Debates - Wednesday, 14th October, 2015

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Wednesday, 14th October, 2015

The House met at 1400 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: I wish to inform the House that in accordance with the provisions of Standing Order No.131, the Standing Orders Committee has made changes to the composition of some of the Committees, following the appointment of Mr K. Simbao, MP and Mr L. Sichalwe, MP, as hon. Cabinet Minister and hon. Deputy Minister respectively:

    Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs (1)

Mr L. Evans, MP, will replace Mr L. Sichalwe, MP.

Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply (1)

Mr M. Kapeya, MP, will replace Mr K. Simbao, MP.

Thank you.


Mr Speaker: As part of the activities to commemorate Zambia’s 51st Independence Anniversary, the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development is organising some sporting events. The National Assembly of Zambia has joined the Ministry of Youth and Sport in celebrating the 2015 Independence Anniversary.  In this regard, football and netball matches will be played between the Diplomats accredited to Zambia and hon. Members of Parliament.

The matches will be played on Friday, 23rd October, 2015 at 1400 hours at the Olympic Youth Development Centre.

Hon. Members from both the football and netball teams are urged to take these games seriously. Accordingly, a training programme has been prepared, starting on Friday, 16th October, 2015, at the Zamsure Sports Complex at 1500 hours.

I, therefore, urge the captains for the football and netball teams to prepare the players adequately.

 Thank you.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for granting me this opportunity to issue a ministerial statement to this august House on the leakage of the President’s Speech for the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly. This follows a point of order raised by the Member for Chadiza, Hon. Allan Mbewe, on the Floor of this House, on 22nd September, 2015.

 Sir, the leakage of classified information in Government institutions is of great concern and is a really saddening situation. You may wish to note that public officers in ministries, provinces and other spending agencies shoulder a heavy responsibility of looking after the welfare of the people of Zambia by helping to maintain the security of the nation. This is done by, among other things, keeping all the information and documents relating to Government operations, negotiations and decisions in safe custody. Public officers are bound by the provisions of the document on Security Instructions which outlines the guidelines on the practical steps to be taken by public officers in order to ensure that classified information is not disclosed to unauthorised persons.

 Mr Speaker, the State Security Act, which is imbedded in the Security Instructions for Government ministries, is an important piece of legislation on issues of National Security. The Act states that it is the duty of Permanent Secretaries (PS) and Chief Executives to ensure that the contents of the State Security Act are brought to the attention of all public officers under their charge.

There is actually a Declaration of Secrecy in the Act which all public officers on first appointment and officers having access to highly classified documents are required to sign.

Sir, the provisions of the Act, which makes it a clear offence to leak information, states that:

“Any person who has, in his possession or under his control, any code, password or sketch or other documents which relate to or is used in a protected place … or which has been made or obtained in contravention of this Act … or entrusted in confidence to him by any person holding office under Government … or which he has had access to owing to his position as a person who has held office … or party to a contract with Government, and who:  

“(a)    uses the same in any manner or for any purpose prejudicial to the safety or interest of the Republic;

(b)    communicates the same to any person other than a person to whom he is authorised to communicate it;

(c)    fails to take proper care of, or so conducts himself as to endanger the safety of the same;

(d)    retains the sketch plan, model, note, document or article in his possession or under his control when he has no right or when it is contrary to his duty to do so ...

“shall be guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than fifteen years, but not exceeding twenty five years.”

Mr Speaker, as you can see, State secrecy should not be taken lightly, both by public officers and those who are in a habit of fishing for highly-classified information. It is regrettable to note that there are some officers who are not adhering to the standard operating guidelines regulating the flow of information. This non-adherence to guidelines could explain the leakage of classified information to unauthorised parties.

Sir, the leakage of the President’s Speech for the Official Opening of the Fifth Session of the Eleventh National Assembly is a very unfortunate occurrence. Consequently, the Government has taken the matter very seriously. I wish to inform this august House that the Government security and the investigative wings instituted investigations into the said leakage. The outcome of these investigations will be revealed to the nation in due course. I will, therefore, not divulge any further details on this matter at this stage.

Mr Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to remind all public officers of the need to abide by the provisions of the Security Instructions Document for Government ministries as well as the Declaration of Secrecy that they signed when they joined the Public Service. To those who are in the habit of shipping classified information to unauthorised parties, your actions will not be taken lightly. Serious remedial action will be taken against any erring officers. I am also serving notice to the recipients of such information that they, too, are not free from prosecution, if found wanting, in accordance with the provision of the State Security Act.

Sir, more importantly, I would like to instill the spirit of patriotism in all the Zambian people. Let us all be proud Zambians and safeguard the interest of the leadership and the entire country. Zambia is our home, and we all have a duty to make it a safe and comfortable place to live in. We must remember that there is no home without variance in opinions, but we should not publicly ridicule and embarrass our country’s leadership and ourselves by being inconsiderate to safety and security rules. Every nation, home and person should enjoy their confidentiality within the confines of the law.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning laid the paper on the Table.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning for a well elaborated speech. From what I have heard, this issue is still hanging. The Government has not come out clearly on what really happened. Is the Government going to come back to this House and tell us what exactly happened and who the culprits are?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I believe that the hon. Member was listening attentively to what I was saying. I said that the State investigative wings are still investigating this matter, and that the nation will be informed when the investigations have been completed. At the moment, I cannot say much on it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: As we continue, let me provide some guidance so that we avoid repetitions. I am going through a circuit fashion. Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has indicated that this matter is under investigation. So, questions that relate to the issue of investigations are not likely to yield anything. This is not to suggest that you are not entitled to asking questions. Just bear that in mind as you pose your questions.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I thank Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning for that clear statement. However, notwithstanding what she has stated, I would like to know when the Access to Information Bill will be brought to this House so that matters that would not be covered under the State Security Act can be shared with this House and the nation to improve or foster good governance.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I would suggest that the hon. Member files in a question regarding the Access to Information Bill. The hon. Minister of Justice is here to respond to that.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like you to take judicial notice that the courts of Zambia have made very clear pronouncements pertaining to what constitutes classified information and State secrets. Not everything that is marked “secret” or “classified” falls in the ambit of the law that her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning is trying to tell the nation may have been breached.

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: The document that was the subject of the point of order raised by the hon. Member for Chadiza was not marked “secret”, “confidential” or “classified”. It was a speech to be given to this House by the President. 

Mr Speaker: What is your question?

Mr Mwiimbu: I am coming to that, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu: It was merely circulated to members of the public through the media. How does Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning now tell the nation that this was a State secret or classified document …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Mwiimbu: … that should not have been leaked by those who are purported to have done so?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the document was embargoed until presentation to Parliament. As such, it was a confidential document.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning mentioned that officers who are joining the Civil Service are made to sign the Declaration of Secrecy. I remember that when I joined the Civil Service as a fresh graduate, some officers from the Office of the President made some presentations on how important it was to keep State secrets and confidential issues in the Civil Service. Is the Government considering reintroducing that induction programme?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) considers the maintenance of security issues by public workers cardinal. As such, any civil servant who joins the Public Service has to sign the Declaration of Secrecy. So, this is still happening. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, in 1991, a similar series of events happened towards the end of Dr Kenneth Kaunda’s rule, under the United National Independence Party (UNIP), when documents of a security nature and those which were embargoed leaked to the public. Is the Government now settled with the idea that it has been infiltrated and, as such, there are people who will be giving us information on what the Executive is doing in order to weaken it further?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, no matter how solid a government is, there are always criminal elements that want to bring it down. So, this is not a peculiar to Zambia, as it happens in other countries.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, my question has been pre-emptied by the question by the hon. Member for Monze Central.




109.    Mr I. Banda (Lumezi) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    how many councils countrywide were up to date with the payment of councillors’ allowances as of August, 2015; and

(b)    when the Government would facilitate the payment of all outstanding allowances.


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

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, as at 31st August, 2015, forty-two out of the 103 councils were up to date with the payment of councillors’ allowances. The payment of councillors’ allowances is the responsibility of individual councils. However, the ministry is aware that the newly-created councils and some old ones have no capacity to pay the allowances. I want to encourage councils to improve on their revenue collection and increase their revenue base.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr I. Banda: Mr Speaker, there is about one-and-half years before the dissolution of councils and Parliament.


Mr I. Banda: Sorry, it is less than a year.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr I. Banda: Does the hon. Minister not think that some councils will still owe councillors their allowances after their dissolution? When is this debt to some councillors going to be cleared?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, we are aware of the institutional set-ups that are dissolved at the end of the term of office of the Government. Therefore, we shall be ready to meet that challenge.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that only forty-two councils have managed to fulfill that obligation. He has actually admitted that the ministry is aware of the challenges that small councils are faced with. He also advised the councils to improve on their revenue collection. As the parent ministry, what measures have been put in place to enable small councils pay councillors’ allowances?

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for the follow-up question but, if he followed the response to part (b) of the Question, he would have heard that the responsibility to pay councillors’ allowances lies with the councils.

Mr Speaker, until all of us, as elected councillors, stop abdicating the responsibility of making the councils viable and self sustainable, this situation will not change. 

Mr Speaker, I would liken the composition of elected councillors and Members of Parliament to a board of a company. The board provides direction to a company.


Mr Kampyongo: I want us to be clear. 

Mr Speaker, it is shocking that most of the councils that have the potential to generate revenue are on the list of councils that are failing to pay allowances and are in arrears. For instance, why should a council such as Mpika, which has the potential to grow or a council like Monze, with so much development going on in the district, fail to collect revenue?

Mr Speaker, there is no council that can prove that it has a valuation roll. These are some of the ventures that councils need to undertake for them to be self-sustaining. Sometimes, councils fail to embark on some income-generating ventures because people have been made to believe that they are not supposed to meet certain obligations. The infrastructure that is coming up in the two districts that I mentioned ealier, that is, Monze and Mpika, should enable them to generate revenue, but here we are still looking up to the Central Government for money to pay expenses for councils.

Mr Speaker, the responsibility lies with all of us here. Since we are part of the councils, we should provide direction to the councils to start generating revenue.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, …

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Hammer!

Mr Muchima: … a few weeks ago,…

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, my point of order is not on the hon. Minister answering questions.

Mr Speaker: I sensed so. That is why I allowed you to raise your point of order.


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, Presidents, Cabinet Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Members of Parliament and councillors are national assets. Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to allow one of his Deputy Ministers to be harassed in broad day light by some Patriotic Front (PF) cadres and nothing at all is done about it, thereby threatening the security of all Zambians.


Hon. UPND Members: Mention him!

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, if we cannot protect the President, Cabinet Ministers and Deputy Ministers from PF cadres, what would happen to the rest of the country?


Mr Mutelo: The hon. Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport was about to grace a ground-breaking ceremony only to be chased by cadres.


Mr Mwiimbu: And he ran away?

Mr Mutelo: He did.


Mr Mutelo: Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to allow PF cadres to behave in that manner?

I seek your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I will allow the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to update the House on that issue before the expiry of the week.

The hon. Member for Ikeleng’i can continue.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, before that point of order, I was saying that a few weeks ago, there was an inquiry on whether we, hon. Members of Parliament, who are also councillors, are entitled to councillors’ allowances. My question is: Are Members of Parliament also entitled to these allowances? If they are, have you been paying them?

Mr Nkombo: Anyone!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, each council has a way of paying councillors when they converge for meetings. This depends on the distances covered by councillors to attend meetings and other expenses. As things stand, hon. Members of Parliament are councillors. So, they are entitled to the allowance. I know of some hon. Members of Parliament who have chosen not to get the allowances despite being entitled. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mpundu: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Pande: … the responsibility to pay the allowances lies with the councillors who include hon. Members of Parliament, but I recall that the increment in the allowances was awarded by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. If the responsibility to pay the allowances lies with the respective councils, why did the ministry increase the allowances without liaising with the councils that have the ability to pay?
Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the ministry is the overseer of the councils. So, when there is a request to look at the welfare of councillors, there is a role which the ministry plays. However, each council incurs costs. Allowances for councillors are just one of the expenses that councils incur. 

Sir, councils and councillors are the ones who approve income-generating ventures, through sub-committees, which are meant to generate revenue for the councils. So, it is from the revenue that is generated by the councils that money should be drawn for expenses such as allowances. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, since councils are faced with the challenge of revenue collection and the money that is supposed to be used to pay allowances for councillors is diverted to other uses because the grants from the ministry come late or are not paid, what is being done to ensure that the payment of grants to the councils is up to date?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we are pleased that the hon. Minister of Finance increased the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF), which is meant to build capacity in councils, by 22 per cent in the Budget. So, that is the money we intend to use to meet some of the challenges the councils are faced with. I wish to emphasise that councils should start thinking outside the box. We should start generating revenue from the ventures that are available in our localities. 

Mr Speaker, why should councils only raise revenue from land premiums, ignoring the value of the properties? The Valuation Department in the ministry should help councils come up with valuation rolls so that they start generating revenue from some properties that are in their localities.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to state that I am privileged to have worked in the local authorities for more than twenty-five years. The hon. Minister may not be aware that there is no council in the world – I repeat – there is no council in the world that does not survive on Government grants. There is none whatsoever. If he is not aware, let him take note of that.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that when this House realised that councils were not in a position to pay workers’ salaries, it passed a law that transferred this responsibility to the Central Government. If he is aware, why can he not move a law, through the support of the hon. Minister of Finance, to ensure that councillors, who are performing Government duties like us, are also paid under the Government Vote?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we appreciate that the hon. Member, like Hon. Chenda and Hon. Kazabu, has worked in the council for many years. They will also agree with me that councils of those days are different from those of nowadays. That is why people have lost confidence in councils. I totally agree that most councils cannot survive without Government assistance. That is the reason we have grants such as the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) that has been mentioned in the Budget Speech by the hon. Minister of Finance. 

Mr Speaker, councils should be able to generate revenue. I am sure that the hon. Member agrees with this. Therefore, in as much as the Government will pitch in and help the councils, the councils should also start generating revenue using the numerous available avenues.

Sir, we shall not stop supporting councils. However, councils should start thinking outside the box. There are many services such as land allocation, that they should provide to the people. It is unfortunate that some councillors, out of desperation, have opted to go into illegalities. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the creation of valuation rolls requires money, expertise and time. Many councils do not have the expertise or money. Therefore, this becomes a vicious cycle. Can the hon. Minister consider making a one-off disbursement to the councils for them to carry out valuation rolls which will subsequently capacitate them to generate more revenue? The hon. Minister has emphasised that councils should raise their own funds. However, I do not see how they can embark on this important income-generating venture without any capital injection.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that progressive suggestion. Yes, the creation of the valuation roll is a costly venture. However, this should be looked at as a business undertaking. It can even be a bankable business venture. For example, a council can go to a bank with a proposal, showing the money expected to be raised at the end of the exercise. This is one of the routes that can be taken. Nonetheless, I take on the hon. Member’s suggestion and will see how we can find resources to help councils undertake this exercise.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, we know that some small councils in rural areas were only established recently without much planning or thinking. Their creation was a result of a pronouncement like when God said: “Let there be light, and there was light.”


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, this can be likened to a situation where somebody is not ready to marry, but someone brings him a bride and asks him to pay the bride price. Since he was not ready, should the person who is bringing the bride not pay the bride price? 

Sir, this analogy is on the Government. It created councils like Limulunga and Mwandi which are housed in the royal establishment while their administrative offices are being built. As regards the suggestion that councils think outside the box, how are they going to think outside the box in this situation? Should the Government not be sympathetic towards councils like Mwandi, Limulunga, Nalolo and others for their lack of capacity and give them some inducement?

Mr Speaker: I am getting concerned that we seem to be repeating the same issues..

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, if, as a country, we followed this path, I do not think that Zambia would have been where it is today. The hon. Member is concerned about the creation of new districts, which is well premised in the hands of the President. The population has grown and we must take governance closer to the people. The only way we can do this is by taking institutions of governance closer to the people. There cannot be any other way of doing this than creating districts. I am sure that the hon. Member knows how people appreciate the decision by the Government to increase the number of districts.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, this is a responsible Government. The constituencies in which the new districts are have had the infrastructure befitting new districts built. So, it is not like the Government is creating new districts and not doing anything thereafter. All those who are from newly-created districts can attest to the fact that the Government is building the necessary infrastructure in the newly-created districts.

Mr Speaker, I know that his question was unrelated to the main question, but I needed to provide a response.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, ...

Ms Imenda: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Are you trying to raise a point of order on the hon. Minister? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!
Ms Imenda: Yes, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

I am not allowing it. 

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, he has not answered my question. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

I said I am not allowing it. 

The hon. Member for Kalomo Central may continue.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, in response to part (b) of the Question, the hon. Minister said that the Government cannot assist rural councils to pay councillors’ allowances because that responsibility hinges on the councils. He also admitted that the Government is responsible for employing council workers through the Local Government Service Commission and that the Government is paying wages and salaries for people in big councils such as Kitwe City Council. What is stopping the Government from facilitating the payment of outstanding allowances for councillors, when the Government made the decision that councillors should be paid allowances? What is the problem? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I have failed to pick the gist of the question by the hon. Member for Kalomo Central. However, if he had followed the hon. Deputy Minister’s response, he would have heard that the payment of councillors’ allowances is the responsibility of individual councils. However, the ministry is aware that the newly-created councils and some old councils have no capacity to pay the allowances. The hon. Deputy Minister further encouraged councils to improve on revenue collection and increase their local revenue base. I also explained some of the measures the ministry has put in place to try and overcome the challenges that the councils are faced with. So, I do not understand where the hon. Member’s question is coming from. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

I am saying this for the second time. We are repeating these issues. I am tempted to move to the next question. I have been providing guidance, but with no success. The hon. Minister has referred to two issues. The first one relates to the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF), which is a Government intervention to supplement councils. Secondly, he has belaboured the point that the councils find ways and means of improving their revenue base. So, we are going round in circles. You are asking him, “Can the Government help the councils?” He is also saying, “Yes, there is the LGEF, but you, as councillors, should also do your bit. Bring innovation in the councils. There is a lot of potential within the councils which you should exploit.” That is the debate we are going around. We are not getting out of this box. 

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka (Central): Mr Speaker, I am sure the hon. Minister is aware that this House passed legislation which protects the local authorities from having court orders executed against them. This was in recognition of their lack of capacity to meet certain obligations. If my memory serves me right, a similar legislation was passed for the Tanzania-Zambia Mafuta Pipeline (TAZAMA). Since the hon. Minister said that there are many avenues that councils can use to generate income, when is he going to come to this House with a Bill to repeal that legislation so that court orders can be executed against local authorities?  

Mr Speaker, secondly, ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Only one question is allowed.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, my second question relates to capacity in councils. The Patriotic Front (PF) has inadvertently been employing legal officers without qualifications. Some people think that they are cadres.  Mazabuka District Council employed twelve firemen when there is no fire engine. How does the hon. Minister reconcile the fact that the council has no capacity to pay allowances with that of the employment of twelve fire fighters when it has no fire engine?  How does he expect the council without capacity to pay allowances? 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Look at Question 109. In part (a), it says: How many councils countrywide were up to date with the payment of councillors’ allowances as of August, 2015? Part (b) says: When will the Government facilitate the payment of all outstanding allowances? The two questions you have asked are unrelated to the main question. 

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that councils should generate revenue to pay allowances. He also said that almost all councils are failing to generate revenue and pay allowances. Since the buck stops at the Central Government, it is totally responsible for everything. Can the hon. Minister explain the Government’s policy in view of the fact that the councils are failing to raise revenue? What is the Government’s stance on this? We have to do something about it. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I think that your guidance has been clear. I have already responded to the question the hon. Member has asked. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that only forty-two out of 103 councils are up to date with the payment of allowances for councillors. How many of the forty-two councils are in the newly-created districts? 

Mr Speaker: Order!

That sounds like a new question but, if the hon. Minister has information at his fingertips, he can supply it.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member had cared to follow our responses, he would have learnt that most of the councils that are failing to pay allowances are in the new districts. Those that are up to date are able to generate revenue.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, the revenue base for councils has severely shrunk. As a result, they have been burdened with the monthly allowances that they have to pay councillors.  

Mr Speaker, before the introduction of the allowances, councils were failing to pay sitting and subsistence allowances. Hon. Minister, do you still maintain that the allowance that you have introduced is necessary? Further, since you are saying that councils should bear the responsibility of paying the allowances, as a ministry, what punitive measures will you take against councils that fail to pay the monthly allowance? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member for Sinda that it has been difficult for some councils to generate revenue. This is why the Central Government decided to lessen the burden by taking up the responsibly of paying employees in Divisions I, II and III. 

I do not think that we should be talking about punitive measures. What I am saying was echoed by Mr Speaker. Let us be innovative. It should not be business as usual. Councils should start thinking outside the box. They have pieces of land that they can identify and put to good use. They can value the pieces of land, especially when people build properties on them, so as to generate revenue other than the premiums from land rates. So, we should be discussing such innovations and not punitive measures that should be taken against councils that fail to pay. 

I thank you, Sir. 


110. Mr Mufalali asked the Minister of Works and Supply: 

(a)    when the construction of the road from M10 in Maziba area to Chief Mwanamwalye in Senanga District would commence; and

(b)    what had caused the delay in commencing the project.
The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the road from M10 to Chief Mwanamwalye will be included in the 2017 Road Sector Annual Work Plan for consideration. As such, the Road Development Agency (RDA), through the Regional Manager for the Western Province, will conduct a condition assessment to ascertain the scope of works and estimate the cost. 

Mr Speaker, there has not been any delay, as works have not yet been captured in any road sector work plan. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister when the Road Development Agency (RDA) will conduct the condition assessment. 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, annual work plans are normally prepared mid-year. As such, we hope that the condition assessment will be carried out before then. 

I thank you, Sir. 


111. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing what measures the Government had taken to ensure that adequate car-parking spaces are created in the city of Lusaka. 

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Ching’imbu): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that my ministry is engaging a consultant to carry out a feasibility study to come up with short-term solutions to the traffic congestion in the city of Lusaka. The scope of works for the consultancy services is to design lanes dedicated to buses, make improvements to the junctions and design multi-storey parking in the central business district (CBD).
Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Lusaka City Council, intends to introduce a mass bus transit system that will attract more people to ride on public buses in order to reduce on the use of personal vehicles in the central business district. This is expected to free parking space in the CBD. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if the space, which was created along Lumumba Road, might also be used for parking. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am not sure which part of Lumumba Road the hon. Member is referring to. If he is referring to the paved part, it is not meant for parking. It is meant for shelters for street entrepreneurs, popularly known as street vendors, so that they can have a decent place to trade from. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, the issue of parking in Lusaka is of great concern. Some years back, some investors wanted to construct parking space in Lusaka but, as usual, there was inertia on the part of the Government and the council. I am not referring to the Patriotic Front (PF) Government alone but also the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). The project has not taken off, and yet the number of vehicles has continued to increase. 

Hon. Minister, are there any plans to get into public-private partnerships (PPPs) so that people who have money can put up parking spaces as is done in other countries like China? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, that is what we meant when we said that we have engaged a consultant to re-design some parts of the CBD of Lusaka. We intend to bring private players to help us put up parking spaces. A classic example is what you have seen at the former Zambia National Building Society where a parking lot has been designed to accommodate more than 1,000 vehicles. This is what we want to see in future. As the hon. Deputy Minister said, we are looking at creating lanes to smooth out the flow of traffic. The city centre is overwhelmed with the size of the traffic. 

I thank you, Sir. 

 Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out if the hon. Minister is planning to introduce a system where only a number of vehicles is allowed into the city on special days so as to reduce the heavy traffic and encourage people to use buses. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the response by the hon. Deputy Minister indicated some of the measures we have come up with in order to attract people to use public transport into to the central business district (CBD). This is done in most developed cities. People would rather use public transport or cycle. We are also looking at the possibility of designing some cycling tracks for those that would like to cycle into the CBD. So, yes, this is one of the options that we are looking at and it is a progressive one. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, since I am not a jealous person, I will congratulate my colleague, the hon. Minister, on his promotion.  

Hon. Members: Which one?

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate Hon. Kampyongo and Hon. Monde on their appointments. 

Hon. Monde: Thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu: Sir, there is a new phenomenon now that …

Hon. Government Members: Also Hon. Simbao!

Mr Chipungu: Yes, I also want to congratulate Hon. Simbao. 


Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: You are jealous!

Mr Chipungu: I am not jealous.

Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, there is a pavement that has been constructed from the Main Post Office up to Financial Development Corporation (FINDECO) House along Cairo Road. It is now a common site to see motor vehicles parked along the pavement which is meant for flowers. Is it alright to do that? If it is not, what is the council doing about it? Is the Government getting any revenue from that kind of parking?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, the Government is concerned about what is happening in the Central Business District (CBD) of Lusaka. The hon. Member may recall that when Cairo Road was designed, there were, probably, 200 vehicles in Lusaka or less. Now, there are thousands of motor vehicles using the same road. Parking in wrong places is not acceptable. However, it will continue because the road network has been overwhelmed and people still want to go into the CBD. The purpose of engaging a consultant is to look at possibilities of re-designing all the parking lots and roads in the CBD. When the consultant finishes his work, we shall see how we can quickly deal with the challenge which the hon. Member has referred to.

I thank you, Sir.


112.    Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to expand Itemba Police Post in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency;

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

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

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has no immediate plans to expand Itemba Police Post in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency.

I thank you, Sir.  

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, yesterday, the hon. Minister failed the people of Mungo Lukuta by giving them the same answer he has given the people of Itemba. Why does the Government not have a heart for the people of Itemba and Mungo Lukuta?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, yesterday, you guided the House that we should not make bad remarks on our colleagues. My brother has been an hon. Member of Parliament and Secretary-General for the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) for a long time. All these things should have been done when they were in power.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, you have rightly recalled what I said yesterday. Once you assume office, you take responsibility. Whether your predecessors discharged their responsibilities to the expectation of the electorate or the public is neither here nor there. 

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, yesterday, we said that we were building a police post. We further said that we were going to give the police officers bicycles to use to patrol the areas in that constituency. 

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, when answering questions, the hon. Deputy Minister has a tendency of …

Mr Speaker: What is your question?


Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, why has the hon. Deputy Minister got a tendency of …

Mr Speaker: No! 

We are not proceeding that way. It is either you have a question …
Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, it is a question.

Mr Speaker: Not of that character, hon. Member for Gwembe. You have to ask a follow-up question. If you do not have any, but you have other issues, this is not the right avenue.  

Mr Ntundu: Mr Speaker, I am asking a question in relation to how the hon. Deputy Minister has answered the question. 

Mr Speaker: No, no, no!


Mr Speaker: I will not permit you, anyway. 



113. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the construction of the Kalabo/Sikongo Road would commence;

(b)    which contractor had been engaged to work on the road;

(c)    what the time frame for executing the project was; and
(d)    what the estimated cost of the project was.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, works on the Kalabo/Sikongo Road are scheduled to commence within the first quarter of 2016 upon completing the procurement process for the engagement of a contractor. This project was planned to commence in 2012, but could not take off due to funding challenges from the four financiers. However, the procurement process of this project is now on course, following the finalisation of the loan agreement for the project.

Mr Speaker, the contractor will only be known once the procurement process has been concluded. The project will be executed in twenty-six months from the time the work will commence. The cost of the project will be known upon the signing of the works contract.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, is the procurement process of the Kalabo/Sikongo Road similar to the procurement processes for other roads? I ask because this process has taken too long. When is it going to end so that the road can be worked on?
Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the four funding organisations are: 
Organisations                        Amount (US$ million) 

Kuwait Fund                             14 
Saudi Fund for Development                    12 
BADEA                             10 
Organsation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) 
Fund for International Development 
(OFID)                             10 

Sir, at each stage, the Road Development Agency (RDA) has to get a no-objection from each of the funding organisations. This has been the major obstacle. However, we are happy to say that we have received no-objections from three out of the four funding agencies. We are just waiting for a no-objection from the OFID. This is tremendous progress and, as the implementing agency, we are happy with it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, I am shocked …


Mr Ndalamei: … because every time this question is asked, the Government states that the construction of the road will be done next year. Could the hon. Minister assure this House if this road will be constructed next year because we have been getting the same answer since 2011.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, again, we are happy to say that the consultancy services for the detailed engineering designs, preparation of the tender document and supervision of construction of the Kalabo/Sikongo/Angola Border is ongoing. The designs are expected to be finalised in December this year. Like I said earlier, we have been given no-objections by three of the funding organisations for the pre-qualification of the contractors. Again, this is superb progress.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that no-objections have been received from three funding organisations and a response from one is still being awaited. In the event that the remaining agency does not give a no-objection, will the project go ahead?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, in the unlikely event that this happens, this project will still go ahead.

 I thank you, Sir.


(Debate resumed)

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I wish to contribute to debate on the Budget Speech for 2016 presented by the hon. Minister of Finance.

Sir, the presentation of the Budget in Parliament creates anxiety among the citizens. This is because they want to know how their money is going to be spent and who will be entitled to that money. I was equally anxious. I have been listening to Budget Speeches since 2011. When we stand up to debate, it is not for academic purposes. We talk to express the needs of our people in the areas where we come from since we are not part and parcel of the planning unit that puts together what the hon. Minister of Finance reflects in his Budget.

Mr Speaker, I am a sad person today. Yesterday, I perused the thick Yellow Book to check if the ‘cries’ of the people of Ikeleng’i had been heard by the Government and if it had any projects for them. The people of Ikeleng’i would like the Government to construct a stretch of 105 km of the Road from Mwinilungu to Jimbe. This is a very important road because it is supposed to connect Zambia to Angola. Time and again, I have asked the hon. Minister of Works and Supply when that road will be worked on and I have been assured that it will be worked on. To my disappointment, this Government has stopped paying attention for reasons I do not know. However, I will not beg to have the road worked on when the people of Ikeleng’i are entitled to a good road network. 

Mr Mbewe: Drink water!

Mr Muchima drank water.
Mr Muchima: Sir, the revenue that is collected by the Government through taxes should be spread equally. The other day, Her Honour the Vice-President and Mister of Development Planning, who is also my sister, stated that she was concerned because the people of the Western Province feel that the province is less developed. The reason they feel that way is that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government does not distribute wealth equally. Most hon. Ministers are not approachable apart from ...

Dr Kaingu: Question!

Mr Muchima: ... my brother, Hon. Given Lubinda. When it comes to the distribution …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, much as you have made a positive remark, let us steer away from debating ourselves.

Mr Muchima: Thank you for the guidance.

Mr Speaker, the Government should be responsible enough to attend to issues that affect its people. As hon. Members of Parliament, we do not just talk for academic purposes. We have asked the Government to construct the Jimbe Road, but it has not done so.

Sir, I listened carefully to the presentation of the Budget and it is not different from last year’s. First and foremost, I expected the hon. Minister to explain how the revenues that were collected in 2015 were spent because we are now heading towards the end of the year. Last year, several projects were budgeted for such as the construction of a road in Mwinilunga. However, the Government has not implemented most of them. Therefore, the hon. Minister of Finance should have told us how much revenue was collected and how much was spent …

Mr Sichone: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, let me just provide guidance. Not long ago, I said that during this segment of debates, I discourage points of order so that hon. Members can debate uninterrupted. This disturbs trains of thought. Earlier, I allowed a number of points of order. However, during this segment, I will not allow hon. Members to debate through points of order. It does not conduce to smooth debates. So, hon. Members should ensure that they do their homework before we get to this portion of our business.

Continue, hon. Member.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I was saying that we cannot develop this country with this kind of hatred. We can hate each other politically but, when it comes to economic development, let us not divide this nation. This is why we miss the First Republican President, Dr Kenneth David Kaunda, who ruled this country based on the Motto, “One Zambia, One Nation”. He never segregated against anyone in this country, but what I am seeing today is the segregation of the people of North-Western Province by the Patriotic Front (PF) from the rest of country. It is for this reason that we are expressing our anger by voting in the manner that we did.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!
Mr Muchima: Sir, I am not happy that Ikeleng’i is missing from the 2016 Budget, and yet infrastructure is under construction in some districts which are hardly a year old.

Mr Speaker, the people of Ikeleng’i expected to see some infrastructural projects for the constituency in the budget, but there is completely nothing, and yet that is where the source of the Zambezi River, the greatest river that passes through the Western Province up to Livingstone where the Victoria Falls is is. It has been completely ignored. Why? We are not begging for development. If anything, the resources are not a donation from your party, but from the national basket. Therefore, it is supposed to be shared amongst all of us.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Muchima: Sir, this money should be distributed to all areas of this country. It is unfair to segregate against some provinces. All the mines and the source of three quarters of the water in this country are in the North-Western Province, and yet this is not taken into account when the Budget is being drawn up. Some schools in the North-Western Province that were in the previous Yellow Books are not there this year. For example, Swana Kuda Secondary, which appeared in the last Budget is missing in this year’s Budget, and yet the school is in a constituency where the last by-election was held in Mwinilunga. 

Mr Speaker, during the campaigns, you told the people to vote for you because the area Members of Parliament do not visit your offices. I can prove that I have been going to some of the offices of hon. Ministers, but some of them are not receptive. 

Sir, in the past five years, the North-Western Province has received the biggest amount of rainfall than any other province. As a result, it is the worst hit in terms of disasters caused by heavy rains. Most of the bridges in my area are washed away every year. So, we only depend on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to do temporary works.

Mr Speaker, I have never seen any officers from the Office of the Vice-President and Development Planning come to Ikeleng’i to inspect bridges. Two days ago, some people died when the vehicle they were travelling in slipped off a small bridge. I have been talking about the need for bridges to be worked on, but nothing has happened. Meanwhile, we see helicopters flying all over in the name of disaster management and mitigation when there are by-elections. The money you are spending on by-elections is supposed to be spent in needy areas. This country can only develop if resources are spent on areas where there is a need. 

You are saying that we should improve on our exports. How can we improve when we think differently? For us to develop this country, we need to have collective thinking so that we direct our efforts towards equitable distribution of resources. Fiscal incentives are only given to foreign investors. How do you expect to improve on the local market? 

Mr Speaker, infrastructure development is needed in every corner of this country. A responsible Government is supposed to consult its stakeholders. For example, you are supposed find out from Hon. Shakafuswa’s what his areas of priorities are in his constituency. You can do the same in the North-Western Province. We sit in this House to hear from you because you are in the Government. There can never be two governments at the same time. Therefore, when you sit to plan, your plans should include the poorest person out there. According to statistics, the poorest provinces are Luapula, North-Western and Western. These areas should have been given priority in the Budget.

 Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Sir, instead, what do we see? It is the same provinces and districts that are given attention, and yet they contribute very little to the gross domestic product (GDP). It is for this reason that I dispute that there is economic growth. Only you can see that development because I do not see it in my area.

 Mr Muchima drank water.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I expect the Government to construct a pineapple cannery in Mwinilunga, and Ikeleng’i in particular, so that we can produce and export processed pineapples. That way, you can promote exports. 

Sir, we are supposed to be talking about the beans and other foodstuffs that are produced in Solwezi. The fiscal incentives you are always talking about should also apply to the local people. Where are the exports going to come from if we do not support the local people? You need to motivate your nationals like what the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) did when we had problems with transport. 

Mr Speaker, we used to spend nights at the Kitwe Main Bus (KMB) Station because of lack of transport. However, the MMD came up with a policy of waiving taxes on the importation of buses and, today, there are buses are all over. In the past, it was passengers who used to wait for buses but, today, it is the buses that wait for the people. The 2016 Budget is not showing whether or not the economy is improving. We are supposed to analyse the 2015 Budget province by province so that we see what we have achieved, what we have not achieved and what the problem has been. That way, the provinces could have been developing at the same pace. Instead, you ask for a vote from the people you have not been providing services to.

Sir, this is the time to activate the Co-operative Bank that I talked about earlier. Instead, you are talking about opening a bank for women. Is that your priority? We should be looking at the whole nation and not target only those who support you during elections.

Mr Speaker, this Government should not behave as though it will remain in power forever. Today, you are there, tomorrow, you will be here if you are lucky. Otherwise, you might find yourselves outside this House.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Muchima: You must act responsibly. Even the Bible says, “Give Caesar what belongs to Caesar.” You are getting a lot of money from the North-Western Province, and yet we have been talking about the underdevelopment in the province year in and year out. Is it because the people of the North-Western Province are sleepy? No, they are not sleepy. We are humble, but if you push us too far in the corner, we shall show you the muscles.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muchima: The resources should be distributed equitably in this nation.

Mr Speaker: Order!

 Do not debate along those lines.

 Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, it is a well-known fact that the kwacha has lost value. When I was going through the Budget, I wanted to see how the Government would deal with the issue of salary increments and what measures were put in place to cushion the effects of the economic hardships the people are facing. Today, it is difficult to survive because prices of commodities such as mealie meal have doubled. A copy of the newspaper now costs K10. It is amazing that a copy of the newspaper should cost K10. 

Mr Speaker, I expected the 2016 Budget to address the poverty issues that affect the people of this country. People have asked the Government to construct bridges across the country but, the question is, do we have enough money to do that? Maybe, the Government just wants to appease the people. If we failed to manage a K48 billion Budget, how are we going to manage the K53 billion Budget? Who is contributing to the failure of implementing the Budget? Zambians are fed up with this academic approach to issues. Some of us are not happy because we are not benefitting from the national resources like others, and yet we are all Zambians. Are some people so special that they should enjoy the benefits while others are relegated to the level of second-class citizens? 

Mr Speaker, Ikeleng’i District was created six years ago but, and if you go there today, you will find a boarding school that is still on foundation level. When I was watching television yesterday, I saw a news item about the laying of a foundation stone for a police post. Nothing seems to be working and we are wondering why this is so. Do not look at Muchima, but the future of this country. A white man thinks about the future while a black person like me only thinks about today. That lack of planning is ‘killing’ our future. The Government wants to introduce computer studies in schools, but is it not supplying the schools with computers. Only some individuals are donating computers to schools. This Government should have allocated money in the Budget to buy computers before introducing computer studies in schools, especially those in the villages.

Sir, it would have been better for the Government to review the Budget to see where it has gone wrong. Some projects were in the last Budget but, to date, they have not been implemented. The Manyinga/Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road was earmarked for construction, but that has not been done. So, I am wondering what is happening. This Budget does not take into account the ideals of the Zambian people. It just appeases certain quarters. As such, the country cannot develop.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I rise to support the hon. Minister’s Budget Address which he presented to this House last week on Friday. I would like to make a few comments in support of the hon. Minister’s Budget Speech.

Sir, the hon. Minister was accurate in the manner he diagnosed what is required to be done to our economy, which is faced with some pressures. On page 2, paragraph 9 of his Address, the hon. Minister’s, ... 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the concern of our constituencies is whether the hon. Minister will diagnose the problems that our economy is experiencing. Will he pinpoint what the problem is so that whatever measures he recommends in the Budget, will address the problems that we are going through?

Sir, in our constituencies, some projects have stalled due to the challenges of Budget deficit. There are also other challenges that we know can only be addressed if the hon. Minister diagnosed accurately what it is that needs to be done to our economy. I was saying that on page 2, paragraph 9 of the Budget Address, the hon. Minister said:

“It is evident that the expansionary fiscal stance of the past four years will need to be moderated in the current global economic environment. It is in this context that the theme of the 2016 Budget is ‘Fiscal Consolidation to Safeguard Our Past achievements and Secure a Prosperous Future for All.’”

Mr Speaker, the reference to fiscal consolidation was certainly the catch phrase of what the hon. Minister has thought to be the major action to be taken to redirect and strengthen our economy. 

Sir, I also want to acknowledge that from what the hon. Minister presented, the Budget was not expansionary. In fact, in United States Dollar terms, it could appear that the dollar equivalent of the Budget of K53 billion was a contraction. The Budget has shrunk. So, I would agree that by saying that this will be a matter of fiscal consolidation, the hon. Minister was truthful by contracting the Budget. This means that the Government intends to spend less because of the challenges that we are going through.

Sir, this Budget is for 2016 which is an election year. Only a very brave Minister of Finance would contract a Budget or undertake fiscal consolidation in an election year. I want to repeat that only a very brave Minister of Finance would undertake fiscal consolidation of the economy in an election year. I say so because, worldwide, governments tend to be very expansionary and so they tend to spend more money because they want to win elections at all cost.

Mr Speaker, I, therefore, want to underscore the aim of this diagnosis by the hon. Minister in formulating this Budget. The hon. Minister’s intention to undertake fiscal consolidation seems very well thought-through. I think the economists in his ministry did a good job to advise the hon. Minister that this should be the focus of his Budget Address. 

However, I still want to say that the continuous reference to the global commodity crisis as the reason for our current economic situation has been pushed a bit too far. We should not heap all the blame for the way certain aspects of our economy are performing on what is happening on the world stage. I think that there are some factors that are domestic that should have been mentioned by the hon. Minister.

Mr Mutelo: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, having said that, I would like to say that the hon. Minister has hit the bull’s eye by diagnosing what needs to be done to our economy. I think we have to wait and see whether the medicine he has prescribed will work. In other words, I am wondering whether the hon. Minister will walk the talk of consolidating our Budget process.

Mr Speaker, however, before we look at whether the hon. Minister will walk the talk, I think it is important to clarify what fiscal consolidation is for the sake of the ordinary people in our constituencies. I think the hon. Minister was well informed when coming up with this Budget because his Address refers to a policy which is aimed at reducing the Budget deficit …


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

I think there is some noise on my right. The hon. Minister of Finance will, at some point, be required to make reference to some of the points that are being raised. So, the people behind should consult quietly.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, by pursuing the policy of fiscal consolidation, the hon. Minister is basically telling the nation that he intends to reduce the budget deficit and curtail the national debt from accumulating. He is also assuring the nation that he is going to take steps to check the rising fiscal deficit.

Mr Speaker, obviously, if he did not take this stance, it would mean that we would have been heading into a future with possibly high inflation and most likely very poor means of tax collection. Certainly, we would incur much higher interest on bonds, or Eurobonds, as they are famously known. Most likely, it would have meant that the expenditure of the Government would have continued to grow.

Mr Speaker, as I said earlier, when the hon. Minister said that he was going to undertake fiscal consolidation, we were waiting to see whether he would walk the talk through the rest of his Address. He mentioned that he was going to raise additional revenue to pay back some of the debt. However, looking at the details of the presentation, it is very difficult to see any notable revenue-raising measures that he has proposed. It is very difficult to find detail on how he intends to raise serious revenue so that he can counter the rising fiscal deficit. 

Mr Speaker, one would have expected that in the rest of his Budget Address, there should have been some significant austerity measures that the hon. Minister would propose because he intends to consolidate our economy’s fiscal position. One of the ingredients is austerity measures such as reduced Government expenditure. The measures may be easier to see in the Yellow Book, but it was very difficult to note what austerity measures he has taken to curtail Government expenditure in his Address.

Mr Speaker, it was also expected that if he has to walk the talk of fiscal consolidation, he should have presented very clear strategies to reduce our economy’s vulnerability to external forces. It was very difficult to observe that in the rest of his Address. However, in paragraph 156 of page 22, the hon. Minister said:

“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 effects on our economy and society at large.”

I think the observation of the fact that we remain exposed to external shocks was candid. However, it was very difficult to see what specific measures the hon. Minister had prepared as shock absorbers against the external forces.

Mr Speaker, further looking at how he may have walked the talk of fiscal consolidation, I have observed that on page 17, paragraph 112, the hon. Minister has made a clear effort of setting up the Sinking Fund. I think this is a plus on his part. This is a clear demonstration that the hon. Minister is now walking the talk on the fact that he intends to reduce the debt burden of our economy. He has set aside K536.2 million for the Sinking Fund, this money is going to be used to reduce the debt that this country is currently carrying on its shoulders. That is walking the talk of fiscal consolidation.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, it was also expected that he is going to show very clearly how he intends to raise much higher revenues and possibly foreign exchange earnings. Again, apart from the reference on page 20, paragraph 124, to some revenue measures, it is a little disappointing that most of the measures for raising revenue are actually for reducing revenue. The hon. Minister intends to reduce revenue on several items, but it was difficult to see any notable strategies for increasing revenue. 

Increasing revenue is one of the key strategies for fiscal consolidation so that he can have enough money to offset some of the debt obligations that are coming up. It would also ensure that the Government is not under pressure and end up incurring additional borrowings.

Mr Speaker, mineral royalty, which was once one of our major sources of Government revenue, has dropped in the rankings of our sources of income. It was number two or three after donor funds in recent Budgets. However, it has fallen to number seven. On the table on page 19, the highest ranked source of revenue now is import Value Added Tax (VAT), followed by Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) and then Fees and Fines. The fourth one is probably Withholding and other taxes. However, when you come to Mineral Royalty at K2.8 billion, it is the seventh on the list of sources of revenue for the Government. In the past, it was one of our highest. That is a sign that our goose that laid the golden egg is not laying a big egg any more. This is a big worry because we needed foreign exchange to not only prop-up our kwacha, but also as revenue to support fiscal consolidation.

Mr Speaker, the creation of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is a positive move. If the IDC could push public enterprises to contribute profitable income to our economy, this can help with the fiscal consolidation. That is walking the talk on the part of the hon. Minister.

Mr Speaker, I was also interested in seeing the assumption that the hon. Minister made. Economists like to say that your policy or strategy is only as good as your assumptions. If your assumptions are wrong, then, what you intend to do is also wrong. The hon. Minister intends to narrow the fiscal deficit to 3.8 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) next year. Of course, one of the assumptions there is that he will not suffer major pressure from the depreciation of the kwacha. He is also assuming that he will not be pressurised, because of the elections, to undertake some expansionary expenditures beyond what he has set out to do. Those are assumptions and if those assumptions are correct, then, certainly, the hon. Minister will be able to achieve his target of narrowing the fiscal deficit.

Mr Speaker, he also intends to raise revenue by 3.1 per cent of the GDP in 2016. Again, the assumption there is that he is going to have very strong economic growth because, if he is going to have weak growth and raise insignificant revenue like it happened this year when the mines almost boycotted paying tax and, if he is also going to have very low mining activity and the energy crisis persists, certainly, it will mean that the assumption for the hon. Minister to raise this kind of revenue of 3.1 per cent of the GDP may not be achieved. 

Mr Speaker, I was also interested to see his assumptions of why he expects that his expenditure will remain at 25.1 per cent. Again, this is something he can achieve if the high external risks that we are faced with at the moment, which he has mentioned throughout his Budget Speech, may not apply pressure on him and the servicing of the debt will not cause an increase in expenditure as the kwacha depreciates.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I think that if it was a class test or assignment, one would say the hon. Minister has passed.
Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: It is a question of – You know you can pass with a C Grade.


Mr Simfukwe: I am not going to grade the hon. Minister there. However, he has passed. This is a very good effort and, certainly, the hon. Minister is proceeding very well on this ground.

Mr Speaker, lastly, we shall need prayer …

Ms Imenda: Question!

Mr Simfukwe: … because some of the issues that he is faced with are beyond his control. The commodity prices are not up to him to decide. The hon. Minister will need prayer because the rains will need to fall and fall in big quantities.

Mr Mwila: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: The energy crisis is beyond his control.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: We hope that prayer can help in this direction. Beyond prayer, the hon. Minister will need to exhibit very strong leadership. I was reading in one of the media publications that he has called on the Secretary to the Treasury to observe austerity in the way money is spent. That is very good, but I was hoping that he would go further by actually issuing a series of structured instructions. However, I am sure that will come later. That type of leadership will be needed if fiscal consolidation is going to be achieved. 

Mr Speaker, it is also important that he sticks to his medium-term plans which he has worked out with his officers. However, all the institutions of the Government, and not just the Ministry of Finance, need to be whipped. They need to be supervised very closely and there must be an effort to lead by example. If foreign travel is going to result in excess expenditure, it must be stopped not only for certain classes of society, but also all Zambians in support of this fiscal consolidation.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

(Debate adjourned)


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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1651 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 15th October, 2015.