Debates - Tuesday, 1st July, 2014

Printer Friendly and PDF


Tuesday, 1st July, 2014

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






524. Mr Mwila (Chipili) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:

(a) what long-term plans the Government had for street vending in Lusaka and other towns countrywide;

(b) what practical measures would be taken to keep the towns clean and healthy; and

(c) what economic value, if any, was derived from vending on the streets and shop corridors as the case was in Lusaka.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr N. Banda): Mr Speaker, the Government has engaged Messrs Deloitte and Touché as a consultant and the firm is currently conducting a baseline survey on street vending. The terms of reference for the consultancy are:

(a) to conduct a field baseline survey of vendors in Zambia so as to profile the informal sector;

(b) to assess the skills gaps and opportunities for capacity building among street vendors;

(c) to assess street vendors’ access to business finance and opportunities for development;

(d) to assess the linkages into public sector procurement opportunities from the vendors’ perspective; and

(e) to complete or design a database of informal and street-based vendors.

In addition, the ministry is also in the process of engaging a consultant to design multi-storey markets in selected towns in the country so as to increase the trading spaces for all traders.

Mr Speaker, the Government has established a Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) in the Ministry of Local Government and Housing to work closely with the local authorities in garbage collection and general cleanliness of their areas. Specifically, in line with the Keep Zambia Clean Campaign, my ministry will ensure the following things are done:

(a) massive sensitisation of all local authorities in proper methods of waste disposal to achieve behaviour change;

(b) provision of bins and other waste management facilities to local authorities to be placed in strategic areas; and

(c) enforcement of the necessary by-laws to promote a clean environment.

Mr Speaker, although considered illegal, vending, like any other business venture, has economic value in that those who engage in it get money from their sales which, in turn, is redistributed. At the same time, there is some element of job creation, as some vendors employ sales agents.

Mr Speaker, if well co-ordinated, like the Tuesday Markets are, street vending can contribute to the gross domestic product (GDP).

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, what is the Government’s policy on street vending, considering that cities like Lusaka, Kabwe and Kitwe are all very dirty because of it?

Mr N. Banda: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we are aware of the negative aspects of street vending. That said, the Government’s policy on street vending is that we are trying to find a solution.

Hon. Members: Policy!

Mr N. Banda: That is why we have engaged a consultant to give a clear perspective. It is only after establishing the baseline that the Government will take a position. Currently, we are looking for where to take the vendors once we remove them from the streets. For now, even if we drove them off the streets, there is not enough space for them in the markets.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mwila: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised. I hope it is a procedural one.

Mr Mwila: Yes, Mr Speaker. It relates to the issue on the Floor.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I had asked the hon. Minister to tell me what the Government’s policy on street vendors was, but he has not responded.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, is he in order not to respond to my question?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, as you respond to the hon. Member for Chipata Central’s question, please, use the opportunity to answer Hon. Mwila’s question more explicitly.

Hon. Member for Chipata Central, you may ask your question.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has been in that office for more than two years. Now that he has realised that something needs to be done about the street vendors, as can be deduced from the current baseline survey his ministry is undertaking, can he tell us when the survey will be completed so that we can tell the noble people of Zambia when their streets will, again, be as clean as they used to be.

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, we expect the consultant to submit the report to the Government by the end of this July, 2014.

Sir, in response to Hon. Mwila’s point of order, everybody knows that the Government is not happy with the current situation regarding street vending. I think that the situation has been stretched beyond acceptable limits, and it is for that reason that we are handling the matter cautiously. We want to find a sustainable solution to this problem that has beset us. We are working like a swimming duck, which seems calm and relaxed on the surface, but its feet are very busy under the water.

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Mr Chenda: Sir, we should be realistic. The problem has been allowed to grow to this extent. So, it cannot have an easy solution. The fact is that the Government is working very hard to resolve it, and it will definitely do that.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister, who has admitted that the situation has gone beyond acceptable limits, confess that this is as a result of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s populist way of doing things. It endorsed street vending when it stated on the Floor of this House that vendors must be given space within which to make a living. If that is its position, I want the hon. Minister to tell me where in his office the legislation on markets and bus stations lies.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we are creating additional trading spaces in order to address the problem of street vending. It is a known fact the Government has been constructing markets. The previous regime did so and we shall continue where it left off. In fact, we sent a team to Uganda, which has been very successful in dealing with street vending by building multi-storey markets. That is one of the experiments that have worked elsewhere, and which we want to replicate in our country. We have not changed our position. Rather, we are saying that, when dealing with this issue, we must also provide trading spaces for those who want to trade. In this regard, the Government will continue to build markets.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, even as we are discussing this matter, members of the Patriotic Front (PF) are setting up markets everywhere and anywhere they find open space.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Ms Namugala: The first thing they do is to create a so-called ‘PF Office’ and put a PF chitenge flag.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!

Ms Namugala: Hon. Minister, I know that you are a very capable man. So, what will you do to help protect the legitimate investors as you wait for the results of the survey?


Mr Speaker: Order!

You may continue, hon. Member.

Ms Namugala: What will you do, in the meantime, to protect the investors and property owners, especially those in Lusaka District, who cannot chase vendors from their corridors anymore for fear of reprisals from the PF?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, it is difficult to tell whether these vendors are real Patriotic Front (PF) members …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Chenda: … because, not too long ago, they were wearing different attire and identified with the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). Now that we are in the Government, they wear PF attire. So, they are not genuine members of our party, but illegal land dealers, and I am on record saying that the law should deal with them very firmly, and that there will be no sacred cows. We will deal with them equally whether they belong to the MMD, United Party for National Development (UPND) or the PF. That is our position.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushanga (Bwacha): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister and the hon. Minister have mentioned that the Government is in the process of constructing multi-storey markets. When will this project start? Further, in which towns and districts will it be implemented first?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we are in the process of engaging consultants to design the markets. So, obviously, the commencement of the project will depend on funds being available. However, our sincere hope is that, funds permitting, we roll the project out towards the end of 2015.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, being unhappy can never be a policy. It is an emotion. That said, can the hon. Minister tell us what the cost of the survey being carried out is. Further, could the money being spent on the survey not have been used to build a market in Luena?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, I do not have the actual cost of the survey, but the figures are available in my office. 

Sir, my sister should not question our commitment to dealing with these issues. When I say that the Government is unhappy, I am expressing the feeling that we collectively have as responsible leaders. That is the reality. We want to deal with this issue. The current situation does not please anybody but, since we are in the Government, it is our duty to provide a solution to the problem, and we are doing that.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I think that it is universally known that the proliferation of street vending is a sign that there is something wrong in the labour market, mainly, that jobs are not being created sufficiently. This fact was recognised by the Patriotic Front (PF) during its campaigns and the youth were very open-minded to the promises of jobs. Could you just brief the House on where we are in terms creating the jobs that will absorb these unemployed youths?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, I wish the hon. Member of Parliament could direct that question to my colleague, the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security, who stood on this Floor of the House to give statistics on the jobs being created for the youths. It is a known fact that this Government is creating jobs, although they are not sufficient to absorb all the youths. Jobs are being created, and we will continue to create them.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwale (Chipangali): Mr Speaker, Hon. Mwila asked the hon. Minister what the policy of the Patriotic Front (PF) was on street vending. However, the hon. Minister has not answered that question clearly. Can he state what the policy of the PF is regarding street vending.

Mr Speaker: Maybe, to avoid this question being asked repeatedly, I urge the hon. Minister to answer it again, but confine himself to stating whether there is, currently, a policy on this subject.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we are working on the policy. However, the direction of the policy is to control and manage street vending to acceptable levels.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister referred to the people trading on the streets as law-breakers. How many of them have been arrested for breaking the law?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, none has been arrested. We do not want to be confrontational over an issue that, as everybody knows, does not have an easy solution. As we develop trading spaces, obviously, the Government will eventually enforce the law. We will cross the bridge when we come to it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, what programmes has the Government put in place in districts and townships where street vending has not yet started to prevent what has happened in Lusaka from happening there? 

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we have a national programme to create trading spaces through the construction of markets. This programme is being rolled out countrywide. It is our sincere hope that we will mobilise the funds to speed the process up.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, this problem is a creation of Patriotic Front (PF), which found it very easy to allow street vending. Without going into issues of policy, why is it so difficult for the Government to push the vendors back into the markets, which are empty?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, this is not a creation of the PF.


Mr Chenda: Maybe, when our colleagues, the UPND, come into power, if that ever happens, they will know that it is not as easy as it seems.


Mr Chenda: However, our colleagues, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), know that we inherited the programme.

Hon. MMD Members: No!

Hon. Government Members: Yes!


Mr Chenda: There was an office dedicated to dealing with street vendors at State House.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chenda: However, that is not the issue.


Mr Speaker: Hold on a minute, hon. Minister.

Hon. Members, I know that this is a very topical and emotive subject, but let us maintain the usual silence so that we can hear those on the Floor. We cannot debate whilst seated, shouting and interrupting the debate. That is not what is expected of us.

May the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Chenda: The issue is that we have a problem at hand that is affecting all of us and we should deal with it. It is immaterial who created it. We are in Government and it is our responsibility to deal with it. So, we shall deal with it.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, not long ago, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing said that the Government could not spend huge sums of money on installing street cameras in view of the poverty levels. So, really, in a country where the poverty levels are above 70 per cent, do you think that it is prudent to spend colossal sums of money on projects like that? Do you not feel embarrassed? Or is it just one way of buying time?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chembe, I sense that you need to specify the project you are referring to.

Mr Mbulakulima: I mean the baseline survey.

Mr Speaker: Very well.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we are doing things properly and correctly. We want to understand the problem and know how best we can deal with it. Therefore, we have found it prudent to hire a consultant. The more information we have about the issue, the better it will be for us to provide sustainable solutions.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government had a Minister, Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo, who was determined to remove the vendors from the streets.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: However, she was immediately confronted by people who told her to allow the vendors to go about their business. Everywhere, except in Lusaka, people say that the President has allowed them to trade anywhere. Therefore, how determined is the hon. Minister to end street vending?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, we are determined to manage the situation. We have examples in this country in which this situation is being managed properly and successfully. Just across the road, at Arcades Shopping Centre, there is a street market that is organised every Saturday and the environment is well managed. So, we think that this problem has a solution. Working together with all the stakeholders with whom we have already started having discussions, we should be able to find a solution.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha (Keembe): Mr Speaker, the Saturday Market at Arcades Shopping Centre that the hon. Minister gave as a success story was initiated by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). As the MMD, and colleagues in this House, we advised you not to worsen things. You have now created a problem for the country and are spending money that is supposed to develop the country on a baseline survey. Do you not think that you are wasting our money by making a mistake and, in trying to find a solution, using our money?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, everybody knows that the problem of street vending was actually created by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).

Hon. MMD Members: Aah!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

The hon. Minister is answering.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Listen to the hon. Minister.


Mr Chenda: Mr Chairman, I beg your pardon, Mr Speaker, we should not point fingers at each other. Let us find solutions to this problem. It is in this regard that I expect hon. Members of Parliament …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chenda: … to help the Government to find a solution.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Chenda: We are determined and committed to finding solutions to this problem.

I thank you, Sir.


525. Mr Mbulakulima asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a) how many  employees were at ZAMTEL at the time of the reversal of its sale;

(b) how much profit ZAMTEL made in 2011 and 2012; and

(c) how much money, in dividends, ZAMTEL had paid to the Government since the reversal of its sale.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, at the time of the reversal of the sale of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) in January, 2012, the company had 740 on-roll employees and one causal worker.

Sir, ZAMTEL did not make any profit in 2011 and 2012.

Sir, the company has not paid dividends to the Government since the reversal of the sale.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, since the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) did not make any profit in 2011 and 2012, and there is no hope that it will do so in the near future, do you think it was a prudent decision to reverse its sale?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, ZAMTEL is a very important company to this country. So, we could not allow it to remain in the hands of people that we did not know.

Mr Kampyongo: Yes!

Col. Kaunda: It was prudent for us to give it back to Zambians.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL)’s services have become very poor lately. We are not even able to make calls to other ZAMTEL lines. What has happened? Is it not even more necessary to privatise it now?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, the principal question has got nothing to do with ZAMTEL’s services. If the hon. Member wants to an answer to his question, he can raise a new question.

I thank you, Sir.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, …

Dr Kaingu: Another good one.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: … the hon. Minister referred to the decision to reverse the sale of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL). Can he tell the nation and this House how much that decision has cost Zambia?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, that is a new question.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, after the Government take-over, we expected the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) to expand its operations and create jobs that the people of Chipili could see.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: What plan do you have for ZAMTEL for it to start making profits?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, hon. Members must be kind to us. If they want figures, they should raise new questions. I have answered the principal question according to what Hon. Mbulakulima (mispronounced) has asked it. This is a new question again.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Milambo (Mwembeshi): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mbulakulima: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order.

Sir, mine is a very typical Zambian name. Is the hon. Deputy Minister in order to butcher it when the whole country is listening to this debate? Is he in order to fail to pronounce my indigenous name?

Hon. Opposition Member: What is the name again?

Mr Speaker: I must confess that I did not follow the hon. Deputy Minister’s pronunciation of your name as closely as you did. However, assuming that your name was, indeed, not properly pronounced, which the record would attest to, anyway, I urge the hon. Minister to take special note of it. Fortunately, we have listed it on the Order Paper. So, if the hon. Deputy Minister goes back to the Order Paper, he will get some assistance.

Continue, Hon. Milambo.

Mr Milambo: Mr Speaker, this company has not …

Mr Shakafuswa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Another point of order is raised by the hon. Member for Katuba Parliamentary Constituency.


Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the people of Zambia, in general, and Katuba, in particular, and the people whom you and Hon. Panji Kaunda represent expect answers from us when we come to this House. However, it has become a trend for the Front Bench to leave the House without providing adequate answers to the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, are the people on your right in order to come here and show us that they do not adequately prepare for questions when they go to their offices? When they are asked questions, they should expect follow-up questions. They cannot just receive Government salaries without doing their work.

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Speaker: Order!

I took recourse to Question 525, which centres largely on the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL), and I think that it goes without saying that ZAMTEL is a corporate body with a management of its own. The ministry, of course, superintends over a number of parastatals, including ZAMTEL, and I note that some of the questions asked seem to presume that the hon. Minister has all the detailed, I emphasise, detailed information about the operations of this entity. I have said that there are some questions that require detailed facts and there are others that border on policy, which I expect hon. Ministers to be competent to respond to. For the sake of progress, let us try to draw a distinction between those questions that require detailed evidence, and I am using the word ‘evidence’ in a very cautious manner, from the other category of questions. I have said before that hon. Ministers cannot have all the information at hand all the time. As much as you may want to gather every bit of information from them, it is not possible in some cases.

On the other hand, hon. Ministers, where you do not have the information, please, just admit it and ask for time to come back with the answer so that we can avoid what I think is an injudicious use of time. There are some questions that just cannot be answered. These are follow-up questions …

Mr Shakafuswa interjected.

Mr Speaker: Follow-up questions should have some relationship with the principal question on the order paper. However, to go at sea and begin asking on anything and everything, yet expect this information to be at hand, …

Mr Shakafuswa interjected.

Mr Speaker: I think, we need to draw a balance … I can hear your comments, hon. Member for Katuba. Please, desist from interjecting me. Parliament has not changed.


Mr Speaker: You are within earshot. So, mind your comments.

Continue, Hon. Milambo.

Mr Milambo: Mr Speaker, the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) has neither made any profit nor declared any dividends in two years. Therefore, why should we keep it?

The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma) (on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga)): Mr Speaker, when the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) was repossessed by the Government, there were many things that needed to be done for it to be back on the line. The first one was recapitalisation, which was done by the Government. Currently, we are still injecting money into it so that it can start sustaining itself. The issue of not paying dividends is not a problem because dividends will only be paid when we, as shareholders, see that the company can sustain itself viably.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, when the Government took over the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL), more than US$300 million had been poured into it.

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

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, it is said often that, when you call others to equity, you must come with clean hands. Is the hon. Member who is currently on the Floor to ask a follow-up question in order not to declare interest, having been part of the Government that sold off this very important company to foreigners, which ended up throwing many Zambians on the street?


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, is he in order not to tell the nation the price at which they sold the company?


Mr Speaker: When you said, “declaring interest”, I understood it in another sense, and that made me very anxious. I have said before that there is continuity of the Government. There is and there will always be the Government. So, when we have changes of Government, such as the product of a democratic dispensation, those who, for want of a better expression, lose power are not precluded from holding the other party that comes into office to account. Otherwise, a multi-party democracy will not function. The short answer is that the hon. Member is not out of order to ask a question in spite of the fact that he and his colleagues were once responsible for managing the affairs of the State.

Hon. Member for Liuwa, continue, please.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, indeed, we made the correct decision.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, when the company was taken over, close to US$400 million had been put into it, not by the Government, as the hon. Minister just indicated, but by the private companies that had bought it. However, the hon. Minister said that this company is not making profit and somebody also indicated that it is not expanding and that the quality of its services is going down. Do you expect the people of Zambia to pay back the US$375 million, which will, obviously, be doubled when the matter is taken to court, through the taxes, since the company that you have established is not financially viable and is, therefore, unable to pay back?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I must put it on record that making a profit and accepting to pull out a dividend is purely a decision that is made by a shareholder and a company.


Mr Yaluma: Sir, as shareholders, we can retain the profit and later re-inject it into the business. We are not saying that that business is not viable. It is viable and we have seen the books. When they give you the annual reports, you should check how the company is doing. By the way, the company is on a very serious expansion programme. It has spread its network across this country both in fibre-optic and radio transmission. It is expanding its network infrastructure so that the people of Zambia can be catered for and served well.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


526. Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa) asked the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection:

(a) how much money had been spent on the construction of hostels and other infrastructure at Mwekera Forestry College in Kitwe;

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

(c) when the project would be completed.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Mr Chingimbu): Mr Speaker, K5,630,534.33 has been spent on the construction of hostels and other infrastructure at Mwekera Forestry College in Kitwe.

Sir, the following are the names of contractors engaged to construct hostels and other infrastructure at Mwekera Forestry College in Kitwe:

Project Component Contractor

Construction of Main Science Laboratory SAINCO Investments

Construction of GIS/Remote Sensing Laboratory Net Web Contractors

Rehabilitation of Zimbabwe Hostels Down Town Investments 
(Student Hostel)

Construction of A 72 Bed Capacity  FM & CBN
Two storey girls’ hostel

Mr Speaker, the first three projects have been completed. As for the construction of a two storey seventy-two bed capacity girls’ hostel, about 90 per cent of the work has been done. All these projects have already been paid for.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, are the three contractors that are working on the institute within the stipulated time frame? If so, is the Government impressed with the works being done at the institute?

Mr Chingimbu: Mr Speaker, according to the report that we have received, indeed, most of the projects have been completed and the ministry is happy with the work, except for one project that has not yet been completed. This project is under the supervision of the Provincial Administration, which will inform us once this has been completed, too.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister enlighten the House on what the ministry expects to achieve when the various construction projects?

Mr Chingimbu: Mr Speaker, we expect to provide a conducive learning environment for the students and to enhance their well-being.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.   


527. Mr P. Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a) why works on the abattoir in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency had stalled;

(b) when the abandoned works would resume; and

(c) what the name of the contractor was.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Monde): Mr Speaker, the works on the abattoir in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency have stalled because the contractor, who was engaged by a project called Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA), abandoned the site after the project came to an end in 2002. The original plan was to construct a shed and a slaughter slab, and install a chain. The facility would, then, have been handed over to the local authority. When the ASVEZA Project came to an end, the incomplete abattoir was given to Katete Butchers Association (KBA). In 2007, when the Ministry of Agriculture and Co-operatives, as it was then called, received support from the African Development Bank (AfDB) to construct Livestock Marketing Centres (LMCs) in the Eastern Province, the LMC in Katete was sited at the same location where the former unfinished ASVEZA Abattoir was located.

Sir, the KBA has since applied for a matching grant facility, through the World Bank-funded Livestock Development and Animal Health Project (LDAHP), and has been shortlisted. The works on the abattoir in Mkaika will resume when the application submitted has been approved. It is, therefore, not possible to project the time frame for the resumption of works.

Mr Speaker, the tender to construct the abattoir in Mkaika was given to Mr Lengalenga by ASVEZA while the one for the LMC was given to Metweld Contractors by the ADB.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr P. Phiri: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, this is the voice of Chadiza.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, in Chadiza District, we depend on agriculture …

Hon. Back-Bencher: What a voice.

Mr Mbewe: … and tobacco is one of our cash crops. The selling of tobacco opened in March, 2014, and the people of Chadiza travelled 725km to come and sell their tobacco here, in Lusaka. These people are over 100 and have been camping at Tobacco Association of Zambia (TAZ) for almost three months now without selling their tobacco.

Mr Speaker, why is the hon. Minister very quiet on this matter? Why is the hon. Minister of agriculture and Livestock not making a statement so that those people can know that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has failed to facilitate the sale of their tobacco? The people want to know what to do with their tobacco because they do not even have the money to get back to their homes.

I need your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My serious ruling is very simple. You will recall that, the other week, I counselled you, and it is on record, which I went through this morning, that agriculture appears to be a very complex industry with various underlying issues. In light of that fact, I invited you to raise a question so that I could forward it to the hon. Minister. This is the second week, but we have not yet received your question. Unfortunately, you are resorting to the wrong mechanism of using a point of order, which is supposed to be about procedure, not a developmental issue.


Mr Speaker: Even if I ask the hon. Minister to respond to the point of order, he would still need to go back and do his research. I have said, on several occasions, that you deprive yourself of the opportunity to ask specific questions. You can see that the natural result is that we have to digress from the Business of the House, which is not a very efficient way of doing business. So, unless you file that question, expect the hon. Minister to continue being silent on that issue.

Continue, Hon. Phiri.

Mr P. Phiri: Mr Speaker, that project has been on-going for many years now. Can the hon. Minister tell the people of Mkaika when that project will be completed.

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, we agree that this project started a long time ago. It started with Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA), which wound up its operations in 2012. Later, we engaged the African Development Bank (AfDB) to continue with the works and we are now engaging the World Bank. So, the assurance is that we are on course and will ensure that the abattoir is opened.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I am personally concerned about the many abandoned projects in the agricultural sector. For instance, in Lubansenshi Constituency of Luwingu District, we have a Farmers Training Centre (FTC) whose construction has stalled.  What steps are being taken to ensure that these abandoned projects, including the FTC in Lubansenshi Constituency, are completed?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, we are aware that a lot has happened. Currently, the ministry is compiling a list of incomplete slabs, the FTCs and LMCs to put measures in place to complete them. Most of the projects have stalled because of litigations and abandonment of sites by contractors. We will complete all the abandoned projects in the agricultural sector.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, when Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA) came in, it was not to sponsor an incomplete project, but to implement a complete one. What problems did the organisation encounter for it not to complete the abattoir during the project period?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, the project started before 2001. It was a Belgian project. However, there were technicalities in the contracts to be executed. So, some projects were completed while others were not. For the projects that were not completed, the contractors were paid accordingly and, as a result, there were no litigations. The projects were handed over to the Government regardless of what stage they were at. The abattoir project was handed over to the KBA by the Government in the same state as it had been taken over from ASVEZA.

I thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, there are two donors who showed interest in that project. Further, when donors want to implement a project, they carry out a feasibility study to determine the cost. Therefore, the Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA) Project must have been funded fully. So, where did the money planned for the completion of the project go when the project wound up? 

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, when I was responding to the question by the hon. Member for Namwala, I said that the project wound up on whatever had been paid for up to that point. Whatever remained was handed over to the KBA. If there were monies that remained with ASVEZA, we do not know about it because the programme closed in 2002. However, the Government did not end there, but went further to engage the AfDB, …


Mr Speaker: Order, on my right!

Mr Monde: … which contracted Metweld. Metveld is currently being investigated because it has abandoned the site.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, constructing an abattoir is a very simple project that can be done easily by anybody, let alone the Government.

Hon. Minister, Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA) did what it could. Thereafter, the African Development Bank (AfDB), under the Agricultural Sector Investment Programme (ASIP), undertook a commitment to finish the project under the LMCs Project. Why did the AfDB, which had adequate funding, not complete the project?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, in 2007, the Government partnered with the AfDB and gave the contract to Metweld, which has since abandoned the site. This matter is currently under investigation. However, my ministry has gone ahead to source funding from the World Bank because our primary concern, now, is to complete the abattoir, as it is a simple project that can be implemented by anyone.


Mr Monde: We will implement it through the World Bank Programme.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chipungu: Hon. Minister, the World Bank might not come forward to help the people of Mkaika with this project. Why does the ministry not take over the construction of the abattoir?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, the Government is partnering with the World Bank and we will ensure that the abattoir is completed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, when you pass through Katete, you will actually see the abattoir. It is amazing how we can sit here without knowing the future of such a simple project, which the people of Katete need for them to buy meat in good sanitary conditions. However, listening to the hon. Minister, one gets a bit confused. On one hand, he says that it was an Assistance to the Veterinary Services of Zambia (ASVEZA)-initiated project, meaning that it is a Government project but, on the other, he says that it was handed over to the Katete Butchers Association (KBA). He further says that he is unable to give a time frame because the abattoir is under the KBA formally. Could the hon. Minister clarify whether this is still a Government project. If so, how can a ministry fail to give a time frame for a simple project like this one?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, there are many programmes that the Government is running. Some are donor-funded while others are 100 per cent Government-funded. This particular project is donor-funded and the World Bank is engaging the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to complete the project.

I thank you, Sir.


528. Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early:

(a) how many portal-framed schools were built in Kaputa and Nsama Districts;

(b) when the construction of the schools began;

(c) why the contractors did not complete the works;

(d) whether the contractors had been paid in full; and

(e) what measures had been taken to ensure that the construction of the schools was completed.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, two portal-framed schools were built in Kaputa District while one was built in Nsama District.

Sir, the construction of portal-framed schools commenced in 2008.

Sir, the contractors did not complete the works because the funds released were not adequate and there was very little contribution from the community in terms of upfront materials. The contractor who erected the portal frames was paid in full, but the one to fill the walls was not paid in full due to inadequate funding.

Mr Speaker, the completion of the construction of the portal-framed schools will be undertaken once the District Education Board Secretaries (DEBSs) in Kaputa and Nsama districts make a cost estimate for the ministry to make a decision on when the works will be undertaken.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the construction of the portal-framed schools started in 2008, and this is mid-2014. What is required of the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS)? All of us know that the infrastructure has not been completed. So, when will it be included in the Budget for completion?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I stated in my last answer that, for us to include the projects in our Infrastructure Development Plan (IDP), we need to make estimates of how much is required for us to complete the projects. That is why we are saying that we will use the opportunity that we have this year to determine the cost of completing the projects. Everything being equal, we could include them in our 2015 IDP.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, project abandonment by contractors seems to be a disease that appears to be in every sector of this country. What mechanisms have been put in place for closer supervision and monitoring of contractors so that they do not abandon projects after they have been paid?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, as the hon. Member may be aware, as a country, we have a history of projects not being completed for a variety of reasons. It is for this that my ministry decided to request our Provincial Educational Officers (PEOs) to provide us with information on projects that have not been completed, lack funding or for which the community did not provide the upfront material so that we factor them in our plans before we embark on new ones. In addition, every district that has a DEBS, building officer, who is supposed to work with other relevant officials from the provincial administration in supervising projects. Mostly, when you look at the unfinished projects, you will find that it is either because of a lack of funding or the community did not provide the upfront material. Although I am not trying to protect the contractors, sometimes, they have found it difficult to continue with projects for a variety of reasons.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, the portal-framed schools have not been abandoned in Kaputa alone. There are five that were abandoned in Chipili, too. What is the position of the Government on this matter, since most of the school projects in Luapula Province have been abandoned?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, when I was answering Hon. Ng’onga’s question, I stated that the ministry has requested PEOs to provide it with information on how many projects are outstanding so that we factor them into our plans before embarking on new projects.

 I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, just in case I have similar schools in my constituency, and for my education, what are portal-framed schools are?

Mr Speaker: That is a fair question.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, these are schools that are built with steel and bricks or blocks. You can even roof them before the walls are built.  Those are the schools that we are referring to.

 I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, why were the contractors for the projects paid in full for projects that they could not complete due to inadequately funds?

 Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, in my earlier reply, I said that the contractor who erected the portal frames was paid in full, but the one to fill the walls was not because of inadequate funding. The former was paid in full because he had completed his work.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, why did the ministry opt to use portal frames, which are expensive because they require steel? Why did it not use bricks or blocks?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I can only guess that it is because the portal frame mode is faster to erect and the classrooms can be used even before the walls have been built. So, I am sure the leadership then found it to be an easier and faster mode of construction.

 I thank you, Sir.   

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, the Government should be concerned about the issues being raised in this House. The Zambian people are equally concerned. What is happening currently is that everybody seems to be running away from being held accountable to their contractual obligations by claiming to be Patriotic Front (PF) Members. They are also being given the projects because they are party members, to enable them raise money and, in the process, fund the PF. My question is: What serious steps are being taken to protect the resources of the Zambian people by ensuring that projects are completed and that contractors adhere to their obligations, especially in the education sector, which is very important to our economic development and poverty reduction?

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, the question on the Floor of this House is on two portal-framed schools in Kaputa District and one in Nsama District. As you have heard, these were 2008 projects. Therefore, this is some past experience from which the ministry can draw lessons. Since then, we have done things differently.

Sir, let me give the House the bonus answer that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government does not tolerate mediocrity in the implementation of projects by contractors. Therefore, I assure this august House that, wherever contractors are given a job, we endeavour, through the Infrastructure Unit and the Provincial Buildings Offices, to ensure that contractors do a good job. There is no way we can tolerate wasteful expenditure of taxpayers’ money on people who are not serious.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.

 Hon. Government Member:  Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, has the ministry prepared a list of contractors who abandon their projects so that they can be blacklisted from bidding for future contracts to discourage the practice?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, we should not generalise. I would be very happy to be informed of contractors who have abandoned works because that will help do our work better. Let me tell this august House that, in many cases, it is the Government’s lack of resources that leads to the abandonment of projects. When we have contractors who abandon projects for no legitimate reason, there are courts to deal with them. Further, there are written guidelines we use to administer contracts. However, mainly, works stall because of the funding problems we have.

 I thank you, Sir.


529. Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Health:

(a) how many health centres in Kaputa District used solar power; and

(b) when the Government would install solar power systems in all he health posts in the district in order to improve the storage of drugs.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, Kaputa District has five health centres that use solar power.

Sir, the Government has embarked on a programme to install solar power to all health centres that are not connected to the national power grid. So, the three remaining health centres in Kaputa will be connected under that programme. The last phase will begin on 19th July, 2014.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that assurance. Currently, although solar panels have been taken to some clinics, they still have not been installed. When will the engineers install these panels?

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, in the previous programme in which we installed solar power in various health centres in Kaputa, we may have had challenges in frequency setting. So, the installation was not completed. Under the programme that will begin on 19th July, 2014, we will not only install the panels in the centres that did not have solar power, we will also be trouble-shooting for those centres where the panels were installed, but are not working properly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chansa (Chimbamilonga): Mr Speaker, since Nsama District is a newly-created district, and it has the same challenge, will it benefit from the programme the hon. Minister talked about?

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, yes, it will.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I did not fully understand the hon. Minister. Is he saying that this is a national programme or it is just for some selected districts? I am asking because the problems that are being faced in Kaputa are also being faced in other constituencies.

Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the ministry, through the Zambia Flying Doctor Service, embarked on this programme in September, 2013, and covered Central, the Copperbelt, the North-Western, part of the Western and the Southern provinces. So, it is a national programme. What remains is just a few districts in the Northern Circuit, and that is the phase that will begin on 19th July, 2014. However, where there are challenges after installation, we will still go round, through the Zambia Flying Doctor Service, to restore resolve them.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


530. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a) when the performance review of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) was last conducted;

(b) whether the company was financially viable; and

(c) whether the Government had any plans to encourage private sector participation in TAZARA and, if so, what the plans were.

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, a performance review was last done on the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) in 2013.

Sir, TAZARA is currently not financially viable.

Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to encourage private sector participation in TAZARA and the management has been instructed to form strategic alliances termed ‘Smart Partnerships’ with private entities in which private investor can partner the company to improve its operations. That programme is progressing well, as a number of would-be partners have come forward to support TAZARA through strategic partnerships. For example, Impala Vecturis did a due diligence study on TAZARA in June, 2014. This is a first step to the submission of a final proposal. SMH Railways of Malaysia equally wants to engage TAZARA in other forms of partnerships. There are many other companies that have shown interest.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, it is good that the hon. Minister has indicated that the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is not viable. One of the reasons the company is not performing well is that the cargo that it is supposed to ferry from Tanzania is being ferried by road due to the interference by politicians in Tanzania. Is the Government considering reviewing the Railways Act so that TAZARA can be split into two?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, it is true that TAZARA has problems, but I do not know what political interference there is from Tanzania. The fact is that, since 1991, TAZARA has not received any funding from the two countries that own it for repairing its infrastructure. So, it is unable to carry some of types of the cargo that it is supposed to carry. Hence, most exporters and importers have resorted to using road transport.

Sir, there are no plans to split TAZARA into two.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, is the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) not financially viable because of the nature of the business it is involved in or is it because of poor management?

The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma) (on behalf of the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga)): Mr Speaker, the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is not viable because of the lack of maintenance and upgrading of the infrastructure for a long time, which has led to poor performance. Be that as it may, the Zambian Government is doing all it can to ensure that the wagons are moving. The trains carry some cargo although not in volumes and at a rate that we would want. So, yes, TAZARA is not yet viable, but there are negotiations that are currently taking place through the Council of Ministers to ensure that some agreement is reached between the two countries to revamp its operations.

Sir, the transportation of heavy cargo by trucks is doing a lot of damage to our infrastructure. However, it cannot be avoided because TAZARA is not performing. Nonetheless, we must not lose the hope. We will revamp TAZARA’s operations once we have finished negotiating with our colleagues in Tanzania.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, normally, when a company is not financially viable, you abandon it. Is the ministry undertaking a financial viability study aimed at identifying various challenges and solutions to the company’s problems so that they can be made rectified?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, many studies have been conducted and, just like my colleague, Hon. Col. Kaunda, stated, there are many on-going interactions with companies that would like to come in and assist in overhauling the performance of TAZARA. One such interaction is the Smart Partnership that Hon. Col. Kaunda talked about. So, we have studied ways of making TAZARA viable. There have been a lot of research conducted, and we can turn it around. Further, the company was created by an Act of Parliament. So, we cannot just close it unless through this House.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, not too long ago, the Vice-President of China was in the country, and we all aware that the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is a joint project between Zambia, Tanzania and China. Therefore, in the bilateral discussions that took place between the Zambian and Chinese governments during the visit, was the recapitalisation of the company discussed, perhaps, through an additional loan from China, given that we are in the habit of contracting loans almost every other day?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the amount of money required to recapitalise TAZARA is known, but it is not in the form of a lumpsome. Rather, it has been phased amount, just to ensure that we spread the repayment and allow the company to eventually get back on track.

Sir, the meetings between the Zambian Government and the Vice-President of China were about one specific institution or project, but covered a number of issues on bilateral technical co-operation between Zambia and China. However, we have had many discussions with our Tanzanian counterparts on the option of contracting a loan jointly on behalf of the company. Unfortunately, the discussions have not been fruitful.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, in responding to the hon. Member for Siavonga’s question, the hon. Minister said that one of the reasons the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) is not viable is that of a lack of proper maintenance. Since the Government is a shareholder in TAZARA, would the hon. Minister not agree with me that the non-viability of this company is due to poor policies?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, our policy in this regard has been very solid. If something fails to work, it does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with public policy. The infrastructure of the company was neglected for a long period of time. I think, most hon. Members here have used TAZARA when it was still a first-class means of transport. It is just like a bicycle or vehicle. If you do not maintain it over a period of time, it will break down at Munali Hills and you will not get to Namwala.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


531. Mr Musonda (Kapiri-Mposhi) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a) whether the Government had any plans to establish a honey processing plant in Kapiri Mposhi Parliamentary Constituency and, if so, when; and

(b) what the estimated cost of establishing the plant was.

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Sichinga): Mr Speaker, the Government is focusing on creating a conducive business environment, as illustrated by the Private Sector Development reforms (PSDR). Further, we have put in place an incentive scheme under the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) Act, which promotes value addition activities. It is, therefore, our expectation that the private sector will take advantage of this conducive investment climate and establish honey processing plants in places like Kapiri Mposhi.

Sir, I will provide the following supplementary information to help the hon. Member to get the context of what I said. The Government’s role is not to compete with and crowd out the private sector, but to facilitate a conducive business environment that allows the private sector to thrive. Our ministry welcomes and supports business proposals from the private sector and stakeholders in the apiculture sector and will welcome initiatives towards the setting up of honey processing plants around the country which, as I stated, includes Kapiri Mposhi District. In supporting those who are involved in apiculture, the Government is implementing a three-year project called the Tier 2 Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness of Zambia's Apiculture Sector (TIPEC-ZAS) under the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) programme of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The project aims to enhance the competiveness of Zambia’s honey sector and targets 5,000 bee keepers across the country. So, I encourage the hon. Member to visit our various offices, especially those at our ministry, so that we can provide the additional information that he might require specifically for Kapiri Mposhi.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, there seems to be a contradiction. On one hand, the hon. Minister says that the Government will create an enabling environment for the private sector to develop the honey industry but, on the other, we have heard on the Floor of this House that the Government, through the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development is going to construct filling stations in selected districts. Can the hon. Minister help me to understand exactly where his Government is taking this country. Are we remaining a private-sector-driven economy or will the Government participate actively in some sectors? If the Government will participate, how will it choose the sectors in which it will actively participate?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, the principal question is specifically about honey processing in Kapiri Mposhi, and I think that I have answered it more than adequately. The issue of energy should be a separate question that should be responded to at a different occasion by a different hon. Minister. However, in terms of promoting investment in general, not specifically filling stations or any other sector, the Government works through the institutions it has established to support the private sector. For example, under the Citizens Economic Empowerment Fund (CEEF), we are encouraging citizens to set up filling stations and honey processing plants while, under the ZDA, we are encouraging both local and foreign investment in specific areas of private investors’ choice. In the specific case of Kapiri Mposhi, there are specific details that we can provide but, as to whether a filling station will be established in Mwinilunga, Mafinga or elsewhere, it is really not for my ministry to determine. That is determined by our sister ministry, which is responsible for energy. Our job is to encourage those who want to invest to do so regardless of the kind of investment it might be.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has been speaking to the country about economic clusters from the time when he was in the private sector until now as an hon. Minister. I think that he once urged all of us here to give suggestions on the clusters, and I have no doubt that the people of Kapiri Mposhi submitted honey processing as a potential component of an economic cluster in the area. Could he explain how the concept of clusters is being actualised in the specific case of honey processing in Kapiri Mposhi.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, may I seek the indulgence of the House to discuss the issue of clusters in due course because I have already indicated that we will specifically address that issue in detail. However, in the case of honey processing at Kapiri Mposhi, I would like to tell both the hon. Member who raised the question and the hon. Member for Liuwa that the specific objective of the apiculture promotion project, which is, currently, what the Government is supporting, is worth US$2.8 million. Twenty per cent of the 5,000 targeted beneficiaries, which translates into 1,000 people, will be youths while 30 per cent or 1,500 will be women. The project will be implemented in Kapiri Mposhi, Peatuke, Kasempa, Kabompo, Mpika, Monze and Mpongwe.

Sir, it will be up to each district to indicate what private sector-driven project it wants to promote. It may well be that Kapiri Mposhi might have a good number of people interested in the project, but it might not have all the 1,000 youths or 1,500 women. The districts should tell us who is interested in getting involved. We will not force anyone to go into this business, but we are encouraging them to do so. The programme will help them to increase production and improve the quality of their product, especially for export purposes, to meet the sanitary and phyto-sanitary requirements, training. That is what we are doing, through this programme.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Shakafuswa: Mr Speaker, the project that the hon. Minister has talked about will lead to increased production of honey. Is he also thinking of promoting the health value of honey, as a substitute to sugar, so that he can create a market for the people who will increase production?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, this is beyond the question asked, but I will give supplementary information that will be helpful. The concern of our ministry is whether there is a market for this product domestically, regionally and beyond. We are promoting a high quality of the product so that producers conform to international apicultural sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards, which this project is helping the small-scale bee-keepers to achieve.

Sir, the investment that is needed to establish a honey processing plant will vary, depending on the size of the plant, from US$250,000 to US$500,000. Our current approach is to help the small-scale producer, and each of them will need a market, which has to be developed. That is where we are now looking at the regional market, which we call intra-Africa trades Centres (IATCs), which we are setting up in the different locations. We are also looking at the agreements we have with Europe and the rest of the world under the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, arising from the hon. Minister’s answer, from the few districts that he has mentioned, I did not hear Kaoma, which has a factory that is currently not running. Why is Kaoma not on his list?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, if there is a factory that is not running, it is for the hon. Member of Parliament to approach the ministry. I do not know why they shun our offices.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: I am here with them. They can ask and we can make an appointment to deal with Kaoma. If you think that Kaoma can benefit from the US$2.8 million, come to the office. Let us talk about it rather than raising the question here because I cannot give you all the answers here.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours to 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]{mospagebreak}


523. Mr Mutelo (Lukulu-West) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a) what the teacher-pupil ratio at the following schools in Lukulu-West Parliamentary Constituency was as of December, 2013:

(i) Whashishi Primary;

(ii) Lupui Basic;

(iii) Mitete Basic;

(iv) Lubelele Basic;

(v) Mbao Primary;

(vi) Lindole Primary;

 (vii) Muyondoti Primary;

(vii) Ngongo Primary;

 (ix) Namakando Primary;

(viii) Kasenda Primary; and

(xi) Lutumo Primary;

(a) how many teachers were posted to the constituency in 2013; and

(b) what the shortfall of teachers in the constituency was.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the teacher-pupil ratio for the listed basics schools as at December, 2013, were as follows:

School Teacher-Pupil Ratio
Washishi 1:15

Lupui 1:54

Mitete 1:53

Mbao 1:75

Muyondoti 1:48

Namakando 1:90

Lubelele 1:57

Lindole 1:62

Ngongo 1:34

Kasenda 1:90

Lutumo 1:105

Mr Speaker, twenty-six teachers were deployed to Lukulu-West Parliamentary Constituency in 2013.

Mr Speaker, the current shortfall of teachers in line with the Payroll Management and Establishment Control (PMEC) payroll vacancies for Lukulu-West is seventy-seven.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, taking the teacher-pupil ratio of 1:105, is the Ministry of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education really providing quality education to the pupils in Mitete?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the statistics do not humble and disturb only the hon. Member of Parliament, but also the ministry. Most of the schools mentioned are either manned by one or two teachers. This, obviously, is unacceptable. We have, therefore, given instructions to the Provincial Education Officer (PEO) to see what can be done within the existing number of teachers in the province to address the problem in districts that are under-staffed. If that will not address the situation, we will see what we can do at national level because this situation is also exercising our minds, as to how we can address this shortfall in many rural areas.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that salt is added to injury on this problem by the rampant transfer of teachers from rural schools to urban areas?
Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, if I have understood the question, yes, we are aware that one of the factors that result in this unfair distribution of teachers is the rampant requests for transfer. As a ministry, we are getting to grips with that and there is a slow movement of teachers now from rural to urban areas as compared to how we found the situation. I hope that we could further increase our teacher numbers in the rural areas by persuading as many teachers as possible in urban and semi-urban areas to return to the land, although we are also conscious of why teachers run away from there. The situation is not as easy to manage as it appears but, with a higher investment towards education in rural areas, we should be able to find some meaningful way forward in this regard.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng'i): Mr Speaker, I think that the situation is serious and we sympathise with you. In the past, this country sought the services of retired teachers. Today, we have so many of them. Would it not be a good idea to reclaim them to help us mitigate the shortfall we have?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, I said, without elaborating, that there are various factors that give rise to this sad scenario, and that we are studying as many of them as possible to try to address the problem. What you are suggesting is one of the options that we are looking at.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, as we continue asking questions, which you are entitled to, please, bear in mind that the hon. Minister has admitted and expressed concern on the matter that has been raised by the hon. Member for Lukulu-West. He admits that this is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs and measures are being undertaken to redress the situation.

The hon. Member for Sikongo may ask.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister not consider sending male teachers into rural areas instead of female teachers, who normally go back to their husbands after a few months?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, thank you, for reinforcing what I said.

Mr Speaker, the ministry does not work on generalised information. However, as I indicated, there are several measures we are working on and, when our efforts bear fruit, we will tell the nation.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the Government told the House that, whilst there was a freeze on recruitment, it would continue to replace the teachers who die or leave for various reasons. How effective is this replacement programme?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the replacement is not a one-day programme, but an on-going one and, at an appropriate time, we will advise on how effective it will have been, particularly in 2014, when it will be the only avenue for us to work on.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma): Mr Speaker, teachers are running away from rural areas because of the lack of incentives. Is the ministry considering re-introducing the rural hardship allowance?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, that is one measure we have considered and is already in place, except we have to review it because it may not be working as we intended it to.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sianga (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, whilst we appreciate the response from the hon. Minister, is the ministry considering addressing the challenge of accommodation in the schools mentioned?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, in my many replies in this House, I have stated that this is an important factor and one that we are working on. If we had adequate resources, it would have been the most urgent to address because a house means quite a lot to our teachers. I can only sympathise with them. However, to give them a little hope, I will say that tomorrow may be different if our measures work out.

I thank you, Sir.


533. Mr Mutale (Kwacha) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing what measures the Kitwe City Council would take to improve refuse collection in the city, especially in Kwacha Parliamentary Constituency.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kufuna): Mr Speaker, the Kitwe City Council (KCC) has undertaken the under-listed measures in its bid to improve on refuse collection in the city that includes Kwacha Constituency:

(a) created the Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU), which has been mandated to deal with refuse collection;

(ii) procured a skip load and some skip bins in addition to what was supplied by the ministry. These will be placed in strategic places within the city;

(iii) mounted sensitisation programmes on the disposal of waste; and

(iv) re-zoned the district into SWMUs to facilitate partnership with the private sector and community-based groups.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutale: Mr Speaker, we have the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign. How is that programme functioning? I ask this because I do not see much of its activities anymore, and the vehicles that were allocated to each constituency under the programme are no longer available in the constituencies.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the Government has begun sensitising the public about the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign through the radio.

Hon. Government Members: Which radio station?

Mr Kufuna: It is through community radio stations and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC).

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the Copperbelt has a unique situation compared to the rest of the country in that it has a company called Copperbelt Solid Waste Management Company (COPWASTE), which is owned by six or seven councils in the province. I stand to be corrected on this point. However, the last time I checked, COPWASTE had difficulties servicing every household in the province’s compounds. It was only able to capture information on and collect garbage from those clients who had known physical addresses and paid water bills. Has the company now managed to broaden its catchment area and cover all the residents of the Copperbelt? Further, have they engineered the land fill in Kitwe?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, we are still working with COPWASTE, which services high-cost residential areas. The medium-cost areas are serviced by performance contractors while low-cost areas have community-based enterprises that are working with the councils.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, Kitwe is dirty, Lusaka is dirtier, but Chadiza is cleaner than both.


Mr Mbewe: Does the Government have any plan to ban the use of plastic bags and to replace them with paper bags? I ask this because plastic bags make the environment very dirty.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, I think, that is a different question, but I will give a bonus answer, which is that we have plans to segregate waste by ensuring that paper waste and plastic waste are put in separate bins.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister tell us the radio stations, days and times at which sensitisation programmes are broadcast so that the people of Kwacha can appreciate what the ministry is doing through the Kitwe City Council.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, I cannot say exactly when the sensitisation programmes are aired, but I am very sure that they are running on radio.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Which one?

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Here, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Dundumwezi, you do not shout at Mr Speaker saying “here!”


Mr Speaker: You simply rise. I am able to see everyone because I am in a vantage position, and there are people below me who, as you know, assist me all the time. They are constantly sending notes. Therefore, it is most inappropriate to try to attract the attention of Mr Speaker in that fashion.

Hon. Member for Nangoma, you may ask your question.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, how does the ministry pay the private companies that help it to clean the towns and cities?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the companies collect levies from the households where they collect garbage.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, to what extent are the vehicles for the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign helping to improve refuse collection in Kitwe and Kwacha Parliamentary Constituency in particular?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, we no longer use the vehicles for the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign but, as a ministry, we have started supporting the councils by buying refuse trucks. Last year, we bought ten trucks, which have been given to some district councils to be used for refuse collection. We have also given 100 skip bins to the city councils.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, is the ministry aware of the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility, which is in the Environmental Management Act? If so, how is it helping the councils to implement this provision, which holds the producers of products like opaque beer and water accountable for the disposal of the used packets or bottles?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, we are aware of that provision and have brought the people who manufacture Chibuku on board. They have been to our ministry and suggested coming up with bins that they will put in strategic areas for people to be throwing used packages of the companies’ products in them. The used packages will be recycled into some sort of wood that the companies will re-use in manufacturing their beer.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, when responding to the question from the hon. Member for Kamfinsa, the hon. Minister failed to tell us the times at which the sensitisation programmes are broadcast. Could he, at least, be kind enough to mention the radio stations so that we can call them to find out the timing for the programmes.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, ZNBC Radio 2 and some community radio stations run the programmes. However, I cannot tell you the times.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lubinda (Kabwata): Mr Speaker, the payment of levies for refuse collection, like payment of taxes, is not a very popular thing all over the world. Given the fact that the franchise holders in Kitwe are responsible for collecting garbage levy, can the hon. Minister indicate the success rate of this programme, which is not enforced by any law enforcement agency. Is it left entirely to the franchise holders to go and plead with clients for them to pay the refuse levy?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the franchise contractors collect garbage from the people who pay. The responsibility of the council is to ensure that the franchise contractors perform because they are paid for their services. Those who do not perform have their … what …


Mr Kufuna: … contracts curtailed and that is the reason the companies are called performance contractors.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mushanga: Mr Speaker, Kwacha Constituency in Kitwe used the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to procure a tractor and other transport for garbage collection. Where is that transport being used?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, that is a new question.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulomba (Magoye): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated in his response that ten refuse trucks were purchased last year. Which district councils were they given to?

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the councils that got these trucks are Lusaka, Ndola, Kitwe, Livingstone, Solwezi, Chililabomwe, Kasama and Chinsali.

I thank you, Sir.


534. Mr Lufuma asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a) when the construction of additional infrastructure at the following primary schools in Kabompo West Parliamentary Constituency in readiness for their upgrading into secondary schools would commence:

(i) Kabulamema;

(ii) Mumbeji; and

(iii) Poloka;

(b) whether the following basic schools were earmarked for upgrading into secondary schools:

(i) Kamashila

(ii) Kavinyonde

(iii) Chikokwelo; and

(iv) Katuva.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, out of the three schools mentioned, the ministry has budgeted for Mumbeji and Poloka to be among the twenty-two primary schools that will be upgraded into secondary schools in the North-Western Province.

Sir, the ministry, through the office of the DEBS in Kabompo will undertake an assessment on whether Kamashila, Kavinyonde, Chikokwelo and Katuva are suitable for upgrading into secondary schools. The hon. Member is encouraged to liaise with that office in order to assist it in this process.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, we are all aware that the abolition of the basic schools vis-a-vis the re-introduction of primary and secondary schools, has brought its challenges. The people of Kabulamema have tried to assist themselves by laying a foundation for the construction of a secondary school so that they can alleviate the problems of the pupils. Given this fact, will the ministry consider assisting in the upgrading of Kabulamema Basic School, which is not one of the twenty-two earmarked for the programme?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, we appreciate what the community has done. As we have stated before on the Floor of this House, the abolition of the high school system is a phased process. It will not be done in one day.

Sir, in terms of the budget available for 2014, the North-Western Province was given a provision for twenty-two primary schools to be upgraded. The hon. Member is lucky that there are two schools that have been chosen in his constituency.

Hon. Opposition Member: Lucky?

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the fact that Poloka and Mumbeji were chosen means that the local leadership prioritised them above the others. We are not saying that the people of Kabulamema are not entitled but, from the budget for 2014, it is not possible for us to provide them with any support. However, it is something that the ministry will consider in the future.

I thank you, Sir.


535. Mr Chishimba asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a) how much money was spent on the construction of the Mwekera Dam in Kitwe; and

(b) who the contractor for the project was.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Simuusa): Mr Speaker, Mwekera Dam was constructed before 1954 and records on the total cost of the project are not readily available. However, the rehabilitation of its spillways undertaken by the ministry in 2013 cost K428,250.77.

Sir, the name of the contractor who undertook the rehabilitation works was Pliable Engineering Limited.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Chishimba: Mr Speaker, does the ministry have plans to allow the people living around the dam to use it for irrigation throughout the year?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, yes. The plan for that dam was twofold. It was to be used by the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock for fisheries, forestry and irrigation. We want the people in that area to benefit from it in that respect.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that the rehabilitation of the dam cost about K428,000. On average, how much does construction of a new dam cost?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, I will need to get the exact figures. I think, the hon. Member is aware that we are currently on a massive dam construction exercise throughout the country. As for the average cost per dam, I promise to provide that information later.

I thank you, Sir.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Government is on a massive dam construction project throughout the country. How many will it construct in my constituency, Keembe?

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, we reported that we are constructing 200 dip-tanks and rehabilitating 300 more around the country. We are doing the same with dams. However, I can only promise that we will bring that information and distribute it to hon. Members so that they know where the dams are being constructed.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has indicated, as far as this subject is concerned, that he would rather come back and give a fuller explanation which, I must say, I wholly endorse. I hope that we will not continue exacting information and belabouring this subject, which he has addressed generally.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister say that K400,000 was spent on the construction of a spillway. Is that the right cost for such a project? How justifiable is it? A spillway is the outlet for water when a dam is full.

Mr Simuusa: Mr Speaker, the scope and size of the dams vary. Some of the dams are quite large and, if the hon. Member took time to look at the scope of the works, he would agree with me that these figures are, actually, quite reasonable. Even for the dams that we are currently constructing, the costs we are looking at is in millions of dollars.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: We will move on to the next question, bearing in mind that, at an appropriate juncture, the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock will come back with a detailed statement. Hon. Minister, please, take note of all the questions that have been raised, so far, so that you can address them fully when you address us. We do not want to go into technicalities, for now, in light of the position you have taken.{mospagebreak}


536. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a) why Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited was failing to connect power to new applicants in residential areas in Kalabo District; and

(b) what short and long-term plans the company had for such clients in the district.

The Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Zulu): Mr Speaker, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited had a challenge in sourcing critical materials and spares, such as poles and other overhead line construction materials. However, a solution has now been found. The company has signed annual running contracts with suppliers to ensure a steady flow of the materials. Recently, 300 poles were delivered to Kalabo and 200 more will be delivered in the course of the year.

Sir, apart from the annual contracts for materials, ZESCO Limited has engaged local contractors to carry out construction works in Kalabo District to reduce the backlog of pending jobs.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, will the 500 poles be enough to resolve the challenges that the people of Kalabo have been facing for more than a year now? I am saying so because more than 250 applicants have not yet been connected to electricity.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, this is an on-going project. If the 500 poles will not be enough, then, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited will have to look for more poles.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, how comfortable is the Government with the use of private companies to connect power in residential areas?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, we are very comfortable with it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, why is the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited exhibiting double standards? In some places, it has not connected electricity for over one year while, in others, it is doing so.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, it will be very difficult for me to answer that question. Can the hon. Member let us know in which places we have been connecting power and in which we have not been doing so.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, going by the hon. Deputy Minister’s the response to Hon. Hamusonde’s question, is he then confirming that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited has no capacity to connect its clients, hence its decision to sub-contract?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the delay in connecting the applicants, as stated by the hon. Deputy Minister, is because of critical shortage of materials like poles and other hardware structures. In terms of capacity, we are here to create wealth amongst the local contractors and empowering them. That is the little that ZESCO can do for local contractors.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister shed more light on client contribution before power is connected to the residential areas. Will the residents in Kalabo be required to contribute to the cost of installing transformers in order for them to access power?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, it is a little difficult to know what is on the ground. It varies from case to case, and the contribution will vary depending on the load and length of the line.

I thank you, Sir.


537. Mr Bwalya asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a) how many communication towers were earmarked for construction in the following chiefdoms in Lupososhi Parliamentary Constituency:

(i) Katuta;

(ii) Chungu; and

(iii) Tungati; and

(b) when construction works would commence.

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, Katuta, Chungu and Tungati in Lupososhi Constituency were not included on the initial list of areas in which communication towers were to be built, based on surveys taken in 2012. However, the Government will prioritise the areas for provision of mobile telecommunication services in the next phase of the rolling out of communication towers under the Universal Access (UA) programme. The numbers will be known when surveys have been completed.

Sir, Phase Two of the construction of communication towers in un-served and under-served areas will commence in 2015.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, not too long ago, the hon. Minister gave us a list of chiefdoms in several districts, including Luwingu, where Lupososhi and Lubansenshi constituencies are, where the programme will be implemented. Can he tell us how far the construction of towers has gone so that we can also keep track of the project.

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, we can provide the status report before the end of the week.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


538. Mr Chitafu (Kafulafuta) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education when rehabilitation works at the Chiwala Technical High School would commence.

Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the ministry had allocated K340,000 in the 2013 Infrastructure Development Plan (IDP) for the rehabilitation of water and sanitation systems at Chiwala Technical High School. The funds were released by the ministry in December, 2013.

I thank you, Sir.




Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs’ Affairs for the Third Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 19th June, 2014.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion. 

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, your Committee, in performing its duties, was guided by its terms of reference as set out in the Standing Orders. During the year under review, your Committee undertook a study on the effectiveness of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC). Further, it considered the Action-Taken Report on your Committee’s report for 2013. It also undertook a local study tour to the Eastern, Southern and Lusaka provinces.

Sir, in 2010, the LGSC was re-introduced, through the Local Government Act, No. 6 of 2010. In re-introducing the commission, the Government stated that the step was necessary because it had been observed that, in the previous decade, most councils had faced serious challenges relating to recruitment, retention and remuneration of trained staff. It was also noted that councils had no capacity to train their own staff. Further, due to the low level of understanding of issues by most councillors, their powers to employ and dismiss were not being exercised in an objective manner. The re-establishment of the LGSC was, therefore, an attempt to address the above challenges in the councils by ensuring that the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing could have control over the recruitment, promotion, transfer and the general conditions of service in the local authorities. It was because of the foregoing that your Committee decided to carry out a study to ascertain the effectiveness of the commission in carrying out its duties.

Sir, during the study, your Committee noted that the commission had deployed qualified staff to local authorities where, originally, there had been a lack of qualified staff. It had also enhanced job security among the members of staff who previously used to be easily dismissed from employment by the councillors on petty grounds. Further, your Committee noted the harmonisation of salaries and stabilisation of the conditions of service. However, with the few successes mentioned above, your Committee also notes, with great concern, the high number of drawbacks associated with the operations of the commission.

Sir, one of the major drawbacks is that the commission is too centralised and operates in isolation. This is in direct contrast to the local authorities, which are autonomous bodies run by democratically-elected representatives of the people, the councillors. Your Committee is concerned about the fact that, due to the isolated nature of the commission’s operations, councillors have been rendered inept and unable to provide effective supervision of employees in the local authorities. Your Committee observes that the mandate of the commission is to deal with all matters relating to the employment and discipline of staff in councils under Division I to Division III. Further, the commission is charged with the mobilisation and equitable distribution of human resource, and to render support to operations of councils in view of decentralisation.

Mr Speaker, with only five Commissioners and one Commission Secretary, your Committee noted that the commission is too small to satisfactorily carry out its mandate in all the 103 councils countrywide.

Sir, the commission is, obviously, over-stretched, the proof of which lies in the huge backlog of requests for appointments, promotions and unresolved disciplinary cases. Recommendations from the councils for staff recruitment are usually not attended to and instead unrequested-for staff are employed and sent to the councils. Your Committee learnt that, sometimes, two employees are posted to a council for the same position.

Mr Speaker, the case of the firefighters who were interviewed and employed in Lusaka and sent to councils around the nation was presented to your Committee. Neither the councils nor the Ministry of Local Government and Housing were consulted during this process. They were simply instructed by the LGSC to cater for the firefighters’ settling-in allowances and salaries, and to provide accommodation. This activity was not planned for and, therefore, caused a great strain on the councils’ budgets.

Mr Speaker, your Committee notes the high number of transfers of controlling officers (COs) in the councils, which are done without consultation with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. Some of the transferred officers have cases of poor performance in their previous posts. It is disheartening to learn that such officers are simply transferred to other councils. Not only are the frequent transfers an expense to the councils that have to pay settling-in allowances, but they also greatly interfere with the COs’ capacity to effectively supervise council activities.

Sir, your Committee also notes that, apart from the provisions of the Local Government Amendment Act No. 6 of 2010, there is no policy document to guide the operations of the commission. The commission’s policy framework is non-existent because there are no formal documents to govern the work and actions of employees, such as employee information, performance management, hiring, holidays, hours of work, leave of absence, overtime allowances, vacation and termination of employment.

Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt that dealing with disciplinary cases in the councils is a challenge because the procedure has not been fully explained. Council management can only refer disciplinary cases to the commission, which is, therefore, overwhelmed and takes too long to deal with the cases.

Sir, although it was difficult for the witnesses, most of whom were council employees, to frankly discuss the effectiveness of the commission, they generally opposed its existence due to the several drawbacks faced in its operations. In view of the above, your Committee recommends that the mandate of the commission be reviewed. Apart from its poor performance, its operations are also in contradiction to the intentions of the Revised National Decentralisation Policy (RNDP) of 2013. As a matter of principle, and according to the policy, each council, as a body corporate, should maintain its mandate to hire, discipline and dismiss its employees.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: This is also within the principle of subsidiary, which entails much more efficiency and effectiveness in human resource management, provided that effective monitoring systems are put in place.

Mr Speaker, your Committee further recommends that the Government and major stakeholders immediately convene and start working on the establishment of a Local Government Service commission that will exist only to set and enforce the standards of human resource management in local authorities. This will ensure transparency, meritocracy and good practices in the service. The commission should only play an oversight role as promulgated in the RNDP of 2013, and serve as an appellate body.

In conclusion, Sir, let me take this opportunity to thank all the Town Clerks, Council Secretaries, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Auditor-General’s Office for their co-operation during your Committee’s deliberations. Your Committee further thanks the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the advice rendered to its work. Finally, your Committee expresses its gratitude to you for the guidance given to it during the Session.

With these remarks, I beg to move.

Mr Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?

Mr Chishimba: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, I would like to firstly congratulate the mover on the able manner in which he has presented the Motion.

Mr Speaker, in its study on the effectiveness of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), your Committee had the privilege of touring eleven local authorities in the Eastern, Southern and Lusaka provinces. The objective of the tour was to interact with the councillors, council management and unions representing council employees, and to get their views on the effectiveness of the commission.

Mr Speaker, your Committee learnt of several challenges faced in the operations of the commission. These have been ably outlined by both the mover of the Motion and your Committee’s report. However, allow me to re-emphasise the dilemma faced by the councils with regard to the recently employed firefighters.

Sir, several Grades 9 and 12 school leavers were recruited in Lusaka and dispatched to work as firefighters in various councils around the country. Apart from this being an unplanned for activity and a great strain on the councils’ budgets, it has also created some animosity amongst the councillors, who wonder why the commission had not considered recruiting Grades 9 and 12 school leavers in the councils’ jurisdictions, where many of them are unemployed. It was sad for your Committee to be presented with lamentations from council Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), who did not know what to do with the many firefighters sent to them. Most local authorities had no fire-fighting equipment or capacity to train the officers. So, most of the young men and women were found sitting idly. Some did not even have office space to use. Although the commission had informed your Committee that the young men and women were employed not only to deal with fire, but also with general rescue operations, none of the councils visited by your Committee was aware of this. Therefore, no preparations had been put in place.

Mr Speaker, your Committee’s recommendations for the review of the commission’s mandate cannot be over-emphasised. The commission’s limited capacity and centralised operations have isolated it from the real needs of the local authorities. One of the results is the employment of firefighters without prior preparation of the receiving councils.

Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate on this very important Motion. Firstly, I congratulate and thank your Committee for being very candid on this important matter. Certainly, it feels very different that Hon. Mbewe is moving a Motion as opposing to raising a point of order.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the matters raised in your report are very straightforward. Your Committee received submissions and undertook a tour. Their findings are very similar, if not the same. Certainly, there is a problem in the operations of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC).

 Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I was once worked for Chongwe District Council at some point in 2002, and I am one of those who advocated for the creation of the LGSC. Now that I am a little older and have had practical experience of its functioning, I share the view of the Committee, which is that there is a problem with the functioning of the commission.

Sir, I know that we once said that we needed the LGSC and asked why we could not create one, and many good things were said in support of the idea, but we now know that there is something wrong with the functioning and operationalisation of the commission. It is, therefore, my view that the commission is doing this country more of a disservice as opposed to a service, and I have reasons for saying that.

Sir, I think that the LGSC is a direct contradiction to the Government’s pronouncements on decentralisation. The eras that we are comparing in the functioning of this commission are totally different. The commission first existed in the One-Party State, which was different from the current multi-party democratic dispensation in the country. We are contradicting the policy on decentralisation, whether old or revised. I know what I am talking about because I have read both versions.

Sir, decentralisation entails that more power is given to people at the local level. According to your report, the LGSC has centralised the system more because all decisions regarding employment are made by five people. Therefore, we are contradicting ourselves on this issue. This is a serious departure from decentralisation. For example, in countries that have implemented decentralisation policies and programmes, more power is given to people and they are the ones implementing decentralisation. More power has been given to local authorities or similar organs at local level, including in the area of recruitment.

Sir, I have often said that the structure of a particular organisation is dependent on what you want to achieve. As your Committee has observed in the report, there is a contradiction in what local authorities want to achieve and the kind of human resource the LGSC is providing. If the LGSC has a problem appreciating the strategic directions of local authorities in how they perform their duties, it is my view that we should not even beat about the bush because the commission has not done this country a service. The logical thing, therefore, is not to review, but to ask for its total abolition.

 Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, it must go because it is not serving the interest of this country. I have read that one of the excuses is that the commission is under-staffed. That, in itself, indicates what the problem is, which is that the commission is now fighting for its own existence as opposed to fighting for the good of the Local Government Service. Ideally, the interest of the commission was supposed to be that of serving the councils as opposed to serving itself. However, it now wants to turn itself into a very big monster that will continue swallowing the eggs of the chicken. Therefore, we are right to propose its abolition. It is not serving us.

Sir, some stakeholders submitted that the commission has helped to end nepotism. This is to the contrary. This commission has now become a conduit for bribery and serious nepotism. All we need to do is to get a list of the CEOs in the local authorities and we will know where they come from and the factors that led to their recruitment or promotion. Some people who are not qualified have been recruited into the local authorities. Some are sent there as firefighters just by being in possession of a Grade 12 Certificate and having passed history, yet they failed mathematics. If you interviewed a number of staff from a selection of councils, as your Committee did, you would find that there is nepotism and corruption in staff recruitments and placement. We have seen members of staff facing disciplinary proceedings get transferred to other councils, sometimes, even on promotion. That is the current trend.

Mr Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Some members of staff in councils even challenge councillors and hon. Members of Parliament and boast that they have connections with hon. Ministers, commissioners or even individuals in the Government. If it was allowed to cite examples, we would have done so. This is further demonstrated by their being transferred when found wanting as opposed to being subjected to the correct disciplinary measures.

Mr Speaker, we need to move forward. We should stop wasting time on a body that has become redundant to the interests of the local authorities. The original argument was that councillors or councils did not know who or how to employ and that they were employing on regional basis. Those arguments were not valid. I worked in Chongwe, although that is not where I come from, and I left no bad record because I was a very good planner. The LGSC is just perpetuating vice.

Mr   Mutelo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, I am sorry for interrupting the hon. Member on the Floor. 

Sir, is the hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor in order to continue mentioning Chongwe? Could it because of the hats the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe has been wearing since we resumed the sitting? It has been one hat after another. Today, there is even a feather of a peacock in her hat.


Mr Speaker: The sense I get is that it is the hon. Member for Lukulu West who is attracted to that hat.


Mr Speaker: The other hon. Member has just given his employment history which, I presume, is factual.

May the hon. Member for Mbabala continue.

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the hat, and we shall discuss that matter outside the House.

Mr Muntanga: That is right.

Mr Belemu: Sir, I think, we prescribe wrong medicine for a totally wrong disease. In my view, the challenges that face the councils now go beyond mere recruitment. By the way, the LGSC has reduced itself to a mere recruitment agency. So, we might as well sub-contract a private operator to recruit for us. The commission thinks that its job is to recruit people daily to the extent of even sending staff to councils that have not asked for any. I can give you an example of Namwala, where seven ill-qualified people, I apologise to them, were sent to be fighting fires without equipment.


Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Where, mwana? In Namwala?

Mr Belemu: Sir, water supply there is erratic and we keep cattle. So, I do not know which fire they wanted to fight. In the Kafue Flats, where we keep our cattle, there are rarely any fires that burn out of control, but they arrived there and said they had gone to fight fire. That is an example of what is currently wrong with the LGSC. It has never looked at the interest of the local authorities and compared it to the level of staffing. To the contrary, it is just bloating the payroll and budgets of councils. It has never even compared the council budgets that are approved by the Ministry of Local Government and Housing with the recruitment. Almost all councils are paying settlement allowance on a daily basis.

Mr Muntanga: Shame!

Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, every day, we are spending money on things that we never planned for, even for members of staff whom we do not need in the local authorities. So, there is a very serious problem. For me, matters of this nature are important because everything centres on leadership. If the LGSC has failed to provide leadership, it must go. Unlike it, we were elected by the people and will not go anywhere. It is a question of advancing bad policies.

Mr Muntanga: By the PF.

Mr Belemu: Sir, I am reminded that it is by the Patriotic Front (PF). Yes, I agree with the hon. Member that those bad policies are formulated by the PF. If you know what you are doing, then, you know that most of the councils had to be rescued, in terms of the wage bills, but they have added employees. If, today, all councils were told to pay their members of staff on their own, there is no council in this country that would manage. Maybe, the city councils would manage, but certainly not my council. It would fail. Councils have now gone back to having salary arrears because of paying settling-in allowances for people who keep settling every day. When we train the newly-employed people, some of whom are not very knowledgeable, and people see that those people are now qualified, they take them to other councils where they have an interest. So, we always remain at the same level.

Mr Speaker, the other reason I think that this commission is not serving the interest of Zambians is that the levels of indiscipline we see in local authorities are very high.

Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Currently, there is too much indiscipline in the local authorities. You just need to take a walk in any local authority, regardless of whether it is at the municipal or whatever level. The one thing that will strike you first is the sight of many people loitering. The next thing that you will see is that the officers drive big vehicles that they bought in unexplained circumstances. The third thing is that they will just be waiting for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to be delivered. When the CDF is delivered, that is their Christmas.

Sir, the LGSC is not holding its officers to account over these funds. Almost on a daily basis, there is some meeting of some kind and they are never in their offices. We have instances in which an officer goes on an unexplained leave on the same day that he reports for work in a particular council. We have also had the nasty experience of some officers who came from councils where they were not paid for a number of years arrive at another council and want to be paid their arrears by the new council. Some of them have accrued 1,000 leave days and want those leave days to be paid for by the council to which they have been transferred. These are matters that the LGSC has not taken into account. Unfortunately, the reason this commission is not serving us, and must be disbanded, is that it has just become an employment agency and nothing else. We are not seeing discipline being enforced. All we see are new members of staff arriving continuously. Every council meeting that you attend, you find a new member of staff. So, we need to adjust and, for me, the way forward is to abolish the commission.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Belemu: Sir, I think, we created a monster here and must agree that the circumstances have now changed. Under the One-party State, it may have been valid, necessary and reasonable, but not anymore. The argument that councils do not have the capacity to employ is even more applicable to the commission because its commissioners are lamenting that they are only five and cannot manage to go into the local authorities and do this or that. My fear, now, is that, very soon, the commission will start advocating that it be found in all provinces. The next thing is that, in addition to a council and a Provincial Local Government Officer (PLGO), the LGSC will demand to have an office. That is what they seem to imply when they say that they are thin on human resources.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, we should look at the problems of local authorities holistically as opposed to just looking at the employment issue. I do not think that the main problem was really the capacity of councils to employ qualified manpower. The problems go deeper than that. You have taken away all opportunities for local authorities to generate their own resources, then, you say that they do not have capacity. If you recall, many years back, because I am now old, when the LGSC was operational, almost all taxes that were due to local authorities were collected by local authorities. Now, we have taken away most of the taxes that are collectable by local authorities and are now being collected by the Central Government. One of the examples is the mineral royalty tax. You will recall that councils were agents for colleting motor vehicle road taxes, too. So, the problem is not about employing or the capacity of councils, but a lot of things that were done wrongly for councils. We have created the problem of salary arrears, although I am not sure whether this applies to city councils, too. I know that, in municipal councils, there is a lot of money owed to members of staff because of the bloated workforce. When you go to these councils, you will find that they do not even have any more space where to keep members of staff. Many people just loiter in the corridors chatting. This is contrary to the assertion that the LGSC is employing qualified staff. Councils now have staff that they do not require. When they see qualified members of staff, especially in the council like the one I represent, they quickly whisk them away and take them to a council which they think is better compared to ours. Generally, the commission is doing this country a disservice and must be disbanded so that those good men and women on it can go and do other things like farming.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, I think that institutions like the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) are created in order to solve problems. From the outset, I would like to state that the report was very well-articulated and thank the Committee for that.

Sir on Page 3, the report states why the LGSC was created, and one of the reasons is that councils had no capacity to employ, retain and train staff.

Mr Speaker, I had the privilege of watching the sittings of your Committee here, in Lusaka. I actually feared for the lives of the members of this Committee because they were talking to a very angry group of people.


Mr Mtolo: I asked myself what was going on because most of the councillors in Lusaka are Patriotic Front (PF) members. I then reviewed what was happening in Chipata Municipal Council, which is dominated by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), and discovered that the situations were similar. I went further and looked at what was happening at the council in Livingstone, which is United Party for National Development (UPND)-dominated. The case was the same. This means that the issue of the LGSC not doing what is expected of it cuts across political frontiers. Therefore, I think, there is a need for a very sober analysis and review of what the commission is destined to be.

Sir, the commission has five commissioners and, apparently, all of them are from Lusaka. That is, probably, part of the problem. Maybe, we should have people from across the country, for example, places like Mbala and Solwezi.

Sir, the isolation which has been referred to by the Chairperson of your Committee, who moved the Motion, is definitely a fact. We all know that the LGSC is a very isolated institution. Another issue which is in the report is having only five commissioners and one secretary to handle 105 councils. Surely, even if they had great abilities, this is a very big error. The fact that they are even able to get anything done is nothing short of amazing.

Sir, as indicated by the report, we have noticed that local government management structures receive a lot of unnecessary staff, short of repeating what the Chairperson of your Committee and my brother said. I think that we do not need the commission to employ for the councils. We need to review this role. Whilst the intention to mandate the commission to be employing for the councils was good, I think it has failed. In Chipata, we have received many members of staff for the local council. These workers came when they were not needed and stayed at the local motel. So, instead of the council motel generating income, it is now full of members of staff who were not requested for. Further, if you talked to the senior members of staff, the Directors, many of them will tell you that they have positions they would like the LGSC to fill, but which are not being filled. A good example is the Accounts Department at Chipata Municipal Council. The Director there wants qualified staff but, instead, most of the staff being sent there are firefighters, as has already been infamously indicated. We are lucky in Chipata because we do have a fire tender. Once in a while, we use its services.

Sir, let me comment on transfers. Your Committee has indicated that there are many transfers in councils. I will give practical examples. My brother from Mbabala said that, many times, workers are transferred based on promotion. I would like to indicate that, sometimes, the transfers are demotions for reasons not known to the member of staff. This indicates that the LGSC is not meeting the objectives it was created for. Instead, it is creating a very serious burden for councils. Therefore, councils are not removing garbage, delivering proper water or maintaining street lighting. Councils are supposed to give plots as agents of the Ministry of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection, and issue various licences. These services are not being seen. The main reason is that funding to councils is inadequate. What we need is this to change. Instead of sending us a lot of staff, we need more money for the councils. We need to give authority to the councils to resume their income-generating activities. For example, in the Eastern Province, where we are agriculture-oriented, we need the grain levy. The council needs to be allowed to charge the grain levy so that it can have income and, therefore, give the services it was created for. Currently, councils are failing to pay salaries for Division IV staff. There is a backlog of unpaid sitting allowances even for councillors. The Constituency Development Fund (CDF) Committees have now even been stopped from getting the small allowance of about K50 in some councils. They are being asked to give voluntary service. Who, in Zambia, will give voluntary service for the sake of development? We need the councils to have the authority to generate funds.

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to state that we need a commission that will not only look at transferring, firing and employing staff, but also liaise with the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and provide incentives like education for the councillors. We are talking of devolution of power and decentralisation. How will we decentralise with councillors who are not ready for this process? I think, those are the areas the ministry and institutions like the LGSC should be looking at so that we move in tandem as we develop our country.

Sir, with those very few remarks, my conclusion is that we need to review the operations, mandate and terms of reference for the LGSC.

Thank you, Sir.

Mrs Masebo (Chongwe): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to commend the Committee for a job well done. What makes me happy is that hon. Members of your Committee did not say that the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) should be abolished. They were very sober and, I think, that is how we should move. Many a time, when there is one small problem with a public institution, we, Zambians, have the tendency of saying that the answer is to abolish the institution and start again. That is not the answer.

Sir, the Committee has done a good job and actually helped the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing. I hope he is listening very attentively because your Committee has brought out very good points. I think, the problem is exactly what has been said. Clearly, this policy of having a commission in place started under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government and the Patriotic Front (PF) adopted it and needs time to clean up it up.

Sir, I think, the Committee has done a good job by helping the hon. Minister and new PF Government to quickly look at the issues that have been raised in the report, which will help to capacitate and strengthen the LGSC. The starting point is that the LGSC is necessary for effective implementation of the National Decentralisation Policy (NDP).

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Masebo: I want us to be a little clearer. The problem is that, when you have little information, sometimes, you over-react because you see one side of the problem. I am not saying that some of the issues that have been raised in this report are wrong. They are right.

Mr Speaker, if you look at your Committee’s observations, the managers and the members of staff of local authorities countrywide visited by your Committee were actually very happy with the establishment of the LGSC. Remember that these are the people who are managing the local authorities on a daily basis. They are not like us, councillors and hon. Members of Parliament, who go there once in three and four months, respectively, for meetings. They manage the local authorities on our behalf. When you look at the report, they were very clear in appreciating the establishment of the LGSC. They have said that, for the first time, in almost all the councils, the commission has tried, in the last one-and-half to two years, to send the officers who were lacking.

Sir, the problem, as I see it, is that, in some cases, the Zambian problem of wanting to employ your friends and relatives has started creeping in. This problem was there even when the councils were employing for themselves. In fact, in some councils, it was even worse. People employed ill-qualified people because they belonged to the same political party or because they could favour them. This is what was happening in councils regardless of whether they were under the Ruling Party or the Opposition. We now have the LGSC, which is supposed to follow some criterion, but its members are just human beings, not angels from heaven. They are people from Chongwe, Mbala, Kitwe, Mansa and other towns. They are our brothers and sisters, and the element of corruption and nepotism is in many of our people in this country today. The answer is not for us to abolish, but for the hon. Minister to come up with regulations to ensure that the issues of corruption and nepotism being brought out today do not continue.

Mr Speaker, I know, for a fact, that the PF Government is still working on the regulations. As we speak, today, we do not have the regulations to help the LGSC to do things properly. I say so because, as Chongwe District Council, we have not received them. I hope that the hon. Minister will take up the issues that have come out in the Committee’s recommendations and ensure that we seal the loopholes. As a country, we need to begin to employ qualified people, not because somebody is from your tribe or political party, or because they are your friend. We all need to change. Wherever we are, if we have the power to employ people, we should do so on merit.

Dr Kaingu: Hear, hear!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, in order for people to do that, they need rules and regulations to bar them from doing wrong things. It is clear that, even now, within the LGSC, some people are doing things that are not supposed to be done. We must bring that out and the hon. Minister must clean it up.

Mr Speaker, the other important point that the Committee has brought out is that of standardising the salary structure of the local authorities. Yes, it is necessary that the salary structure of the local authorities is standardised because, over the years, we have heard councils just say, “We propose” or “We second” without regard of their capacity to pay those people. We know that this is why, today, local authorities in Zambia are in trouble. We were giving salaries to our officers without looking at the capacity of the local authority to sustain the wage bill. Over the years, we have forced the Central Government to take over the payment of the salaries. Now, the Central Government has been lumbered with a huge wage bill. It was unfortunate that, in trying to standardise, we came and looked at the salary structure of the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and decided that it would be the same salary structure for Luwingu. That was a mistake, in my view, because it cannot work. In some big cities, the functions of the officers are more than the ones for officers in small councils. Sometimes, you just cannot standardise. Unfortunately for us, the law is such that we cannot reduce salaries. We have to either increase them or keep them where they are. So, we are stuck with a huge wage bill. When it comes to issues of benefits, the figure that you use for calculation is the highest. Even if somebody was employed ten years ago and retired last month, you calculate their benefits on the basis of the salary scale they retired at, even if they were in that scale for only one year or two months, as if they had been in that scale for the whole of their working life. That is unattainable. As a country, we must begin to understand these simple economic issues. We should not just say, ‘‘I propose’’ or ‘‘I second’’. If it is in the Central Government, do not just agree with everything that somebody presents to you because we will one day find ourselves in trouble.

Sir, the salaries that we keep increasing without reference to how much money we have can land this country in problems. I would like to make this point to the Front Bench that, in their respective sectors or roles where people have the powers to increase salaries, we must be very careful with this issue of salaries. This relates also to other organs of the Government.

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Masebo: I know that we are not supposed to debate ourselves but, just as a statement, we have to live according to what the country has. The way we are proceeding in almost all the organs and increasing our salaries with no reference to where the money is coming from will lead us into trouble one of these days. This is the problem you find with local authorities today. The hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing must look into the issue of standardising critically and see whether it is sustainable. In my humble view, it is not. You will continue to find councils failing to pay salaries.

Mr Speaker, the other point that I wanted to address my mind to is about the recommendations that the unions put forward. The unions are saying that the Government is only paying from divisions I to III, and that they would like it to take over the payment of the salaries of those in Division IV, the lower bodies. I did not hear any of my colleagues who spoke before me address their mind to that issue. It is good, all the time, to ask the Central Government to take over the salaries of local authorities without asking where the money will come from, and that it is okay for the Central Government to pay local government salaries, but it is not okay for it to be responsible for employment. When it comes to employment, it is decentralisation, when it is about paying salaries, it is not decentralisation. We need to balance these issues. At the end of the day, these councils are what Government is. That is where the people are. We, hon. Members of Parliament, can only be seen to be performing if local government is functioning because that is the body that is closest to our voters. The Central Government is very far, in Lusaka. Some districts do not even know who the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education is because they do not see him. He is in Lusaka. However, they know their council chairperson, the mayor and the councillor. They know the council, the Boma.

Sir, my view is that, when dealing with issues of local Government, I just want to make an earnest appeal to hon. Members of Parliament that, we need to work together because we are part of the councils. We understand the issues and must try, as much as possible, not to politicise things because, once local government is destroyed, the whole country will not function and, once local government is working effectively, the whole Government will succeed.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours to 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the establishment of the LGSC was in order and should be maintained. However, it should be reviewed to take into account what your Committee has ably brought out. This will help in quickly coming up with rules and regulations to govern the operations of the commission. I am aware that those are not yet out. Otherwise, Chongwe District Council would have received them.

Mr Speaker, it is not right to say that the employment of staff by the commission on behalf of local authorities goes against the principle of decentralisation. In fact, the idea is to strengthen the implementation of the Decentralisation Policy, considering that one of the key issues that have slowed down the process of decentralisation is the lack of qualified staff in most local authorities. Therefore, it was felt that, if you had a body that looked at this issue in a critical and effective manner, you would have qualified officers throughout the country that could, then, help the Government to implement the Decentralisation Policy.

 Mr Speaker, the point I am making is that we should look at the weaknesses and improve on them. For instance, we are talking about 103 districts against ten commissioners. They cannot do anything. The Government will tell us that there are no resources to give the commission for it to have officers in the provinces and districts. However, the idea of the policy was not for the commission to create offices in Choma, Chongwe or wherever, but for it to work with the local authorities in the hiring, firing and disciplining of employees. This means that councils would be the ones to initiate disciplinary procedures against erring officers while the LGSC would merely confirm the decisions. The only appellate body after the LGSC is the High Court because it is assumed that the committee of the local authority that deals with staff matters would have dealt with the issue and made a decision to fire, promote or suspend an officer, and that the commission merely ratified or confirmed the decision. So, the LGSC still has to work with the local authorities.

Mr Speaker, the other point from your report that I would like to touch is the one on the market boards. I see that your Committee is reporting that the hon. Minister has said that there is no money to form the markets and bus station boards. I want to advise my Government that it will benefit from putting the boards in place because, if it does not do that, it will have problems continuously.

Mr Muntanga: Ehe!

Mrs Masebo: Mr Speaker, the issue of politics at bus stations and markets has always been there, from the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days through the MMD days to, now, the PF days and, even if anybody else came to power, it will continue.

Hon. UPND Members: No!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Masebo: However, it can be smoothened by using the existing systems. Institute the boards and appoint cadres, if that is your wish. At least, let there be boards so that there is order. The way markets and bus stations are being operated currently is chaotic, and there no winner, either economically or politically. We are not benefitting from the way things are currently running. So, hon. Minister, be brave enough to appoint the boards as quickly as possible. Thereafter, you can appoint the cadres there. There is no problem with that. Currently, there is no board in the bus stations and we do not even know who is running things.

Hon. UPND Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members on the left, that is unacceptable.

Mrs Masebo: I am sorry, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I am cautioning the hon. Members on the left who are virtually shouting.

Hon. Member for Chongwe, you may continue.

Mrs Masebo: Hon. Minister, I know that you have a lot of experience, having been part of the system as Town Clerk. Even if you say that you were not a member of the MMD, you actually were by virtue of being a Town Clerk under the MMD Government. You understand these things and both the right and the left seem willing to support you.

With those few remarks, Sir, I thank you and commend your report.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to lend the voice of the people of Lupososhi Constituency to the debate on your Committee’s report. On their behalf, I support the report. Much has been said already. Therefore, my debate will be short. Hon. Masebo has done justice to the report. Thank you, Your Majesty, ...

Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Bwalya: … for doing justice to the report.

Mr Speaker, I want to start my debate on Page 10 of your Committee’s report, where a number of issues have been raised regarding operations and composition of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC).

Mr Speaker, the other issue that has been raised concerns the contradiction between the policy and the legal framework. If this is avoidable, let us avoid it because there should be a mechanism to check each time we come up with a new piece of legislation to avoid repetitions and contradictions, especially since we are in the age of information communication technologies (ICTs). For instance, once you type something concerning a particular law in an information system, the system should be able to tell you that a particular provision is already available and that it should not be repeated unless there is a revision.

Mr Speaker, the other aspect that worries me is the continuous review of some policies. Reviews done within a short period after the introduction of policies are a very costly venture. When we do something, we must make sure that it will last for some time. Reviewing policies within a short period of time brings into question the commitment and dedication to duty of the experts because there is no way you can bring a policy today and, two months down the line, you want to begin reviewing it. Therefore, we will save a lot of money and use the savings on other developmental issues.

Mr Speaker, on Page 10 of your Committee’s report, there is an issue to do with the huge amount of debt owed to the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF). That debt, according to your report, has resulted in over 3,000 retirees not being paid. Only God knows how they have survived to date, and how they are able to send their children to school. My point on that aspect is that there is something wrong in the way we are managing social security in this country. We are supposed to come up with a harmonised way of running social security programmes so that, even when we consolidate the payment of salaries, it will be very clear as to how social security product providers will be able to get their money within the stipulated period of time and be able to pay their retirees or members.

Mr Speaker, much has been said on the composition of the LGSC, but I think that there was an issue of a similar nature when we debated your report on the Committee on Estimates. I mentioned something then that I will repeat. We may say that the commission is not able to get the correct type of human resource when the problem could be the mix of the commissioners themselves. We may not have the correct mix of skills within the members of that commission. Therefore, we need to review this issue and, if possible, increase the number of commissioners so that we can have a clear and cross-cutting kind of education and skills. In that way, we will be able to place the required staff in the councils. The commissioners have been working for two years now, yet it appears that the legal framework is still not well-defined.

Sir, I also agree that disbanding the commission is not the solution because, even when your child fails an examination two or three times, you will still want them to continue with education. All you will need to do is find out the root cause of the failure. Therefore, that is what we need to be dealing with. What is causing the commission to fail to perform to the expectation of the Zambian people? The expectation gap is quite wide and calls for a lot of sensitisation so that the members of the public can also know what the commission is expected to do rather than leaving its role open to speculation.

Mr Speaker, from pages 11 to about 50, the bulk of your report addresses the fact that your Committee is awaiting progress reports from various stakeholders. My comment on that is that we need to have a mechanism for making follow-ups. We should be able to establish a mechanism by which we can get progress reports every time. I have seen that we are reacting, instead of being proactive. If a topical issue comes up, these Sessional Committees should sit and deal with it when it is still fresh rather than wait and deal with it two years later, when the responses to the issues raised may become stale and not make any sense at all.  I do not know whether this idea will call for the amendment of the Standing Orders.

Mr Speaker, I am also concerned about the frequent transfer of controlling officers in councils. This is retarding progress. Just when the council secretary is about to settle down and understand the area where he or sh has been posted, they are transferred and the council begins to orient the newcomer. Let us try to evaluate that and see the positives and the negatives that come with it. The majority of council secretaries are still settling down and have not made any impact at all in their previous councils. My appeal is, yes, let us support the existence of the commission, but let us also ensure that it is given clear guidelines and a clear legal framework from which it should draw its mandate in addressing the various issues faced by different councils in this country.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Brig-Gen Dr. Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to just say a few words on your report. In the first place, I should state that I stand to support the report with some qualification.

Mr Speaker, in 2010, I was the mover of the Local Government Service Amendment Bill, which was widely debated and supported in this House. It was also very clear that our local government system was paralysed by a lack of one important ingredient in the management system, that of human resource. We had councils that were being managed by totally unqualified personnel. These personnel had stayed in those areas for many years and it was decided that, without capable and qualified personnel, we would not expect such councils to manage their resources well, little as the resources may have been. How would such councils put systems that would ensure fairness in their administration and service delivery? How would they even look after their materials or equipment to ensure that they served those residents in their areas adequately and efficiently? That was the focus of the Bill.  Your report states that there have been instances in which unqualified personnel were hired, and that is a failure of human beings, not the system.

Sir, Page 7 of the report states that the introduction of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) had enhanced the levels of council service delivery by sending qualified personnel to the councils. We heard earlier that there were issues of nepotism and favouritism even when each council was responsible for its own recruitment, selection and employment. However, it appears that the setting up of the LSGC has not cured the problem. Therefore, the recommendations by your Committee that the role of the LGSC be reviewed are apt. As the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe has stated, such an important council as hers must be governed by regulations. Secondly, Sir, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing lacks the human resource to manage the 103 councils. So, I still support the idea of retaining the LGSC with a redefined mandate of monitoring and evaluating the performance of councils. This is because you will have an independent body that will assist the parent ministry and the councils to ensure that that which was agreed upon in their annual plans is implemented. In my view, it is not possible for the same ministry to carry out the role of performance assessment, monitoring and evaluation. They need a professional arm that they can rely on to ensure that councils are held accountable for their resources. This will cause councils to provide the required services and will not contradict the decentralisation policy because power would have gone to the councils, including fiscal devolution. With these enlarged powers, we need a body that will monitor performance.

Mr Speaker, I notice that the unions made various observations. The Government’s take-over of the payment of the salaries of officers in divisions One to Three while leaving the majority of employees for the councils to look after seems discriminatory. The Central Government should either take over the entire payroll or strengthen the councils’ ability to raise enough resources in and pay their officers. I do not think councils are putting enough effort in this regard because they know that the Central Government will foot the wage bill for officers in divisions One to Three.

Sir, the institutions that we established in past need to be reviewed because the context might have changed and experience gained following the performance of institutions like the LGSC. I do not believe that abolition is the answer. This is an important institution that can be used for the purpose of quality assurance in our councils around the country. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kampyongo: Good submission.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, I commend the mover and seconder of the report as well as the whole Committee for a job well done. However, I have, hopefully, a few comments that I would like to make.

Mr Speaker, I adopt the debate by my cousin here and my cousin there …

Mr Speaker: Just a moment, hon. Member. I have previously ruled that we should address ourselves properly. Let us not refer to all these other relationships, whether they are cultural or otherwise. Please, address hon. Members by their appropriate titles.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. I was saying that I would like to adopt the debate by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mbala and the hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe as my own.

Hon. Government Member: What about the hon. Member for Mumbwa?


Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, the issue of centralised employment is of great concern to me. Just yesterday, I attended a full council meeting in my constituency, which has become a district.

Hon. Government Member: We are working.

Ms Imenda: We noticed that none of the people who have been sent to the new Limulunga District Council are indigenous. The Government claims to have created jobs by creating districts so that the local people could benefit. However, the council secretary admitted that the newly-employed staff had been sent from elsewhere. I have no problem with those who have been transferred, but how will the newly-employed staff provide services to the people when they cannot even speak the local language?


Ms Imenda: If my grandmother was to go there to seek services, they would not be able to communicate.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Ms Imenda: The council secretary said it was the problem of the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) because it employed people from elsewhere and sent the people to the newly-created Limulunga District Council. This is one of the problems.

Mr Speaker, I do not know if the LSGC advertises its recruitment programmes. If they do, then, they do not give sufficient time to the people in the rural areas to apply for positions. The advertisements seem to only cater for people around the line of rail, and it is the people from the cities who apply and are recruited. Most of these employees come from the Copperbelt and Lusaka. What makes matters worse is that they send the wrong officers and that is an issue that is of great concern. For example, we were just administering the 2013 Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which is supposed to start operating, but was delayed because of logistics in the establishment of the new council, and discovered that there is no procurement officer. So, how will we start the procurement process? The LGSC did not see the need to employ a Procurement Officer, yet the guidelines provide that, when implementation starts, a Procurement Officer from the council should be there. That is the problem with centralising employment.

Mr Speaker, the LGSC is also indirectly responsible for the financial impropriety in the councils because it deploys the wrong people to different councils and does not take appropriate disciplinary action on erring officers. For example, in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), most of the misdemeanours found are of financial impropriate that goes unpunished. One of the findings in the report is that the people who do wrong things in the councils are not disciplined but, instead, transferred to different councils. If a crocodile leaves a river and goes into a lake, does it become a fish? Similarly, if you are transfer a wrong-doer from one district council to another, does that make the person clean? Will he change his habits? No. It does not change them at all. This is ... Maybe, the word I wanted to use is not parliamentary. The person does not change, but remains the same, probably, more so than before.

Mr Speaker, there is also a lack of productivity in our councils.  Once, I noticed some workers who were slashing at the Kabulonga Roundabout. The first thing they used to do when they arrived was start cooking nshima. You would find two slashing while the rest would be busy preparing food. When they finished having their meal, they would knock off.


Ms Imenda: Sir, this is evidence of nepotism and the recruitment of wrong the people, people who just do not want to work, but know that, at the end of the day, they will still get paid.

Mr Speaker, the other issue mentioned in your report is that almost 90 per cent, if not all, of the people who comprise the LGSC human resource experts. What about other skills? No wonder, there is no innovation in our councils. There are no strategic plans and initiatives to raise financial resources in our councils due to a lack of guidance from the commission. If the commission employed people who are technically qualified in other areas, including finance, perhaps, the country would move forward. These councils would not be struggling financially because they would be able to recognise areas in which they can raise finances.

Sir, there is no creativity in the councils. I will give you the example of Luena Constituency, particularly Limulunga District. Currently, there is a battle between Mongu Municipal Council and the newly-created Limulunga District Council over the timber that comes from Luena. Initially, the timber was administered by Mongu Municipal Council. Now that Limulunga is a district, the Council Secretary for Limulunga District wants take over that business. So, there is a raging war going on. Again, this points to the LGSC’s ineffectiveness.

Mr Speaker, may I also comment on the issue of the creation of …


Mr Speaker: Order, on my right!

Ms Imenda: … more districts. I think that this was done without first recognising the drawbacks that would be faced. It has just multiplied the problems. Nothing has been sorted out. The Government should have first looked at how to strengthen the existing councils before creating new ones. The Government should have considered the fact that every district has a council. That would have prevented the multiplication of problems that we face.

Mr Speaker, finally, I would like to say that the councils are not the same. Surely, Limulunga District Council cannot be the same as Kitwe District Council or Solwezi Municipal Council. The other councils are in areas where there are vibrant economic activities. So, they have resources. What is at Limulunga District Council? The Government should take that into consideration when giving grants to local authorities. It is surprising to find those councils that have resources being the ones given more funding while those that do not have are given less.

Mr Speaker, with those few words, I support the Motion.

Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I applaud the mover and the seconder of the Motion.

Sir, when I was reading this report, I was wondering what we were trying to cure when we instituted the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC). In this report, it is very clear that there were serious challenges relating to recruitment, retention and remuneration of trained staff. Due to the low levels of understanding of issues by most councillors, their powers to employ and dismiss were not being exercised in an objective manner. Those were the identified problems. It was also said that the Ministry of Local Government and Housing should have supervision over the recruitment, promotion and transfer of staff. Have we achieved any of those objectives after creating the commission? It is evident in your report that we have not. It is evident that the recruitment of wrong staff and the transfers have resulted into a financial burden on the councils. I remember that there was a question from the hon. Member for Kalabo Central on this Floor concerning the new district councils. His Honour the Vice-President’s response was that the Government was still researching this issue since some people were either wrongly employed or did not know that they were employed. That answer reflected many of the problems being faced in the councils. It indicated that, even if we have a commission, it is not in control of what is happening in the councils. So, the councils are not taking responsibility because they also did not know. This is creating a vacuum and worsening the situation.

Mr Speaker, I am aware that two hon. Members moved the Motion in 2010 because I was here. The hon. Member of Parliament for Chongwe was the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing then. So, I understand their need to back what they brought to this House. They must support it. However, they must accept that things did not work to their expectations. There is no policy to guide the commission. Of the eleven councils visited, eight strongly recommended that the commission be abolished. Only three recommended its retention, albeit with a reviewed mandate. There is a serious problem that we cannot ignore. We cannot allow a commission with only five commissioners to look after all the staff members at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. If we have to go with the majority, then, we must abolish the commission because eight councils do not support the commission’s existence. We want to protect and support it, but there is nepotism in the councils. Let us not bury our heads in the sand. What is happening currently is that you have no regard for the people who are being sent from the Central Government.

Mr Speaker, councils are supposed to operate and serve the local people. However, we have a situation in these councils in which a council employee does not understand the language of the area and adopts a confrontational attitude towards the people he is supposed to serve. Later, we are called upon to help solve the problem because the employed staff are saying that they cannot communicate with the local people. The council workers should learn to communicate with the local people. However, we have not trained them, and this has created a problem. We have not changed the calibre of council workers. So, understanding issues is still a problem. You do not expect the people in the local councils to operate in the official language, English. If, for example, I am working for a local council in the Southern Province, you cannot send me to Mwinilunga and expect me to communicate with the people there in my mother tongue. You must have this bridge where you must train the officers and ensure that they are empowered to communicate with the local people in any area. I feel that the churches are doing better because, before they send someone to operate in a certain area, they ensure that he/she learns the local language in that area so that it is easy to communicate with the people.

Sir, we need the local councils to deliver. The reason people argue that we are not decentralising the councils is that we have centralised them. They even want to centralise the procurement process at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing. When will you deliver service to the people? For example, we want to put up a Civic Centre in Kalomo, but it is now two years without the ministry making a decision on the procurement process. It does not matter whether you have now put a new person, the Ministry of Local Government and Housing must check its staff members. The advice that is coming from the Ministry of Local Government and Housing is not adequate to enable the councils to operate. There should be a staff point and, then, the advice to operate. So, the problem is also at the Ministry of Local Government and Housing Headquarters. You cannot just shift the blame to the councils because the ministry’s Headquarters also has serious problems. It is supposed to superintend over the LGSC, but you want it to be autonomous. There is complete disconnection at the expense of the local councils and development will not take place.

Mr Speaker, before we had the LGSC, people who are now senior members of this Government worked in various councils and were able to operate there. However, the situation is not very good. They are sending people who do not understand what is happening in the councils. Let me restrict myself to Kalomo. You took a procurement officer there who understand their job but, when people bring proformas, they are told to buy from someone who recently opened a shop. How can you tell a person to buy from someone who has just opened a shop? An item might cost K65 in one shop and K90 in the recommended shop, but the procurement officer will still be directed to buy from the latter. The people in the councils are the ones you recruited, yet you want to say that they are well-trained. The only thing they are well-trained for is to cheat and steal. I withdraw the word ‘cheat’ and say ‘taking money without permission and enriching yourselves illegitimately’. So, these are the problems that we are talking about. If we shy away from explaining some things, it will not help things because the problem is not restricted to one area. We have found it everywhere we went.

Mr Speaker, we went to a council in some province and found that all the money that was meant for land development was, instead, used for something else. However, the people who performed poorly in that council will only be transferred to another council. You brought these people to Kalomo and, when we advise them, they refuse and say that they had been sent there by Mr X. You are not helping the local authorities. In Kalomo, we never used to fail to pay workers. We were never in arrears but, immediately these transfers were made, we are now in arrears. The officers are in rest houses because they were not given settling-in allowances. Everyone who had been there was removed and new people were brought in. Those people need settling-in allowances because they have no houses. All the houses were sold.

Sir, there is another party in the Government, but they are the same people, …


Mr Miyanda: They are now leaders.

Mr Muntanga: … to an extent, and they are now in control. So, what you have done is to deprive the council employees houses. You have transferred them and taken them to places where there are no houses and they must stay in rest houses. For how long will they stay in rest houses?

Sir, the Government is also not even releasing the money that is required to support the councils. The Government is not even paying housing allowances to council employees, claiming that it will give the councils grants. Firstly, you took away the money they were receiving from the rentals by selling their houses. Secondly, you stopped them from receiving the taxes by abolishing, for example, the crop levy. You keep saying that you will give them grants when there are no grants. The procurement rules that the Government put in place are no longer followed. One is told to follow the rules of the Central Government, which has not given enough guidance. You are told that you need to consult the Attorney-General’s Office before purchasing a particular item, but that office takes two months to consider whatever is being applied for. Development in local government is stalling, especially with regards to procurement. If you purchase items using shortcuts, we will check them out. All we are saying is that the LGSC, which was supposed to cure all these problems, has exacerbated the situation. There was no proper consideration of the problems that the local authorities faced. I know that we are talking about recruitment here, but it is not just about that. This commission should be abolished because it has failed to address an issue it was created to correct. It is no wonder that eight out of eleven councils have proposed to abolish it.

Mr Speaker, my suggestion is that, either the commission is overhauled, with proper policies, or it is completely abolished.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: If the councillors are the problem, why vote for those who are not knowledgeable? Why vote for people who cannot even read? If you can bring councillors who cannot read, you will end up upgrading them to hon. Members of Parliament who cannot read.


Mr Muntanga: I challenge you to come to Kalomo and sit in the Council Chamber to see what we do. Officers will tell you that, in Kalomo, things are done properly.

Mr Munkombwe: What about Hon. Mutelo?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, no dialogue.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, at his level, the people querying Hon. Mutelo would not manage.

Mr Speaker: Now, you have started debating him.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, we should accept that we have these problems. The commission cannot cure the problems that local authorities face now. We have to overhaul it or abolish it.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, I thank your Committee for the report and all the hon. Members who have debated on Motion that is on the Floor. We have listened very attentively and taken note of the recommendations. We assure this august House that we will seriously consider the recommendations.

Sir, let me emphasise a few points here. First and foremost, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is 100 per cent committed to the policy of decentralisation. The Cabinet approved the Revised Decentralisation Policy (RNDP), which was launched by His Excellency, President Michael Chilufya Sata, in July, 2013, just to emphasise how much importance we attach to decentralisation.

Mr Speaker, the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC), in its present form, is transitional, as we move towards decentralisation. It is an interim arrangement put in place to facilitate the implementation of the RNDP. Once the policy is well-anchored, the commission’s role will definitely change. It will be more regulatory and to provide oversight. The daily human resource issues will be handled by the respective councils because power would have devolved to them.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chenda: The human resource problems that we face now are the result of human error and we should not fault the whole rationale for creating the commission in its present form because of that. I will be the first to admit that some of the decisions we have made have not been right. However, they are not incorrigible because we are correcting the mistakes. Therefore, we should support the existence of the commission in its present form as we move towards decentralisation.

Mr Speaker, the House might seek comfort on the absence of service regulations. I am glad inform this august House that the Draft Service Regulations have been completed and submitted to the Ministry of Justice. We are just awaiting the approval of the Ministry of Justice so that we further strengthen the operations of the commission.

Sir, the other issue raised, and which I think needs to be emphasised, is that of discipline. Councils are empowered to take disciplinary action on all erring officers, save for the principal officers, namely, the council secretaries and town clerks. There is nothing stopping councils from taking disciplinary action under the current arrangement. The only limitation is where a council is taking disciplinary action that will result in termination of employment. This has to be ratified by the LGSC. Any other disciplinary action is within the ambit of the council to take. So, where is this cry of councils being rendered inadequate to take disciplinary action against erring council officers coming from?

Mr Speaker, about the submission that the majority of the councils visited favoured the abolition of the commission, a point stressed by Hon. Muntanga, I want to say that the councillors who submitted were the ones in favour of the abolition of the commission. The officers, who are the often victims of the councillors, submitted in favour of the commission’s existence. So, the issue of security of tenure for the officers is definitely guaranteed by the existence of the commission.

Sir, I also want to touch on the issue of language. This is One Zambia, One Nation, and the jobs that are available in the Public Service are supposed to be competitive and available to all Zambians. Therefore, those who qualify for these positions should be appointed to serve anywhere in this country.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chenda: It is, after all, One Zambia, One Nation.

Mr Muchima: Cadres!

Mr Chenda: Well, if cadres are qualified, it does not matter where they come from. They are also Zambians and should be given jobs.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us avoid this cross-country manner of debating.

Continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, all that needed to be said has been said. Once again, thank your Committee and assure it that we will seriously take into consideration its recommendations.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I thank hon. Members for Mbabala, Chipata Central, Chongwe, Lupososhi, Mumbwa, Luena, Kalomo Central and, indeed, the hardworking and sober Minister of Local Government and Housing.

 Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Sir, I also thank Hon. Dr Kasonde, who debated in his heart, ...


Mr Mbewe: … and all those who were silent, but busy supporting the report.

Lastly, Sir, I thank you.

Question put and agreed to.


The Minister of Home Affairs and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Dr Simbyakula): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1932 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 2nd July, 2014.



523. Mr Livune (Katombola) asked the Minister of Health:

(a) what the major causes of heart complications were; and

(b) how many patients were scheduled to undergo heart surgery at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) and other hospitals countrywide;
(c) how many heart surgeons were working in Zambia.

The Minister of Health (Dr Kasonde): Mr Speaker, common heart complications include:

(a) heart failure;

(b) heart attack;

(c) stroke;

(d) aneurysm;

(e) peripheral artery disease; and

(f) sudden cardiac arrest.

Sir, the major causes of heart complications are:

(a) heart defects;

(b) cardiovascular disease;

(c) valvular heart disease;

(d) heart infections;

(e) cardiomyopathy;

(f) coronary artery disease;

(g) atherosclerosis; and

(h) arrhythmias.

Mr Spaker, there are currently thirty-nine paediatric and 150 adult patients awaiting heart surgery at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), which is the only hospital in the country with facilities for carrying out heart surgery.

Sir, there is currently only one heart surgeon at the UTH, who is an expatriate. Efforts to engage a second cardiac surgeon with broader competences are at an advanced stage.

I thank you, Sir.