Debates - Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015

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Tuesday, 3rd March, 2015

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, may I first thank you for according me this opportunity to make a ministerial statement in this august House to clarify some issues regarding the kwacha parity or exchange rate and to put some matters in an appropriate context.

Sir, the exchange rate is the price of our currency, the kwacha, in terms of other currencies. The exchange rate is invariably not cost-neutral as inexorable downward spiraling of a currency does impinge on the lives of people. This is because it increases the prices of imported goods and services, in the process, stocking inflationary spirals on the domestic market. The poorest of our people are, unfortunately, the most affected when there is inflation. It is, therefore, against this background that a cross section of our citizens have expressed what I might call very legitimate concerns.

Mr Speaker, a depreciating kwacha increases the cost of inputs that are imported for use in various economic activities, making our goods and services less competitive. Further, procurement of services such as tickets and upkeep away from the country becomes costly, particularly in the Government where the propensity to travel is noticeably high. For businesses and people with external obligations, ranging from loans to bills, such as school and medical fees, the burdens are stiffened. The Government itself has sizeable external obligations in terms of debt service payments and maintenance of missions abroad whose bills increase. In such cases, more kwacha than was budgeted for has to be mobilised in order for us to meet those extra commitments.

Sir, there is, however, a flip side to the above scenario. Companies that are not import dependent in terms of inputs, but export various commodities, whether agricultural products or minerals, will enjoy some windfall with a falling kwacha as this pushes up their proceeds and boosts their balance sheets. For the Government, those revenues, which have their origins in taxes of international trade, may go up. This may, however, not necessarily make up for the additional debt service requirements that arise as a result of the falling kwacha.

Mr Speaker, the kwacha depreciation is a multi-dimensional issue. Partly, it is due to the strength of the United States (US) Dollar against all currencies as the American economy has grown at a faster and higher pace than other advanced economies, following the 2008 global financial crisis. The kwacha has since the end of 2013 depreciated by 24.3 per cent against the US dollar. While the Euro has depreciated by 20.5 per cent against the dollar, the South African Rand has depreciated by 11.7 per cent and the pound sterling has also depreciated against the US dollar by 7.9 per cent. Zambia, being a commodity exporting economy, is more affected than other economies. The US economic strength is largely premised on quantitative easing, a sophisticated way of purchasing existing bond obligations and unleashing huge resources to create new commitments which triggers economic stimulation. This includes other cheaper mortgages that spur booms in housing construction, a process that can only be salutary for any economy. So, the appreciation of the dollar has severely impacted on all currencies, including our national currency, the kwacha.

Sir, on the domestic front, the major reason for the weakening of the kwacha is the palpable demand-supply disequilibrium. In other words, the demand for US dollars principally, and other currencies, exceeds the supply of those currencies. At the beginning of the year, the foreign exchange earnings inflows are slow because of the time-lag effects in the realisation of export earnings, while lower copper prices have further constrained the supply conditions relating to the high currencies, particularly the US Dollar. In general, the net monthly supply of foreign exchange in 2014 exceeded US$ 100 million. However, at the beginning of 2015, this fell to around US$ 85 million. So, the gap between the supply and the demand can be seen clearly.

Mr Speaker, the hard currency earnings will improve as the fiscal year progresses, especially from the mining sector as volumes of copper increase and the prices considerably inch upwards as was the trend last week.

Mr Speaker, the Government will continue to monitor the situation and, through our competent Central Bank, take the necessary measures to forestall excesses in kwacha exchange rate movements. Any intervention by the Bank of Zambia can only be, of necessity, a measured response. The Central Bank has to strike a very delicate balance between preventing drastic slippages in the kwacha exchange rate and preserving our foreign reserves which are not, by any account, lavish. On the fiscal side, we will complement the efforts of the Bank of Zambia by continuing our fiscal consolidation process that will assist in moderating demand conditions for foreign exchange.

Mr Speaker, over the long terms horizon, increased export earnings will never be a matter of merely fiat. As a country, we must put our act together to increase and quicken activity in sectors such as agriculture, which have relatively shorter and bearable gestation periods vis-á-vis other sectors like mining. The tourism sector has potential to contribute to foreign exchange earnings, but this sector will require reinforcing infrastructure and services and this cannot be a one-day wonder, but a process.

Sir, exchange rates inevitably have a relation to the economic status of any country. In Zambia, the participation of our nationals in the economy, except for the small-scale agriculture sector, is uncomfortably low. We import a lot of goods and services that can be produced locally. The absence of even scanty processing outfits boggles one’s mind. This is a big challenge to our many entrepreneurs. Import substitution, when the volumes are adequate to ensure reasonable unit costs, is as good as exporting for purposes of foreign exchange.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let us look at the kwacha exchange rate in a wide global context because we are not an island, but an integral part of the wider global economy. The Government will always be mindful of the possible injurious effects of a weakened national currency. A robust and diversified agriculture sector can generate export earnings, which can furnish the country with enough and reliable hard currency to permit assured kwacha stability. This is the only considerable way forward in the long term.

Sir, let me call upon the nation not to be unduly alarmed by movements in the exchange rates as this has the effect of inducing speculation which, in turn, artificially sways the exchange rate away from the prevailing economic fundamentals. In a market economy such as ours, movements in the exchange rate are the order of the day. It is not too long ago when we paid 70 Ngwee or K700 in un-rebased kwacha for a South African Rand. Now, we can buy a rand for less than 60 Ngwee. The moral here is that there are fluctuations in the exchange rates even in the relatively advanced economies in our vicinity.

 Mr Speaker, I thank you.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Members are now to free to ask questions on points of clarifications on the ministerial statement issued by the hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I correctly quoted the hon. Minister’s 2013 statement in which he assured this House that he was going to bring stringent measures which will make sure that the kwacha did not depreciate the way it has done.

Sir, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what these measures were and why those measures have failed to maintain the kwacha strong.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, even if Hon. Mbewe were a Government, he would not affect the exchange rate by what I call ‘Fiat’, that is, by just working up and saying. “Let there be a strong kwacha.”  


Mr Chikwanda: Sir, the strong kwacha is essentially and ultimately a function of the strength of the economy. As long as we do not grow the economy and we continue to under produce in sectors like agriculture, our national currency cannot be very strong. In fact, it is a lot stronger than other currencies.  What has caused us problems now is simply the decline in the prices of our export commodities, particularly our minerals. That is what has severely impacted, in the short term, the exchange rate of the kwacha. So, there cannot be any measures to strengthen the exchange rate of your currency other than by increases in the production of all kinds of goods and services and by reducing the imports of certain things. How can we justify seeing our supermarkets flooded with juices from South Africa which we can produce here, especially as we have slightly better climatic conditions and higher rainfall? So, there is no justification for importing orange juices from South Africa when we have better conditions to produce them. These are the issues that have a bearing on the strength of our national currency. Let us get things right and also increase the level of production of goods and import substitution sensibly at scales which do not impede the per unit costs.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Order!

In the first round, I will take questions from the hon. Members for Kabompo West, Mafinga, Luena, Mbala, Lubansenshi, and Kasempa.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, we are all aware that the exchange rate is a function of the productivity of any country or economy. Notwithstanding the fact that there is a dip in the price of copper, which means less US Dollars on this market, experts are saying the inability of Zambia to maintain or keep the US Dollar after the export of copper by our multi-nationals or mining companies is, in part, to blame for this spiral of the kwacha that has depreciated at an astronomical speed. 

Sir, given that fact, what is the hon. Minister of Finance doing to ensure that after exports of copper, at least, the US Dollar remains within the confines of this economy for thirty days before it is expatriated to the company owner’s respective countries? This would give the US Dollar the much-needed punch. I would like to hear the hon. Minister’s comment.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the issue of the mines not bringing enough US Dollars is grossly exaggerated. The mining companies have to bring back their export earnings in kwacha to first of all service their wage bill, which is about 35 per cent of the their cost. Then, they have to pay local bills like electricity and taxes. Therefore, the mining companies bring back quite enough US dollars into the economy. As hon. Members, I think we should discount some of the things that we read in the newspapers and gossip columns.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!    

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has admitted that one of the ways to reduce …


Mr Speaker: Can we have some order on the right!

Ms Namugala: … the demand for the US Dollar is to ensure that we substitute imports in terms of consumer products, which has been tried before. However, the hon. Minister of Finance has, for the last three years, merely given lip service to growing sectors such as agriculture and tourism. He is now lamenting our importing juice from South Africa. Can he tell us whether or not it is not part of his duties to ensure that there is appropriate allocation of resources and political will to grow these two critical sectors.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, there is enough resource allocation to the agriculture sector. In fact, there are companies in the agriculture sector which earn substantial amounts of foreign exchange through exports. For instance, Zambia Sugar Company Limited produces around 400,000 tonnes of sugar. Due to the debilitating poverty that prevails in Zambia, we only consume 150,000 tonnes of sugar and the remaining 250,000 tonnes are exported. 

Given the low price of sugar on the global market, most of it is exported at a slight loss. The internal price of sugar is high in order for the company to make up for the reduced foreign exchange for reduced external prices. The price of sugar per pound is now 14 cents while the production cost is a lot higher. There are, however, a lot of companies in the agriculture sector which generate foreign exchange.

Anyway, the issue is not shortage of foreign exchange from the agriculture sector, but that there is not enough participation by Zambians in economic activities. As I have said in the statement, most of our maize, precisely 90 per cent, is produced by small-scale farmers, but there is very little involvement by Zambians in the economy, including the hon. Member for Mafinga. That is the weakness that we have. 

The Government will not go into production, unless we want a State-run economy. Production is a function of the private sector, but there are not enough economic activities. Nothing is hindering any one of us from being involved in agricultural production. The hon. Member for Mafinga may not even own a cow.

I thank you, Sir.


Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, one of the ingredients or variables that have an impact on the exchange rate is foreign direct investment (FDI). However, of late, we have not seen much of it. Therefore, does the hon. Minister agree with me that the exchange rate, which is now going astronomically high, is a reflection of the lack of confidence by the international community in the Zambian economy?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the FDI flows into Zambia. Only last week, I was in Kalumbila to see a US $2 billion investment in the mining sector. The confidence of the international financial community in Zambia is very high. Every time we have gone to the bond markets, we have been embarrassed. In 2012, when we went to the bond market, we were only looking for half a billion US dollars. However, US $11 billion was put at our disposal, but we could only source US $750 million because we did not have projects for that amount. 

Last year, we again went to the bond market to look for US $I billion. What was put at our disposal was US $3 billion. If that is not confidence in our economy, can the hon. Member for Luena enlighten us on what constitutes confidence in a country as an investment destination. The international financial community invariably put up more money to support us than we requested. With respect to our 2012 bond issue, it was subscribed by a factor of over twenty-two times.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga indicated.

Mr Speaker: There is a list I am following, hon. Member for Kalomo Central. Just listen and record in your memory, if you can, or write it down. Everybody has a notebook here.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance has mentioned several fundamentals that he attributes to the weakening of the kwacha, two of which stand out. One is foreign ownership of most businesses, including small ones, but mostly big ones. He has also mentioned that there is excessive dependence on imports in the country, especially finished goods. 

Are the instruments at the hon. Minister’s disposal for managing our fiscal situation in the country not adequate for him to put in place measures to address these two very serious concerns that have been there for many years? Is he encountering some frustrations from some quarters which are making it difficult for him to increase the ownership of businesses by Zambians or even reduce excessive dependence on imported products?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, it is not in the interest of this country to go back to crude economic controls and other measures. We do not want to encumber the economy excessively with all kinds of controls. I think the gospel truth is simply that we are not producing enough. How can we justify our importing tilapia from China when we should export tilapia to China? What is so magical about growing fish? It takes only a few months to grow a bream. So, we are importing unnecessarily. 

We should produce some of these commodities locally. The only way to grow our economy is increase the level of production. We are not going to ordain increased foreign exchange availabilities merely by Government decrees. That is the wrong way. We do not want to go back to a command economy. The instruments that the hon. Member has in mind are not the thrust of our Government. Our Government ensures a free market economy and urges Zambians to participate in it. 

Further, we have tried, to the best of our ability, to capitalise financial institutions under our auspices, such as the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ), National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) and Zambian National Building Society (ZNBS), in the hope that we can increase borrowing by small-scale sectors. In order to grow the economy, one of the battles will relate to doing something on the fiscal or monetary plane to try to lower the interest rates so that more small-scale entrepreneurs have access to credit facilities. Growing the economy via small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is one of the most viable ways of growing the economy because we will also generate employment in the process.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, …

Ms Namugala: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I am not allowing any points of order during this segment.

You may continue, hon. Member for Lubansenshi.

Mr Mucheleka: Thank you, Mr Speaker. My question is related to the one asked by the hon. Member for Mafinga. In his statement, the hon. Minister of Finance indicated that the low copper prices and over dependence on the mining sector have a negative impact on the exchange rate. He further gave a theoretical view with regard to how agriculture and tourism can be used as growth sectors. Can he indicate what specific measures or incentives he can think of to try to trigger the agriculture and tourism sectors as well as other sectors and use them for growth. This is in cognisance of the fact that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has lamentably failed to adequately stimulate the growth that is required.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the Government has given very elaborate forms of incentives, especially for large-scale agriculture. For instance, corporate tax for both agricultural products and processing is only 10 per cent. Actually, it is just that we may not be aware that there are quite a few developments taking place in large-scale agriculture. There is a lot of investment in the sector by large-scale farmers. 

As the hon. Member of Parliament goes to his constituency, if he does not go through the Pedicle Road, but via Mpika, he should try to stop and see the US $21 million worth of palm plantation investment that has been put up by Zambeef in Mpika. It will start to process this year. Although it will only process about 160 hectares this year, it wants to go on a larger scale and process up to 1,500 hectares of palm next year. So, there is a lot of investment going on in the large-scale agriculture sector though, admittedly, it is not enough. We should do everything possible to entice more investment into the agriculture sector. This is because investment in the agriculture sector is shorter as you can reap results in one year whereas in the mining sector, the gestation can range from ten to fifteen years before the results of your investment can be seen.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the depreciation of the kwacha inevitably means that at the repayment of foreign borrowing, we will pay more in terms of kwacha, but the hon. Minister of Finance referred to sizeable external borrowing. I would like to find out from him whether that external borrowing includes the rumour that has been circulating that Zambia has borrowed money on behalf of the sovereign State of Zimbabwe. Can the hon. Minister confirm that.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, external borrowing is not very alarming. In fact, it would be a better strategy for us to borrow more externally than internally because the external interest factor is 6 to 8 per cent whereas for internal borrowing, we are paying up to 23 per cent. Actually, the cost of servicing internal loans is becoming increasingly unsustainable and untenable. 

However, as regards the borrowing for the repairs of the Kariba Dam, we had to raise a facility of up to US $294 million. Due to the confidence that is reposed in Zambia by the international community, our colleagues in Zimbabwe gave us the honour to spearhead the process, and we managed to convince the European Union (EU) to give us an outright grant of US $100 million. A grant is a gift and there is no repayment. The African Development Bank (ADB) gave a grant of US $36 million directly to Zimbabwe. We then managed, through good relations with our Swedish friends, to put in another US $25 million. Altogether, the grant element of the US $294 million required for the rehabilitation of the Kariba Dam is US $161 million. This means that the balance which we borrowed was only US $114 million. We got US$75 million from the World Bank and the other balance from the ADB. 

Sir, Zambia borrowed the money for on-lending to the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) which is jointly owned by the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe. Therefore, what will happen at the repayment period is that the ZRA will bring the money and, then, we will pay. Therefore, Zimbabwe and Zambia will share the burden of repayment equally.


Mr Chikwanda: There is no disadvantage to Zambia. 

Sir, the fact that we can raise US $161 million in grants shows the confidence that people have in Zambia. Therefore, let us not misconstrue matters. We have not borrowed money on behalf of Zimbabwe. We have borrowed US $114 million, to be precise. This will be on-lent to the ZRA, which will, in turn, bring the money for us to repay. The burden will be equally shared between the governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe. This is the correct information on the situation. This is why I am saying to hon. Members of Parliament that, sometimes, they could simply come, especially Members like Hon. Pande, who are held in the highest esteem by some of us, and source this information instead of relying on the gossip columns.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: The second round of questions will be by the hon. Members for Siavonga, Chavuma, Liuwa, Mumbwa, Lunte, Nalikwanda, and Kalomo Central, in that order.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, I would like to tag onto the questions that were asked by Hon. Namugala and Hon. Mucheleka. The hon. Minister has indicated, and all of us agree with him, that one strategy is to increase export earnings in order to curb this free flow of the kwacha. He singled out two very important sectors, agriculture and tourism. However, in answering Hon. Mucheleka’s question, the hon. Minister bemoaned the lack of increased participation in the agriculture sector by Zambians, but said that the incentives are mostly given to large-scale agriculture sector participants. What specific incentives is the Government giving to emerging players in the agriculture sector since all of us are in agreement that this is a sector that could, indeed, in the shortest possible time, help us to increase our export earnings?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, as regards the tourism sector, I think that I put in a qualifier. I said that this sector has a huge potential to contribute to our foreign exchange earnings. However, I also said that this sector needs upgraded investment in infrastructure and other services as relates to the promotion of tourism. That was my qualifier. That notwithstanding, when it comes to incentives for small-scale farmers, the Government still runs the massive Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). If that incentive is not enough to the small-scale farmers, we must be very careful because the Government resources are very limited. This is especially so at a time when our revenue could be reduced by some exogenous factors, that is, factors beyond our control and the economy is suffering from externally-induced shocks like plummeting of the commodity prices. Therefore, the Government’s ability to give subsidies is limited by the available resources. 

Mr Speaker, there are so many programmes we have to undertake in order for the country to develop. We need to invest in all kinds infrastructure, such as in the energy sector, physical communication and roads. However, our resources are limited and we cannot give lavish incentives which do not relate to the available means at our disposal. We just have to cut our suit according to the cloth. Therefore, the Government does give adequate incentives to the small-scale farmers who have responded to these incentives. That is why we can talk of a bumper harvest of 3.2 million tonnes of maize with respect to the fiscal year 2014. The incentives are there, and I think that there are not enough Zambians participating in the agriculture sector. There are not enough Zambians participating in managing medium-scale farms. I do not know how many hon. Members here have farms. We cannot grow the economy only through rhetoric. We must do something practical. We must participate in the economy. We should plough even the small gratuities we get into the agriculture sector in order to give an example of what can be done to the nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told the House about the confidence that the international community has in the country, which can be seen through the oversubscription of bonds issued by the Government for the US $750 million and US $1 billion. However, I am also aware that the proceeds of these bonds, especially the US $1 billion, were mostly used for infrastructure development such as roads in this country. I am also aware that most of the contracts in this country’s infrastructure development are awarded to foreign contractors. Therefore, this implies that the money which is borrowed from lenders in the West is paid to contractors, mostly Chinese, who undertake the infrastructure projects in the country. Therefore, can the hon. Minister indicate whether the borrowed funds that are used to pay foreign contractors will have an impact on the exchange rate, considering these are large sums of money which are being externalised.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is correct in most of his submissions. I want to share his concern for a lack of Zambian contractors participating in the expensive development of infrastructure such as roads. Of course, money goes out of the country through this system, but it is due to a lack of adequate capacity by local contractors. Unfortunately, Zambians can be a letdown. Everything has been done to try to encourage Zambians to participate. For instance, when you give a Zambian contractor to construct a road, school or health centre, he/she will leave the work half way through the project, and run away with the money. They do not use the money for its intended purposes when they are given an advance payment, but instead go and buy an expensive motor vehicle. Therefore, there is nothing we can do about that. The Government cannot grow entrepreneurs. We only hope that, going forward, there will be increased Zambian participation. I will enjoin the Government agencies to encourage Zambians who are doing well to succeed so that they can become positive demonstration effects. Hon. Member for Chavuma, I really share with you the concern about the money going out of our country through foreign contractors of whatever nationality. 

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, we know that the mining companies are owed huge amounts of money in Value Added Tax (VAT), which has not been given back to them. At the time this money was being withheld, it must have been supported by the kwacha’s exchange rate because US dollars, which were exchanged in the economy, were coming in. Now that the hon. Minister has indicated that he has changed the rules for the VAT refunds, which presumably means that in the coming few months, the mining companies will be refunded the VAT, could the hon. Minister enlighten us on the exchange rate consequences of this imminent transaction of US $500 million plus.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I will try to dialogue with the former hon. Minister of Finance to get a more elaborate view of that matter. However, I think that the expeditious refund of the Value Added Tax (VAT) to the mining companies will be reasonably cost-neutral on the exchange rate.

I thank you, Sir. 

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I listened carefully to the hon. Minister of Finance as he talked about multiple factors leading to the depreciation of our currency. One factor he emphasised was the cost of borrowing. In this regard, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister, what specific measures he has put in place to enable the entrepreneur to borrow money at affordable rates. I think the cost of borrowing is a major hindrance for the small-scale Zambian entrepreneur to participating effectively in the economy of our country. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, let me start by sharing the concerns of the hon. Member for Mumbwa regarding the inadequate participation in our economy by the small-scale entrepreneur. Essentially, it is very expensive to borrow in Zambia, hence the minimal participation by the small-scale entrepreneur. If we circumvented the emotions involved in borrowing, especially externally, and borrowed more externally at lower interest rates, the banks would have more liquidity. They would start chasing borrowers. At the moment, banks in Zambia do not have to do anything because they have a captive market called the Government. They only need to patronise Treasury instruments like Treasury bills and bonds at no risk and cost to them. Therefore, if we were able to secure funds in a way which meant that we do not borrow expensive money from our local financial institutions, things would be slightly different. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutati (Lunte): Mr Speaker, the importation of fuel, with its attendant procurement inefficiencies, is a major contributor to trade deficit. It also has a bearing on the exchange rate. Hon. Minister, could you indicate what measures you will take  to reduce the cost of importation of fuel.

Mr Chikwanda: First and foremost, greetings Hon. Shi Mulenga. You have been out of circulation, campaigning unsuccessfully. 


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Lunte is correct about oil, which gobbles quite a lot of money. Approximately US $1billion goes into the importation of fuel. Further, arrangements relating to the procurement of fuel are not very satisfactory. Therefore, I would like to enjoin all of us to put our heads together and come up with ideas of how we can do things better. 

Mr Speaker, one of the things we, as a Government, want to do is strike a more credible sourcing of oil. If we could eliminate all hoaxes, sharks and middlemen, the cost of importing fuel would be slightly lower and we would be able to pass on this low cost to the Zambian economy. This would have salutary effects on the exchange rate. I, therefore, agree with the hon. Member for Lunte. 

Mr Speaker, my greeting earlier to the hon. Member simply expressed how much I missed him. 

I thank you, Sir.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance would like us to believe that three factors, namely the appreciation of the US Dollar; the demand/supply disequilibrium; and low earnings from our copper, have been responsible for the decline or depreciation of the kwacha. 

Hon. Minister, can you shed light on the demand/supply disequilibrium with regard to what you, as a Government, are doing to put in place economic fundamentals to address this particular problem. This should take into account the porous nature of our economy in the sense that people come here, make money and take it out of the country. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Professor has summed up the causes for the depreciation of the kwacha very ably. All I can say is that the Government cannot grow entrepreneurs. It can only provide an economic environment that is conducive in which they can function and perform to the best of their ability or potential. This is all that the Government can do. 

I do not think that, by decree, the Government can wake up and say, “Let there be entrepreneurs.” It is the function of Zambians to respond to opportunities. At any given time, people respond differently to opportunities. 

Hopefully, Zambians will get to grips with getting involved in the economy. Very often, we have excuses for not doing this and that. All these are just excuses. There are many women and young people who are very enterprising, but do not have access to credit facilities. This is the only plausible excuse which, I think, Zambians have. The Government and all other leaders should work towards a situation where entrepreneurs have easy and quick access to loan facilities in order for them to meaningfully and adequately participate in the economy of their country.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, among other reasons, the hon. Minister emphasised that the small economy which we cannot grow has made it difficult to control the depreciation of the kwacha. 

Hon. Minister, you have been Minister of Finance for three years. Is this a clear admission by you and your party that you have failed to grow the economy and that you are asking us to bear with you, to continue tightening our belts and to not complain? Is this an admission of your failure to grow the economy? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I do not want to mark our own card. We have actually slightly grown the gross domestic product (GDP) in the three years that we have been in the Government. As Zambians, we need to have a collective conscience and share the shame of a country richly endowed like ours that has failed to significantly grow the economy. 

At Independence, that is, some fifty-one years ago, our GDP was US $3.5 billion. In the context of southern Africa, we had the second largest, which would be about 35 per cent of the South African economy. However, we are now at less than 10 per cent of that economy and not growing. The Patriotic Front (PF) only assumed power three years ago. What about the balance of forty-seven years? We have only grown the economy from US $3.5 billion to US $30 billion, which is shameful. The shame is, therefore, collective.


Mr Chikwanda: Hon. Muntanga and all of us must admit that, as a country, apart from growing excessive rhetoric and polemics, which have no bearing on the growth of the country, and exchanging obscenities endlessly, we have not done much.


Mr Chikwanda: Therefore, if there is any leadership failure, it is collective. We have all failed. 


Mr Chikwanda: Yes. If we can only grow the economy, …

Mr Muntanga: Question!

Mr Chikwanda: … in fifty years, from US $3.5 billion to US $30 billion, it is not a success, considering the lavish endowment we have in this country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: I have two more additions, and presumably the last. These are the hon. Member for Gwembe and hon. Member for Sinda. 

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, I got a bit mixed up when the hon. Minister talked about the money borrowed from the Bank of Zambia amounting to US $75 million. Hon. Minister, did you say that you borrowed this money to give to the Zambezi River Authority (ZRA) to give back to the Government or that you borrowed the money through the ZRA? I want you to clarify this because, to me, the ZRA is like a rich man who does not need to borrow. What did you say, hon. Minister? 

Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Gwembe wants a clarification. 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member wants clarification and has put everything in extremely good faith, which is typical of him and, so, I will reciprocate. 

First and foremost, we did not borrow money from the Bank of Zambia. Sir, the US $75 million was borrowed from the World Bank, US$35 million from the ADB and US $19.5 million was a contribution of Zambia and Zimbabwe through the ZRA. The total amount borrowed was US $114 million at 1 per cent interest. This is the money which the Government of Zambia will on-lend to the ZRA at about 22 per cent interest. 

Sir, that is where neither Zambia nor Zimbabwe has liability because the ZRA, which is jointly owned by us, will put up the money for us to service the borrowing from the ADB and from the World Bank. So, there will be equal contributions by both Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Mr Speaker, I hope that I have clarified that and if the hon. Member is not satisfied with this explanation, let him feel free to come to our ministry to seek further clarification. Those offices belong to you, the people of Zambia, and are not partisan in any way. Although the hon. Minister occupying the office belongs to the Patriotic Front (PF), the offices belong to the country. We are Ministers of the Republic of Zambia. So, you, the people, should feel free to visit those offices when you have queries, in addition to raising issues in Parliament.

Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa, I have caught you on that one. You have been very reluctant to visit our offices.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance is inviting us to share in their shame. However, I refuse to share in that shame because, if anything, it is the Patriotic Front (PF) that is in Administration now. 

Sir, in 2011, the kwacha was trading at about K4.5 against the US Dollar. The PF Administration has barely been in power for three years and the rate has risen to …

Mr Muntanga: K7. 

Mr L. J. Ngoma: … K7. This has raised concern amongst many Zambians who have begun to doubt the capacity of the PF in terms of governance.

Mr Speaker, now that there seems to be no good management capacity in the PF to strengthen the economy …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: … can it be said then, that the solution lies in the period after 2016, when the Zambian people will decide to put into the Government an administration with an admirable managerial capacity.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may not share in the shame because that is a matter of conscience. However, if you reflect on what we, as a country, have done, you will see that our efforts have been inadequate. The PF has only been in the Government for three years, but what about the forty-seven years? What have we done?

Mr Muntanga: You were there!

Mr Chikwanda: We have grown the GDP ...

Mr Muchima: You were there!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chikwanda: … from K3.5 billion, at Independence, to about K27 billion, but it is still not adequate. In fact, the PF has improved the economy and the party is giving Zambia an opportunity to go forward. That is why we are keen to attend to infrastructure which will facilitate economic development, physical communications and power, among others. This will enable us to create an opportunity for the economy to grow at a faster and accelerated pace. 

Sir, currencies never stay at the same level. As I quoted the figures, with regard to the US Dollar, I said that our exchange rate had depreciated from 2013 by 24 per cent while the Euro, which is the currency used by countries in the European Union, who are members of the Euro Zone, depreciated by 20.7 per cent in the same period. It is not only the Zambian Kwacha which is crying vis-á-vis the US Dollar, but also almost all the currencies of the world.

Mr Speaker, the exchange rate of the kwacha will not remain the same. It will either appreciate or depreciate. I hope that when there is appreciation, it will not be too much to cause injury to the exports because there is another side to this. Generally, we feel the effects of the depreciation of the Kwacha in terms of increased import prices of goods and services. However, there is also the other side. For instance, when the Kwacha goes up, those who export, including the mining companies, see their kwacha earnings go up. It also applies to those who are exporting agriculture commodities such as cotton, soya beans and many other products from that sector, including horticultural products. Such exporters will see their earnings increase in kwacha terms. This is the reality of exchange rates. 

There is no time when exchange rates will remain the same all over the world since the world moved away from the regime of fixed exchange rates and the gold standard. All currencies of the world fluctuate and currencies are as strong as the state of the economy reflects.

I thank you, Sir. 




348.    Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a)    when the distribution of textbooks for the newly-introduced curriculum to schools in the rural districts would commence;

(b)    whether the delay in distributing the text books would not affect the performance of pupils, especially those sitting for final examinations in November/December, 2015;

(c)    whether there would be a need to retrain teachers handling the newly-introduced subjects; and 

(d)    if so, when the retraining programme would commence. 

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the revised curriculum was implemented in January, 2014. To date, literacy materials for grades 1 and 2, term one have been produced and distributed to all primary schools. However, textbooks for other subjects and grades will only be distributed after the courts of law have disposed of the case in which the three book publishers have sued the ministry to contest the mode of procurement that was decided upon.

Sir, the Grade 9 pupils will sit for their examinations in November/December 2015 because, for most subjects, the principles and content largely have remained unchanged. In addition, it is our hope that the issue which is in the courts of law is disposed of so that the materials for the revised curriculum can be distributed before the examinations start.

Mr Speaker, teachers for integrated subjects that have been introduced such as Business Studies, which includes book-keeping and office practice, as well as social studies, which includes civic education, geography and history, are available in our schools. However, in-house training workshops have been conducted and will continue to be conducted so that we build the capacity of our teachers. 

Sir, the primary school teachers handling the early grades were trained last year on how to use a primary literacy programme to teach literacy. Further, provincial trainers of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) are currently being trained in Kabwe and should be able to train others beginning April this year. 

Mr Speaker, the ministry has, this year, finalised the development of training modules in vocational subjects. It is anticipated that teachers in schools piloting the vocational pathway will be trained in April, 2015.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, I stand here as a very sad representative of Kalabo Central Constituency. The hon. Minister has confirmed that there is a delay in the procurement process due to a court issue. 

Mr Speaker, there are pupils who are going to sit for the 2015 Grade 9 Examinations under the new curriculum for the ICT and Business Studies. What initiative will the Government put in place to make up to pupils for the lost time of one year two months when they have not been taught due to the delayed court process?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the Grade 9 pupils are going to write their examinations in November/December, 2015. Although the curriculum was revised, the principles and contents of these subjects are the same. For example, the mathematics which they were taking under the old curriculum still remains the same. Most of the topics and principles in science have not changed. However, in terms of Business Studies and the ICT, most of our teachers have attended workshops to build their capacity. Business Studies is just a combination of the old book-keeping and office practice. The contents largely remain the same. Therefore, the pupils are not going to be disadvantaged.

Sir, however, we take your concern and will ensure that as soon as the court issue is disposed of, the materials are distributed. 

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the ICT is part of the new curriculum. The hon. Minister has also indicated that he is unable to supply textbooks for some subjects because there is a court dispute between the ministry and the supplier. I was at Nang’ole Primary School last year where I was told that the school had introduced the ICT, but there were no computers. When is the hon. Minister going to supply computers to Nang’ole Primary School and other schools in that area since there is currently no court dispute between the suppliers of computers and the ministry? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, in terms of the implementation of the new curriculum, the supply of materials and equipment is an on-going programme. Although there is no court dispute with the issue of the ICT equipment, I just want to assure Hon. Dr Musokotwane that the ministry is already looking into that and the computers will be supplied on an on-going basis. Of course, it is not possible to supply all the schools at the same time, but our commitment is that the computers will be provided to the schools as an- ongoing programme.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, in response to the question by Hon. Dr Musokotwane on the ICT, the hon. Minister said that the computers will not be supplied at once, but the pupils will be examined at the same time. The other concern is that in certain rural constituencies, teachers and learners have never even seen computers before. I come from a rural constituency where computer studies have been introduced and the teachers are saying that the practical part of this subject will carry 40 per cent of the marks. How sure is the hon. Minister that the rural child in Mapatizya, who has never seen a computer before, will be able to actually get any marks out of the 40 per cent?

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Kaingu): Mr Speaker, our answer is very clear. We are going to distribute the materials in the schools when they are ready. I want to put it on record that the corporate social responsibility of this country is definitely amazing. What the Government is doing is subsidise the parents.


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, it is our responsibility to provide materials to learners. It is, therefore, embarrassing, to say the least, that an hon. Member of Parliament can say that his learners have not seen a computer before …


Dr Kaingu: … when less than three months ago, such a Member …

Mr Miyutu:  Question!

Dr Kaingu: … received a gratuity.


Mr Speaker: Order! 

Hon. Minister, let me step in.


Mr Speaker: Order! Order! 

We are still in the House. I think, hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, you are aware of our settled practice, namely that we do not debate ourselves. If you have to respond, please, do it in a very impersonal fashion. When you go to areas of gratuity, it tends to excite a lot of unnecessary emotion. 

Please, continue responding, appropriately. 

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I will take that caveat into consideration. We are going to supply, …

Mr Antonio: We shall tear down your answer.

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member! I have just been cautioning the hon. Minister.

Dr Kaingu: … the materials once they have been procured. I want to appeal to the Zambians to improve on our corporate social responsibility. However, this Government has pledged to supply the materials as soon as the materials are ready.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the Government will introduce the ICT in schools, but 90 per cent of schools in rural areas have no electricity. How is this exercise going to be carried out?

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, we are electrifying all the schools …


Dr Kaingu: … through the Rural Electrification Programme (REP). Where we will not be able to do it through this programme, we shall supply the solar system.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just said that they are electrifying old schools. Would he be kind enough to bring us a list of those old schools that will be electrified.

Hon. Opposition Members: All the schools.

Dr Kaingu: Sir, I think I did not say old schools.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education rolled out a number of programmes. It phased out basic schools, which is a disaster. It also introduced a new curriculum, which is another disaster. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the ministry was ready to roll out the programme on the new curriculum when, in fact, there are no computers and electricity in some schools?

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, let me put it this way. The basic education is what was a disaster.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Dr Kaingu: Since we focused our attention on basic education, we have failed to grow secondary education which, at the moment, is at 37 per cent. I also want to put it on record that because we focused our attention on basic education, our tertiary education in this country, at 8 per cent, is very weak. In this regard, this hardworking Government …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Dr Kaingu: … is reorganising the education system so that we can upgrade some of the basic schools into secondary schools. As to whether we are ready to roll out the programme on the new curriculum, let me inform the hon. Member of Parliament that, yes, we are ready. The hiccup could have been caused by the case that is in the High Court, but we are ready. Some of our teachers are being trained through workshops and the hon. Deputy Minister has clearly stated in his answer that the Grade 9 pupils will write their examinations. So, I do not see where the concern is because we are ready to roll out this programme. We are negotiating with those who have taken us to court. Once the case has been disposed of, all the materials will be delivered to the schools.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: I will take the last three questions on this subject from hon. Members for Katombola, Namwala and Kaoma Central.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, with about 90 per cent of the schools, especially those in rural areas, which are not electrified; a lot of inadequacies as regards teachers who are not trained; and a lack of equipment such as computers, is it difficult for this Government to implement these programmes, especially the new curriculum until they have done 95 per cent of what is required for them to successfully roll out these programmes?

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I think I have answered that question. I said that the schools will be electrified and we will supply the computers. As regards the rolling out of the programme on the new curriculum, this Government is ready to roll it out. In fact, the programme is already being effected in almost all the schools. The only setback is that the publishers have taken us to court. Otherwise, we are ready to roll it out.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, based on the hon. Minister’s responses and as a rider on Hon. Mufalali’s question, does the hon. Minister agree with me that the education system under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, …

Mr Livune: Under Dr Kaingu.

Ms Lubezhi: … in the past three years and, especially this year,…


Ms Lubezhi: … has been disastrous?

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, the PF Government, through its manifesto, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kaingu: … which I read every day in order to understand it,…

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Antonio: Question!

Dr Kaingu: … is doing its level best to improve the education system in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: If you have problems and do not seem to understand what we are doing, …


Dr Kaingu: … the hon. Minister of Finance has made it very clear …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: … that these offices that we are occupying are your offices. Please, come and interact with us. Otherwise, we are doing our level best to improve the education system in the country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: It is unfortunate that the secondary education rate is at 37 per cent and this means that almost all our learners only end up with basic education. This is a crisis and that is why the PF Government, through its manifesto, …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Kaingu: … intends to upgrade 220 basic schools into secondary schools. So, please, hon. Members of Parliament, you can come to our offices so that you can understand this programme that is necessary. As for the new curriculum, it is inevitable that we implement this programme because it is the only one which will meet the expectations of the labour market. At the moment, even if our children complete secondary school education, they are not able to be utilised or to actualise themselves. This new programme will enable our learners to help themselves and the community that they live in. Therefore, it is a very important programme.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, many hon. Members have complained that both the teachers and pupils in some rural schools have not seen a computer before. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how many teachers in Kalabo Central Constituency have, so far, been trained in handling this new curriculum.

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, in fact, that information should be supplied by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central …


Dr Kaingu: … because he is the one who interacts with the teachers.


Dr Kaingu: As for the computers, I clearly stated that …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Dr Kaingu: … they are due. Whereas all of us would want to be Presidents, I would like to urge the people of Zambia to improve the corporate social responsibility so that they can meet the Government half way. This is fundamental. We should stop this entitlement syndrome that we all have of saying, “Government iyanganepo” and wanting the Government to do everything for us. I would like to appeal to all of us, myself included, not to focus on politics, but to pay our attention to helping our children.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the question has not been answered.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: How many teachers have been trained in Kalabo Central?


Dr Kaingu: I thought I was very clear that the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central is the one who should supply us with that information because he interacts …

Mr Speaker: No, that is a supplementary question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaoma Central, but you are in charge of the ministry.


Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, as much as that is a new question, …


Dr Kaingu: … I would advise the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaoma Central to interact with his colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central, and find out how many teachers have been trained. Otherwise, he can file in a question and we will be able to tell him how many teachers have been trained in Kalabo Central Constituency.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Well, Her Honour the Vice-President is present.



350. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development what progress the Minister had made regarding the appeals by the unsuccessful applicants who had applied for mineral exploration licences in Solwezi District in 2012.

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the ministry proceeded to expeditiously review the appeals that were submitted by Kabimbe Enterprises Limited on 10th August, 2012 and Nyake Enterprises on 2nd November, 2012.

Sir, I would like to clearly state that both applications for the appeal to the hon. Minister’s Office were processed and disposed of on the same ground that they were falling within existing licences. In short, they were overlapping with the existing licences. Therefore, the appeals were unsuccessful.

Mr Speaker, for the sake of the record, I wish to further indicate that the ministry does not issue exploration licences, but large-scale prospecting licences and small-scale prospecting permits for exploration activities.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, when we ask questions on the Floor of this House, we expect the Executive to give responses to them but, instead, we are being told by the Patriotic Front (PF) Executive that hon. Members who ask questions might as well give the answers to these questions. Is the PF Executive in order to say that hon. Members who ask questions should also provide responses or is it suggesting that the sitting arrangements in this House should change so that we start sitting on your right and the Executive on your left?

 I seek your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

My ruling is very short. The questions that are forwarded to members of the Executive must be answered by members of the Executive. If the House will recall, I testily made a remark in that regard. I am glad that Her Honour the Vice-President is here and I am sure she will take note of that.

Mr Katuka: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if during the period in question, the ministry received the two appeals.

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, according to our records, yes, the ministry received two appeals.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, since the current Administration took over, it has yet to promote and open a single mine. Does that not worry the ministry that this delay has been caused by having appeals processed casually and slowly, considering 2016 is just nearby and it may clock the five-year term without opening a mine?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to clearly state that the gestation period of opening a mine, which I believe Hon. Dr Musokotwane knows very well, is long. In fact, if you are talking about a large-scale mine, you are talking in the range of six to seven years before you can open a mine properly.

Sir, we have already opened up mines that are ramping up such as Kalumbila and Chambishi. These were done in record time under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and the able leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.

Hon Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Musukwa: We are in the process of ensuring that we actualise these mines. Further, I want to also inform the House that the PF Government is in the process of opening a copper and cobalt mine in Konkola North under Caledonian Operation. This is being done under our leadership.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether these blocks were advertised or people just applied for them. If they were advertised, how come the hon. Minister is saying that they fell out when they were already taken?

 Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the applications in question are not the blocks. I am sure the hon. Member for Senanga is familiar with our oil blocks that we talk about. They are not oil blocks, but rather regular licences that were applied for within existing licences. It is like someone goes to the councils and applies for a plot at your plot, hence the reason for the hon. Minister to reject this appeal.

 I thank you, Sir.


351. Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:

(a)    when the construction of a prison facility in Rufunsa District would commence; and 

(b)    what the estimated cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Ministry of Home Affairs has no immediate plans to construct a prison facility in Rufunsa District.

Mr Speaker, because of the response, part (b) of the question falls away.

 I thank you, Sir.


352. Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to construct an airstrip in Kapiri Mposhi District;

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

(c)    what the estimated cost of the project is.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works and Supply and Communication (Mr Siamunene): I wish to inform the House that the Government has plans to construct an airstrip in Kapiri Mposhi District. Therefore, the ministry is just awaiting the allocation of land by Kapiri Mposhi District Council. 

The project will be provided for in the 2016 Annual Budget. As such, implementation will commence thereafter. 

The estimate for the construction of the airstrip will only be known after land has been allocated and assessment has been carried out.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, arising from …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir. He is using my microphone.


Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, apologies to my mulamu.

Mr Speaker: I did not know he owns that facility. I thought it belonged to the National Assembly of Zambia.


Mr Simfukwe: I am back to my microphone, Sir.

Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the Government intends to construct an airstrip in Kapiri Mposhi. What plans does the Government have for those districts that already have airstrips like Mbala, which has an airport, but does not allow scheduled flights at the moment? At the peak of the freedom wars and military conflicts in the region in the past, this airport allowed scheduled flights. However, currently, when there is peace, there are no scheduled civilian flights to this airstrip. The Kasaba Bay Airport, which was supposed to be completed, has been abandoned. So, when are we going to have scheduled flights in this region?

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, although the main question is on Kapiri Mposhi, I will give him a bonus answer. The airport in Mbala is being transformed into a civilian airport and it will be an international one. So, there will be a lot of flights now.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told us that the ministry is waiting for land from the council to be given for that purpose. Why is the council taking long to do that when it appears the ministry is ready for that activity and plans to build that airstrip are already in place?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I will take advantage of this question to state that hon. Members of Parliament are councillors. Since we are looking for land, it is better that hon. Members for a given area assist us in getting the land quickly so that we are able to plan accordingly. As for what is delaying the process, the council in the area needs to deliberate this matter and give us some feedback.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, has the ministry brought it to the attention of the hon. Member of Parliament, who is a councillor in that area, to help in this land allocation?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the ministry wrote to the council and the hon. Member of Parliament is a councillor in that council. Issues of land are discussed in council meetings. So, the hon. Member of Parliament should take keen interest in this matter and ensure that he influences the issuance of this land because it would be beneficial to the entire district.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mbala is so happy that the airport in his area will be transformed into an international airport. However, when will this be done?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, this will be done in due course as a policy statement has already been issued from the head office.

I thank you, Sir.


353. Mr Musonda asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication what plans the Government had to settle the outstanding workers’ pension contributions to the Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) and National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) on behalf of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA).

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, the two shareholders …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I had just started responding to the question on the Floor. The answer is that the two shareholders, the Tanzanian and Zambian governments, are mobilising resources to revamp the operations of TAZARA. To this effect, they have both committed to make available US$40 million each for the recapitalisation and provision of outstanding workers’ pension contributions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, when exactly do we expect the recapitalisation of TAZARA to commence?

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, I think everyone is aware that our President met with his Tanzanian counterpart to discuss this matter. Therefore, this will be done as soon as possible.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, how much does TARAZA owe NAPSA and ZSIC?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, are you able to give a response to that question?

Mr Siamunene: Mr Speaker, those are details that I do not have now. I am, therefore, not able to give that answer.

I thank you, Sir.


354. Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the rehabilitation of the Nampundwe Road via Blue Lagoon to Nalubanda in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would commence.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the Nampundwe Road via Blue Lagoon to Nalubanda is located in both Lusaka and Central provinces. The rehabilitation of the section in Lusaka Province commenced in 2014 under the Rural Roads Unit (RRU). A total of 25 km were maintained in 2014. It is expected that 10 km will be maintained in 2015. The rehabilitation of the section of the road in Central Province will be worked on in 2015 as a variation to the approved RRU’s budget. The project was budgeted for in 2015 under the RRU, but funds were not released due to limitations.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, the road in question goes under maintenance nearly every year. Does the Government have a plan to tar the road instead of maintaining it every now and then? 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, our immediate plan for this road is maintenance until such a time that the assessments will indicate the need to upgrade it.  

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Shakafuswa (Katuba): Mr Speaker, does the ministry have to find a situation to necessitate the tarring of a road when it knows that it is a commercial road? A lot of people, especially local tourists, use the road to go to the Blue Lagoon. Is it not possible that the money that is spent on on-spot maintenance can actually be used to tar a kilometre or two of the road per year? Would that not be a logical step to take?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member’s suggestion could be logical, but we are saying that we will upgrade the road when we find it necessary to do so.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is saying that the road will be upgraded when it is found necessary to do so. I would like to seek proper guidance from him. What will dictate the facilitation of the tarring of the road? Is it a new or an old factor?

 Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, there are a lot of factors that determine the upgrading of any stretch of road. The factors include the availability of funds and the commercial viability of the road.

 I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, since we are dealing with the maintenance of portions of roads, can the hon. Minister give a bonus answer on the maintenance of the Tobacco Board of Zambia (TBZ) to Katunda Road along the Lusaka/Mongu Road.

Mr Speaker: Let us ask questions so that we get proper and informed responses. 

The hon. Member for Mumbwa.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the Nampundwe/Blue Lagoon/Nalubanda stretch leads to Nalubwi, Nambala, Mumbwa and Mongu. Is the hon. Minister not aware that had this road been upgraded, the potential for it to become a commercial road would definitely have been there, hence necessitating a change in the plans?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I am aware, but I need statistics. We carry out assessments to tell which direction to move. We try to look at the assessment and if it says that we move in a particular direction, then we move in that direction subject to the availability of funds.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister inform me whether this road has been classified and, if so, in which category it falls? Is it an economic road or is it just a useless road? May I get his understanding.

Mr Speaker: You mean there is such a classification as ‘useless road’?


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I do not know about the classification of ‘useless’. However, to us, this road is viable and none of the two options provided by the hon. Member are applicable.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


355. Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo) asked the Minister of Youth and Sport:

(a)     when the construction of an ultra modern stadium in Mongu would commence;

(b)    who the contractor for the project was;

(c)    what the estimated cost of the project was; and 
(d)    what the duration of the project would be.

The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the construction of an ultra modern stadium will commence as soon as funds have been secured.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Chitotela: The name of the contractor is Wang Kong Enterprises Ltd and PJP Associates Ltd Joint Venture. The estimated cost is K294,111,900. The construction period will be twenty-four months. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated the contractor, but how come the contractor has already been engaged and is known before the finances are made available?

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, this project was launched in April, 2013 by the late President, His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. However, the amount involved was not provided for in the National Budget. The contract has been awarded  and we are sourcing money, through the Ministries of Finance, and Transport, Works, Supply and Communication, outside the Budget.

Mr Speaker, so far, the Government has spent close to K300,000 for the clearing of the site. The actual construction of the stadium that people would like to see will begin as soon as funds have been secured. The Government is doing everything possible to secure the funds.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I have difficulties understanding what the hon. Minister is trying to say. If the contract has been signed between the Government and the mentioned contractor for the contract period of twenty-four months, can I find out when this contract started running, given that the hon. Minister is indicating that the money is, after all, not available. How can a contract start running when the funds are not readily available?

Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, for avoidance of doubt for my son in law, Hon. Mucheleka, if he did not hear me clearly, I said that the contract will run for a period of twenty-four months. The contract will begin running upon the contractor taking position at the site. So far, the contractor has issued a demand for the down payment, amounting to K59 million in order to take position. Once this money has been paid, the contractor will move on site. This is the mobilisation deposit given to the contractor in order for him/her to move on site. Therefore, we will begin counting twenty-four months from the day the contractor will take position at the site.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the implementation of the contract is awaiting availability of funds. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether the initial amount of the contract will be sufficient to complete this project, considering the amount of time that has passed since the contract was signed.

The Minister of Youth and Sport (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, it is true that time has passed since this contract was awarded to the contractor mentioned by the hon. Deputy Minister. I know that, by now, the price of cement and other items required to construct this stadium have escalated. Therefore, the amount may not be enough. However, I must mention here that the Ministry of Finance is really finding it hard to raise these funds for us because even the initial price for this contract is very huge. The price of this contract is K294 million, which is more than US $40 million for a 20,000-seater capacity stadium. I think that is exorbitant. The Ministry of Finance is trying to work with us to try to find out how this contract was signed, and see whether there are possibilities to look for a cheaper contractor because this is a large amount of money for a 20,000-seater capacity stadium. I agree that, with time, the prices of materials have changed, but we will handle that as we try to scrutinise this price. It is very expensive.

I thank you, Sir. 

Lt-Gen. Rev. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I am getting worried. The kwacha is sliding down. It is being devalued. We have a contract that was signed, but is not being performed. Surely, there are going to be penalties on this contract. Even if the contractor is not yet on site, the contract was signed. When it is time to finally look for a new contractor, penalties will be paid to the initial contractor whom you have not enabled to build the stadium. Why did the ministry award the contract before it found the money? 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I agree that you would expect that we would have to pay liquidated damages because we have delayed in making payments and bringing the contractor on site. However, this is not the case at the moment. We have negotiated with the contractor. He has not moved on site and we are not being charged any liquidated damages to that effect. We are very hopeful that the Ministry of Finance will find funding for this stadium before allowing the contractor to move on site. We have had challenges, and the ministry has raised the very important question of the price of this contract. We are trying to get back to the contractor to look at the whole price and renegotiate it. There is a valid point that the price is too expensive. 

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the price of the contract is too expensive, to use his words. Why is the hon. Minister not categorically telling us that this contract is going to be cancelled and a new one entered into so that we can save the resources that are about to be lost through this contract? Can the hon. Minister be categorical and tell us that something went wrong, this contract was signed and is likely to cost the State a lot of money.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we said that we are negotiating with the contractor and I think that we have to wait for the negotiations to be concluded. We are not sure that we will lose money because we might get a better price after the renegotiations. Therefore, we have to wait for that process to be concluded. We are not sure yet whether we will lose some money. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, this is very worrying, and I think the problem comes down to the fact that this project was single-sourced. Is the hon. Minister of Youth and Sport going to help the hon. Minister of Finance to save the country’s meagre resources by floating new tenders in a competitive environment instead of single-sourcing a contractor? We do not want a situation where a tender which is worth US $10 million, for example, is priced at US $20 million so that someone can pocket the difference.

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, this project was not single-sourced. There were six bidders for this project as follows:

Contractor    Bid Price (ZMW Million)

Sogecoa Zambia Limited    K289 

Kuomboka Consortium Limited     K328
    Ng’andu Consultants    K295 

Kunus Limited    K248
Wah Kong Enterprises Limited    K294
Shanghai Construction    K305 

There was a due process and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) was fully involved. That is how we arrived at the company that was given the contract, which is Wah Kong Enterprises Limited. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister, whether he is alleging imprudence in the awarding of this contract, considering that he is saying that this price is too expensive, and that the contract should not have been signed. Was there imprudence in the signing of this contract?

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the need for stadiums in this country is growing. We are receiving requests from all towns. Therefore, as a Government, we thought that if we are going to build stadiums in all the districts, we needed to come up with a suitable prototype design to be used in all the districts. We thought that this contract deserved this price because of the design of the stadium. We wanted to have a design of a stadium that is affordable so that we could have it built in all the districts to avoid complaints across the nation. We think that if we are going to go by this price, and build this type of stadium in the rest of the country, we will have a problem because this will cost us more than US $40 million per stadium. If we go by this price, how long will it take us to build stadiums in all the districts? We need to re-negotiate this contract and have a prototype design for the rest of the country.

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister agree with me that this is just another Patriotic Front (PF) failed project, where the party makes pronouncements …

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Ms Lubezhi … when it actually does not know what it is doing?


Mr Speaker: Order!

After the hon. Member for Namwala, I will take questions from the hon. Members for Lukulu West and Kasenengwa, and they will be the last ones to ask on this question. 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I do not know on what basis she would classify this as a failed project. We are very keen to see this project through, and I am very sure that we will see it through. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, this is a failed project, indeed. This project was launched in 2013. Clearing of the site was done, and K300,000 was spent on that. Six contractors bid for the project and one was picked. The price of the contract was stated, and the design of the stadium made, but now, the hon. Minister has indicated that the design has to be changed for a cheaper one. This is a failed project. Are you suggesting that this design of the stadium that was picked is not worthy of the people of Mongu and, therefore, you have to look for a cheaper design?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, this Government attaches great importance to development in the Western Province and the President demonstrated this by appointing Her Honour the Vice-President who originates from there. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mwale: This Government does really treasure the people from this region. 

Mr Speaker, the people of the Western Province do not deserve cheap stadia. However, as a Government, we have to face reality. We cannot afford to put up expensive stadia in all the districts at this cost. This is why we are negotiating to see if we can come up with better, but cheaper designs by capable Zambian architects, some of whom have designed stadia in South Africa. 

I thank you, Sir.  

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, listening to the hon. Minister, I can tell that he cares. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Hon. Minister, is it unusual for the Government to go back and re-negotiate the price when the contractor is still interested? 

Mr Mwila: Ema question aya!

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, this is the best thing to do when one realises that he or she wants to get value from the project to be undertaken. It is not unusual because we have seen it happen in the Government so many times. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


356. Mr Kunda (Muchinga) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a)    which companies were awarded tenders to rehabilitate markets in Nakonde and Mwense districts;

(b)    what the total contract sum for works at each market was;

(c)    what progress, if any, had been made in implementing the projects;

(d)    if no progress had been made, what had caused the delay; and 

(e)    when the projects would be completed.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this House that the contracts for construction of modern markets for Nakonde and Mwense districts were procured by the Northern and Luapula Provinces Tender Committees, respectively. Both contracts were awarded to Mwamona Engineering Limited on 4th November, 2013 and earmarked for completion on 30th November, 2014. 

Mr Speaker, the contract sum for construction of a modern market in Nakonde was K877,611.92 while that for Mwense District was K894,638.05. Progress of works for the projects is as follows: 

(i)    Nakonde Market is at 25 per cent slab level while; and 

(ii)    Mwense Market is at 15 per cent box foundation level and awaiting backfilling. 

The projects are being supervised by the Provincial Buildings Department under the Provincial Administration for Luapula and Northern Provinces. The Ministry of Local Government and Housing has engaged the two provincial administrations to advise on the reasons for the delay in implementation. Both projects were earmarked for completion in the initial period of twelve months. However, the period has been extended by ten months.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Kunda: Mr Speaker, it is now 2015. It is expected that these projects would have been completed by now. 

I would like to find out from the hon. Minister what help his Government is rendering to the company that was contracted to work on these markets to make sure that these projects are dealt with accordingly. 

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, the ministry is aware that works have been delayed. We are waiting for the Luapula and Northern Provincial Administrations, which the ministry has engaged, to advise on the way forward.

I thank you, Sir. 


357. Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication: 

(a)    when the following bridges in Nchelenge Parliamentary Constituency would be rehabilitated:

(i)    Mantampala;
(ii)    Kapako;
(iii)    Chipali; and
(iv)    Mwansamita;

(b)    when the Mulwe/Kawambwa Road would be rehabilitated; and

(c)    when an embankment would be constructed at Isokwe Island in Nchelenge.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the detailed designs for Mantampala, Kapako, Chipali and Mwansamita bridges will be considered under Phase II of the ACROW Bridges Programme, scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2015. In the short term, the Road Development Agency (RDA) will carry out assessments and prepare estimates for possible funding through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU). The assessment will be carried out at the end of the rainy season. 

Sir, rehabilitation works on the Mulwe/Kawambwa Road have been planned for 2016, after the completion of the detailed designs and tender document preparation. 

Finally, the RDA will carry out an assessment on the possibility of constructing an embankment on Isokwe Island to be considered for inclusion in the 2016 Road Sector Annual Work Plan. The assessment will be undertaken at the end of the rainy season. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mpundu: Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for his response and request that hoarding works be undertaken since the Mulwe/Kawambwa Road has developed a lot of gullies.  

Mr Speaker: It was just a request, not a clarification. Since the hon. Member for Nchelenge did not pose any question and I see no other indications, we move to the next question. 


358. Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West) asked the Minister of Finance:

(a)    when the Government would implement the mineral royalty sharing mechanism as provided for in the Mines and Minerals Development Act, No. 7 of 2008; and

(b)    what obstacles, if any, had caused the delay in implementing the law.

The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, the sharing of revenues between the Central and Local Government, in accordance with Section 136 of the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 7 of 2008, was actualised for the first time through the 2013 National Budget by earmarking an initial amount of K50.1 million of the mineral royalty revenues to local authorities. The Budget allocation has been increased to K53 million in the 2015 Budget.

Sir, the proposal is to disburse these funds to local authorities through the newly-created and introduced Local Authorities Development Fund (LADF). The LADF is an initiative developed between the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to operate as a Challenge Fund. This implies that the access of the monies from the fund by local authorities should be on a competitive basis. Therefore, in various local authorities, I expect it to develop locally-initiated project proposals to be scrutinised and approved by a joint technical committee comprising officials from the two ministries. Successful project proposals are, then, expected to be financed by the LADF. 

Mr Speaker, the objective of the initiative is to encourage the development and implementation of local projects that are aimed at facilitating and stimulating non-copper economic activities which should continue to provide jobs and create wealth within council jurisdictions after the wasting mineral assets, such as copper, have been exhausted. 

Sir, in scrutinising the project proposals from various local authorities, therefore, priority should be placed on those that are intended to support and enhance private sector participation in non-mineral strategic areas such as tourism, agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, agro-processing, manufacturing and other economic activities that can add value to locally-produced materials.

Mr Speaker, the Government has not identified any factors that may pose significant challenges on the full implementation of the mineral royalty sharing mechanisms. However, I must also mention that in order to effectively operationalise the initiative of the LADF in 2015, my ministry and the Ministry of Local Government and Housing are currently developing user-friendly modalities for accessing the funds. This will be complemented by a framework for sensitising stakeholders on the role and significance of the LADF in enhancing local economic activities which will sustain local authorities beyond the lifespan of copper and other traditional minerals. 

Sir, in conclusion, I would like to state that this is only an initial step towards the equitable sharing of revenues from our mineral resources between the Central and Local Government. Therefore, the growth of the councils’ share from the revenues will depend both on … 


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

Mr Chikwanda: Therefore, the growth of the councils’ share from these revenues will depend on the success of the LADF. This is because the Government intends to implement this incrementally while taking stock of lessons and reinforcing the positive developments that will arise.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwanza: Mr Speaker, I am asking this question because I come from an area where we have two mining giants, Lumwana and Kalumbila. The answer given by the hon. Minister would be appreciated by the people. However, was there any effective sensitisation for the chiefs and the councillors in the Solwezi Municipal Council? 

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, since this process is evolving, the LADF has yet to define the mechanism for effective sharing of the money, and any oversight, such as the omission of consultation of chiefs, will be taken care of.

I thank you, Sir. 


359.    Mr Musonda asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the Government would erect speed humps and sign posts and mark the pedestrian crossing at the following points in the Kapiri Mposhi Central Business District;

(a)    Barclays Bank;

(b)    God Knows Shop; and 

(c)    Double ‘M’ Shop.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Road Development Agency (RDA) will immediately carry out an assessment of the need to have speed humps, signs and pedestrian crossing marks at Barclays Bank, God Knows Shop and Double ‘M’ Shop in Kapiri Mposhi Central Business District. Once it has been established that there is a need to have speed humps, signs and pedestrian crossing marks at the said points, the RDA will instruct the contractor on the Kabwe/Kapiri Mposhi Road to carry out the works as part of the running contract.

I thank you, Sir.


360.    Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education why pupils in some schools in Mboroma and Mbosha Chiefdoms in Mkushi South Parliamentary Constituency did not wear school uniforms.

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, before my Deputy Minister reads the answer to Question 360, I seek your indulgence to supply information on the supplementary question that was asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaoma Central on how many teachers from Kalabo have been trained in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

Sir, the British Council trained eighteen teachers in the Western Province and four of those teachers were from Kalabo.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Very well. I will take note of that.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, pupils in some schools in Mboroma and Mbosha Chiefdoms in Mkushi South Parliamentary Constituency do not wear school uniforms because they are not compelled to do so. This is in line with and complementary to the Government policy of implementing free education from grades 1 to 7. The House may also wish to note that children, especially those in rural areas, who cannot afford school uniforms cannot be excluded from the school system on account of their not wearing uniforms.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister not think that if the school children started wearing their own clothes, it would actually bring in social stratification where the children will be categorised as either well-to-do or not well-to-do? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, notwithstanding what the hon. Member has said, the most important point is to have our children not be excluded from our school system on the basis of their not wearing uniform. Many of our parents in the rural areas are not able to afford school uniforms even currently. Therefore, the principle of encouraging a free education system is not to compel our children to buy school uniforms. Those that can afford are free to buy school uniforms for their children. However, for those parents who are not able to afford, their children are free to go to school without wearing school uniforms. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, what is the ministry doing to encourage the parents that can afford to buy uniforms, but are reluctant to do so because they know that their children will not be sent away from school for not doing so? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, this information has been made public from the time the policy was implemented. The parents that are willing and can afford to buy uniforms can proceed to do so. Those that cannot afford to buy uniforms will not be compelled to do so. This applies particularly to my colleagues from the rural constituencies like me. We are well aware that many of our parents cannot even afford a K5. Therefore, the removal of school uniforms is intended to encourage many of our rural children who could otherwise not be in the school system to be there.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just said that some parents cannot afford to buy uniforms due to poverty. Is the hon. Minister, then, confirming that, under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, …


Ms Lubezhi: … the poverty levels in Zambia have increased to such unprecedented levels that some parents cannot even afford to buy uniforms for their school-going children?

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I cannot confirm what the hon. Member is saying. 

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the policy on school uniforms has been in existence for more than three years now. For her information, the PF has been in Government for only three years and some months. Coming from Namwala, a rural constituency, I would have expected the hon. Member to support this policy because that is where most of the parents are not able to afford school uniforms. This policy of not making school uniform mandatory is also allowing many of our children, particularly in Namwala, to go to school. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the pro-poor spirit exhibited by the hon. Deputy Minister to allow the school children from Grade 1 to Grade 7 to go to school without wearing uniforms. Why is this same pro-poor Government compelling the school children to wear school uniforms from Grade 8 to Grade 12? 

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, it is like the Government is providing some sort of soft subsidy to this parent who is not able to buy school uniform for his/her child from Grade 1 to Grade 7.  With regard to what Hon. Mutelo has said, I think the ministry will look into it and see if that principle can be applied. 

I thank you, Sir. 


361. Mr Kunda asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication when the grading of Sote-Nkalengule Road in Muchinga Parliamentary Constituency would commence.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Sote-Nkalengule Road in Muchinga Parliamentary Constituency was not prioritised by the local authority to be worked on by the Rural Roads Unit (RRU) in 2015. Once prioritised, it will be included in the annual work plans.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kunda: Mr Speaker, this road was last graded in 2010 and one would expect that the Government would take this issue seriously. The hon. Deputy Minister stated that this road will be worked on in 2015. When exactly will this road be worked on?  

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, what the hon. Member of Parliament is saying does not contradict our answer. This road was graded in 2010 on demand by the local authority. Had it demanded that this road be worked on in 2014 or 2015, it would have been worked on by now.

I thank you, Sir.


362. Mr Musonda asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs when the Government would construct chiefs’ palaces in Kapiri Mposhi Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Kufuna): Mr Speaker, the construction of palaces is being carried out in a phased approach. Senior Chief Mukuni Ng’ombe Chipepo is among the chiefs whose palaces are going to be constructed in the first phase.

Sir, funds for this exercise have already been sent to the Provincial Office and guidelines for construction have been approved by the Cabinet.

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 




The Vice-President and Leader of Government Business in the House (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1724 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 4th March, 2015.