and human resource for health that I have gone through reflects the commitment of His Excellency the President to ensure that every Zambian in this country accesses healthcare.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. PF Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, it is my rare honour and privilege to make my maiden speech in this august House. On behalf of the people of Solwezi West Constituency and the North-Western Province, I wish to pay special tribute to my late brother, Hon. Humphrey Iddoh Mwanza, for effectively representing us in this House. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Hon. Mwanza represented Solwezi West Constituency without fear or favour. His frank debates, delivered with utmost passion in this House, were always a delight to listen to, particularly by our people in the North-Western Province. He was particularly concerned about the lack of development in Solwezi West Constituency and the province as a whole. Hon. Mwanza, like many others who stood in this House before him, made us proud indeed. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, I equally pay tribute to the late Member of Parliament for Bangweulu Constituency, Hon. Chifita Matafwali. May his soul also rest in eternal peace.

Mr Speaker, I will be failing in my duties if I do not congratulate the newly-elected hon. Member of Parliament for Lubansenshi Constituency, Hon. George Mwamba.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Mr Hakainde Hichilema, the President of the United Party for National Development (UPND), and the party leadership for the trust and belief they have bestowed in me by giving me an opportunity to stand on the party ticket. 
Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Further, I wish to thank them for the strong support rendered to me during the campaign. I also wish to recognise the efforts of my campaign manager, Mr Stafford Mulusa, the entire UPND rank and file and everybody in the party and outside who participated in the campaign that saw me emerge with a landslide victory over my competitors. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank and acknowledge the invaluable support and encouragement that my family and friends gave me in various ways during the election. The outcome of this by-election speaks volumes about the aspirations and expectations of the people of Solwezi West Constituency. The contours of the results are so easy to interpret. The people of Solwezi West Constituency, and the entire North-Western Province feel that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has neglected them in as far as development  is concerned.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, despite the fact that the constituency hosts two of the largest copper mines in the country, from which the Government generates a lot of income, the province has been neglected in terms of development in comparison with other provinces.

Mr Speaker, the PF Government has continued to exhibit extreme intimidation with impunity. A case in point is when it used the Zambia Police Force to teargas and shoot at people who had gathered peacefully to listen to our message a day before the voting. It is regrettable that an opposition political party is treated in such a manner in a democratic dispensation, and yet its existence promotes the tenets of good governance and democracy. Without a strong and effective opposition, the Government can say and do whatever it likes.

Mr Speaker, in this respect, the existence of the Opposition should not be perceived as an enemy to be crushed. Rather, the Opposition, in a multi-party dispensation, should be viewed as a partner in both good governance and the development process of our nation.

In this time and era, we must base our debates on genuine issues and dialogue on serious matters that affect the development of our people and country at large. The Government, or indeed any government, requires a healthy Opposition in order to refine and perfect its ideas, and provide the necessary checks and balances.

Mr Speaker, against the background of intimidation and other forms of electoral malpractices cited above, our people still turned up to vote, resulting in my overwhelming victory.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, I wish to salute them for this rare courage in the face of adversity.

Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, today, I wish to assure the peopleof Solwezi West that their trust will not be betrayed. 

Mr Speaker, the PF Government, through very senior Government officials, is on record as having said that development will only be delivered to areas that vote for it. This view is wrong and should be condemned. 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, once again, I will be failing in my duties if I do not acknowledge and thank the PF for giving handouts …


Mr Kasonso: … such as money, party attire, bicycles, salt, ..

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Kasonso: … foodstuff, …

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Kasonso: … you name it, …

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Kasonso: … with reckless abundance. Truly, our people did donchi kubeba to them.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, donchi kubeba means receive and eat, but do not vote for them.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, power and authority …

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

Mr Antonio: On a maiden speech!

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, power and authority are sometimes bought by kindness, but they can never be purchased with arms.

Mr Antonio: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, for me, Zambia is a noble object. It is an object worth fighting for.

Mr Antonio: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, may I now turn to the President’s Speech when he opened this Session of Parliament. The speech was too futuristic.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: The President’s Speech did not address the immediate challenges and crisis the nation is faced with today.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, as we all know, a good future is created by the decisions that we make today.

Hon. UPND Members: Yes!

Mr Kasonso: Some of the choices and decisions will be hard and painful, but they contribute to the creation of a good future.

Mr Mwila: Yes!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, effective governments are run on consistent and clear policies which enable civil servants to implement their programmes and allow for the private sector and other stakeholders to have confidence in dealing with them, and not this soap opera of the PF Government where they say this today and say another thing tomorrow.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, what I am saying to the PF Government is that they should govern with a common sense instinct of the people of this country.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: They should demonstrate good leadership by being fair to all Zambians and not to divide them through the cheap tribal outbursts, ...

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: … and nepotism that we hear about and see today, in order to help move our country forward.

Mr Antonio: Wako ni wako!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, may I now turn to the current crisis in the energy sector. The sector is the heart beat of the economy. Therefore, special attention needs to be paid to it. To a large extent, we are where we are because of the lack of priority in the investment portfolio in the energy sector.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, in the last four years of the PF Government  in power, …

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Mwila: Mwalikwisa, iwe? Takuli efyo mulelanda

Mr Speaker: Order! 

There is no need for comments.

Mr Antonio: That is how they are.

Mr Kasonso: … the energy sector received low or little investment compared to what the road sector has received. The investment in the energy sector should have been top priority because the returns are huge and will have an immediate impact in activating the nation’s economy in various ways. 

Mr Speaker, whether it is in agriculture, mining, tourism or any other economic or social sector you may think of, energy is vital.

Mr Speaker, as a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development, …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: … for a period of two years. I have questions to ask the PF Government ...

Mr Antonio: Hear, hear!

Mr Kasonso: … for the four years they have been in power.

Mr Speaker, asking questions is not part of a smear campaign, it is about establishing the truth.

Mr Antonio: Quality!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, it is not personal but about their record in the four years that they have been in power.
Mr Antonio: Quality!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, in 2011, under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, negotiations for the construction of a 300 Megawatts (MW) thermal power plant by EMCO Limited were completed and all the necessary contractual obligations were met, including the tariff structure agreement with the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO). The power plant was expected to be completed in less than three years.

Mr Speaker, another exciting project was the construction of the power station at Kafue Gorge Lower to generate 750 MW of power at a cost of US$2 billion which was negotiated with a Chinese company and launched by the former President Mr Rupiah Banda. 

Mr Speaker, this was an exciting project because it attracted the attention of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, and Eskom of South Africa showed an interest to be a partner in the project. This project was expected to be completed in four years.

Further, Mr Speaker, in the same year, works started for the construction of a power station at Itezhi-tezhi to generate 120 MW of power by Itezhi-tezhi the Power Company owned by ZESCO and TATA of India as partners. Again, this project was expected to be completed in two years because most of the infrastructure was in place. 

Mr Speaker, other smaller power plants such as the upgrading of Lunzuwa Power Station from 7 to 14 MW were embarked on by ZESCO. Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) promoted Kabompo Power Station to generate 40 MW of power.

Further, Mr Speaker, the Government provided an enabling environment for a private power company to construct a power station to generate 50 MW of power from heavy fuels, which are a by-product of the fuel from Indeni Oil Refinery in Ndola. This was expected to be completed in a year. 

Mr Speaker, apart from the 50 MW plant in Ndola, the rest of the projects stalled under the PF Government.

Mr Livune: Shame!

Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, had the Government given the necessary attention and support to the outlined projects, Zambia would not have been in the energy crisis that it is in today.

Mr Speaker, I would like to conclude by stating, once more, that in the last four years of the PF in Government, the energy sector was not a priority. I would like to urge the Government to move quickly in addressing the challenges that the energy sector is faced with by providing the necessary attention and support to this vital sector of our economy.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!
The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Zulu): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity …

Mr Musukwa: Actually, Kasonso was your Permanent Secretary (PS).

Mr Zulu: Yes, he was my PS.


Mr Zulu: Firstly, I would like to congratulate the new Member of Parliament for Lubansenshi who took over from my colleague, Hon Mucheleka, who I advised, on several occasions, on how to conduct oneself.

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: I would also like to congratulate my former PS who has just been on the Floor. He used to call me Hon. Charles Zulu, but …


Mr Zulu: … now he is also honourable. Welcome Mr Kasonso.


Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, I would like to express my profound gratitude to His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for prioritising the energy sector in his speech ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Zulu: … during the opening of this august House under the theme “Embracing Transformational Culture for a Smart Zambia Now”. The President emphasised the need for those of us in the Ministry of Energy and Water Development to be proactive and work extra hard. By mentioning this, he has shown that he is committed to ensuring that all Zambians enjoy access to electricity.

Mr Kasonso: Load shedding!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, this country has abundant natural resources such as water and six to eight hours of sunshine. While I agree with what Hon. Kasonso said, the question is: What is the cause of this energy problem? The main cause is the low rate of tariffs. We have to encourage the private sector to invest in the country. The Government alone cannot invest in the energy sector. The problem is that when Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) tries to increase the tariffs, all of us in here gang up against it instead of putting our heads together to find the way forward. As a result, there has been no investment in the sector. The main problem is not the Government but all of us, Zambians, not agreeing on the tariffs.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, this Government is now working on the tariffs which, I am sure, will result in a lot of investment in the energy sector. The tariffs have gone up slightly. As we go back to our constituencies, let us educate our constituents. This responsibility is not for the Patriotic Front (PF), but all of us, Zambians. 

Hon. UPND Member: It is the PF!

Mr Zulu: Yes, the power shortage has not been created by the PF. The low water levels have not been brought about by the PF but by climate change.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us have some order. We should not have dialogue in the fashion that you are intending. No dialogue should be intended in that fashion. Just listen quietly. Some views are not palatable but, in a democracy, you have to be tolerant. We always urge others to be tolerant, but we do not want to be tolerant. We are showing a lot of intolerance. Let him express his views. Whether you agree or not does not matter. These are the rules of debate.

The hon. Deputy Minister may continue.

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, I was saying that our problem is that we do not agree on the tariffs. All of us fight ZESCO when it tries to increase the tariffs. Other countries have already increased the electricity tariffs. A good example is Uganda. There is a lot of private sector investment in the electricity sector in Uganda because the tariffs are attractive. Last week, I was in Turkey and learnt that countries like Argentina have 99 per cent of their rural areas connected to power. Mexico also has 99 per cent of its rural areas connected while for Zambia, only 5 per cent is connected. What is the cause? It is the tariffs. So, let us work on the tariffs and agree. Next time, it will be the United Party for National Development (UPND) in power, …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: ... maybe, in the next thirty or forty years. We still need each other, my brothers and sisters. Let us agree on the tariffs and then there will be private sector investment in the energy sector. 

Mr Speaker, this House is aware that the energy sector has faced a number of challenges such as the fluctuation in international oil prices, the volatility of the exchange rate and the adverse effects of climate change that have resulted in the current power deficit that the nation is experiencing. In tune with a responsible Government, initiatives such as the public-private partnerships are being pursued to increase the generation capacity, transmission and distribution capacity and improve infrastructure development programmes to expand rural access to electricity. This will be done through the diversification of the energy mix to include renewable energy sources.

Mr Speaker, under the energy sub sector, the ministry will continue to implement the following projects:

(a)    the development of a thermal coal power plant which will generate 300 mega watts at Maamba. The plant is expected to be commissioned by November, 2015.

(b)    the connection of North-Western Province to replace diesel generators that are currently servicing the province. This project is already ongoing. I do not know what my former Permanent Secretary was saying but it only took off early this year and is progressing very well. This Government is connecting all the districts to the national grid in case Hon. Kasonso does not know. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, others include:

(c)    solar mini grids in various provinces. This will help in reducing dependence on hydropower energy and also help in diversifying the energy mix; and 

(d)    the installation of solar home systems.

These are some of the things that this Government is working on.

Mr Speaker, under the petroleum sub-sector, the Government will continue working at stabilising fuel supply to the country in order to ensure that there is adequate and steady supply of petroleum products. The Government will continue with the construction of fuel depots throughout the country. One of these depots is in North-Western Province in Solwezi with 99 per cent works done already. It is almost ready for commissioning. 

Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that the Solwezi depot is at 99 per cent completion point and is undergoing pre commissioning tests. The completion of the Mongu Depot will mark the end of phase I of the construction of fuel depots which began with Lusaka and Mpika Depots, respectively. The Lusaka and Mpika Depots were completed last year.

Mr Speaker, the Government, through the ministry, will also continue with the construction of the Luwingu and Mporokoso filling stations which have reached advanced stages. The construction of Luwingu filing station is at 30 per cent. We have been talking about constructing rural filing stations. The next phase of construction of filling stations in rural areas will look at Kalabo and Mitete.

Mr Speaker, under renewable energy, my ministry will embark on several renewable energy programmes that will have a positive bearing on development, especially in the rural areas. Like I said, this country has all the necessary resources, including water. There is a lot of water for instance in Bangweulu but we concentrated in the southern part of the country. 

Mr Speaker, we need to develop hydro-power stations in Luapula and Northern Provinces.

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: We are targeting these two areas where there is a lot of water. I was surprised when I went to Bangweulu last week. There is enough water there. So, this is what we are looking at. With the above-mentioned projects, our aim is to have a positive impact on development which includes the creation of direct jobs in the energy sector, a contribution towards the PF’s Manifesto of employment creation.

Mr Speaker, under the water sector, my ministry will continue with the assessment of the country’s water resources for both ground and surface water. This is meant to ascertain the potential and suitability of the water for various uses. In order to improve access to water resources, the Government will continue with water resources development programmes which will see a continuation of programmes in dam construction, rehabilitation and construction of water points and boreholes equipped with hand pumps.

Sir, the Government will continue to invest money in water resources infrastructure to increase access to water for economic and social development. This is meant to improve people’s livelihoods especially in our communities.




Mr Speaker, so far, we have commissioned more than thirty rural electrification projects. I was in Kalomo, and we commissioned a project there. I was also in Monze, Nalolo, North-Western Province and Eastern Province. All over the country, we are commissioning these projects. Surely, how can you say that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is not working? Is it fair to say that the Government is not working? I visited all districts in the North-Western Province to inform the people of that province about what we are doing, and we will continue telling them what we are doing for them. This Government loves the people of the North-Western Province.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: And no one should argue about it. We have already shown commitment. We are constructing the road to Solwezi ...

Mr Mwila: Chingola/Solwezi Road.

Mr Zulu: Yes, we are working on the Chingola/Solwezi Road. Is it fair for someone to say that this Government does not care for the people of the North-Western Province? 

Hon. Government Member: Your former Permanent Secretary (PS). 

Mr Zulu: Yes, including my former Permanent Secretary (PS). 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, there is nothing that the people of the North-Western Province did to the Patriotic Front (PF). There is nothing wrong that they did to make us not like them and not take investment there. We are looking at taking development to Zambians. We are looking at developing the Southern Province, Western Province, Eastern Province and the rest of the country. All Zambians must work together to develop this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, we waste a lot of time arguing over things that we are not supposed to argue about. I was in Ethiopia two years ago, when they started building a railway line. I went back there last week and found that it is complete. They are also constructing a dam covering an area like the distance from Lusaka to Kabwe, and it is almost complete. Why? It is because they do not argue unnecessarily. They do not politicise things unnecessarily.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: Yes. The problem is that we tend to politicise everything. We politicise even the low water levels. Surely, can the President cause low water levels? Can the President bring water? We argue over very straightforward things. We spend a lot of time talking. Let us work hard together as Zambians. Our country is bigger than our political parties. Let us work together. Let us join forces. Let us put our brains together to develop this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: That is the way forward. Otherwise, we will be talking and taking, and no work will be done. The President showed leadership. He looked at that side of the House and us here, and told us to work together. 

Mr Speaker, I still remember that the late President Michael Sata, may his soul rest in peace, told our colleagues that side to visit hon. Ministers’ offices. 

Hon. Government Members: Yes!

Mr Zulu: He made it very clear. He said it several times, but how many of them have come to my office to discuss development? It is not about us individuals, it is about the people who brought us here. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: Yes. It is about the people who brought us here.

Mr Speaker, I used to tell my colleague, Hon. Mucheleka. I used to tell him, “Look, do not come here and represent yourself, represent the people of Lubansenshi Parliamentary Constituency.” You see what I mean?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zulu: Yes. So, all of us need to be serious. Next year, there will be elections and people will be asking not only us in the Government, but everyone here, what we did with the five years they gave us, and we will have to provide answers. I know that there is tension amongst ourselves because people are busy working at night around our constituencies. I am telling you. It is true. There are some people who are working even in my constituency. 

Hon. Members: Oh!

Mr Zulu: Yes, but I am a very strong hon. Member of Parliament because I am always there. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, stop debating yourself. Leave that for the constituency. 

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, finally, let us work together as Zambians. Let us take our country forward. We should not politicise development. We cannot develop if we continue operating this way. We argue and spending a lot time debating things we are not even supposed to honestly debate on. This Government wants this country to develop. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Zulu: Mr Speaker, let us stop politicising development. In Ethiopia, they do not politicise development. Our neighbour Botswana has 72 per of its rural areas are connected to electricity. For us, only 5 per cent of our rural areas are connected. We must be very worried. Why do we have low water levels at Kariba North Bank? God is telling us, “Wake up Zambians, you have a lot of resources. You have a lot of water, wind, and sunshine for six to eight hours.” Why are we not developing these things? So, it is a wakeup call for all us Zambians to develop the energy sector, and we can do it. We can be a hub of electricity generation in this region, if we put our heads together and develop the sector. We will be able to export power to our eight neighbours.

Mr Speaker, with those very few words, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate, and let me take my seat.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Deputy Minister of Home Affairs may take the Floor.

Hon. Government Members: One Zambia?

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Kaunda): One Nation.


Col. Kaunda|: Mr Speaker, may I start my contribution by congratulating our two newly- appointed Cabinet hon. Ministers, Hon. Greyford Monde as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Hon. Stephen  Kampyongo as Minister of Local Government and Housing. 

Mr Speaker, may I also congratulate Hon. Lawrence Sichalwe for being appointed as the new hon. Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President, and the new hon. Members of Parliament for Lubansenshi and Solwezi West Parliamentary Constituencies. 

Mr Speaker, the appointment of these honourable young men reminds me of one Kenneth Kaunda, when he appointed the Winas of this world, the Chikwandas of this world, Mayondos, Rupiah Bandas, Zulus, and Mwangas. They were all young men when they were appointed. He trusted that one day, they would be the leaders of this country, and truly, they became our leaders and some of them are here today. We hope that these young men appointed today will follow in the footsteps of our elders who are sitting by our side today.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, this country belongs to young men. I hope that in 2016, some of us grey-haired dinosaurs will be extinct. We must ...

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Col. Kaunda:  Mr Speaker, allow me to contribute to the President’s Address. I will be very brief because most of the items have been covered by my colleagues. 

Mr Speaker, the President focused on peace and love because without peace and love, there is nothing we can do that will stand. We can build beautiful roads, homes and other infrastructure, but if we do not love each other one day, these things will go up in flames. So, it is important that we love each other as brothers and sisters for the sake of the future of our children. There is only one country called Zambia to which all of us belong. If we do not nurture this country, we shall have nowhere to go to. Yes, a few people might fly to other countries when things get bad, but the majority will remain in this country. We have seen our neighbours in Angola, Mozambique, even Zimbabwe run away from their countries to come and be refugees in this country. We are blessed by God that we have no refugees outside this country. It is because our forefathers preached love and unity.  

Mr Speaker, you have the flag with the One Zambia, One Nation slogan written on it behind you. It is not a slogan. It has a meaning to this country. We, the children, must follow the footsteps of our forefathers and rebuild this country. We must take out the anger and hatred out of this country. Let us love one another and move forward as one nation. 

Mr Speaker, the theme of the President’s Speech was, “Embracing a Transformational Culture for a Smart Zambia Now.” As Zambians, we were challenged to transform our culture in order to become a more productive country. We were challenged to become more accommodating and forgiving for the betterment of our nation. This transformation will only be achieved through holding each other’s hands and hearts. 

Mr Speaker, the President’s speech emphasised that the Ministry of Home Affairs should provide and promote quality internal security services in order to create a safe, secure and peaceful environment for sustainable socio-economic development for all. This is evidenced from the relatively quiet and peaceful environment the country has so far enjoyed. 



Sir, as a ministry, we have increased security presence in the country. We have embarked on improving our police force by recruiting 1,500 police officers, seventy-two immigration officers and we are in the process of recruiting a further seventy-one prison officers. Further, we have initiated the procurement of 441 motor vehicles and 120 motor cycles, seventeen of which have already been distributed to the districts. 

Mr Speaker, we have also advertised in the press for a public-private partnership (PPP) project for a swap or exchange of existing prisons at Lusaka Central and Kamwala. The winning bidder will be asked to build a prison facility of our choice in exchange for the land on the two premises. This will improve the way we look after our prisons.

Mr Speaker, to enhance operations of security officers, my ministry has gone ahead to procure modern equipment and uniforms. My ministry has also embarked on the construction of offices and accommodation for security officers in areas where their presence or accommodation is inadequate. Other infrastructure being constructed includes cells for suspects and inmates at various prisons.  

Sir, we want to change our prisons from punitive to corrective institutions. These are Zambians who need our help. We cannot expect our prisoners to come out of prisons and be good citizens if we do not provide them with necessary facilities, which will improve their well-being. 

Mr Speaker, we have also embarked on skills training for all our prisoners. We want to turn prisons not into punitive institutions but into schools so that when a person comes out, he or is able to look after himself or herself.  

Mr Speaker, we also improved our post-release programmes. Currently, people who come out of prison are left alone to fend for themselves. It is not possible for a person who has been in prison for twenty years to be released into society just like that. He or she will be lost.  It is therefore important that as Government we put a programme in place to rehabilitate our Zambians who have been in prison so that they become better citizens. 

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Col Kaunda: Mr Speaker, in addition to the efforts made, my ministry is implementing reforms in the Zambia Prisons Service, which include managing prisons sustainability through mechanisation of agricultural farms and establishment of milling plants. The Zambia Prisons Service has so far cleared the following hectares of land under irrigation:

    District             Hectares

Serenje                700 
Mkushi            300
Mpika                130
Luanshya            310

Mr Speaker, most of these farms will be under centre pivots. In the past, despite all these productions, will be under the Zambia Prisons Service used to buy food from venders at great cost. It does not make sense for prisoners who grow maize to go and buy mealie meal from venders. This has now stopped. All food grown by the prisoners will be used by the prisoners themselves, at a cost of course, and not free of charge. This will enhance the diet and well-being of our prisoners in these institutions. 

Mr Speaker, unfortunately, we have had incidences of violence during parliamentary by-elections. To address such situations, the ministry has developed a new measure to prevent violence during elections. I want to assure this House that my ministry remains committed to maintaining law and order in the country. 

Mr Speaker, before I sit down, allow me to update the House and the nation at large on the current status of the on-going mobile registration which started on 16th September. As at 5th October, 2015, a total of 227,699 national registration cards (NRCs) were issued in the following provinces: 

Province             No. of NRCs

    Lusaka             100,925
    Southern                37,934
    Western                30,793
    Eastern                58,047
    Total                 227,699

Mr Speaker, our target is 500,000 and we are way ahead on this programme. My only wish and prayer is that all of us will get involved in this programme so that all our boys and girls who are sixteen and above can get their NRCs and all those who are eighteen can register as voters in the next few months. 

Mr Speaker, with these few rods, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I am very grateful that you have allowed me to speak. I was in London attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), something that you are all aware of. We now have a new Secretary-General, Mr Karimullah Akbar Khan, of the United Kingdom, who replaces the late Dr William F. Shija, who passed away in October, 2014. I think that as CPA members, we will move on. 

Mr Speaker, when debating last there is a risk of stepping on some people’s toes because they said something already. When Parliament opened on 18th September, 2015, I was here and I heard what the President said. The President gave us plans for 2050 to 2064. It is a very good thing to have foresight but that was too much foresight because the problems that we are facing now need immediate attention. The plans that the President has given us are still a big challenge for the hon. Minister of Finance. I am interested to hear how he will cope with this on Friday, 9th October, 2015. 
The President indicated that he will increase the number of ministries by splitting a number of them. It is not really increasing these ministries because we had them before and it was the Patriotic Front (PF) that disagreed with the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). Now, they have increased them by three. The actual number stood at twenty-three but now they are at twenty-six after adding the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, the Ministry of Gender and Child Development and the Ministry of Development Planning. 

Mr Speaker, our worry is we do not have money. When you hear us talk like this, it means that we are concerned. We want you to operate according to the cloth that you have. I listened to the contribution by the hon. Deputy Minister for Mines, Energy and Water Development. We are making an issue over energy by talking about water. If we put water in a dam today, and fill it up, we will still not have energy. So, the issue here is not really water, which we are quarreling about, but simply that we did not plan to accommodate a large population. We did not prepare ourselves properly. 

We knew about the big investments we were making in the mining sector. We knew about the people building houses all over and many others still doing so. This is what has increased the demand on energy. The hon. Deputy Minister said that people are not demanding for electricity but they are. However, you have put very stringent rules for our people to access electricity. The bottom line is that when people do not have electricity, they will complain to the Government. We, in the Opposition, being partners in development, will tell you without reservations, when you do wrong. 

Mr Speaker, the President mentioned a number of districts but forgot to mention Kalomo and its incomplete hospital. Even the hon. Minister of Health was very lukewarm when he addressed this matter. Construction of the hospital in Kalomo was embarked on at the same time as the Chinsali Hospital. Chinsali Hospital is near completion and the one in Kalomo is still struggling. These are the things we talk about. Do not pretend by pushing your foot forward and claiming to be doing something which you are not. 

I remember that at one time poles were taken to Shangombo as an indication that electricity would be connected. Those poles are still there. 

Mr Sichone: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: No points of order. Continue, Hon. Member for Kalomo Central. 

Mr Muntanga: So, as far as we are concerned, what the President said in his speech should match what is said in this House. Hon. Ministers that are here …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours. 



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, before we went on break, I was saying that in contributing to the President’s Speech, I would like to mention that he lied too much on the fifty-year programmes that he talked about. We need to be shown what the hon. Ministers will do in order to respond to those issues. In my view, I think we have problems that need urgent attention in this country.

Mr Speaker, the previous hon. Deputy Minister who was responding on the Floor of this House   indicated that he was not able to develop anything in the energy sector because of the arguments, which is not true. I thought that he had listened to the contribution by the hon. Member for Solwezi West when he specifically talked about the development of Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station. He also talked about when Maamba Thermal Power Plant, Itezhi-tezhi Hydropower Station and Lunzua Hydropower Station would have been complete. What we are saying is that these issues were not attended to on time. If we had the same political will to the energy development as we showed in undertaking the road construction, definitely, we would have had sufficient energy in this country. The problem is that we did not show that political will. When we are advising you over this matter, you should not construe it as an argument. If you agree that you have economical problems, then, you should behave appropriately. 

Mr Speaker, the President did indicate he was going to create the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries. This was an indication that he was putting emphasis on the development of livestock in this country. I did hear a certain hon. Minister in this House saying that people should not allow the United Party for National Development (UPND) to rule this country because they would be heading cattle. Which is better? Is it to head cattle or to steal from the Government? Is taking Government belongings without authority better than developing cattle? If we are going to have a Government which will be thinking that it is not important to develop the livestock industry, then, it is a pity. This simply means that they do not understand the importance of developing the livestock industry in this country. This hon. Minister was widely quoted.  I know that he was actually learning to be a livestock keeper by rearing animals in a golf course. Now, why does he want to talk against the livestock industry?


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I was away and I just came back. People should not sink that low. I therefore, wish to state that we need to develop Zambia. Most of the hon. Members in this House talked about the importance of agriculture in this country but now, they want to be against it. What sort of people are you? 

Mr Hamusonde: Scrap metal dealers!

Mr Muntanga: If you are a scrap metal dealer, do not come in Government. Get out!

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, maintain your temperament. You are debating the President’s Speech.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I raised a bit of my voice because I wanted to be clear. We have a job to do in this country. We are all expected to lower down the level of our expenses in this country. When the President is asking us to contribute to the development of the country, are we doing so when we have increased the number of ministries? Will this not increase the expenditure in this country? I would want to see how the Ministry of Finance will cope with this situation. I know that the hon. Minister of Finance is preparing to come back to this House next year, according to his contribution but it is too early to declare that. He must throw the towel now …


Mr Muntanga: …and not to tell us that he will leave after a year. If he stays for the next one year, there will be more disaster.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Now you are debating the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the President’s Speech should match with what is happening in this country. At the moment, we are worried. I am aware that the agricultural sector is a very tricky sector. You will have to bargain on whether you must continue buying your maize or stick to your understanding of buying only 500,000 metric tonnes. Are you going to sell the maize to the millers at reduced prices? Are you going to sell it at commercial prices? You will release the maize but the question is, “At what price are you going to sell it for?” Are you going to flood the market by reducing the price of maize so that the mealie meal price is reduced? That is another problem. If we talk and contribute to these issues, it does not mean that we do not want to see this country develop. We mean well and we want to see serious participation in these activities. It is this that makes us talk. The only problem is that the Government does not listen. 

Mr Speaker, the President talked about co-existence. How can he talk about co-existence when the next day, one of his members starts calling others “heads men and freemasons?” Does he want to work or compromise with such people? We all know that freemasons belong to a registered organisation. I do not belong to this organisation. Therefore, if you feel that freemasons are a problem or satanic, the Government can ban this organisation. 

Mr Nkombo: They are ignorant.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, there is a law. The freemasons do not hide. Therefore, you should not accuse people of being freemasons if you are not sure. If you are so concerned, ban this organisation.


Mr Muntanga: You must remove it from the Registrar of Societies instead of making noise. We want to have co-existence in this country. You cannot do that if on one hand, you want to arrest others on flimsy grounds. 

Mr Speaker, I remember very well that the time we were detained, the one who was the hon. Minister of Home Affairs was Hon. Lungu. 

Mr Nkombo: Ee!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, he was there when they locked us up in the cells for seven days. Up to now, there is no case. 

Mr Nkombo: Shame!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, if this Government is going to do things like this, then there is a problem. We are now talking about doing things amicably. We do not want promissory notes because that is exactly what you are doing. How do you say that we must work together when you are busy taking development to your constituency alone instead of taking it to other constituencies? How are we going to work together? 

Mr Nkombo: You work alone!

Mr Muntanga: Sir, we are now in October and we have not yet received our Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for 2014 when others have. What do you want us to praise you for? 


Mr Muntanga: We can praise you if you make people realise that what you are doing is wrong. You cannot go and hate a certain group of people in your ministry and retire them. Why do you retire people who are forty years old?  You are more than forty years old and you are not retired.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: About eighty!

Mr Muntanga: Hon. Minister of Health, how could you do that? 

Mr Nkombo: And they want reconciliation!



Mr Muntanga: Who do they want to reconcile with? They should reconcile with the people they are fighting with.

Mr Nkombo: Not us.

Mr Muntanga: We are not fighting with the Government. We are talking about development. I am glad that the hon. Minister stated that the Government will employ 1,500 police officers. Has it already employed these police officers? The people who applied never even got replies. There are people who actually confirmed that they were given names of people to be included on the list.

Mr Nkombo: Ten PF Members in every constituency.

Mr Speaker: No running commentaries.

Mr Muntanga: How can they do that?  They want us to smile at them when they want to recruit their relatives in the police service and expect us to keep quiet.

Mr Nkombo: Yes, and close our eyes too.

Mr Muntanga: Sir, there was an advert for the Zambia Army and now there are lists secretly going there directing the army not to consider the applications. Who do they want to hoodwink? Zambia is for everybody.

Mr Speaker, Chief Nyawa openly said that he has problems with the national registration cards (NRCs) issuance. I expect the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to respond to the chief’s concerns. He is complaining but nobody is doing anything about it. When we tell the Government that there is no activity and they are not working, they say that we are arguing with them. We are not arguing. If you cannot stand, ...

Mr Speaker: Address the Chair, hon. Member for Kalomo Central.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, through you, I want to remind the hon. Government Members that if they do not do their job, they will be told. There is no way we cannot tell them. There is chaos in the issuance of the NRCs. This has never happened. Whenever there was the issuance of NRCs, the exercise would be done at every polling station and there was no fighting. Now, we do not even know where the exercise is being conducted. The people conducting the exercise just decide to go wherever they want. So, people go in a different direction when the exercise is being done elsewhere. Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, what sort of administration is this? This shows that there is total disorganisation at the Ministry of Home Affairs. The voter registration exercise is different at least, because the officers have tried going back to all the places, but even then, the person who is supposed to register as a voter …

Mr Nkombo: No NRC.

Mr Muntanga: … has no NRC. People are encountering too many problems when they want to register as voters and some of them have been turned away. They are told that they can only register as voters when someone from Lusaka confirms that they are eligible to register. So, what is that?

Mr Nkombo: Tell them.

Mr Muntanga: These are the people they have employed and yet are causing problems for the people. Those are the things we are talking about.

Mr Speaker, if the President wants us to work with him, his hon. Ministers must show that they mean well. If they cannot work, they should leave.

Mr Livune: They should go and head monkeys.

Mr Muntanga: If they cannot head cattle, they can head whatever it is, whether it is rats or something.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: Ma sokwe.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, if I cannot manage something, at least, I will head cattle and it is pleasurable to do that.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, avoid debating yourself.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I will try to avoid doing that. However, I am only reminding them that it is important to do things systematically. The hon. Minister of Home Affairs must ensure that the registration of voters is done per polling station.

Hon. Opposition Members: NRCs.

Mr Muntanga: The issuance of NRCs is characterised by chaos. What is on the ground is not good and there are officers who just want to ask unnecessary questions. How do they want us to participate? What do they want us to go and do there?

Mr Speaker: Are you still debating the Motion?

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Nkombo: Reconciliation.

Mr Muntanga: … I am talking about reconciliation.


Mr Nkombo: Ife tayikana iyo.

Mr Muntanga: We want these people to reconcile with us.

Mr Nkombo: They should reconcile on their own.

Mr Muntanga: … because they are the ones who are fighting. They do not want to do the right things. They should pray every day and not ask everybody to only pray at Heroes Stadium. Praying should be done everywhere and I encourage people to pray from anywhere. Those who want to go to the stadium can go, but if I pray at my house, it does not mean I have not prayed because I have not gone to the Heroes Stadium.  That is because to me, that type of prayer is nothing but …

Mr Nkombo: Gallery.

Mr Muntanga: … playing to the gallery. Be sincere in your prayers so that this country can come out of these serious economic problems. All of us, including those in the Government must change. There is no way they can change when as people in charge of the ministries, they are in the forefront of corruption.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, abuse of authority...

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you know the convention. You are a very senior Member. Do not level accusations against your colleagues. I have said this before. You can debate the issue of corruption, but to level accusations is another level and issue all together. You may continue.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, thank you for the guidance. When the hon. Speaker is seated, I can be standing for the benefit of the green horn.


Mr Nkombo: The green horn.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I accept that we need to remind one another on the things that we talk about. So, it is important that we all mean well and respond to certain issues. It was good that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs took time over the weekend to try and get an update from everybody. However, I think his officers are letting him down and creating chaos on the ground. So, I hope this prayer for reconciliation will help us ensure that there is peace and there will be no stone throwing even during the prayers.  

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Higher Education (Dr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to also contribute to the President’s Speech. As I do so, allow me to put on record my recognition of the loss of the lives of Hon. Mwanza and Hon. Matafwali. I would also like to recognise the coming, to the House, of the new hon. Members of Parliament, whose names have already been mentioned by several people who have debated before me. Let me also thank and congratulate the two colleagues who have been elevated to the Front Bench.

Sir, I am sure that hon. Members still remember that it was not too long ago when we were canvassing and looking for a President as we were gravitating towards 20th January, 2015, to find a President. I stood out very clearly that out of all the men and women who had Presidential ambitions, the one who could actually provide the required leadership was none other than President Lungu.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I still stand …


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Dr Kaingu: … by my conviction that of all the people who stood for this country’s Presidency, President Lungu is the only one who can provide the required leadership.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question.

Dr Kaingu: Sir, we have a problem because some of our citizens are cynical and live in denial. Just because they interacted with him here, they have failed to accept him. The truth of the matter is that President Lungu is no longer a Member of Parliament, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: … but the President of this Republic.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: You know the tradition. I do not allow points of order.



Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the attributes that I would give to President Lungu are many. He has demonstrated to the House and the country as a whole that he is a very courageous person. When it comes to strategies, he is outstanding because he is a focused person who wants to drive …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Can the hon. Member for Katombola cease those commentaries. I am learning you for the second time today.

Dr Kaingu: Indeed, he is a very inspiring leader.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker, I have served under three Presidents and I want to say that I am actually enjoying my job under the current President.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I would want to equate the President’s Speech that we are debating to speeches such as the one which Abraham Lincolin delivered ….

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

May the hon. Minister continue, please.

Dr Kaingu: … when he was making a comment on the slave trade. The President reminds me of the former President of the United States of America, Mr John F. Kennedy’s Speech when he was being inaugurated and he said:

    “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Sir, President Lungu’s Speech reminds me of the speech that was delivered by Frederik de Klerk  when he was releasing Mr Nelson Mandela from prison. It reminds of the speeches which were done by Nelson Mandela when he coming out of prison and indeed, when he was inaugurated and, of course, this speech is very clause to all the speeches that President Barack Obama has made.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I would like to quote Dr Myles Munroe, may his soul rest in peace. He said:
“It depends on what frame of mind you are in. A speech can be a milestone or a tombstone.” 


Dr Kaingu: So, it is entire up to that frame of mind like our colleagues are in to understand and accept this speech.

Mr Speaker, our problems are historical. I am lucky that was privileged to have served in the last Government. I am also a member of the party that just lost elections.


Dr Kaingu: Sir, when we realised that we cannot the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country, as Government then, we decided to create new sectors such as the agriculture, tourism, construction and manufacturing. Although we identified these sectors, we did not do much. Of course, the energy sector was one of them and my former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health who is now Hon. Kasonso tried to tell us how we failed to develop energy. He is right because we are not courageous enough to upgrade the tariffs. People were not investing in the energy sector. Up to now, we are still grappling with 5 cents when the regional average is over 10 cents 

 Mr Speaker, it is shameful that a former minister in that sector could stand up outside this House and condemn the Patriotic Front (PF) Government when we know that it was us who failed to be courageous enough to upgrade the tariffs.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 Dr Kaingu: The only reason people could not invest in energy is that the tariffs were very low.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Sir, I would not want to mention names, but my colleagues were there as ministers. Sometimes, we should learn to be brave and say, “I am sorry I did not do it at the time.”


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, investment in energy is not like milking a cow and hope that there will be milk tomorrow. If there are people who think like that, then, it means that we have many who have president Muliokela’s concept.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Therefore, president Muliokela is not alone in that thinking.

 Mr Speaker: Order!

 Let us not debate that particular president because he is not here.

 Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the other area that I would want to dispute and that has been blown out of proportion is the kwacha exchange rate. This is not endemic to Zambia because all of us know what is happening in the region today.

 Hon. Government Members: The world!

Dr Kaingu: Sir, I have a graph and I have been comparing how the currencies have been performing up to today. Really, how can qualified economists fail to tell the people and explain to what is happening in the region? This is why I am saying that our problem, today, is not men and women who are illiterate, but men and women who have gone to school, but they are still illiterate because they do not want to read.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, there some economists who say that they would run this country better because they are economists. I have a couple of questions for them. Where were the economists when we had depreciation in America? Where were the economists in 2008 when we had World Economic Meltdown? Where are the economists in China and where the economist here?

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Sir, we talk about GDP. We are not talking about President Lungu, but all of us. GDP means all of us–collectively together. It is all about our input.  Today, we have some men and women who can stand up and say that because they are economists and therefore, they can run this economy much better, it is not correct.  

Mr Speaker, I want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the efforts that he has been making because it is not easy. We would have completely collapsed if it was the others.

 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Sir, I just wanted to seriously dispute because I know the strength of the Pula compared to our Kwacha.





As I am speaking to you today, the Botswana Pula is trading at more than 10 Pula to US$1. Other currencies have also depreciated, but we have not heard the citizens of other countries demanding for the Government officials to resign. We need to be patriotic when dealing with these things.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, allow me to come back to the issue of education. I have always said that the Zambian education system is too academic, and that has been our problem. We have always wanted to produce educated men and women. Now that there are no jobs for educated people – the Professor is correcting me that instead of saying educated, I should say schooled people. So, allow me to use educated.


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, now that there are no jobs for qualified doctors, lawyers and other professionals, we have problems. This is the reason why I want to appeal to those in politics to change their language. The language that we use to our people is what is destroying the mindset. I want to thank Hon. Sichone for his debate yesterday. If we, the politicians do not change our mindsets, then we will not be helping our people. We are the ones going round and telling people that we will give them jobs. Life is not easy. Who said life is easy. Our people must be resourceful.

Sir, when I toured the Eastern Province, I saw so many people carrying vegetables on bicycles. That showed me that the people of the Eastern Province are very resourceful. I saw this in India also. There, I travelled from one town to another and I saw how families work in their fields. However, we politicians want to go round telling people that we will provide for them. This is one country where a dependent can tell you that they do not eat kapenta.


Dr Kaingu: A dependent chooses what to eat. There is no way a dependent can have such a choice. We need to transform our mindsets. If we do not change and start focusing on production, we are done. We need to be patriotic and begin to appreciate Zambian products. During my stay in India, I ate Indian food. Here, in Zambia, if you want an American Restaurant, you will find it. If you want a Brazilian Restaurant, you will find it here in Zambia. The other day, my colleague, Hon. Namugala was saying that we should be ashamed of ourselves for importing chips. These chips are here because there is a market for them. We should shun them and other imported goods. Instead, we should start accepting and buying our own goods.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Sir, one other sector that is doing very well is the construction Sector. However, although we have beautiful buildings mushrooming, where is the money? So, are these investors borrowing locally? I would like the hon. Minister of Finance to find that out for us. Are these people bringing in money or they are actually borrowing here? The other thing I want to mention is that we have been let down by Zambians. When you visit schools being constructed, you find that the people who are building are Zambians although the companies contracted to do the work are Chinese. 


Of course, this means that when we pay them, the money goes to China. Such things have an effect on the exchange rate. 

However, it is very important to know that Zambia should be built by Zambians, just like Japan was built by the Japanese. The problem we have is that when we give government contracts to Zambian companies, they fail us. 

Sir, I would want to conclude by saying that let us give President Lungu support.

Mr Livune: Question!

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: Let us give the Patriotic Front (PF) Government the support it deserves. Problems in the financial market are everywhere. This is the time when those who are patriotic and focused are working with the Government. They are not pulling down the Government like we are hearing here. Some people are irrational. All thecomments we read in a particular newspaper are negative.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to also contribute to this Motion and debate on the speech by His Excellency the President. I would like to address what I felt was missing from the President’s Speech. As the saying goes, “Silence is loud.”

Mr Speaker, I wish to agree with one debater that said that when the President gives his speech, it is just a skeleton of the Government’s policy. I will direct a lot of what I want to talk about to my uncle there, the hon. Minister of Finance, and hope that he can address them when he comes to present the National Budget on Friday and put flesh to this skeleton, so to say. We should not have a skeleton with no flesh on the cheekbone or hip. We need to have a complete person, for lack of a better term, who would be walking and has flesh on all the bones. So, no bone should be left exposed.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I think there were three very important aspects that were missing from the Presidents’ Speech. The first one is the exchange rate, which I think is topical at the moment.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: My colleague, the Chief Government Spokesperson, was ‘squeezed’ in one interview to illustrate measures that the Government was working on to address the exchange rate problem. He mentioned that he did not have the answers, but the measures would be contained in the President’s Address during the official opening of Parliament.  I remember that clearly. Alas, the matter was not mentioned in the President’s Speech. This why I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will articulate these measures very well. Otherwise we will have a skeleton that will only have a jaw with no flesh.

Mr Speaker, I think we are all concerned with the prevailing exchange rate of the kwacha to the United States Dollar. In addressing this matter, we must learn to ask hard questions. I am one person that has been trained to ask hard questions on myself and on any other situation. When we ask hard questions, we should have answers.

Mr Speaker, I heard my uncle, Dr Kaingu, and I have heard this from other debaters, comparing Zambia with South Africa in terms of the exchange rate. He said there many other currencies that are also depreciating against the United States (US) Dollar. We should not just look at the trend. Let us look at the specifics. When the depreciation started, the Zambian kwacha was trading at about 1 South African rand to 50n or 60n. At this point, the kwacha to the rand is almost 1 South African rand to K1.


Mr Speaker, when we say we are like South Africa because their currency is also depreciating, the hard question we should ask ourselves is, why is the Rand not depreciating at the same rate as the kwacha? If it is correct, then, the Rand should be at about half the Kwacha for that is where it was before the depreciation started.

Ms Imenda: Yes!

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, if we are going to compare ourselves to South Africa, we should ask ourselves questions like, what is South Africa doing right that we are not doing? 

Mr Speaker, we know it for a fact that our economy is 70 per cent import oriented and 30 per cent export while South Africa is the other way round. I am know that the hon. Minister of Finance and other people in the country have said it time and again that, if we are going to get anywhere as a country, we need to see how we can start producing goods that we can export. We need to see how we will start producing that dollar.

Mr Speaker that is the reason I ask the question, when it comes to paying back loans and other obligations that we have, do we have that capacity to produce that dollar or the Pound Sterling to pay back those loans? It will be very difficult to answer. These are the hard questions that I would like to pose. Hon. Zulu debated very well and I liked the way he debated. On some of these issues let us rise above partisan politics…

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: … and ask ourselves how do we develop our country? 

Mr Speaker, sometimes there is a tendency of politics disturbing what has been suggested to be implemented. These are serious national issues. If we are going to move forward as a country, I agree with Hon. Zulu, let us rise up and meet at a certain level.

Mr Speaker, I agree that in Zambia we have too much politicking. We are one of the few nations that from one election to another, there is no ceasefire, it is continuous political war.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, when are we going to work in order to develop our country? 

Mr Speaker, the issue of foreign exchange must be addressed. I cannot debate much, I will be back after the measures have been given on how to address the issue of foreign exchange because I am keen to see the measures. If we keep throwing statements comparing ourselves with South Africa then, where is the missing link? There are a lot of missing links. I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Finance, though the Budget Speech is already prepared, to include the missing links for those are the things we will be looking for. We will debate on the links and make projections to see if as a nation we are seriously saying we want to make progress by making our kwacha improve.

Mr Speaker, I recently attended a workshop in Zimbabwe, I am grateful to you for allowing me attend it; everything was being quoted in dollars. It was a challenge and I found that interesting. Let us learn a few lessons from our neighbours and see how we can help ourselves.

Mr Speaker, this is a serious issue which was not in the President’s Speech. that is why I say, silence is loud so let us hear the measures that will improve the performance of the kwacha, then we will take it from there.

Mr Speaker, the second issue, which was silent and which I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will cover, is that of the mines. We have talked about diversification, yes, but whether we like it or not, mining will still remain the backbone of the economy and because of that we cannot afford to have a business as usual kind of approach to the mining sector.

Mr Speaker: Order!


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1916 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 8th October, 2015.