Debates - Tuesday, 13th October, 2015

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Tuesday, 13th October, 2015

The House met at 1430 hours
[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





Mr Speaker: Hon. Members will recall that on Thursday, 8th October, 2015, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer Number 94 and the Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central, Hon. Chinga Miyutu, MP, was asking a supplementary question, the Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Hon. Jack J. Mwiimbu, MP, raised a point of order against the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Hon. Chishimba Kambwili, MP.

In his point of order, Hon. Mwiimbu, MP, asked whether the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Hon. Chishimba Kambwili, MP, was in order to censure the Member of Parliament for Mafinga, Hon. Catherine Namugala, MP, for actions she had taken or failed to take while in the Government under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). 

In my immediate response, I reserved my ruling to a later date to enable me to study the point of order. I have since studied the point of order and now render the ruling. 

As hon. Members will recall, the point of order arose from Hon. Kambwili’s response to the supplementary Question 93 raised by Hon. Catherine Namugala, MP. At the time the point of order was raised, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting had concluded his response to this question and the Deputy Minister of Health, Hon. Dr Chitalu Chilufya, had also just concluded his response to Question 94. 

I have stated in a number of my rulings that for a point of order to be admissible, it must be raised contemporaneously; that is to say, it must be raised soon after the alleged breach of procedure occurs. Clearly, in this case, at the time the point of order was raised, the House had concluded considering Question 93, under which the alleged breach had occurred, and was considering Question 94. 

My ruling is, therefore, that Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, MP, did not raise the point of order contemporaneously with the conduct complained of, thus, rendering it inadmissible.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, my predecessors and I have ruled, on several occasions, that while administrations may change, the Government remains the same and solely responsible for the affairs of the nation whether or not the performance of the previous administration was sterling. I, therefore, wish to remind hon. Ministers to answer questions put before them without casting aspersions, denigrating or disparaging hon. Members who served in previous administrations, when they rightly exercise their oversight role or function.

I thank you.



99. Mr Livune (Katombola) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:

(a)    why the Zambia Postal Services Corporation was retrenching its employees;

(b)    what the total number of employees retrenched as of 8th October, 2015, was;

(c)    how many workers were earmarked for retrenchment;

(d)    whether all the retrenched workers had been paid their retrenchment benefits; and

(e)    who was financing the retrenchment exercise.

The Deputy Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Kapyanga): Mr Speaker, the reasons the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) is retrenching its employees are as follows:

(i)    the resultant loss of K1.8 million swift cash revenue per month and its cumulative impact due to the emergence of Shoprite Money Transfer, Zoona and mobile money transfers competing on low prices and the resultant attrition of the market share among key players;

(ii)    the threat of collapse due to litigation and bailiff seizures if operational costs were not reduced;

(iii)    the need to sustain the quarterly profitable performance registered in 2014 in order to gradually pay its historical debts owed to retirees, the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), trade creditor, etc; and

(iv)     to restore performance viability that the corporation could have in future.

Sir, the total number of employees retrenched as at 8th October, 2015, was ninety-eight while thirty were normal retirements.

Mr Speaker, the number of workers earmarked for retrenchments at ZAMPOST is 158. All the retrenched staff have been given an initial sum from their terminal benefits and are being paid the balance of their dues monthly. Furthermore, as agreed with the union in line with the collective agreement, all retrenched members of staff continue to receive their basic salaries independent of their dues until their terminal benefits are fully paid. The exercise is being financed from internal resources.

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, on one hand, the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) is constructing post offices across the country, especially in new districts, and yet on the other hand it is reducing the number of staff. I would like to find out who will operate in the new districts or just the rationale for that kind of exercise in the midst of that activity.

 Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, ZAMPOST is able to do that because it wants to re-strategise. It is trying to move away from the traditional practice of selling stamps and other things. So, at the moment, those who have fallen victim of this exercise are those under services that are not needed. This has been done in a quest to improve efficiency. Moreover, this whole exercise is being done on a voluntary basis.

 Sir, I thank you.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, it is very clear that the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) is having operational challenges. A myriad of companies that are in the money transfer business such as Shoprite and Zoona have been mentioned and we have been told that they are partly to blame for some of ZAMPOST’s predicaments. May the hon. Minister apprise this House on what the core business of ZAMPOST is.

 The Minister of Transport and Communications (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, …

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Maiden answer!

Mr Simbao: … the business environment of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) has shifted. Its initial core business was communication, which was mainly dealing with letter movements, but this came to a close when the internet and the computer environment was created. Therefore, ZAMPOST had to change its type of business. It had to go into money transfer. Hon. Members may wish to know that ZAMPOST had to engage in many other forms of business so as to stay afloat.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that the retrenchment has been precipitated by the emergence of competition namely, Shoprite Money Transfer and Zoona Money. In a normal situation, a business can go under if the competitors undercut you price wise. It is a fact, and a stubborn one for that matter, that Zoona and Shoprite are much more expensive than Swift Cash. If the hon. Minister is admitting that Swift Cash is cheaper than the two competitors that he has mentioned, what logic does it make that they must carry the bulk of its business and ZAMPOST must, then, retrench people because it cannot compete when it is cheaper?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, we have not yet compared the cost of carrying out these services at Shoprite although we understand that Shoprite services are cheaper than those of Swift Cash. It is true that the services at Zoona are expensive by almost double. The difference is that ZAMPOST outlets are few whereas Zoona is found almost everywhere. So, it ends up having more customers than ZAMPOST. Therefore, that being the case, ZAMPOST’s business has gone down.

 I thank you, Sir.

 Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, …  

Mr Livune: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

 I hope that point of order is not raised on the hon. Minister Transport and Communication.

 Mr Livune: It is, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I will not allow it.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, …

 Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

 Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I always stand on very serious points of order.

Sir, you are the leader of this House and whatever you say must be taken very seriously and be respected. First of all, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for his Budget Speech not leaking. 

Mr Speaker, you guided Her Honour the Vice-President and Minster of Development to come to this House to update us on why the President’s Speech leaked and a seven day period was given in which to do that. However, it has not been done to date, 13th October, 2015. Is she in order to keep us waiting and speculating without knowing what really happened? We want to know what happened for the speech to leak. Is Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development in order not to update this House, and yet you gave a clear directive?


 Mr Speaker: Order!

 It is true that I gave a directive and I share your concern as well. Let me inform the House that the Clerks-at-the-Table have not been sitting idly on this matter. They have been actively engaging with the Office of the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning and I am assured that sooner than later, Her Honour the Vice-President will come back and respond to that point of order.

 Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was saying that competition is not only good for the market, but it also promotes efficiency, as consumers have a choice. Instead of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) withdrawing from the market and retrenching workers because of the competition, it should have found ways of also increasing its competition. I am aware that Shoprite is only found in very limited places. If you go to Sesheke, Senanga, Lukulu and all these places, I do not think you will find Shoprite there. So, can ZAMPOST not be innovative and also compete favourably by capitalising in areas where its competitors are not operating? What happened to the post bus, which is now only operating along the line of rail?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, it is true that ZAMPOST is trying to reclaim its position in this service provision. It is looking at ways of competing with these, otherwise, expensive providers. Its services are still active. If there are areas where it is not reaching at this time, I am sure it will be able to do so in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister referred to the fact that the company has litigation as well as historical debts. That is actually true. He also mentioned that the ministry is trying to re-strategise. I was wondering whether by retrenching workers, the Government is not adding problems on top of the already existing ones. Further, what are some of the new strategies that will make this company survive?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, of the ninety-eight people who have been retrenched by the company, twenty-eight left employment voluntarily. Four of them retired normally and the rest were retrenched. These were retrenched because ZAMPOST has changed the way it used to conduct its business. Some of the people were retrenched because they do not have the skills that are required at the moment. There was very little that ZAMPOST could do, but to retrench them.

Hon. MMD Member: Selling stamps!

Mr Simbao: Sir, there is no selling of stamps at the moment. ZAMPOST is trying other forms of business. For example, it has been given permission to set up as a bank, and so, it will transform part of its operations to function as a bank. ZAMPOST wants to take advantage of the fact that it is found in almost every part of this country. So, it will offer banking services in these very rural areas of our country.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, indeed, apart from money transfers, ZAMPOST is also involved in transportation. It has ZAMPOST Bus Services. It is also operating as an agent for the importation of second-hand vehicles. The people believe that ZAMPOST’s lack of innovativeness is the cause of its problems, especially that it is involved in other businesses, which have lamentably failed. 

As a bonus, I would like to find out how many of those that were retrenched were in the management.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am yet to meet with ZAMPOST management, but my understanding is that it is doing very well. That is why the company has been able to embark on handling many products. Before the emergence of Zoona and others, Swift Cash was making about K3.1 million per month. With the emergence of these other providers, Swift Cash has now come down to making K1.2 every month. So, you can see that management is trying everything possible to make sure that this particular organisation survives.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the Government is on record castigating private investors for retrenching workers who are under their jurisdiction. The Government is also on record informing workers, especially on the Copperbelt Province, that it will never allow any investor to lay off any Zambian worker. It has assured the Zambian people that it will do everything possible to protect their jobs. I would like to find out why the Government, which is castigating private investors, is laying off workers without ensuring that the jobs are protected. Is the Government not leading the investors astray and that the examples that it is setting will encourage the investors to lay off workers? Why is the Government failing to protect its own workers, but wants to protect those in the private sector?

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, this is a business decision. These are organisations run as business entities, whose decisions must be respected. Before this decision was arrived at, it was fully discussed by all the three parties involved, the union, the board and management. They found this to be the best option to make the company survive.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Lubezhi rose.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Namwala Parliamentary Constituency, I am following a list.

Ms Lubezhi resumed her seat.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, when the owners of the mines sit down and decide to lay off workers, such decisions are not looked at as being okay, but it is okay for the Government to lay off workers. Sitting next to Hon. Simbao is the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, who was recently part of an entourage of hon. Ministers to the Copperbelt to force mines not to lay off workers. Which is which?


Mr Mutelo: Seeing that the two hon. Ministers are seated just next to each other, I want to know whether it is okay to allow ZAMPOST to lay off its workers but, meanwhile, insist that mining companies should not lay off workers. Moreover, the Government is building a ZAMPOST Office in Mitete, and yet it is retrenching people. Is the Government going, ... 

Mr Speaker: You have already asked your question.

Mr Mutelo: ... to send people to Mitete when it completes building?


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the mining companies tried to do things without following procedure. The Government has, therefore, asked them to follow procedure so that we find out the real reasons they would like to retrench workers.

Sir, ZAMPOST followed procedure and that is why I am saying that all the three parties were involved. For the sake of the hon. Member for Lukulu West, only those workers who cannot exist in the present company structure have been retrenched.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has confused me a bit. He earlier, on one hand, admitted that the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) is failing to match its competition, which is an indication of management failure. On the other hand, the hon. Minister says that he is very happy with the performance of the management at ZAMPOST.

Sir, therefore, would the hon. Minister not want to take a little bit of time to study this situation before praising the management, which has clearly failed? If he does that, he will not have to eat his words later when he finds out that management is actually victimising workers who have nothing to do with the innovation and re-engineering of ZAMPOST business.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, maybe, the hon. Member has not been following my answers.

Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr Simbao: To start with, I put it very clearly that I have not yet discussed with ZAMPOST Management, but what I have heard is that it is doing very well.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Simbao: However, I said that before the advent of other money transferring service providers on the market, ZAMPOST was making K3.1 million per month. When other service providers came on board and the market was shared by many players, it was expected that ZAMPOST’s business would go down before it could rise again. 

Sir, in answering the hon. Member for Luena, I said that ZAMPOST is re-strategising to reclaim its position as the market leader in the sector. That is what the management aims to achieve.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I want to find out from the hon. Minister …

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised, but is it on the hon. Minister?

Mr Nkombo: It is procedural, Sir.

Mr Speaker: You have not answered my question.

Mr Nkombo: Eventually, it will turn to him.

Mr Speaker: I am not allowing it.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, what is the core business of the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) to justify its existence?


Mr Speaker: I hope your question was heard. Anyway, just repeat it.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, what is the core business of ZAMPOST for the hon. Minister to justify its existence?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I answered that question when it was asked by the hon. Member for Lukulu East. I do not know if the hon. Member for Namwala was in the House then.

I thank you, Sir.


100. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the culvert, which was washed away, at Mapula Dam in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency would be replaced;

(b)    when the embankment at Mapula Dam would be rehabilitated; and

(c)    what measures had been taken, in the interim, to avert a looming disaster at the dam.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us follow the response from the hon. Minister.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Road Development Agency (RDA) will carry out maintenance works on the culvert at Mapula Dam in November, 2015. The estimated cost of the works is approximately K30,000.

The rehabilitation of the embankment will be considered for inclusion in the 2007 Road Sector Annual Work Plan (RSAWP). The works were not included in the 2015 and 2016 RSAWP due to limited resources. However, an assessment of the same embankment has revealed that it is still technically sound.


Mr Speaker: Order!

The consultations on the left are rather loud.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, I thank you.


101. Mr Mulomba (Magoye) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when speed humps would be constructed on the Mazabuka/Livingstone Highway at Tandabale in Magoye Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b)    what the cost of the project was.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, a needs assessment was done for the entire stretch of the T1 Road. The exercise was concluded and the cost estimates were submitted in September, 2015, for possible funding. The project will include the construction of speed calming rumble strips at selected points on the road. The selected points include Tandabale, which is located approximately 15 km from Mazabuka. The works are expected to be carried out by the RDA under force account. The cost of the project will only be known after the procurement for the works are finalised.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mulomba: Mr Speaker, going by the hon. Minister’s answer, it is like there is no immediate measure the Government is putting in place to ensure that speed humps are put up at Tandabale. What are the immediate measures rather than talking about the whole stretch of the T1 Road?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mukanga): Sir, the needs assessment was done in September, 2015, and we are going to address this point on the road under force account this year. So, the immediate measure is that we will put rumble strips instead of humps.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the obtaining situation on that particular road is that there are ‘natural’ speed barriers in terms of huge potholes? People are now driving very slowly because of the fear to overturn. In the hon. Minister’s view, is it prudent to put speed barriers instead of working on the entire road to avoid accidents?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I passed through that road, yesterday, to check on what the hon. Member has just said. We will see what we can do to ensure that even the potholes are taken into consideration.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, of late, some special speed humps have been introduced. These are some sort of corrugations and they are so many, especially at Chilanga and Kafue, and are very uncomfortable. Can the hon. Minister look into this because they inconvenience drivers.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the question is about Tandabale, but since the hon. Member is my fellow engineer, I will answer him. We will send our engineers to check and see what we can do to make good of this.

I thank you, Sir.


102. Mr Ntundu (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the tarring of the Gwembe/Chipepo Road would commence;

(b)    what the name for the contractor of the project was; and

(c)    what the cost of the project was.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the road from Gwembe to Chipepo stretches approximately 58 km. Approximately, 15 km of the Gwembe to Chipepo, that is, Gwembe to Munyumbwe, is included under the Bottom Road Project Lot 2 (Munyumbwe to Sinazongwe). The 15 km will be upgraded under the Bottom Road Project Lot 2 (Munyumbwe to Sinazongwe). It is envisaged that works on Lot 2 of the Bottom Road will commence before the onset of the rainy season in 2015. The name of the contractor awarded for the works is Stefanautti Stocks Construction Zambia Limited at a contract sum of K592,500,000. There were no intentions initially to upgrade the remaining section of the Gwembe/Chipepo Road. However, the section may now be considered for possible inclusion under a variation on the Bottom Road Project Lot 2 (Munyumbwe to Sinazongwe).

Mr Speaker, the name of the contractor will be known once such a variation is carried out. The cost of the project will also be known once the project has been considered for under variation.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Ntundu: Sir, the hon. Minister is answering a question which I did not ask. Why?


Mr Speaker: Follow up with a question.

Mr Ntundu: Why are you answering a question which I did not ask? You are talking about the Bottom Road.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Follow up with a question.

Mr Ntundu: Yes, Sir. I want him to answer why he is answering a question which I did not ask. Why are you not answering about the Gwemb/Chipepo Road? You have talked about the Bottom Road from Munyumbwe to Chipepo, but I asked you about the road from Gwembe to Chipepo. You read the question again if you did not understand it.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the answer is as the hon. Deputy Minister had said. We will look at the Gwembe/Chipepo Road. 

Mr Speaker, during the ground breaking ceremony, that was one of the issues that one of the chiefs in that area brought out and we said we will send our engineers to carry out some inspections and, then, we will come up with a cost which will be analysed to see how best that can be done. That was a request from the chiefs in the area.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, I would like to assist Hon. Ntundu. Since the hon. Minister is saying that he will send engineers and it is about the third time he is saying that, when will these engineers be sent to site so that we know?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the engineers will be sent in due course of executing the current contract, which is Lot 2.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has been on record saying that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is carrying out a lot of projects, but most of them that were started have stalled and the reasons for this are best known by the hon. Minister of Works and Supply. 

Mr Speaker, from this question, it seems this is a new project. Hon. Minister, why are you bringing new projects when other projects in different parts of Zambia have stalled?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to state that the hon. Member should not mislead the people about projects having stalled. He should have given me a specific project which has stalled and I would have talked about it. As for the question that was asked by Hon. Ntundu, we are saying we will look at that project.

Mr Speaker, to give a general answer, most projects that had stalled were as a result of the funding challenges that we had. These projects have now commenced and there is a lot of progress which everybody can see. That is why they are appreciating the Patriotic Front (PF).

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister, in answering the question, referred to the fact that some work will start before the onset of rains this year. We are now in October and the rainy season is around the corner. Therefore, could the hon. Minister not care to be a little more exact in terms of when that project will be considered since we are almost in the rainy season.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I would like to state that projects technically start when a contract is signed. Projects can be executed any time and in any season if you have the technology to carry out the project. As far as we are concerned, the project has technically started and the contractor is mobilising. 

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister at which point this famous Bottom Road will join the Lusaka/Livingstone Road.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, this is a new question and that is why I am saying the engineers will go there and analyse. Then, we will be able to tell the hon. Member if she wants to know.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has decided to include the Gwembe/Chipepo Road to the on-going works of the Bottom Road. At the moment, the Government is prioritising already undertaken projects. How does it hope to include a completely new project to the on-going ones? Maybe, you have forgotten that the Bottom Road is from Siavonga passing near Munyumbwe to Sinazongwe, but this particular road goes up to Gwembe. How will the Government, then, manage to include this road whose undertaking has been promised to the hon. Member of Parliament for Gwembe?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, at the beginning, I stated that this was a request of the people. That is why we are sending engineers to analyse and see the possibility of how we can work on this road. When we did our initial plan, as the hon. Deputy Minister had answered, it was not part of the plan. However, it is the people that are trying to push us to work on this road. This is a service they need. That is why we are looking at the situation because we, as the PF, are a listening Government.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mukanga: We have to listen to what the people are saying and analyse issues to see how best it can be effected. This is what I am saying we are trying to do.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


103. Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Agriculture when renovation of houses at the following agricultural camps in Chasefu Parliamentary Constituency would commence:

(a)    Malandula;

(b)    Munyukwa;

(c)    Mkwalo;

(d)    Khulamayembe; and

(e)    Kamuzowole.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture (Mr Ng’onga): Mr Speaker, before I answer the question, allow me to congratulate my colleagues who have been appointed to Cabinet ministerial positions. These are Hon. Monde, Hon. Kampyongo and Hon. Simbao.

Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of camp houses in Chasefu Constituency is on-going. For example, the camp houses in Zumwanda and Emusa were rehabilitated in May and June, 2015. However, the camp houses at Mulundula, Munyukwa, Nkwalo, Khulamayembe and Kamuzowe will be rehabilitated once funds are available.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, I appreciate what the Government has done in these other camps. However, many of these camp houses are very old with cracks and the beams have been eaten up by termites …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, a few days ago, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning indicated the need to ensure that the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) is undertaken with the urgency that it requires. Only yesterday, His Excellency the President also expressed concern over the matter. Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order not to ensure that the cards for NRCs are delivered to all areas in adequate quantities so that they do not run out? In places like Kalomo, the cards ran out two days ago. Is he in order not to distribute enough cards so that the issuance of the NRCs is not disturbed?

Mr Speaker: We have had a number of ministerial statements on this subject in the recent past. Of course, this does not preclude you from holding the Government or other Government agencies to account. However, the best way of doing so, in any event, is to ask a question and, then, we will forward it to them. You will, then, get your response.

The hon. Member for Lumezi was on the Floor. You may continue.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, I was thanking the hon. Minister for the works that are going on in Emusa Camp in Chasefu Constituency and in Umwanda in Lumezi Constituency. However, my complaint is that many of the houses in other agriculture camps are very old, cracked and the beams have been eaten up by termites. Come the first rains, some of them might have their roofs blown off. What is the ministry doing in order to safeguard our officers living in these houses?

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, I indicated in my answer that the rehabilitation of camp houses is an ongoing project. For example, in the 2015 Budget, K100,000 was provided for the rehabilitation of the houses at Malandula, Munyukwa, Kwalo, Khulamayembe and Kamuzolwe Camps. As soon as the funds are released, the ministry will be able to attend to these important structures for our workers in the camps.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the follow-up question from the hon. Member for Lumezi was: In the event that roofs on some houses in mentioned camps where our officers are staying are blown off, what will the Government do to safeguard the lives of our camp officers? 

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is assuming that this happened. We would take remedial measures if the roofs were to be blown off. 

Mr Livune: Question!

 Mr Ng’onga: I am pretty sure that we would have some emergency works done so that our workers are not left out in the rain.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


104. Mr Kazabu (Nkana) asked the Vice-President:

(a)    whether the Government has any plans to re-introduce competence examinations in the Civil Service to enhance professionalism and efficiency;

(b)    if so, when the plans would be implemented; and

(c)    if there were no such plans, why.

The Deputy Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, as part of the approved Public Service Human Resource Management Reforms, the Government, with the help of the British Government, through the Department for International Development (DFID), is in the process of establishing a Virtual National School of Government.  

Mr Speaker, a virtual school does not imply building a new structure in the literal sense of a school. It basically means that there will be a secretariat set up to identify skilled consultants who will provide training in the respective areas of competence. Former civil servants, who would have left the Civil Service with a good and clean record and have the relevant expertise, will also be part of the consultants to be identified.

Sir, this school will provide competence training and ensure meritorious progression of civil servants at various levels. The competence examination will be conducted at four levels, namely: 

(i)    foundation, which is induction;

(ii)    middle management;

(iii)    senior management;

(iv)    the executive management.

Sir, the examinations will be sector-specific in terms of the programmes. Further, the examinations will be a requirement for the administrative positions before admission to the permanent and pensionable establishment.

Furthermore, for any person to progress to a higher level in the Civil Service, these examinations will also be part of the evaluation stage for performance-based contracts for civil servants.

Mr Speaker, with the establishment of the Virtual National School of Government, which is in line with the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto, the standards for the competence examinations will definitely improve.

Sir, the plans to put in place the Virtual National School of Government are already at an advanced consultation level and, all things being equal, with finances permitting, the establishment of this school will be done before the end of 2016.

Mr Speaker, the temporal suspension of the Civil Service Examination will be lifted and reintroduced through the Virtual National School of Government.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, Civil Service Examinations were very important in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) era. However, they were eventually done away with. Can her Honour the Vice-President. Explain why they are being reintroduced.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, there are a number of reasons and, among them, was to facilitate the re-designing of the curriculum to make it more competence based. The other reason was to try to curb the escalating cost of examinations for which the National Institute of Public Administration (NIPA) was charging. These are some of the reasons that precipitated the suspension of those examinations. 

I thank you, Sir. 


105. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing: 

(a)    what had caused the delay in completing the street lighting project in Kalabo District;

(b)    what measures had been taken to ensure that the project was completed on time; and

(c)    when the project would be completed.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Ching’imbu): Mr Speaker, the street lighting project in Kalabo District is being implemented by the council, with funding from the provincial administration. The works have delayed because the contractor did not stick to specifications on spacing of street light poles. As a result, the provincial administration has held back payments.

Mr Speaker, the contractor has been instructed to correct the works and ensure that correct specifications are adhered to. 

Mr Speaker, as indicated in part (b) of the question above, efforts are being made to bring back the contractor on site to complete works before the end of November, 2015.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the response that has been given by the hon. Minister does not guarantee the completion of the street lighting project. At one time, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing admitted that the K100,000, which was allocated to this project, was not sufficient to successfully complete it. Today, the hon. Minister has given a different response. 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Government is making efforts to follow up the contractor so that he can go back on site to complete the project. However, the Government made a mistake by procuring the materials for the implementation of this project. Therefore, what corrective measures has it put in place to make sure that the contractor does not fall into the pit it has created? 

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I want to assure him that we share his frustration over this project. However, what is obtaining is that despite these works being executed under the local authority, the contracting authority was the Provincial Buildings Engineer, under the provincial administration. Therefore, we have instructed the local authority to harmonise the supervisory role between them and the provincial administration so that when the contractor comes back on site, there will be no stoppage of the works until the project is completed in November, 2015. 

I thank you, Sir. 


106. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of General Education when Chimtende and Chisale Schools in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency would be electrified. 

The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, Chimtende Primary School is expected to be electrified as soon as the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) completes setting up a transmission line from Azele Kacheka Sub-Station in Katete District. The hon. Member of Parliament may note that REA is currently constructing a grid line from Azele Kacheka Sub-Station in Katete District to Chief Mbang’ombe’s Palace. This grid line goes beyond the palace to Ntambo Primary School, which is approximately 5 km away from Chimtende Primary School. 

Mr Speaker, as for Chisale Primary and Secondary School, it is expected that REA will connect it to the grid at St Francis Hospital, which is 4 km away from Chisale Primary and Secondary School. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is very right. The grid line is now at Ntambo, which is exactly 5 km away from Chimtende. When are the people of Chimtende, and Chimtende Primary School in particular, going to receive power? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, as we liaise with REA, we will impress on them that these projects be speeded up so that the people can receive this facility.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, these are two good hon. Ministers because they are on the ground and have brought Information Communication Technology (ICT) to schools. That is a good thing and we are very happy. However, these computers which have been brought to schools need electricity to function. Therefore, what measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that those basic schools get electricity from the national grid or from generators to make sure that those computers in rural schools are properly used? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am going to give a bonus answer, and since he has over-praised us, I will not say that that is a new question. 


Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament is very right that the introduction of computers in schools has brought its own challenges. We are seriously considering what we can do for the rural child. We are, especially, considering the schools that are not yet connected to the national grid. The use of computers demands more than just placing a computer in a classroom. So, we are contemplating solar and generator-powered electricity. Subject to the monies being available, we wish to make a great impact on this because the future of a smart Zambia depends on the availability of these gadgets. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his response, indicated that Chisale Day Secondary School will be connected to the grid, but did not indicate when that will be done. Is it within this year or next year? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, Chisale Day Secondary School is one of our oldest schools in Katete District, and being aware of this fact, makes us move. However, let me say that the ministry does not have a budget line for electrification of schools. So, we are in constant touch and serious discussions with the authority in-charge of electrification. I cannot place any timeline, but the authority is also aware of the urgency of the matter. I think that it will be done as soon as the authority is ready. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, before I shower praises on this hon. Minister, which is really rare for me to do, I would like to find whether it is possible for the hon. Minister to come to this House with a comprehensive list or schedule of all the schools that have no power, but which will be electrified by the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) and provided with computers, notwithstanding the solar plans that he has mentioned.

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member should not withhold his praises because I will use the foundation that Hon. Dr Kaingu has laid to build on this activity. 

Dr Kaingu: Thank you! 

Dr Phiri: He is saying that there are no computers (addressing Dr Kaingu). 


Dr Phiri: I am sorry, Mr Speaker. 


Dr Phiri: Hon. Member for Mumbwa, thank you for the remainder. It is our responsibility and we will make the information available. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, I have listened to this question from one Phiri to another Phiri that computers have been distributed, which is a very good thing. I would like to find out whether this programme of distributing computers will also be extended to my schools in Kazungula because we are in desperate need of them. 

Mr Speaker: I think that we have lost track of the question. We have veered off into a totally different terrain.


107. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs: 

(a)    when construction of a police post at Mungo Lukuta in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency would commence; and 

(b)    what security measures had been taken, in the interim, to protect lives and secure property in the area. 

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that police services can be provided adequately if a police post is constructed in an area so that police officers are physically there. However, the Government has no immediate plans to construct a police post at Mungo Lukuta because of limited funds. 

Mr Speaker, the measures taken, in the interim, to secure lives and property in the area are that the area is being serviced by Chembe and Milenge police posts. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I am not going to shower the hon. Deputy Minister with praises. 


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that this is, probably, the third time that this question has come to this House. Mungo Lukuta cannot be serviced by Milenge Police Post on one side and Chembe Police Post on the other. This is the remotest area in the country.

Hon. Minister, notwithstanding your answer, it is the wish or intention of the Government to take development to every part of this country. In your own wisdom, and having asked this question not less than three times to show the seriousness that it deserves, when do you think that you will take development to this area, with regard to the police post? 

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, this Government is mindful of the needs of its people in this country. In as much as we, as a Government, would like to take development everywhere, it is impossible to do it at the same time. So, in due course, we shall put police posts in all areas, as and when the funds are available. Otherwise, we are very mindful of the needs. 

Mr Speaker, in trying to mitigate, we are building a police post in Chembe with three houses. We will also give them a tricycle which will enable two officers to move and patrol the area. 

I thank you, Sir. 


108. Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication when the Government would facilitate the erection of a communication tower in Chief Kasimba’s area in Kaoma District. 

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, the Government plans to facilitate the erection of six towers in Kaoma District under Phase II. A tower earmarked to be located at Mumbula will cover Kasimba, Lalafuta and Kapata villages. 

The Government conducted a countrywide survey in the first quarter of 2015 in all constituencies and wards and identified areas that are unserved and underserved with mobile communication coverage. The procurement and resourcing process for the construction of 469 communication towers countrywide is on course. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has given me a bit of comfort. However, he forgot to tell me when the Government will begin the construction of these towers because the people of this area are busy pestering me. 

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, the tender process will take two weeks and the actual works will commence in December. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his response, mentioned the fact that the Government undertook surveys to determine the underserved and unserved areas throughout the country. Would the hon. Minister care to avail us the list or schedule of those areas so that we know and are able to inform our constituents? 

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, the process is on-going and when completed, we shall avail the schedule. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the tender process will take two weeks while the actual works will start in December. However, he did not indicate how long these works will take for the towers to become operational. 

Mr Kapyanga: Mr Speaker, this is an on-going process and when it is completed, we shall give out the specifics.

I thank you, Sir.




Mrs Mphande (Mkushi North): Mr Speaker, I wish to sincerely thank all individuals and institutions that contributed to the preparation and subsequent presentation of the Budget, which was moved by the hon. Minister of Finance in his presentation of the 2016 Annual Budget on Friday, 9th October, 2015.

Mr Speaker, it must be appreciated that the task of allocating limited resources, among the numerous competing needs, requires a sense of ingenuity. In all fairness, the Budget presented, on the Floor of the House, by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Alexander Bwalya Chikwanda, MP, has embodied what the pro-poor Patriotic Front (PF) Government stands for.

 Sir, allow me to commend the hon. Minister of Finance, his management team and staff at the ministry for the efficiency they have demonstrated …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … in preparing the National Budget, which was presented to the nation, through this august House.

Sir, the Government must be commended for the effort in formulating a Budget that will stimulate economic growth …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … in the midst of the prevailing economic crisis. Despite this, the speech implicitly announces that Zambia will survive these economic stormy waters. This is considering the Government’s resilience and donor confidence in the efficiency and effectiveness of the PF Government’s spending.

Mr Speaker, it is my sincere hope …

Ms Lubezhi: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … that the fiscal policy and external forces will remain favourable in order to stimulate rapid growth. 

Sir, the 2016 Budget Speech has clearly spelt out the measures that would improve the country’s social and economic welfare. This is in line with the theme for the 2016 Budget which is, “Fiscal Consolidation to Safeguard Our Past Achievements and Secure a Prosperous Future for All” and for which a total amount of K53.14 billion is proposed. 

Sir, allow me to now look at some of the specific sectors of the economy and how they have been provided for under the 2016 Budget. 


Mr Speaker, in the agriculture sector, the Government has prioritised the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which has been allocated one K1 billion of which K248.3 million will be disbursed through the e-voucher modality which will cover about 480,000 farmers of the targeted 1 million. This means that our farmers will not only be limited to maize production, but will also diversify to other crops that are suitable in their areas. It will also encourage livestock production and diversification.

Sir, in addition, K5 million has been allocated to the establishment of the Fisheries Development Fund. This will certainly lead to improved food production in the country with the objective of raising farmer confidence in the Government that is embarking on an agro revolution. Further, the hon. Minister’s statement that the Government will expedite implementation of activities under the Irrigation Development Support Programme (IDSP) to bring a further 5,000 hectares under irrigation is a welcome move, as it will result in long year production of crops and pasture for livestock. This is a strong indication that the Government has heeded the strong outcries of the citizens to accelerate its efforts of diversifying the economy, in particular, the agriculture sector.

Mr Speaker, let me also congratulate the Government for its continued support to the tourism sector. It is gratifying to note that the Government has made strides in the tourism sector by supporting the infrastructure which enhances the tourism sector through access to tourist sites, airports and cultural centres. 


Sir, the tourism sector, if developed properly, will also generate the much-needed funds for expansion and diversification of the country’s mono-economy. This is the first time the Government has shown concerted efforts in diversifying the economy from its desperate dependence on copper, whose profit margins have always continued to fall. I further note that the Government is determined to implement the Tourism and Hospitality Act of 2015 so as to provide sustainable development of the tourism industry, through effective tourism planning, management and co-ordination. In this regard, I give the hardworking PF Government a thunderous applause to this very progressive initiative to move from a mono-economy through this diversification exercise. Tourism is one of the key sectors that can contribute to the diversification of the economy. This can be achieved by improving accessibility to our national tourist sites. As leaders, we have a duty to ensure that we sensitise the people we represent about the importance of preserving our natural resources. 

Water and Sanitation

Mr Speaker, the pronouncement by the hon. Minister of Finance that the Government will increase rural access to clean and safe drinking water to 69 per cent and sanitation to 47 per cent is really commendable because this will not only improve sanitation but also, assist the health sector. The Government has proposed to achieve this through the construction of 2,500 water points comprising mainly boreholes equipped with hand pumps, small-piped water schemes and rehabilitation of 7,000 dysfunctional water points. This will assist our people in rural communities who have a problem of access to clean drinking water, especially the women who have to walk long distances to fetch water.

Sir, I note that the Government is not just committed to improving the water and sanitation situation in the rural areas, but has also extended this programme to urban and peri-urban areas. To this effect, the Government has indicated that it will embark on improving sanitation from the present 57 per cent to 60 per cent to be supported from the allocation of K283.6 million. The urban and peri-urban areas need a boost in this very critical sector as most areas have been experiencing erratic water supply due to non-rehabilitation of the water reticulation system. I am glad that after only three years of the PF rule, a system has been put in place to ensure that rehabilitation works are done and construction of water supply and sanitation infrastructure is made prominent.

Mr Speaker, the working PF Government …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … has not ended there, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mphande: …but, instead, proposes to promote more research in sustainable solid waste management initiatives such as recycling and waste to energy innovations. With this current situation, this is what is needed because we need to find alternative means to generate energy, especially after the experience of dry and low rain in the region in the recent past. 


Mr Speaker, it is also gratifying that the hon. Minister of Finance announced that the Government is committed to the completion of the various education infrastructure currently under construction which include early childhood, primary and secondary school facilities. 

I am glad that the Government has continued to prioritise the education sector. The proposed K9.1 billion for education and skills development in next year’s Budget will also facilitate the recruitment of 5,000 teachers and this will narrow the teacher-pupil ratio.

Sir, the Government should further be commended for continuing with the development of infrastructure at Lubwa, Chalimbana and Palabana universities. Furthermore, the Government should be congratulated for its plans …


Mr Speaker: Order, both on the left and right!

Mrs Mphande: … to commence construction of the Luapula University, in Luapula Province, and King Lewanika University, in the Western Province …

Mr Mbulakulima: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … and, in addition, three university colleges in Katete, Nalolo and Solwezi. This will go a long way in ensuring that the youths in all parts of the country acquire further education after school.

Social protection

Mr Speaker, the PF Government remains committed to implementing a pro-poor development policy aimed at reducing poverty levels. This is evidenced in its allocation of K302 million to the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, which has proved effective in fighting poverty by directly giving support to the vulnerable and poor in our society. It is, therefore, benefitting that the PF Administration is given an applause for scaling up this most effective tool which proposes to target 250,000 vulnerable beneficiaries.

Sir, this hardworking and innovative Government is committed to providing the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme (PWAS) which enables vulnerable children to access education and skills training. To this effect, I urge all well-meaning hon. Members of Parliament to support this very effective move, as most of us represent rural constituencies where most of the vulnerable people are found.

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I urge all the hon. Members of Parliament to support the budget estimates not only for the education sector, but also the Budget in its entirety in order to assist the Government’s progressive intention to increase the number of students accessing quality and affordable university and college education in our constituencies.

Sir, the 2016 National Budget is a resounding nod of the PF Government’s determination …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Mphande: … to make Zambia one of the best places to live in, in the region. I am confident that people of Zambia will not regret putting us in power and will definitely give us a landslide vote in 2016.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Mphande: Mr Speaker, we are a sincere lot and realise that the road to success and development, though challenging, is not impossible.

Sir, I assure this august House that with the unwavering support of everyone in Zambia, the PF Government will get Zambia to that level of development that will bring dignity and pride to all.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, it is a great privilege to be asked to second the Motion of Supply which was moved by the hon. Minister of Finance in his presentation of the 2016 Annual Budget on Friday, 9th October, 2015.

Sir, in seconding this Motion, allow me to thank the Minister of Finance, Hon. Alexander Chikwanda, for delivering what I consider an honest Budget …

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Mr Mtolo: … Address to this House, last Friday, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mtolo: … with a suitable theme, namely: “Fiscal Consolidation to Safeguard our Past Achievements and Secure a Prosperous Future for All.”

Mr Livune: Nizakuibala, mwana!

Mr Mtolo: I will explain why it is honest.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, my approach in debating such policy statements is to start with the conclusion. Before I get to my view of the hon. Minister’s conclusion, let me hasten to say that in looking at this Budget Speech, I tried as much as possible to marry it to the speech delivered by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Lungu, at the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly on 18th September, 2015.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President laid out the vision on how he feels Zambia should progress with its development agenda. Therefore, it is only befitting for the 2016 Budget to be in tandem and endeavour to financially facilitate the elements of that vision. The hon. Minister of Finance, actually, echoed this on Page 5, item 35, of his speech.

Sir, let me now get back to the hon. Minister’s conclusion to the Budget Speech. Conclusions usually reflect the moral position, vision and trueness of the author delivering them. Therefore, knowing that a budget address gives a policy direction to the country for the ensuing fiscal year, and having analysed the whole Budget Speech, I am inclined to conclude that, economically, things are not well in our country.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, this is also inferred to by the hon. Minister in Paragraph 156 in which he stated:

“Mr Speaker, as I conclude my address to this august House, I have the moral imperative to be candid and honest with the people of Zambia. The year 2016 will witness further challenges to our efforts to raise the economy to yet higher heights so as to eradicate poverty. In addition to elevated risks from climate change, the outlook for the world is not particularly cheerful. As a result, Zambia should be prepared to meet the challenges that may arise from externally induced shocks, especially further falls in commodity prices and their knock-on efforts on our economy and society at large.”

Sir, in my opinion, the whole 2016 Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance is summarised in this paragraph. Any attempt to analyse or debate the Budget outside this context is doing a disservice to the nation as a whole.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister, in his usual implicit euphemism, is loudly informing the nation, and I surmise, to gear up for hard times. Basically, he is saying that it is time for us to tighten our belts.

Mr Livune: Because he has failed!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, the hon. Minister has an interesting way of putting things and I admire his rich way of writing. For example, in his speech, he stated:

“Let us put narrow polemics and hollow feuds aside as we, as a nation, unite to move our country forward.”

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: That is a very powerful statement. He goes on to say about His Excellency the President that:

“We have an honourable leader with necessary attributes of accommodation, tolerance and ingrained humanity, shrouded in total humility …”

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo:

“He has flawless depth, affability, and the ability to relate to and be available for us all.”

Sir, we shall miss this language.


Hon. UPND Members: When he is gone!


Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, I have taken the time to critically analyse the five speeches that the hon. Minister has delivered to this House. In three of them, he used the term ‘for all’ and in the other two, he used the terms ‘unity and inclusiveness’. So, what the hon. Minister is saying is that we need to have unity of purpose in this country. I agree with him, though it is important to remind him of Paragraph 107 in the 2012 Budget Speech in which he stated :

“Sir, we are not a Government that basks in the empty glory of statistical euphoria ...”

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, this statement, in comparison to what he is telling people to do, is not in tandem at all. He was a bit hostile.


Mr Nkombo: Now, it is time to go!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, he further stated:

“… but one that seeks a transformational shift in society to make it more just and equitable.”

Mr Speaker, this statement cannot have a better time for its evaluation than now. Actually, on Page 5, item 34, of the current Budget, the hon. Minister declared that:

“Mr Speaker, for over a decade, the Zambian economy has registered continuous buoyant growth. Despite this feat, unemployment and poverty have remained unacceptably high and the participation of Zambians in the economy has remained low.”

One wonders what we are talking about if, at that time, there was this basking in the empty glory of statistical euphoria, but we still have high unemployment levels. 

Hon. Nkombo: Where is the buoyancy?

Mr Mtolo: Where is the buoyancy, indeed? 

Hon. Nkombo: Leave the buoyancy alone!


Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, doing away with statistical euphoria, one wishes to ask where we are now seeing the tangible transformation shifts in our society. Is this not what His Excellency the President, Mr Lungu, emotionally asked Zambians to gravitate towards? Did he not plead with us in this House to think, behave and do things differently? Was this not the theme of His Excellency the President’s Address to the nation, through the National Assembly, on the 18th September, 2015? Have we, therefore, met the benchmarks that we set for ourselves in 2011? 

Sir, with the external debt currently hovering close to US$7 billion and the domestic debt, say, at K27 billion, are these levels not ringing warning bells to us? Was it truly empty glory to have indicated to the Zambian people that our reserves, at that time, were about US$3.6 million with manageable foreign debt stock of less than US$3.5 billion? Would one have termed that as a just euphoria? I do not think so.

Mr Speaker, it is in this spirit that I now proceed to discuss the salient issues that the hon. Minister of Finance raised in the 2016 Budget Speech. I will not just get into the polemics, but try to offer remedial suggestion. The terms ‘polemics’ and ‘remedial’ are, again, extracted from the powerful language of the hon. Minister of Finance. I will, therefore, limit my debate to the diversification of the economy, structural reforms and rural development, debt policy and management, fiscal decentralisation, and the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), in particular. 

Sir, if you look at the Budget Speech, there are three pictures on the front page depicting where the Government should direct the diversification of our economy. The first picture is on tourism, the second one is on energy and the third one is on agriculture. It was well thought of.

Mr Speaker, I will start with agriculture. In my opinion, after the Budget Speech, I expected Zambians to say that with the agro incentives that had been put in the 2016 Budget Speech, they were definitely going to venture into agricultural production, be it crop or animal husbandry. In other words, after a Budget Speech, we should expect people to be attracted to areas of our economy which we are saying we would like to diversify into. Did this speech do that? I am not sure. 

Sir, on Page 25, of the President’s Speech, His Excellency the President said:   

“The record of our diversification programme in the last 50 years has not been satisfactory. About 80 per cent of our export earnings still come from copper, making the country highly vulnerable to fluctuations in the Global economy.”  

Mr Speaker, almost 80 per cent of the non-emolument funding to agriculture is going to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). One would like to ask a question on how we will diversify our economy if the agriculture sector is not well funded so that we can get Zambians to be attracted to invest in it.

Sir, in trying to progress in line with His Excellency the President’s vision of strengthening agriculture, I would like to suggest that, first of all, we should not demonise maize, but encourage its cultivation because this is a crop in which Zambia has both a comparative and competitive advantage. Everyone in Zambia can grow maize. The soils are good …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.     

 [MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, I would like to summarise by saying that we should not relegate maize in our quest to promote other crops because by doing so, we will make a serious mistake at the expense of our country because we have already developed the art of growing and marketing maize at a very high level. Therefore, we should instead, add value to the maize grain through the producing of stock feed, exporting maize meal and making cornflakes and other products.

Sir, the second point which I would like to talk about is irrigation. There is US$115 Irrigation Development Support Fund which His Excellency the President mentioned on Page 12 of his speech. I would like to propose that some of this money be given to small-scale farmers. We should not, therefore, give all the money to the large-scale farmers. The small onion growers, Irish potato growers and sweet potato growers should also benefit from this irrigation fund.

Mr Speaker, before the FISP was introduced, there was a programme called the Fertiliser Implement Pesticides and Seed (FIPS). His Excellency the President talked about was mechanisation, and so, what we need to do is add value to FISIP. This can be done by giving farm implements and pesticides to people. Thereafter, we can come up with the mechanisation units so that one can move way from animal drought power to actual things like tractors. Therefore, we totally agree with what His Excellency the President said because mechanisation is vital and this can facilitate the migration of lower group farmers to a higher level because this enhances productivity.

Sir, let me quickly turn to tourism. Zambia, to date, still remains one of the most expensive tourist destinations in Sub Saharan Africa, if not the world. We have exceptionally poor data about this industry because we do not market it adequately.

Mr Speaker, a few days ago, I gave an example of the Victoria Falls which is a stretch of 1.7 km of which 1.5 km is on the Zambian side while only 200 m is on the Zimbabwean side. However, the Zimbabwean side promotes the Victoria Falls more than we do. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves. Therefore, as we look at the diversification of our economy, we should as well ensure that we promote the tourism industry through the provision of vital information on tourism. 

Mr Speaker, let me now talk about taxes in the areas which we would like to diversify into. To encourage sector growth, I think, we need to roll out a lot of these attractive moratoriums such as the tax free zone, which Livingstone is benefitting from. Let Zambia be open and allow anyone involved in tourism to benefit from these tax incentives. One may ask how this can be so. If you recall what former President Chiluba did when we wanted to migrate to private sector involvement in commuter transport, the Government just made the buses tax free and the evidence is there. One just has to go to Inter-City Bus Terminus and see that we have more buses waiting for people than otherwise. What is needed is to incentivise the sector.

Mr Speaker, I will talk a little on structural reforms. I agree with the issue of the co-operative movements, in totality. However, as I indicated, I am a bit concerned that, probably, we need to be very careful about how the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry manages this aspect, given the fact that they are not as decentralised. I, therefore, wish to appeal to the Government to be careful as it considers taking the co-operatives to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Otherwise, it could create a problem. 

Sir, let me also talk about rural development, an issue that is very close to my heart. We need this ministry. I give thanks to the hon. Minister of Justice who said that the next time the Government looks at ministries, rural development will be given priority. I must not be afraid to say that, currently, we have a number of ministries which we, probably, do not need. I will give examples of such ministries led by hon. Ministers who cannot be angry with me by nature of our relationship. For example, the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, in all honesty, what value is it adding to our country? What value is the Ministry of Gender adding to our country? Gender can be mainstreamed and chiefs and traditional affairs can be a department in rural development. So, let us do the right things. Hon. Chikwanda, please, do not fund these ministries.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: I am sure you are saying that in a jest.

Mr Mtolo: Yes, Sir.


Mr Mtolo: Sir, let me also talk about the issue of borrowed funds. Having moved around the country to look at how we are using our borrowed funds, I am inclined to believe that, probably, it is time we looked at having an independent fund manager. This fund manager can be the custodian of this money and allocate it according to the Government’s desire. That way, we may avoid misallocation or misapplication of funds, which is not intentional, but by nature of life. There can be a lot of issues which would compel the hon. Minister of Finance to just release the funds to those areas, and it happens. It is now that we are safe that we got funds from the Euro bond. So, you should consider that.

Mr Speaker, on fiscal decentralisation, I want to talk about the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I would like the hon. Minister of Finance to be aware that, currently, the most visible and tangible projects in these councils are those which are funded by the CDF.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, if you do not give your members, here, the CDF, you will relegate us to nothing. We are what we are because of this money. So, instead of thinking of reducing it, I would like to appeal to you to, actually, consider allocating not less than K10 million to each constituency.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, hon. Members on both your right and the left need this money. Do not do otherwise with it. As I conclude, I would also like to add my voice on the issue concerning plastic bags. I am very environmentally conscious. Plastic bags should not just have a tax raise from 10 per cent to 20 per cent. They should actually be banned. We should not caress this issue, but be aggressive.

Sir, on communication and transport, I would like to appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance that this railway line from Chipata should not be channelled into the bush and, then, join Mfuwe. This railway line should be along the road so that it can create a growth point. I am appealing to all the hon. Members of Parliament from the Eastern Province to not allow this to go unchallenged. What we need is to have that railway line move along the Great East Road. Look at how our friends talked about the Bottom Road. So, why can we, the Members of Parliament from the Eastern Province, not do that? I am appealing to all of you standing up to debate to talk about the railway line to be along the Great East Road.


Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I beg to second.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this Budget Motion, which was moved on Friday. The Budget Speech was full of discrepancies, indicative of an inept leadership. I say so because when I sat here listening to the hon. Minister of Finance, I kept trusting and hoping that he would instill hope in the people of Zambia, regarding the economy. At some point, I thought I dozed off, but I was fully awake until he finished reading his speech. I, then, rushed to the pigeon holes to pick a copy of the Budget Speech so I could go through it with the hope of understanding what the hon. Minister was trying to say.

Mr Speaker, I say this Budget Speech is full of discrepancies because figures never lie. If you add the figures on page 16, under Expenditure Allocations by Function, the total comes to K55,135,825,354.00. If you go to Page 19, the total Revenue and Financing is K53,135.8. I took time to sum up these figures. The Government wanted to prove to us that it had done a good job. This Budget Speech is showing that all figures are equal when, in fact, not. If the hon. Minister can come to this House with a copy of the Budget Speech which has figures which are not tallying, does it mean that it was given to the typist at the Ministry of Finance and after typing, the copy was just thrown into the copper suitcase and brought here without it been proof read? 

Sir, on the same Page 16, ...

Mr Speaker: On a point of correction, the hon. Minister did not come with a suitcase.


Ms Lubezhi: What do you call it? A briefcase. The typist just typed and threw it in that copper briefcase, and then the hon. Minister brought it here. It is this level of indolence on the part of this Patriotic Front (PF) leadership that we are concerned about.

Sir, the Budget is a very important national document because it is the one that allocates resources to needy areas. The vulnerable were supposed to get hope from this Budget. What are the youth, civil servants or employees of this country, and farmers going to get out of this Budget? The hon. Minister talked about increasing production and promoting tourism. Yesterday, I had the privilege of going to the airport and I was shocked to see airport staff using a red 440 Fergusson tractor to ferry luggage to the aircraft. How can you attract tourism when you are using a Fergusson tractor on your runway? Fergusson tractors are for farmers. You will find Fergusson tractors on Hon. Muntanga’s farm and not on a runway.

Mr Speaker: Do not debate Hon. Muntanga.


Ms Lubezhi: Sir, you will find Fergusson tractors on my farm and not on a runway. This Government should improve if it is going to attract tourism. On page 19, under the Total Revenue and Financing for the 2016 Budget, ...

Mr Mufalali: Kuka zinkala ma ‘hear, hear’ apa manje!

Ms Lubezhi: The company income tax is expected to contribute K3.2 billion to the Budget.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Ms Lubezhi: On the other hand, K7.9 billion will be raised from Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE). All the income taxes put together will make up almost 15 per cent of the National Budget. Why should employees contribute K7.9 billion when the company income tax is only K3.2 billion? Who makes a profit between the companies and employees? How can the Executive say that this is a pro-poor Budget when employees will become poorer by contributing more to the national revenue basket?

Mr Speaker, under 2016 Expenditure by Function, on Page 16, you can see that the allocations for both external and domestic debt interest amount to 20 per cent of K53.1 billion of the National Budget. On the same page, there is also a sinking fund. Where is the money for this fund going to come from? When the economy is not doing fine, are we going to borrow money for a sinking fund? 

Mr Speaker, as I said, I listened carefully to the hon. Minister of Finance’s last Budget Speech. I am still shocked that the people on your right can bring such a Budget to this House. In one of his many pronouncements, the hon. Minister stated that the economic problems we are facing, as a country, are a global trend. How can he say this when the Government is importing contaminated fuel stock to be processed at the Indeni Petroleum Refinery and causing damage to the plant? 


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Thereafter, we have to borrow money to repair the refinery. 

Mr Speaker, why has the Government brought in a fertiliser trader to revamp the Mulungushi Textiles in Kabwe? I would like to thank the Special Assistant to the President for Project Monitoring and Implementation for unearthing this investor who has not come into this country to revamp the textile industry, but trade in fertiliser. 

Mr Speaker, how can the Government claim that our current economic challenges are a global trend when its priorities are misplaced? When His Excellency the President was the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, in his former life, he deported a lot of people, including directors at the Zambezi Portland Cement Limited. However, these directors are back in the country today. So, it is because of such …

Mr Mwila: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Take a seat. Hon. Member for Namwala, I do not think I will encourage you to debate individuals who are not even a subject of this document and Motion. Way still, we have a very well settled convention of not debating people who are not here. They do not have an opportunity to respond to diverse allegations that are made. So, we would rather keep them away from our debates. Instead, you are encouraged to debate issues, policies and so on and so forth, as opposed to events or persons. I am, especially, concerned with debates about persons.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the Government’s flip-flopping on policies has cost this country money. For example, we lost K2.3 billion, last year, because of a poor mining tax regime. This is just one of the things that have caused the National Budget Deficit. However, the hon. Minister of Finance just says that budget deficits are normal. How can he say that when this is putting pressure on the Kwacha, thereby diminishing its purchasing power?

Mr Speaker, what is the global trend about induced by-elections which gobble colossal amounts of money from our Treasury? What is the global trend about appointing commissions of inquiry, whose findings have not been made public because it is known that there is nothing they are doing? The only purpose they served was to create jobs for Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. These are the things that have led to the depleting of resources in our Treasury. So, what do these things have to do with the global economic crisis? 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Higher Education has put learning institutions on indefinite closure just because innocent students and lecturers were asking for their allowances. The Government even went further by sending the police, which is full of PF cadres, to disperse innocent students who were demonstrating peacefully. This resulted in property being damaged. Again, we have to get resources from our strained Treasury to repair this property. With such poor decision-making, can the Government blame our prevailing economic situation on what is happening on the global economic spectrum? 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the Government got a loan of US$250 million to rehabilitate the Kariba Dam and decided to shoulder the liability of this loan alone, and yet we share Kariba Dam with another country. The hon. Minister of Finance comes to tell us that what we are going through is a global trend, and yet we are borrowing unnecessarily to even help other countries.

Mr Speaker, it is very hard for me to commend the hon. Minister of Finance on his fiscal discipline. I talked about the figures in his speech which do not even tally. The clear mismatch between intentions and spending undermines the credibility of the hon. Minister’s Budget Address. At least, one civil servant, even just a clerk in the Ministry of Finance should have shown our colleagues that the figures in the Budget did not tally. 

Mr Speaker, if Zambia was a democratic country, we, probably, would have taken the hon. Minister’s Speech back to the ministry so that it is worked on again and a proper document is brought here later.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, how can we borrow money from India to construct 650 clinics and, then, hire people from India to come and undertake this project? In Namwala, not a single clinic has been constructed since 2011. I am sure the 20 per cent of the Budget allocated for debt servicing also includes the loan we got from India to construct clinics. However, it is unfortunate that we cannot see what we borrowed money for being done. Again, I ask, what do such poor decisions have to do with the current global economic crisis? 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, let me take you back to this expenditure. We have a Government which gives one sector, the road or infrastructure sector, 17 per cent of the K53.1 billion. One department has got 6.6 per cent of the Budget, and yet we are giving the Ministry of Health 4.4 per cent of the Budget. At the end of the day, when a question is asked about where the Bottom Road will join the Livingstone/Lusaka Road, they do not know. So, what feasibility study was done?

Mr Livune: Nothing!

Ms Lubezhi: What is being constructed? Road works are hanging, and yet we are told it is due to global economic meltdown.


Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Are you still debating the Motion?

Ms Lubezhi took her seat.

Mr Speaker: I am just wondering.

Please, continue.

Ms Lubezhi: Yes, Mr Speaker, I am debating the Motion. I was saying 20 per cent of the expenditure is going to one department which deals with roads. When you ask the Government about these roads, for example, at which point the Bottom Road will join the Lusaka/Livingstone Road, they do not know. 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: So, what feasibility study was done? Where is this Bottom Road going to end? Yet, this is a sector which has gobbled 17 per cent of the Budget. Why only the Road Development Agency (RDA)? Is it because it is being administered from State House? We do not know. It is because of such things that people say that Zambia is the most corrupt country. How do you justify one sector getting 20 per cent of the Budget, and yet a full ministry is given 4.4 per cent or 3 per cent.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Yet, Sir, the Ministry of Health is a very important one, as a healthy nation is productive. We can afford to move on potholed roads as long as we are healthy.


Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, there is nothing about the Ministry of Agriculture in this Budget and that is why I was saying it does not instill hope to the farmers in the agriculture sector, the youths and the workers.

Mr Speaker, as I am a person of a few words, …


Ms Lubezhi: … I would like to say I am glad …

Mr Mwale: Few words after talking for fifteen minutes!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Ms Lubezhi: ... that the people of Zambia understand well the political consequences of having an economy like the one we have today. Come 2016, these people (pointing at the Front Bench) will be booted out.

Ms Kapata: Patali!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, I am glad that as the United Party for National Development (UPND), we are vindicated because …

Ms Kapata: Muzalila imwe!

Ms Lubezhi: … each time we debate, they like saying we are bitter. Bitter for what?

Hon. PF Members: Aah!

Ms Lubezhi: Yes we are bitter because they have run down the economy. You do not expect us to be smiling when they have run down the economy.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpundu: Question!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, this 2016 Budget demonstrates the degree of having a Government without a vision.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Vule Mwane.


Mr Lufuma: Thank very much, Mr Speaker…

Mr Mwale: What is vule mwane?

Mr Lufuma: … for granting me this opportunity…

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabompo West, we have lost you …


Mr Speaker: You have stopped speaking the official language.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, it means thank you.

Mr Speaker: Just say thank you. It is simple. That way, it will not be controversial.

You may continue.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I thank you for granting me this opportunity to comment on the speech that was delivered by the hon. Minister for Finance and it was delivered eloquently, I must say.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: We appreciate the delivery of the speech. 

Mr Speaker, as is tradition, allow me to also take time to remember the sad passing of our fifth President, Mr Michael Sata, Hon. Chifita Matafwali and bakulumpe Hon. Humphrey Mwanza. May their souls rest in eternal peace.

Mr Speaker: Again, we have missed you when you use these vernacular words.

Mr Lufuma: It means elderly brother.

Mr Mutelo: Balongo!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, let me, again, join other hon. Members of Parliament in congratulating the three hon. Members of Parliament who found their way into this august House and these are the hon. Member of Parliament for Solwezi West − which other places …?

Mr Mulomba: Lubansenshi!

Mr Lufuma: … from Lubansenshi and Bangweulu. So, welcome to the House and we appreciate your presence here. However, allow me to give special thanks, especially to the electorate from Solwezi West, who I think stood their ground against political machinations and rhetoric which was there to force them into voting for what they did not want to vote for.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: They stood their ground and, I think, they voted with their conscience…

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: … and this is a demonstration of proper democracy. People should vote according to their conscience.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, allow me now to go to the speech which is the main issue I stand here to debate today. I wonder how one would describe Zambia today. I was thinking about this throughout the night and I picked a book which was written by one son of Africa called Chinua Achebe entitled, “Things Fall Apart”. This is how I can best describe the state of the economy in Zambia today.

Mr Speaker, this being the case, you will notice that everything is going wrong. Nothing seems to be going right at all. This is what I have seen. This country, right now, is at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH).


Mr Mutelo: Intensive Care Unit!

Mr Lufuma: It is in intensive care and needs intensive care from those who run the economy.

Mr Speaker, if we take the Kwacha, it has gone bananas.


Mr Mulomba: Completely!

Mr Lufuma: We do not know whether it is coming or going. It is completely out of control and this has repercussions on the economy.

Mr Speaker, the cost of living is slipping away and everybody is complaining about the cost of living, especially when you go into the compounds. No amount of diplomatic persuasion will deter the millers from increasing the price of mealie meal. I do not want to say threats, it is diplomatic persuasion, but it will not work. This has definite repercussions on the lives of our people. Poverty is escalating, if it is not, then, it remains at the same level. 

Mr Speaker, the debt burden is also escalating. Our stock was US$750 million, in 2012, two years later, in 2014, it was US$ 1 billion. In one year, up to 2015, the debt has increased to US$1.2 billion. This is a sign of a sick economy.

Mr Speaker, copper production is going down. Our domestic policies have, probably, forced some of the mining conglomerates to cut down on copper production, as they see no benefit in it. 

Sir, the combination of reduced copper production and other commodity prices is devastating on this economy. The prices of copper were quoted from US$6,000 to US$5,000. This is why we are in this state today.
Mr Speaker, as if these fundamentals were not enough, there is violence on the political scene. It is rife and on the upsurge. Political cadreism is on the rise to the extent that the country now is essentially under cadres. When a cadre sneezes, we catch a cold as politicians.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: Police are scared stiff of cadres. This is what is happening in this country. Whatever cadres say goes. In other words, they are untouchables. This is a serious situation. It has repercussions on the economy. The economy cannot run in this manner and people cannot trust an economy which thrives under a carderistic mentality. It is no wonder that foreign direct investments (FDI) into this country is dwindling. Such are the domestic factors which are causing the dwindling of investments to the extent that our economy is slowly, but surely shrinking.

Mr Speaker, since this economy is shrinking, what remedy is the Government putting in place to ensure that it is buoyant once again? The state of the economy is in an extraordinarily bad mess. As we know, extraordinary circumstances require extra-ordinary solutions.

Mr Shakafuswa: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: In this vein, we expected that the hon. Minister of Finance would come up with an extraordinary Budget to tackle these extra ordinary circumstances. Now, the question to you, hon. Members, especially on the right is: Is this Budget extraordinary? Is it tailored or designed to ensure that it tackles the extra ordinary circumstances?

Hon. UPND Members: No!

Mr Lufuma: If the answer is yes, then, we are home and dry. However, if it is not, then, we are in big problems. My analysis of the Budget is that the gross domestic product (GDP), this year, has been reduced from 7 per cent to 4.5 per cent of the growth rate. Copper production, which was projected at 808,000 metric tonnes, has been cut down to 441,584 metric tonnes. 

Mr Speaker, we know that we are a mono economy and that copper represents 80 per cent of our foreign exchange earnings. In other words, if you nominally subtract, it means that 50 per cent of our ability to earn foreign exchange is gone. 

Sir, this is the situation: we are talking about reduced commodity prices; depreciation of the kwacha; a widening Budget deficit from 4.6 to 6.9 per cent; increased interest rates and a lot of negative fundamentals. A lot of fundamentals are in reverse. As a result of this, we needed a Budget that would address these fundamentals. Unfortunately, I must say that this Budget falls short of addressing these critical areas.

Mr Speaker, these fundamentals being in the negative means that we have curtailed the capacity of our economy to produce a stream of revenues that would support the Budget figure of K53.1 billion that has been put forward. It is not there. Ultimately, this means that the economy will further shrink because there are no extra ordinary measures that have been put in place to do this. 

Mr Speaker, however, I must say that the hon. Minister of Finance attempted to do something about this and on Page 3 of his speech, towards the end of Paragraph19 states that:

“In the long-term, stabilising the exchange rate will require continued diversification of the economy, ...”

This is very good. It is one arm of trying to revamp this economy. The  paragraph further states that:

“ ... building up of foreign exchange reserves and commitment to fiscal consolidation and macro-economic stability.”

Mr Speaker, I think that this is the anchor of this Budget. However, if we analyse it, we find that there is a mention of diversification. Like my colleague from Chipata Central said, diversification has been a song since Independence. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government failed to diversify. The Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) failed to diversify. It has come to the Patriotic Front (PF) and it is also failing to give solutions and direct us towards diversification. So, this song is wearing thin. 

Mr Speaker, we are aware that the MMD left international reserves of K3.6 billion, which was equivalent to three or four months of import cover and this has remained the same.

Mr Speaker, as regards fiscal discipline, the record of the PF is not favourable. There has been no fiscal discipline at all. We have come here, discussed and approved Budgets, but as soon as we left this august House, somebody up there, the powers that be, would start announcing projects that have not even been approved and the hon. Minister of Finance is forced or asked to look for money. 

Now, this is not Uganda where you tell the central bank to print money. So, you have to find money from somewhere and the hon. Minister has to borrow. This is what is increasing our debt stock and this has an effect on the Kwacha depreciation and a lot more other things, including the buoyancy of the economy. The economy is not able to grow.

In essence, what I am trying to demonstrate is that the economic fundamentals are in the negative, and there are no proper instruments that have been put to address this situation. Therefore, the economy will continue to sink or get paralysed.

Mr Speaker, let me now talk about the agriculture sector. Someone said that we should not demonise maize, and I agree that we should not. However, if we want to diversify the agriculture sector, let us move away from concentration on maize. This country has ecological zones, and there is comparative advantage in growing certain crops in certain ecological zones. Let us identify crops to grow in certain zones and the Government should, then, support the production of crops in those specific areas. In that way, we will force the farmers to diversify. They will start growing pineapples, groundnuts and other crops. So long as a particular area supports the growing of certain crops, the Government should try to support farmers to grow those particular crops in those areas. If a farmer is living in an area in which the Government supports the production of groundnuts, but wants to grow maize, which cannot be supported because of the ecological zone, he should grow maize at his own peril. This way, we will ensure that we have a diverse crop portfolio and agriculture sector. 

Mr Speaker, I support the formation of co-operatives, and it is a pity that Chiluba killed them. However, if you properly prop them up, co-operatives will be able to assist this country to progress in agriculture investments. 

Mr Speaker, on the creation of new ministries, let me say that apart from the Ministry of ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, withdraw the word “killed” in that context. Find a suitable substitute. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Slaughter!

Mr Lufuma: Well, maybe, ‘slaughter’ will do, as I have been advised. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

That is equally not acceptable. 

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I will pass.

Mr Speaker: Order!

We need it for the record. We need to straighten the record. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Butchered!


Mr Speaker: Order!

All those are unparliamentary.

Mr Lufuma: Destroyed, maybe.

Mr Speaker: Order!

You can carry on with the debate. 

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I was speaking about the new ministries. I think that it was not necessary to create all those ministries, apart from the Ministry of Development Planning. It was not necessary to create any ministry, at this moment, because we will increase the cost of running the Government, and we are short of the necessary money to invest in areas which will move us to a positive trajectory in terms of economic activities. This should have been thought through and the new ministries should have possibly been cut out of the Budget. 

Mr Speaker, the introduction of new universities was not necessary. If there are any higher institutions of learning that are supposed to be introduced, it is technical colleges. This is because that is where you train artisans and technicians who are the basis of increasing production in the country. That is what we need. We do not need lawyers. At this stage, we do not need accountants ...

Mr Mwiimbu: Aah!

Mr Lufuma: Sorry, my brother.


Mr Lufuma: Let me qualify that statement. We do not need these accountants as much as we need the artisans and technicians. There are a lot more areas which I would have talked about, but I will end here.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the 2016 Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance. 

Mr Speaker, by and large, I went to village schools. Later, I started looking after cattle, which I still do. In the process of looking after cattle, I picked up some common sense economics. Every time classroom economics fail me, I quickly go back to my common sense economics. Therefore, in debating this last Budget Address, under the Patriotic Front (PF), for this particular Parliament, allow me to use my village common sense economics. 

Mr Speaker, it is a known fact that, as a country, we are going through economic difficulties. The economy is not moving in the direction that we thought it ought to have. Therefore, my expectation from the hon. Minister of Finance regarding the 2016 Budget was that he would come up with measures that were very specific to address the economic challenges of our time. According to my common sense economics, I think that if you have a serious challenge, there are only two possible ways of confronting it. You can increase your capacity to deal with the challenge you are going through or suppress and diminish it. In this vein, I suppose that the reason I developed cracked feet when I was in the village was because I did not have shoes to withstand the cold.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, unfortunately, in this Budget, I have not seen any of these two or a combination of both ways of dealing with a challenge. To the contrary, what is appearing in this Budget is what has always appeared in every Budget that has been presented under the PF. There is nothing new that suggests that we are going through an economic situation that requires us to implement measures that can increase our capacity, as a country, to withstand these economic problems. We have seen measures in this Budget that have failed us in the past. For example, let me pick the case of infrastructure. In this Budget, we have heard the same old story about completing the construction of universities, colleges and roads. Construction of roads has not been modelled around areas where we can easily have economic gains in the medium to long-term periods. Those of us that represent rural constituencies are now asking the question: Which one should have come first, creating capacity for our people to withstand the economic hardships that we have now or to continue developing infrastructure like roads, which can only carry poverty from one village to the next?


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I have perused through this Budget, and I think that for a constituency like mine, what would have made sense is what has been said so many times before, but has never been implemented. There are very simple and straightforward economic measures that can change the livelihood of our people. Let me pick the case of livestock. Constructing of earth dams, dip tanks and access roads would have lead to the improvement in livestock production. We, in the Opposition, have asked the Government, many times in the past four years, to construct these things for the livestock sector, but none of that has been done. I come from Choma District, which is by and large, an agriculture district. In four years, the Government has not constructed a dip tank or earth dam, but it keeps talking about diversifying the economy. The Government is not telling the truth. I want to go further to say that diversifying from maize to other crops does not mean that we have to completely do away with maize. It means that we should just move to an additional sector to improve the economy.  

Mr Speaker, those of us who represent rural constituencies have difficulty understanding this Budget. For example, I have looked at the tax incentives or concessions in this Budget. I have noted that excise duty on clear beer has been reduced. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mwiimbu: Where are we going on Saturday?


Mr Speaker: Order! 

Mr Belemu: How about those that take opaque beer? 

Mr Milambo: Kachasu!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I could have declared interest, but I will not because this is the last time that I am debating this Budget. We could have gone for areas that would bring us returns in rural areas. This Budget, like the previous ones, under the PF, has failed us in terms of rural development. You could have picked a rural constituency and asked yourselves what you could put in the Budget to develop it. What have you put in this Budget for the economic livelihoods of our people? There is almost nothing. 

Mr Speaker, in agriculture, the Irrigation Development Support Programme that this Government intends to embark on in the different areas is commercial. It is not too late to put up earth dams and dip tanks and re-arrange the marketing system for various products that come out of rural areas. 

Mr Speaker, in the Budget, there is the Industrial Policy and Strategy. If we took statistics about what we understand by industrial policy under the PF and its strategy thereof, we would have varied answers, if at all people are aware or know where and what this strategy is all about. As far as I am concerned, putting a solar hammer mill in a rural area cannot equate to implementing an industrial strategy for that rural area. 

Sir, we have been told that the theme for this Budget is “Fiscal Consolidation to Safeguard Our Past Achievements and Share a Prosperous Future for All.” I think that a theme must really be a theme, as opposed to mere words or a statement. When I go through this Budget, there is nothing that is safeguarding our past achievements. 

Mr Nkombo interjected.

Mr Belemu: As I am being reminded, if at all those gains are there. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to move on to particular sectors. In the tourism sector, some effort was being made at some point, as a carry over from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy’s (MMD) work, to develop and open up new areas for the purposes of tourism development. Those areas are not a priority and are no longer emphasised in this Budget. I can pick an example of the Northern Circuit where public funds went in to develop and open up the Kasaba Bay Airport and road infrastructure. When I read through this Budget, however, these efforts have diminished. It is worrying when, for three consecutive years, public resources are being pumped into a project, and from nowhere, it is cut off before the process ends.

Now, we are being told that even the headquarters of the Zambia Tourism Board will be based in Livingstone, and yet you are talking about opening up new areas for tourism, other than Livingstone. You are going back to re-emphasise the same area. What would have been preferable for Livingstone is a university that specialises in tourism and hospitality, as opposed to shifting fifteen members of staff, who just sit there, for what?

Mr Mukata: On a point of order!  

Ms Kapata interjected. 

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I have said this before and I want to be consistent. We have talked about diversification in the tourism sector, but what evidence is there, on the ground, to show that we are trying to diversify? Like I indicated before, the provision and investment in the Budget is going to waste because whatever was invested has stalled. Investment has not moved from where it was left off by the MMD. 

Sir, I have also said before that you cannot hope to develop and diversify the tourism sector without developing a tourism master plan. How do you run a sector without a master plan? Other sectors can be run like that but, for tourism, a master plan is important. Therefore, there should have been practical evidence in this Budget to show that the Government wants to diversify from copper mining and agriculture into tourism by practically emphasising them in this particular Budget for 2016. I think that there is a need to rethink the terms that we use in the Budget. 

Mr Speaker, there are other issues within the tourism sector such as the cost structure. What the end product will be in terms of cost and value is related to how a particular sector is structured. When I go through this Budget, there is no evidence that there has been an attempt to attend to the cost structure in the tourism sector that ultimately translates into what value is gotten out of there, and the cost which is eventually passed on to consumers. 

Sir, His Excellency the President talked about embracing a transformational culture where we need to change the way we think, behave and do things. I thought that this Budget would speak to that. On the contrary, I keep seeing the same things.

 Mr Speaker, mining is another sector that is going through difficulties at the moment. I would have loved to hear very practical steps that are being taken regarding this sector. We have seen hon. Ministers going to talk to the owners of the mines because people’s jobs are being threatened. This should have been in the practical steps that you want to put in place. 

Over the years, we have restricted ourselves to mining. We have resigned ourselves to simply mining the copper or whatever mineral, bringing it to the surface and not care about where it goes or what happens to it. Under the wisdom of Dr Kenneth Kaunda, there was the Metal Marketing Corporation of Zambia (MEMACO), which followed our products up the market. 

Now, we are being told that the reason copper prices have slumped is because the Chinese economy has lowered the demand for the price of the commodity. If you ask anyone in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development or in the Ministry of Finance to be realistic about the price of the minerals coming out of this country, we will have varied answers. This is because, as a country, we have restricted ourselves to sending our miners down to the pits to mine the copper or whatever mineral, bring it up to the surface and, then, we forget about what happens next. I want to challenge the Ministry of Finance that if we are to be serious about the mining sector, we will need measures that will address the problems or impending problems that we have, as opposed to firefighting every time. When we hear that people are about to be laid off or a problem is looming, that is when we rush there. 

Sir, I am not satisfied with this Budget. I wish that it had addressed the challenges that we are going through today and focused on the various issues and problems that our people on the ground are genuinely going through. Most of what appears to be incentives in this Budget are not speaking to the needs of the people that I represent in Mbabala. One issue is that of property transfer tax. We have no houses to transfer in Mbabala which warrant tax. 


Mr Belemu: This goes for so many areas being represented in this House. If a person shifts, he or she simply demolishes the house to move.  


Mr Belemu: If that person dies, the house is left there to collapse. 

Mr Milambo: On its own! 

Mr Belemu: So, who was this Budget meant for?  

Mr Speaker, we talk about figures of poverty levels which are around 80 per cent of the population in this country. Who are the majority? Is it the elite or the poor? The poor are the majority. If 80 per cent of the population is the poor and 20 per cent the elite, who have properties to transfer to each other, the poor will be able to fight and defeat the elite.  


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, where I come from, how many people drink the clear beer that has been favoured in this Budget?


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, we shall deal with them, next year, with our opaque beer which we make using our own village industries.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, they should keep favouring themselves and we will be watching them. In my language, we say, “matako mpe lubilo.” This means that this coming weekend, I will be rushing to the village to tell the people that they have not been considered in this 2016 Budget. I will tell them to find alternative ways of dealing with their problems.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, it is not right for us to approve Budgets that only favour about 20 per cent of the people in this country. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, let me talk about the issue of labour or work permits. In this country, we do not even have records of people’s professions or qualifications. That is why we keep seeing more permits being approved using security arrangements instead of us using our own labour force in the country. If you go to most of the companies in this country, you will find that they have employed expatriates for jobs that our Zambian people can do. This means that we do not have records of qualifications that our people hold in this country. We are, instead, trying to build other people’s professional capacities. Where does the money that expatriates earn go? It goes to the countries where they come from. These days, you will find that a very simple activity such as borehole drilling is only done by expatriates and ,I assume, they have work permits from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Ms Lubezhi: Correct!  

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, every form of company that is opening in this country has to employ an expatriate. Fifty years after independence, do you think there is no Zambian who can sink a borehole or install a hand pump in this country? Do we need an expatriate to do that kind of job? 

Mr Nkombo interjected.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance talked about the Bureau of Standards. The Kwacha is now under pressure. In this regard, you will find that the quality of goods that we have in our shops are substandard. If you bought a suit to be worn during the Official Opening of Parliament, by the time the hon. Minister of Finance would be coming to present the Budget Address to this House, that suit would need a replacement. 


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, consequently, people are buying the same shirts almost on a weekly basis just so that they can look smart. 


Mr Belemu: Sir, as a result, you will find that we are spending more money on importing such kind of goods. Most of the products that we have in our shops are meant to last for a very short period. So, where is the emphasis on the Bureau of Standards? 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to state that this Budget is a disappointment. As I said, I am going to talk to the people that I represent in my language. When I translate this Budget into my language, they will understand it better. This simply means voting PF out next year.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!


The Minister of Works and Supply, Chief Whip, and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1740 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 14th October, 2015.