Debates - Wednesday, 24th February, 2016

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Wednesday, 24th February, 2016

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to issue this statement, which is an update on the implementation of the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System under the 2015/2016 Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). The statement has been necessitated by your ruling on a point of order that was raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central, Mr Mwiimbu, on 17th February, 2016, regarding the administration of the e-Voucher System in Monze Central Constituency.

Sir, before I respond to the point of order, which is specific to the Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency, allow me to apprise the House on how the e-Voucher System is performing nationwide. 

Mr Speaker, the House might recall that the e-Voucher System was officially launched on 12th October, 2015, in Choma District, Southern Province, by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The programme is being piloted in thirteen districts, including Monze. 

Mr Speaker, the farmers meant to benefit from FISP are selected by the Camp Agricultural Committees (CAC), through their respective farmer organisations, particularly farmer co-operatives. Upon being selected according to the criteria stipulated in the FISP Implementation Manual, the farmers have to deposit their contributions before they can access the inputs. Key criteria for farmer selection include:

(a)    being a registered small-scale farmer and being actively involved in farming within the camp coverage area;

(b)    cultivating a maximum of five hectares of land;

(c)    having the capacity to pay the prescribed farmer contribution towards the total cost of the pack;

(d)    not concurrently benefiting from the food security pack (FSP) programme run by the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare; and

(e)    not being in default of liability to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) or any other agricultural credit programme.

Mr Speaker, to reiterate what I said in October, 2015, the successful implementation of the e-Voucher will depend on the following:

(a)    level of co-operation in the pilot districts;

(b)    preparedness of the participating banks;

(c)    ability of the beneficiary farmers to make their contributions on time; and 

(d)    preparedness of the Ministry of Agriculture staff.

Mr Speaker, during the implementation of the system, the ministry encountered a number of challenges that included the following:

(a)    late submission of beneficiary names for onward submission to banks by the districts and errors in the submitted beneficiary lists;

(b)    power load-shedding, which affected the timely transmission of data from the districts;

(c)    delayed printing and delivery of cards by some banks; and

(e)    a sudden rise in the price of fertilisers which, in turn, resulted in the Government’s having to source additional funds to increase its contribution to the e-Vouchers.

Mr Speaker, regardless of the mentioned challenges, the programme has still been successful, with the following successes having been recorded:

(a)    for the first time, farmers under FISP have been able to access a wide range of agricultural inputs of their choice, including day-old chicks, livestock, livestock feed, drugs, chemicals, seeds of various crops and fertiliser; 

(b)    the Treasury released all the subsidy funds on time;

(c)    through improved screening of beneficiaries, the programme has removed 20,000 ghost farmers from the beneficiary list;

(d)    agro dealers were able to deliver inputs to where the farmers are;

(f)    more input suppliers have been able to participate in FISP;

(g)    the pressure on the ministry staff implementing the programme has been reduced. That should lead to the officers’ allocating of more time to other equally important activities, such as provision of the much-needed extension services; and 

(h)    increased trade volume for agro dealers has led to job creation, as the agro dealers have employed more workers. Unprecedentedly, 230 new agro dealers have come on board.

Sir, whereas we had planned to reach 241,000 farmers in the thirteen districts, the number of farmers finally selected was 242,683. This resulted from the addition of 1,683 more farmers in Kabwe District. For the 242,683 farmers selected, 241,041 cards had been printed and 219,891 distributed to beneficiary farmers while 11,992 were yet to be distributed across the thirteen districts by 18th February, 2016. Unfortunately, 9,151 cards had been declared invalid for various reasons, including notification of death or relocation of the beneficiaries. These figures represent a success rate of 91.23 per cent. Additionally, 90.5 per cent of the cards had been activated. 

Mr Speaker, let me now move to the point of order. 

Sir, in his point of order, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu claimed on the Floor of this House that, by the 10th February, 2016, 5,400 farmers in Monze Central Constituency had not received benefits from the e-Voucher System despite paying the contribution. 

Hon. Government Members: Ulabeja. 

Mr Lubinda: Sir, for the sake of Hon. Jack Mwiimbu and those who may have been misled by his claim, let me state that the e-Voucher System was designed in such a way that farmers are only able to deposit their contribution after receiving their e-Voucher cards. Therefore, not a single farmer in Monze Central Constituency or anywhere else could have paid their contribution without receiving their cards. 

Hon. Government Members: Sure!

Mr Speaker: Order, on the right!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, in his point of order, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu claimed that 5,400 farmers in Monze Central had been languishing for seven days, meaning since 10th February, 2016. However, the record we have is that by 11th February, 2016, the same period Hon. Mwiimbu referred to, the number of cards that had not yet been distributed in the three constituencies of Monze District, not only Monze Central Constituency, was 3,800, giving us an average of around 1,300 per constituency. So, I wonder who the 5,400 farmers the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Constituency said had been unserved in only one constituency are. 

Sir, let me reiterate that 11,000 cards had not been distributed by 18th February, 2016, nationwide while 3,839 had not been distributed in Monze District by 11th February, 2016. The cards had been printed, but were delivered late to the district due to the late submission of beneficiary names by the district office in Monze. 

Sir, the submission of beneficiary names from the districts was done between August and September, 2015. However, for Monze District, the final list was only submitted on 29th November, 2015, which was later than the official launch of the e-Voucher System by His Excellency the President on 12th October, 2015. Upon realising the delay in the submission of beneficiary names by districts like Monze and the limited capacity of the initial two banks to produce the remaining Visa Cards in the short time available, my ministry decided to bring United Bank for Africa on board (UBA) to help. The 3,839 cards that had not been distributed to Monze District by 11th February, 2016, were part of those that were produced by the UBA. 

Sir, I wish to inform the House that even with the late submission of beneficiary names by Monze District, more than 90 per cent of the targeted 27,427 cards for the district had been printed and distributed to the farmers by 11th February, 2016. As I speak, the Government has released all the funds required for the K700 top-up on vouchers. Additionally, we have been informed that even after all the safeguards put in place, there are some fly-by-night farmers who are still trying to beat the system. So, the banks are being very cautious in releasing funds. 

Sir, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Constituency might wish to know that by 18th of February, 2016, that is, five days ago, the total number of beneficiaries selected in Monze District was 27,427 and that 26,124 cards had been distributed, leaving a balance of  811. I wonder what the difference between the 811 cards undelivered to the district that we know of and the 5,400 claimed by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu to have been undelivered to the constituency is. Further, Sir, the hon. Member for Monze Central also wondered whether the farmers would be able to access fertiliser after being given the top-up amount. However, I have said, time and again, both in and outside this House, that the e-Voucher System is not meant only for fertiliser, but also to help farmers to diversify their agricultural practices. The flexibility of the system has already enabled the farmers in Monze District to access a variety of inputs, including vegetable seeds, livestock feeds, heifers, chicks and fencing materials for their kraals. My hon. Deputy Minister, Mr Ng’onga, who toured the Southern Province and paid particular attention to Monze last week, brought the very impressive report that the farmers in Monze are very happy with the-Voucher System because it has allowed them to survive the drought. Previously, they would have been forced to get fertilisers and seeds, which they could only use when there was adequate rainfall. This year, they can buy cattle. Agro dealers, for Hon. Muntanga’s information, have shown us evidence of some farmers in Monze District having bought cattle using the e-Voucher System.

Sir, the e-Voucher programme is also monitored by independent external institutions, such as the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI). So, my ministry will have an opportunity to learn from the learning points that will be documented in the evaluation report. 

Mr Speaker, allow me, at this stage, to commend all the hon. Members of Parliament who took keen interest in matters affecting their farmers. To avoid embarrassing them, I will not name them, unless I am compelled. 

Mr Mweetwa: You are compelled.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, a number of hon. Members of Parliament took keen interest in the programme and followed up matters with our District Agricultural Co-ordinators (DACOs) and our headquarters. On our part, we worked hard to normalise things as soon as we heard that there were challenges in the implementation of the programme. How I wish all the hon. Members of Parliament in the thirteen districts where we piloted the programme had done the same rather than waiting to come here and be heroes at an inappropriate time. 

Sir, in conclusion, I thank all the hon. Members who supported us in the implementation of the programme, and I pledge the Government’s total commitment to providing timely answers to all the issues that will be raised with us in the implementation of FISP. As I said in October, 2015, when I made a statement on the e-Voucher System, this programme will depend on the support it receives not only from Government workers, but also hon. Members of Parliament for the areas in which it is being piloted. That is why I extended an invitation to all the hon. Members of Parliament in the districts where the system was being piloted to the launch of the programme, and I thank all those who attended. As for those who did not, they are still at liberty to ask us questions, and we shall provide the answers. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement just issued by the hon. Minister of Agriculture. 

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his comprehensive statement. My concern is on the 20,000 ghost farmers who were unearthed. Who is responsible for putting them on the system and what is the ministry doing about it?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Muchima for that question. I also thank him for his continued interest in the matters affecting his constituency. He has visited me several times to raise matters on issues concerning agriculture in his constituency, and I continue to answer his questions because I value them. 

Mr Speaker, the farmers I referred to as “ghost farmers” are so-called because they cannot be seen. They are like ghosts and infiltrate the programme in various stages. The initial stage would be at the CAC, in which some unscrupulous people can write fictitious names as beneficiary farmers. Under the conventional FISP, the names would, then, be given to the ministry, which would, then, approve them and start giving them inputs. However, with the e-Voucher System, every farmer is registered using an electronic system that is stricter than the one used to register citizens. Photographs of applicants are captured and embedded in the e-Voucher. So, when people go to claim their cards, they have to produce an identification (ID) card. With that condition, many ghost workers did not show up at the collection points. For example, after registering, some farmers went to Monze Central to collect their vouchers, but they found that the applicants were being checked against the pictures attached to their names and knew that baka beja. So, they ran away.


Mr Speaker: What does that mean? 

Mr Lubinda: Meaning, “I have told lies.” 


Mr Lubinda: That is why it was not easy for us to catch them.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, withdraw the word ‘lies.’

Mr Lubinda: I beg your pardon, Sir. It means, “I have told an untruth …”


Mr Lubinda: “… or I have been dishonest or I have exaggerated issues.” However, a colleague of mine, the hon. Minister responsible for law enforcement, has asked me to give him the names of the ghost farmers so that they can be arrested. 


Mr Lubinda: So, the problem is not only in Hon. Muchima’s constituency.

I hope that I have answered his question.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister says that the programme targets farmers who do not cultivate more than 5 ha. He also talked about the farmers who are buying cattle and claimed that I know about that. However, to the best of my knowledge, the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System is run by agro dealers who do not keep cattle. How, then, is it possible for a dealer to give a farmer a cow against a K1,400 voucher? 


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Muntanga for being among the hon. Members who have been following up on these matters. I commend him because he has called me several times to alert me to some challenges in his constituency and, as soon as I got his calls, I did my best to straighten things. He has shown interest in his farmers both when in Parliament and in Kalomo Central. I would not have been talking about 11,000 undistributed cards if all the hon. Members had done that.

Mr Kazabu: We will chase him.

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the question Hon. Muntanga has raised is very important, and I must clarify that when I referred to him, I did not say that he knew what I was talking about, but rather that he might wish to know. 

Mr Speaker, the information that I have is that one agro dealer managed to buy twenty cattle for sale, thirteen of which were bought by farmers using the e-Vouchers.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the amount of money that the Government is giving to farmers, including those in Monze Central, is K1,700, not K1,400, and the farmer contributes K400, which makes a total of K2,100. I am sure that Hon. Muntanga, who is a major livestock farmer, can sell some calves at K2,000 each.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I do not want the hon. Minister of Agriculture to praise me in any way as he responds to my question.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the hon. Minister indicated that more than 3,000 cards had not yet been activated in Monze District when I asked my question. He also mentioned that the delay in processing the cards was the result of failure by the district officials in his ministry and that I delayed in raising the issue with him. Should the blame be placed on the farmers or his office, which started processing the documents in August, last year? The farmers could not access the benefits of this programme due to the failure by the hon. Minister’s officials.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwila: Hammer!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I am grateful to Hon. Mwiimbu ...


Mr Lubinda: ... for his request that I do not praise him because, truly, he does not deserve any praise over this programme.


Ms Kapata: Yalikaba. 

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the presiding officers have guided that we must not misinterpret the words of others in the House. At the beginning of this programme, I mentioned the factors that would cause its success or failure. I also indicated that one cause of the delay in the production of the e-Voucher cards was the late submission of beneficiary lists. I did not say that the delay was caused by the DACOs because the compilation of the lists begins at the CAC, not the district offices. In fact, in answering Hon. Muchima’s question, I said that some of the ghost farmers are imbedded in the list by the CAC. So, if the CAC in Monze Central Constituency delayed in submitting the lists to the DACO, naturally, the latter’s input into the system was equally delayed. I do not want to apportion blame and did not want to ask the DACOs when they received the lists from the CACs. All I said is that the system has shown us that the list of beneficiaries for Monze District was delayed. It could have been delayed either by the farmers or the DACO. 

Sir, in my earlier statement on the programme, I said that I was aware of some politicians who would campaign against the e-Voucher System. 

Mr Ng’onga: There are many.

Mr Lubinda: If I was allowed to insinuate, I would not rule out the possibility that there could be some politicians who went to Monze to tell the farmers that this project would not work.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, this programme signifies change and, unfortunately, change and resistance to it are two things that are constant. Some politicians are certainly resisting change, but I do not want to apportion blame. 

Sir, only 811 cards are yet to be distributed in the whole of Monze District and the suggestion that 5,400 cards are yet to be distributed in one constituency of Monze District is total misinformation. So, the House should not be used to misinform and exaggerate facts.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Musonda (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has confirmed that most farmers who have benefitted from the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System are very happy. What measures has he put in place to ensure that the system is sustained?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I thank my hon. Brother for showing interest in these matters. 

Sir, in October, 2015, I stated that the Government would consider rolling out the programme to more districts depending on its success in the pilot areas. Further, the hon. Minister of Finance indicated in his 2016 Budget Speech that the programme was bound to be rolled out to more districts and that the Government would double the number of beneficiaries of the programme. With your permission, I will come back to the House in the next few days to explain how the programme will be handled. Suffice it for me to state that we are happy with the success, so far, and we hope that everybody will support the programme for the benefit of our farmers.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mutale (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, how many hon. Members attended the launch of the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System, and in which district was the launch done?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, there are thirteen districts involved in the pilot and the Ministry of Agriculture invited all the hon. Members of Parliament from the thirteen districts. Unfortunately, the only hon. Members who attended were those for Mumbwa, Kabwe Central, Bwacha and Chifubu, namely, Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo, Mr Kapyanga, Mr Mushanga and Mrs Kawandami, respectively. Hon. Kawandami drove all the way from Ndola to witness the launch but, I am afraid, I cannot say the same for the hon. Members of Parliament for Monze Central …


Mr Lubinda: … and Mbabala. So, to those who attended, again, I say, “Thank you for coming to help us launch the programme.” I received an apology from the hon. Member of Parliament for Chisamba, who told me that he was willing, but unable to attend. I also received an apology from the hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security. For the others, I am sure the time of reckoning will come for them when they will have to go and answer the questions of the people they represent. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I have seen the beneficiaries of the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System praise the hon. Minister of Agriculture and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government on both Muvi Television (TV) and the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television for introducing the programme. There have also been some Parliamentarians who have castigated the hon. Minister, yet they did not attend the launch of the programme despite being invited. 

Hon. Opposition Members: What is your question?

Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, has the programme been successful? If it has been successful, when does the Government intend to extend it to my constituency in Luwingu District?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, what we have seen, so far, in the implementation of the programme encourages us to roll it out. In this regard, I assure the people of Zambia that, under the continued leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu and the PF Government, we are determined to make agriculture as efficient as possible and make it the mainstay of the economy. In this regard, the programme is assisting us to make the agricultural sector efficient. Therefore, it is coming to Luwingu. 

Sir, with regard to being castigated, I want to say to my dear brother that sometimes, when people castigate me, I check who is doing it before I decide whether to worry about it or not. If some of the people start praising me and the PF Government, I would know that there is something wrong I am doing.


Mr Lubinda: Some people come to Parliament with exaggerated figures. 


Mr Lubinda: There are some who will just stand up and demonise even the Most Holy. When such castigate me, I wave it aside and say, “These are sour grapes and an attempt to win cheap political mileage.”

Mr Mweetwa interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Choma Central, the hon. Minister’s talking is not your business. How dare you say he is talking too much?


Mr Speaker: Please, do not push me. 


Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to end by assuring my dear colleague that I appreciate his being empathetic when people castigate me. However, from now on, he should look at the one who is criticising me before he gets concerned about my feelings. If it is people that you know are up to no good, just say, “This is a beauty. We are succeeding and we shall succeed.” 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulasikwanda (Mulobezi): Mr Speaker, when will the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System be extended to Mulobezi, Kaoma, Nkeyema and Sesheke, where we have many farmers? I ask about Mulobezi because it was only at the end of last year that pilferage was identified in the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). According to the hon. Minister, the Government will curb the incidence of ‘gossip’ farmers …

Hon. Members: Ghost!

Ms Mulasikwanda: I mean ghost farmers.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the e-Voucher System attracts investment to the districts in which it is being piloted. 


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

Mr Lubinda: In some rural parts of Kabwe, for example, we have witnessed the emergence of agro-dealerships in areas where farmers used to walk long distances to access inputs. Now, the agro-dealers are running after the farmers. So, besides cleaning up the list of beneficiaries, the system is spurring development and investment in the districts, and Mulobezi will certainly also benefit from the programme. What we have to do is be careful not to go into areas that are devoid of the necessary infrastructure because the e-Voucher System requires a minimum quantity of services to be provided, particularly the mobile network system. So, we will systematically roll out the programme. Our desire is to bring the whole country under the e-Voucher system soon.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muteteka (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, Chisamba is a farming community. So, when the hon. Minister went to attend the Kulamba Kubwalo Traditional Ceremony, I talked to him about the problems that we face there and he promised to sort them out. I have asked for the hon. Minister’s mobile telephone number from the hon. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, with whom I communicate constantly, but I was not given. Currently, there is the issue of ghost farmers in Chisamba, where about nine cards were found to have been printed for ghost farmers. The District Agriculture Commissioner (DACO) and the police are currently handling the matter. We also have cases of farmers not being given their cards. How closely does the hon. Minister work with his officials and how regularly does he monitor them? I ask about these issues because they are the ones causing a lot of confusion in Chisamba.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, I thank Hon. Muteteka for that very progressive question. I confirm that he has been in touch with me and my colleague, the hon. Deputy Minister. 

Sir, there are some cards that were printed for non-existing or ghost farmers and have not been surrendered to the ministry. We are aware that they are being kept by some people in the system who hope that there will be a time when the agro dealers will become lax and start giving out vouchers without verification. In some cases, the DACOs have owned up and told us that some vouchers did not have valid claimants. It is such vouchers that we declared invalid. Now that the hon. Member has alerted us, we will go to Chisamba and try to get the invalid cards back. We have heard that they are being held by the DACOs. In this regard, I appeal to all the hon. Members of Parliament in whose constituencies the e-Voucher System is being implemented to ask the DACOs how many cards they are still keeping and where they are being kept because some of them may be keeping the cards for sinister reasons.


Mr Lubinda: They must not only wait for the hon. Minister or his Deputy to follow up on these matters. I must admit that some of them have already showed great interest and raised issues very early in the season. For example, the hon. Member for Chongwe raised an issue in this House in November or December, 2015, and we investigated and normalised the matter. The hon. Member of Parliament for Pemba has also been to our offices several times over the e-Voucher System. Hon. Members should learn from Hon. Muteteka so that we can clean up the system. Going forward, all the cards that have not been issued will be struck off the register of beneficiaries. In the next farming season, they will not be duplicated.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, not long ago, the Secretary-General (SG) of the Patriotic Front (PF) was in Kabwe and he told the nation that the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System was a failed project.

Ms Lubezhi: Hear, hear!

Mr Mufalali: However, the hon. Minister has accused some politicians of being against the e-Voucher System. Did he include his SG on the list of politicians who are opposed to the e-Voucher System?

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. Mufalali for that question because it gives me an opportunity to just say one or two things. 

Sir, the matter the hon. Member has raised was reported in The Post newspaper. However, the following day, the Secretary-General (SG) of the PF, the noble Mr Davies Chama, issued a statement in another newspaper, and on radio and television distancing himself from the story. He denied having uttered those words at all and confirmed that the one who had spoken to the farmers in Kabwe about the e-Voucher System was, in fact, me. When Mr Davies Chama was asked about the e-Voucher System, he merely said that he did not have the details. Thereafter, he called me and put me on loud speaker so that I could explain the e-Voucher System to the farmers. At no time did Mr Davies Chama say that the e-Voucher System was a failed programme. However, I am not ignorant of the fact that there are some among us who always want to read things in a ghostly manner that suits them and that story was one typical example of people reading what they want instead of what is written. Had Hon. Mufalali been sincere, he would also have said that he had heard on television or radio, or read in the Daily Nation newspaper that the story he referred to had been discredited. That being the case, in fact, there was no need for him to refer to it. 

Sir, when I said that there are some politicians who were against the e-Voucher System, I meant it. There are some politicians who are against development. Not too long ago, some politicians said that Zambia must import maize when the President of the Republic had said that he had three solutions to the eventuality of crop failure. Firstly, he had said that he would ask the commercial farmers to grow more maize. Secondly, he would ensure that all the maize sold by the private sector was bought by the State instead of being exported. The third solution was to import, if need rose. However, some politicians started jumping from one tree to another and saying that the Government was importing maize. One of them even said that I must resign. So, I told them that if there would be starvation in Zambia due to crop failure, although I would not be the cause, I would be willing to resign. However, in any gambling game, there are two people. So, since I was willing to step down in the event that there was hunger in the country, I challenged my detractors that, in the event that there was no starvation, and I am sure there will not be, they should also be prepared to own up and say that they are a bunch of people who tell untruths …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda … and do not qualify to even register to be voted for.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, that is my challenge to them. If I prove them wrong, are they also willing to say that they are a grouping that cannot be trusted and …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: … that they survive only on exaggeration, innuendo and raising unnecessary pandemonium?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, if they are willing to do that, then, I will also be prepared to resign.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, there is no need for the hon. Minister to resign.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, allow me to commend the hon. Minister for proving those who kept saying that the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System would not work wrong because the system has performed very well. These people always say that they want new ideas …

Mr Speaker: What is your question, hon. Member?

Ms Kalima: … and that they are champions of development, yet they do not want to see new things.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, my question is: What is the deadline for activating the e-Voucher cards that were submitted late?

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, the agricultural subsidy is one way in which this Government is honouring its campaign promise of putting money in the pockets of the people.

Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!

Mr Lubinda: Sir, under the conventional FISP, farmers were given fertiliser and seeds, and whether there was rain or not, the Government did not withdraw the inputs, which remained the property of the farmers, who decided which season to use the inputs. With the e-Voucher System, however, there is a flexibility that empowers farmers to go into any agricultural activity of their choice without any time limit. So, for the cards that have not been activated, the farmer will still have access to the money whenever he or she will need it, whether this year or the next one; whether in the rainy season or the dry one, to grow crops, set up fish ponds or buy cattle. So, I appeal to my fellow hon. Members of Parliament to go and tell their farmers whose cards have not been distributed and activated that they have not lost anything. The K2,100 is theirs to use anytime. 

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Mwila): Mr Speaker, the mobile issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) by the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship ended on 31st January, 2016.

Sir, Phase I of the exercise covered Muchinga, the Northern and Central provinces; Phase II covered Lusaka, the Southern, Eastern and Western provinces; and Phase III covered the Copperbelt, Luapula and the North-Western provinces.

Mr Speaker, in Phase I of the exercise, the department registered 409,638 people, broken down as follows:

Province     No. of People Registered     No. of People Targeted

Muchinga     104,071     70,000

Northern     135,584         80,000

Central     169,983         95,000

Sir, K47 million was spent on this phase.
Mr Speaker, Phase II of the mobile issuance of NRCs was launched on 4th September, 2015, and came to an end on 4th December, 2015, after running for ninety days. At the conclusion of this phase, the department had registered 776,454 persons against a target of 500,000. This represents 26 per cent more people registered above the target. The 776,454 registered persons are broken down as follows:

Province     No. of People Registered     No. of People Targeted

Lusaka     258,540             200,000

Southern     157,325         80,000

Western        131,194        100,000

Eastern     229,395        120,000

Sir, K58,516,757 was spent on Phase II of the exercise.

Sir, Phase III of the exercise commenced on 1st November, 2015, and ended on 31st January, 2016, after running for ninety days. The numbers of people registered per province are as follows:

Province     No. of People Registered     No. of People Targeted

Copperbelt     289,692     230,000

North-Western     113,160     90,000

Luapula     157,456     110,000

Sir, K30 million was spent on this phase.

Sir, let me now give a summary of the expenditure on all the phases of the exercise.

Phase    Expenditure (K)

I    47,000,000

II    68,100,000

III    36,000,000

Total    151,100,000

Mr Speaker, allow me to thank all the stakeholders, including traditional leaders, the media, civic leaders, civil society organisations (CSOs) and hon. Members of Parliament, for the support they rendered to my ministry during the exercise. 

Hon. Nkombo, I thank you.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Home Affairs for the statement. I also confirm that I am one of the people who helped his ministry do its work by continually agitating for the exercise to get maximum results. However, the mobile teams have been disbanded, yet we still have many people who wish to get national registration cards (NRCs) and we are ferrying them to the districts for that purpose. Unfortunately, the officers in the districts lack the capacity to handle the increased demand for their services. My opinion is that if the officers who constituted the mobile teams had been deployed to work in the districts, they would have helped to enhance the capacity of the districts and reduce on the queues of people wishing to obtain NRCs. My question is: Where have those people been taken?

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, the officers who were deployed during the mobile registration exercise were drawn from the Zambia Police Force, the Department of Immigration and the Teaching Service. After completion of the exercise, they were surrendered back to their work places. The officers who are currently registering people in the districts, on the other hand, are employees of the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship. So, all those who want to acquire NRCs now have to go to the district offices. Unfortunately, we have a challenge in some new districts, such as Chipili, Lunga, Pemba, Zimba, Mwansabombwe, Chikankata and Chirundu, where there are no offices. The consolation, however, is that we will recruit officers after March, 2016, and send them to the new districts.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, obviously, the issuance of national registration cards (NRCs) had to continue at district offices after the mobile registration exercise. Did the hon. Minister authorise the District Commissioner (DC) in Shang’ombo and the hon. Deputy Minister for the Western Province to close the registration offices in Shang’ombo, where there are people who still want to get NRCs?

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, let me call a spade a spade. A friend who wants to contest the Sinjembela Parliamentary Seat ferried more than 200 Angolans to Shang’ombo to get NRCs and register as voters. Fortunately, the police moved in, impounded the truck and detained all the Angolans and the District Registration Officer for Shang’ombo. We have since suspended the District Registration Officer and instituted investigations into the matter because it has been alleged that our officer was bribed by the aspiring candidate. That is where things stand concerning that matter.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Sorry, Mr Speaker, my voice is hoarse. I do not know why Hon. Muchima is working on it.


Mr Speaker: I hope he is doing it positively.

Mr Pande: Not at all, Mr Speaker. He wants to toy with me, but I will not allow it.


Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, my question relates to the answer the hon. Minister has just given. There have been many reports of people ferrying foreigners to some places to get national registration cards (NRCs), just like the he has stated. We have heard of such stories in the Eastern Province, where some hon. Members of Parliament were implicated, and Luapula Province. Has the ministry investigated any of those reports? If it has, have people been arrested? We know that some journalists in the Eastern Province were even brutalised for trying to get pictures of people being ferried from foreign countries to register as voters.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I have no information on that matter.


Mr Mwila: That is the truth. 

Sir, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa is very close to me and should have told me about this matter earlier. I am hearing about it for the first time.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, the mobile national registration exercise was intended to specifically capture eligible voters for the coming general elections. Unfortunately, the subsequent voter registration exercise left many people guessing on whether they would be registered or not. 

Sir, I am also very close to the hon. Minister and I have been to his office several times. Each time we have met, we have talked about the National Registration Office in Ikeleng’i. Further, the Government has spent a lot of money on the mobile registration exercise and I have heard the hon. Minister say that his ministry will recruit officers for some district offices. When will the ministry transfer somebody to Ikeleng’i, which already has office accommodation and housing for a Registration Officer? 

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I have responded to that question several times. I know that the hon. Member just wants to be heard by his constituents, who are listening, but I have …

Mr Nkombo interjected.

Mr Mwila: Hon. Nkombo, please, stop doing that.

Mr Speaker, I have said that when we recruit officers after March, 2016, we will send some to Ikeleng’i. We have already sent two to Mafinga and the Registration Office there is now open and we will do the same for the hon. Member’s constituency. We have not forgotten about it.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, has the hon. Minister considered waiving the K50 fee on replacement of national registration cards (NRCs)? The amount is unaffordable for most people. Moreover, the Zambia Police and the Department of National Registration, Passport and Citizenship both fall under his ministry. 

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, we already did that during the mobile registration period. This time, people have to pay.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mrs Mazoka (Pemba): Mr Speaker, what plans does the hon. Minister have for Habunkululu Ward in my constituency, which was omitted during the mobile registration exercise? I alerted him to the situation, but he did not respond. So, can he respond to me today in the House.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I will find out tomorrow if there will be a need for us to send officers to that ward. If it will be necessary, then, we will do so. However, bapongoshi, I am always with you.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!

Let us keep the official forms of address when on the Floor of the House.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, what action has been taken against the people who were reported to have stolen equipment meant for the mobile registration exercise in the Northern part of this country?

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I am not aware of that issue, but I will find out …

Hon. UPND Members interjected.

Mr Mwila: No, I do not want to mislead the House the way you mislead people (pointed at hon. UPND Members).

I thank you, Mr Speaker.



The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to update the House and the nation on the implementation of the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign, and the challenges that have been faced.

Hon. UPND Members: Ah!

Mr Kampyongo: That is why you get cholera.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I will first deal with progress on remedial measures to the campaign, then, move to the progress on various refuse collection and clean-up activities being undertaken. The progress on remedial measures is as follows:

(a)    my ministry has directed all local authorities to enforce Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 100 of 2011, which compels residents and institutions to take responsibility over the waste they produce;

(b)    my ministry has directed all local authorities and provincial administrations to identify the cleanest premises, such as households, schools, markets, health facilities, bus stations and business trading areas, that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia will personally award certificates of excellence every year;

(c)    my ministry is working with other line ministries and the private sector to reserve every first Saturday of every month for communal cleaning of our premises and surroundings. To this end, I appeal to those who worship on Saturday to do their cleaning on the first Sunday of each month instead; …

Mr Mwiimbu: Oh, Saturday is a day of worship?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: 

(d)    my ministry and the councils are institutionalising the programme by working with key stakeholders, such as the United Street Vendors Foundation, Marketeers and community structures, in garbage collection and cleaning of their surroundings. In supporting the vendors’ association, the ministry has provided 150 wheelie bins for refuse collection services;

(e)     my ministry is encouraging local authorities to outsource municipal waste collection services to private companies;

(f)    my ministry is developing a public media awareness campaign to sensitise the Zambian citizenry to the importance of cleaning their premises and surrounding areas in work places and communities. The programme will start airing on the national broadcaster in the second quarter of 2016;

(g)    my ministry is formulating a national water supply, sanitation and solid waste policy to elaborate and strengthen the policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks for efficient and effective provision of water supply, sanitation and solid waste management services in the country. The development of the policy has reached an advanced stage and the draft policy will be submitted to the Cabinet by the end of the first quarter of 2016;

(h)    my ministry is working with the Lusaka City Council (LCC) in seeking to establish a Waste-to-Energy Plant under a public-private partnership (PPP) to enhance the management of solid waste in Lusaka and contribute to the minimisation of the energy deficit. The initiative will later be rolled out to other major cities. To this effect, the private sector was invited to express interest in establishing the facility, and the engagement of the developer is now at the procurement stage;

(i)    the Government intends to ban the production, distribution and use of plastic bags in the country because they are leading to the post-consumer waste that is not only destroying the aesthetic value of our national landscape, but is also posing a threat to the general environment. Considering that banning their use might instantly have a negative impact on the socio-economic standing of the country, the Government is taking a cautious approach. At Cabinet Office, the Steering Committee on Street Vending and Keep Zambia Clean has constituted a sub-committee comprising of key stakeholders from line ministries and quasi-Government institutions with the key objective of coming up with options for banning the use of plastic bags in the country. The ministry has developed a roadmap on a phased approach to banning the use of plastic bags in the country. In addition, it will work with the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) to review the Draft Statutory Instrument on Extended Product Responsibility Regulation to strengthen it further before approval; and

(j)    in view of the cholera outbreak in some parts of Lusaka Province, the Government has directed the LCC and other affected councils to step up the removal of accumulated waste from different communities to prevent the spread of the epidemic to non-affected districts. In addition, awareness campaigns and enforcement of public health laws will continue so as to sensitise the communities and improve compliance with public health requirements. In this regard, I call upon the general public to desist from buying food on the streets.

Mr Sing’ombe: Uh!

Mr Kampyongo: Sibulyobulyo!


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, let me now turn to the challenges in the implementation of the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign. 

Sir, the main challenges that have been faced in the implementation of the programme are as follows:

(a)    inadequate enforcement of statutes that govern solid waste management;

(b)    increasing growth in the quantity and complexity of waste associated with rising urbanisation, incomes and economic growth. This requires more investment in the ability of local authorities to manage solid waste efficiently and effectively;

(c)    inadequate solid waste management equipment and infrastructure, such as engineered sanitary landfills for final disposal and treatment of solid waste;

(d)    inadequate private-sector involvement and financing of the sub-sector;

(e)    inadequate human resources in local authorities to deal with solid waste management;

(f)    weak institutional framework for solid waste management that is characterised by the absence of waste management units, with exemption of major cities;

(g)    people’s inadequate adherence to proper refuse disposal practices, and

(h)    a lack of willingness or ability by waste producers or citizens to pay for waste collection services in areas where both the local authorities and private companies operate.

Mr Speaker, my ministry is addressing these challenges with a view to realising the vision of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, as articulated in his 2015 Address to the National Assembly. His vision is to ensure that some of our cities and towns join the league of smart cities of the world in five to ten years. We shall, in this respect, strengthen inspections, enforcement, partnerships with the private sector and other civil society organisations (CSOs), and public sensitisation, among others.

Mr Speaker, in line with the President’s vision, my ministry is resolutely committed to promoting and maintaining a clean, healthy, and safe living and working environment for all Zambians.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister. 

Mr Konga (Chavuma): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for issuing this statement. However, street vending is the source of untidiness and filth in all our major cities. Does the Government intend to get rid of taking street vendors to the markets to trade from there?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the issue of filthy environments that the hon. Member has referred to is a result of mindset. It is not right to only attribute it to street vending. For example, the cases of cholera that we have recorded did not start on the streets. So, we, as citizens, have to appreciate the benefits of having clean environments right from the houses in which we live before we can even talk about cleanliness in our communities.

Sir, as regards the question of removing vendors from the streets, I have already stated on the Floor the House that it is the intention of the Government to find designated and appropriate vending places for the people who sell on the streets. Street vendors do not find pleasure in trading in areas that do not have the requisite facilities. However, as we have said, we will not chase them from the streets like dogs ...

Mr Chishimba: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: ... because every responsible Government must look after its citizens regardless of their status in society.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Sir, the people who trade on the streets do so to earn a living. So, the Government wants to find alternative trading places ...

Mrs Mwanakatwe: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: ... where it will take the street vendors in a phased approach. I have also stated that we have identified an area near Soweto Market that has already been paved and the council is now in the process of procuring the construction of infrastructure there. We have already taken stock of the street vendors. So, the Government is committed to removing the street vendors, but it will do so in a dignified manner.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Namulambe (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about banning the use of plastic bags. I take it that the ban will include plastic bottles like the ones used to package mineral water. How will that be possible, considering that water cannot be packaged in paper bags? Can we not recycle the plastics so that they are used for other purposes instead of banning them completely? I ask this question because some commodities can only be packaged in plastic materials.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member followed my statement, he has heard me say that finding alternative means of disposing of plastic products is the focus of the Government. In this regard, there are on-going extensive consultations on the economic impact the ban might have. That is why I said that we will approach it cautiously and look at all options. That said, we cannot bury our heads in the sand and ignore the challenges that the use of plastic products poses to our environment. We assure the hon. Member and citizens that the ban will not be effected haphazardly, but rather in a cautious and phased manner.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned the lack of transport as one of the challenges in solid waste management. What plans does he have to replace the old and broken-down garbage collection trucks in the councils?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, transport is a challenge. However, we also have to understand that the Government has financial constraints. So, we are considering enhancing private-sector participation. The private sector should come on board and help us deal with this problem. I have mentioned the available options and we are receiving positive feedback from the private sector. For example, some private players have expressed interest in exploring ways of using commingled solid waste to generate energy. There are a number of options apart from acquiring equipment to collect garbage, and we are trying to cater for our various local authorities.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, in the olden days on the Copperbelt, people from the North-Western Province were referred to as banyamazai.


Mr Muchima: The history behind that is that the people of North-Western Province do not want to associate themselves with dirt. So, they want to clean anything dirty. 

Sir, what is happening in Lusaka and other big cities requires revolutionary action. Paving alone will not work if there is no seriousness on the part of the councils. For example, even the buckets we see thrown around for the disposal of waste are, at times, not emptied at all when they fill up. I believe that competition will achieve the desired results. Some past hon. Ministers of Local Government and Housing have bought vehicles for garbage collection, but the vehicles were not used for their intended purpose and that trend has continued. Unfortunately, in Zambia, we react after people have died. For instance, cholera breaks out time and again. So, why is the Government not stimulating competition in the sector by inviting private players who have the financial capacity to compete and make people pay for the service? I have seen this work before. The local authorities will then not do it alone and that will, in turn, result in efficiency, considering that the councils are not efficient enough to curb the scourge.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I will answer that question at the risk of sounding repetitive because, in my statement, I have already tried to address the concerns that the hon. Member has raised. 

Sir, I have stated that we need to encourage private-sector participation in water supply and sanitation. We also need to make our citizens understand that there is a need for them to pay for water and sanitation services because that is the only way we will effectively deal with this looming challenge of diseases. When people are willing to pay for these services, the private sector will be attracted to participate in providing the services, and we are lucky that there are people who are now coming on board. 

Sir, I agree with the hon. Member that cholera has been a challenge over the years and I believe that it has to do with the mindset of the people. We must make our people appreciate the need to have a clean environment because it is costly to deal with diseases when people get sick. Disease, for example, the cholera epidemic we are talking about, is very dehumanising, too. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, it is a notorious fact that the majority of street vendors in Zambia sell food items. I heard the hon. Minister state very categorically that he has banned the sale of foodstuffs on the streets. What measures is he putting in place to ensure that there is no selling of foodstuffs on the streets of various towns in Zambia? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the enforcement of the ban on selling of foodstuffs on the streets should not be left to the hon. Minister alone. The hon. Minister can pronounce measures, but it is important that citizens and leaders get involved in enforcing the measures that I have already mentioned, such as monitoring. We all have a responsibility to sensitise our people on the dangers of selling food on the streets because they are not only our followers when they are healthy, but also when they are sick. I have taken the initiative of going to Kanyama to sensitise the people who sell foodstuffs like meat on the streets, but this work should not be left to me alone. I am just one individual. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, the question was on measures to stop the sale of food on the streets. What measures have you taken or intend to take to enforce the ban? 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, one of the measures is to sensitise the people and also stop them from selling foodstuff on the street. We shall also get law enforcement officers from the council to enforce this directive. However, this is a two-way problem. The people who sell food on the street have a market for their wares. So, we also have to end that market by not buying food on the streets. We shall play our role in stopping vendors from selling food on the streets. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am sure that when business will be suspended, the hon. Minister will know that the whole town will laugh at him ...

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours. 

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that it is likely that the whole country will laugh at the hon. Minister when they interrogate the inconsistencies in his statement and the answers he has given to this House. 

Sir, during the rule of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), there was a plan to empower women by engaging them in cleaning the city surroundings, especially in the big cities. In the hon. Minister’s statement, there was nothing said regarding whether those women have been overwhelmed by the task of cleaning the surroundings in the cities. Obviously, the women used to and still get some remuneration for that noble work they do. It is a known fact that women are the first to come in contact with hunger. In our towns, there is squalor. So, it is fair to say that women know exactly how dirt goes in and comes out. Is the hon. Minister aware that because of the squalor and the undesignated market areas, people still use Chibuku packs for disposal of faecal matter and that they throw the packs anywhere? If he is aware, can he also tell me where he thinks he will get the good will from people like me, who work in waste collection, but also worship on Saturday, to wake up on Sunday and go to collect and dispose of faecal matter. I would like him to clarify the point on the disposal of waste because he was not very clear about it. Collection is one thing and disposal is another, in the absence of engineered landfills in our country. 

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for his loaded question. 

Sir, in my statement, I did not mention the women who were contracted to clean some areas. However, I, indeed, indicated that interventions had been devised, but they had not been sufficient. Even after His Excellency the President re-launched the Keep Zambia Clean and Healthy Campaign, not much has been achieved. That is why I mentioned additional measures that we need to put in place. 

Sir, when I requested those who worship on Saturdays to do communal cleaning on Sundays, it was in cognisance of the fact that we have Christians who go to church on Saturday. Such can clean on Sundays because they also need to operate in clean environments. Additionally, at no point did I suggest that the people who will participate in cleaning on Sunday must collect people’s faecal matter. 

Sir, as Minister of Local Government and Housing, I am aware of the challenges that our people who trade in undesignated places, such as the streets, face. I am sure that they do not take pleasure in trading in those areas, but do so to earn a living. That is why I have consistently stated that, as a responsible Government, we need to move those people from the street to designated selling places. One of the reasons our people sell on the street is that they want to be in the central business districts (CBDs). We, therefore, have to identify areas near the CBDs where we can move them. I know that they are willing to be moved because we have engaged them. So, we are not backtracking on anything. We have been very consistent on this matter and I have always tried to be non-political about it. I appeal to everyone not politicise it because such issues become matters of interest during periods like the one in which we currently are.  

In short, Hon. Nkombo, we will identify land near the CBDs where we can put up decent shelters and sanitary facilities so that people can trade in humane conditions. That way, we will avoid what the hon. Minister ... 

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Nkombo: This is the year of changing seats. 

Mr Kampyongo: … hon. Member, I beg your pardon, is suggesting. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about finding space near the central business districts (CBDs). Is he aware that the markets are actually empty because people have moved out to sell on the streets? So, it is not because of space, but rather because, apparently, people who sell in the markets do not sell as much as those who sell on the streets. What are the hon. Minister and his Government doing to get those people back into the markets, of course, in consultation with the only hon. Minister who managed to control the situation, Prof. Nkandu Luo? 

Prof. Luo: Nga ine naisa shani mu lyashi?


 Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, when we come to this House, we should be honest because it does not pay to make insinuations. I wish the hon. Member could say which markets are empty. I am not a Minister who just sits in his office. I have visited Soweto and Luburma markets. So, I know what is obtaining there. There is no space in the markets. Were that not the case, I would have been the first to take action. I make decisions just like my elder sister, whom he mentioned, did. The information I give is based on facts. So, let us not come here and try to create a situation. That is why I said that we should not politicise these matters. We are currently in the rainy season, and there is no human being who would want to trade on the street when there is shelter in the markets. Hon. Nkombo talked about how difficult it is for street vendors to answer the call of nature. Who would be happy to relieve himself or herself in the manner that was described? So, let us be factual because we need to provide leadership to our people. I go into the markets quite often. Perhaps, my brother has not had the chance to do the same. 

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, one of the challenges that the hon. Minister mentioned is a lack of private sector participation. As well as thinking about banning the production and use of plastic bags and bottles, has he considered recycling? How much has the Government engaged the private sector over the issue of recycling? Further, what measures can be put in place to attract the private sector into recycling? I believe that recycling is still being done on this earth. 

Mr Speaker: Order!

That question has already been answered. Do you want to repeat the answer, hon. Minister?

Mr Kampyongo: No, Mr Speaker.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that there is some kind of agreement with the Street Traders Association (STA) to keep the markets clean and reduce cholera. What measures were agreed to?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I have engaged associations in the markets in identifying any spaces in the markets that are not being used. One of the measures that we are immediately effecting is the distribution of bins. The traders are on the streets already. So, we are looking for ways to help keep the areas where they trade clean during and after trading. Additionally, the councils are liaising with some waste collection companies from the private sector on how they can assist in ensuring that collected garbage is taken to authorised dump sites. We are also looking at other interventions, such as engineered landfills.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kazabu (Nkana): Mr Speaker, what is the ministry doing to aid Copperbelt Solid Waste Management (COPWASTE) Company, which services seven urban local authorities? I am aware that two of the handicaps the company is facing are a lack of capitalisation and reluctance by its customers to pay for the service. So, what measures is the ministry putting in place to impress upon everyone who generates waste to pay for its collection and disposal? My question is anchored on the ‘the polluter pays’ principle. How will the ministry rescue COPWASTE from going into liquidation? Otherwise, I wonder what will happen to the tonnes of solid waste generated on the Copperbelt on a daily basis if the company is liquidated.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I sincerely sympathise with that company, which is struggling to sustain its operations. However, in my statement, I emphasised that my ministry is reviewing the policy on waste management in order to create an environment that can attract giant private sector players to the industry. Like the hon. Member said, waste must be collected and disposed of somewhere, and we want to move away from traditional dump sites, which are also a source of concern, to properly engineered ones. In this regard, my appeal is that people appreciate the point that the hon. Member for Nkana made. People must pay for the waste they generate because there is a cost attached to every clean environment in the world. This is an aspect that our people should appreciate. We grow our economy because the more our economy grows, the more complex the management of solid will become. Getting back to the question, I totally agree with the hon. Member, but I do not know how much the ministry can do to aid that struggling company. However, if it gets in touch with us, we will see what we can do because we appreciate the service it renders.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, I agree with Hon. Mufalali that a number of markets are virtually empty. Two examples are New Nakadoli Market in Kitwe and Sinda Modern Market in Sinda. Just a few days ago, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) also showed a clip of a market in Ndola that was virtually empty. Additionally, the law does not allow people to trade outside markets. The markets are virtually empty because marketeers have been given the leeway to trade anywhere, especially on the streets. What law allows people to trade on the street?

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Sinda is a member of the council in Sinda. So, I would have loved to hear him state what he and other counsellors who run Sinda Council have done to educate people to appreciate the infrastructure that has been built for them and persuade them to trade in the markets about which he is talking. It should not be the job of the hon. Minister alone to whip people to trade from markets. Let us not abdicate our responsibilities, as leaders. We should equally not politicise issues. So, hon. Member for Sinda, you have a role to play in educating the people of Sinda to appreciate the infrastructure that has been built for them and use it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Dr Phiri: Waona, Ngoma!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, with regard to Nakadoli, I know what we are doing about the market. From inception, it has had its own challenges, but we will address them. 

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members!

Those who are still debating from their seats, please, refrain. You are loud and clear. So, you are very identifiable. I am just being magnanimous. At some point, sooner rather than later, I will act.

Getting back to you, hon. Minister, the question is: What is the legal basis for allowing street vending?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, there is no legal …


Mr L. J. Ngoma: Long live the Speaker!

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members! 

I have just been cautioning you. It is hardly a minute. So, let the hon. Minister respond. 

Continue, hon. Minister.

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, there is no law that supports street vending. However, we can only avoid such challenges if we lived on Mars, not on Earth. By the way, this challenge has been with mankind since time immemorial, and there are many examples I can cite. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, the unplanned settlements near the CBDs are not supported legally. So, if we want to go that route, we should demolish all those places. However, we have to be realistic, which is what I am stating here. So, even without having legal backing for permitting that kind of trade, we need to provide a solution, as a responsible Government, and that is why we are looking at options for enabling people to start trading in designated places and stop trading illegally. I cannot go and whip people like dogs in the streets. I will have to find better options for them. 

I thank you, Sir.




325. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Finance:

(a)    whether the Government had any plans to facilitate the opening of a bank in Pemba District;

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

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

The Minister of Finance (Mr Chikwanda): Mr Speaker, under a liberalised economic environment, the Government’s role remains that of creating an enabling environment for banks to set up their businesses in unbanked areas. In the case of Pemba, the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) PLC is currently providing its services through two agents under its ZANACO Express Agent Banking Initiative in the district, which offers limited financial services, such as cash withdrawals and deposits, to the public.

I thank you, Sir.


326. Mr Shuma (Malambo) asked the Minister of Energy and Water Development when the ZESCO Sub-Station at Msoro in Malambo Parliamentary Constituency would be commissioned.

The Minister of Energy and Water Development (Yaluma): Mr Speaker, the Msoro Sub-station in Malambo Constituency has technically already been commissioned by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO). The new Msoro 330/66 kV Sub-station was commissioned in October, 2015, while refurbishment works at the old 66 kV Msoro Switching Station were completed and the station was connected to the new sub-station in November, 2015. Both stations are currently operational. However, the ministry and all the relevant stakeholders are working to come up with an appropriate date for officially commissioning the project, which will be in the shortest possible time. 

I thank you, Sir.


327. Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central) asked the Minister of Finance:

(a)    what measures had been taken to ensure that mining companies declared correct profits and paid corresponding taxes;

(b)    when the measures were implemented;

(c)    whether the measures had begun to bear fruit;

(d)    if so, what the results were; and

(e)    if not, what the way forward was.

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), has put in place the following measures to ensure that mining companies declare correct profits and pay corresponding taxes:

(a)    increased coverage and scope of integrated audits;

(b)    creation of the Mining Audit Unit to have a focused approach for the mining sector;

(c)    recruitment of mining engineers with industry experience as part of the tax audit team;

(d)    increased capacity building of officers, through specialised training, in complex transactions affecting the sector, such as transfer pricing;

(e)    use of the London Metal Exchange (LME) Reference Price in determining the sales value of metals;

(f)    modernisation of the ZRA, which has created a taxpayer focus rather than a tax type focus. All mining houses are administered under the Large Taxpayer Office;

(g)    the implementation of Value-Added Tax (VAT) Rule 18 in ensuring proof is provided for zero-rating export sales;

(h)    enhanced relationships through taxpayer education;

(i)    implementation of the Tax Online System, which has improved timely filing and payment, and accountability of VAT refunds; and

(j)    collaboration with other Government institutions and international organisation, such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), International Monetary Fund (IMF), United States (US) Treasury and the Norwegian Tax Authority, for information and technical assistance.

Sir, the implementation of the measures mentioned above largely started in 2006 and is ongoing.

Mr Speaker, yes indeed, the number, quality and value of audits has significantly increased.

Sir, the share of mining tax revenue, as a percentage of the gross domestic product (GDP) increased from 2 per cent to 3.5 per cent over the last five years.

Mr Speaker, notwithstanding the aforementioned achievements, the ZRA is embarking on the development of the Mineral Value Monitoring Project, a real-time monitoring system aimed at following the process from production to point of export. The project is also intended to provide statistics in respect of quantity and quality of ores produced.

Sir, my ministry also intends to expedite the release of the pledged counterpart funding of K10 million under the ZRA Modernisation Project in order to expedite the implementation of the project.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simuusa (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) is an international programme that was established for the sole purpose of monitoring and compelling mining companies to declare the payments they make to Governments around the world, and I believe Zambia is a signatory to that initiative. The initiative is housed in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and produces reports on the taxes that the mining companies declare to have paid to the Zambian Government. Is the EITI report in agreement with the information that the hon. Minister of Finance has given us, that is, that the number, quality and value of audits have increased? Are the figures the mining houses declare to the EITI to have paid to the Government the same as those that the Ministry of Finance has?

Mr Chikwanda: Mr Speaker, the international devices and leverage processes may sound efficacious, but they need to be modified for local conditions. So, we are developing our own monitoring systems to use alongside the arrangements instituted by reputable international organisations. We are also quite prepared to seek recourse to people in the country, especially the hon. Member for Nchanga, who have a huge reservoir of experience and knowledge of the mining sector. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.


328. Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda) (on behalf of Mr Mbewe (Chadiza)) asked the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning:

(a)    how much money the Government spent on activities to commemorate the National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation held countrywide on 18th October, 2015;

(b)    how many people attended the event held at the Lusaka Show Grounds; and

(c)    what benefits, if any, were derived from the event.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Speaker, the Government spent K140,610.89 on activities to commemorate the National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation held on 18th October, 2015.

Sir, it is difficult to state the exact number of people who attended the event held at the Lusaka Show Grounds. However, a huge number of people responded to the open invitation that was sent out to the people of Lusaka through the various media platforms.

Mr Speaker, in religious programmes, such as the National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation, the accruing benefits are difficult to quantify because they are spiritual and, therefore, intangible in nature. However, notwithstanding their intangibility, it is highly probable that the event helped in enhancing social cohesion and spiritual togetherness, and the promotion of peace and love in the country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mufalali: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mufalali: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to raise a point of order. I apologise to my brother, Hon. L. J. Ngoma, for disturbing his line of thought.

Sir, last week, the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing informed this House that bus stations had been freed from the control of cadres and that the councils had started collecting all the levies that were due to them. However, over the weekend, I was at a rally in Chipata that was also attended by Mr Johabie Mtonga, who operates a transport business. The following day, Mr Mtonga’s buses were blocked from entering the stations in Chipata and Lusaka.

Sir, the law upholds individuals’ freedom to associate and Mr Mtonga is supposed to repay the loans to the banks and pay levies due to the council. Is the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing in order to keep quiet when a business is suffering after he informed this House that cadres are no longer operating from bus stations?

Mr Speaker: Order!

I will give the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing an opportunity to update the nation …

Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: … on the status quo of the management of the bus stations countrywide.

Hon. L. J. Ngoma, you may ask your question.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the spiritual benefits are intangible and that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government believes that social cohesion was promoted after the Day of National Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation. However, after those prayers were held, we have seen a surge in political violence in this country. Does he really believe that the prayers achieved their goal?

Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I do believe that the goals were met, although not entirely because, although an open invitation was made, unfortunately, some of our colleagues turned it down. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, does the Patriotic Front (PF) Government believe that the National Day of Prayer, Fasting and Reconciliation was called for two specific reasons, namely, atonement or repentance and reconciliation? Could Her Honour the Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning, my mother, tell us whether the PF still believes that the event achieved the desired objectives given the escalating intolerance, especially from the PF, and going by what the hon. Member for Senanga has just said regarding the plight of Mr Johabie Mtonga in Chipata. 

Mr Mwamba: It did.

Mr Nkombo: Am I asking you?

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

Just continue.

Mr Nkombo: Sir, is she engulfed by the belief that the Government achieved its objectives? Further, since the hon. Deputy Minister in her office has said that the objectives were not achieved in totality, would she consider moving away from that initiative, which some people may have termed hypocritical, and instead call for a closed door meeting with her political opponents? I ask this because the tension in this country is due to political differences, which is breeding intolerance.

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, when the hon. Deputy Minister referred to partial success, he was simply talking about the number of people who attended the function. Indeed, the function was meant for reconciliation and repentance. Prayer brings about a sense of community and enables people to reflect on a number of issues, including how they relate with each other and with their God. It calls for deep reflection on such issues. Some people may come from prayers without gaining anything, and those are the people who are still causing trouble in the country.


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: However, there are others who come out of prayer repented. Unfortunately, one cannot count the benefits of prayer in a day or in a month because God chooses his own time to answer, and when He does, sometimes, you may not even know it. 

Sir, this country was declared a Christian nation and those who feel very strongly about this belief congregate together in prayer. Those who do not believe in it, on the other hand, will question even the benefits of prayer.


The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, as far as many Zambians are concerned, that day was a day of blessings and one on which they will continue praying to their God.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I take it that the amount that has been mentioned is an aggregate of what was spent on the activities. Which of the activities took the largest chunk of this amount? Does she know how the amount was distributed?

The Vice-President and Minister of Development Planning: Mr Speaker, I request the hon. Member to file in a question so that the amount can be broken down according to the way the money was spent.

I thank you, Sir.


329. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Works and Supply:

(a)    when the Tateyoyo Gate-Katunda Turn-Off Road in the Western Province would be rehabilitated; and

(b)    why it had taken long to rehabilitate the road.

The Deputy Minister of Works and Supply (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, it is envisaged that the works on the Tateyoyo Gate to Katunda/Lukulu Junction will commence in the second quarter of 2016.

Sir, the project has delayed to commence because China Henan International Co-operation (CHICO) Group Company Limited, the contractor initially awarded the works, declined to sign the contract at its bid sum of K285,170,669, citing the depreciation of the Kwacha as the reason. The Road Development Agency (RDA) is, therefore, currently in the process of awarding the contract to the second best evaluated bidder. The works will commence in the second quarter of this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, the road in question has bothered its users for a long time. Further, its dilapidated stretch seems to be increasing every day and is causing a lot of damage to motor vehicles. The hon. Minister has clearly stated that the first bidder declined to sign the contract and that the Government has, therefore, asked the Road Development Agency (RDA) to negotiate with the second bidder. However, in the same breath, he has stated that the works are scheduled for the second quarter of this year. I am failing to understand how the works can be scheduled while the RDA is still negotiating the contract. Could I have clarification on how the works can take off by April, 2016.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, there is one month and some weeks before we commence the second quarter of this year. We understand the process involved and the time it will take to engage and assist the second contractor to mobilise will not be more than two months. Hence, we are confident that the works will commence in the second quarter of this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, as Hon. Miyutu has indicated, the road in question has been in that condition for almost five years now and, as far as I can remember, nothing has been done about it. Is the real problem not a lack of commitment by the Government to providing funding for its rehabilitation? I cannot imagine a situation a contractor, especially a Chinese one, seeing money and failing to execute the works. 

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the Government is committed and the money was made available in last year’s Budget. It is unfortunate that the first bidder, who has been a very good contractor in this country, could not take up the contract due to unforeseen circumstances. I can only tell the House that we are speeding up the process of engaging another contractor. We are fully aware of the condition of the road and we know that we have to work on it before it is completely destroyed. The money allocated to it is still available for us to use.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, who is the second best bidder? Further, has that bidder agreed to sign the contract at the amount that China Henan International Co-operation (CHICO) Group Company Limited has rejected?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the negotiations are ongoing. Once they are finalised, we will announce the name and sum involved.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mufalali (Senanga): Mr Speaker, there was a contractor who removed the old tar on the road and left it in a gravel state. Was that China Henan International Co-operation (CHICO) Group Company Limited or another contractor? The road has been left worse than it initially was. The contractor has disappeared, but there was a camp there. What has happened?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, the contractor the hon. Member is referring to is China Jiangxi Corporation, which was contracted to undertake routine maintenance, but we later realised that the scope of works was not adequate. Therefore, we terminated that contract and broadened the scope of works to full rehabilitation, which is the contract about which we are now talking.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, China Jiangxi Corporation is the contractor whose contract was terminated for purposes of broadening the scope of works. Last week, I asked a question specifically on the same company because it was also engaged to work on Mazabuka township roads. In that question, I lamented the fact that the Government had anticipated less-than-normal rainfall, but the opposite is what has happened. So, the works that were undertaken on the township roads have been eroded by heavy rainfall. Is the Government aware that the Katunda/Lukulu Road via Tateyoyo is very economically important and links two of the ten provinces of Zambia, namely the North-Western and Western provinces?

Sir, on a lighter note, this is the second time I have lamented the state of that road because I have now lost twice. In Mazabuka, I lost because of the failure by the Government to negotiate with China Jiangxi Corporation while, in the second instance, my matrimonial ratings have dropped tremendously because I have not been able to visit my in-laws in the North-Western Province for the last five years due to the state of the road on which this question has been asked.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, obviously, you will have to concentrate on the former part of the question as opposed to the latter.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, I thank you for that guidance because I am not an expert in matters of the latter part of the hon. Member’s question. I am also not clear whether his concern is with the Mazabuka township roads or the Katunda …

Mr Nkombo: Both of them.

Dr Mwali: Both?

Mr Speaker: Order, Hon. Nkombo!

The road we are talking about is the one mentioned in the question on the Order Paper.

Dr Mwali: He has brought in the Mazabuka township roads.

Mr Nkombo interjected.


Dr Mwali: Let us stick to …

Mr Speaker: I have already excused you from responding to the other aspect.

Dr Mwali: He is insisting.


Mr Speaker: I have said that I have excused you.

Dr Mwali: Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Sir, China Jiangxi Corporation was contracted to undertake routine maintenance of the road. However, the contract was terminated for the scope of works to be broadened.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by commending Hon. Miyutu for asking this question, which I also asked on 4th March, 2015. Let me quote the answer I was given by Hon. Mukanga, according to the Hansard:

“Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of the state of the road between Tateyoyo and Mongu. 

“Sir, we are trying to ensure that we put contractors on site to work on that particular stretch so that our people can move from one place to another with ease.”

Sir, this question has come again, but we are not getting a concrete answer. Is it not a clear indication that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is not willing to work on it? If anything, what is the scope of works on the road?

Mr Speaker: I have been following the responses and I think that the last response was that discussions are underway and that as soon as the discussions are concluded, the contractor will be named and the amount announced. So, in light of that, I think that it is unfair to impute unwillingness on the Government. Nonetheless, I will request the hon. Minister, if he is able, to indicate the proposed scope of the works.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, concerning the scope of works is full rehabilitation, which is synonymous with reconstructing the road right from earth works. As to what my hon. Minister had said in March, 2015, all I can say is that the contract was awarded in April of the same year. So, the project was initiated in line with the hon. Minister’s assurance. Unfortunately, things did not worked out as planned. So, there is no need for the hon. Member to bring my hon. Minister into his debate.


Mr Speaker: Well, the hon. Minister has already been brought into the debate. So, you can only clarify the issues, including the sequence of months on the calendar.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, as a rider on the question asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Senanga, the hon. Minister wasted money by engaging a contractor on that project just to cancel the contract after realising that it was not enough for the contractor to just undertake routine maintenance work. How much money did he pay the contractor whose works you cancelled?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, I do not have the information for which the hon. Member has asked.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.





Clauses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101 and 102 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Title agreed to.



[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

The following Bill was reported to the House as having passed through Committee without amendment:

The Moveable Property Security Interest Bill, 2015

Third Reading on Thursday, 25th February, 2016.




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

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1753 hours until Thursday, 25th February, 2016.