Thursday, 6th July, 2017

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Thursday, 6th July, 2017


The House met at 1430 hours














The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Madam Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to deliver a ministerial statement on the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use in Zambia. 


Madam Speaker, it is with a sense of grave responsibility that I stand before this august House to inform the public on what the Government’s position is on the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal use. This follows the issuance of a ministerial statement by the Minister of Home Affairs, Hon. Steven Kampyongo, MP, on 2nd March, 2017, who informed the House that the law provides for the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. This is, indeed, the correct position, as provided for in Part II of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1967, Cap. 95 of the Laws of Zambia.


Madam Speaker, in Zambia, cultivation and use of cannabis and other related substances is mainly regulated by the following laws:


  1. The Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1993;


  1. The Dangerous Drugs Act of 1967; and


  1. The Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013.


Madam Speaker, the Narcotics and Psychotropics Substances Act, under the custodianship of the Minister of Home Affairs, prohibits or criminalises trafficking, importation, exportation, possession and cultivation, use of, manufacture and trading in narcotics, including cannabis, as provided for in sections 6,7,8,9,10,13 and 17 of the Act. As such, any person found violating these provisions is liable for penalties, as specified in the Act, if found guilty and convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction. The Act, therefore, deals with illicit or unlawful use of narcotics.


Madam Speaker, the Dangerous Drugs Act provides for the licensing, importation, exportation, production, possession, sale, distribution and use of dangerous drugs, including cannabis or marijuana and its derivatives thereof, intended for medicinal and scientific use, whether in humans or animals.


Madam Speaker, Section 3 of this Act states that the drugs to which this part applies are raw opium, coca leaves, poopy-straw, cannabis, cannabis resin and all preparations of which cannabis resin forms the base.


Madam Speaker, sections 4 and 5 of the Act require that any person who wants to import or export products of drugs referred to in the section above should have a licence issued by the Minister of Health, as delegated to the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA). In as far as cultivation is concerned, section 8 disallows cultivation of cannabis, unless with permission from the Minister of Health. As such, a person may apply for a licence or authorisation to the minister, through ZAMRA, to cultivate cannabis for medical or scientific purposes. Further, the licence or authorisation may be granted with or without conditions attached to it.


Madam Speaker, this august House may wish to note that there is a fee attached to the issuance of the license to cultivate cannabis, though not prescribed by law. However, it remains the prerogative of the minister to decide on the fee to charge. Such a licence or authorisation may be revoked, suspended or amended, as the minister may deem necessary.


Madam Speaker, the law further empowers the Minister of Health, by way of regulation, to control production, sale and distribution of drugs, which are highlighted in section 3 above.


Madam Speaker, the Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013 provides for the general regulation of the pharmaceutical industry in Zambia. Advertising, distribution, manufacturing and conducting of clinical trials, disposal and all activities related to medicines and allied substances for both humans and animals are provided for in this Act. Anyone who is desirous to cultivate cannabis for medicinal or scientific purposes is expected to apply to ZAMRA, the authority designated to enforce and administer the provisions of this Act. Based on the above provisions, as highlighted, the law in Zambia allows for this cultivation provided there is authority. However, there are conditions that are put in place to safeguard the process from the farm to the factory, laboratory to the research institutions and finally, to the hospitals.


Madam Speaker, I want to bring the House to speed on the uses of medicinal marijuana. We use medicinal marijuana in the following conditions:


  1. chronic pain resulting from certain chronic medical conditions;


  1. nausea and vomiting in patients receiving certain treatments such as chemotherapy;


  1. loss of appetite in patients with certain chronic conditions;


  1. epilepsy;


  1. glaucoma, a condition associated with increased Intra-Ocular Pressure (IOP) in the eye; and


  1. multiple sclerosis symptoms, a condition that is association with spasticity, frequent urination and pain, inflammation of the skin, muscle and other connective tissues.


Madam Speaker, very important to note, however, is that there are many other drugs available on the market and in our health facilities that can treat these ailments that medical marijuana is said to treat. These drugs are safer, less prone to abuse or resulting in other health related complications and adverse events that marijuana can cause. Therefore, it is important to note that we do not have a gap that would justify growing cannabis for medicinal purposes at this moment in Zambia.


Allow me to illustrate the potential impact of further loosening the prudent controls that are in place to curtail free availability of cannabis as may result from allowing cultivation in Zambia:


(a)        Marijuana consists of over 400 chemicals, including many toxic psychoactive chemicals, whose long-term effect on the human remains largely unstudied. It would be irresponsible and medically unethical to allow such toxic substances to be administered to Zambians under the guise that the Ministry of Health has allowed it;


(b)        long-term use of marijuana can lead to addiction. This can be highly detrimental to our quest to have a nation of healthy and productive people who contribute to the growth of our nation and aspiration for a prosperous middle income country by 2030. Furthermore, there are a number of patients who we have admitted to our psychiatric institutions for causes induced by marijuana;


(c)        addiction to marijuana is a gateway to the use of other more potent and highly dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine. These drugs have been indisputably linked to organised crime and money laundering, apart from destroying many lives.


Madam Speaker, we have evidence that where the cultivation of marijuana has been legalised, the recreational use has also increased. Recreational use of marijuana in Zambia today is on the high side and the Government will not, at this moment, authorise cultivation of marijuana.


Madam Speaker, you may further wish to note that though some research that demonstrates the effectiveness of marijuana in certain ailments exists, there is no sufficient research on the long-term ill effects of its use. Marijuana has not in any way demonstrated to have a higher efficacy and safety profile as compared to the medicines we already have available in Zambia. It is for this reason that marijuana is the most widely used recreational drug globally and is classified as a schedule 1 drug or a substance that has a high potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. Medical marijuana is simply marijuana and, as such, its prolonged use has the same effect.


Madam Speaker, I take note that the field of medicinal marijuana science is ever growing. If the body of knowledge grows to the extent that can prudently consider cultivation and dispensation of cannabinoids in Zambia, it must be reiterated that it would be under the most rigorous ring-fencing of the supply of such products right from the farm to the point where the patient takes it with no room allowed for leakage of supplies into the recreational arena.


In conclusion, the question that we should address, as a nation, is: With the safe proven alternative registered medicines that we have in Zambia, should we take the risk of wanton cultivation of marijuana with the drastic negative potential it may bring to our nation? Allowing the cultivation of cannabis simply increases its availability and, therefore, its acceptability which creates a public health concern.


At the moment, it is the studied view of the Ministry of Health that the licensing of marijuana cultivation for medicinal or other purposes cures no ill and potentially entails disaster. For the sake of clarification, at this moment, the Ministry of Health has no intention of giving out any licence to allow the cultivation of marijuana.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Madam Speaker, I have listened carefully to the hon. Minister’s statement and what comes to my mind is that we probably need further guidance. My personal knowledge tells me that cultivation of marijuana or cannabis sativa, as it is called, is actually illegal in Zambia. The Drug Enforcement Commission (DEC) has been mandated and tasked to arrest and prosecute any person found cultivating, conveyancing or possessing cannabis.


Madam Speaker, I would like to find out whether by that ministerial statement, which is well intended, there could be some medical uses for this kind of drug, which in my language is called dobo.


Further, I would like to find out whether there are any proposed amendments to the Narcotic and Psychotropic Substances Act which empowers the DEC to arrest any person found with this drug. The last time a ministerial statement was issued, some people celebrated in Chibolya Compound claiming that it was now possible to cultivate drugs like cannabis sativa and that it was lawful for people to claim that they were using it for medical purposes. I want to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government will propose any amendments to the already existing legislation because we know that it is already illegal to even just be found near dagger.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabwe Central, what is dagger?


Mr Ngulube: The word dagger is probably not the correct one. I withdraw it and replace it with cannabis.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, I am consoled by the fact that the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central is a learned counsel and I am aware too that the law allows the hon. Minister of Health, through the Zambia Medical Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), to licence anyone who wants to cultivate marijuana for medicinal use. However, I must state here that there are guidelines that must be put in place for such authority to be given. Today, I can confidently state that by those guidelines, nobody qualifies to get that licence.


Madam Speaker, this is the reason we are saying that while the law provides for this licence to be issued, as guided by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Health is not in a position to and has no intention, by the prevailing circumstances, to issue such a licence. However, if the question is whether there is a provision in the law today to cultivate marijuana, the answer is yes. The hon. Minister of Health is authorised to license individuals or cooperate institutions to cultivate marijuana for medicinal use, but like I said, there are guidelines that should be in place for this licence to be issued. For the moment, we do not have any such competent institution or organisation or individual that has met the conditions that we could authorise. At the moment, we do not have intentions to issue this licence.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Malama (Nchelenge): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out whether there are any companies or organisations that would like to venture into the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes and, if so, can the hon. Minister inform the nation which ones these are.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for that good question. After the hon. Minister of Home Affairs issued that statement, my in-tray was filled with applications to start cultivating marijuana. The first application came from Mr Peter Sinkamba, the Green Party President and company. Thereafter, there were a number of applications. I am constrained to mention the names of some hon. Members of Parliament …




Dr Chilufya: … who are partners in some of the institutions that applied to start growing marijuana. Since my office has been indebted with these applications, I was compelled to guide on how to go about this issue of medicinal marijuana. I would like to confirm that we have numerous applications for people to cultivate medicinal marijuana.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that there are a number of countries that have legalised the use of marijuana not only for medicinal purposes, but also for social usage. I know that in the United States of America (USA), there are some states that have legalised the use of marijuana for social usage. Since no company has been authorised to cultivate marijuana, does the hon. Minister not think that we can use institutions such as the Zambia National Service (ZNS) or try to tighten measures so that we produce this much-needed drug for export to earn the much-needed foreign exchange.


Ms Katuta: Hear, hear!


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Defence will not allow me to comment on whether we should allow the ZNS to start cultivating marijuana. We might have a very dangerous situation on our hands. I would like to state clearly here that, yes, there are countries that use medicinal marijuana for research. Globally, there is no agreed evidence that medicinal marijuana is the indispensible medication for particular ailments. As a result, the vast majority of countries, including the United States of America (USA), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have not authorised the use of medicinal marijuana in medical facilities.


Madam Speaker, the use of marijuana for recreational purposes is authorised in a few countries. However, using our own experience here, a combination of alcohol and substance and marijuana abuse is responsible for a number of people who, today, are unproductive, yet educated, but have mental illness. So, recreational use of marijuana in Zambia is a problem and if we do not put guidelines in place, and focus on the commerce side of it, and start cultivating it, we will destroy the social fabric of the country.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Madam Speaker, I wanted to get an understanding from the hon. Minister because there has been a growing trend, like he said, in some countries in Europe, cities and states in the United States of America (USA), to use marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes. I want to get the hon. Minister’s opinion on why are we being over restrictive here in Zambia.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, for avoidance of doubt, I did say that there is a role for medicinal marijuana in research and in some limited medical conditions. However, it is not correct to say medicinal marijuana is indispensible in those conditions. We have safer alternatives with no risk of addiction or abuse by anybody in the country. The use of medicinal marijuana in certain countries is restricted to research even when they are using it for medical purposes; it is mainly during research programmes.


However, Madam Speaker, we do not have medicinal marijuana prescribed as the only treatment for particular ailments. So, when you talk of marijuana, you have to look at it very broadly. We have evidence that where marijuana has been legalised, recreational use has equally increased. So, it is only prudent to legalise medicinal marijuana when you have put in place guidelines where, from the farm, the product moves into a factory, extractions happen then straight in the laboratories and health facilities, protected all the way without exposure to the public for recreational use. Recreational use of marijuana is something that we must avoid as a nation.


Madam Speaker, I insist that there should be an institution that can grow marijuana, in a protected environment and it goes straight into a factory, laboratory and to a medical facility for particular purposes with all the due diligence done. Then, the ministry may consider issuing such a licence. At the moment, we do not have any competent applicant that is why we are saying, we are not only looking at how much marijuana costs on the market but that we may actually have worse effects on society.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kopulande (Chembe): Madam Speaker, from the hon. Minister’s statement, does it refute the acclaimed economic benefits for country as an alternative or additional source of income? The hon. Minister has stated that there is nowhere in the world where marijuana has been legalised and used on large- scale as claimed by some people.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Chembe. I call him my young brother because I had to cut off part of my constituency and that is how come he is here.




Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Dr Chilufya: I did not state that there is no country in the world where marijuana is not legalised. There are countries in the world where marijuana is legalised even for recreational use.


Madam Speaker, we have studied the trends in these countries where marijuana and we have also studied the trends where marijuana cultivation just for medicinal purposes is legalised and have seen in what conditions medicinal marijuana is used. What we have also noticed is that as you authorise medicinal marijuana, recreational use also goes up. In Zambia today, we have statistics of people who are using marijuana and have become mentally deranged. If we have to harness the demographic dividend by promoting the needs of youths and adolescents, let us avoid exposing them to substances that will derail them. We have already seen, even with the stringent laws that are in place, a lot of youths and adolescents and some adults in need of rehabilitation because of using recreational marijuana and today need. This, on one side fuels poverty because there are some university or college students and productive professionals who, today, cannot work because of substance abuse, including marijuana. In that regard, it subtracts. It fuels poverty and stifles development. The economic benefit will only be justified if there are other conditions that will be put in place so that we reap the economic benefit. If we just allow it the way it is today, what we will see is a spike in recreational use. Yes, you may get a few coins and revenue may increase minimally, but your society’s values will equally go down. Society will be predisposed to bigger social health problems such that you may, overall, score negatively by that decision.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Madam Speaker, proponents of the cultivation of marijuana such as the Green Party in Zambia actually argue that in states where the drug is legalised, such as California in the United States of America (USA), they get more income than what Zambia gets from the copper exports per year. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how true this is.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, it is true that cannabis fetches a lot of money, just like any other narcotic drug. It is not right to look at the issue of cannabis just from the revenue side. You have to look at it from the health side and many other variables that have to do with the state of the nation. So, I insist that the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes will also result in the increase in the number of people using it for recreational purposes. This may reverse the gains that people think will be attained by allowing it to be grown anywhere in the name of expanding the revenue base. So, while there is evidence that cannabis does raise some resources for some countries, there is also evidence that there is a spike in recreational use and if you look at other variables in those societies, you realise that there is no gain.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for a very good statement. Could he confirm to this House that 90 per cent of the patients at Chainama Hospital have abused cannabis or marijuana?


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, I will not commit to 90 per cent, but I want to agree with the hon. Member of Parliament that substance abuse, including marijuana abuse, is rife in this country. When we look at regional statistics, we are actually in the top notches such that if we were to legalise it under the guise of medicinal purposes, we would actually even be probably ranked first. There are some statistics that have placed us first while others in the top three. Therefore, we are worried that by legalising the cultivation of marijuana for medicinal purposes, recreational use will spike and what we are seeing in our mental health institutions may actually worsen. So, it is true that many patients with mental conditions today, who we are trying to rehabilitate, have been associated with substance abuse and principally marijuana.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.







298. Mr Mutale (Chitambo) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. when the cattle restocking programme would be extended to Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency; and


  1. what the total number of cattle earmarked for the programme in 2017 in the constituency was.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Mr Katambo): Madam Speaker, the Government has no immediate plan to conduct cattle restocking in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency. The stocking of small ruminants, pigs and poultry will commence in 2017.


Madam, as indicated in (a), the Government will not stock any cattle in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency, but will stock 368 goats and 2,500 village chickens with the support of the Agricultural Productivity and Market Enhancement Programme (APMEP). The Government has made a budgetary allocation of K5 million in the 2017 Budget for the National Stocking and Restocking Programme.


Madam Speaker, additionally, the Government has embarked on the stocking and restocking of cattle, small ruminants, pigs and poultry in most districts in the country under the Small-holder Livestock Improvement Programme (E-SLIP). Hon. Members may wish to note that the ministry will use this programme to address the needs of the vulnerable groups among our livestock farmers. Small ruminants, pigs and poultry have an immediate impact on poverty reduction, incomes and nutrition improvement in vulnerable households. This is because they have a shorter gestation period compared to cattle, thus, quickly increase in population cementing household food security and increased incomes.


Thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mutale: Madam Speaker, I would like to know the reason the Government does not have any plan to stock cattle in Chitambo? The people of Chitambo are ready to receive cattle. They have very big grazing land and there is a favourable rain pattern. Also, through the Ministry of Agriculture, they have been taught a lot on how to manage cattle.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, as indicated, the ministry is not ruling out the issue of stocking or restocking cattle in Chitambo. However, I would like to inform the hon. Member that a national stocking and restocking programme is being prepared in the ministry and there is an allocation of K5 million in the 2017 Budget to this programme. So, once it is done, it will be rolled out in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency and the people will benefit from it.


Thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Madam Speaker, I heard that Chitambo has benefitted village chickens. Which other provinces will benefit?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, in my answer, I added that the Government led by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has embarked on the stocking and restocking of cattle and small ruminants, pigs and poultry in most districts of the country and not only in Chitambo. So, Chitambo has benefitted 2,500 village chickens. Equally, the veterinary extension service workers in the ministry will engage with the hon. Member for Nangoma. So, we will definitely look into it as the programme is being prepared and it will be rolled out to Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency.


Thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, which other area has benefitted?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, there are a quite a number of districts. However, I do not have a list of the districts that have benefitted from the programme being undertaken by our various stakeholders such as APMEP and E-SLIP who are engaged in scaling up nutrition and stocking of small ruminants or village chickens. If I had the answer, I would have informed the hon. Member. However, if he would engage me, I will definitely provide this information.


Thank you, Madam Speaker.




299. Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. who the owner of the incomplete building at the junction of Katondo Street and Freedom Way in the Central Business District of Lusaka was;


  1. why the building had remained incomplete for a long time; and


  1. what the way forward on the building was.


The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the structure was originally owned by the Zambia State Insurance Co-operation and later sold to Royal Lutanda Company Limited in 2001. The delay in the completion of the building has been caused by a series of litigation. The owners will resume construction when all matters of litigation are concluded. 


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister is concerned that this building, which is supposed to add beauty to the Central Business District, is in such a bad state. The answer by the hon. Minister is close to the truth. The building was constructed by the Zambia State Insurance Co-operation (ZSIC), a company that I worked for, for twenty years. In 1992, the building was sold and, to-date, there has been no progress. 


Madam Speaker, this building is not just a public nuisance, but also a hideout for thieves. It is a death trap. Hon. Minister, do you not think that the Government should seriously move in this time and bring some sanity? I think that the litigation is just one way of hiding the inefficiency.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, I do share the hon. Member’s concern. Indeed, the Government is worried about the state of this building and many other buildings not only in the Central Business District of Lusaka, but many other towns. We have one such building in Kitwe and another in Ndola. My ministry is looking at what can be done about these buildings. Both the Government and the general public are worried and something will be done.


With regards to this particular building, however, we are constrained because the matter is in court. We will take practical measures to ensure that this does not happen again. Perhaps, some compromise could be reached even if the matter is still in court.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Madam Speaker, this structure is not fit to be worked on. Building inspectors from Lusaka City Council can confirm that it is a health hazard and a death trap.


I am aware that other countries have laws regarding such incomplete buildings. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether there are any laws regarding such incomplete structures in this country. If there are no laws, why can the ministry not come up with a law that will stop this kind of nuisance, for lack of a better term, which we are seeing in the country?


I believe that the Government, regardless of the litigation, can take certain steps to avoid losing voters because many people have died there.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, we do have adequate laws and we are using some of these laws to ensure that the situation is corrected.


It is unfortunate that I cannot openly state the precise steps that we have taken to deal with this particular case. I feel that if I reveal the plans, I might jeopardise the conclusion of the matter by the court. 


Nonetheless, this is something that we are working on. As a matter of fact, the Head of State is very concerned and there have been discussions over what should be done about the building. Correspondence has been exchanged between the Government and the owners of the building and something will be done about it.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, the matter of this building has been in court since 1992. One starts to wonder whether justice is not being denied because justice delayed is justice denied.


Madam Speaker, considering that there are so many such buildings in the country, is there no plan by the Government to start applying commercial rates with regards to valuations so that the owners of such buildings start feeling the pain of paying tax? I am sure that this is the only way that they can resolve their differences. Does the Government have such initiatives?


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, certain problems cannot be changed by tax. In this case, it is litigation that has stifled progress on this building. Even if we asked the owners to pay tax, matters in court have to be dealt with conclusively before they can complete the building.


However, like I said, there are many laws that exist in this country to ensure that we compel the owners to do something about the building. For instance, there is compulsory acquisition, which I will not get into, at the moment, because I might jeopardise what is coming in future, particularly for this building.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Madam Speaker, this building is a haven for criminals. We understand that it is fully occupied by bandits and outlaws and that a lot of illegal activities are taking place there.


The hon. Minister stated that the Government is exploring a lot of avenues of resolving this problem. I would like to find out if arbitration, which is available in our judicial system, is one of the avenues that the Government has utilised. If not, why has it not considered this approach so that all the parties to this dispute come out winners and so that the city of Lusaka regains its dignity?


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, that is one option that we can use, but there is another one that we are exploring, at the moment, which we think would be good for the Government. If that it fails, then, we will go for arbitration. Nevertheless, I would like to thank the hon. Member for reminding us of that great option that we already have considered.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Madam Speaker, could the hon. Minister kindly correct the perception of the public’s assertions that the reason the building is not complete is because the structure is bend. Kindly, correct that perception.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, as far as we are concerned, the reason the building is not complete is because the matters concerning it are in court. If the building was not well constructed or structured, we would have brought it down a long time ago because it would have been the easiest decision to make. Otherwise, the completion has stalled because matters concerning the structure are in court. Therefore, we cannot proceed with any action. Like I said, there are some other avenues that we are using to ensure that we correct the situation.


I thank you, Madam, Speaker.


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has pointed out that the matters regarding the building in question are in court. Therefore, I do not think it would amount to sub judice to share the details of the case that is before the courts of law. Is the hon. Minister in a position to share the some details of the court case with the House who has sued who and for what reason.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam Speaker: Order!


I will not allow the hon. Minister to answer that question. As the hon. Member has already indicated, it will be sub judice for the hon. Minister to do that. The hon. Minister has indicted that there is litigation.




300. Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. when the Kafulamase Health Post in Luansase Ward in Kabwe Central Parliamentary Constituency would be opened to the public; and


  1. when medical staff would be deployed to the health post.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that Kafulamase Health Post in Luansase Ward in Kabwe Central Parliamentary Constituency was opened to the public in April, 2017. The Government has since deployed two qualified medical personnel, environment health technologist and a Zambia enrolled nurse. Apart from that, there is also a general worker. These workers are working and providing services at the clinic.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.   


Mr Ngulube: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Health for the speed with which he responded to our concerns and queries on the issues relating to the Kafulamase Health Clinic. I also just want to encourage him to continue at the same pace.


I thank you, Madam.




Madam Speaker: Order!


There is no question.




Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to clarify the issue of staffing in the Ministry of Health.


Madam, I would like to give an example of Chama District Hospital. Actually, the hon. Minister of Health indicated on the Floor of the House that we have three medical doctors, who …


Madam Speaker: Order!


The question is about Kabwe Central and Kafulamase Health Post in particular. If you wish to ask a question, you can do so in a general manner or put in a question specifically for your constituency. So, you can ask generally.




Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for that guidance.


Madam, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Health if there exists a situation at Kafulamase Health Post as that at Chama or other health facilities in the country, where doctors or health personnel are drawing salaries from Kafulamase Health Post, yet are based at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH). Is there such a situation in the ministry?


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, I would like to appreciate the witty sneaking in of that question.




Dr Chilufya: Madam, in its quest to strengthen the health system and expand access to health services for the people of this country, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has prioritised human resource for health. With the support of the Ministry of Finance, we recruited 7,400 health workers and distributed them equitably. I am also aware that even next year, we will recruit some more health workers to ensure that we cover the deficit.


Madam, as for Chama South Constituency, the doctors who were on the pay roll for Chama, but have gone for further studies at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) have been moved to the registrar position payroll at the UTH. Therefore, those positions will now be occupied by the newly-recruited doctors and are going to take up the positions in Chama.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




301. Mr Chabi (Chipili) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. when the construction of Chipili District Hospital would commence;


  1. what the cost of the project was;


  1. what the timeframe for the completion of the project was; and


  1. what the bed capacity for the hospital would be.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Madam Speaker, I wish to inform the House that there are no immediate plans to construct a district hospital in Chipili. Therefore, the question in parts (b), (c) and (d) are not applicable.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chabi: Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he is in a position to give a reason to the people of Chipili why there are no immediate plans to construct a hospital in Chipili District considering that Chipili is new district and, therefore, needs a district hospital.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, the construction of infrastructure is planned by a well-crafted infrastructure operational plan. So, Chipili is not in the current infrastructure operational plan. However, if the hon. looked at the National Health Strategic Plan and our intention under the pillar of infrastructure, we have hospitals in all the new districts.


Madam, the spirit of the question was that by now, we would have known the cost of the project, what the bed capacity would have been and we have done the procurement. Therefore, this is the reason we are saying that we do not have immediate plans, but there are plans to build infrastructure such as hospitals in all the new districts in the strategic plans for 2017 − 2021. The only reason that the people of Chipili ought to know is that they are not in the current infrastructure operational plan, but in the strategic plan for the framework, 2017 − 2012.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mukosa: Madam Speaker, considering that there are no immediate plans for the construction of a district hospital in Chipili District, are there some health posts from the 650 health posts that have been allocated to Chipili Constituency.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, yes, the 650 health posts project has provisions for the construction of six health posts in Chipili District.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.    




302. Ms Subulwa (Sioma) asked the Minister of Health:


(a)when the construction of health posts in the following areas in Sioma Parliamentary Constituency would commence:













(xii)Nzilu; and



(b)when the construction works on the following health posts that were abandoned would resume:




(iii)Liumbo; and



(c)why the works at (b) were abandoned;


(d)what the total cost of completing the works at (b) was; and


(e)what the timeframe for the completion of the outstanding works was.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, the Government does not have immediate plans to construct health posts in the following listed areas:













(l)Nzilu; and



However, in the strategic plan for 2017 to 2021, Madam Speaker, these places have been included for construction of health posts and centres.


Madam Speaker, the status of health posts that are incomplete in Sioma is as follows:


(a)Sakadi Health Post was commenced through funds that were externally mobilised through a private initiative in the community. The facility is being constructed in accordance with government standards and the contractor undertaking the works has been advised by the Provincial Buildings Engineer’s office on various remedial works that require being undertaken. The community is still mobilising funds in order to undertake the remedial work;


(b)Kalenge Health Post was a project that was also started by the community. The health post is at window level and is still under construction by the community. However, the Government has provided K100,000 to support completion of the facility in 2017. The provincial administration is currently preparing the bills of quantities and associated documentation to facilitate commencement of the work; and


(c)Liumbo and Sinjembela Health Posts were commenced through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and work stalled due to insufficient funding for the projects. Both contracts require approximately K250,000 each to complete the health post and construct staff houses and other ancillary works. The work is expected to resume as soon as monies are sourced, either from the CDF or through the Ministry of Health budget, possibly in 2018.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




303. Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe) asked the Minister of Local Government:


(a)whether the Government had any plans to upgrade the following unplanned and densely populated settlements in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency:


(i)Kamatipa in Kawama Ward;

(ii)Kachema in Kawama Ward;

(iii)Race Course in Twatasha Ward; and

(iv)Zambia Compound in Itimpi Ward;


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


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


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, yes, the Government has plans to upgrade all unplanned settlements in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency. The plans will be implemented when funds are available and after the council passes a resolution to upgrade the unplanned settlements in accordance with Part IV, Section 28 of the Urban and Regional Planning Act No.3 of 2015.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




304. Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central) asked the Minister of Local Government:


(a)when the construction of township roads in Kabwe District would resume;


(b)who the contractor for the project was;


(c)when the contractor would be paid; and


(d)when the expansion works on the drainage system would commence.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, the construction of township roads in Kabwe District will resume by 2018, subject to availability of funds. The contractor is Asphalt Roads Zambia Limited. The contractor will be paid once funds are made available by the Treasury, possibly before the end of 2017. The expansion works on the drainage system will commence by 2018, subject to availability of funds.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ngulube: Madam Speaker, we are aware that Asphalt Roads Zambia Limited is already on the ground trying to work on certain roads, but we believe that this is probably being done under a different ministry. Therefore, are there any deliberate measures or steps taken, or to be taken, to ensure that while we wait for 2018, some of the roads that have really become impassable could be maybe patched up using the council equipment or another arrangement the ministry could actually go into? We have roads that have never been done in many years and right now people cannot even go there with vehicles.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, yes, we can look into that and just make sure that we ease the movements of people in Kabwe as we wait for this particular contractor to be paid.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




305. Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu) asked the Minister of General Education when all the community schools in Lufubu Parliamentary Constituency would be converted to government schools.


The Minister of General Education (Dr Wanchinga): Madam Speaker, first of all, let me just give a general picture of the status of community schools in this country. Within the overall educational system, we have 8,823 primary schools, 851 secondary schools and 8,185 community schools. Out of these 8,185 community schools, 7,781 are primary schools and 204 are secondary schools. The Ministry of General Education considers community schools as an important part of the national educational system.


Madam Speaker, as regards the schools in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency, there are thirty community schools registered with the Ministry of General Education and these schools have been earmarked for gazetting. There were 2,700 primary, secondary and community schools which had not been gazetted. We have managed to gazette some of them and we have applied for authority from the Treasury to allow salary structures for teachers in these schools to be established. Thirty community schools will benefit from this arrangement. That is the comprehensive answer to the question the hon. Member for Lufubu asked. If he is interested in knowing the exact names of the thirty schools, I have the list.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for bringing the number of both primary schools and community schools. I thought that we should do away with community schools. However, given the number of community schools the hon. Minister mentioned, I think doing away with them will be a mammoth task.


Madam Speaker, what informs the hon. Minister that certain schools are not gazetted? How can I inform the hon. Minister of the schools in my constituency which need to be gazetted?


Dr Wanchinga: Madam Speaker, perhaps, I can help the hon. Member by rephrasing his question as: “Why has it taken long to have these schools gazetted?” For a long time, the Ministry of General Education was battling with the idea of updating its Act and during this time, a lot of work like gazetting of schools was put on hold until that process was completed. We realised that it was going to take some time to have the legal system changed for the ministry. Therefore, we decided to use the 2011 Act to gazette schools. When I was appointed hon. Minister of General Education, that is the route I took. Therefore, there is very little to be done now in terms of facilitating the gazetting of schools apart from just pushing the process forward, which has already begun.


I thank you, Madam.




306.  Mr Miti (Feira) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. when the Government would gazette the following schools in Luangwa District:


  1.  Kapoche Secondary School;


  1. Kaunga Secondary School;


  1.  Kaluluzi Primary School; and


  1. what had caused the delay in gazetting the schools.


Dr Wanchinga: Madam Speaker, the reasons are basically the same as the ones I gave in the earlier question. The ministry has initiated the process of gazetting the schools and it is my fervent hope these schools will be gazetted very soon.


Madam Speaker, the putting in place of the legal framework in the ministry delayed the gazetting. It should also be noted that gazetting of schools has financial implications. Once a school is gazetted, we have to apply for authority from the Treasury to have new salary structures, and various positions of teachers recognised. A budget for these positions also needs to be in place. 


Madam Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. Member of Parliament to be a bit patient. We will gazette these schools and they will benefit from the processes which the ministry of General Education has put in place.


I thank you, Madam.




307.  Mr Kunda (Muchinga) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. what progress the country made in 2016, in the implementation of Sustainable Development Gaol No. 2 on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture;


  1. if little progress was made, what the challenges were; and


  1. what measures were being taken to reduce the rate of malnutrition in the country.



The Minister of Agriculture (Ms Siliya): Madam Speaker, the Government in 2016, made progress in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal No. 2. In trying to end hunger, the Government has continued to support farmers through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which has resulted in increased crop production, especially maize. The country recorded an increase in maize production from 2,873,052 metric tonnes in the 2015/2016 Agriculture Season to 3,606,549 metric tonnes in the 2016/2017 Agriculture Season. The production of other crops also increased, with millet increasing by 8.65 per cent to 32,566 metric tonnes from 29,973 metric tonnes last season. Production of groundnuts is fore cast to increase by 22.9 per cent, mixed beans by 1.9 per cent, sorghum by 22.9 per cent, cassava by 8.12 per cent, rice by 44 per cent and soya beans by 31.38 per cent.


In an effort to improve nutrition, Government has included ten crops on Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP) support, namely white maize, rice, sorghum, groundnuts, soya beans sunflower, cotton, mixed beans, orange maize and cassava. The orange maize is bio-fortified with pro-vitamin A. Furthermore, with the e-voucher system in place, farmers can also access inputs for livestock and fish production.


The scaling up nutrition initiative further enhances Government capacity to improve nutrition of the small scale farmers and their family and improve delivery of key nutrition messages through various agriculture programmes. Government with its Cooperating Partners has also developed nutrient dense crops through bio-fortification to complement other government efforts to combat micro nutrient deficiency in children and women of a child bearing age.


The bio-fortified crops include orange fleshed sweet potatoes rich in pro-Vitamin A, orange maize rich in pro-vitamin A and iron rich beans rich beans rich in iron and zinc. Government is also promoting increased availability and consumption of diverse foods at household level, including vegetables and fruits.


In terms of sustainable agriculture, the Government is training farmers in tree planting and raising tree nurseries for agro forestry and forestry development. Tree planting prevents soil erosion and helps preserve the land in the long term. Some trees also fix nitrogen in the soil which helps increase its fertility, and others have leaves which can also be used as fertiliser, medicine or animal food. Government is also promoting of inorganic fertilisers for farming as well as promoting food security through turning farmers in sustainable agriculture techniques.


All the above efforts are indication that Government is course as far as meeting the Sustainable Development Goal No. 2 on ending hunger achieving food security and improving nutrition and promoting sustainable agriculture.


For the question in (b), the answer is as stated in (a) and in (c), Madam Speaker, as in (a) Paragraph 3 above, measures are being taken to reduce the rate of malnutrition in the country through increasing the food basket, fortification as well as information dissemination and in many instances, direct support of food and cash to vulnerable households through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kunda: Madam Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister what the Government is doing to protect the small-scale farmers who grow crops like soya beans from selling at low prices, so that they can benefit from their labour and be encouraged to grow more crops in order to secure food security.


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, I thought the question was about the Sustainable Development Goal No. 2, but all the same, we will go to the prices.


As far as prices are concerned, Madam Speaker, we have a liberalised economy and this applies to agriculture. The prices are determined by supply and demand. We have noticed that this year, when there has been an over production of maize and soya beans, the prices have gone down. So, what needs to be corrected is really the commodity marketing structure. So that as farmers are planting, their main decision factor should be price discovery, what is the expected price in the future then they work backwards and decide what crop they are going to grow, especially if it is for sell.


Clearly, many farmers will always grow some amount of maize for consumption, but if it is for business, the deciding factor has to be the expected price is. At the moment, we are aware that the farmers are operating in the dark. They do not have that information. However, working with Zambia Agriculture Management Information System (ZAMIS), as a private sector, will help to bring out the platform for commodity trading which is supported by the Agriculture Credit Act of 2010.


Therefore, we are trying to make sure that this filters down all the way to the district so that there is a local aggregator at the districts level, who is giving comfort to the farmer in terms prices and to the buyer in terms consistency of supply as well as price. If this links in to the national body, then, the farmer will always be able to make an informed decision and that will ensure that they are not affected by price shocks and if there is expected over production, then the farmer can switch to another crop.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): I thank you, Madam Speaker …


Mr Zulu: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Zulu: Madam Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order on the Ministry of Agriculture. Last weekend, I was in my constituency interacting with the people and the main issue that people raised there, was on the reduction on satellite depots, where they sell their maize or other products. Due to the reduction, people will use a lot of money on transportation of their maize to the next depot.


Madam Speaker, as if that was not enough, the other complaint was on the e-voucher system which brought a lot of confusion. Due to this confusion on the e-voucher, some people lost out because the farming inputs went to their fields very late.


Madam Speaker, is the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Dora Siliya, who is my sister, in order to remain quiet without saying anything on this? As you may be aware, we, as Members of Parliament, are troubled by the people in our constituency who are asking us why the satellite depots have been reduced, yet we had a bumper harvest. On one hand, the farmers are being asked to produce more and on the other hand, the Government is saying that it will not buy. Is the hon. Minister in order to keep quiet instead of clearing the air?


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Agriculture should come to this House on Tuesday next week and issue a statement regarding the satellite depots, if they have been reduced, giving reasons as to why, including the issue of the electronic-voucher. That is the ruling of the Chair.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Could the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaputa continue please.


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, following your ruling, I withdraw my question because it was more or less related to that.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): With that clarification from the Chair, I am also convinced that Milenge Constituency will be covered because it was the same question I wanted to ask. Madam Speaker, it was telepathy.




Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




308. Mr S. Miti (Feira) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation Environmental Protection:


  1. whether the Government had any plans to construct dams in Luangwa District;


  1. if so, how many dams would be constructed;


  1. what the estimated cost of constructing one dam was; and


  1. if there were no such plans, why.


The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Mr Kaziya): Madam Speaker, the Government has a programme to construct dams countrywide. However, there are currently no plans to construct dams in Luangwa District. The cost of building a dam varies depending on factors such as size, type of dam, geographical site conditions, geological formation and cost of construction materials. However, in general, small dams with a height of not more than 10 m cost about K6 million to K10 million, medium dams with a height between 10 m and 25 m cost approximately K11 million to K50 million and large dams with a height of 25 m can cost approximately K51 million and above.


Madam Speaker, there are no immediate plans to construct dams in Luangwa District because the Government is still conducting feasibility studies to establish suitable sites. Preliminary investigations indicate that the Luangwa area is prone to sedimentation which reduces the storage capacity of a dam, thus causing a challenge.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Madam Speaker, dams are as essential in Luangwa and Mwembezhi as they are in any other part of the country. I note that responses by hon. Ministers’ are generally the same. They state that the Government has a plan to embark on a project, but has no immediate plans for that particular constituency. Could the hon. Minister avail a list of dams that are planned for construction across the country?


Mr Kaziya: Madam Speaker, I will provide the hon. Member with a list of sites where we have conducted feasibilities studies.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




309.  Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. how many agriculture camps were in each of the following Parliamentary Constituencies;


  1. Kaputa; and


  1. Chimbamilonga;


  1. when additional camps would be established in Kaputa Parliamentary Constituency; and


  1. when the agriculture camp officers in Kaputa Parliamentary Constituency would be provided with motorcycles to enhance their operations.


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, Kaputa Parliamentary Constituency has four agriculture camps and these are Kaputa Central, Chocha, Chipili and Kasepa. Chimbamilonga, which is now Nsama District, has sixteen agriculture camps, which are; Nsumbu, Munjela, Kapisha, Chishela, Mwewe, Katwatwa, Kampinda, Mununu, Mwangala, Nsama, Shimusanse, Kakoma, Mupandi, Mukotwe, Munyele and Katele.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture has proposed to establish the following camps in Kaputa District; Kapepula, Kalaba, Kasongole, Kafwimbi and Mukupa Katandula. The camps will become operational once the hon. Ministry of Finance grants Treasury authority.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is also in the process of procuring motorbikes under the Smallholder Productivity Promotion Programme (S3P) and Kaputa will be one of the beneficiaries.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, Chimbamilonga, which was a part of Kaputa, went with sixteen camps when it was made a district leaving four only to the mother district. This has caused a big strain on extension service delivery. Issues of Treasury aside, when will these additional camps be operationalised?


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, the only comfort I can give the hon. Member of Parliament is that I will get back to him once I have asked the hon. Minister of Finance when the funds will be made available.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, on my right, especially that bench up there to my far right (pointing at the Back Bench).


Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Madam Speaker, the distances these camp officers cover in rural areas such as Kaputa and Chimbamilonga are quite vast. Motorbikes do not seem to serve camp officers very well. In fact, they make them very vulnerable in these areas. Are there plans to carry out an evaluation to determine the type of transport which would be suitable in certain areas as opposed to giving motorbikes across the board?


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture is very concerned because increasing production and productivity means providing the necessary support on the ground in terms of extension services.


Madam Speaker, we are aware that we have challenges in the delivery of extension services and support regarding field days in some areas. We are also mindful of the fact that consideration is always based on the population and geographic size. We are attempting to procure more motorbikes to support the extension officers.


Madam Speaker, the ratio of extension officers to farmers, even with the existing extension officers, is very high. There is about one extension officer per 1,000 farmers. We need to employ some more extension, but the Ministry of Agriculture does not operate outside this economic environment. There are currently austerity measures in place. Only the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Home Affairs have been granted Treasury authority to employ. We are now negotiating with the hon. Minister of Finance and making a case for why we need extension officers. At the same time, we will have to look at issues of decent accommodation for these extension officers. Some of them are living in villages although they are educated, and some of them are even graduates.


So, coupled with all those problems, I think this is an issue which should be prioritised. We have to look at our total Budget and see how we can move 80 to 90 per cent of it towards maize support. It is clear that we do not have fiscal space to construct dams, create employment and also, give support to extension services. I think these are real challenges that we need to address and I commiserate with the hon. Member for Lupososhi and the one who spoke earlier than him.


Madam Speaker, the long- term answer is that the economy needs to grow. I am sure that there are a few things that we can do immediately to ameliorate this situation. Currently, as we are budgeting, we are engaged in serious discussions with the hon. Minister of Finance to see what can possibly be done with regards to transport. I know that extension officers would prefer accommodation to transport. They would rather have accommodation and use bicycles than being provided with vehicles and have no accommodation.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Estimates on the Performance of the First Quarter of the 2017 Budget for the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 5th July, 2017.


Madam Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, I second the Motion.


Mr Simfukwe: Madam Speaker, as part of its terms in the Standing Orders, your Committee was tasked to review the performance of the first quarter of the 2017 Budget.


Madam Speaker, let  me state from the outset that the quarterly review of the performance of the national Budget is a very important task because it provides an opportunity for members to study, inquire into and report on matters related to coordination, control and monitoring of the national Budget. The House may be interested to know that regular monitoring of Budget implementation, also called Budget follow-up is a cornerstone of effective public financial management to ensure that appropriated funds are spent in accordance with Budget intentions.


Madam Speaker, the review gave an opportunity for your Committee to appreciate the challenges that were faced by spending agencies in the Budget execution process in the first quarter of 2017. The early involvement of your Committee in the Budget process helps to mitigate the possible abuse of resources by spending agencies at the execution stage, thereby, minimising adverse post-budget audit queries.


Madam Speaker, in dealing with this assignment, your Committee sought both written and oral submissions from various stakeholders who included ministries and other spending agencies. Your Committee also undertook a tour of Luapula and North-Western Provinces to check what was happening on the ground in relation to the 2017 Budget.


Madam, the detailed findings are contained in your Committee’s report and I hope members had an opportunity to read through the report. Therefore, in my debate, I will only address salient features.


Madam Speaker, your Committee observes that the current structure of our national budgeting is such that much of the budgeted funds for various activities sit at ministry headquarters. This means that funds meant for activities in provinces and districts are budgeted for at ministry headquarters. This causes delays in making these funds available for project implementation and further, makes it difficult for the controlling officers in provinces and districts to monitor projects within their jurisdictions.


Madam Speaker, your Committee recommends that funds for procurement and other activities at provincial and district centres should be released directly to the provincial and district centres, where activities are taking place rather than at ministry headquarters in Lusaka.


Madam, your Committee further urges the Government to speed up the implementation of the Fiscal Decentralisation Policy to provide framework for effective deployment of resources at district and provincial levels.


Madam Speaker, the other issue that your Committee dealt with was the existence and functionality of Budget Committees in various ministries and spending agencies. Your Committee observes that some spending agencies do not have Budget Committee to help with budgeting. Your Committee agrees with the stakeholders that Budget Committees are key in helping ministries understand and execute their budgets flawlessly. Further, your Committee sadly notes that although most ministries had Budget Committees, there is no legal framework supporting their establishment.


Madam Speaker, in view of this, your Committee recommends that the Public Finance Act be amended to provide for the creation of Budget Committees in all ministries and other spending agencies just like Audit Committees are provided for. Your Committee is of the view that this will promote easy and efficient monitoring of Budget implementation. Your Committee further recommends that the Budget Committee be chaired by the respective Permanent Secretaries (PSs) who should report on the Budget performance to Parliament on a quarterly basis.


Madam Speaker, your Committee appreciates that introduction of output-based budgeting, a type of budgeting which links Budget allocations to outputs, targets and location. Your Committee was informed that output-based budgeting is a necessary requisite for implementing more result-oriented rather than input-focused budgeting. Your Committee was further informed that output-based budgeting facilitate more strategic Budget decision-making by both the Government and the legislature so that the Budget becomes an efficient vehicle for prioritising competing expenditure needs and an effective tool for delivering public services to the people.


Madam Speaker, your Committee notes that since 2015, the output-based budgeting has been a pilot phase at the ministries responsible for education. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF)/Africa South’s Evaluation (ASE) conduct in 2016, output-based budgeting demonstrates a more strategic performance-focused budgeting compared to the activity-based budgeting.


Madam Speaker, allow me to refer to the hon. Minister of Finance’s 2017 Budget Speech which states,


“Mr Speaker, since 2015, Government has piloted output-based budgeting in the ministries of general and higher education. This system has recently been evaluated and useful lessons learnt, especially relating to the necessary preconditions that need to be in place before further roll-out in 2018. In particular, starting January,  2017, my ministry will strictly enforce commitment controls so that ministries, provinces and spending agencies adhere to approved budgets, only then will this House be able to hold ministries accountable for delivering the outputs that their budgets support.”


Madam Speaker, despite these commitments in the Budget Speech as quoted above, the roll-out of output-based budgeting has suffered setbacks to the extent that not all departments in this ministry have been taken on board. Further, Madam, your Committee observes that the output-based budget only reports programmes and sub-programmes at headquarter level and not at provincial and district levels.


Madam Speaker, in view of the above, your Committee recommends that output-based budgeting be rolled-out in all ministries and be provided for at both provincial and district levels to help ease monitoring of resource utilisation. Furthermore, your Committee recommends that sensitisation activities be extended to ministries, provinces and other spending agencies for them to appreciate the benefits of implementing output-based budgeting as an important tool for budgeting.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the issue of Electronic Farmer Input Support Programme (e-FISP) and the phasing out of the conventional Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). Let me, again, quote from the 2017 Budget Speech delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance to this House:


“To ensure greater economic stability and growth, we need to develop a sustainable diversified and competitive agriculture sector. This will improve the livelihoods of our people. Sir, in 2017, the Government will promote diversification to cash crops such as cotton, cashew nuts, soya beans, cassava and rice. This will be done through the full migration to the e-Voucher System. The e-Voucher System will be used for all beneficiaries under FISP in the 2017/2018 Farming Season. In addition, the e-Voucher System will help reduce excessive overheads and wastage associated with the current FISP arrangement and will ensure prudent use of our resources in line with our economic recovery programme.”


Madam Speaker, your Committee agrees with the above intention and notes that conventional FISP is not provided for in the 2017 Budget. The entire K2.8 billion allocated to FISP is under the e-Voucher programme.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture informed your Committee that the e-Voucher had been piloted in thirty-nine districts and that the pilot programme experienced a number of challenges, including the lack of information communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, mobile networks and banking facilities in the rural areas. Your Committee was informed that because of these challenges, the 100 per cent roll-out of e-FISP is unlikely to take place in the 2017/2018 Farming Season.


Madam Speaker, contrary to the view that districts have no ICT infrastructure, mobile networks and banking facilities, your Committee is aware that almost all district centres in the country have mobile networks which could facilitate e-Voucher transactions, especially that transactions take place at these centres and not in the villages.


Furthermore, your Committee was disappointed with the lack of tangible progress in implementing the e-Voucher roll-out plan which was agreed on by all parties at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in March, 2017.


Your Committee, therefore, recommends that the roll-out of the e-Voucher should be 100 per cent as per Government’s intention in the 2017 Budget and the conventional FISP be phased out completely. Your Committee further urges the Government to roll out e-Voucher without raising issues of ICT infrastructure, mobile networks and banking facilities because all district centres have mobile networks which can facilitate all the transactions.


Madam Speaker, another issue that your Committee dealt with was the Budget for the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). Your Committee observed that the provision in the Yellow Book for FRA is not broken down into attendant activities to be carried out in the financial year. Your Committee was informed that Budgeting was done by the Ministry of Agriculture and that the agency was not involved in the budgeting process.


Your Committee was further informed that the FRA management had a lee way to decide what attendant activities had to receive resources whenever the agency was funded.  Madam, your Committee is concerned about this unique funding arrangement where a block amount is released without specifying the activities on which resources will be applied. When your Committee solicited for an explanation, it was informed that the funding was done in such a manner because the Government tied the funding to carryover grain stocks. This meant that the funding would only cater for the balance depending on what stock of crop is carried over from the previous year. For example, if the target was 500,000 metric tonnes to be purchased and the carry-over stock was 300, 000 metric tonnes, only funding for the balance of 200,000 metric tonnes could be budgeted for, making Budgeting for attendant costs difficult to plan in advance.


In light of the above short coming, your Committee urges the Government to break down the Budget for FRA in the Yellow Book into the attendant activities in order to facilitate easy monitoring and auditing of the funds allocated to the various activities and move away from budgeting a lump sum for the agency.


Madam Speaker, allow me to comment on the arrears owed by the Government. Your Committee appreciates the fact that the Government is committed to the dismantling of arrears, as captured in the fiscal targets and measures spelt out in the 2017 Budget. Your Committee also notes that in the first quarter of 2017, K420.9 million was released for the dismantling of arrears relating to the 2016/2017 Farming Season under FISP for the commencement of preparations for the 2017/2018 Farming Season.


Madam Speaker, your Committee learnt that the FRA had a challenge of dismantling carry- over debt to service providers such as transporters, suppliers of empty grain bags, security firms and rentals. It had hoped that these debts would be settled during the fourth quarter of 2016, but little was done to reduce this burden. This had affected the suppliers’ capacity to deliver quality services which in turn posed a threat to the smooth implementation of the programme.


In light of the short-coming, the Committee recommends that the huge amount of arrears owed to different service providers be paid off in order to complete projects which have stalled. Your Committee feels that this will create room to start new projects in the agriculture sector and improve service delivery, especially in rural areas.


Madam Speaker, I now wish to conclude by expressing your Committee’s gratitude for appointing its Members to serve on this important Committee. Your Committee is aware of the progress made so far in budgetary reforms which are now provided for in the revised Standing Orders. These have indeed expanded the roles of your Committee.


Your Committee is also grateful to the stakeholders who appeared before it for their co-operation and input into their deliberations. Lastly, I also extend your Committee’s appreciation to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services rendered to your Committee during the session.


Madam, I will be failing in my duty if I do not thank the Members of your Committee for the support and cooperation during this session. I also wish to thank them most sincerely for giving me the chance to be Chairperson of your Committee.


Madam Speaker, I beg to move.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Madam Speaker, I beg to second the Motion moved by the Chairperson that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Estimates on the Performance of the fIRSTQuarter of the 2017 Budget for the First Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 5th July, 2017.


Mr Jamba: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, before I delve into much detail, let me first start by thanking your Committee for giving me this opportunity to second this Motion


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, the Chairperson, in his speech, has raised pertinent issues about the performance of the 2017 Budget. In seconding the Motion, I will concentrate on other issues contained in your report, which in my view are very important in the implementation of the budget. Allow me now to present these issues.


Madam Speaker, inadequate, untimely and unpredictable release of funds, the Chairperson stated that funds for procurements and other activities should be allocated to provincial and district centres where activities are happening rather than at ministry headquarters. Madam, this is in line with the Decentralisation Policy that was launched in 2013 which entails the devolution of some budgetary powers to the local authorities.


Madam Speaker, a quick research by your Committee revealed that the governments of Kenya and South Africa have been implementing fiscal decentralisation for some time now. The literature shows that the achievements made as a result of the implementation of the policy in the two countries point to the fact that fiscal decentralisation enhanced the knowledge of local needs and preferences which were specific to a locality, thereby, providing effective targeting of public services. In addition, it enhanced political and financial accountability as a result of greater citizens’ participation, ownership and influence.


Madam Speaker, your Committee is, however, disappointed that fiscal decentralisation has not received active attention in Zambia and implementation of the policy has been rather slow, in fact, too slow. This is because ministries, provinces and other spending agencies have continually complained about the inadequate, untimely and unpredictable release of funds that make it difficult for respective controlling officers to effectively implement activities. For example, in the Southern Province, the late release of funds at the end of March was cited as the main challenge for slow implementation of programmes and projects in the quarter under review. In this regard, despite the funds release being reasonably adequate, the funds were released late towards the end of the quarter, implying that funds could only be utilised in the second quarter of the year. This scenario was common in all the provinces visited by your Committee during the local study tour.


In light of the above, Madam Speaker, your Committee recommends that as an interim measure, the Government should ensure adequate, timely and predictable release of funds for effective project implementation. However, as a lasting solution, your Committee urges the Government to speed up the implementation of fiscal decentralisation without any further delay.


Madam Speaker, another issue that your Committee dealt with is the roll out of the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to all Government ministries, provinces and other spending agencies. Your Committee notes that IFMIS was set up to support Government business processes by ensuring accountability, transparency and consequently enhancement of public service delivery. Further, IFIMIS integrates into one platform, its main business processes such as budgeting, procurement, accounting, fleet management, asset management, audit and project management.


Madam Speaker, your Committee acknowledges that IFMIS has been rolled out to forty-four sites while implementation remains outstanding in seven sites, namely State House, Electoral Commission of Zambia, National Assembly of Zambia, Office of the President- Special Division and the three security wings.


Madam Speaker, your Committee was informed that the Ministry of Finance was committed to complete the full roll-out of the remaining institutions by end of 2017. Your Committee was further informed that over 95 per cent of the National Budget is being transacted through IFMIS and that it has greatly improved the daily recording and reporting of public finance data as Government transaction as recorded in real time. Furthermore, the auditing of ministries, provinces and spending agencies has also been eased on account of better access to financial data.


However, Madam Speaker, your Committee is saddened with the disparity in figures reported by Ministry of Finance and some ministries. For instance, in the first quarter of 2017, the Ministry of Finance reported that K790.1 million was released to the Ministry of Agriculture; however, the ministry reported having received K662 million. To avoid the discrepancy in reporting, your Committee recommends a speedy roll-out of IFMIS to all ministries and other grant aided institutions.


Madam Speaker, another issue which your Committee was confronted with was the review of the Public Finance Act and enactment into law of the Freedom of Information Bill. It would, however, not be in the best interest of the nation to ignore sentiments of stakeholders who submitted that it was very difficult to access information from public institutions on the performance of the Budget. They argued that the provision of this information would enhance transparency and accountability in the use of public resources and delivery of services.


Madam Speaker, I am saddened and burdened to bring it to your attention that due to lack of a legal framework to facilitate the dissemination of this information, stakeholders cannot access information on the quarterly performance of the National Budget. For instance, one of the stakeholders informed your Committee that they failed to access information on the performance of quarter under review from the Ministry of General Education even after availing a letter from your Committee.


In light of the above, Madam Speaker, your Committee recommends the speedy amendment of the Public Finance Act to provide for preparation of Budget Performance Reports on a quarterly basis and be publicised. In addition, your Committee strongly recommends the speedy enactment of the Freedom of Information Bill, in order to allow access by the general public to information held by Government institutions to facilitate public scrutiny. This, in my view, is a hallmark in promoting efficiency, effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the public service delivery.


In conclusion, Madam Speaker, allow me once more to thank Members of your Committee for according me an opportunity to second this important Motion. I also join the Chairperson of your Committee in thanking you for according us the chance to serve in this important Committee.


Madam Speaker, I beg to second.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr C. Bwalya (Lupososhi): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to support the Report of your Committee on behalf of the people of Lupososhi. In supporting the report, I have a few things that I would like to raise.


Madam Speaker, I will zero in on the Electronic voucher system (e-voucher) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) Budget so that I raise the issues that people of Lupososhi raised since I just came from there last Tuesday. The e-voucher is a very good thing and must be supported by every Zambian because it will deal with a lot of negative issues …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended at 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Bwalya: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to raise certain issues about the e-Voucher System as they were presented to me by the people of Lupososhi Constituency during the long weekend. The e-Voucher System is a welcome move and will remove quite a number of issues in the conventional Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). However, your Committee has raised issues pertaining to it which I do not seem to agree with, especially that it is being recommended that it be rolled out in all the districts and the reason given is that the network is present at district centres. We have been crying in this House, as hon. Members of Parliament, for communication towers ...


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: ... because there is no network in certain areas. Therefore, it is very big impediment for the people in Lupososhi Constituency to benefit from the e-Voucher System. The other aspect that relates to the same is that of the presence of the banks. Again, this is a very big impediment especially in Luwingu District and when the hon. Minister stands up to debate, she should clarify whether or not the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) is part and parcel of the e-Voucher System. This is because NATSAVE is one of the banks that seems to be lagging behind in terms of technology. The implementation of the e-Voucher System in rural areas such as Luwingu will bring a lot of misery amongst the peasant farmers. Sensitisation is yet another aspect that has not been seriously attended to by the Ministry of Agriculture.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: This is July and in two months time, the rains will begin in October. My people in Lupososhi Constituency do not even know anything about the operations of the e-Voucher System. The Ministry of Agriculture has also not moved in to sensitise the farmers who are the beneficiaries of the e-Voucher System so how, then, will it be rolled out in places like Luwingu, where there are no banks, and in other areas which are not serviced in terms of network?


Madam, it is also true that the implementation of the e-Voucher System requires the presence of the agro dealers.


Dr Malama: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: In Luwingu, there is not even one agro dealer to write home about. The farmers end up grouping in the Boma, which is the district trading centre, yet they do not access the inputs. We know that the agro dealers are businessmen and they may go to look for business wherever it presents itself. However, the period is too short for the farmers in Luwingu and Lupososhi Constituency to have credible agro dealers who will supply the inputs to them.


Madam Speaker, the other concern that I have on the e-Voucher System and why I am saying it should not be rolled at this juncture is the fact that the farmers are already overburdened. So, it is not good to ask them to go to the district trading centre as opposed to taking fertiliser to the camp officers. We expect that when the agro dealers are contracted to supply fertiliser in various districts, they are told to deliver it to the camps because that is the reason they were created. The camp officers are based there so why should we allow a situation where the farmers go to a district trading centre in order for them to access what they want? Then, we are defeating the whole purpose of decentralisation. Therefore, the recommendation, good as it sounds, requires a very careful analysis before the Government can go ahead and roll out the e-Voucher System to all the districts.


Madam, let me talk about the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) budget. The Government is subsiding production which is very good as opposed to subsidising consumption. However, while the Government is subsidising production and encouraging the farmers to produce as much as they can, the FRA’s budget is inadequate to buy the maize. I agree that the FRA may be described as the buyer of the last resort, but surely, we have the rural ‘rural’ farmers who do not even know the millers. Even the much talked about private sector cannot reach these farmers,yetwe want themto find market and sell their maize to whoever they want. Surely, this must be revisited. Let us allow the FRA to deal with the rural ‘rural’ farmers and those along the line of rail and within the areas where the roads are of bituminous standards can sell their maize to the private sector.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: My people in Lupososhi Constituency are vulnerable because the feeder roads are not attended to. So, they produce maize at a very great cost and with a lot of challenges and at the end of the day, they are told that the satellite depots will not be opened. When I went to the FRA, I was told by the Camp Officer (CO) that the hon. Members of Parliament pass the Budget so there is nothing they can do. So, let us define the rural setting so that the FRA can concentrate on buying maize produced in the far flung areas.


For argument’s sake, how do I explain a situation where there are more satellite depots in Chongwe and Mumbwa than Lupososhi Constituency?


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: Surely, there is something wrong and we need to do something about it. The FRA must close down the depots that are along the line of rail and open more in areas like Kaputa, …


Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya: … Mpulungu, Mwansabombwe and Lupososhi.


Mr Malama: And Nchelenge!


Mr Bwalya: I just came from my constituency where a situation has arisen.


Mr Malama: And Nchelenge, ba mudala!


Mr Bwalya: I do not know where people get certain information without consulting the area Member of Parliament. Mapulanga is a high production depot where not less than 10,000 by 50kg bags are produced every year. The depot has been closed down. How do I show face in the area without getting my head chopped off because I will be blamed for the situation? 


Madam Speaker, the FRA’s budget must be upped. I am aware that the agency has purchased beyond 500,000 metric tonnes before and it can do it again. This has happened year in and year out with the exception of last year when they bought less. Most years, over 1 million metric tonnes has been bought. Why do we not align its budget to such production?


What is happening is that on one hand we are giving farmers inputs through the e-Voucher and on the other we are telling that if they produce plenty and it rots then it is their problem because the Government has subsidised production. It does not work like that. Let us balance the act so that we can support the farmer fully, especially the peasant farmer.


Madam Speaker, the e-Voucher is a very emotive issue for me. I want to appeal to the Ministry of Agriculture to start sensitisation now and ensure that it evaluates what has already been implemented. It must come up with a report indicating that it will consolidate what has already been piloted then see how best it will work afterwards. When this is done, we will all be happy to roll out the system to other districts.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Madam Speaker, I thank you for this rare opportunity that you have given me to make a few comments. I am aware that the tradition of this august House is really not to criticise The Speaker’s Report. Indeed, this important report that was produced by your Committee meets most of the requirements. I am aware, however, that there are many areas that need to be perfected, as mentioned by my colleague, Hon. Bwalya.


I believe that this report has come at the right time, especially following your directive that the hon. Minister of Agriculture must give a ministerial statement on Tuesday, next week. It is timely in the sense that in Milenge, the constituency I represent, it is believed that the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) plus the withdrawal of satellite depots is equal to disaster.


Mr Bwalya: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: The e-Voucher implementation, in its current format, plus the satellite withdrawal will lead to a debacle. I agree with your Committee that the e-Voucher is a good system because it will bring efficiency and effectiveness. However, before the e-Voucher System, the system used had many loopholes and these were identified in all the thirty-nine districts where the system was in use. If we go full throttle in all 106 districts with the e-Voucher System, it will be more disastrous. So, while it is a good programme, we need to go step by step.


The statement by the hon. Minister of Finance that this year we are going all the way needs to be analysed. I am glad that the hon. Minister of Agriculture is listening attentively. The missing link is the information flow. There are very few people out there in the districts who are aware of this important facility. We need to build capacity in Mwansabombwe, Milenge, Kaputa, Lupososhi, …


Mr C. M. Zulu: Luangeni!


Mr Mbulakulima: … Luangeni, Vubwi, …


Mr Mutale: Chitambo!


Mr Mbulakulima: …and Chitambo.


Ms Katuta: Chienge!


Mr Mbulakulima: I am very happy that we are all speaking the same language.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: We mean well.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture must heed that we cannot go the e-Voucher way hastily. How many districts have banking facilities that they can boast about? More than two-thirds of the districts represented in this House do not have such facilities, except Kalulushi.




Mr Mbulakulima: So, we are in trouble and the hon. Minister of Agriculture should take note of this.


As Hon. Bwalya said, we were promised that the system would be up and running by this time. This has not happened. Most of the areas are not covered by the network, which is an important element in the facilitation of the e-Voucher System.


Madam Speaker, Milenge does not have a single agro supplier. How will we do it, more so that they are talking about district centres? The district centre in Milenge is over 300 km away. How will the poor peasants manage to go to the district centre where presumably agro suppliers will be?


Last week, I asked the hon. Minister of Agriculture about storage facilities in Milenge, and I am very glad that she is actually looking at me right now.


Ms Siliya: Last week?!


Mr Mbulakulima: The hon. Minister responded that the Government will consult the private sector. How will we store these agro supplies? I want to believe that we are quite far from reaching the destination and it is important that the hon. Minister of Agriculture revisits this important element.


The e-Voucher is very good, but we are not ready to manage it at the moment because two third majority of our people in the country have had no access to it. I would, therefore, like to urge the hon. Minister to reconsider this issue.


Madam Speaker, I hope that when my distant cousin comes to the House next week with a ministerial statement, she will come with a good message with regard to satellite depots. When I was in my district a few hours ago, the biggest satellite I had was a situation, where …


Ms Siliya: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mbulakulima: Okay, I have taken note.




Ms Siliya: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, I rarely stand on points of order, but I am very concerned with the language, which the hon. Member of Parliament for Milenge is using. Is he in order to refer to me as his very distant cousin when in fact, I am the only wife whom he has. I need your serious ruling.




Hon. Members: Bayama! Bayama!


Ms Siliya: I need your serious ruling.


Madam Speaker: Order!


Obviously, the hon. Minister of Agriculture does not just want to be related to the hon. Member for Milenge, as a distant cousin. In fact, she wants to restate what she believes is the position of a wife.




Hon. Members: Hear, hear! Bamukayama!




Madam Speaker: Order!


For purposes of our business in this House, there are neither wives nor cousins. There is the hon. Minister of Agriculture and the hon. Member of Parliament for Milenge. Therefore, the hon. Member for Milenge will address the hon. Minister as such.


The hon. Member for Milenge may continue.


Mr Mbulakulima: Ema point of order aya!




Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Speaker, those are good points of order coming from bamukayama. Now, you nephews should take heed.




Mr Mbulakulima: Madam, based on that point of order, Hon. Mutati must keep a distance.




Madam Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Milenge should come back to the issue on the Floor.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Speaker, with that good point of order, all I can do is to just summarise that the poor road infrastructure and storage facilities, lack of agro suppliers and banking facilities networks will not enable us to go 100 per cent for the e-Voucher System. We need to start building capacity and prepare for the future.


Madam Speaker, like I earlier said, the e-Voucher System implementation, at the moment, and the lack of storage facilities and satellite depots will lead to hunger in this country.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank you for allowing me to debate on the Motion moved by the Chairperson of your Report of the Committee on Estimates.


Madam, the message is loud and clear. The issue of the e-Voucher System has been adequately covered in the sense that just over the long weekend, I was in Serenje Constituency and the peripheral area of Serenje Constituency. Most of the farmers have not had their e-Vouchers activated to date. So, that is how serious the situation of the e-Voucher is.


Madam Speaker, while supporting the implementation of the e-Voucher System100 per cent, we have reservations in the sense that we need to put certain measures in place to ensure that all the areas in the peripheral areas are covered with the network so that we can arrest the hemorrhages, which are in the conventional system of the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).


Madam Speaker, the second point, which I want to talk about, is the poor road network. Most of the roads in my constituency and Serenje Constituency in particular are impassable. Therefore, the movement of food to the market is becoming difficult. We do not know when the roads will be graded to enable our farmers move their produce to the markets. These are issues, which are emotive and require urgent attention.


Madam, your report also highlighted on the issue of physical decentralisation. While we are pursuing decentralisation, I believe that the districts are not ready to handle huge sums of monies. This is evident because they have admitted that they require to undergo capacity building training and this is in the public domain. Therefore, for us to protect public revenue, there is need to move cautiously before we can decentralise our resources to the districts because reports that we have received so far attest to the fact that there are inadequate who are qualified to handle resources. If anything, most local authorities are not even in a position to prepare financial statements. So, how possible is it that they are going to look after our resources?


Madam Speaker, at the moment, most of these local authorities do not even have qualified personnel in place. So, how possible is it that they handle huge sums of money for contracts out there. I expect that we need to do more to capacity build the districts before resources can be decentralised downwards.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Finance (Mr Mutati): Madam Speaker, let me thank the Chairperson of your Committee for a well-presented report and for the many challenges that have been identified with regard to issues around agriculture and also Budget performance, especially the Budget performance for the first quarter of this year.


Madam, perhaps, let me begin by making some responses on the budget performance and then, I will comment on the issues around the e-Voucher System and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) in agriculture.


Madam Speaker, in the report by your Committee, four key issues that would help in the issues of accountability, transparency and enhancing the performance of the Budget were raised. In particular, an issue was raised on the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS).


Madam Speaker, the purpose of IFMIS is to achieve efficiency, accuracy and speed in transactions so that we have the ability to have timely reports, which are essential for decision making. What we have been able to do is to also arrest the accumulation of arrears by putting into the system what we are calling the commitment control. Under IFMIS, expenditure is based on what is in the Budget and not on the basis of the cash releases. So, we can only interrogate expenditure via what is in the Budget. If there is insufficient money in the single treasury account, a payment will then be killed and only released when money is available. That way, we are eliminating the building up of arrears outside the system. The only arrears that can ever be built will be those within the budget. In a sense, therefore, we are achieving commitment control. Our target is that there will be an additional six sites that are going to be put on IFMIS beginning 1st January, 2018.


Madam Speaker, the second issue which was raised was on the Output Based Budgeting (OBB). Yes, we have tried it in the general and higher education sectors. We agree with the chairperson of your Committee that we must transit from Activity Based Budgeting (ABB) to OBB because the latter is programme based. Under OBB, we are able to track our priorities because the whole process is not round a specific transaction, but an accumulation of transactions that are related to a programme or project. This year, we want to extend that to another five ministries and I think we will continue to build on that until we deal with the entire government system.


Madam Speaker, the third issue which was raised was on fiscal decentralisation. We have had challenges on this particular matter and what we can say for now is that unfortunately, it continues to be work in progress. We will come back to Parliament to articulate this issue. Whether it is devolution or decentralisation in terms of an accounting system, you have got to be clear what it is you are going to do. So for now, what we can say is that when we are ready, we will come and make a statement to Parliament as to the programme of fiscal decentralisation.


Madam Speaker, the fourth issue which was raised relates to the Public Finance Act. The programme is that this particular piece of legislation should be presented to Parliament at the next Sitting.


Madam Speaker, in agriculture, one of the key issues was that the levels of expenditure were high whilst outputs were low and therefore, the level of wastage was high. For example, out of the K2.9 billion budget for the sector, a significant amount of that would go to waste. What is more is that we not able to achieve our target in terms of the number of farmers to be impacted by the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). Another challenge we have had under FISP is that the Government is not the best at procuring and distributing inputs such as fertilisers or seeds.


Madam Speaker, that is the reason we took a decision and it was pronounced in the 2017 Budget that we were going to have 100 per cent Electronic- Voucher (e-voucher) implementation regarding FISP. We quite understand the challenges around achieving the 100 per cent mark. Therefore, over the last six weeks and a little beyond that, we have put together all those who have got a role to play in the e-voucher implementation processes. There include the agro-dealers, banking community, telecom companies, system creators and institutions such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and World Food Programme (WFP) to share one common platform on how we can migrate as much as possible to achieve 100 per cent e-voucher implementation this year.


Madam Speaker, what we have adopted is to use Smart Zambia as a central platform. Smart Zambia will be the reservoir of data which is being accumulated per district that will be entered and controlled by the Government. This work has reached an advanced stage and from the thirty-nine districts that we did last year, we are also learning the mistakes that were made. In particular, an issue that has come up is the loading of cards and finding that there are no agro-products to be bought. For instance, 40,000 e-voucher cards that were issued still have money because the agro-dealers did not have what to sell. We are working on reversing that and, as I said, this work is fairly advanced.


Madam, we remain 80 to 90 per cent confident in the effectiveness and operational efficiency of this programme after we address some of these issues. What we are concentrating on now is the coverage. With the combination of the e-voucher cards and use of mobile telephones to see how much coverage we can achieve this year, we want to see what lessons we can learn from that process. Our estimation is that we will be able to save at least 50 per cent of administration expenses and other wasted expenditure which will go principally to the farmer.


In addition, Madam Speaker, as part of the contribution on the e-voucher, we have also put a K100 to account for what we are calling insurance in case the weather may be adverse. Yes, there will be challenges in Milenge and many other places, but I think the key thing is that even when the hon. Member for Milenge goes to his constituency, he is able to find spots where he can be able to receive a signal using his mobile phone. I think that can be done. Moreover, most agro dealers are based in locations where there are mobile phone signals. I not underplaying the challenge in terms of reaching the 1,000,000 farmers that we are targeting this year. We are going to do as much as is practical. We shall find alternative solutions where we are unable to do so. So, we agree with the chairperson of your Committee on the need to have100 per cent e-voucher implementation and we are determined to do so.


Madam Speaker, as regards the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), the Government has made a commitment that we are going to procure 500,000 metric tonnes of maize this year. In this regard, we have been working with traders, including the Zambia Agricultural Commodities Exchange (ZAMACE), which will be operational for the first time this farming season. We advertise for warehouses under ZAMACE, which can be used as collateral. We have been able to get almost 725,000 metric tonnes capacity of warehousing from private sector entities that will be able to run the warehousing facilities on behalf of ZAMACE.


Therefore, the farmer will have the opportunity to use the warehouse receipts as collateral to get some money from banks. We are working with the entire banking community and everybody is ready to support this process.


Madam Speaker, because we have a bumper harvest this year, we are exploring how we can export some surplus maize. In that regard, we have taken two key decisions. Number one is that we have removed the 10 per cent export duty on maize and number two, we have lifted the ban on maize export. These two key decisions are going to boost the exports.


Madam Speaker, recently, I was in Kenya. Kenya is one of the biggest markets. However, we had challenges exporting maize there because of challenges associated with conformity assessment, relating to quality of the maize, issuance of export permits, and the transit of goods between borders in Tanzania and Kenya. In addition, there was an import duty for maize in Kenya. These challenges were addressed and eliminated during my last visit. As a consequence of elimination of those challenges, the commodity dealers from East Africa, principally from Kenya, have signed contracts for import of Zambian maize, which is not genetically modified, worth US$100 million, which is approximately 400,000 metric tonnes between now and September. The hon. Minister of Finance of Kenya indicated that the waiver has been extended to September and depending on how we perform, this waiver can be extended further. Therefore, we are using this opportunity to boost the export of maize so that we minimise its wastage and maybe uplift the price. What is also important is that apart from maize, Kenya is looking for soya and sugar. Therefore, the opportunities to trade in East Africa and Kenya in particular, are immense. I will continue to follow up on these issues and make sure that we begin to address the diversity we want to achieve in agriculture. We should also begin to achieve the credibility and consistency we want in the sector, because I truly believe this can be good business not only for Zambia, but the region.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Simfukwe: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for that response to the various debates. I am also grateful to all the hon. Members of Parliament who debated the Motion.


I thank you, Madam.


Question put and agreed to.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!




The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1746 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 7th July, 2017.