Debates - Friday, 23rd October, 2015

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Friday, 23rd October, 2015

The House met at 0900 hours

[MR DEPUTY SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members will recall that yesterday, on Thursday, 22nd October, 2015, when the House was considering the ministerial statement delivered by the hon. Minister of Gender, Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo, and the hon. Member of Parliament for Gwembe Parliamentary Constituency, Hon. B. Ntundu, MP, was about to ask a point of clarification, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency, Hon. J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, raised a point of order. 

In his point of order, Hon. Mwiimbu, MP, wanted guidance on how the House would use the Report of the Expanded Committee on Estimates in debating the Motion by the hon. Minister of Finance to resolve into the Committee of Supply, when the House would have concluded its debate on the Motion at the time the Expanded Committee on Estimates presented its report to the House. He submitted that the purpose of the report was to assist hon. Members to diligently debate the Motion moved by the hon. Minister. He further wondered whether hon. Members would be given an opportunity to debate the Committee’s report after the hon. Minister had wound up the consideration of the Motion.

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

Hon. Members, in rendering guidance on the point of order raised, I wish to remind the House on the procedure adopted over the years on this matter. Hon. Members, once the hon. Minister of Finance moves the Motion for the House to resolve into the Committee of Supply, the Hon. Mr Speaker appoints an Expanded Committee on Estimates to consider the estimates of revenue and expenditure for the following year. 

At the same time, the House is allotted a maximum of ten days, under Standing Order No. 82, to debate the hon. Minister’s Motion. The House, therefore, proceeds to debate the Motion while the Committee is considering the estimates. After the allotted ten days, the Chairperson of the Committee presents the report of the Committee to the House and the hon. Minister winds up the consideration of the Motion. In this regard, hon. Members do not debate the Motion after the Committee has presented its report to the House. However, hon. Members are at liberty to use the report during the consideration of the estimates of expenditure for individual Government ministries, departments and spending agencies. 

I thank you.



The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I rise to acquaint the House with the business it will consider next week.
Sir, on Tuesday, 27th October, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then the House will resume the debate on the Motion of Supply.

On Wednesday, 28th October, 2015, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Members’ Motions, if there will be any. The House will then continue with the debate on the Motion of Supply and the Expanded Committee on Estimates will present its Report on the 2016 Budget. Thereafter, the House will conclude the general policy debate on the Motion of Supply and resolve into the Committee of Supply in readiness for the consideration of individual estimates of expenditure in the Budget.

Sir, on Thursday, 29th October, 2015, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. This will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure and will consider the following Heads:

(a)    Head 01    -    Office of the President – State House;

(b)    Head 02    -    Office of the Vice-President; and

(c)    Head 38    -    Ministry of Development Planning.

Sir, on Friday, 30th October, 2015, the Business of the House will commence with Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning’s Question Time. This will be followed by Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. After that, the House will deal with presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then the House will resolve into Committee of Supply on the 2016 Estimates of Revenue Expenditure and the following Heads will be considered:

(a)    Head 03    -    National Assembly; and
(b)    Head 19    -    Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.




The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Simbao): Mr Speaker, I wish to express my sincere gratitude for the opportunity which has been accorded to me to make a ministerial statement on the extension of mobile communication services for Phase II in unserved and under-served areas. The Government through my ministry has endeavoured to increase coverage, access and efficiency in the provision of information and communications technology (ICT) services in order to contribute to sustainable national socio-economic development.

Mr Speaker, there have been three phases of the installation of communication towers. The first one was done entirely by Airtel before anyone else got involved. Airtel put up the towers as follows:

Province                                   Number of Towers 

Western     16
Central    14
Copperbelt       5
Eastern     19
Luapula    21
Lusaka      8 
North-Western    31
Southern    20

Sir, the Government in Phase II constructed an initial 169 communication towers across all the ten provinces distributed as follows:

Province                               Number of Towers 

Eastern     23
Lusaka      2
Muchinga     12
Northern     19
Copperbelt    11
Luapula    19 
Central    21
Southern    21
Western    15
North-Western    26

Mr Speaker, due to the high demand, ...


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

I have ignored hon. Ministers in the past, but I think it is becoming a bit too much. You like making loud consultations which I do not understand. If you have issues to consult on, you can go out, consult and come back. 

Mr Simbao: ... thirty-five additional towers were included resulting in a total of 204 communication towers under this phase. The thirty-five additional towers were distributed as follows: 

Province                              Number of Towers 

Luapula    7 
Northern     6
Western    4
Central    6
Muchinga     8
Copperbelt    3
Eastern     1

Mr Speaker, the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) operates the Universal Access Service (UAS) Fund. This fund is a result of contributions from the three mobile network operators which are Airtel, Zambia Telecommunications Company (Zamtel) Limited and MTN, as set up by the law. It must be noted that ZICTA used the same fund to build the 204 communication towers on behalf of the operators. Therefore, ZICTA does not operate the towers, but is merely the custodian of the UAS Fund.

Mr Speaker, the construction of the 204 towers has not been without challenges. My ministry has received reports from hon. Members of Parliament indicating that some towers are not functional in their respective constituencies. These towers have either developed technical faults, in some cases, due to lack of power from the grid, vandalism or theft of materials from the sites such as solar panels, cables and the malfunctioning of active equipment. My ministry has since engaged ZICTA to find a lasting solution to this problem.

Sir, ZICTA has indicated that a meeting with mobile network operators who own the active equipment that is mounted on the towers was convened recently so that an agreement could be reached in order to minimise service disruptions. Although mobile network operators feel the maintenance of these sites is expensive compared to the revenue that is generated due to very low network traffic from these sites, my ministry is very confident that a lasting solution to this problem will be found.

Mr Speaker, I must also state that of the 204 towers, thirty towers have challenges. I will lay this list on the Table. These thirty towers are not ready for operations. They have challenges in the sense that they are either too short or were constructed in wrong areas. These thirty towers need a lot of attention from the contractor. A lot of discussions are underway with the contractor to make sure he works on these sites.

Sir, we have another list of sites, which I will lay on the Table, which will be operational by the end of November. The problems that these sites are facing are very minimal. For example, Lukona in Kalabo has a problem of power disruptions. Once the supply of power is stabilised, this site will be fully operational. Another site is Sihole in Kalabo, which has a problem of a faulty modem. The part has since been ordered and will be fitted on the tower immediately it is received. The last one in Kalabo is Sikongo which will be operational by 30th November, 2015. All the other sites are listed in the document which I have here with me. Hon. Members are free to come and see whether their areas are a part of the list.

Mr Speaker, I wish to take this opportunity to urge the distinguished hon. Members of this House to support this noble effort of providing universal communications to unserved areas by encouraging their constituents to guard the investments jealously.  

Sir, in line with the provisions of Section 13 of Statutory Instrument, No. 38 of 2012, the Universal Accesses Regulations, the Government intends to extend mobile communication services, under Phase II, to areas that were not covered under Phase I in order to attain maximum possible population countrywide coverage. The project is primarily targeted at economically disadvantaged, unserved and under-served areas. It is expected that 92 per cent of the population will have access to mobile communication services once this project is completed. It must be noted that the remaining 8 per cent remaining coverage area consists of water bodies, very difficult terrain and is thinly populated where the installation of towers will be a challenge.

Mr Speaker, a technical team was appointed comprising officers from the ministry, ZICTA and mobile network operators. The team undertook mobile communication network coverage surveys in all the constituencies and wards. The result of the surveys indicated that the country needs an additional 469 mobile communication towers under Phase II to cover the remaining unserved and under-served areas.

Mr Speaker, Phase II of the construction of mobile communication towers shall be financed through a concessional loan facility. The Government has appointed Zamtel to own, manage and maintain the 469 sites in order to promote efficiency and effectiveness. The scope of the project shall involve erecting communication towers as well as upgrading the current transmission and radio access network. The radio access equipment shall provide rural micro coverage based on the coverage predictions done by the contractor and approved by the employer to attain the maximum population coverage in target areas within wards as defined in the technical design for all 469 sites. It must be noted that each site will cover up to a minimum radius of 10 km.

Mr Speaker, I also wish to inform this august House that whilst all tender processes and contractual obligations are fulfilled, the construction of the first sites is earmarked for April, 2016. Zamtel intends to ensure that eighty sites are constructed every forty days, countrywide. This means that the eighty sites will be built from slab to tower level and switched on in 40 days. I must also mention that a 180 m tower costs US$250,000 to be ready for switching on. The 40 m tower costs US$150,000 to be ready for switching on.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Kambwili: Kuti fya wama ifi kumyenu!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, under Phase II, the Government intends to distribute the 469 communication towers across all the ten provinces as follows:

Province                     Number of Towers

Eastern    60

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, 

Lusaka    11

Muchinga                          56

Northern                          72

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, 

Copperbelt      7

Luapula    35

Central     28

Southern     52

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Deputy Speaker: Can you not listen without saying, “Hear, hear?”


Mr Deputy Speaker: Let us listen. 

The hon. Minister may continue.


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, 

Western    83

Mr Speaker, this information was taken from a survey which was conducted in each and every ward by a team of experts from various institutions. Furthermore, the proposed location of the communication towers was done through technical consideration of network coverage according to a list which was submitted by hon. Members of Parliament.

Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that as at 23rd October, 2015, tremendous progress has been made in terms of the variation of the tender bids for the construction of 469 towers. This process is earmarked to be completed this weekend. I also want lay on the Table the sites that have been identified for the 469 towers. I must hasten to say here that the North- Western Province is also included on this list. 

Hon. UNPD Members: How many towers?

Mr Simbao: I am telling you that it was an omission. If you want to know the number of towers that will be constructed in the North-Western Province, you can add up the figures I have mentioned for the other provinces and then subtract the total from the 469 towers. That is what North-Western Province will get.
Hon. UPND Members: Question!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, there is no doubt that extending the ICT infrastructure to under-served areas will have an enormous positive impact on the rural communities and the economy in general. This is based on the realisation that there would be no development ...

Ms Mulasikwanda entered the Chamber wearing a musisi.     

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

 Mr Simbao: ... without improved communication facilities. 

Mr Speaker, finally, allow me to urge the distinguished hon. Members of this House to support this noble project. As a ministry, we are confident that after the completion of Phase 11, the country will attain maximum mobile geographical coverage.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simbao laid the paper on the Table.

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

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, early this year, the Committee on Transport, Communication, Works and Supply took the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) to task over the defective towers. If I am not wrong, ZICTA agreed that it would do something to correct the situation. As the hon. Minister mentioned, at least, thirty towers are defective because the contractor did not follow the specifications well. As a result, less funds were used to put up these towers. ZICTA agreed to give a response within three months. Six months down the line, nothing has happened.  Since money was misused, what has happened with regards to coming up with a solution to the issue? 

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, it is true that an agreement has been arrived at. This contractor is going back to rectify the faults which have been identified in the thirty towers. Today, the contractor and ZICTA are meeting to agree on the timeframe in which the contractor will be able to complete the job. Before I came to this House, I was hoping to receive that information. Unfortunately, it has not yet reached me. 


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order on my extreme right and left.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, additional information will be given to hon. Members of Parliament through their pigeonholes to show the percentage coverage in each constituency. 

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the cost of constructing one tower is about US$250,000. I want to find out from him whether he thinks this is a reasonable price to pay for a tower. Has the hon. Minister done a comparison with what is obtaining in the other countries in the region to ensure that we are getting value for money with regard to the towers which are being constructed?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the amount which I told the House about is the average cost of constructing a complete tower as confirmed by other providers. We are very positive that this is very competitive costing. However, I do not know whether the cost of constructing a tower in Zambia is the same as it is in other countries like the United States of America (USA).

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Lufuma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I rise on a compelling point of order which seeks your ruling. On Tuesday, one of our freedom fighters, Mr Samuel Mbilishi, passed on. As a vigilant young man, he fought for our Independence from the colonial masters. There are records to confirm that. When Zambia became independent, Dr Kaunda appointed him as a Cabinet Minister. Thereafter, he became a member of the Central Committee of the United National Independence Party (UNIP). With this status, when he passed on, his family felt obliged to go and report his demise to the Cabinet Office. Unfortunately, they were told that they did not know who he was …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah! 

Mr Lufuma: … and had no record whatsoever which would confirm as to whether he had served in the UNIP Government or not.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, fortunately, Dr Kaunda, Mr Vernon Mwaanga and Mr Sikota Wina, recorded the proceedings of Zambia’s Independence at Dr Kaunda’s residence. The Cabinet Office contacted Dr Kaunda who confirmed in the affirmative that, indeed, Mr Samuel Mbilishi was a Cabinet Minister and Member of the Central Committee in the all-powerful UNIP.

Mr Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order?

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, just give me a minute to …

Mr Deputy Speaker: No!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, why was Mr Mbilishi not granted a national mourning status following his demise since he served as a Cabinet Minister? In recent times, even District Commissioners (DCs), musicians and jerabos have been granted the national mourning status.


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

 If there is no order, I will not make a ruling. I knew Mr Samuel Mbilishi. Although this point of order is too late, I used my discretion to allow it because it is important. Her Honour the Vice-President should follow up this matter with the Cabinet Office because what happened shows inconsistencies.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Deputy Speaker: May the hon. Member for Luena continue.


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I am on record in this House for having requested the construction of communication towers in Luena. I am sure Hon. Mukanga remembers what I am saying because it was difficult to communicate with the ministry. What criterion was used to select areas under Phase I since Luena was left out?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, Phase I consisted of the construction of 169 communication towers. I am sure the hon. Member followed how they were distributed in all the provinces. In the Western Province, only fifteen towers were constructed in areas where there are many people. It is for this reason …


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order on my left!

Mr Simbao: … that Phase II will cover the areas that were left out.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, after the towers are constructed, I would like to find out from the …

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

 Mr Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for according me this rare privilege of raising a point of order.

Sir, I rarely raise points of order. I am compelled to raise this very fundamental point of order which borders on economic sabotage of our country. I would like to request the indulgence of this hon. House to listen to the report of this economic sabotage as reported in The Sunday Independent of 18th October, 2015.

 Mr Speaker, I would like to make reference to that very serious report. The report says:

“SOUTH African intelligence is reeling following the capture of six South Africans by Zambian authorities who have been running a wildlife smuggling ring between the two countries by managing to fly light aircraft under the radar undetected for more than two years.

The critical question being asked is, how did South African authorities not know that planes were flying in and out of the country undetected over such a long period?

The South Africans were caught red-handed on October 9, 2015, on an airstrip in Kota Kota, near Lake Kariba, attempting to smuggle 12 sable antelopes onto a light aircraft destined for a South African game reserve, thought to be Pilanesberg, and a reserve near Botswana.

Josias Mungabwa from the Zambian Wildlife Authority Intelligence Unit told Independent Media that: 

“Zambian sable antelopes are estimated to be worth approximately US$1.9 million each.They are endangered and sought after for their thick horns, which can grow up to 80cm.”

“This was not the first time that the plane had flown under the radar without a tracker between South Africa and Zambia.

“There have been reports of low-flying planes coming into Zambia for two to three years now from our guys, as well as local villagers. It was just difficult to trace them as we did not know when the next flight would be.” 

  Mr Speaker, a tip-off by Mr Massimo Selicato, who owns the 7,000-hectare farm in Kota Kota from which the smugglers were operating, enabled the Zambian security forces to stage Operation Bush Pilot to arrest the poachers.

Mr Speaker, the report goes on to state that:

“When the South Africans were caught at 03.30am, they were off-loading the 12 sable antelope calves from a truck and preparing to put them into a piper navajo chieftain aircraft. The interior of the aircraft had already been modified with the 12-14 passenger seats removed and the floor of the plane lined with mattresses and cushions.”

Sir, the report concludes by saying that: 

“Given the increased sophistication of game smuggling syndicates in Southern Africa, the region’s authorities have their work cut out for them, especially all the wildlife intelligence units.”

Mr Speaker, indeed, as the report indicates, what has been happening is extremely serious. It amounts to economic sabotage. Is the Government, through the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts, in order not to inform the House and the nation at large about this very serious economic sabotage which has been going on for more than two years so that the nation is alerted and the citizens are made aware so that they can take charge and alert the authorities whenever they suspect that such incidents are taking place? Is the Government, through the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, in order to remain silent on this serious matter? I seek your serious ruling.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

The serious ruling is that the issue at hand happened a long time ago. I personally heard about it. I am sure that the appropriate wings of the Government must be investigating that particular matter. It is not everything that is written in our papers which should be discussed in the House. I think we have to be mindful of that point. In light of that, I am confident that the appropriate arms of the Government are looking into that matter.

Can the hon. Member for Chikankata continue.

Let me also remind hon. Members that was the last point of order I will allow.

Mr Habeenzu: Mr Speaker, before the point of order was raised, I was trying to find out from the hon. Minister who is in charge of the maintenance after the tower has been erected.

 Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, there are two institutions which have erected towers in the country. The institutions include Airtel which is responsible for the maintenance of the towers which it has put up. ZICTA is responsible for maintenance of the other towers although it is considering outsourcing this particular service. When Zamtel constructs the 169 towers, it will be responsible for their maintenance.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Bishop Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, in the last schedule, in Chibombo District, Keembe in particular, had nothing. Can the hon. Minister state clearly that this mistake has been corrected? 

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I said that I was going to lay the list which has the number of sites on the Table. 

Sir, if the hon. Member finds that Keembe is missing on the list after carefully looking at it, he can approach me for discussions. 

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, Dundumwezi and Southern Province, in particular, is the least considered when it comes to the construction of towers. How many towers will be constructed in Dundumwezi looking at the population that has grown to more than 80,000 people now that the province is scheduled to have fifty-two towers constructed?

 Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I believe the answer I gave to Hon. Shikapwasha applies to Hon. Sing’ombe. I am going to lay the list of the sites on the Table. Right now, it is difficult for me to go through the whole list because it has 169 sites. Hon. Members are encouraged to carefully look through the list once it is laid on the Table. After that, we can then have some discussions. 

Sir, before the list was developed, some individuals took site visits in all the constituencies. The sites are selected from areas which have either a school or clinic and would be most suitable to give the best coverage.

I thank you, Mr Speaker. 

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the next batch of towers will be handed over to Zamtel, which will manage them. He also indicated that, ...


Mr Deputy Speaker: Order, on my left.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, he also indicated that the remaining sites to be constructed tend to be in remote areas with the least commercial potential. From what we have been told by the Auditor-General, Zamtel is bankrupt. The sites that you want to give Zamtel have the least potential when it comes to commercial activities. So, under those circumstances, are we not risking sending Zamtel to an early grave by asking it to manage those towers?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, before I respond to Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s question, I want to apologise to the people of the North-Western Province for having omitted it when I was listing the provinces and the number of towers they shall receive. The province has actually been allocated sixty-five towers. We are trying to improve coverage to every citizen in this country. It is true that at the moment, some areas may be sparsely populated, but we do not believe that the status will remain the same in ten or twenty years time. So, we are trying to carter for the entire country for the next fifty years. We hope that giving Zamtel this responsibility will make the company more viable than it is at the moment. It is not all the towers that will be put in sparsely populated areas. As you have heard, some provinces with very high populations have been given quite a big number of towers. So, we believe that this will be a very beneficial exercise to Zambia and the company, itself.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, despite the statement that has been made by the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication, we have noticed that of late, the services being provided by the mobile phone service providers are getting poorer. What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that Zambians get a better service out of the three protected service providers?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that concern. It is true that at the moment, even the biggest mobile phone service providers are not providing the service as expected. Nonetheless, it is also true that Zamtel is under-utilised and, so, I want to urge many Zambians to switch to Zamtel. Zamtel’s capacity is almost three quarters of the others, but it only has a 13 per cent market share. A lot of Zambians are using MTN or Airtel and, as a result, these networks are highly congested. So, people will do well to switch to Zamtel, which still has a very big capacity and is less congested.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, what is the Government going to do with remote districts such as Sikongo where there are only two towers, one at Nyengo which is operating and the one at Sikongo which will only become operational in November?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I surely feel for Hon. Ndalamei. Like I said, I have not gone ahead to read out the 469 sites. Please look at the list and see if your area is still not captured. If your area is not captured, then we will extend this service to other sites in the constituency.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, my concern is over the non-operational towers which were installed. Just like Sikongo, Kalabo only has two towers outside the one that is at the Boma. For a whole year, we have suffered, and all we get is one promise after the other. Now, the hon. Minister has said the towers will be installed at the end of November. Today is 23rd October, 2015, and in about a week’s time, it shall be November. Are we not going to reach December before those two towers become operational? What measure will you put in place to ensure that this is done before December, 2015?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, we have given a commitment on one tower and not on the other one. If we work very hard, we might even have this tower fixed before 30th November, 2015. This has to do with a problem which can easily be rectified by stabilising power supply to the area. The power providers have promised us that this problem will be dealt with quickly, and so, we have just set 30th November, 2015 as the date by which this should be done. However, it can even be done in two weeks time. So, we hope to fulfill this commitment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the manner in which he is responding to questions.

Sir, Ikeleng’i District, or rather, Constituency is located in an area with two borders, one on the Angolan side and the other one on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) side. On the side with the DRC, there is great need for towers at Kayuka and Muwejhi. The towers which have been in existence since the days of Hon. Lungwangwa, Hon. Sayifwanda, Hon. Dora Siliya, among others, are not connected and so people are not getting a service. What is the hon. Minister going to do for us to see his potency and experience?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is using very strong words which have made me get in trouble here where I am sitting.


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I did say that I had two lists. One of them had thirty sites, and these are a very big challenge. The list is here and I will lay it on the Table so that we can see in which areas these sites fall. The sites which are on the other list have minor problems. I will also lay the other list on the Table.

Mr Speaker, all the communication towers in this country, except the thirty that have legal challenges, will be brought online soon. If the tower the hon. Member is talking about is among the thirty, then we need to discuss his issue separately. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, putting money aside to achieve universal access for un-served and under-served areas is an International Telecommunication Union (ITU) requirement. All member countries are expected to report, from time to time, to the ITU on how well they are doing to cater for un-served and under-served areas. The construction of towers has been going on to meet un-served and under-served areas for some time now. What proportions of the country are currently un-served and under-served? Further, how are those proportions assisting in determining the distribution of new towers in the country?

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, clearly, these are the questions that professors ask.


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I wish to draw the hon. Member’s attention to the fact that I will answer his question in two parts. The survey, which I am sure he understands very well, was carried out by three competent institutions to determine the areas which are under-served and un-served and where towers must be erected so that these areas are covered. Secondly, according to this particular group, after all the 469 towers have been built and brought online, 98 per cent of the Zambian population will be covered. I am told by this body that, so far, 8 per cent is remaining in very challenging areas. So, we will see how we can quickly cover these areas, but 98 per cent of the Zambian population will be covered after Phase II.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.



Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, how does the Government name airports, schools and hospitals after national heroes? Further, are there any intensions to rename Chipata Airport so that it is called Grey Zulu, Reuben Kamanga, Rupiah Banda or Edgar Chagwa Lungu Airport?

Mr Livune: Question! 

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, the naming of important sites in the country is done by the Government, but the request normally comes from the community. The community indicates to the Government that certain landmarks in the country should be named after certain people and the Government obliges accordingly.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, my question is related to the National Day of Prayer and Fasting. Among the issues which were mentioned to be prayed for to the Almighty God was reconciliation. To what extent has the Patriotic Front (PF) gone to reconcile within its own ranks, especially with those members who have been labeled as rebels for having said certain things and one member who signed a police bond for an Opposition member?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, reconciliation is two-way traffic. Reconciliation does not entail that people have to go public to show that they have reconciled because it comes from the heart. It is a process. It does not mean that on that same day that was declared a day of prayer and reconciliation, automatically, people reconciled. 

Mr Speaker, some steps have been taken for reconciliation purposes within the party ranks. On the other hand, I do not think the case the hon. Member is referring to has really got any relevance because all the members of the Patriotic Front (PF) have been interacting and reconciling amongst themselves.

Mr Livune: Question!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Sir, the members of the PF forgive each other. We do not have to record all the reconciliations and give the list to the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for …

Mr Livune: Katombola!

Mr Deputy Speaker: No, once you do that, you confuse me. Even if I was coming for you, I will now not give you the Floor.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to ask Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning a very important question which may be bordering on a constitutional breach. Article 49 of the Constitution of Zambia reads: 

“(1)    There shall be a Cabinet which shall consist of the President, the Vice-President and the Ministers.” 

Mr Speaker, under this particular Article, ‘consist’ basically means comprised or made of, like a cake is made of flour, yeast, butter and icing sugar. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning whether or not the pronouncement by her boss, the President, to allow hon. Deputy Ministers to be part and parcel of Cabinet meetings was in line with the Constitution.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: The Article in the Constitution referred to by the hon. Member just generally refers to ‘hon. Ministers’ and does not categorise whether these are hon. Cabinet Ministers or hon. Deputy Ministers.


The Vice-President and Minister for Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Ministers who attended Cabinet meetings were there as observers. We even have technocrats who sit in Cabinet. They are not members of Cabinet, but they sit in as technical staff to support the proceedings of Cabinet. The hon. Deputy Ministers who sit in Cabinet do not contribute to the debates, but just observe.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Mazoka (Pemba): Mr Speaker, can the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning explain the poor performance of registration officers in areas perceived to be Opposition strongholds. I say this because this morning I received a call from my constituency that registration officers at Kanchomba are refusing to work by sending people back. In some instances if the people are lucky to get national registration cards (NRCs), their cards are not signed. Is this a ploy by the Government to deny some citizens their human right to vote?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, apparently the hon. Member of Parliament for Pemba was not in the House when a ministerial statement was made on the Floor of this House on the operations of the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) regarding the voter registration and also the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs). If she was here that time, she would have heard the concerns that were coming from everywhere including areas where the PF is in control. Our offices have instituted investigations to find out who is perpetrating these vices. Some of the officers who have been found wanting have been dismissed from the exercise while some are even in courts facing criminal charges. So, it is a national concern that we are addressing very aggressively.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Phiri (Mkaika): Mr Speaker, most projects in Katete District have stalled with the recent one being the 15 kilometres township roads project which was talked about by the District Commissioner (DC) yesterday. The other project has to do with the construction of a police station which was abandoned last year. The construction of an office block for the issuance of the national registration cards (NRCs) block which was equally abandoned last year. Why are the projects in Katete stalling?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, quite a number of projects have stalled. With the frequent release of funds, some of the projects in Katete will soon be worked on. So, the hon. Member should not be very worried about that because as funds become available, they will be channelled to the projects for completion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the mode of adoption of the Constitution has been proposed to be done through this House. There are other sections of this country who oppose that and wish it is adopted through a referendum. If the Constitution of Zambia Amendment Bill fails to pass through Parliament by us failing to garner the two thirds majority, does the Government have another plan of how the Constitution will be adopted or the process will be abandoned like what happened under the Movement for Multi-party Development (MMD) last time?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, this Government of the PF does not want to abandon the Constitution-making process. The Government is still very committed to meet its obligations with regards to the Constitution-making process. Anticipating that the Constitution-making process or debate will fail in this House, I think, is crossing the river before we get there. The process is on-going. The Bill has just been brought to the House. I believe that the hon. Members of Parliament have had ample time to study the Bill and noticed that the provisions which have been brought before them do not need a referendum. I look forward to this House passing the Constitution Act when we go through all the due processes.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, recently our former Republican President, his Excellency Rupiah Bwezani Banda said these words, “Neo nipeni ndalama nizimangile ng’anda neka.”


Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, what this means is that he wants cash instead of the Government building him a house. What is the Government’s position on this request?

The Deputy Speaker: You speak very good Nsenga.


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the Government does not act on speculation and press statements in newspapers. I think there are proper channels through which this particular request can be directed. When the Government has received this request from the former Republican President, it will be considered. Hon. Members should not forget that there is an Act relating to former Presidents and their terminal benefits. So, it is within that Act where everything has to be considered for the time being.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, my question is related to the statement which was delivered earlier to this House by the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication on the construction of the communication towers. Are the pronouncements being made by the hon. Minister not just another don’t kubeba …

Mr Sikazwe: Question!

Mr Kunda: … seeing that those who are in the Government have been failing to implement so many projects that they have been talking about?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the fact that the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication has brought to the House information relating to the provision of communication towers throughout the country shows a commitment by this Government to provide communication services to all the people of Zambia. Whenever money is made available, communication towers will be built. I do not see any reason the hon. Member should doubt the commitment which has been made by the Government. Some of the commitments made have been implemented while some, due to certain challenges, have not been.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, despite the promises that Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning makes and the statements by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs on the mobile issuance of the national registration cards (NRCs), the distribution of materials to the Southern Province has been so erratic that, as at yesterday, people went away without acquiring cards. The registration teams are just sitting without cards and have been told that the share for Southern Province has been exhausted. Will the Government stick to the initially targeted 80,000 people, and does not want any more people of the Southern Province to be Zambians?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I am concerned about the use of provinces as a measure for discrimination or sidelining because the Government is for all the people in all the provinces of Zambia.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: The hon. Member must be aware that, as a matter of fact, the people of the Southern Province have done a very good job, particularly, the hon. Members of Parliament. I commend them for the work well done. They have been able to mobilise our people to get the national registration cards (NRCs) and access voter registration cards. 

Mr Speaker, there is nowhere in the statutes of Zambia where it is written that a province must have a quota in accessing voter registration cards because it is a democratic right of every Zambian. The fact that there were estimated margins of expected numbers of people to access NRCs does not mean that they have been denied extra cards. If the people of Kalomo are still waiting on queues, it is the obligation of this Government to ensure that all materials pertaining to the acquisition of the NRCs are delivered. We will see to it that it is done. 

Mr Speaker, my message to every hon. Member of Parliament in every constituency is to ensure that there are no Zambians who are left out in the process to access the NRCs and voter registration cards.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, on Saturday, when Zambia played Mozambique, we saw the coach making two substitutions which made a difference and Zambia scored. Between 2010 and 2011, Zambia entered the middle income bracket. Four years down the line, are we a notch higher, lower or we have maintained the status quo? What is the explanation which is behind our current status and is the Government happy with it?


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I am not a footballer.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, equating a football game to a country’s economic performance does not hold. The two do not tally. The hon. Member referred to the change of players in a football match and, therefore, I did not follow the logic of his argument as regards how that assertion is relevant to the performance of the Zambian economy.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) has been charging councils in the Southern Province for its sittings. City councils have been made to pay K7,800, municipal councils K7,500, district councils K4,500 and new councils K2,500. This money has been paid to Livingstone City Council in order for it to pay the commissioners of the LGSC. Is this not corruption on the part of the LGSC which is supposed to be supervising councils by promoting and disciplining council workers? Is it in order for the councils to be charged some fees, considering that this House has approved an allocation for the LGSC to use when the commissioners have sittings? 

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, this is a new question that needs thorough investigation so that an appropriate answer can be given to the House. So, I promise that we will come back to the House with an answer that may satisfy the hon. Member.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, Mitete has only one tower which is not working. Similarly, the issue of the only road that leads to Mitete which is the Katundu/Lukulu/Mumbeji Road is a subject of story after story to-date. How far have we gone with the road?

Mr Deputy Speaker: Those questions can best be asked to responsible hon. Minister.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member knows very well that since the PF came into power, it has taken development to Mitete. The area was relegated to the margins of Zambia’s development. This Government has started to bring development in form of infrastructure such as offices and roads to the area. The construction of roads takes time. In the case of the Katundu/Lukulu/Mumbeji Road, I will have to come back to the House with a proper answer from the relevant ministry. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, statements have been issued concerning the mobile issuance of the national registration cards (NRCs), but we do not seem to see much change in certain constituencies. To date, the teams issuing the NRCs and voters’ registration cards teams are moving separately. When are we going to see progressive change whereby the two teams will move together?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Sir, progressive change will be seen, perhaps, during the first week of November because we were still re-aligning the operations of the NRC mobile units and the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) voter registration teams. They are now coming together to operate within the same confines as they register people. This running of a simultaneous exercise will start during the first week of November.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, the people of Mpongwe have had their fertiliser packs reduced by K4,000 and when they go to shops to try and buy, they find that it has gone up to K420 per 50 kg bag. What is the Government doing to revisit this situation so as to avoid hunger next year?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, fertiliser is sold in retail outlets by the private sector. The Government does its part by supporting farmers through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). The market determines the price of fertiliser. Those farmers that can afford to buy that fertiliser will definitely go for it. I do appreciate the fact that the cost of fertiliser has gone up. Unfortunately, Zambia has a liberalised economy in which the market determines the price of fertiliser.

I thank you, Sir. 

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, there is a serious shortage of water in Limulunga Royal Village. The people have to move from Sesheke Hill to the edge of the plain to fetch water. Is Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning aware of this situation? What can she do to help solve the problem of water shortage in the Limulunga Royal Village?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, when situations like this, whereby the people are denied a commodity like water occur, I expect the hon. Member of Parliament to get in touch with the relevant authorities as soon as that situation happens. I am very surprised to hear that there is no water in the Limulunga Royal Village. I had no knowledge about that situation. We will ensure that the water provision is restored for the Limulunga Royal Village. We will get in touch with the Western Water and Sewerage Company to see what can be done in the short-term.

I thank you, Sir. 

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, tolerance is one of the hallmarks of democracy. In fact, intolerance is a form of violence.  I have a programme for the 51st Independence Day Anniversary. If this day is meant for all Zambians, why is it that only the Secretary-General of the Patriotic Front (PF), Mr Davis Chama, Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, and other selected people are appearing on this programme? What does this mean? Does this mean that the secretaries-general of other political parties have not been invited to the celebrations? 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Sir, why is this so, when this celebration is for all Zambians? The Government is only a caretaker for the people of Zambia. 

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, all the presidents of political parties are invited to these occasions. All the secretaries-general are also invited. An invitation card does not itemise all the people who will be in attendance at that function. 

I thank you, Sir. 




139. Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the Lwela Bridge, along the Mungulube/Mulumbi Road in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency, would be rehabilitated;

(b)    what had caused the delay in rehabilitating the bridge; and 

(c)    what the cost of the bridge was. 

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the works on the Lwela Bridge will commence in the third quarter of 2016, upon the finalisation of the design and procurement of a works contractor.

Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of this project was delayed due to the lack of funding. However, the project is now on course, with a consultant to undertake the detailed designs having been appointed, and services scheduled to commence on 30th October, 2015.

Mr Speaker, the cost of rehabilitating the bridge will be ascertained once the designs are completed.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised. 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order, pursuant to Article 79 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, you are aware that as hon. Members of Parliament, we have been lamenting on the Floor of this House, pertaining to the issuance of the national registration cards (NRCs) and the mobile voter registration exercise that is taking place. We are all aware that this exercise is not just for the General Election, as per the statement of the Government of the Republic of Zambia. The Government has assured us that next year, the General Election and the referendum will be held at the same time. However, the Government has forgotten to take note of the provisions of Article 79 (3) of the Constitution, which I will quote, for ease of reference.

Mr Speaker, Article 79 (3) of the Constitution of Zambia reads:

“A bill for the alteration of Part III of this Constitution or of this Article shall not be passed unless before the first reading of the bill in the National Assembly it has been put to a National referendum with or without amendment by not less than fifty per cent of persons entitled to be registered as voters for the purposes of Presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Mr Speaker, the pertinent issue from my point of order has to do with the poor management of the mobile voter registration exercise and the issuance of the NRCs in the various constituencies, as raised by various hon. Members of Parliament. The Government must be aware that if the issuance of voter registration cards in the constituencies fails to reach the requisite requirements of Article 79 (3), of capturing a certain number of eligible voters, it means that the referendum which the people of Zambia have been agitating for, and which the Government has promised to implement, will fail to take off.

Mr Speaker, is Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, aware that the mobile voter registration exercise will end in two weeks time? In most of the constituencies, including Lundazi Parliamentary Constituency, both the issuance of the NRCs and mobile voter registration exercise have not even reached 50 per cent of the target. The mobile voter registration exercise will end on the 11th of November, 2015. The Government has told us that the voter registration exercise will continue to be conducted from the council offices in the districts. 

Mr Speaker, is this Government not aware that in certain constituencies, the distance between a village and the Boma, is more than 200 km? Do those in the Government honestly believe that an ordinary Zambian, incapable of buying a bag of mealie meal, will spend a lot of money to travel to the Boma to register as a voter, on an empty stomach? 

Mr Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order?

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the laissez-faire attitude of this Government over this particular exercise will lead to the failure to deliver a referendum, as promised, for it will fail to comply with Article 79 of the Constitution of Zambia. As a result, the people of Zambia are now saying that this Government is just hoodwinking them. 

Mr Mwale: Point of order!

Mr Mwiimbu: Is this Government and Hon. Mwale, in order …


Mr Mwiimbu: … not to put measures in place which all of us can agree upon to ensure that this exercise does not fail because the mere assurances that have been given do not render confidence in this process?

Mr Deputy Speaker: In one vein, it is a point of order on which I am supposed to rule. In another, you are asking Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning questions. I think that you have adequately debated your point of order. 

Hon. Member for Chembe, you may proceed. 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, seven or eight months ago when I asked this question, the answer which was given was that this bridge was at tender stage. 

Sir, you will recall that on Wednesday, the two hon. Ministers claimed that they were stakeholders in Luapula and gave me the year 2018 for the project. Soon, it will be 2016. I would like to find out from them why they have deliberately decided to ignore Milenge, in this regard, and the people of Luapula, in general. I am not making mere allegations. Can I be given one project that this ministry has carried out in Milenge District?

The Minister of Works and Supply (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I do not understand why the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe is complaining. We stated very clearly that we already have a consultant to execute this project. The contract was awarded on 15th September, 2015. The consultant was given thirty months to ensure that he does a good job supervising the construction of the project. So, I do not know what the complaint is because the consultant, who has already been paid K10.2 million for the job, is on site.   

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, of late, I have noted that whenever a Member of Parliament asks the cost of a project, there is an excuse that costs will only be known after a detailed design is put together. In the past, we used to have estimates, just to have a feel. I am not talking about the contract sum or tender sum. I would like to know why an estimate, which is different from a contract sum, cannot be given. In the past one or two years, I have heard this excuse so many times. Why can we not have an estimate so that we can have a feel of what is to come in the future?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the estimates are normally given by our engineers. We have an engineering estimate and the consultants’ calculations. We use the estimate to come up with a budget. For this job, we have done the estimate and the budget that we have made a provision for in the 2016 Budget is K22.5 million. This is the estimate that we have. 

I thank you, Sir. 


140. Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe) asked the Vice-President:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to repeal the law relating to the construction of houses for former Presidents, in view of the escalating costs involved;

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

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

Mr Deputy Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1045 hours until 1100 hours.




The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Members, this is to remind the House that the football and netball matches between hon. Members of Parliament and the diplomats accredited to Zambia, in commemoration of Zambia’s 51st Independence Anniversary, will be held today, Friday, 23rd October, 2015, at 1330 hours, at the Olympic Youth Development Centre (OYDC). 

All hon. Members, who are supporters, are encouraged to come and support the parliamentary teams. 

I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


   The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Speaker, the Government has undertaken to amend The Benefits of Former Presidents Act, Cap. 15 of the Laws of Zambia, to make its interpretation and application more prudent. The amendment to the act will go beyond the construction of houses for former Presidents as it touches on the benefits and provisions of the Act.

Mr Speaker, a Bill seeking to amend The Benefits of Former Presidents Act will be presented to the House as soon as the draft is completed. As stated above, the Government has plans to amend The Benefits of Former Presidents Act.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Namulambe: Mr Speaker, the response given regarding the amendments, especially on part which talks about the construction of houses is not very clear. Are we going to remove the aspect of constructing houses completely or we are thinking of another way of doing things? I need a straight answer.

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I believe Hon. Namulambe will play a big role when the amendment is brought to the House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, former President Banda is of the view that the queue for the construction of houses for former Presidents is quite long. Does the hon. Deputy Minister agree with the former President that getting his money is better than him following the line? 

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, although Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning has already addressed the issue which is being referred to, I wish to state that the hon. Member will have an opportunity to provide his input to the debate when the amendment comes to this House.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, how soon will they bring the Bill to this House because they only have a few months left in office?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, as I mentioned in my answer, the amendment will be brought in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, does the amendment take into account the good pronouncements by the sitting President? 

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I would not want to pre-empt the contents of the amendment before it is presented to this House.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Mooya: Mr Speaker, by due course, does the hon. Deputy Minister mean before we adjourn Parliament in December?

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, in due course may imply before we ...

Hon. Government Members: Rise!

Mr Sichalwe: ... rise.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the answers that the hon. Deputy Minister is giving are hypothetical ...


Prof. Lungwangwa: ... with no substance at all. 

Hon. Government Members: Aah! Question!

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that it is not acceptable to bring hypothetical answers to this House?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, the answers which have been given suggest that the Act will soon be brought to Parliament. The pronouncements of the President will be considered at the time when the Act is being debated.

I thank you, Sir.


141. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of General Education:

(a)    when Mapula Primary School in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency would be rehabilitated; and 

(b)    what had caused the delay in rehabilitating the school.

The Minister of General Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, the ministry is aware of the dilapidated state of infrastructure at Mapula Primary School in Chembe Parliamentary Constituency. In view of that, the ministry has planned to include the rehabilitation of the school in the 2016 Infrastructure Operational Plan. The delay in rehabilitating the school was due to financial constraints.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, we have heard statements like the one which the hon. Minister has issued before. Mapula Primary School is one of the oldest schools in this area. How sure are we that there will be physical construction taking place at the school in 2016? 

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I repeat, Mapula Primary School will be considered for inclusion in the 2016 Infrastructure Operational Plan.

I thank you, Sir. 


142. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    how many boreholes were sunk in Milenge District from 2011 to 2014, year by year; and 

(b)    how many boreholes are earmarked for sinking in 2015 and 2016.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Ching’imbu): Mr Speaker, from 2010 to 2011, thirty-nine boreholes were drilled in Milenge District. Under Phase I, twenty-nine boreholes were built under the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) and ten boreholes were built through Government funding. In Phase II, from 2012 to 2013, forty-seven boreholes were drilled under JICA. From 2013 to 2014, 106 boreholes were drilled with support from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). For 2015 to 2016, eighty-three boreholes and one water scheme have been planned for. Forty-three will be drilled under JICA and forty with Chinese support.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, as you have indicated, most boreholes have been sunk through support from non-governmental organisations. We have been informed that just like the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which pulled out, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has got a time limit. What other plans does the ministry have to help the people of this area? 

Mr Ching’imbu: Mr Speaker, this question came on the Floor of the House last week. We, the Government, indicated that we are drilling boreholes in all districts. Milenge District will be taken care of under the programmes of the ministry. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister give us a programme of work for the ministry so that we are able to know how many boreholes each district will get? 

Mr Ching’imbu: Mr Speaker, we shall release that schedule in the due course.

I thank you, Sir.




(Debate resumed)

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, I rise to add my voice to the debate on the Floor. From the outset, I just want to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the Budget Speech that he presented to this House. Looking at the policy pronouncements that are in this document, one would, off-the-cuff, say that it is a good Budget. We have had a number of such good Budgets especially in the past four years. I recall one of the former hon. Members of Parliament saying, “The devil is in the details.” I want to add that in as much as we get to have more details in the Yellow Book, what matters is the implementation part of the Budget. I will anchor my debate on that.  

Sir, in this country, most of the times, we come up with good policies which we lamentably fail to implement. If you analyse this year’s Budget, you will notice that most of the programmes in it have not been implemented. The 2016 Budget does not give me hope because it is supposed to be executed in an election year. Most of the programmes in this Budget will not be executed.  

Mr Speaker, you will not believe that some of us have not received the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for the past two years now. In Chongwe, we have not received CDF for 2014 and 2015. Even when the hon. Minister responsible for the administration of the fund writes to us to say that the CDF has been sent to the district, if we go to check our account, we find nothing. The day before yesterday, I asked the hon. Deputy Minister responsible over the same issue. He told me to go and check at the district level. I went there and found nothing.

Mr Mbewe: Aah!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, it is a pity because these are resources that can really make a difference especially in rural areas where poverty levels are very high and where people are not seeing much in terms of improved living standards. It is as good as saying nothing is happening there. This Budget, good as it may look on paper, I doubt if even 50 per cent of it will be executed 

Sir, we all know that a Budget relates to policies that the President pronounces in his speech. I was looking at the President’s Speech to see if it relates with the hon. Minister of Finance’s Speech.  I noticed that yes, the Budget Speech relates with what the President said when he came to open this Parliament. I did not attend the Official Opening of Parliament because that morning, I was in court. So, it took me a bit of time to actually go through the President’s Speech. I only read it after the hon. Minister of Finance had already delivered the Budget Speech. It was very refreshing to read the President’s Speech because a number of keys issues were very well articulated. The flow of the Speech was also very good. Unfortunately, I am not sure how much of that speech will be implemented. One of the things which keeps coming on my mind is how inconsistent the current administration is. I have never been part of an administration that is so inconsistent such as this one.

Mr Pande: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, it is my first time to see a situation whereby good things are said and before they are done, there is a change. Sometimes, you will find that the change is so big. 

Mr Speaker, the creation of new ministries is very expensive. I would have understood if it were a completely new administration which had taken over and started creating new ministries responsible for health, community development, mother and child health and transport, works, supply and communications. It is disappointing to imagine that this is being done by an administration that has been there for some time. It is shocking to see that this Government, within one term, can make a complete turn-around of the entire Government face. These things are not being done by new players. They are the same key players except for one who is the President now. He is the President now, but before, he was the hon. Minister of Defence. I wonder if we are serious with what we are doing. Is this problem with our technocrats? Would it be said that our technocrats are misleading us? 

Mr Speaker, even in the Committee meetings, we kept asking if the combination of units from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Community Development, Mother and Child Health was the right way to move. Even as late as this year, some people kept saying it is the right thing to do. Now, we have a completely new Government structure. Do they know the cost of these changes that they are making every day? How can they succeed even if they present good Budget and President’s Speeches with such a background? They cannot succeed like that. 

Mr Speaker, from the vast experience that I have, I have no hope in these speeches. I know that because we are in an election year, money will be borrowed to come up with programmes to appease the people. After the elections, whether they win or lose, the Zambian economy will still go back to where it was. This is the only country where in a year, you make one step forward and the following year, you take two steps backwards and go back to zero. 

Mr Speaker, sometimes, I just shake my heard. It is so sad for some of us that have been in the Government for a long time and are part of all this confusion. This Government has been changing policies very often. Even when people advise them, they have answers to give. They even get upset and ask us why we are complaining. 

Mr Speaker, I can safely say that yes, it is good that some of the ministries have been realigned, but as to whether the reasons for the realignment is to achieve better results or to just appease the new appointees, it is only time that will tell. In this country, when an hon. Minister starts a programme and leaves the ministry, that programme is not implemented. I was happy when the President directed the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to reactivate the Make Zambia Clean and Healthy Programme because most of our towns are not clean.

Mr Zimba: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member in order to continue debating when there is no quorum? Most of the hon. United Party for National Development (UPND) Members have left the House.

Mr Muntanga: We are here?

Mr Zimba: I need your serious ruling.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

I think the quorum has collapsed. Can you ring the bells.

Business was suspended from 1126 hours until 1129 hours.


The Deputy Chairperson: Now that the quorum has been constituted, may the hon. Member continue.

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, I was saying that it was gratifying to hear the President direct the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing to reactivate the Make Zambia Clean and Healthy Programme. I hope there are resources in the Budget that have been mainstreamed in all the sectors so that our towns and cities are cleaned up especially Lusaka which is an eye sore. Most of us stay in Lusaka so we need to ensure that it is cleaned up. The current hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing should ensure that the public and private institutions also get on board with regard to the initiatives to clean up Lusaka.

Sir, there is anarchy especially in our bus stations in most cities. The local authorities are even scared to collect revenue from these bus stations because of a cadre of criminals who masquerade as PF members. I hope the current hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing will put his foot down and address this issue. I know the Former hon. Minister was scared to do that. Maybe, it is because he is old. Since the current hon. Minister is young and has strength, I hope that he will ensure that the local authorities collect revenue from the bus stations so that there is sanity in our country. The Government can only spend money if it collects revenue. Clearly, it has failed to come up with a programme to collect money from the informal sector because of politics. The local authorities are failing to even collect the little resources they previously collected from most institutions.

Mr Speaker, between 1990 and 1991, the Zambian people got tired of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government because the party became stronger than the Cabinet. We are currently experiencing a similar situation. The police have become spectators. The cadres are now in charge of roadblocks. The police fail to enforce the law and only seem effective when they arrest some politicians. Unfortunately, in this country, even hon. Ministers fail to execute their functions because they are scared of the cadres. The President even confirmed this in his Speech.

Sir, it is very difficult for me to debate these days because I have seen many administrations. Out of all of them, the current one is the worst.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, this is because it has failed to be on top of things. There is a total breakdown of law and order in this country.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, that is why both local and foreign investors do not want to invest in this country. The kwacha is fluctuating because of disorganisation and the breakdown of law and order.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, it is difficult to run a business in this country today. I do not know whether everybody should just become a cadre in order for them to make it in life.

 Mr Speaker, I also note that the Budget Speech did not address issues on decentralisation. I am hoping that when we start considering the individual items in the Yellow Book, we will be able to see that some funds have been allocated towards the effective implementation of the Decentralisation Policy. Since we have now established a bigger central Government in Lusaka by creating extra ministries, I am hoping that some functions will still be handled by the councils as has been pronounced. Therefore, I hope some resources have been allocated to the councils for the extra functions.

Sir, I am a bit worried that the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has been tasked to deal with the issue of feeder roads. I know that in the past, the ZNS has been one of the road agencies which has been involved in the construction and rehabilitation of roads alongside councils and also the Central Government. It is my hope that we will not see a situation whereby the responsibility of taking care of all the feeder roads will be managed by the ZNS because, in my view, that action will not be of any help to the local authorities. It is, therefore, important that issues to do with the feeder and city roads remain under the care of the local authorities so that the Government continues to build the capacity of the local authorities alongside the ZNS.  If we are going to take the whole function of caring for feeder roads to the ZNS and leave nothing with the local authorities, we will still have the same problems.

Mr Speaker, the problem is that when we make one step forward, we take two steps backwards. When the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) was being created by the then Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, we advised that it was better to give this function to the local authorities and capacitating them. As usual, the people at the centre of power did not get our advice. It is a pity that, again, we have given this function to the ZNS. I am not sure whether the ZNS is all over Zambia. If it is not all over the country, the cost of taking the ZNS officers and the equipment around the country will be very high. The cost of ensuring that we capacitate all the local authorities to be responsible for their feeder and town roads is a far better long-term plan. It is my hope that, together, we can continue empowering the local authorities to ensure that they perform that function to promote capacity building for the future.

Sir, the other point which relates to this Budget is the issue of the late release of funds. The late release of funds affects the execution of a good budget. When we start looking at individual items for various ministries and Government departments, we shall be able to see how many programmes have been implemented through this year’s budget.

Sir, I thank you.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simuusa: (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for allowing me to also add my voice to this important debate.

Sir, from the outset, allow me to commend my uncle, the hon. Minister of Finance, Hon. Chikwanda for being very brave, honest and candid. What I mean by saying that the hon. Minister was being honest and bold when painting a true picture is that he is being very frank when painting the picture which we have found ourselves in from the outset.

Mr Speaker, from the word go, the hon. Minister of Finance analysed the situation as it stands. He started by talking about the severe El Nino effect and confirmed that it will continue this year which means that the rainfall is not likely to be normal next year. This point has been confirmed by the Meteorological Department.

 Mr Speaker, what that means, therefore, is that our electricity blues may carry on and we may not have the harvest that we are looking for. In fact, from the report which I read from somewhere, the rainfall to support the power supply in the country will not be enough. We will need three good rainy seasons to bring the Kariba Dam to its acceptable levels.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister went on and talked about the global economic growth which is sluggish, …

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

 The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, we have a new hon. Minister of Energy and Water Development who we are told has a husband who has the formula of filling up the Kariba Dam.


Mr Nkombo:  Sir, is the hon. Member debating on the Floor in order to cause this alarm that it will take three years to fill up the Kariba Dam when the President came up with a solution by appointing the wife of the holder of the solution, Mr Muliokela, who said that we can dig holes and get buckets to fill up the Kariba Dam. Is he in order to continue debating in that manner?


The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

Definitely, the hon. Member is in order because that union or marriage is not recognised anywhere, not even in the Eastern Province.

Hon. Simuusa, you may continue.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance raised serious concerns in his Budget. He talked about the sluggish and underperforming global economy.  He also talked about the copper price which has fallen and now stands at between US$6,000 to US$5,000.  He proceeded to talk about the sharp depreciation of the exchange rates and the electricity deficit which is exerting inflationary pressures. He went on and talked about the low net supply of foreign exchange on the market and uncertainty over the performance of the mining sector. Again, he talked about the Zambia’s reduced foreign exchange earnings.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister further talked about the sharp deterioration of the trade balance over the first half of the year and went further to talk about the widening deficit. The next point he talked about is the reduction in the non-traditional export. The hon. Minister of Finance also talked about the increase in the debt stock for the Government.

Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance painted a very serious picture of the state of our economy. Further to that, he even reduced his projection of the growth of the gross domestic product (GDP) growth from 7 to 4.8 per cent.

Mr Speaker, it is for this reason that I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance for being bold when talking about the economic affairs of the country. In fact, let me add some issues that he did not mention.      

Mr Speaker, as mentioned by a few other colleagues, this K53.1 billion Budget was formulated when the US$1 cost K12 while the K46 billion 2015 Budget was done when US $1 cost K6. That is almost half the value of the dollar as at last year. Last time, I used an import figure of 70 per cent, but I have realised that when it comes to imports, we are actually at 90 per cent. The other point mentioned is that as of October, this year, the Government had only collected 60 per cent of the revenue. You can correct me if I am wrong. So, by the end of the year, we can project that the total will be about 70 per cent. Next year, we are talking about a Budget which is half that value and, with the challenges that we have, we may be talking about 50 per cent revenue collections.

Mr Speaker, this is why I would like to commend my uncle, the hon. Minister of Finance, for being very honest. This is the spirit we need in this country. Being honest does not make him a rebel. It also does not mean he is against the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. He is looking at the picture squarely and grabbing the bull by the horns. We need this spirit for us to make progress. Any organisation, country or institution that wants to make progress should adopt this spirit. So, for that, I want to commend the hon. Minister of Finance. We can only make progress if we acknowledge what is on the ground and accept reality. This is very important. Bear in mind that I am not calling my uncle a rebel.

Sir, what surprises me is why my uncle, whom I keep referring to as the hon. Minister of Finance, ...

The Deputy Chairperson: Hon. Member, there are no uncles here.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, thank you.

The Deputy Chairperson: Later on, we will have serious revelations from other quarters.


Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I keep referring to the hon. Minister of Finance because he did an excellent job. I know that we have a lot of students of business in the House who understand what the word ‘scanning’ means. The hon. Minister scanned the environment very well. I commend him for that. What surprises me is why in Part II of the Budget, which is concerned with the Macroeconomic Objectives, Policies and Strategies for 2016, the hon. Minister, did the exact opposite of the environmental scanning that he did. I say so because he projected to achieve an annual gross domestic product (GDP) of 5 per cent and yet the 4 per cent GDP growth is what was realistic. The other macroeconomic objective set was to increase domestic revenue mobilisation to 20.4 per cent of GDP from 18.1 per cent, which is the direct opposite. He also proposed to reduce the Budget deficit to 3.8 per cent of GDP from 6.9 per cent, maintain single digit inflation, accelerate diversification, maintain international reserves and create employment.

Mr Speaker, all these objectives are not consistent with the scenario or scanning of the environment that was done. This means that we are setting ourselves up to fail. From my training in the industry, I have learnt that it is always good to set a target that is achievable. For example in the mines, you are judged, disciplined and assessed by your target. So, when you are setting your targets, you have to make sure you put an achievable target. That way, you will have a better chance of being rated highly. I wonder why the hon. Minister of Finance pegged the objectives so high. This will make it very difficult for us to achieve those targets. Come this time next year, it will be difficult to explain those targets. So, it calls for hard work.

Sir, I hope that as we go into debating the Budget in detail, other hon. Ministers will come in and shed some more light and give more direction on what we, as a nation, are going to do to make sure that the objectives that have been put up by the hon. Minister of Finance are attained. That way, we will not have a lot of explaining to do next year.

Mr Speaker, in that line, I also want to say that one of the fears that I expressed when I debated the President’s Speech has been fulfilled. This has to do with the skeleton not having adequate flesh. There is a bit of that, and I will use two sectors to explain that point. I do not have enough time, so, I will talk about mining and industrialisation.

Sir, we have already said that industrialisation is the solution to our problems. However, the hon. Minister only dedicated one sentence to industrialisation, which was only referred to in general terms saying:

“.. in line with the Government’s Industrialisation and Job Creation Strategy, the growth of the manufacturing sector remains critical in our efforts to diversify the economy.”

Mr Speaker, we need more flesh. That skeleton on the cheek bone does not have flesh. I was privileged to represent this Parliament at a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Conference in Harare. At that conference, I noticed that even at high levels such as the SADC or the African Union (AU), industrialisation has been identified as being one of the critical solutions to economies like ours, and Zambia was singled out. His Excellency, the President also mentioned it when he was in New York. That is how serious industrialisation is. I am a bit disappointed that industrialisation did not get the attention it deserves. In fact, the statement that was issued stated that industrialisation was the key to transforming Zambia’s economy. So, in line with the theme for the President’s Address which is “Embracing a Transformational Culture for a Smart Zambia Now,” we should look at industrialisation very seriously. So, I am hoping that as the hon. Ministers come to debate the Budget, we will be looking out for this aspect because it is lacking.

Sir, on mining, I did mention that I was looking out to see a lot of things. Again, we have a skeleton that has no flesh on the tako. I always say that we talk about diversifying from mining, but we must admit that as a country, we are not diversifying at a rate that we would all want. So, whether we like it or not, mining will still remain a very key component of this economy for the next few decades. As such, we should not give it a back seat, the way I am seeing it. For example, the hon. Minister’s Speech only has two paragraphs on mining. I expected to see the mining tax regime in this speech because that is one issue that is affecting the mining sector. 

Mr Speaker, not so long ago, after the mining tax regime was reversed, companies like Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) issued statements saying even with the current mining tax regime, the mines could not record any profits. The Chamber of Mines Chairperson warned that all the mines would close if the issue of the mining tax regime was not addressed. 

Sir, we have, since, 2008 been experimenting with different mining tax regimes before the one we have was reversed. This means this is a very serious issue and debates on whether Zambia is deriving adequate benefits from our mineral resources still go on. I will leave that question there because it is a burning issue.

Mr Speaker, this was one of the issues that the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government grappled with. Therefore, I would not be wrong to say that it was one of the causes for my colleagues leaving office. They mishandled the issue of mining, especially the mining tax regime. 

Mr Muntanga: So, what will happen to them (pointing at hon. Government Members)?

Mr Simuusa: So the question still stands: Are we deriving adequate benefits from mining?

Mr Speaker, I think it is very important that we grab the bull by the horns. Again, I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for his honest and very pragmatic approach. This is definitely grabbing the bull by the horns. We are sitting on a time bomb and the red flags are flying. So, we should not ignore the situation.

Mr Speaker, on the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – Investment Holdings (ZCCM-HI), the only statement I see in the Budget Speech is the hon. Minister urging the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to work with ZCCM-HI Plc to exploit opportunities of diversification within the mining sector. The ZCCM-IH holds our interests in the mining sector. Therefore, what is it saying and doing about the current situation in the mines? We are all waiting to hear this. The more we continue ignoring this matter and bury our heads in the sand, the more dangerous the time bomb we are sitting on becomes. 

Mr Nkombo interjected.

Mr Simuusa: As the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development and other relevant hon. Ministers come to make their contributions, I hope they will add more meat to the skeleton, which is the Budget Speech. This will help kill and remove the zombie in the horror movie we are watching, which is the collapse of our economy. If we do not do that, the situation will degenerate into a state which we will fail to handle. 

Mr Speaker, as the debate continues, it will be good to hear the hon. Minister’s response to some of the issues that have been raised about his speech so that we can make projections of what to expect in the near future. Nonetheless, I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for a very well-articulated speech. He was very honest and candid.

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

The Deputy Chairperson: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I did not want to disturb a well-articulated debate. I am only wondering whether the hon. Member is in order to continue advising his friends to bring in steak to add to some cheekbones without advising them to go for skin grafting to remove some steak from the buttocks and bring it up to the face so that this zombie he is talking about is complete. He has not even told his friends who the surgeon should be.

The Deputy Chairperson: Since he is not a medical practitioner, I guess he is right to the extent he has debated.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I think what is important for now is for us to know the measures which we will undertake, so that all the Zambians move together.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me again commend the hon. Minister of Finance for a very solid document. It was well articulated, honest and candid. That is the way we are going to move this nation forward.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


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

Questions put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1159 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 27th October, 2015.