Debates- Wednesday, 27th November, 2013

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Wednesday 27th November, 2013

The House met at 1430 Hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






198. Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to revive the defunct Mansa Batteries Limited; and

(b)    if so, what the plans were.

The Deputy Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Sampa): Mr Speaker, the main challenge in the revival of Mansa Batteries Limited has been the question around the viability of a battery manufacturing plant in the current globalised economic environment. Most of the components for battery manufacturing have to be imported and this negatively affected the competitiveness of the battery manufacturing venture. Under these circumstances, reviving the defunct Mansa Batteries Limited will be a challenge for any investor.

Mr Speaker, the Government, however, believes that the industralisation of Luapula Province, Mansa, in particular, is critical. Therefore, it has decided to consider alternative viable industries that can be promoted in the province in the context of value-addition to the raw materials in the area.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, through the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), commissioned a study of adding value to the manganese mineral, which forms a major input in the manufacturing of batteries. The study revealed that manganese beneficiation is feasible and viable in Luapula Province.

Sir, my ministry is now focused on attracting private investment in the value chain for manganese value-addition. This includes possible establishment of smelting plants, among other business activities. Once developed, this value chain is expected to contribute towards job creation and economic development, particularly in Luapula Province.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, the Mansa Batteries Limited was a topical campaign issue in Luapula during the campaign period ...

Dr Kaingu: By your party.

Mr Mbulakulima: … by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and this excited the people of Luapula, especially those in Mansa. His Excellency the President is going to Mansa either this week or any time soon. In view of the global challenge that makes the revival of this company impossible, would you consider advising him to put that item on his agenda? 

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, unfortunately, we are not in charge of His Excellency the President’s programmes and, therefore, it is difficult to give an answer which will be satisfactory to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister educate us on the actual state of this industry because it last operated a long time ago. Is it really something worth talking about?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, Mansa Batteries Limited was put under receivership many years ago and a private investor, Amanita, bought it from the receiver and has since sold all the plants and equipment that was owned by Mansa Batteries Limited. So, in the real sense, there is nothing to talk about Mansa Batteries Limited, as things stand now. The other assets, such as houses, were also sold by the receivers.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that it is not only Mansa Batteries Limited that has failed to come around since being privatised, but also other companies?


Mr Speaker: Order! Order!

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, I am not privy to the information that has been revealed by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi. There were a lot of companies that were privatised that have succeeded, just like there are a lot that have collapsed. So, how a company fared after being privatised depends on how it was run by the people that actually bought it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the campaign promises made people believe that the re-opening of Mansa Batteries Limited was imminent. What has slowed down the re-opening after the Government assured the people that it was going to be done quickly?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, a lot is said during campaigns. Unfortunately, my mandate does not include the political rhetoric during campaigns.

Dr Kaingu: Aah!

Mr Chenda: I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): My question has been overtaken by events.

Mr Speaker: Mesmerised.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, at the time that industry was established, we did not exploit the raw material that is currently in abundance and has attracted a lot of Chinese. Would the Government consider putting up afresh a plant to produce the batteries?

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, in our response, we have shown kin interest in trying to revive the manganese industry in Luapula. A study, which has reflected that there is potential for us to go into value-addition on manganese in Luapula, was carried out by the ZDA. We are marketing this potential to would-be investors.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


199. Mr Pande (Kasempa) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication:

(a)    what the name of the contractor working on the Kalonga/Nyoka Road in Kasempa Parliamentary Constituency was;

(b)    how much money would be spent on the project at (a) above

(c)    when the works on the Kasempa/Mukunashi Road would commence; and

(d)    which contractor had been selected to work on the road at (c) above.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Col. Kaunda): Mr Speaker, the name of the contractor working on the Kalonga/Nyoka Road in Kasempa Parliamentary Constituency is Lunga-Resource Limited Contractors. The estimated cost for the works on the Kalonga/Nyoka Road is K1.1 million.

Sir, a contractor has been engaged by the Kasempa District Council to work on the Kasempa/ Mukunashi Road and D181/Kamatete Road. The contractor is currently working on the D181/ Kamatete Road. The contractor will commence work on the Kasempa/Mukunashi Road once works on the D181/Kamatete have been completed.

The contractor selected to work on Kasempa/Mukunashi Road is M & J Industrial Merchants.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, the name of the road is actually Kelongwa and not Kalonga. I am sure that the intention of the Government was to improve that road network, but the contractor, Lunga-Resources Limited Contractors, has actually damaged it. He has left it worse than he found it. In view of what I am revealing to the hon. Minister, what is he going to do about it?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, we are aware that Lunga-Resources Limited Contractors has left the site and we have instructed the Road Development Agency (RDA) to follow up the matter and find out why this was the case. So, as soon as we know, we will inform the hon. Member of Parliament.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, were there no periodic inspections before the contractor abandoned the works on the road for the Government to summersault at the last minute?

Col. Kaunda: Mr Speaker, this road is under the council and it is up to the councillors to inform us about what transpires regarding the roads under its jurisdiction and I hope the hon. Member of Parliament is a member of this council. As of today, we were not aware of what had transpired as regards this particular road. Therefore, the council is at fault for not informing us.

I thank you, Sir.




Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that, in accordance with the National Assembly Standing Order No. 98(2) (a), this House grants leave for the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill entitled, The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2013.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Mweetwa: I thank you, Mr Speaker, for this opportunity to present a Private Member’s Bill. Before I delve into moving the Motion, allow me to congratulate the newly-elected hon. Member of Parliament for Mansa Central and also congratulate the Patriotic Front (PF) on its victory in Mansa and also for its by-election victory in Malambo Constituency where it narrowly beat the United Party for National Development (UPND). May I also congratulate the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) on winning a local government by-election in Kasempa and also the UPND on winning two local government by-elections in Kasempa.

Sir, allow me also to take this opportunity to congratulate the hon. Member for Mkushi North, who I had no opportunity to congratulate then. I should make mention that the pattern of results where the Opposition wins four out of five seats and the PF wins one out of the five seats is illustrative that all of us, as political parties, are relevant to Zambia’s democratic dispensation. Therefore, even as we come to this House, we must support all the progressive and good policies and laws brought here by the PF, without exception. In the same breath, we must support all the good Motions and Bills brought to this House by the Opposition because we are all working towards one thing, creating a better Zambia for all.

It is in that spirit, Sir, that from the outset, I wish to thank you for according me the opportunity to present this non-controversial and straight forward Motion and urge all hon. Members to support it. 

Mr Kambwili: Question!


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002, which the Bill seeks to repeal and replace, provides for, inter alia, weekend imprisonment for a person who has been convicted of driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs. The minimum period of imprisonment under this section is thirty weekends. However, a person may be imprisoned for as many as fifty-two weekends, which is an entire year. 

Sir, let me begin my debate by dispelling the notion that the repeal of the provision on weekend imprisonment will result in drunken drivers going unpunished and, therefore, condoning indiscipline on our roads.

Sir, the offences to which weekend imprisonment relates are found under Sections 156 and 157 of the Road Traffic Act of 2002. Section 156 relates to the offence of being in charge of a motor vehicle under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs while not driving it and Section 157 deals with driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or narcotic drugs.

Sir, hon. Members may wish to note that sections 156 and 157 provide penalties for the offences. For example, under Section 156, a first offender may be fined up to K270 while a second offender can be fined up to K1,800 or sentenced to two years imprisonment or to both. Similarly, under Section 157, a person may be fined up to K3,600 or sentenced to imprisonment for up to five years.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the Act already provides adequate punishment for persons convicted of drunken driving. In this regard, weekend imprisonment and community service, which are provided for under Section 160, are only intended as an alternative to the sanctions under sections 156 and 157. In fact, it is because these offences can be punished through other means that although the law on weekend imprisonment has been in our statute books for over eleven years, it has not been implemented until July, 2013. Perhaps, what the law enforcers should consider doing is putting in place mechanisms to enable them to identify multiple offenders so that they can be given the stiffer penalties provided for under the law.

Sir, another issue of grave concern, regarding weekend imprisonment, is that no separate prison facilities have been established to cater for persons convicted under the said weekend imprisonment law. This means that our citizens, who would be convicted of drunken driving, will be put in the already overcrowded prison facilities. Hon. Members may wish to note that, according to the Human Rights Commission (HRC) Report of 2009, the total capacity of our prisons was 5,500 while the inmates countrywide were over 15,000. These statistics make it apparent that our prisons are already congested and, therefore, sentencing people to weekend imprisonment will only worsen this problem. 

Sir, further, it is no secret that the conditions in our prisons are appalling and dehumanising. Prisoners are subjected to not only congestion, but also poor sanitation, diet and health care. In some cases, they are subjected to physical abuse, including sexual abuse. Surely, do we want to subject our citizens, who have committed a misdemeanor, such as drunken driving, to such harsh conditions and expose them to communicable diseases that are rampant in our prisons? Certainly, not.

Sir, instead, this House should stand united against such a bad law. Further, the fact that these people will be released into society on a weekly basis may result in them spreading these diseases into society, hence worsening the country’s disease burden.

Mr Speaker, sentencing people to weekend imprisonment will also result in a burden on our already overstretched public resources as taxpayers’ money will have to be spent on providing for these prisoners during their weekend incarceration. Are we sure that this is a prudent way of spending our much-needed public funds?

Mr Kampyongo: Question!

Mr Mweetwa: Certainly not, Sir.

Mr Speaker, fining these offenders, on the other hand, will result in revenue generation for the Government. Alternatively, the offenders can contribute to society by being sentenced to community service where they could be used to carry out various public works such as clearing drainage systems, given that we are now going into the rainy season. This would save the Government a lot of money.

Sir, in considering the repeal and replacement of Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act relating to weekend imprisonment or its retention, which is the status quo, consideration must be given to the rationale or theory of punishment. As you are aware, punishment is meant to achieve, among other things, the following:

(a)    Retribution

This is where an offender is given punishment in order for him/her to experience similar or substitutable pain corresponding to what was inflicted on the victim; 

(b)    Deterrence

 Sir, this is where punishment is meted out on the offender with a view to deter other would-be offenders. This form of punishment is usually employed to arrest escalating and serious erroneous criminal activities such as defilement, rape or motor vehicle theft; and 

(c)    Reformation

 Sir, this is where the guilty party or offender is sentenced to rehabilitation and/or reformatory institution for purposes of remolding his/her character. 

Mr Speaker, as the chairperson of the African Parliamentarians Network Against Corruption (APNAC), I believe that this law has the potential to encourage corrupt activities and exploitation of our people. This is because some people may resort to bribing the officers charged with the responsibility of enforcing the law in order to avoid being subjected to weekend imprisonment. This is as a result of the incentive to bribe and, therefore, avoid weekend imprisonment being more compelling than the prospect of being a perpetual weekend inmate for even up to fifty-two weekends.

Sir, it is evident from the foregoing that weekend imprisonment is a bad law whose disadvantages far outweigh its benefits. Keeping it in our statute books will merely result in our citizens being subjected to unnecessary incarceration. Contrary to what some people may think, the repeal of the provisions relating to weekend imprisonment will not only weaken the law, but also reinforce the other enforcement measures.

Mr Speaker, allow me to state that this Motion, just like the one which was moved by the Government to amend the Anti-Corruption Act, then, to, inter-alia, reintroduce the Abuse of Authority of Office Clause, is progressive and in the best interest of our citizens and nation.

Mr Kambwili: Question!

Mr Mweetwa: In this regard, I wish to, once again, urge all hon. Members to support this non-controversial and straightforward Motion.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, let me also join my colleagues in congratulating Hon. Dr Chilufya on winning the Mansa seat. We look forward to his contributions in the House.

Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion before the House. In doing so,  allow me to reiterate the comment made by the mover of the Motion that since the enactment of the Road Traffic Act in 2002, the penalty of weekend imprisonment for persons convicted of drunken driving has never been invoked. This is a clear demonstration that this punishment has not received the support of the courts. Instead, other alternative sanctions such as fines have been preferred against a convicted offender.

Mr Speaker, further, in a country like Zambia where prison facilities are extremely limited, conditional sentencing is the ideal solution for misdemeanors such as traffic offences, especially where no death occurs. The conditional sentences are designed to reduce the amount of inmates in a quickly growing prison population, as the sentence is served outside the prison walls and in the community, with restrictions or conditions placed on the convicted offender which the offender is expected to obey. These restrictions or conditions may include mandatory programmes such as drug or alcohol treatment seminars and close monitoring.

Mr Speaker, in order to verify that offenders are abiding by the restrictions, routine measures such as reporting to a police station at given times are put in place. The law enforcement officers can then quickly move in to make an arrest when an offender is in breach of the restrictions or conditions. In this case, in addition to fines, the courts in Zambia have preferred conditional sentencing for traffic misdemeanors as an alternative to weekend imprisonment. 

Mr Speaker, as I conclude, let me mention that the Motion before the House merely seeks the authority of the House for the mover of the Motion to introduce a Private Member’s Bill entitled “The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, NAS Bill No. 14/2013.” The merits and demerits of the Bill can then be debated at an appropriate time, that is, after the Bill has been presented to the House. 

Mr Speaker, Private Members’ Bills are rare in this House. I am also aware that this House is interested in developing the area of Private Members’ Bills in order to strengthen its legislative functions, as is the case in other Parliaments. Therefore, this House has no cause not to support the Motion. The introduction of the Bill will go far in demonstrating our growing Parliamentary democracy. 

In conclusion, Sir, I want to state that the Private Member’s Bill that the mover of the Motion seeks to introduce to the House has no financial implications on the revenues of the State. Also, the enactment of the Bill will have no adverse impact on society as the Road Traffic Act would still contain adequate penalties for dealing with traffic offences. In view of this, I would like to urge all hon. Members of the House to support this non-controversial and straight-forward Motion …

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Prof. Lungwangwa: … which has the support of the general public, as evidenced by the recent outcry to repeal the provisions on weekend imprisonment in the Road Traffic Act.

With these few words, Sir, I beg to second.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I may sound controversial, but it is my right to speak my mind.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: This proposed Private Member’s Bill is ill-conceived.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: I would like to persuade the mover of the Motion into believing that road traffic accidents related to alcohol abuse are the second epidemic in the world.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: Ema MPs aya!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Therefore, when one recounts the cause of this morbidity and mortality, they cannot treat such offences as minor. If, indeed, as propounded by the mover, there are other aspects for which the offenders can be punished, I would propose that the right to determine what sort of punishment can be meted out to such offenders be left to the courts of law.

Mr Speaker, to understand how immeasurable the suffering of causing an accident, one only has to experience the agony the relatives of those individuals who, upon the influence of alcohol, have caused a fatality or worse still a morbidity on which they have to spend so much money on hospital bills. Therefore,  …


Mr Speaker: Order! Let us listen to the hon. Member in silence.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Therefore, Mr Speaker, …

Dr Kaingu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Dr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I have enjoyed the debates of the proposer and the seconder of this important Motion. However, is the hon. Member debating in order to score in his own goal post?


Dr Kaingu: Sir, listening to him, I am left to wonder on which side of the House he is. Is he in order to score in his own goal post? I seek your ruling.

Mr Speaker: If it was otherwise, the whole concept of scoring own goals would not be there.


Mr Speaker: Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo, you may continue.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, I think that we are in this House to see the object of the laws that we have made for ourselves. It is in this regard that I think the hon. Member of Parliament has just introduced a humorous moment. He does not mean what he has just said.

Mr Speaker, I am of the view that this is one of those laws that is meant to protect the innocent out there. Secondly, having declared ourselves a Christian Nation, although I personally believe that this must come from the bottom of the heart of an individual’s heart, going by the norms in such a law, as exists, instills discipline at individual level. If I am going to visit the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi, who so generous, to enjoy myself, I must exercise some restraint because not only am I responsible for my life, but also other innocent people’s lives out there.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!{mospagebreak}

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Therefore, from that point of view, it starts at individual level. The statement by the APNAC President of that weekend imprisonment may increase the levels of corruption is also misplaced.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Mwila: APNAC yapwa!

Mr Chishimba: Ema generals aya!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, issues of corruption must go through a paradigm shift, which is what I am doing. One should ask themselves whether their actions conform to their culture. For me, therefore, this proposed Private Member’s Motion must be rejected.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: Mr Speaker, lastly, there is a human resource constraint in the health sector. Surely, should we not be spending money on such issues instead of those clearly preventable cases which people knowingly engage in because, after all, they will just be fined? We must be aware, as we imbibe that alcohol, that there is just a possibility that if apprehended, you will be away from your family for thirty or utmost, fifty-two weekends. So, you must exercise discipline.

Mr Speaker, I beg to oppose this Private Member’s Bill.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House. I would like to take this moment to congratulate the elected hon. Member of Parliament for Mansa Central, Dr Chilufya. However, I just want to caution him and the House that, in this House, there will forever be only one 9/1. He is a 9/2.


Mr L. J. Ngoma: He can never be a 9/1. I just want to emphasise that, as the MMD, we are happy because he is our ambassador on that side.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, the Motion to present a Private Member’s Bill on the Floor of the House is a commendable effort which must be encouraged by everyone in this House. However, the mover of the Motion just talked about the issues that he wants to defend, probably, I would have kept quiet and allowed the Bill to come to the Floor of the House. However, since he has, at least, delved into other issues, it gives me an opportunity to say something because I do not agree with what he is trying to propose in that Bill.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: PF hon. Members, watch out. I will never join the PF.


Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, the issues …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, you should address me.

You may continue.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, they should not cheer me on. They do not have the right to do that.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, the issue we are talking about here has to do with accidents which have arisen in this nation as a result of intoxication.

Hon. Government Members: Ehe!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, this intoxication has led to a loss of lives amongst the Zambian people and I think that it is not good to bring to the House a Motion which cleverly supports drunken driving. 

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, therefore, I am opposing this Motion which seeks to introduce that Bill. This is because, being representatives of the people, there are serious matters we ought to attend to instead of entertaining such issues.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, in that vein, I want to thank my colleague, Hon. Prof. Luo for banning tujilijili.

Mr Speaker: Order!

What are those things?

Mr L .J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, tujilijili was a local brew which was packaged in sachets and was highly intoxicating. One wonders what would have happened during the PF mayhem which was obtaining in the last few weeks had the sale of tujilijili still been allowed.


Mr L. J. Ngoma: Congratulations, Hon. Prof. Luo.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, risk-taking behavior arises as a result of taking alcohol, regardless of whether it is being taken on a weekend, during the week or any other day. As a result of taking alcohol, certain individuals tend to become very abusive. The levels of gender-based violence in this country have risen as a result of intoxication. Illicit behaviour, which has led to bad things happening, has also been associated with drinking alcohol. 

Mr Speaker, many of the accidents that have occurred on our roads are as a result of this alcohol. Therefore, I do not support the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill, which is not going to support incarceration of those people that are going to be found drunk and driving.

Mr Speaker, over and above that, I should probably declare interest. The fact is that I do not take alcohol, but I want to say, on the Floor of this House, that this is a moral issue. In other countries, it is very difficult for someone to have access to alcohol and the morality levels in those countries are very high. Therefore, I think that we should move to a level where we can probably even ban alcohol. Somebody would think that I am a fundamentalist, but it is not good to drink alcohol if we want this country to develop.

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I want to say that I do not support the introduction of this Bill, and for the first time, PF hon. Members, can cheer me on as I sit down.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I want to thank you for the opportunity to debate this Motion. I will be very brief. First of all, let me state, from the outset, that I am 100 per cent in support of the Motion.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I also want to state that the punishment that the law envisages of arresting me over weekends because of being drunk will never affect me.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, but when I look across the Table …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, I think I will make an injunction because, firstly, you are now debating yourself. Secondly, as I see it, you are just on the verge of debating other hon. Members. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us confine ourselves to the Motion.

You may continue.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your good advice because I was seeing worried faces across the Floor.

Mr Speaker, if I understood the mover of the Motion clearly, I think that he was saying that there are already provisions in the law to punish those who are caught driving when they are drunk. The issue of contention is the kind of punishment that sends somebody to jail for fifty-two weekends. I oppose that. 

Mr Speaker, first of all, I do not believe that the majority of accidents in this country are caused by drunkenness.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Dr Musokotwane: I do not believe so and if you have evidence of that, can you present the statistics. However, what I know is that many accidents are caused by factors such as over speeding, which may be independent of drunkenness. It does not follow that when somebody is over speeding, then, he or she is drunk. No, it does not. Therefore, why is it that you want to leave free those who cause deaths, for example, bus drivers, because they are tired? Why is it that you want to leave free those who over speed, but are not drunk? Therefore, I think that this issue is one of hypocrisy.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, let me now dwell on the issue of punishment and its corrective nature. We all know that when punishment is excessive, it tends to encourage offenders to find ways of avoiding it. They find ways out of it. One of the ways, which was mentioned by the mover of the Motion, is that of corruption. 

Sir, I think let us face it. If there is any department in this country that is very corrupt, it is the Traffic Department of the Zambia Police Force. I have seen amazing situations. When one drives around Lusaka, they will notice many roadblocks mounted. In certain cases, there may be three roadblocks within a stretch of 5 km. Sometimes, I wonder the source of enthusiasm for work that these people display. The cars that take the police officers to sites where they mount roadblocks are privately-owned cars. They are owned by the police officers themselves. They drive themselves to those places to set up roadblocks. However, when your house is broken into and you report to the police so that they can check the house, they will say that they do not have transport. However, when it comes to mounting roadblocks, they have transport, including using their privately-owned private vehicles. Is this not a sign that there is a lot of corruption in the Traffic Department?

So, if we impose these very stiff punishments, with this incredible level of corruption, I suspect that most of the people to be punished will go free and but instead put money into the pockets of the police. This is what is going to happen. Jail terms already exist rather than this very bad way of punishing people by putting them in jail every weekend. I think that is unacceptable and this is what my colleagues are saying. 

Mr Speaker, as I said, as for me, I have no problem. You will never catch me drunk.


Dr Musokotwane: I am speaking on behalf of the masses out there who will be punished excessively for nothing.

I thank you, Sir.

The Deputy Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for affording me this opportunity to say a few things on the proposed …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious procedural point of order emanating from Standing Order 98. For the benefit of the hon. Members, I would like to read as follows:

“1.    A public Bill (Government or private Bill) is a Bill which relates to matters of public policy and is introduced directly by a Member of the House who may be a Government minister or a private Member. 

“2.    No Bill shall be brought in, except:

(a)    Upon Motion made and question put that leave be given to bring such a Bill.” 

Sir, the issue which I am raising relates to Standing Orders 98 (4) which reads:

“When a Bill is presented, it shall be read the first time without question put and shall stand referred to a portfolio or Select Committee.”

The issue I am raising is: Under what authority are we debating the merits and demerits of this Motion when the intent and purpose is just to be given the authority to bring this Bill to the House because we are now debating a Bill? I seek your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: Order!

What we are debating here is clearly not a Bill. There is no Bill that has been presented. What has been presented is a Motion seeking leave and leave, in a literal sense, means permission. This House must grant leave. In order to do so, arguments have been made in the Motion to persuade the House to grant that leave and that is what is being debated here. We do not even have a Bill in front of us. There is no text to debate. The nature of amendment has not been shown in detail. That is what is in force. Assuming there was consensus, we would have gone past this stage already. 

However, in terms of Standing Orders 98(2)(a), we must deal with the question of leave and we cannot do that in vacuo. There must be material and reasons behind this Motion and the mover has given the reasons which have been seconded and others have a contrary view. They feel that this leave should not be granted. That is where we are in this debate.

May the hon. Minister continue, please.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank you so much for that guidance.

Sir, I would like to start by joining previous speakers in congratulating my dear colleague, the new hon. Member for Mansa Central, Dr Chitalu. You are welcome, Sir.

Mr Speaker, in commenting on this proposal to repeal Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act, I would have loved my dear colleague to actually come to this House with a proposal to stiffen the penalties.

Sir, my dear colleague is even able to bring a Bill here to look at this particular Act when, unfortunately, the many lives we have lost cannot be replaced in the same way he is proposing that we replace this section of the Act.

Mr Speaker, speaking on behalf of the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, you just have to go to police stations, for example, around Lusaka and look at the number of autowrecs that are piled there. It will be able to show you the situation we are dealing with. I totally agree with the mover of the Motion when he says that there are already pieces of legislation to deal with this situation. However, most of these go through the courts of law and are deliberated on over a period of time. People would have been dead and buried by the time the case is closed. Even by the time these reckless drivers are being convicted, it would have had no impact on would-be offenders.

Mr Speaker, a further example is that if you drive around Lusaka, you will see how those drunkards park their vehicles at these places where they drink from. The hon. Member for Liuwa was saying that he will not be affected by the weekend imprisonment law, but he should see the anarchy these drunkards cause. Just look at the way they park and drive outside of the places that they drink from which are along the roads. 

Sir, we have been grappling to find means of dealing with this terrible situation and so, when we realised that there was a piece of law which was not being enforced to expedite the outcome of such cases, we thought of using it. That is how we have come up with the fast track court. What we are trying to do is deter people, who have got no regard for other people’s lives, thereby putting the lives of other road users at risk. 

Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Mumbwa debated adequately. Most of the accidents that we have recorded, especially those that occur during the night, are as a result of people who are under the influence of alcohol and drugs. They have even introduced illegal street races on our roads. They get drunk and that is when they want to show their driving skills, not realising that their judgment is impaired. Hon. Members need to visit our police stations and see how cars are torn to pieces.

Sir, accident victims can testify to the suffering accidents cause. Not to say that the hon. Member for Monze Central was involved in an accident as a result of drunken driving, but you can see how the effective and hard-working hon. Member  …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member, who is purporting to debate a Bill which is not on the Floor, in order to refer to me in his debate and use my predicament as an example of drunken driving …


Mr Mwiimbu: … when it has nothing to do with drunken driving and is due to the poor roads which are not being maintained by the PF? 

Mr Speaker: The hon. Minster is certainly not in order. I am sure that the hon. Minister can have a chat with the hon. Member and find out the unfortunate events leading to his predicament. That is certainly out of order.

You may continue, Hon. Kampyongo.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I did not mean to insinuate that the hon. Member was involved in an accident as a result of drunken driving. I was merely saying that accidents, in whatever form, can affect people’s lives. I understand the circumstances which led to the accident in which the hon. Member was involved and I do sympathise with my elder brother. I would not want to rejoice in his predicament. 

However, Sir, what I am trying to say is that these accidents have the potential to affect human beings in different ways. We have lost the lives of people who were productive and could have added value to this nation. We have also lost young children as a result of these reckless drivers. My colleague mentioned the issue of alcohol that used to be packed in sachets in his debate. We used to have minibus drivers who would work under the influence of alcohol contained in those little sachets and they caused a loss of lives.

Mr Speaker, in short, my dear colleague has to bear with me because I am not going to support this proposed repeal of Section 160 of the Road Traffic Act No. 11 of 2002. I would have liked him to come with even steeper penalties. Drinking alcohol is not a crime, but we must do it responsibly. We have all gone to first world countries where these penalties are applied and people there behave. When you drink in a group, you alternate on who does not have to drink on a particular day so that he/she can take care of the lives of those who are drinking. This is what we want to see happening.

Sir, goes without saying that, we, as the Ministry of Home Affairs, do not support this Bill.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: It is a Motion before us.

The Minster of Youth and Sport (Mr Kambwili): Mr Speaker, it is extremely disappointing that we have started bringing issues of political mileage to Parliament. When the weekend imprisonment was announced, the first people to protest were minibus and taxi drivers. It was not long after that we heard that the minibus and taxi drivers had joined the UPND and so you can see where this is coming from. We must be responsible enough, as hon. Members of Parliament, not to use the House …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Youth and Sport in order to claim that this Motion was brought to the House by the UPND when the hon. Member here (pointing at Hon. Mweetwa) brought it in his own capacity as an hon. Member of Parliament and even I, who is senior in the UPND, was not aware of the move?


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member. Forget about …

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, is he in order to bring his debate to the level of partisan pettiness and not address the issue of whether or not leave should be granted? I seek your ruling.

Mr Speaker: I think this matter, as I see it, is fairly straight forward in terms of debate and equally in terms of procedure. As far as we are concerned here, this is a Private Members Bill and it should be treated as such. There is a Motion, there are reasons and I think that there have been interesting debates so far, based on reasoning. My ruling is that we should confine it within those parameters of reasoning whether or not leave should be granted.

The moment we go into the terrain that the hon. Minister for Youth and Sport has embarked on, it becomes controversial and those who are affected and concerned will have every right to contest the veracity of what is being debated. I would rather we do not go in that inquiry. Let us debate the Motion.

Continue, hon. Minister for Youth and Sport.

Mr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the issue of drunken driving is one that has been with us for a long time. The fact that it has continued clearly shows that the remedies that have been employed before have not worked. The first time weekend imprisonment for drunken driving was introduced, the first people to complain about it were minibus and taxi drivers who have been known to be notorious on the road. This clearly shows us that this is the only thing that they are afraid of. It must give us comfort, as members of society, to go in that direction. They have not complained about the fees that they have to pay or the two-year imprisonment, but they have complained about this because it is going to be handled under a fast track court. Therefore, this means that when one commits an offence, he or she will be sentenced within a day or two and that is what they are scared of. People can only say that they are in support of Motion if they have a hidden agenda. We will forgive other people. When you were reprimanded the previous day, obviously, the next day, you would want to make up by supporting what is not supportable.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Lungu): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion for the presentation of a Private Member’s Bill. The issue is not whether one drinks or does not imbibe. We are talking about the penalties that are available to the courts of law. In this respect, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa has confirmed that from 2002 to date, this particular punishment has not been meted out. All we are saying is that let us allow the courts to decide when they want to mete it out because we are crying for sanity on our roads. If you may be students of the trends in procedures in sentencing, you will find that people are agitating that the courts be given latitude to decide which punishment to mete out.

Sir, in this respect, they are even saying that the question to determine whether one should be released on bail or not should be left to the courts of law. I do not know why there is this sudden excitement amongst our people on a punishment which has been available to the courts and which they have not decided to mete out yet. Even now as we, in the Executive are excited about introducing this fast track court and, in fact, highlighting that this punishment is available, no one has yet been sent to the courts or jail. We should allow the courts complete latitude to determine which individuals should go for the weekend imprisonment, be it hon. Ministers or ordinary citizens.


Mr Lungu: I want to emphasise this because we came here to mean business and you have already seen how we are doing in that respect. 

Mr Speaker, there has been this rationale of corruption. I do not see how corruption fits into this scenario. Corruption is a vice which all of us are fighting and I do not think it will either increase or decrease going by way of repealing the current law. What happens is that those with money will still continue corrupting our police officers, whether this law exists or not.

Mr Speaker, the mover of the Motion has lamentably failed to convince us on why leave should be granted to introduce a Bill which will amend the law as it currently exists. The Americans always say, “If it is not broken, do not fix it.” What has this law failed to achieve? Nothing. If it says in our statutes that weekend imprisonment is one of the punishments for drunken driving and it is not meted out till God knows when, we are better off because we are giving our courts latitude to choose which punishment to give. 

Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank all the hon. Members who have debated on this very important Motion. On my side, I would like to thank Hon. Brig-Gen.  Dr Chituwo, Hon. Ngoma, Hon. Dr Musokotwane. On the right side, I would like to thank Hon. Kampyongo, Hon. Kambwili and Hon. Lungu for their contributions. Through this Motion, I am very happy that, as a Parliament, we are beginning to depict the growth of democracy because members, today, have not been tied to a party position or an opposition position. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mweetwa: They have debated according to what their conscience has told them. This is how it should be if we have to move forward. I expect that we are going to carry on with this spirit so that when we come here to debate, each one should be held accountable as a representative in this House and not accountable as a party or as the Opposition because, clearly, we have divergent views. For as long as we continue to suffocate these views within this envelope of opposition party, we are not advancing our democracy. I pledge to actively participate in that independent reasoning on the Floor of this House from henceforth, and that I should not be accused otherwise. I so pledge, Mr Speaker. 

Mr Speaker, the views for and against have been heard from the House. It is up to the people who are listening, the citizens on whose behalf we deliberate these matters, to make out what they think both sides of the argument stand for.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question, that in accordance with National Assembly Standing Order No. 98 (2)(a), this House grants leave for the introduction of a Private Member’s Bill entitled: The Road Traffic (Amendment) Bill, 2013 put and negatived. 


The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now resolve into Committee of Ways and Means to consider the raising of supply. 

I am a bearer of five messages from His Excellency the President recommending that this Motion, which I now lay on the Table, be proceeded with in this House.

Mr Chikwanda laid the paper on the Table. 

As a result of the Budget which I presented to this House on 11th October, 2013, it is necessary to introduce certain financial measures which I will outline in the Committee.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Question put and agreed to.





The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that it is expedient to amend the Property Transfer Tax Act so as to –

(a)    increase the property  transfer tax from five per cent to ten per cent;

(b)    exempt the Millennium Challenge Account Zambia (MCA Zambia) from paying property transfer tax; and 

(c)    provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

Mr Chairperson, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Property Transfer Tax Act so as to introduce changes that I announced in my Budget Speech on 11th October, 2013.

Mr Chairperson, I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that it is expedient to amend the Value Added Tax Act so as to -

(a)    revise the definition of commercial building;

(b)    provide for the payment of an assessed tax within the review period; 

(c)    provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing and that the Bill to give effect to this be introduced accordingly.

Mr Chairperson, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Value Added Tax Act so as to introduce changes that I announced in my Budget Speech on 11th October, 2013.

Mr Chairperson, I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that it is expedient to amend the Customs and Excise Act so as to -

(a)    increase excise duty on airtime from ten per cent to  fifteen per cent;

(b)    remove customs duty on crude oil;

(c)    replace ad valorem excise duty rates on specified petroleum products with specific excise duty rates;

(d)    revise customs duty on copper blisters, copper powders and flakes and powders of lamellar structures and flakes;

(e)    revise the rates of customs and excise duty payable on specified goods; and

(f)    provide for matters connected with or incidental to the foregoing and that a Bill to give effect to this be introduced accordingly.

Mr Chairperson, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Customs and Excise Act so as to introduce the  changes that I announced in my Budget Speech on 11th October, 2013.

Mr Chairperson, I beg to move.

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Chairperson, this Motion is not expedient. I want to state, in the same vein that we debated the leave to introduce the Private Member’s Bill on this Floor, that it is my right to say that this particular Motion is not expedient. It is draconian, repressive and is not in the interest of our people.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, the increase of duty on airtime is not in the interest of our people. Our people have already been suffering under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government because more money in their pockets has been taken away from them.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! 

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Chairperson, this particular move will increase the cost of doing business in this country. This particular move will not entitle our people to have access to airtime and other information services. It is my considered view that it is not expedient and we should reject this particular Motion.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Youth and Sport (Mr Kambwili): Mr Chairperson, I want to support that it is expedient that this amendment be introduced. It must be realised that the Government does not run any business to raise money to run the social sector of the country. It needs to raise money and it can only do so through taxes. Therefore, if it does not introduce taxes on certain services, this country will come to a complete standstill. I do not support anybody who thinks that this amendment is not expedient. I clearly state that it is expedient that we introduce an amendment.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Chairperson, thank you for allowing me to debate this Motion. 

Sir, before we talk about these issues, we should first visit the rural areas. Before you come up with good policies, you should first go to outlying areas. The Government should ask itself for what good its policies are to the people in rural areas. 

Sir, I am concerned about the sale of talk time because I live in Kalabo, which is a rural area, and I know how hard to come by money to buy that airtime is. You see, when we are in an air-conditioned room, we should not think that everybody in Zambia is in such a room. We should not think that everybody in Zambia has a salary. We should not think that everybody in Zambia has an allowance. We should have a human heart. A human heart must have an invisible transfer of pain. 


Mr Miyutu: Yes, this is how human beings should be.  

Mr Chairperson, there are so many measures this Government would have employed to raise this money. We are talking about improving our communication system, but now we are adding insult to injury. I want to tell you that this 5 per cent you have added is an insult to the people of Kalabo. This you must know and you will pay for it. 

The Chairperson: Order!

 Can you address the Chairperson. 

Mr Miyutu: Through you, Sir, whoever will inflict further pain on the souls …


Mr Miyutu: … of the people of Kalabo will pay for it.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: I am standing here clearly visible and audible. 


Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: Mr Chairperson, we are not put into office to inflict pain, but to do the opposite, which is to ease the pain and make life easier for the people. It is the duty of this Government to come up with measures to prevent further pain on the people in rural areas. 

Sir, the fuel subsidy was removed. This is a cost to the people of the rural areas who have no income. Again, as if this was not enough, …


Mr Miyutu: I am feeling very bad. 

Mr Sichone: Why?

Mr Muntanga: Drink some water. 

Mr Miyutu drank some water.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: Mr Chairperson, I wish it was the United Party for National Development (UPND) in the Government.

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: At the moment, I am feeling the pain. 


Mr Miyutu: Mr Chairperson, while we may celebrate that this Government wants to raise revenue, it must also know that the revenue it wants to raise will not help the people in the rural areas. Which revenue has ever helped the people of Kalabo? 


Mr Miyutu: The truth is that I am against this increment. The Government must know that Miyutu Chinga, hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central, is against this increment. 

Mr Muntanga: It is not expedient. 

Mr Mwiimbu: No, it is not expedient. 

Mr Miyutu: It is not expedient. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! 

Mr Miyutu: Mr Chairperson, these are simple issues. There is no need to point fingers at each other. It is the duty of this Government to come up with curative and not punitive measures. This increment will punish the people who have no salaries. 

Sir, I do not know what these people who went to school learnt. 


Mr Miyutu: I do not know which economics they learnt. Naturally, you do not even go to school to learn economics. 

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir. 

Mr Miyutu: The sale of talk time …

The Chairperson: No, I want us to move. 

Mr Miyutu: The 5 per cent increment will, firstly, remove those that sell talk time from the system. Mark today’s date, 27th November, 2013. I can assure the House that a month after the enforcement of the increment, all those small tuntembas which sell talk time in Kalabo will be closed. 

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Mr Miyutu: Those lecturers of economics must learn this today. 


Mr Miyutu: Those tuntembas will close because there will be no customers to buy the hiked airtime. When you go to Kalabo and want to buy airtime for K50, you will not find it. Who is going to supply it and to who?  In Kalabo, we buy airtime for K1, K2 and K10, and K10 being the largest denomination. For airtime worth K20, a special request has to be made because no one will buy it. People in Kalabo sell cassava leaves for a living. They also sell … I do not know what the scientific term for it is but, in my language, we call it sindambi. 


Mr Muntanga: That is the scientific name!

Mr Miyutu: I do not know what you would call it, but this is what we sell to raise revenue for the household, send our children to school and get medicine for the family. This is how money is raised in Kalabo. Therefore, for the Government to expect them to raise the cost of airtime from K1 to whatever …

Mr M. H. Malama: It will be magic. 

Mr Miyutu: There is no magic here. This thing will end up costing the buyer of the airtime more. Sir, I want to say that I am not in support of this Motion and it is not expedient. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Chairperson, I am most grateful for the opportunity to debate. I stand to state clearly that it is not expedient to increase the customs and excise duty on airtime. I do not support it for the reasons I am about to state. 

Mr Chairperson, this Government has repeatedly stated that it is a pro-poor Government.

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: It has stated that it stands for uplifting the living standards of our people, … 

Mr Muntanga: Hear, hear!

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo: … and the majority of our poor are in rural areas. 

Mr Chairperson, airtime has social benefits. My aunts and cousins in rural areas are able to call their relatives in the urban areas to inform them of various family catastrophes such as illnesses and deaths. They are able to tell relatives whether to travel or simply send one or two things timely. They use cellular phones to get in touch with health workers and get help for emergencies such as when a mother is in labour for seven hours. 

Sir, airtime also has economic benefits. With the introduction of the Zambia Agricultural Market Exchange Commodity, the people in the rural areas are able to make calls and get information and request for the cost of commodities in different areas so that they have a minimum price at which to sell their products. It, therefore, protects our people in rural areas. 

Sir, as regards security, my constituency, Mumbwa, houses, perhaps, three quarters of the Kafue National Park. In their engagement, game scouts and game guards communicate in addition to their walkie-talkies with regard to whether there are tracks of poachers that probably may have been in contact with the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education, and notify each other about security matters. Security cannot be enforced by only uniformed security men and women. 

Mr Chairperson, with all these benefits, the increment will mean that we will be retrogressing. We are not uplifting the standards of living of our people and contributing to their social and economic welfare. Surely, the hon. Minister of Finance could have gotten this money from somewhere else without actually undoing the core business for which the Government stands. I, therefore, believe that it is not expedient to increase the customs and excise duty on airtime.

Thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Chairperson, I also stand to oppose the intention to increase the customs and excise duty on airtime because it is bad economics to tax the poor. We all know that the poor people in this country are in the majority. When you tax them, you are reducing their capacity to spend on other goods and services. What the hon. Minister is saying is that when a person in Mafinga spends K10 on airtime, he or she is going to speak for a shorter period of time than before. Increasing customs and excise duty on airtime from 10 per cent to 15 per cent will make it more expensive for the people who need the communication tool that goes by the name of cellular phone.

Mr Chairperson, time and again, we have asked the Government to re-introduce the Windfall Tax.

Mr Muntanga: It does not want to.

Ms Namugala: If the Government needs to raise revenue, it should tax those who are creating massive wealth in this country. It should tax the mines because we all know that when they create wealth, it goes out of this country. We all know that when a poor person creates wealth in this country, they will use it to increase the productive capacity of our income.

Mr Chairperson, I think that it is high time that our hon. Minister faced the truth about the need to tax the mining companies, more so that we can raise our revenue base. The amendment of the Customs and Excise Act is not expedient.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication (Mr Mukanga): Mr Chairperson, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this very important Motion. I would say, from the outset, that this is very expedient.

Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: It is very expedient that we amend the Customs and Excise Act so that we may have a removal of the customs and excise duty on crude oil. It is very important that we do that. The people on your left, Mr Chairperson, are complaining about the price of petroleum products having increased and we, as a Government, are saying that we want to remove customs duty on the products. So, why should they refuse?

Mr Chairperson, on airtime, I want to state that I came to this House and gave a ministerial statement to the effect that the Government was rolling out 169 towers on a call location basis so that we may reduce the cost of doing business in Zambia. That is what we are doing. This Motion is in line with the Budget Statement that was given. I am surprised that hon. Members here want to debate when it suits them to support what they think is right. When the Patriotic Front (PF) talked about the Windfall Tax, the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) refused to re-introduce it. How come, today, the hon. Members of the MMD are turning around and saying that the Government should charge the mines?

Hon. Opposition Members: Airtime.

Mr Mukanga: No. I am very disappointed. Yes, I know the Motion is on airtime, but the hon. Members refused to have the Windfall Tax re-introduced. I do not want to mention their names, but even those who have debated were part of those who refused.


Mr Mukanga: So, Mr Chairperson, here we are saying that …

Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Mr Chairperson.

The Chairperson: No. I think that it will not be fair …

Mr Mukanga: … the customs and excise duty on …

The Chairperson: Order!

The Chairperson: I did not allow a point of order earlier on. Therefore, to be fair, I think that I should not allow this point of order.

Can Hon. Mukanga continue, please.

Dr Mwali: Long live the Chair.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, why are the hon. Members refusing the revision of the customs and excise duty on copper blisters and copper powders?

The Chairperson: Order! I suspend business for fifteen minutes. Let me say this …

Mr Mwiimbu: But you have suspended business.

The Chairperson: Yes, but I am in charge now.


The Chairperson: I hope that we will be punctual because it has become the order of the day for us to come back late to the House when business is resumed. Can we be punctual.

Business was suspended from 1615 hours to 1630 hours.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Chairperson, I was saying it is expedient that this Customs and Excise Act be amended because the decision by the hon. Minister was arrived at after the realisation that the volume of the people who use mobile phones and airtime are mostly in urban areas. The urban areas use more airtime and issues of tax have to do with volumes. 

The other aspect, Mr Chairperson, is that if you look at part (c), which talks about, replace ad valorem excise duty rates, these have a tendency of increasing the taxes more than the fixed ones. It is important that everybody supports this amendment. It is for this reason that I am saying it is expedient and nobody should use this Motion to gain political mileage and ensure that they perpetuate what they believe in. The amendment of this Act is important for the people of Zambia. This is part of the Budget and it should be supported.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga: Mr Chairperson, the amendment of the Customs and Excise Act is not expedient. The problem that is being caused by this request from the hon. Minister of Finance can be likened to a situation where at the same time you are given bitter medicine, you are also given sugar.

Mr Nkombo: Sugar coating.

Mr Muntanga: You sugar coat it. What is particularly not expedient is to increase the 5 per cent to 10 per cent on the sale of airtime. Already, Zambia is the most expensive when it comes to the use of mobile phones. You even wonder why. Airtel uses the same centre for the area covering Kenya and Uganda, but everyone will tell you that we are the most expensive. The Government now wants to increase the tax to make it even more expensive. All we are saying is that the hon. Minister could have separated those other extra duties from the one we are particularly looking at. If the hon. Minister can bring a Bill which separates the duties and assure us that, in fact, the increase in airtime would be reduced, then, we would understand. However, at the moment, as the duties are bundled together, it is not expedient. I think that we cannot accept to continue increasing every aspect of our economy.

Mr Chairperson, I thank you.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, clearly, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Customs and Excise Act so as to introduce changes that I introduced in the Budget. 

Mr Chairperson, there will be an opportunity, at Second Reading, to elaborate on these measures. However, I think that hon. Members are quite genuinely concerned about not over burdening or increasing the burdens of the poor. We should, however, be realistic because poverty in this country, which is so extensive, will not be abolished by pious hopes. It will only be abolished if we grow the economy. I think it is a contradiction for one hon. Member, who constantly stands to advocate that and that road to be worked on, to oppose measures intended to raise the revenue to work on the roads. How is the Government going to finance the developments if it does not raise revenue? 

Mr Chairperson, as for the expenses relating to the mobile services in this country, it is an oligopolistic situation and part of the answer will lay in the Government increasing the number of mobile service providers so that we can have more competition which will have the effect of lowering the cost of mobile services. 

These cellular phone mobile providers really mint a lot of money which, of course, goes out of the country. So, there is nothing we are really saving by being so frantic about a small increase of 5 per cent, which people can circumvent by just reducing the number of minutes or hours they spend talking on their phones.

Mr Kambwili: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, as I stated earlier, there are six measures, but it is amazing that hon. Members have just chosen the cost of airtime. Perhaps, it is the most emotional issue and so, they want to appeal to the emotions of the electorates, but I do not think that people will be up in arms against their Government because it is trying to raise money intended for development.

Sir, I thank the hon. Members who have spoken and even those who have not spoken because they are in agreement.

Mr Chairperson, I beg to move.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that it is expedient to amend the Zambia Development Agency Act so as to:
(a)     revise the provisions on incentives; and

(b)    to provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing and that the Bill to give effect to this be introduced accordingly.
Sir, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Zambia Development Agency Act so as to introduce, changes that I announced in my Budget Speech on 11th October, 2013.

Mr Chairperson, I wish to thank all hon. Members for their support.

Sir, I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Chairperson, I beg to move that it is expedient to amend the Income Tax Act so as to:
(a)    increase the tax free income threshold for individuals from twenty-six thousand four hundred Kwacha to thirty-six thousand Kwacha per annum;

(b)    introduce withholding tax on profits distributed by branches of foreign companies at the standard rate of 15 per cent;

(c)    increase withholding tax to twenty-five per cent from fifteen per cent on payments to non-resident contractors and commissions and public entertainment fees paid to non-residents;

(d)    introduce withholding tax at the rate of twenty per cent on winnings from gaming, lotteries and betting and make it a final tax;

(e)    reduce the withholding tax rate to ten per cent on rental income and make it a final tax and exclude the payment of rental income from turnover tax;

(f)    provide for access to financial information required for tax purposes by the Commissioner-General;

(g)    repeal the tax incentives granted pursuant to the Zambia Development Agency Act, 2006, except for businesses operating in a priority sector, in a multi-facility zone or an industrial park; and

(h)    provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing, and that the Bill to give effect to this be introduced accordingly.
Mr Chairperson, the purpose of this Motion is to enable me to introduce legislation to amend the Income Tax Act so as to introduce the changes that I announced in my Budget Speech on 11th October, 2013.

Thank you, Mr Chairperson, for the unanimous support.

I beg to move.

Question put and agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Resolutions reported.

Report adopted.

Question put and agreed to and the Mr Speaker appointed the hon. Minister of Finance to be a committee of one to bring in the necessary Bills to give effect to the resolutions of the Committee of Ways and Means.




Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House, in accordance with Section 3 of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, Cap. 366 of the Laws of Zambia authorises the hon. Minister of Finance to increase, by Statutory Instrument (SI), the amount outstanding at any time on external loans from K20 trillion before redenomination, currently K20 billion, to K35 billion. 

Mr Speaker, under the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, Cap. 366 of the Laws of Zambia, the hon. Minister may, from time to time, in the Republic and elsewhere, on behalf of the Government, contract such loans and in such amounts as he shall, from time to time, be authorised by the resolution of the National Assembly of Zambia prescribed by SI.

Mr Speaker, SI No. 53, which is the Loans and Guarantees (Maximum Amounts) (Amendment) Order of 1998, prescribes K20 billion as the maximum amount of loans that the hon. Minister of Finance can raise under Section 3 of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act.

Sir, the last time the maximum amount of external loans was amended was in 1998. The Ministry of Finance has raised external loans with maturity of more than one year from 1998 to date, as provided for under the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, amounting to K16.4 billion. These loans have been used to finance the Government’s infrastructure development programmes which have evidently contributed to the growth of the Zambian economy registered at an average annual growth rate of 6 per cent in the last decade.

Mr Speaker, in the Revised Sixth National Development Plan (SNDP) and the current Budget, the Government has prioritised the development of infrastructure in transport, energy and agriculture sectors and will need to raise external loans to finance development programmes. 

Sir, the current maximum amount of K20 billion provided in the SI and with the outstanding external loans totaling K16.4 billion leaves a balance of only K3.6 billion for development programmes. However, as the House may already be aware, the Government will require K7.1 billion external financing to fully finance the development Budget in 2014 which includes programmes such as the Link Zambia 8,000 km Road Projects, railway system rehabilitation, energy generation and distribution and agricultural deep tanks and silos to name, but a few.

Mr Speaker, in the medium-term, it is the intention of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to keep this economy on the path of growth averaging, at least, 8 per cent and, as such, will continue with an expansionary fiscal policy prioritising infrastructure investments in the transport, energy and agriculture sectors, thus, the maximum amount has to be raised if the hon. Minister has to raise loans under the Act to be able to finance the Budget Deficit in 2014 and beyond. 

Mr Speaker, the situation that I have described here, if not adjusted, will limit the hon. Minister’s ability to finance the Government’s development programmes and constrain the country’s growth prospects. 

Sir, the Government is cognisant of the fact that the Motion I have moved today is a topical one which requires sober reflection on its implications for the development of our country. In moving the Motion, the Government has taken into consideration the Debt Sustainability Analysis that the Ministry of Finance conducts in conjunction with various stakeholders, including the Bank of Zambia, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). 

Mr Speaker, the Debt Sustainability Analysis, which was conducted in 2012, indicates that increasing the maximum amount of external loans to K35 billion will not push the Government’s debt position to unsustainable levels. The analysis indicates that with the amendment of the maximum amount of external loans to K35 billion, Zambia’s debt sustainability ratio of debt to the gross domestic product (GDP) will increase from the current 16 per cent to 28 per cent, well below the internationally agreed ratio of 40 per cent.

Mr Speaker, hon. Members of Parliament, who have a mandate from our people to safeguard their interests and, indeed, the general public, have raised very plausible and legitimate concerns about the debt sustainability. The PF Government embraces these concerns and will take every conceivable precaution to ensure that the country does not enter into another debt trap. A culture of unsustainable debt can become inexorable and ultimately inerasable to impairing in the process development proceeds for the country.

Mr Speaker, going forward, our thrust, as the PF Government, is to increase domestic revenues to reduce the incidence of borrowing both internally and externally. This will entail, among other things, a redesign of the mine taxation in a way which optimises the country’s benefit from its non-replenishable and non-renewable mineral resources while leaving enough leeway for mines to operate sustainably.

Mr Speaker, simulations, so far, show that our domestic revenue will increase to 23 per cent of the GDP in the medium-term with mining tax revenues contributing up to 30 per cent of the total domestic revenues. 

Mr Speaker, it is only through an expansionary fiscal policy that we will be able to have an impact on poverty which has not corresponded to the micro economic fundamentals so far. It is good economic practice to use debt financing within sustainable levels for enhanced investment and economic development so that we have an impact on poverty.

Mr Speaker, in view of the above, I urge the House to favourably consider the Motion which I have laid on the Table to amend the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act in order to allow for the raising of loans from outside the country from K20 billion to K30 billion. The amendment is necessary to allow the Government to finance critical projects which will promote and sustain the country’s economic growth.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.
Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I find it difficult to support the Motion that the hon. Minister should be given authority to raise the country’s debt. 

Mr Speaker, I want to remind the House that Zambia owed the international community between US$6 and US$7 billion, which was written off. Zambia went through a period when it was called a highly indebted poor country. Zambians had to undergo various measures to pay off the loan. We were told to tighten our belts by various governments. It took key persons outside the Government, the churches, to appeal to the international community to write off the loans, and we were kindly forgiven. My fear now is that if we do not have a way to stop this borrowing, we are going to go back to this indebtedness. We, in this Parliament, are not even following what this Government does when it goes to sign various agreements to borrow funds. This Government should have first brought the law which would have enabled us to look through what it is going to borrow for.

Mr Speaker, only yesterday, we were told that the monies for implementing the Link Zambia 8,000 km Road Project is not in the Budget and the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communication was at pains to explain this. We have seen projects, which are outside the Budget, being undertaken and the Government is totally unconcerned about this. When I look at the 2013 Budget, there are so many budgeted items that were not undertaken. However, we have undertaken major projects which were outside the Budget. 

Mr Speaker, I am aware that this Government is in a hurry to develop but, surely, it should have a programme. Everything could be programmed so that we do not impoverish ourselves and over burden other people. Zambia should not go back to a time when we owed a lot of money. Can this Government bring the law for us which will enable us to approve the various loans being asked for? We asked the previous Government to bring a law that would enable us to know what the money was being borrowed for. The law was not forthcoming. Now, this Government is asking us to authorise that, at any one time, by SI alone, the hon. Minister can sign and increase the loans that will be borrowed. I do not support that. We do not want Zambia to go back to being referred to as a highly indebted poor country again. 

Mr Speaker, we have enough resources. We were talking about taxing the mines. There are still papers in support of taxing copper ore. The Head of State had to come in and say that we cannot stop taxing copper ore. However, I was given some paper here saying that there are other people supporting the idea that mines should take the copper ore outside the country without being charged. If there is one thing that we can charge, it is the mines because by the time they finish extracting minerals, they will leave behind holes and nothing else. We can still work out various other mechanisms to raise funds within the country. I believe that the hon. Minister of Finance is able to look at other measures. 

Mr Speaker, please, these people must understand this situation. Let them not take Zambia back to the time when the United National Independence Party (UNIP) left it with US$7 billion debt. I am aware that Hon. Alexander B. Chikwanda (ABC) was the Minister of Finance then.

Mr Chikwanda: There was no debt then.


Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, we will not accept this situation. Do not take us back to debt by rushing to develop everything at once. Please, even when eating, you have to eat slowly. You do not have to eat everything at once. You do not have to do this because you want to please people. No. Let us stop these politics of appeasement. The Government must stop telling people that it will do everything at once. Let things be done systematically without making Zambia a highly indebted poor country again. I do not want to be part of that. It is not an issue of belonging to a given party. I know that what happens is that other people only realise that big mistakes were made when they are out of the Government. 

Mr Speaker, if there is a serious problem, let this Government call for an indaba where everybody can convene. Let us sit down together and see what we can do to solve our problem. Running this country is not only the problem of the Government, but also everybody. Let us be open with one another. Let us find good measures and not use short cuts. We do not have to borrow every time. Immediately after you borrow, you will fail to pay and Vulture Funds will come in. People will sell the loans. We do not even know now what properties are outside our country in the embassies because some properties were taken away because of debt.

Mr Speaker, on that score, I do not support the Motion. I want to appeal to the conscience of all of us here not to take Zambia back to indebtedness. The Government must firstly bring the law to the House so that we may know what it is borrowing. That way, we can check and question certain measures and advise the pace at which things should be done.

Mr Speaker, the Government is talking about the Link Zambia 8,000 km, Pave Zambia 2,000 km Road projects and commissioning other infrastructure projects when they are outside the Budget. Please, for heaven’s sake, let us slow down.

Mr Speaker, we are now being asked to grant this permission to accumulate more debt. This is a very serious decision that we have to make and I want to say that it is not a question of numbers in Parliament because we will be judged harshly for putting those unborn Zambians in such a huge debt.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mucheleka (Lubasenshi): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to contribute to the debate on this Motion moved by the hon. Minister of Finance. I agree with Hon. Muntanga that we need sober reflection on this matter.

Mr Speaker, I want to say that posterity will judge us very harshly and I want to be on record as being someone who seriously disagreed with the proposal that has been made by the hon. Minister of Finance.

Mr Speaker, I do not want my own uncle to go down in history as the hon. Minister who borrowed heavily to a point where he postponed the burden to the future generations to which, I believe, I belong.


Mr Mucheleka: Sir, my own uncle has been …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Let us keep to the decorum of the House. I think I have made a ruling in the past that we should not use these epithets as a matter of habit. As far as I know, he is the hon. Minister of Finance, period.

You may continue.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.

Sir, I am aware that when the hon. Minister of Finance was part of the UNIP Government, it took twenty-seven years to accumulate the debt of almost US$7 billion at the time it left power. This was in 1973 when the country experienced the low copper prices on one hand and the high oil prices on the other hand. To weather the storm, we did not borrow. The MMD came into power in 1991 and at the time it was leaving office after twenty years, it left a K500 billion debt. 

Mr Chairperson, during that period, there was a very highly sustained campaign under the Jubilee 2000, led by the late Cardinal Merdardo Mazombwe, may his soul rest in peace. The then Government used to refer to us in the civil society as mad people. It did not understand what we were talking about. We went out campaigning in every part of this world until we were classified as a heavily indebted poor country. This acted as an incentive for us to even heighten our campaign. Indeed, somewhere towards the end of the millennium, we managed to have our debt written off. The MMD managed the economy and it did very well.

Hon. Government Members: Question!

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mucheleka: It managed the external financing very well. 

Mr Speaker, when the PF came into power, I think the external debt was somewhere around US$1 billion, but where are we now? It is now in its third year and we are already talking about going back to the US$7 billion within two to three years. This is not a prudent way of managing the economy. Yes, Zambia has attained the status of lower-middle earning income country and that has reduced the incentive of being able to attract aid. Instead, we are required to mobilise our own resources, including largely financing our development programmes.

Sir, I agree that there is a need and, indeed, the PF is in a hurry to implement all those developmental programmes and I have no problem with that, but I am worried by the manner in which we seem to be borrowing. Let us not pass the burden of settling this debt to the future generation. It is as if the PF Government wants to create a problem which it knows it will not solve because it will not be in power. It is being unfair. Is the PF Government able to streamline its operations with regard to the manner in which it wants to borrow?

Mr Speaker, I know that Zambia, as a country, attended the Busan High Level Meeting in Korea which talked about aid and development effectiveness, including loans and the kind of loans which we should borrow. We have borrowed, but what have we used the money for? Is it not true that the money that we have borrowed, if anything, has created an incentive for corruption? We all know that.

Sir, it is true, and hon. Ministers are on record as having pointed fingers at each other in terms of who is more involved in corruption than the other. No one has disputed that. We have seen how funds are being borrowed and used carelessly or should I say not being used wisely. We can borrow to enhance our production capacity, but we are not doing that. Instead, we are borrowing to spend our resources on sectors that will not bring quick returns on the economy.

Mr Speaker, I wish we could reflect on this matter soberly and look at what we are trying to do just now. We seem to be reversing the gains that we have made over the years because of our appetite to be a party or a Government that promises so much more than what it is able to provide. This is an opportunity which we have to enhance our domestic resource mobilisation. 

Sir, what we need, at this stage, is to look at the options that are available for us. To me, the mining sector appears to be the only option. What is coming out of the mining sector? It is very sad that the PF Government campaigned on the platform of coming to restore the Windfall Tax, but that has not happened. It is very sad that, at this stage, only less than 8 per cent of the money from the mining sector is what is remaining in this country.

Mr Speaker, people are pretending to be irritated by what is happening. They all know where the tax avoidance is coming from. They all know the pricing which is being used in the mining sector and they know what they need to do, but they are not doing it. This is why the perception out there is that some people seem to be benefiting from what is going on. That is unacceptable. I would rather you came to this House and told us how you are going to enhance domestic resource mobilisation and we will support that. I, and the people of Lubansenshi Constituency, will not support this kind of borrowing which does not give us any hope.

Sir, the only thing the PF Government is doing is to seriously take us into another debt trap. This will not be acceptable and we shall resist it. Not too long ago, there was a Motion in this House which was moved by Hon. Mwale where we said that we needed to involve Parliament with regard to borrowing. I would like to advise the PF Government to come back to us and tell us why it intends to borrow and on what this money will be used. We will not give them a blank cheque. The PF Government should tell us why it wants to borrow and we will debate that and agree. We will not have a problem if we think that it is borrowing for the right reasons. 

However, Mr Chairperson, if the Government comes here to ask for a blank cheque to borrow up to US$ 7 billion, then, that is not the right way of doing things. 

Mr Speaker, my last appeal is for the Government to strengthen the manner in which it enhances the tax administration. The Government should strengthen the capacity of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), which is supposed to be responsible for collecting tax, and it should also look at how it can broaden the domestic resource mobilisation.

Sir, the Government is talking about external borrowing, but it should look at what is happening with regard to domestic borrowing. We have a huge challenge even there. If we added the US$7 billion, which the Government is talking about, to the debt that has been contracted through domestic borrowing, how much will it come to? I would rather see the hon. Minister indicating how he intends to raise, at least, over 23 per cent of the GDP as a form of domestic resource mobilisation. The hon. Minister needs to indicate this to us so that we can support it.

Mr Speaker, having said that, I do not support this Motion.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I wish to open my contribution to this debate by saying, please, do not do it.

Hon. Opposition Member: Samvela 

Mr Mulusa: Do not do it. Withdraw this Motion. If there is a time to create a legacy that people will remember you for, hon. Minister of Finance, it is now. I beg you not to do it.

Mr Speaker, the question here is when the PF knew that it had to raise the limit by 75 per cent. It is a paradox and I will unpack it.

Sir, the IMF comes into this country and gives instructions for us to withdraw subsidies. It further goes to tell us to freeze wages and employment. We have a Budget of which 10 per cent is not being funded by money generated locally. We are borrowing and there is a portion for grants. This means that the donor communities, including the IMF, have a say on the way we run our fiscal policy. My deductive reasoning tells me that the IMF is the one that gave the instruction for this Government to increase its borrowing limit and I will explain why.

Mr Speaker, in the last quarter of 2008, the global financial and capital markets were faced with a crisis and a lot of banks collapsed. After that, there was more prudence in the lending activities in the financial sector. Even Basel II was upgraded to Basel III and everybody was to be complaint. Every investor has a credit policy and a portfolio split that gets approved by the board of directors and there is no flexibility.

Sir, today, those who were darlings of the markets, the developed nations, are no longer so. The emerging economies such as our own are the darlings of the market. The split which I am talking about, which gets approved by the board of directors, is one where there is a guidance that, for instance, you shall lend 50 per cent of your portfolio to emerging markets because that is where they have seen that the risk profile is low. They will say that you can only lend 30 per cent to the developed nation and 20 per cent to the private sector. That is an investor who is stuck with this money, which is 50 per cent, because the emerging markets are not coming forth to borrow. So, how does the financial sector respond? It responds by creating clients. 

Mr Speaker, at a personal level, a bank can call and tell you that you qualify to drive a Mercedes Benz and that it can fund it even when you did not ask for it. It was unsolicited. The IMF is acting for those investors who are stuck with money. The global economy is stuck with huge resources in terms of funds that have no borrowers so we are being created as borrower. The only reason the IMF asked for subsidies to be removed and freeze wages was because it wants to create an assured positive net cash flows to repay the loans that it will force us to borrow when we do not need it. 

Mr Speaker, I moved a Motion on the Floor of this House in which I was calling this Government to reinstate subsidies and I gave thirty-one ways in which it could raise more than the limit that it wants to borrow. I calculated K40 trillion then, which is K40 billion now. Why is the Government not harnessing that capacity? I gave it several ideas.

Sir, our domestic revenue is sitting at 19.4 per cent of our GDP. The best economy in the world, Norway, collects 60 per cent towards the GDP in terms of domestic revenue. That tells you that we have potential head room of 40 per cent in which to broaden our tax base and collect more money. We do not need to borrow.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulusa: Sir, if the oldest hon. Member of Parliament, who is on the other side of the House, is eighty-two years old and the youngest, who is also on that side, is thirty-one or thirty-two years old, that means that is a fifty-year difference. The one who is eighty- two years old is not going to walk back thirty years, but the one who is thirty-two years old, with God on his side, will walk another fifty years to eighty-two. So, will you who is eighty-two years old be there to be responsible for this repayment? This money will not be paid over one year. It will be paid over twenty or thirty years and some of it will be rolled out. Let us not do it.

Mr Speaker, how did the MMD Government, despite having a limit of K20 billion to borrow, restrain itself and managed to grow the economy with spectacular trajectories? Why is it failing to happen with the PF Government? Secondly, the money that is being spent on infrastructure development, like others have said, will not create reproductive capacity in the economy because project choice is politically rather than economically motivated.

Sir, when the Government is building ten roads, it should carry out an analysis so that roads cross subsidise each other and support each other. For instance, if there is a road which should have been a priority to build, it is the Chingola/Solwezi Road because it is the one that is earning 20 per cent of our tax income.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mulusa: However, the Government has chosen to work on social roads all over the show which are politically motivated. 

Sir, I know that due to the arrogance of numbers, this Motion will go through, but it will be extremely sad. I know that in the heart of hearts of each of the hon. Members of Parliament on the other side, they are convinced that this is not right, but since they have to be politically correct, they will support this. It will be extremely sad and that is why I dare say, do not do it.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion on the Floor of the House which I support.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mpundu: Mr Speaker, raising the debt ceiling is consistent with the provisions of the Loans and Guarantees Act, Cap. 366 of the Laws of Zambia, which gives as follows: 

“The Minister of Finance, the sole authority to raise in the Republic or elsewhere, short and long-term financing within certain limits as the Minister shall, from time to time, be authorised by resolution of the National Assembly, prescribed by Statutory Instrument.”

Mr Speaker, the projected debt service for 2014, taking into account the proposed debt ceiling by the hon. Minister of Finance, is sustainable because it falls below the 30 per cent domestic revenue ceiling projection which is at K8.8 billion. I would like to take the hon. Members to comparative figures. How does Zambia compare, in terms of Government debt, to the GDP. Let us look at notable countries around the world.  


Country        Highest Percentage    Lowest     Percentage

Angola        104     20 

Ghana        125    26

Kenya        60    45

Egypt        103    70

South Africa        43    27.0

Zambia        277        4.4


Country        Highest Percentage    Lowest Percentage

Germany            82    55

Netherlands        76    45

United Kingdom    88    81

Country     Highest Percentage        Lowest Percentage

Canada        101        66

USA    121    31

Country    Highest Percentage        Lowest Percentage

China    33    1 

This is attributable to the high foreign direct investment (FDI)

India    84        67

Mr Speaker, with the proposed borrowing of K10.5 billion to support the 2014 Budget, the ratio will be below 29 per cent. 

Mr Speaker, the debt ceiling being proposed, certainly and clearly, is sustainable as indicated by the sustainability analysis which has been conducted for Zambia. It also compares favourably with the ratios that I have just read. It is also supportive of a growing economy. It is clear to all who understand this that we can only grow by consumption, meaning salaries. You can also grow by Government spending and only spend when it has money. You can also grow by private investment. Equally, you can grow by way of net exports over imports. 

Mr Speaker, failure to support this Motion means that the 2014 Budget, which we are considering, at the moment, will then collapse. I, therefore, urge everybody to support this Motion.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by reminding the House on the risk of basking in the empty glory of statistical euphoria. We, in Chipata, do not want to hear about statistics. The truth is that in Zambia, eight out of ten people are living in poverty. That is a fact. Out of that, 63 per cent are living in abject poverty. So, we should target reducing those numbers in whatever we do. I am not going to talk about a lot of issues which people do not understand. 

Sir, there is nothing wrong with borrowing because it can grow an economy. However, it is what we do with the resources that we borrow that matters. In this case, we have we have been studying and making contributions towards the content of the Yellow Book, but it is not targeting the poverty problem. The number one enemy of Zambia is poverty. The number one enemy of the PF Government and not the MMD or the UPND is poverty. Together, we are facing this serious problem of poverty. 10 per cent, as has been mentioned, of our Budget is borrowed funds. Even with borrowed funds, how do we come to this House and say, we are going to support building towers for telephones and televisions which the private sector is doing? Let us not use the resources to build those towers which the private sector can do. Why can the Government not use that money prudently to avoid increasing the ceiling for borrowing?

Sir, if the Government is going to borrow money in order to engage into the importation of fertiliser, which the private sector can do very easily, is that the right usage of funds? Definitely, the answer is no. If we are borrowing money, and yet 70 per cent of the Budget we are looking at is money going to support salaries, are we using our funds prudently? The answer is definitely, no. If we realise that we are a poor country, but allow unnecessary expenditure on issues like by-elections, which have turned the Ministry of Finance upside down in terms of resource utilisation, should we allow ourselves to sit here and say we should borrow more money? The answer is, no. 

Mr Speaker, if we were given a tabulation of what the increment from K20 billion, at any given time, to K35 billion is going to be used for, for instance, putting up taps for the people of Chipata in order for them to have clean water, I would definitely agree to increasing the ceiling. If we are going to borrow money and then use it to help our pupils who are learning in mud-and-pole classrooms, and at the moment are getting soaked, I would encourage the hon. Minister to go ahead and borrow. If we are going to borrow money and see to it that there is an allocation in the Budget towards the procurement of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners, ten computed tomography (CT) scanners and dialysis machines for hospitals in Zambia so that the people can be supported in the provincial capitals, then, I would support the increment. What are we using our money for? It is being used for the wrong things and for that reason, unfortunately, even I, standing here, representing the people of Chipata Central, am saying that we should not increase the ceiling. Let it be low so that we can learn to use our own resources. 

Mr Speaker, the bowels of Zambia are being emptied of that mineral which is going out of the country. Every day, each 30-tonne truck you see carrying those blisters is K2.1 billion worth of copper, which is going out. 

Sir, when you do simple mathematics, thirty tonnes by US$7,000 will come to about K2.1 billion. So much wealth is going out. We should tax these miners a little more. If they have to run away, let them start running away.

Hon. Opposition Member: Tell them.

Mr Mtolo: Mr Speaker, we all know that they will not go away. If we tax the miners properly, we do not have to borrow this amount of money.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mtolo: Sir, instead of coming up with highfalutin terms like Debt Sustainability Analysis, I think that the experts at the Ministry of Finance should do an analysis on how much we are getting from the mines and advise the hon. Minister properly. I think we should be passionate about our country. This is our country and we own it. We should not go for more debt. As my colleagues have ably said, we will leave a debt trap which we suffered so much to eradicate. The first party in power left a huge debt. The MMD Government could have done a lot of bad things, but one good thing it did was eradicate debt. Why are we now rushing to get entangled in debt when we have so many resources? Why should we do that? Let us manage our economy properly.

 For that reason, Sir, I would not sit here and support the increment of this debt level. Let us manage the debt level where it is and I think K20 billion is not bad. Much as it was in 1998 when it was last reviewed, there is nothing wrong with it. We have enough resources in our country from which we can raise money and run our economy without having to entangle ourselves in more debt. With those few remarks, I would like to say that I do not quite support the Motion on the Floor.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I am very reluctant to support the Motion to authorise an increase in the hon. Minister’s capacity to borrow. I am reluctant because I sat on that side of the House when we, as country, were proud to be called a highly indebted poor country. As humiliating as it sounds to be highly indebted and poor, we were proud to be called that. In fact, we went to various meetings in order for us to qualify to be called a highly indebted poor country so that our debt could be forgiven, to a large extent.

Mr Speaker, I stand here worried that unless the PF Government is reminded of where we are coming from, we could very easily, again, want to be called a highly indebted poor country. I am afraid it is not a very good tag for a country like ours to have. 

Mr Speaker, our Debt Sustainability Analysis is, to a very great extent, supported by our copper earnings. We are, in short, a copper country and we all know that our copper prices are determined out there on the global market. We know that there is volatility and that there could be external shocks that could drop the copper prices to a level where we could not sustain our debt if carelessly accrued. 

Mr Speaker, the answer is not for us to give the hon. Minister of Finance a blank cheque. This is because by doing that we will be telling him to carelessly borrow. We want to remind the hon. Minister that by having an insatiable appetite to borrow, we are encumbering future generations who are going to have to repay the debt that we are contracting now. 

Hon. Opposition Member: Yes!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the debt that some of us had to pay during the belt-tightening years of the Chiluba Government was huge. This debt was contracted by those who were in the Government, then and believed that copper could sustain our economy, but alas it did not.

Mr Speaker, the key is for us to ensure that we build our capacity to investigate and probe the process of copper mining, processing, selling and get to understand why our copper first has to go to one destination before it goes to its final destination. We need to ensure that we listen to the civil society organisations that are continuously complaining about the extractive industry making our people poorer instead of making them richer.

Mr Speaker, in 1965, the Zambian economy grew … 

Mr Simbao: Were you born by then?

Ms Namugala:I was one-year old. The Zambian economy grew by 16 per cent. Unfortunately, he is not here, but when Hon. Dr Guy Scott, with his friends, was in charge of the economy in 1994 when we experienced negative growth. 

Mr Mbulakulima: That is where we are going again. 

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, this is where we are going. If we do not manage the debt and our propensity to continuously borrow, we will find ourselves on the wrong side of the coin. 

Mr Speaker, we have spoken about the need to diversify the economy as a way of continuing to grow our GDP. The agricultural sector has great potential to contribute more to the GDP and we are messing it up.

Mr Speaker: Can you withdraw the term ‘messing it up’, hon. Member for Mafinga.

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, I withdraw that phrase. 

Mr Speaker, we are undermining the capacity of the agricultural sector to contribute to the GDP effectively. Why are we doing that? It is because we are not investing enough, for instance, in irrigation. Yes, I acknowledge that the road infrastructure is important to grow the agricultural sector, but we need to do more and empower our farmers for them to grow high value crops. We need to ensure that even though, sometimes, it is referred to as a social cash transfer, the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP) should continue at a price that the MMD Government left it at, which is …

Hon. MMD Members: Yes!

Ms Namugala: … K50 per bag of fertiliser.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, that way, the Government will ensure that our people have enough money in their pockets.


Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Ms Namugala: Mr Speaker, the reality is that unless we reduce our dependence on copper, we are going to continue to borrow when we do not need to. We need to grow our agricultural sector because this is one of the countries that can grow almost anything and become the bread basket of the region. We need to grow the tourism sector. This is another sector that will not just create wealth for individuals and for the country going to reduce poverty. This is because we know that our tourism endowments are in rural areas where our poverty levels are highest. We are not doing well in tourism and we need to invest more money. We invested so much money in Livingstone in preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), but what about the other areas. Tourism is not just about Livingstone. What about the Kasaba Bay? What about the other areas in the Southern Province that also have the potential? 

In short, Sir, we need to diversify our economy if we are to continue borrowing sustainably. The hon. Minister may want to borrow, but this is a lazy way of raising resources. There are more complicated ways which we should be doing and that is broadening our tax base and diversifying our economy. Are we sure that enough people are being captured in the tax net? Are we truly sure that, as a Government, we have exhausted all local avenues of raising revenue before we can go out there and borrow more?

Mr Speaker, as the hon. Member for Solwezi Central said, most of us will not be here when it is time to re-pay the debt that we want to contract. The dangers are too many. For instance, we do not know how long the copper prices will hold. Let us not do it because we have already borrowed too much. Let us halt the process now. 

Sir, I understand the need for the PF to move quickly and build all roads, schools and clinics, but, please, let us do it cautiously because if we do not, we are going to encumber future generations and reduce their capacity to develop Zambia. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Dr Musokotwane (Luena): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this chance to contribute to the debate on the Floor. My contribution is in the form of advice. 

Sir, we are being asked to raise the borrowing limit from K20 billion to K35 billion. As Hon. Mulusa said, in one goal, we are increasing this borrowing limit by 75 per cent, which is quite substantial and should obviously raise questions. In United States Dollar terms, at the current exchange rate, we are being asked to increase the limit from US$3.7 billion to about US$6.5 billion, which is a substantial amount.  

Mr Speaker, where are we with regard to debt? If I remember correctly, the hon. Minister indicated that the current external debt sits at about US$3.2 billion from about US$1.5 in 2011. In reality, I suspect that the actual amount is slightly higher if we include the so-called contingent liabilities, which I am not too sure are included in this amount. Contingent liabilities are those amounts of money which potentially can become real debt. For the time being, these amounts are not real debt probably because there are negotiations, litigations whose judgment has not yet been passed. 

Off-hand, Sir, I can think of the Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) liability. There is no question about the fact that the Libyan company transmitted close to US$400 million to acquire ZAMTEL in contingency fees. Obviously, they will not accept that this money simply goes into the drain. It is a contingent liability subject to judgment or agreement with the Government. At the moment, the amount is US$400 million, but with time, I do not expect it to be less than US$500 million. It is the same thing with the Railway Systems of Zambia (RSZ). When  added up, plus some other smaller amounts, I suspect we could already be owing US$3.7 billion, which means that, in fact, we could have already reached the existing limit and, perhaps, exceeded it. Therefore, the debt issue is obviously a very serious one. 
Mr Speaker, as you heard from many of my colleagues, there is a lot of disquiet about the debt situation in the country. My colleagues have already indicated a number of reasons, but I would like to include a few more. Firstly, the rate at which this indebtedness is climbing is alarming.  Two years ago, we owed US$1.5 billion. Today, we owe US$3.5 billion. Two years from now, we will be talking about an increment of US$2 billion. This is too fast. 

Someone talked about how UNIP increased the debt from zero to about US$7.5 billion in twenty-seven years, but we are accruing US$2 billion in two years. It is very worrying.  

Sir, in the Yellow Book, it is indicated that there is US$2 billion worth of bonds to be issued this year. Therefore, if we owe US$3.7 billion now and add another US$2 billion in two years, the debt will be at US$5.7 billion. In three years, we wILL have moved from US$1.5 to US$5.7 billion. This is getting very close to where we were when we got debt relief. The rate at which we are acquiring this debt is definitely very worrying. 

Mr Speaker, the other problem is that this debt is being bunched up because we are borrowing very quickly within a short period of time. It follows, then, that when the debt falls due, we will have to look for a huge sum of money in a very short period of time. 

Ms Imenda entered the Assembly Chamber together with Mr Mwale, wearing a beret-like hat.


Mr Mushanga: Cadet!

Dr Musokotwane: What is the problem? 

Mr Speaker: You can continue. It appears like one of the hon. Members has been arrested.  

You may continue.


 Dr Musokotwane: Thank you, Sir. 

Sir, this debt is being acquired within a very short period of time. This follows that when it falls due, a huge amount of money will be required to pay it off. In other words, when the first Eurobond matures, within the next two to three years, we must find about US$5 or US$6 billion to pay it back. The chances of default, then, of course, increase. 

Sir, there are some people who say that we will not default because we will roll-over the debt. In other words, we will borrow from B to pay A. There is no guarantee that, at a particular point, the economic conditions in Zambia will allow for a roll-over. Countries like Greece are in trouble today because the debt became too high and when they went to the market to try to roll-over, they failed and could only do so at very exorbitant rates. Bunching up of debt is worrying a lot of people.

Mr Speaker, the third source of worry is that, once again, because we are borrowing so quickly within a very short period of time, we will have exhausted our room to borrow when it will be necessary for us to borrow. Supposing a crisis arose, for instance, the copper prices collapsed and there was a need to borrow, then, and it so happened that we would have already exhausted our borrowing room, what would happen? These are the dangers that I think we are all facing. The dangers have been noticed in today’s Zambian Watchdog. There is a story attributed to the Resident Representative of the IMF here in which he was giving a speech or something like that. He referred to the fact that Zambia is acquiring debt at an unsustainably fast rate. It is there and you can read it for yourself.

Dr Kaingu: Umm!

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, the World Bank Report that indicated the employment situation a few weeks ago also referred to the situation. The credit agencies are also getting worried, hence Zambia’s being downgraded and so on and so forth.

Dr Kaingu: Already.

Dr Musokotwane: These are issues that we need to be aware of. 

Mr Speaker, what are the alternatives? Some of these alternatives, I think, have been referred to by my colleagues who debated earlier. The first one is that when the PF was campaigning in 2011, it expressed disquiet about debt. It said that once it was elected into Government, it would re-introduce the Windfall Tax. We, as the MMD, did not support that for the reasons that we gave, but since God gave the PF the chance to implement what it wanted to, because it believed in it so much, why is it not doing it?

Dr Kaingu: Why has it not been done?

Mr Musukwa: It was your problem.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the PF is responsible now that it is in the Government. It promised to re-introduce the Windfall Tax to the Zambian People. The trouble about the colleagues that side, which the people of Zambia are worried about, is that when they are reminded about the million promises they made, they just answer by stating that those were mere campaign gimmicks. This is what you are saying.

Hon. Government Members: Who? Who says that?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, just concentrate on your debate.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the key point I was making is that the PF was very convinced that the Windfall Tax was a viable route so, rather than pile us with debt, can it just do what it promised to do.

Mr Speaker, the other alternative is that of the public-private partnerships (PPP). I believe that some of these major projects that are being undertaken do not need to come as debt to Zambia. They are projects that can be sold to the private sector which can then risk its money in undertaking investment in this infrastructure. The risk, then, moves from the tax payer of Zambia to those capitalists who will be undertaking these projects. I believe that the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport was due for a PPP, but the PF Government cancelled that arrangement. I would like to know how this project will be financed because I think the PPP project was going to cost about US$100 million. However, now we are told that it is going to cost US$300 million. I do not know if this is borrowed money or whether it will come from the Treasury. However, I think the Government knows that the PPP arrangement can quickly bring infrastructure to our country without getting all of us in to debt.

Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I would also want to say that the PF today is spending a lot of money. It is like a formula has been discovered which says that the way to bring development is to spend. The money that is being spent today came about as a result of other administrations thinking through policies …

Dr Kaingu: Yes.

Dr Musokotwane: … of how to create wealth for this country. Today, the money that is being spent comes from the mining investments that people like President Mwanawasa, SC. and Mr Rupiah Banda struggled so hard to bring to this country.

Dr Kaingu: Yes.

Dr Musokotwane: This is how agriculture went up. The previous administration invested in policies and money to improve agriculture and today we can collect taxes from those areas. This is where this money is coming from.

Mr Muntanga: They are now throwing it away.

Dr Musokotwane: We still have to hear about a mine that has been opened by this administration.

Dr Kaingu: Nothing.

Dr Musokotwane: We still have to hear about major tourism projects that have been initiated by this administration.

Dr Kaingu: Nothing.

Dr Musokotwane: We still have to hear about major agriculture projects like Nakambala II that is yet to be initiated by this country.

Dr Kaingu: Nothing.

Dr Musokotwane: So, I will illustrate it like this. The PF Government is like a woman who sees … 

Mr Muntanga: Oh!

Dr Musokotwane: … a happily married couple and admires the way they live well. She then plots on how to get the man for herself. She goes to tell the man, “You see, your wife just gives you porridge for breakfast and then, maybe, pumpkins for lunch and nshima in the evening. If you marry me, I am going to do better.” Upon hearing that, the man decides to leave his wife and to marry the woman, but what does the woman do? She quickly runs through the granary by cooking a huge amount of nshima everyday and leaving a lot of leftovers to be thrown away.

Mr Muchima: Make chibwantu.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, the logic here is that when you are not careful, you quickly run through the resources that you find already generated by other people by being extravagant because you did not suffer to formulate policies to generate those resources. In the same vein, this is what is happening.

Dr Kaingu: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, I urge this Government to work very hard. The only way to generate resources to spend on infrastructure is not by borrowing, borrowing and borrowing. The ultimate answer is to generate resources.

Dr Kaingu: Yes.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, for example, the Government can create farming blocks or make use of the ones that we left behind.

Dr Kaingu: Yes.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, by now, the Kasaba Bay Tourism Project would have been a major conference centre in the world and bring resources to the country. However, the Government has abandoned it.

Hon. Government Members: Who?

Dr Musokotwane: So, how does it, now, create the wealth if all it does is spend?

Dr Kaingu: They are building towers.

Dr Musokotwane: Sir, if the Government continues to spend, I am sorry to say this, but within a few years, the same thing that happened under UNIP will happen to Zambia again.

Dr Kaingu: Hear, hear!

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, finally, I do agree with the analysis that was made that, for now, the numbers for debt sustainability are positive, but that is premised on the basis that the status quo is maintained. The status quo can change anytime. The price of copper, which determines our economy so much, can change anytime and that debt sustainability can just take a sudden twist.

Finally, Mr Speaker, when the Government talks about countries like India having a debt to the GDP ratio of 60 per cent, does it know how many years it took to get there? It took decades. However, look at the way the debt is increasing in Zambia. It is doubling every two years. At this rate, can you be assured of debt sustainability in the next five to ten years?

Hon. Opposition Members. No.

Dr Musokotwane: I do not think so. Mr Speaker, my advice, once again, is that it is too simplistic to think that development can come about just by borrowing and not doing anything to generate resources. This is not the way development comes about.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I need to balance the scales on the left.

Dr Kaingu: I do not seem to understand.

Mr Hamududu (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, a time comes when a nation must stand together and its citizens be frank with each other and rise above the political divides that are very artificial. I think the country matters most. Above the party positions, the country must come first …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours to 1830 hours.{mospagebreak}

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was saying that we have come a long way on the issue of debt. I want to say that the issue of borrowing should be non-partisan because it is about this generation and that which is unborn. Therefore, we must be responsible.

Sir, the Budget, in the past three years of the PF Government, has actually doubled. This is unprecedented. It has doubled with a backdrop of implementation problems. The issue has not been a lack of money, but poor prioritisation and planning.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, the 2013 Budget has a backdrop of a Budget overrun, unprecedented Budget Deficit, fiscal indiscipline and unplanned expenditures and I am going to give examples. This time, I must tell you, my colleagues in the Government, the truth because we are friends and we must be frank with each other. Do not be petty because this country is bigger than you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, there are two issues I want to narrow in on my debate and these are credibility and prudence. Even when, for example, there is a compelling need to borrow, the PF Administration lacks credibility. For example, we have seen that this Government is not walking with the people in making sacrifices. It is running the biggest Cabinet in the history of this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Yet, is it saying that there is no money.

Sir, later on in my debate, I am going to propose the way forward, but first of all, let us identify the problems we are facing.

Firstly, the Government must walk with the people by reducing the Cabinet and the number of ministries. I have debated on this issue twice in here until someone wrote me a note from the other side telling me that they have heard, but it seems that they have not heard. There are a lot of expenditures that are not at the core of our development agenda. Each ministry is experimenting by coming up with a lot of funny things, neglecting the core issues of our development. The hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock is under pressure, and yet money is not being allocated to the sector which is key to our development agenda. Where is the money going?

Mr Speaker, first of all, the Government must address its credibility issue because it is not credible enough to borrow money. 


Mr Hamududu: Sir, I am going to give examples and I have given one which is having a huge Cabinet, which is unprecedented. We know what having over seventy hon. ministers comes along with. It has never happened before. This Government has broken the record in this country and it contradicts itself when it says that there is no money.

Mr Speaker, the other issue is about the new districts. I have argued here that development does not come about by having many districts, not at all. In Chikankata, we need more secondary schools and not new districts so that the children can go to school. We also need better roads. I have mentioned this before in this House.

Sir, even the biggest economy in Africa, which is South Africa, does not have as many districts as we have. The creation of so many new districts, which are unbudgeted for, is the cause of the Budget overrun we are currently experiencing, hence, the pressure to borrow. So, can we set our priorities right. We can suspend the creation of new districts. The structure that has been built for the district administration in Chikankata can be transformed into a secondary school. The Government needs to review its strategy. We can stop the development of that project and save money. 

Mr Speaker, the way our colleagues are rolling out the new universities is not right. We are not against the creation of new universities, but there must be a way of rolling them out according to our resource envelope. A university has been put up in Chalimbana, but a stone throw away, there is another university. We have advised the Government to move the School of Agriculture from the University of Zambia (UNZA) to Palabana. The School of Education at UNZA must also be moved to Chalimbana. There is a need to move these schools under one super structure because what is costly for universities is the management by the senate.

Mr Speaker, the Kwame Nkrumah Teachers College in Kabwe, which is being turned into a university, does not need to be a separate university. Let it be a School of Education under Mulungushi University. This will save money on the issues that our colleagues want to borrow for.

Mr Speaker, I also want to comment on the unco-ordinated construction of roads. The plans for roads are not synchronised. Despite the rehabilitation of roads, farmers are not being supported. So, who are these roads being made for? I went to Chiawa and found roads being constructed, but who is going to be using these roads? How can you have this unprecedented …


Mr Speaker: Order, on the left! Order!

Please, have a sense of judgment.

You may continue, hon. Member for Bweengwa.

Mr Hamududu: There is an unprecedented road infrastructure roll out without corresponding investment in the associated sectors so that we have use for these roads. Is the Government telling me that it is rolling out this infrastructure because there are other benefits? We must be very careful. Research has shown that many regimes that go into infrastructure development and neglect key sectors like education and health engage in misappropriation of public funds. Perhaps, there are issues of commissions and inflated figures. Are some people getting commissions from these projects? 

Sir, what is the interest in constructing many roads when our children are not going to school? The greatest investment the Government can make is in its people before it can even construct roads. Who are we making the roads for? We are not saying we should not construct roads. We are saying that our development agenda should be co-ordinated and balanced. While we work on the roads, we should also address other issues so that the plans speak to each other. 

Sir, the other issue is still on the credibility of the PF Administration. There is an unprecedented recall of ambassadors. When these people are recalled, they have to be paid. Even the movement of their goods is at the Government’s expense. On the other hand, the Government is opening new missions and taking staff there. The world trend now is that countries are downsizing on foreign missions. Even to get a visa to our former coloniser is through South Africa. Who are we to continue opening new embassies abroad? Do they add any value to this country? 

Sir, let us downsize the number of embassies. We can group them. Some of these must just be consulates for obtaining passports with a full embassy at the regional centre. The world is moving that way, including rich countries. Who are we to open embassies everywhere? Where is the money for such programmes? 

Mr Speaker, there is also an unprecedented retirement of Permanent Secretaries (PSs). Why should we do this to our fellow Zambians just because of petty politics? The Ruling Party is replacing the PSs with cadres who do not even know anything to the detriment of implementation of national programmes. The civil servants are being de-motivated. Implementation of public programmes is poor in this country. The PF should leave the Civil Service alone and appoint its cadres within its budget. On the other hand, the people being retired in national interest must be paid their retirement packages and left with cars, among other benefits.

Mr Speaker, the Government just keeps employing and firing people over and over. How can a young man be employed at a parastatal like the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) and fire his friends? We are one country. Therefore, we should not create divisions in this country. Nepotism will not be accepted.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Hon. Nkombo: Ndondiwe ngo tu shoma.

Hon. Hamududu: There is so much nepotism in this country. People will stand up to the Executive for this. The lives of innocent people who hail from you are being endangered. There are good people from all parts of this country. Therefore, the bad behaviour of some of our colleagues must not incite people to fight each other. This is a reality because we are not living in a vacuum.

Mr Speaker, I want to suggest something. The positive debt sustainability is based on exogenous factors, factors outside our control. Hon. Namugala has explained ably that these ratings are based on the copper price. If it drops, these ratings fly away. This is not endogenous, but something out of our control. Until the fundamentals of this economy begin to drive our ratings, we must not cheat ourselves that we have a good rating. This rating is supported by the copper price over which we have no control. The copper price can plummet like it did in 2008/9 when we were worried. It can happen and you have no control. Therefore, do not borrow on factors that you have no control over. 

Mr Speaker, the Government must question this debt sustainability analysis. It is not properly premised. It is not based on our endigenous factors which are within our control. Today, we have a solution. My own good friend, Hon. Mpundu, raised an issue that if we do not grant the hon. Minister the request, then, the Budget will collapse. That is not true. What we need to do now is adjourn and send this Budget back. The Government can work on it again. If the approval of this Budget is based on borrowing, we can downsize it so that we can walk within our means. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, this Budget is supposed to be passed before 31st December. Therefore, we have enough time. We can adjourn briefly for two weeks to clean it up and take the money where it really matters. You can give enough money to the agricultural sector,  …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Hamududu: It is very interesting how people can change. We used to talk together, your Honour the Vice-President. How can you change like that?


Mr Speaker: Order! Hon. Member for Bweengwa, address the Chair.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, I am very concerned about the integrity of Zambian politicians.

Mr Speaker: Manage your temperament as well. 


Mr Speaker: Order, on my left!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, I am concerned about the integrity of Zambian politicians and how they change even more than a chameleon. 

Mr Mufalali: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: We were on this side together and discussed in common caucuses and we thought that we meant well. Please, can we have integrity in public office?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Sir, when our colleagues were on this side of the House, they argued against the huge debt of just about a billion United States Dollars. Today, they want to borrow over US$5 billion dollars? By the time the PF Government finishes its term, we will be back to where we were before. Of course, the Government is saying that the economy has improved, but that is courtesy of the copper price. The Government has not invested in its people. There is no money for farmers, the people in tourism or to invest in human capital. 

Mr Speaker, let me look at the budget for education. We are saying that, this year, we have reached the 20 per cent threshold. Hidden in that is a very big amount to new universities which are crowding out the issues at the bottom of the pyramid where the majority of the children are.  Let me give you an example. It is unreasonable to build two universities in Muchinga. I suggest that one of the structures be turned into a technical school so that it can mop up the brightest children in the Northern Circuit to prepare them to go into the university. Just develop one university. You cannot have two universities in a new place where it will even be difficult to take lecturers. So, let us have a good technical school in the Northern Circuit. One of those two universities, like Paul Mushindo, must be a technical school.


Mr Hamududu: That is what used to happen in the Southern Province. We are all here courtesy of the good schools of the Southern Province. I was educated at a high mark secondary school. I was educated at Canicius. Schools such as Hillcrest used to get bright children and develop them from villagers to people like me and took them into university.

Please, stop the construction of the two universities in Muchinga Province or go ahead and construct one university, and turn the other one into a technical high school so that you can create a good feed for that university. It makes sense to do it that way. Please, let us schedule these projects properly, and I plead with my colleagues that we must be frank with each other. You have not been credible and prudent. Please, go back and work on this Budget again. Downsize it. Let us live within our means. I think that we can do even with a K32 billion Budget if we properly prioritise things and put our money into the key areas in the development agenda of this country. We have said over and over that there is enough money here and if you want help, we can sit together and help you. 

Mr Speaker, you can appoint a Committee from here and we can call witnesses. While the House goes on recess, we can sit and make suggestions to the Government on how we can clean up this Budget and produce the money for the construction of roads and universities in a properly arranged manner. There is a solution. Let us not be rigid. We are here to do what is right. If the Government is premising the approval of this Budget on that borrowing, I suggest that we briefly adjourn so that this Government can go and re-work on this Budget. If you want, a Committee from Parliament can be appointed and it can sit and suggest some solutions.

Mr Speaker, by the way, when your Committee, the Expanded Committee on Estimates, sat, it got wonderful submissions from stakeholders in this country. It has suggested to us the areas where the money is hiding, and we can mop that money and actually fund the key ministries, the economic ministries that will actually grow the economy so that we have the capacity to raise the taxes. 

Mr Speaker, with these few words, I want to conclude as follows …


Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, we borrowed the Eurobond. Do you know what is happening? I think that my friends have ably argued that we are borrowing almost at the same time, and the repayment will be almost at the same time. This is the point at which we will fail to service our debt because borrowing will have been done at almost the same time. The borrowing must be scheduled over time. As for us, if other factors are kept constant and, God willing, we are still here, we will have to deal with loan conditions and Vulture Funds. Who will come to our aid in paying these loans? 

Mr Speaker, let me go back to debt cancellation. For the first time, Zambians came together to handle this. By the way, Zambians have the ability to rise to the occasion. At the moment, I think that the PF Government is pushing people to a turning point where they will rise together against it …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: … because it is a danger to the Zambian people and the future of this country.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, where has the Eurobond money gone? It is like …


Mr Speaker: Order!

May I have order on the left.

Mr Hamududu: Mr Speaker, the borrowing is just increasing the capacity for abuse. We are creating a bigger capacity for abuse. When the Government borrows money externally, it, then, abuses that which is locally generated. Where is the Eurobond money? 

Mr Speaker, we are talking about the slow absorption capacity here. The Government is already paying interest on some loans, and yet it wants to borrow more money. Please, this is not personal. The emotion that I am expressing is about my passion for the country and our common heritage and wealth. We are not Lozi, Bemba or Tonga. We are Zambians. Those who are petty and are still hiding in their tribal groupings must come out. We are one Zambia and we share common wealth.

Mr Speaker, let me conclude. There was a Motion here …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Hamududu: … in which the hon. Minister agreed that he would come to this House to explain why he is borrowing. We were informed that we would debate the merits and demerits of that borrowing and determine whether we have exhausted other means of raising money. However, he has come here ahead of time with this Motion before bringing the amendment. He wants to borrow, now, so that when the amendment comes, it will be null and void and of no use. He wants to borrow first and bring the amendment later.

So, please, I speak with a lot of love and those who know me well know that I am above partisan issues, pettiness and what you accuse me of. I came to this House with my colleagues in the UPND with a call to serve. I am calling on all of you to stand up and serve this country and children. I think that there is greatness in admitting a mistake. Great people admit mistakes. This is a mistake and I want to ask you not to do it. I would like to urge the PF Government to rise up, show magnanimity, that it is great and listens to advice. We are cajoling it so that it actually stands for this country and the future generations.

Sir, this is the highest appeal I have ever made in this House and I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance will say that we should have a break so that we review this Budget. That is our hope.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, a matter of gravity like the indebtedness of the country is a matter of passion and emotion and so, we expect people to express very strong feelings. However, what I want to say is that the anxieties that exist on both sides of the House relate to our responsibility to posterity. Both sides of the House have children and possibly some of us have grand children. So, we have a duty to ensure that we do not lumber posterity with sustainable debt. 

Now, Sir, let us just contextualise things. This country underwent a debt trap. It was an awkward situation where our GDP was US$5 billion and the debt was in excess of US$7 billion. Since then, Zambia has had various Governments in place. We have worked hard and the GDP has grown very substantially. I felt a bit sad when the former hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Musokotwane, tried to bloat his own successes on which we are building.

Mr Speaker, the debt of our country must be related to the GDP. Of course, we do not want another debt trap. So, we are borrowing within the means. We are sticking to the limits. We are keeping the nation at a debt profile in sensible parameters. So, to that extent, the admonition of your hon. Members is taken into account. Your worries are very legitimate. Fiscal responsibility should be our anchor. It is detrimental to our country. As I said in my statement, debt sustainability tends to increase exponentially to the point where it becomes inerasable and we do not want that.

Sir, there is no borrowing which does not go through Parliament because if we did that, then, Parliament would not vote the money for the Government to service the debts. So, I think that, sometimes, we do not even understand the procedures. Anything that comes in as expenditure will ultimately efface the revenue and expenditure. If we spend and some of that expenditure entails borrowing, at a certain point, we will have to repay. That is a sanction passed by Parliament. There is no way that any Government is going to do these things stealthily.  Everything will be totally above board and transparent. We borrow in order to fulfill our development intentions and aspirations. External borrowing in the Budget will absorb something like US$7.5 billion. This is essentially why we are asking Parliament to lift the ceiling because some of the calculations here can be quite strange. 

If your borrowing level, now, is US20 billion and you are going to raise it to K35 billion, then, surely the increase is not 75 per cent, as Hon. Mulusa supported by the Former Chancellor, Hon. Dr Musokotwane were saying. It is not 75 per cent. It is only a 35 per cent increase. I want to address the facts.

Mr Speaker, the bottom line is that we have a gap in the Budget and we cannot take the over simplification of Hon. Hamududu of revising the Budget because it will not be possible. We have to finance infrastructure, which is the development of the country. We are not borrowing for recurrent expenditure. The money we borrowed last year has all been committed to areas of development in the power sector and the returns will not be overnight. For instance, the money we put in the power sector last year will yield results when we borrow next year. 

Mr Miyutu rose.


Mr Miyutu resumed his seat.

Mr Chikwanda: Going into 2015, we will already begin to export very significant amounts of power from Zambia from which we will earn substantial foreign exchange.

Mr Speaker, people talked about copper and exaggerated its impact on our economy. The mining sector used to account for substantial Government revenue, but it no longer does so. Contribution to the Government’s revenue by the mining sector is only at 5 per cent which, as I said, is far smaller than mining sectors in other countries. This is why I have said we will be coming to Parliament with a redesign of the mining taxation so that the country can get a fair return from its non- replenishable resources. We cannot do it outside Parliament.

Sir, copper contribution is important only in terms of foreign exchange. However, even in terms of foreign exchange, the non-mineral exports are increasing in value. By the end of the year, I think that the non-mineral exports will amount to US$3 billion. A substantial portion of that will be contributed by the agricultural sector, which is growing. If the agricultural sector was not growing, there would not have been this significant contribution to the export earnings by the non-mineral sector. 

Mr Speaker, we are making progress and I plead with hon. Members that we support this Motion. I think, in some cases, some hon. Members who are gifted with oratory eloquence overreached things. Hon. Mulusa, whom I can afford to talk about because he is my clans person, both of us being Lubas, made a very brilliant contribution, but somehow his script was slightly off tangent and somewhat adrift from reality.


Mr Chikwanda: I know how to make use of his ideas. He cannot patent the knowledge so, I can talk to him and he will not say no. I know that some of his ideas are very bright, but they need to be contextualised.


Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, hon. Members, as I said in the beginning of my statement, are custodians of the interests of the people and you are exercising this role of superintending over the interests of the Zambian people. They want to make sure that the Government does not go into fiscal irresponsibility and incur a debt which is totally unsustainable. So, their warnings …

Mr Muntanga rose.


Mr Chikwanda: … and admonishing are well taken into account in the spirit that they were speaking as custodians of the interests of the country.

I thank the hon. Members for the support. 

Hon. Opposition Members called for a division.

Question that, in terms of Section 3 of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, Chapter 366 of the Laws of Zambia, this House authorises the Minister of Finance to increase, by Statutory Instrument, the amount outstanding at any one time on external loans from twenty billion kwacha to thirty-five billion kwacha re-denominated currency, put and the House voted.

Ayes- (74)

Mrs Banda
Mr N. Banda
Mr Bwalya
Mr Chabala
Col. Chanda
Mr Chansa
Mr Chenda
Dr Chikusu
Mr Chikwanda
Mr Chilangwa
Dr Chilufya 
Mr Chingimbu
Mr Chisala
Mr Chishimba
Mr Chitotela
Mr S. Chungu
Mr Evans
Mrs Kabanshi
Mr Kambwili
Mr Kampyongo
Ms Kapata
Mr Kapaya
Mr Kapeya
Mr Kapyanga
Dr Katema
Col. Kaunda
Mrs Kawandami
Mr Kazabu
Mrs Kazunga
Mr Kosamu
Mr Kufuna
Mr Lubinda
Dr Lungu
Mr Lungu
Col. Lungu
Prof. Luo
Mr Mabumba
Mr Mwimba Malama
Mr Mbulu
Mr Monde
Mr Mpundu
Mr Mubukwanu
Mr Mukanga
Mr Mukata
Mr Mulenga
Mr Mumba
Mr Munkombwe
Mr Mushanga
Mr Musonda
Mr Mutale
Dr Mwali
Mr Mwaliteta
Mr Mwamba
Mr Mwango
Mr Mwenya
Mr Mwewa
Mr Namulambe
Mr P Ngoma
Mr Ng’onga
Dr Phiri
Dr Scott
Mr Shamenda
Mr Sichinga
Mr Sichone
Mr Sichula
Mr Sikazwe
Dr Simbyakula
Mr Simuusa
Mr Taundi
Mr Tembo
Prof. Willombe
Mrs Wina
Mr Zimba
Mr Zulu

Noes – (50)

Mr Antonio
Mr W. Banda
Mr Belemu
Mr Chipungu
Mr Chisanga
Mr Chitafu
Mr Habeenzu
Mr Hamududu
Mr Hamusonde
Ms Imenda
Dr Kaingu
Dr Kalila
Ms Kalima
Mr Katambo
Mr Katuka
Mr Kunda
Mr Livune
Mr Lombanya
Ms Lubezhi
Mr Lufuma
Prof. Lungwangwa
Mr M. Malama
Mrs Mazoka
Mr Mbewe
Mr Mbulakulima
Mr Miyutu
Mr Mooya
Mr Mtolo
Mr Mucheleka
Mr Muchima
Mr Mufalali
Mr Mulomba
Mr Mulusa
Mr Muntanga
Dr Musokotwane
Mr Mutati
Mr Mutelo
Mr Mwale
Mr Mwanza
Ms Namugala
Mr Ndalamei
Mr L. J. Ngoma
Mr Nkombo
Mr Pande
Mr P. Phiri
Rev. Lt-Gen. Shikapwasha
Mr Sianga
Mr Simbao
Mr Simfukwe
Mr Sing’ombe

Abstentions – (01)

Mr Sampa

Question that, in terms of Section 3 of the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act, Cap. 366 of the Laws of Zambia, this House authorises the hon. Minister of Finance to increase, by Statutory Instrument, the amount outstanding at any one time on external loans from twenty billion kwacha to thirty-five billion kwacha re-dominated currency accordingly agreed to.




VOTE 89 – (Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock – K3,031,654,385).

(Consideration resumed)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Sichinga): Mr Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity to deliver the policy statement on the 2014 Budget for the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. 


The Deputy Chairperson: Order ,on my right!

Mr Sichinga: As we begin to debate this ministry, I wish to remind the House that our budget comprises 28.5 per cent of the entire Yellow Book. It commences at page 1023 right through to page 1584, out of the 1965 pages and is under thirty-six sub-heads. This, Sir, is the extent to which the ministry is serving the grassroots up to the blocks and camps in constituencies. 

Mr Chairperson, the agricultural sector is a strategic area of focus in promoting economic growth, reducing poverty and creating employment and wealth for the many people of our country. In fact, the ministry has been tasked by Cabinet to create over 510,000 jobs over the next three years. Among the major and overarching objectives, we intend to launch the National Agriculture Policy (NAP), the Strategic Plan and to operationalise the National Agriculture Investment Plan (NAIP), which was launched in May, 2013. 

Mr Chairperson, allow me to highlight some of our key achievements that the ministry has been able to undertake in 2013. 

The Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP)

Mr Chairperson, while the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock planned to provide input subsidies to support 900,000 small-scale farmers with D-Compound fertiliser, urea and seed in 2013, the number that requires support is estimated at 1,417,000 small-scale farmers. The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock contracted the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) to manufacture, supply and distribute a total of 96,328 metric tonnes of D-Compound, at a total cost of K5,009,716. 50. 

The bulk of this fertiliser, 96,328 metric tonnes of D-Compound, has been distributed to all the 106 district centres. The district agricultural co-ordinators commenced the distribution and are now busy distributing the fertiliser and seed to the respective agricultural blocks and camps. 

Mr Muntanga: There is no seed.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Chairperson, in addition, a total of 91,985.5 metric tonnes of top dressing fertiliser, urea, was included in the procurement plan for the 2013/2014 Agricultural Season, of which 50,000 metric tonnes has been procured from Saudi Arabia at a total cost of K105 million, equivalent to US$19 million, cost insurance and freight (CIF), to Dar-es-Salam. A substantial part of the consignment has now been received in the country and some of the provinces have been serviced and it is also being distributed to all the districts. It is planned that the distribution of urea will be completed by the end of December, 2013. 

In addition, our ministry, through the FISP, has commenced the distribution of 9,654.61 metric tonnes of various seeds that include maize, sorghum, rice, cotton and groundnuts to small-scale farmers. 

Crop Diversification 

Mr Chairperson, in the past, the crop production pattern has been dominated by maize production. However, in our drive to promote agricultural diversification in the country, our ministry has embarked on providing input subsidies to a variety of crops, among them, cotton, sorghum, rice and groundnuts. 

Mr Chairperson, as a result of these measures the crops sub-sector recorded an upward trend in the planting of other crops.

The Deputy Chairperson: Order!

(Debate adjourned)



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

(Progressed reported)




The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to. 

The House adjourned at 1917 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 28th November, 2013.