Friday, 24th February, 2017

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Friday, 24th February, 2017


The House met at 0900 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to acquaint you with the presence in the Speaker’s Gallery of a delegation from the Parliament of the Republic of Malawi.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: The delegation comprises the following members of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Malawi Branch:


Hon. Shaibu Kaliati, MP, Leader of the Delegation


Hon. Rachel Mazombwe, MP


Ms Siphiwe Komwa, Secretary to the Delegation


On behalf of the National Assembly of Zambia, I receive our distinguished guests and warmly welcome them in our midst.


I thank you.






The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I rise to acquaint the House with the Business it will consider next week.


Sir, on Tuesday, 28th February, 2017, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. That will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any.


Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, 1st March, 2017, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. That will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will consider Private Member’s Motions, if there will be any.


Sir, on Thursday, 2nd March, 2017, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any. That will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any.


On Friday, 3rd March, 2017, Sir, the Business of the House will begin with the Vice-President’s Question Time. That will be followed by Questions for Oral Answer, if there will be any, followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any.


I thank you, Sir.






Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, of late, the nation has experienced unprecedented levels of tribal xenophobia in the Civil Service, ...


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: ... where a number of civil servants and parastatal workers who are perceived to be supporters of the United Party for National Development (UPND) on account of hailing from the North-Western, Western, Southern and Central provinces ...


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: ... have been dismissed.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Mwiimbu: Is it the policy of Her Honour the Vice-President’s Government to punish people for their political and regional affiliations? If not, what measures will be taken against the perpetrators of this vice?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, the President of this country, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has, on various occasions, stated that this Government will not take any discriminatory measures against any Zambian based on colour, tribe or sex.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Civil Service has regulations that guide the transfer, discipline or retirement of civil servants. So, the issue of civil servants hailing from certain regions being targeted for retirement does not hold water. The hon. Member should realise that bringing up issues like these in Parliament merely divides the people of Zambia.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr L. Tembo (Kaumbwe): Mr Speaker, many bridges in Kaumbwe Constituency have been washed away due to the heavy rains that our nation has been experiencing recently. As a result, people cannot access health facilities and pupils cannot access their schools. Further, two weeks ago, we lost two innocent pupils who met their fate as they tried to cross over to get to their school, and I reported the matter to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the first week of January, 2017. Schools in the area have also had their roofs blown off. So, the people of Kaumbwe would like to know the stance of the Government on these challenges.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the heavy rainfall that Zambia has experienced this season has wreaked havoc throughout the country and bridges and schools have not been spared. The Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), which falls under my office, is currently collecting data from all parts of the country to ascertain the amount of damage caused to infrastructure. District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs) have also been requested to provide the necessary information to DMMU Offices. Further, all hon. Members of Parliament have been written to indicate the damage that has been caused to infrastructure in their constituencies and we are awaiting the reports. Meanwhile, the DMMU is mobilising resources so that it can to respond to the cries for help on the ground, such as those from Kaumbwe Constituency. Currently, the unit is operating on a shoestring and that is why we will present a supplementary Budget Motion to the House so that the DMMU can be given extra financial support to respond to these emergencies.


I thank you, Sir


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, Nampundwe Mine in Mwembezhi Constituency is a sorry sight. I do not know what the Zambian people have eaten from Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) to allow it …




Mr Jamba: … to continue to exist in this country when it is not investing ‒


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Please, use parliamentary language. What do you mean by “eaten”? Can you rephrase your question. Further, we only have forty-five minutes for this part and these long and winding prefaces are denying others the opportunity to ask questions. So, just get to the point.


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, most obliged. I am speaking in this manner because the people of Mwembezhi are suffering.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, the KCM is not investing in Nampundwe Mine and the people are suffering. Lwanyanda, ima, lwanyanda.


Hon. Government Members: Meaning?


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, will the Government allow the company to continue with its operations at Nampundwe Mine or will it let other people to take over? We are suffering, ima.


Mr Speaker: What was your last word?


Mr Jamba: Mr Speaker, it means ‒


Hon. Opposition Members: Ima!


Mr Speaker: No, I want you to repeat the word.


Mr Jamba: Let me explain what ima means.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, please, ask your question.


Mr Jamba: Aah!




Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, Zambia’s quest for development is unquestionable. As one of Zambia’s development partners, has the African Development Bank (AfDB) been relevant and useful to our development agenda?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has played a vital role in Zambia’s development. For example, it has been funding projects in the agriculture, energy and water sectors. Furthermore, it provides African governments with concessional loans that are much cheaper than those offered by the international financial markets, which have become very expensive. Hon. Members of the House will remember the Eurobond that Zambia sourced a few years ago. However, the international markets ask for higher profits in a very short time while AfDB gives governments more space to repay the money. That is why Zambia has found it prudent to partner with it in its development agenda.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, most governments across the world are advocating for the rights of transgender people. How many transgender people do we have in this country?


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Miyanda: Further, what is the Government doing to provide appropriate public bathroom facilities for them, especially when they are in transit?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I did not understand the last part of the question.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, could you repeat the last part of the question.


Mr Miyanda repeated the question.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Zambian Government has not come across transgender individuals yet in the country.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!      


The Vice-President: If there are such individuals, it would be prudent for them to come out in the open so that we can know how to deal with them and provide appropriate facilities for them.


I thank you, Sir.          


Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, firstly, I thank the Office of the Vice-President for sending 50 metric tonnes of relief maize to Lumezi Constituency. However, the people of Mwanya and Chitungulu have not yet received their share because their places are inaccessible. What measures is the Office of the Vice-President putting in place to ensure that they receive the relief food?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the scenario painted by the hon. Member is not unique to Mwanya, as it also prevails in the Luano Valley and many other places. What the DMMU has done is engage the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) to help airlift the maize to areas that are inaccessible by road due to the flooding that has resulted from heavy rains. So, I think that the hon. Member’s constituency will be considered for airlifts as soon as the planes are available. This is an on-going process.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President has told us that the Civil Service has its own regulations for the employment, retirement, dismissal and disciplining of its members. Is she saying that those regulations are only applicable to people from the North-Western, Western, Southern and Central provinces?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lufuma: Sir, why should something like this, which has never happened since Independence, happen now? That is what is worrying the people of Zambia and dividing the country.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the question being asked has been answered because it was asked earlier, albeit in a different manner, ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


The Vice-President: ... and I do not think it is prudent for me to repeat my answer. In fact, the hon. Member has touched on some aspects of my answer.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Amb. Malanji (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, going by the 2017 Budget, the Government is practising progressive taxation. However, there has been much speculation on the directive that all bank account holders submit taxpayer identification numbers (TPINs) to the banks. Is there any deliberate sensitisation campaign that the Government will embark on so that its policy is not misunderstood by members of the public?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this country is slowly coming out of a very harsh situation in which Government revenues were eroded by reduced revenues from the mining sector, which is the main contributor to Government coffers. Consequently, the Ministry of Finance has put in place stringent measures meant to enhance the mobilisation of domestic resources. As such, some new strategies have been developed, including the one the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) is implementing. In this strategy, the banks are being used to identify individuals who own businesses and have bank accounts so that the ZRA can collect money from those businesses. So, this is merely a means of identification. However, I admit that the country needs to be sensitised more on the modalities of implementing the directive.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the issue of retiring Zambians in the national interest is real and these concerns require deep investigation, in case the Government is not aware. Her Honour the Vice-President promised this House that she would take a personal interest in investigating whether the cries of your hon. Members on this side is real and ensuring that sanity is restored, especially since we are in a multi-party dispensation.


I seek Her Honour’s fair response.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: What is your question, hon. Member? I did not get it.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President’s response to the two questions on the politically-motivated retirements in the Civil Service has not been satisfactory. So, I am asking if it is possible for her to go and investigate the matter being raised because it is real.


Mr Speaker: You know, the difficulty I have ‒


Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Let me explain. I am managing this place.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: The essence of your question and persistence is to elicit a revision of a matter on which Her Honour the Vice-President has already explained her position. However, I do not think it will do to persist on the question. You have cross-referenced your questions to the two earlier ones and, in effect, you are saying that those questions should be repeated. Is that correct or is your question different from the two you cross-referenced?


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, it is different because in my opinion, the line that Her Honour the Vice President has taken is not in the national interest. I say so because there is a problem of young people losing their jobs and that is creating tension in the country.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this issue seems to be unsettling to some people. However, here, we are talking about Zambians in the Civil Service. So, if the hon. Member feels very strongly about the need for me to investigate it, I will do so.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mukumbuta (Senanga): Mr Speaker, as usual, I am very grateful.


Hon. Government Members: Aah, iwe! Just ask your question.


Mr Mukumbuta: Sir, the illegal land allocation scandals in this country have reached alarming levels and foreigners are now the main actors in this drama. They come into this country and get land at the expense of many Zambians, including the good people of Senanga. Is it the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s policy to favour foreigners at the expense of Zambians? When will the Government meet the foreigners to tell them that land in Zambia is our heritage and that it belongs to Zambians?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, indeed, land is our heritage and the Government is not happy to see huge tracts of it given away to foreigners. What is happening in the country is undermining the patriotism of Zambians. We all know anyone who allocates more that 250 ha of land is supposed to seek the approval of the President. It is easier to get big tracts of land if it is for investment purposes. One simply has to explain the level of investment the land is sought for to the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) and the land is allocated. However, even then, the President has to be informed if the hectarage is above 250.


Mr Speaker, in most cases, it is Zambians who acquire land and, then, sell it to foreigners. Later, they turn around and say that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is doing A, B, C. We need to be patriotic. In some countries, no foreigner owns land, unless, …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: ... in fact, there is no ‘unless’. Foreigners simply do not own land. Here, in Zambia, we give away our land both in rural and urban areas and we should be blamed for what is happening in the country.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, yesterday, I heard the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources say that timber trading licences would only be issued to those who had the capacity to do the business. My concern is that logging activities take place in areas like Chienge, where there are forests. Unfortunately, the rural people do not have the capacity to qualify for licences on the basis of the criterion stated by the hon. Minister. What is Her Honour the Vice-President’s comment on this matter? I ask this question because the people who are supposed to benefit from that business are the locals. I want the people of Chienge to benefit. After all, it is their land.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government imposed a ban on the export of raw timber simply because we want to see value addition. I believe that the people of Chienge can benefit more if there was value added to the timber logged from their area. Logging without value addition will simply deplete the forests of this country. So, we need to support the rural people of Chienge and other areas where timber is harvested so that they can access loans to establish timber processing plants in their districts. That way, they will get more from the business than if they export raw timber.


Mr Speaker, we look forward to the plan to address value addition in the timber sector that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources will come up with.


I thank you, Sir. 


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has stopped buying maize in my constituency, yet the ban on export of maize is still in effect and the Zambia National Service (ZNS) has mounted a roadblock 5 km from the central business area of Nakonde on the Great North Road and 7 km on the Mbala Road. So, when peasant farmers want to take their ten or twenty bags of maize to the market to earn some money to send their children to school or buy food for their families, their stock is confiscated. Therefore, the cry of the people of Nakonde is: Why should the ZNS mount a roadblock 10 km away from the central business area of Nakonde instead of the border to target those who want to smuggle maize into Tanzania?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I hope that the hon. Member of Parliament is not encouraging smuggling.




The Vice-President: That said, I am glad to learn that some farmers still have maize and I wish to encourage them to sell their maize to local traders. That way, they can earn much more than trying to smuggle their maize across the border, which will result in their losing it all to security agents who are manning the borders.  


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Chisangano (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, we received a good number of health workers in Gwembe Constituency, but there are no houses for rent in the area, just like in other rural areas. So, there is an accommodation crisis. What is the Government planning to do about this matter?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, situations like this present a good opportunity for hon. Members of Parliament to build houses for rent in rural areas.




Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: This is because it will be a business investment, not an act of charity. The old and new districts require a lot of accommodation. The Government is in the process of building houses for health workers and teachers in rural areas. However, when there is a gap, like now, hon. Members of Parliament should use the little money they get and invest in agriculture to grow food or building houses to rent out to civil servants. This is an easy investment opportunity for hon. Members.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the Kariba Dam was designed to operate between the levels of 475 m and 488 m. As of 16th February, 2017, the water level was 479.3 m. My question is: Why has load-shedding continued in this country?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Zambia Meteorological Department told us a year or two ago that we would need two or three seasons of good rainfall for ...




Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


The hon. Member has asked a question and Her Honour the Vice-President is responding.


Hon. Opposition Member: Figures!


Mr Speaker: You may continue, Your Honour.


The Vice-President: Sir, the water levels in the Kariba Dam have not reached the maximum point at which electricity can be the generated at 100 per cent. When that happens, the load shedding will be eased.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, Kaputa, Nsama and, possibly, the areas around Kaputa experienced an earth tremor, commonly known as kalume bwika, in the morning hours of today, which left a trail of damage in some places. Is the Government is aware of that? Further, what sort of help is extended to people who experience such unforeseen calamities?


 The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, it is unusual for Zambia to get tremors of such magnitude as the one experienced in Kaputa. We have been informed that three people were injured due to the tremors. However, we are still awaiting a comprehensive report on the incident from the Northern Province Permanent Secretary so that we can get a fuller picture of the situation there. That notwithstanding, the DMMU is already on the ground to ascertain what has happened in the area where the earth tremor was experienced.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Phiri (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, most of the houses and some roads in Kanyama have been submerged because of the heavy rains we have been experiencing. Further, the pit latrines and the soakaways are full with rainwater, which is a threat to the health of the people of the area. If no remedial measures are taken, we may experience cholera in the area. Although the matter was reported to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), so far, nothing has been done. So, my question is: What measure has the Government put in place to protect the people of Kanyama from a possible outbreak of cholera? As you know, there have been cholera outbreaks in the area in previous years.


 The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the answer to the situation in Kanyama lies in the improvement of the drainage system in the area. So, I believe that the problem will be addressed through the Millennium Challenge Account-funded Lusaka Water Supply, Sanitation and Drainage (LWSSD) Project. Further, there are urban renewal plans that will address some of the challenges currently being faced in places like Kanyama.


 I thank you, Sir.


Mr Phiri (Mkaika): Mr Speaker, let me begin by commending the Government …


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Phiri: … of the day …


 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Phiri: … for resurfacing the Great East Road. The road was in a deplorable state, but that is now a thing of the past.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Phiri: However, Sir, there is a stretch from Sinda to Petauke that the contractor has delayed to complete. When will that stretch be completed?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, that stretch of the road will be attended to soon after the rainy season.


 I thank you, Sir.


 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kalobo (Wusakile): Mr Speaker, Lima Primary School in Wusakile Constituency was upgraded to a secondary school more than three years ago, but the salaries of the teachers at the school are still those of primary school teachers. When will the school be gazetted?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government had taken the very bold step of upgrading primary schools to secondary schools throughout Zambia without discrimination. I believe that each constituency in this country had, at least, three primary schools upgraded, ...


 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: … a thing that had not happened before. However, I must admit that there are still some teething problems in the upgrading of some teachers in these schools to the same scale as their counterparts in the already existing secondary schools. Therefore, this case will be looked into and rectified at the earliest possible time.


 I thank you, Sir.


 Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, prior to the 2016 General Elections, the Government supplied 5,000 bricks and 1,200 pockets of cement to Mbanyutu Secondary School in the Western Province and all the heads of departments in the province witnessed the occasion. On 27th December, 2016, however, the supplier went and got back the bricks, causing the community to rise up in arms until I rushed there to calm the situation down. Why did the supplier get back the materials?


 The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, my understanding is that the project was a community initiative and that the contractor was not paid. However, I am not very sure what transpired between the community, the former Member of Parliament and the school authorities. If this question is important to the hon. Member, he can, perhaps, file in a question.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, active participation in politics by civil servants has been unmasked here today. It has been said that those who were perceived to be supporting the United Party for National Development (UPND) are being persecuted. Is the Government considering specific measures to stop active politics in the Civil Service so that people become clear that when you are a civil servant, you are not supposed to be in active politics?


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube rose.


Mr Speaker: Are you Her Honour the Vice-President, hon. Member for Kabwe Central?




The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member’s comment or question on partisanship of civil servants has nothing to do with the topic that we were discussing. What we were talking about is the issue of civil servants being retired. However, in commenting on the partisanship of civil servants, I would say that it has been said in this House and elsewhere several times that we expect the Civil Service in this country to be non-partisan and abide by the Civil Service Code forever. We have seen in some countries, and even here, in Zambia, that governments come and go. A party will be in office for a few years and another one comes in thereafter while the Civil Service is the core administrator in the governance of the country. So, if the Civil Service takes sides with whichever party comes into office, it will not augur well for the governance systems of the country. Therefore, I still urge civil servants to be non-partisan. The Patriotic Front (PF) may not be there 100 years from now and another party will come into office.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: So, it is important for civil servants to know that they are working for Zambia, not for any political party.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing to recapitalise the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) in view of what is happening with the Electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) cards? I am asking this because NATSAVE is a Zambian bank and the foreign banks that we are using today for the e-Voucher cards are failing us.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, indeed, we need to empower our people, the small-scale farmers in this case, through the electronic voucher (e-Voucher) system. However, that cannot be done unless we empower the vehicle that supports the system. So, empowerment of the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) is very important. I know that some capital was injected into NATSAVE two years ago, but it was not sufficient to meet the lending levels demanded by the e-Voucher cards to our small-scale farmers. So, there is a need to capitalise that bank even more because it is a Zambian bank that should respond to the needs of Zambians, especially the small-scale farmers and entrepreneurs.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, is Her Honour the Vice-President aware that the District Commissioner (DC) in Kalabo is running a parallel council structure by recognising the former Patriotic Front (PF) councillors and disregarding the current United Party for National Development (UPND) councillors?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, unfortunately, I am not aware of that situation and I hope the hon. Member is not basing his issues on speculation and perception. Nonetheless, as soon as we know more about the issue, we will act.


I thank you, Sir.








The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Mushimba): Mr Speaker, I wish to express my sincere gratitude to you for giving me the opportunity to make another ministerial statement, this time, on the provision of mobile communication services in unserved and underserved areas across the country.


Sir, in line with the provisions of Section 13 of Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 38 of 2012, the Universal Access Regulations, the Government has been extending mobile communication services in order to attain maximum possible population coverage at ward level countrywide, particularly targeting economically disadvantaged unserved and underserved areas.


Mr Speaker, you may recall that, in 2012, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, using resources from the Universal Access and Service Fund (UASF) administered by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA), embarked on a programme to construct Global System for Mobile (GSM) communication towers in areas that had remained unserved or underserved since the inception of GSM communication services in Zambia. Under Phase I, the Government constructed 169 communication towers in all the ten provinces as follows:


Province                      No. of towers


Muchinga                                12


Northern                                  19


Copperbelt                              11


Luapula                                   19


Central                                    21


Southern                                  21


Western                                   15


Eastern                                    23


North-Western                        26


Lusaka                                      2


Sir, due to the high demand for mobile communication services, thirty-five additional towers were erected, bringing the total number of communication towers erected under Phase I to 204. Of the 204, 182 are functional and on-air while twenty-two are off-air and require spares, which have been ordered. Five of the twenty-two towers were totally vandalised by thieves who stole the solar panels and batteries that power the towers. The vandalised sites are those at Chibwindi in the Northern Province, Lesa on the Copperbelt Province, Chiengele and Sibukali in the Western Province and Mukubwe in Central Province. You may also recall that the 204 towers experienced a disruption of services in the fourth quarter of 2015 due to a major fault that occurred on AMOS-5, an orbital satellite owned by Space Communication (SPACECOM). That challenge was overcome and services restored through a different satellite. Further, due to the rampant vandalism that I mentioned earlier, which mainly involves theft of materials that support the sites, such as solar panels, batteries and cables, we faced challenges in operating the towers. This challenge is similar to the one we have had regarding theft of optical fibre and electrical cables for the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), which contain copper wires.


Sir, I call upon the communities in which the communication towers have been erected, through their hon. Members, to protect the investments, as they are meant to alleviate the communication challenges faced by our people countrywide.


Mr Speaker, Zambia is vast and wide, and our rural areas continue to be sparsely populated. Therefore, they are considered to not be viable business areas by the mobile network operators like Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) and Airtel, which means that the digital gap between rural and urban areas still remains a challenge and the Government has to step in and bridge it. That is why we have embarked on Phase II of construction of communication towers to increase coverage in un-served and under-served areas and improve the mobile communication network and related information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure for greater population inclusion.


Sir, a technical survey conducted in 2015 in districts, constituencies and wards around the country identified 469 new sites for the construction of communication towers under Phase II. The scope of the second phase of the project covers 1,009 towers and includes upgrading of the current transmission and radio access network under the Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL). Of the 1,009 towers, 808 are greenfield while 201 are existing ones that need to be upgraded. Three hundred and thirty-nine (339) of the 808 greenfield towers will be constructed to support the microwave signal transmission backbone for ZAMTEL while the radio access equipment will provide coverage to attain maximum population coverage in targeted areas of wards at a minimum of 10 km radius in contrast to the towers in Phase I, which cover a 5 km radius. Phase II of the construction of communication towers will primarily target dense clusters of settlements and economically active rural areas, such as rural health centres, schools, farming blocks, mines, tourism centres and trading locations. The following outcomes of the successful implementation of Phase II will impact on communities across the country and drive socio-economic growth:


  1. raising the mobile network coverage across the country to about 92 per cent;


  1. significantly increasing the delivery and access of various services in rural areas by both the public and private sectors to support socio-economic activities;


  1. increasing Internet use and access to information, especially in rural areas;


  1. facilitation of electronic collection of revenue by the Government through, for example, mobile money transfers.


Mr Speaker, the Government is finalising the process of securing resources for the construction of the communication towers and has engaged the Republic of China, through the Export and Import (EXIM) Bank of China to finance the project. Once the financing arrangement is concluded, the implementation of the project will begin, expectedly at the end of the current rainy season.


Mr Speaker, following the completion of the survey and the positioning of the new towers, my ministry has received many requests from hon. Members of this House for the towers to be located in their constituencies. My ministry assures them that their concerns have been noted and that as we source more funds, their concerns will be addressed.


Sir, finally, allow me to urge the hon. Members of this House to support this project and sensitise their people on it. The ministry is confident that after completion of Phase II of this project, the country will attain maximum mobile communication coverage.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


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


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, thank you ...


Mr Chisopa: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Chisopa: Mr Speaker, I apologise to the hon. Member for Liuwa for disturbing his debate.


Sir, I rarely raise points of order but, today, I think it is important that I raise one on a matter that borders on treason.


Sir, in 2016, Zambians elected His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of this country.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chisopa: Mr Lungu was, then, sworn in by the Judiciary.


Mr Speaker, we also had elections for Presiding Officers here, at Parliament, and you were elected Speaker. Thereafter, you went to His Excellency, the President, to be sworn in. However, in today’s Daily Nation newspaper, there is a story on which I am raising this point of order. I will lay a photocopy of the newspaper on the Table. The heading of the story is: “Lungu Not Our President – UPND”.


Mr Speaker, let me quote from the story:


“The Opposition UPND in Southern Province has as a matter of party policy vowed not to recognise President Edgar Lungu as the Head of State.

“UPND Provincial Publicity and Information Secretary Neto Halwabala said in a statement released to the media in Livingstone that the people of Southern Province were suffering due to President Lungu’s leadership.”


Sir, is the Government in order to allow this ‘Halwalaba’ to declare the Southern Province an independent state within the country?


Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


My ruling is that to begin with, as a matter of parliamentary practice, we do not allow hon. Members to lay photocopies on the Table of the House.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: That paper is incompetent evidence.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Secondly, I have a problem with the subject of the point of order. I have taken note of that publication. I read these publications. Therefore, I have read that paper, too. However, it is not for me to begin delving into the subjects of these publications. In any case, your assumption that the Government has allowed the existence of a separate state might not be exactly correct.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: That said, the bottom line is that such matters do not fall within the purview of my office. There is so much politicking going on out there and those platforms exist for you to politick. Use them for that purpose instead of dragging Presiding Officers into matters of that nature.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: I am not competent to get into that arena.




Mr Speaker: So, I decline the invitation.




Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa, please, ask your question.


Dr Musokotwane: Sir, I thank the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication for his statement.


Sir, a year or so ago, the then Minister of Transport and Communication issued a statement similar to this one and invited Members of Parliament to visit Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) officers who had camped here and go through the list of the proposed sites for new towers. We all did that. To my surprise, when I looked at the latest list for proposed sites for towers in Liuwa, I noticed that there have been changes made and some of the proposed new sites are in areas where there is already coverage, leaving the areas that are more in need of the towers, which is contrary to our proposals. Are ZICTA, the ministry or anyone else better qualified to determine where the towers are most needed than we, the hon. Members of Parliament who go to our constituencies frequently, for them to change the proposed sites?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the siting of new towers is a complex undertaking that requires technical understanding. That is why I mentioned that in 2015, a technical study was undertaken, which guided the proposed siting of the towers in Phase II. If there were gaps in the study and the hon. Member feels there are places where the towers should best be sited, I invite him, like I have invited many hon. Members here, to engage my office so that, if necessary, we revisit the study to optimise the siting. We are open to those suggestions because the project will commence after the rainy season, but the plans are not cast in stone. Only the number of towers and the cost of the project cost are cast in stone. If we need to move a tower 2 km in any direction to optimise coverage and signal strength, we will consider doing that.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister appeal to the hon. Members of this House to support him in this project and I assure him that this Parliament will support him if he does things correctly.


Sir, two of the reasons given by the hon. Minister for erecting the towers in various places are to cover the population and to maximise profit. I want to add one reason, which is that it is the responsibility of the Government to provide services to all citizens, including those living in border towns. My question is: What has happened to the community hearings that are held in other sectors and helped in collecting information on exactly what was on the ground? For example, in Ikeleng’i, there are many non-functioning towers because they belong to different companies, such as Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) and Airtel, among other reasons. How will he rectify that situation before he starts the second phase? We want to see efficiency in this project.


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for the question and observation. Indeed, it is the responsibility of the Government to provide services to its citizens, especially in those areas where the profit-driven companies like MTN and Airtel do not find it economically viable to operate. There, the Government has to bridge the gap.


Sir, I talked about twenty-two towers that were erected under Phase I that are non-functional. I also said that the ministry has procured the needed spares after undertaking an assessment on what needed to be done. Further, ZICTA has committed itself to repairing the towers before May, 2017. Only five of the twenty-two vandalised towers, which were totally ripped apart, and batteries and solar panels stolen, may take a bit of time to be repaired.


Sir, let me emphasise that we do not want the country to have towers everywhere obstructing our view. So, we are developing standards that will allow each tower to be used by different carriers.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr L. N. Tembo (Kaumbwe): Mr Speaker, who is behind the theft of the mentioned equipment from the towers?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I cannot say who is perpetrating the vandalism and thefts happening because the cases are still being investigated by the local authorities and the police. So, all I can say is that the culprits will be brought to book because we do not expect people to vandalise public infrastructure when we take development to our people in rural areas.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister state the numbers of towers that have been allocated to each area? He mentioned that Luapula will get about nineteen. We have communication problems in Chienge because we are on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). As you go further towards the border, you start catching Vodacom DRC, and that hampers communication and makes it very expensive. Is the ministry considering boosting the signals provided by the towers on the borders so that the people of such areas do not have to use the networks in neighbouring countries?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the nineteen towers that I mentioned for Luapula were in Phase I. In Phase II, the province will get thirty-five of the 469 towers that we will erect. Unfortunately, I do not have the chart that shows the locations of the 201 towers that will be upgraded. So, I cannot say whether any of them will be in on the border in Chienge. However, we have taken into account the challenges of network crossing along the borders, as we are upgrading and boosting the signals of the towers.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, will Phase II be implemented at the same time across the country or will regions be prioritised? I ask because the northern region always seems to be at the tail end of the priority list. Will it be prioritised this time around?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the ministry is currently developing an implementation plan that will answer the hon. Member’s question, which relates to the specifics of how we will erect the towers. It will take us two to three years to finish to the project. So, we need to ask ourselves where to start, why we should start there and whether we will have multiple mobilisation crews to implement the project simultaneously across the country. I commit myself to bringing the plan to the House so that hon. Members can familiarise themselves with the information and take it to their communities.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, Dundumwezi, which has more than 80,000 people and is bigger than some districts in the Southern Province, has been neglected. Can the hon. Minister assure me that he will consider giving the constituency four or five towers so that it can join the rest of the country in communication?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the notes I have here show that fifty-two of the new towers will be erected in the Southern Province and I stated how the fifty-two towers will be distributed earlier. However, if the hon. Member is not comfortable with that distribution or Dundumwezi is not adequately covered, he should engage us so that we can see how to specifically address his concerns.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his elaborate statement. It is clear that the Patriotic Front Government has already achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on communication.


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mung’andu: The hon. Member for Ikeleng’i said that his constituency has many towers, which means that the Government has done its best. That said, some of the towers erected under Phase I are not functioning because ministry officials were unable to enforce the necessary specifications and the people of Chama South are among the disadvantaged in terms of communication, as the entire constituency is blacked out. My question is: Have any measures been put in place, this time around, to ensure that officers from the ministry are financially and logistically facilitated to monitor the contractors who will build the towers so that the latter do not erect sub-standard towers? 


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, let me speak a bit on the history of issues of specifications, that is, short towers, weak signals and smaller radius coverage that arose in Phase I. I have heard complaints about these things several times and I feel it is time I put them in perspective.


Sir, ZICTA had some money from the Universal Access Fund which was raised from levies charged on licencees. Those were the funds used for Phase I. The money was a limited amount and Phase I was more of a pilot project. After we received many complaints about a total lack of coverage, especially from the chiefdoms, we focused on 118 chiefdoms across the country. Based on the money we had, we came up with the specifications that could be catered for using that amount. We decided that it was better to provide a weak signal and enable people to communicate than to not provide one at all. Those were the factors that drove the specifications for Phase I. For Phase II, it will be different because we are not using money from the Universal Access Fund, which is not enough. Instead, we have sourced a concessional loan at a reasonable rate for Phase II. With that money, we will be able to roll out a larger number of taller towers with stronger signals and larger radius coverage. Our intention is to achieve 92 per cent network coverage across the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, Phase I of the project has not benefited Kalabo very much. The Western Province was allocated only fifteen towers. Further, the towers took two years to become operational. What measures has the Government put in place to ensure that the towers in the second phase will be operationalised within the time frame of the project?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, Phase I was implemented under different conditions from the ones in which Phase II will be implemented, as I have already stated in my previous answer. In Phase II, we will fill the gaps that we identified in Phase I. Further, the management of the second phase is totally different. For example, while Phase I is managed by ZICTA, Phase II is not, and we have set different specifications and performance targets in the contract for Phase II. So, I can assure the hon. Member that all the shortcomings identified in Phase I will be dealt with in Phase II so that we do not deliver a sub-standard product when the project is completed.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, Phase I was awarded to Huawei Technologies Limited and we know the problems that arose. Now, we hear that Phase II is being implemented using a concessionary loan that might have been sourced from the country from which the contractor hails. My question is: Will we use the same contractor in the second phase? If we will not, could we, from the outset, be told who the new contractor is.


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, I have already talked about the history of Phase I of the project and why we set the specifications we set, where the gaps may have been and the lessons we learnt from that process.


Sir, yes, Huawei Technologies Limited will implement Phase II, too, but we will ensure that we are in charge of the process. Even though we got the funding from Exim Bank, this is our product and the Government wants the people of Zambia to benefit from it. We want it to add value to the lives of the people because we have committed a lot of money to the project. So, we set up a team of engineers to come up with the specifications and we have taller towers of about 60 m with a coverage radius of about 10 km. Further, a dedicated team will manage the project and ensure that all the terms and conditions are met.


Sir, if we do not supervise the contractors diligently, there will be opportunities for sub-standard delivery, but that will not happen in Phase II because we have put in place measures to guard against that. I, therefore, urge the hon. Member to visit my office so that we can share more information with him.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the clear answers that he is providing on this subject, which is closer to our hearts.


Hon. Members:  Hear, hear!


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, the new districts, such as Nkeyema, are worse off compared with the others. However, of the 469 towers on the list, only one has been allocated to Nkeyema although the district has a farming block called Lombelombe, which is the most productive area, but it has no communication facilities. Is the hon. Minister in a position to consider Nkeyema either separately or is the ministry in a position to consider slight modifications to the way it will implement the project in the new districts?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, we take special notice of the places in which there are commercial activities, such as the farming blocks and want to ensure that there is communication coverage there. So, the hon. Member should visit our office so that we can have an in-depth discussion on this matter. We need to understand where, specifically, he feels we could extend the coverage to.


I thank you, Sir.

   Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, how much will the erection of the 469 towers cost?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the cost of the project is US$280 million.


I thank you, Sir.


Amb. Malanji (Kwacha): Mr Speaker, from the hon. Minister’s submission, I have not identified any pattern in the distribution of the towers. Is the primary criterion high demand or distance?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, the pattern of distribution was determined by the studies that were undertaken. We have towers that are already providing coverage across the country. What we are now doing is look for gaps in the coverage so that we can bridge them and attain universal access network coverage in the country. As I already stated, we focused on the clusters where there is a lot of activity, such as schools, rural health posts and markets. That is the direction we took in coming up with the distribution pattern.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Phiri (Kanyama): Mr Speaker, Lusaka is more than just the Capital City, as it has a rural part that extends beyond Feira and Luangwa. Why has the province received only two towers? What criterion is the ministry using in distributing these towers?


Mr Mushimba: Mr Speaker, Lusaka will get eleven towers simply because it has many already compared with the rural parts of the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, the Government is spending colossal sums of money ...


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1040 hours until 1100 hours.




Mr Mwiinga: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the Government is spending colossal sums of money acquiring communication equipment. My question is: What measures is it taking to secure that equipment so that the people of Chikankata can equally benefit from it and have better communication services?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, we recognise that the Government is investing huge sums of money on taking these services to the people and that it would be folly to ignore the vandalism and negligence we have observed. Suffice it for me to say that we have learnt many lessons from the first phase and that we are applying our minds, through ZICTA and other relevant agencies, to the closing of the gaps that led to some of the vandalism that we have seen. Beyond that, the actual maintenance of the towers has been outsourced to a private entity whose only responsibility is that of increasing the up time so that the operators can focus on their core business. As you know, communication assets have to be available at all times. Therefore, we have to achieve 99.9 per cent or more reliability. It is unlikely to be possible for us to maintain 1,009 towers and ensure that they are functional at all times. So, we will probably adopt the same strategy of having a contractor who is dedicated to maintaining the towers and ensuring that, for example, they have generator sets (gensets) and diesel for back-up power at all times or that solar panels are cleaned every week.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Madam Speaker, what quality assurance measures have we put in place for this project? In the past, towers were placed 5 km apart, but even with that close range, the service was very bad. How will the Zambia Information and Communication Authority (ZICTA) police the service providers like Zambia Telecommunications Company (ZAMTEL) Limited, Mobile Telecommunication Network (MTN) and Airtel?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I think I am just from addressing Hon. Daka’s concerns in my previous response.


Madam, in the past, companies like Airtel provided services to clients and, at the same time, managed much of what we call non-core business, which included maintaining the towers, including refilling diesel in gensets in case of service interruption due to power failure.


Madam Speaker, the current trend is that operators in the sector are allowed to focus on their core business of enlisting more customers and providing services to them while the non-core assets are managed by other people who are more competent at doing it. Here, in Zambia, there is a company called IHS Towers that manages almost all the towers, except the ones for ZAMTEL.


Madam, leaving the towers to be maintained by those who have the expertise has proved to be a very good and positive move for the service providers because maintenance is undertaken regularly, that is, weekly or monthly, and we want to continue on this route.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Feira, are you still interested in asking your question?


Mr Miti (Feira): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister bemoaned the high levels of vandalism of telecommunication installations. What specific sensitisation programmes is the ministry implementing to correct the situation?


 Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I had a conversation with the Director-General of ZICTA recently on what we will do to make people understand that the investment by the Government in telecommunications infrastructure is huge. We want these enablers of our economic growth and accelerated development agenda that the PF Government has put in place to be protected, and vandalism and theft are not ways of doing that. The Director assured me that sensitisation programmes will be implemented in the communities. In addition, I appealed to hon. Members, in my statement, to do their part and help the Government to sensitise their communities on this subject, and ensure that those who will not respond positively to the sensitisation message are apprehended. We want to stop this bad behaviour.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kufakwandi (Sesheke): Madam Speaker, while we need additional towers in Sesheke, our challenge is that the signals from Namibia are so strong that most of our people use the Namibian network instead of the Zambian ones. The same applies to radio reception. Most of our people listen to Radio Namibia and if you ask them about Zambia, some of the answers you get, like the ones I have been given, are very interesting, as many seem to think they are part of Namibia. So, what action is the hon. Minister taking in the second phase to strengthen the signals on the Zambian side?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I spoke about that earlier when the hon. Member for Chienge asked a similar question.


Madam, I am aware of the situation because I was in Kazungula not too long ago and when we crossed into Zambia from Botswana, I was on a Botswana network way into Zambian territory on our way to Livingstone. So, as a Government, we will review the relevant laws and ensure that the transmitters in our border areas are powerful enough to overpower the signals from the neighbouring countries and easily reach our people who lose out on local information when they listen to Radio Namibia or other stations. The networks and radio are the tools the Government use to reach our people. So, I will table this concern with the other relevant Government agencies.


Thank you, Madam.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam Speaker, the tower in Chief Kaindu’s Chiefdom has been down since August, 2016. The hon. Minister indicated that only two towers will be erected in Mumbwa in Phase II. Is there any possibility of the Government erecting more towers in the area, especially in Kafue National Park?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, as we develop the implementation plan, we may remap some of the sites, especially if there are technical justifications for doing so. We want the networks to be accessible in national parks and high-density or economic interest areas. So, we have taken note of the suggestion and my team will look into it.


Thank you, Madam.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has explained that the poor network is caused by sub-standard microwave towers. Further, a list of the towers that will be installed in Phase II was circulated.


Madam, the network in Dipalata and Nyakulenga areas in Zambezi East is so terrible that one can hardly have a mobile phone conversation. As the Government embarks on Phase II of the project, will it upgrade the current infrastructure or will it put up additional towers?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, the set specifications in Phase I are totally different from those for Phase II. Unfortunately, I do not have the details regarding the towers in the two areas that the hon. Member has mentioned. So, I do not know whether they are among the 201 earmarked for upgrading. The hon. Member can engage the ministry to get those details.


Thank you, Madam.


Mr Lumayi (Chavuma): Madam Speaker, the issue of communication towers in Chavuma West Bank, which is on our border with Angola, needs urgent attention. What is the time frame for the completion of the towers that will be erected in Nguvu, Nyatanda, Lingundu and Lukolwe?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I have already indicated that the commencement of Phase II across the country will coincide with the end of the rainy season because we are just finalising the discussions on the loan. The project is expected to be completed in two-and-a-half years to three years utmost. I will share the implementation plan with this House soon.


Thank you, Madam.


Mr S. Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Madam Speaker, the contract sum is more than US$200 million. How many Zambian contractors will participate in this important contract?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, that is a very good question.


Madam, it is Government policy to grow the capacity of local contractors so that, in the future, they can execute many of our projects. In view of that trajectory, as Huawei Technologies Limited takes the lead in the project, it will be required to sub-contract local contractors. Actually, there is a law that requires international contractors to sub-contract local ones. That law will be enforced to make sure that our people up-skill themselves, grow their capacity and eventually take over the sector from the foreigners.


Thank you, Madam.








103. Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa) asked the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources:


  1. whether the ban on the export of mukula and other tree species was still in force;


  1. if so, what the names of the trees that are on the export ban list were; and


  1. what other measures had been taken to prevent the indiscriminate cutting down of trees.


The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Madam Speaker, the ban on the harvesting and exporting of the mukula and other timber species was lifted on 1st May, 2013. As of 1st December, 2015, the ministry has been issuing export permits in accordance with the provisions of Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 94 of 2015, and the Forests (Export of Timber) Regulations of 2015. However, only sawn timber of any tree species is permitted to be exported, not round wood or logs.


Madam Speaker, the following are the measures that the ministry has put in place to control the indiscriminate cutting down of trees:


  1. issuance of forest concession licences, tree felling permits and forest produce conveyance permits in accordance with the Forests Act No. 4 of 2015, which is meant to regulate the harvesting of trees and to avoid degradation, which leads to deforestation;


  1. prohibition of the export or movement of round wood or logs beyond 100 km, which is meant to promote processing of timber within the areas where the tress are harvested, thereby creating local jobs and promoting value addition within the country;


  1. recruitment of Forest Range Guards to enhance law enforcement. So far, twenty-three Forest Range Guard have been recruited;


  1. mandating of the Road Transport and safety Agency (RTSA) and the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to impound any trucks found transporting round wood or logs beyond 100 km of the forest concession area; and


  1. engagement of Provincial Ministers to work with the Provincial Joint Operation Committees (PJOCs) in curbing illegal harvesting and trade of the timber.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for answering the question very well.


Madam, some of the youths of Kaputa, being in a border area, are entrepreneurs and they have obtained the necessary documentation to enable them to secure the round wood or the mukula tree in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). However, they cannot re-export it in that country due to a lack of transport. Therefore, they pass through Kaputa into Chienge, from which they export their products. What is the position of the Government on that? Will those youths be allowed to continue with their businesses?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, did you get the question?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I think I did.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: You may go ahead and answer, then.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, we are in the process of signing a statutory instrument (SI) that will ban the transportation of the mukula tree in log form on Zambian soil by foreigners. The reason is that people pretend that the mukula leaving the country is just transiting through Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) or Tanzania.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Madam Speaker, Luwingu District is being used as a transit area for round logs from either Mansa or Kasama. The 100 km radius restriction does not seem to be understood by a number of people dealing in this particular product. Is there a deliberate policy to educate the people, as they obtain licences, that they cannot move the logs beyond 100 km? I ask this because the police have had difficulties interpreting that, resulting in a number of trucks being impounded.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question.


Madam, the radius restriction is law. It is in the Forest Act No. 4 of 2015. So, when people are getting licences, the Forestry Department explains to them that they are not allowed to move logs more than 100 km from the concession area.


I thank you, Madam


Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Madam Speaker, the confiscation of the mukula tree started some time back. What does the Government do with the confiscated trees? Is there any revenue that is raised from that?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question.


Madam, indeed, confiscated mukula trees are auctioned through the Sheriff’s Office. In the past, the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) used to sell them on behalf of the Government and the money remitted to Control 99.


I thank you, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Ikelengi, or is it Ikeleng’i?


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, it is ‘Ikeleng’i'.




Mr Muchima: There is no ‘Ngi’, just like England is pronounced /Iŋland/, not /Ingiland/. So, it is Ikeleng’i.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: All right, hon. Member for Ikeleng’i.


Mr Muchima: That is right, Madam Speaker, ‘Ikeleng’i’.


Madam, I was restricted from referring to the hon. Minister as my sister. So, I will refer to her appropriately.


Madam, the mukula tree is on high demand because it attracts very good prices and creates employment. Has the Government bothered to find out why it is so important to the Chinese who import it? Further, has the Government found out in which form the tree species is more valuable? If it is in round form, why can we not raise the charges on it so that it can create employment?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I thank Hon. Muchima for that question.


Madam, indeed, the mukula in round form fetches more money than when it is sawn timber because when it is sawn, more money would have been spent on it.


Madam, we have had several meetings with stakeholders to make them understand why the Government has restricted the transportation of the mukula tree to within 100 km of the concession area.


I thank you, Madam.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Madam Speaker, I am very concerned about the mukula tree, as too many so-called businessmen are rushing to the rural areas for the tree, which has become quick money for them. Will this tree not face a similar situation as that of …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Do you have a question?


Ms Katuta: Yes I do, Madam Speaker.


Madam, my question is: Will the mukula tree not become extinct like the mukwa tree?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, just to add more information to my response to Hon. Muchima’s question, my people travelled to China to find out what the mukula tree is used for and discovered that it is used purely for making furniture. 


Madam, our view is that the Chinese can come here and set up furniture shops so that the mukula tree is processed within our country. Zambians go to China to buy furniture that has been made using this tree, and that is what we want to curb. 


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kapata: Madam, getting back to the hon. Member for Chienge’s question …


Madam, what was the question, again?


Mr Kampyongo: Extinction of the mukula tree. 


Ms Kapata: Oh yes, the mukula tree finishing.


Madam, it is a problem when one is older than fifty years because it is difficult for one to remember things.




Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, we held a stakeholders meeting yesterday at which we decided, among other things, that those who want to trade in the mukula tree is that those trading on a small scale must have not less than 3,000 tree seedlings so that every time they cut a tree, they can plant another in its place. Those trading on medium scale will be asked to have not less than 5,000 seedlings while those trading on a large scale will be required to grow not less than 10,000 seedlings. We need to continue replacing the trees as they are harvested.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Lumayi (Chavuma): Madam Speaker, the harvesting of the mukula tree has become a thorn in the flesh for many Zambians, including the people of Chavuma. Unfortunately, the Government has not told the people why it restricts trade in this tree. I do not know how much of the tree the Government buys. The only people I know who buy it are the Chinese. If the Government is not interested in getting the tree, it should provide Zambians with local market information about it.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


What is the question?


Mr Lumayi: Madam, my question is: How is the Government sensitising the people on the local market to the price of the mukula tree so that they stop exporting it to China?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, we are trying to stop the exports by enforcing the restrictions about which I talked.  This way, the Chinese investors can come and add value to our wood in this country. In fact, I think that I have already answered this question.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Lumayi indicated.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Chavuma.


You cannot ask another question. Only the hon. Member who originates the question can ask two supplementary questions.


Hon. Members, please, take time to read the revised Standing Orders.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Madam Speaker, has this Government tried to find out why the Chinese are very reluctant to add value to the wood in Zambia?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister, …


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kapata: … sorry, hon. Member, for that question.


Madam Speaker, if the traders do not comply with our regulations, they will not get our mukula tree. We will keep our trees.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kampyongo: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, do you know why the Chinese are not willing to come to this country and invest in wood processing? That is the question. Why would they rather take the raw timber instead of adding value to it here?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry is engaging foreign investors to come and invest in the Zambian timber industry.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Mukumbuta (Senanga): Madam Speaker, it appears that the law restricting the ferrying movement of trees to a 100 km radius of the concession area is not understood by those who trade in timber, especially the entrepreneurs and the forest rangers. Here is a scenario. Between Nalolo and Senanga, there is a barrier beyond which traders are restricted from carrying timber. Those found with trees are charged a fee. How do the rangers know how far someone would have come with the timber to that point? He or she might be ferrying the timber to Litoya, which might be less than 50 km away? Our people are being inconvenienced. Sometimes, they are charged as much as K30,000 and only receipted for K4,000 by a very well-known senior Government official.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I think that the hon. Member of Parliament understands the Act. Therefore, he should help the people in his area to understand it.


Mr Kampyongo: Hear, hear!


Ms Kapata: Further, the ministry has an open-door policy and a Forestry Department, which handles matters to do with timber. So, people should come forth and enquire about certain matters. Otherwise, we will enforce the Act of 2015. There are no two ways about it. It is either people follow the law or face us head on.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, the issue of mukula tree is difficult for my constituency and the entire Chama District, which is a game management area (GMA). We live with animals, but the logging of the tree is negatively affecting the wildlife in the area. The Government has put stringent restrictions in place but, to our surprise, the logging continues. Who does the Government think is the main culprit in this activity? I am concerned because we have not yet discovered scientific ways of rebreeding this tree, which clearly has immense economic value. 


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, there are many people who are involved, but I do not want to mention their names because we are not allowed to do that. Suffice it for me to say that many Zambians are being used by foreign nationals to apply for concession licences.


I thank you, madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, we need to close on this question because we still have a number of other questions. So, I will take the last five follow-up questions.


Mr Kufakwandi (Sesheke): Madam Speaker, the Government has taken measures to reduce deforestation in Zambia by restricting the export of round wood or logs. However, we are trying to climb this tree from the top instead of the bottom.


Madam Speaker, the real challenge we have is that the Forestry Department does not have the capacity to implement the new forestry policy or enforce the provisions of the new Forests Act because it is under-resourced. We cannot …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Sesheke Central!


Can you, please, ask a question.




Mr Kufakwandi: Madam Speaker, I will do that. I was just giving a preamble.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes, but the preamble was a bit long.


 Mr Kufakwandi: Madam, what is the Government doing to strengthen the Forestry Department by allocating more resources to it so that it can actually regulate the export of timber and manage the forestry resources of this country? The twenty forest guards about whom I am hearing are not even enough for one province.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Sesheke and commend him for being one of the timber traders who are doing very well in this area.




Ms Kapata: Madam, first and foremost, we have requested for Treasury authority to employ forest rangers to help us look after the forests. Further, we collaborate with the ministries of Fisheries and Livestock, Agriculture, and Tourism and Arts to work out the way forward. As the House knows, the Ministry of Tourism and Arts has wildlife officers and, wherever those officers are, they should look after the trees the same way they look after animals and fish while we wait for the Treasury to give us the authority to employ more forest rangers.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, by some chance, the hon. Minister might have used a shorter route to my constituency, which passes between Kaoma and Lukulu through what we call the black forest. Whenever I use that route, I almost shed tears because of the indiscriminate cutting down of trees, not only the mukula, which we are discussing here, but also the rosewood, which is also endangered.


Madam, when there was rampant poaching of elephants, the Government put in place measures to counter the scourge, including long sentences for the culprits, but those measures did not work. The elephants were only saved by a global ban on trade in ivory and ivory products. Is there anything that we could lose if we completely banned the trade in this important tree, which takes more than fifty years to mature?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, there are many people who earn a living from the timber business and we cannot stop them from doing that business. Our role is to put in place rules to regulate the harvesting of this important tree.


Madam, earlier, I said that we are asking the people who want to trade in timber to raise nurseries. Further, Hon. Prof. Nkandu Luo was just telling me that some universities are establishing nurseries of mukula seedlings in the Northern Province. I also know of a person in Chingola who has a nursery. We do not know whether the seedlings will grow or not. I can only say that there is a nursery of the tree somewhere and hope that the seedlings will grow.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Princess Kucheka (Zambezi West): Madam Speaker, I am sure that the Government gets a percentage of the revenue realised from the trade in the mukula tree. What is the percentage? Further, what percentage of that revenue is given to the people in whose areas the tree is cut?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, so far, there is no percentage that the Government gives to the communities in the areas where the trees are harvested. However, my ministry has started reviewing the relevant legislation so that we can address issues of some of the money realised from the trade remaining in the communities where the forests are. It is the local people who look after the forests. So, why should they, suddenly, just see people coming from faraway places to cut their trees and leave nothing for them?


Madam, we also encourage timber traders to come up with social responsibility activities like helping the communities to construct social amenities and addressing other needs in those areas.


I thank you, Madam.


 Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Madam, are there plans to help the next generation to breed this tree so that fifty or sixty years from now, they will have this clearly very marketable tree in abundance and generate a lot of revenue from it without facing the problem we are facing?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, we have a tree planting season every year. This year, for example, we tasked all the districts to plant, at least, 20,000 ha of trees after the President of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, launched the exercise. We have continued to encourage all the districts to plant trees.


Indeed, Madam, if we are not careful, all our trees will be finished. We are aware that the mukula tree takes close to 100 years to mature. If we plant one today, all of us in this House and our grandchildren will die before it matures. However, it takes only minutes for somebody to cut it down. We will, therefore, put in place strict measures to guard the forests.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




104. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. how many dip tanks were constructed in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency from 2011 to 2016, year by year;


  1. whether the Government had any plans to construct additional dip tanks in the constituency;


  1. if so, how many were earmarked for construction; and


  1. if there were no such plans, why.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Mr Katambo): Madam Speaker, between 2011 and 2016, my ministry has been constructing four dip tanks in Nangoma Constituency. These are at Natani, Nkonka, Mukupi and Mukubu.


Madam, there was no construction of dip tanks in Nangoma Constituency in 2011, as the construction of dip tanks countrywide started in 2012. The construction of the four dip tanks in the constituency started in 2014. Site identification and the development of the technical specifications was done between January and September, 2014, while the contract was approved in September, 2014. Thereafter, the site was handed over to the contractor, DDYPE Drilling and Construction Company, on 16th October, 2014. To date, 85 per cent of the works on the four dip tanks have been completed and my ministry has engaged the Ministry of Finance for the release of the funds needed to complete the remaining works in 2017.


Madam, in the wake of the Presidential directive to the ministries to concentrate on completing the on-going projects rather than initiating new ones, my ministry has no plans to construct additional dip tanks in Nangoma Constituency in 2017, as it will concentrate on completing the four on-going projects at Natani, Nkonka, Mukupi and Mukubu. After the completion of these works, my ministry will consult the stakeholders on the construction of additional dip tanks in the constituency. The number of additional dip tanks will be known after consultations have been completed.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Hamusonde: Madam Speaker, is the ministry considering constructing dip tanks for goats as well, since goats are also livestock?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member’s concern has been noted and the ministry will consider how best we can eradicate tick-borne diseases by constructing dip tanks for small ruminants.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




105. Mr Mukosa (Chinsali) asked the Minister of Health when the following additional medical staff would be deployed to the Chinsali District Hospital:


  1. medical doctors;


  1. clinical officers;


  1. pharmacy technologists;


  1. environmental health technologists;


  1. nurses;


  1. midwives;


  1. laboratory technicians;


  1. physiotherapists; and


  1. radiographers.


The Minister of Higher Education (Prof. Luo) (on behalf of the Minister of Health) (Dr Chilufya): Madam Speaker, as of January, 2017, the Ministry of Health had deployed the following additional staff to Chinsali District Hospital:


Cadre                                      No. of Officers


Medical officers                                      2


Clinical officers                                       2


Pharmacy technologists                           3


Environmental health technologists        1


Midwives                                                 2


Medical laboratory technologists            3


Physiotherapists                                       1


Radiographers                                         2


Nurses                                                    10



Madam Speaker, after this deployment, the number of staff at the hospital rose to 126.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




106. Mr Chabi (Chipili) asked the Minister of Higher Education:


  1. when the construction of the Frederick Titus Jacob (FTJ) Chiluba University in Luapula Province would commence;


  1. in which parliamentary constituency the university would be situated;


  1. what had caused the delay in commencing the project;


  1. what the estimated cost of the project was; and


  1. what the time frame for the completion of the project was.


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, my ministry is currently discussing the commencement of the project with the contractor. We want to agree on certain mechanisms before the commencement, which is envisaged to be in the second of quarter of 2017. Let me hasten to say that I have been briefing the hon. Minister for Luapula Province on every development in this project because he has also been very concerned.


Madam, the university is located in Mansa Central Constituency.


Madam, the delay in commencing the project has been due to protracted discussions with the contractor ensuing from disagreements over the bill that was presented to my ministry after the designing of the university. My ministry is of the view that the bill was too high.


Madam, I am not in a position to state the estimated cost of the project until the discussions with the contractor have been completed.


Madam Speaker, the original estimated project duration was three years, but we will have to make adjustments to that.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chabi: Madam Speaker, the construction of the university in question was announced together with that of Paul Mushindo University and King Lewanika University, which are under construction in Chinsali and Mongu, respectively. The foundation stone for the construction of the FTJ Chiluba University was laid on 30th of November, 2013, by the late President, Mr Michael Sata, and I am sure that the hon. Minister is aware of that. However, so far, the only thing that has been done is the change of the name from Luapula University to FTJ Chiluba University by the current President of the Republic of Zambia. A fortnight ago, the Head of State was in Luapula, but he did not even mention the construction of the university. What made the President not to pass through the project site?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will not allow the hon. Minister to answer that question because I do not think she was in charge of the President’s programme. Do you have another question, since you are entitled to two?


Mr Chabi: Madam Speaker, I can still come up with another question.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes, please, do so.


Mr Chabi: Madam Speaker, I think the hon. Minister is aware that Paul Mushindo University and King Lewanika University are under construction in Chinsali and Mongu, respectively. Why has it taken long for the construction of the FTJ Chiluba University to start when the foundation stone was laid three years ago?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, I stated that when you contract works, there are certain specifications you give the contractor to follow in executing the works. In the case of the project in question, the contractor presented us with a bill that was too high, and it is in this House where we talk about prudent use of resources. If I had gone ahead and allowed the contractor to execute the works at that high cost, which was above the estimated cost, this House would have come down on me like a tonne of bricks and said that I did not do my job properly. As I said, we have asked the contractor to justify the cost that he has presented to the ministry.


Madam Speaker, let me take advantage of this question to say that even the universities that are under construction may take a little longer to complete than initially anticipated because those who designed them used a copy-and-paste approach. After designing Paul Mushindo University, they used the same design for King Lewanika University. The only thing they changed was the name. Another example is that of Mukuba University, whose focus is on the sciences, yet it has no science block. So, its construction will take longer because we must put up a science block. The same applies to Robert Kapasa Makasa University. So, I invite the hon. Member of Parliament to engage me so that I can explain how we are actually trying to ensure that we come up with institutions that are worth being called universities. I am sure he will appreciate our efforts.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Madam Speaker, who are the financers of the FTJ Chiluba University project?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, the construction of the FTJ Chiluba University is being financed by a loan from the Chinese Government and, since it is being financed by a loan, it is important for us to get value for money.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Kopulande (Chembe): Madam Speaker, I fully agree with the hon. Minister that whatever projects we undertake must be undertaken with care and due consideration, and that there should be prudent utilisation of public resources. However, the hon. Minister has said that a contractor was identified and awarded the contract and that the same contractor later came up with a cost higher than the Government estimate. Was there no competitive bidding in this process before the contract was awarded? How can a contract that was awarded be the subject of the protracted negotiations the Government has said are delaying the implementation of that important project in Luapula Province, which will help us provide tertiary education not only to that region, but also to the country as a whole?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, there was competitive bidding in this project. The unfortunate thing about this contract is that both the design and execution of the works were given to the same contractor. The project cost was given and the contract signed. The cost rose because the contractor was asked to design the project. However, I assure the people of Luapula that the project will commence soon because we are almost concluding our discussions with the contractor.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Madam Speaker, at our current level of development, especially in the higher education sub-sector, we are struggling to manage the already existing universities and we have placed the recently-constructed universities under the long-established ones, namely Mulungushi University (MU), the Copperbelt University (CBU) and the University of Zambia (UNZA). Further, our current push is towards skills development. Given these challenges, is it prudent to continue with this policy of rolling out more universities?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, the ministry has put a very high premium on technical education and skills development. You will remember that in the Budget Speech, there was mention of a skills levy as one way of fast-tracking skills development. Therefore, we have placed a higher premium on skills development than on university education. The countries that have turned their economies have done so using cottage industries, and cottage industries require appropriate skills. I will present to this House the details of how we intend to fast-track skills development in the country.


Madam Speaker, in terms of the suggestion that we slow down on the policy of rolling out more universities, I think that would be a bad move because we need to forge ahead with it, but only put a higher premium on skills development. Besides, skills development requires a trained human resource which, in turn, necessitates the existence of universities. 


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Madam Speaker, will any punitive measures be taken against the technocrats who approved the project at an exorbitant cost? I ask this question because the same problem has also been observed in the construction of dip tanks. You will find that someone building a dip tank for ...


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


The principal question is not about dip tanks.


Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, will any punitive measures be taken against people who approve contracts with wrong figures and mislead the Government?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, I have not said that there were any technocrats who approved the inflated project cost. 




Prof. Luo: In fact, it is the other way round. The technocrats questioned the figures and brought them to my attention. That is why I have told them to slow the process down and make sure that we have reasonable figures.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Katuta: Madam Speaker, I know that the hon. Minister is a performer. I have followed her work even before I became a Member of Parliament. That said, it will take a bit longer to build a university in Luapula Province, yet we really need one. Could it be possible to upgrade Mansa Trades Training College to a university while we await the construction of a new university? That can be done by simply adding a science block to the infrastructure there.


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, there is a lot of brainstorming in the ministry on the best way to fast-track the establishment of universities in accordance with the instruction of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia during his address to Parliament. I will update the House on the current thinking in the ministry.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the university was well-planned and that the contractor had been identified. I think she also said that it was a design-and-build project, and that the cost escalated later. Was there a plan, at the point of deciding to build the university, that could have taken into account the bill of quantities (BoQ)?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, speaking like an engineer, which I am not, but I can use my common sense to reason like one, when people are given a request to design and build, they can only look at the bill of quantities (BoQ) after the design stage, and that is where the problem arose in this project. After the design, the contractor presented a cost higher than what was on the bids. So, we requested the contractor to lower the cost. Unfortunately, the proposed way of lowering the cost was the removal of some components of the university, namely the sporting facilities, some faculties and the clinic.


Hon. Member: Iyee!


Prof. Luo: A university revolves around faculties. Sport is also a part of university education because education is not only about mathematics or science, but also about the total development of students so that when they leave the university, they are able to survive and make a meaningful contribution to the world into which they are unleashed. Additionally, in public health, sick students are supposed to be treated within their institutions to lower the risk of their spreading any infections that may be the cause of their illnesses to the general public. For that reason, I considered it undesirable that any of the components be eliminated. So, we had to bring the contractor back to the negotiating table.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




107. Ms Chisangano (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:


  1. whether the Government had any plans to procure a passenger vessel to ease transport problems for people travelling from Chipepo to Siavonga on Lake Kariba;


  1. if so, when the vessel would be procured; and


  1. what had caused the delay in procuring the vessel.


The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Mushimba): Madam Speaker, yes, the Government has plans to procure passenger vessels to service all areas where water transport is the dominant mode of transportation, including on Lake Kariba between Chipepo and Siavonga.


Madam, unfortunately, the procurement of the vessel will only be done when resources are made available.


Lastly, madam, the delay in the procurement of the vessel has been due to budgetary constraints.


Madam Speaker, in 2014, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government procured three passenger vessels. Two with a capacity of 120 passengers were supposed to be deployed on Lake Mweru and Lake Bangweulu while a twenty-four-seater vessel was procured for deployment on the Zambezi River. Out of the three, the vessel meant to be deployed on the Zambezi River has been delivered but, as you may be aware, the PF Government built the very good Mongu/Kalabo Road, which has now rendered that vessel almost irrelevant to the area because many people now prefer driving on the road to using the vessel. It is such a beautiful road across the river ...


Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!


Mr Mushimba: ... that I marvel whenever I look at it. So, the thinking in the ministry is that the Western Province considers releasing the vessel to Siavonga so that it can service that area. There are on-going conversations between my ministry and the hon. Minister for the Western Province and his team.


I thank, Madam Speaker.


Ms Chisangano: Madam Speaker, the same year the three vessels were bought, there was an accident on Lake Kariba in which twenty-four pupils died. Why did the ministry not consider taking one of the vessels to Gwembe immediately? Even as I speak, people who need to go to Siavonga for medical attention or trade are still suffering and have to rely on unsafe modes of transport, such as banana boats. Could the hon. Minister assure them that very soon, possibly this year, they will be given a passenger vessel?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I can feel the pain in the voice of the hon. Member as she ably represents her people.


Madam, an immediate solution to this problem would be for us to transfer the vessel that was taken to the Western Province to Siavonga. If an agreement can be reached with the current beneficiaries of the vessel, it can be redeployed to Siavonga almost immediately.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that vessels are needed in the Western Province not only between Kalabo and Mongu, but also in areas like between Lukulu and Mongu, a journey that takes about ten hours by road, but is much shorter if one travels by water?


Mr Mushimba: Madam Speaker, I restricted myself to answering the principal question, but I will expand my answer to include what the hon. Member has asked about. In this regard, I wish to inform the House that one of the many ministerial statements I will make during this Session will be on water transportation.


Madam Speaker, the PF Government, under the leadership of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, understands that developing all the four modes of transportation in this country is critical to the movement of goods, services and people, and to supporting the growing of this economy. Therefore, we are investing in all four modes of transportation.


Madam Speaker, before 2011, all water transportation was based on the natural flow of water. In 2012, the PF Government bought twenty-seven dredgers, of which eighteen have been received. We intend to use them to dredge canals and rivers in order to make water transportation possible where there are large water bodies, such as in Luapula, the Western and Southern provinces.


Madam Speaker, we bought passenger vessels in 2014, after buying the dredging equipment. The plan is to buy more passenger and cargo vessels for areas where water transport is the most prominent mode of transportation.


Madam, to answer the hon. Member’s question, we are considering buying more vessels to deploy on all water bodies to make water transportation available throughout the country.


I thank you, Madam.




108. Mr Kabanda (Serenje) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:


  1. whether the Government had any plans to improve the water reticulation system in Serenje Township;


  1. if so, when the project would commence; and


  1. what the estimated cost of the project was.


The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Mr Kaziya): Madam Speaker, the Government has plans to improve the water reticulation system in Serenje Township.


Madam, the Government is currently implementing a water supply project in the New Serenje area of Serenje Town and progress is currently at 42 per cent. So far, 30 km of pipeline has been laid and a storage tank erected. The project is expected to be completed by the third quarter of 2017. In addition, the Government has mobilised US$1.6 million to fund feasibility studies that facilitate the preparation of investment proposals for the implementation of water supply and sanitation projects in selected districts that will include Serenje, under the Lukanga, North-Western and Southern water utility companies.


Madam Speaker, the estimated cost of the on-going project in Serenje Township is K22 million while the costs of future projects will be determined once feasibility studies are completed.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, will the water reticulation project being implemented in New Serenje Township be expanded to the old Serenje Township, where it is urgently needed?


Mr Kaziya: Madam Speaker, there are plans to extend the project to other areas, like I have already stated.


I thank you, Madam.




109.  Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:


  1. when the construction of the drainage system in the Central Business District of Lusaka would be completed;


  1. who the contractor for the project was; and


  1. what the total cost of the project was.


Mr Kaziya: Madam Speaker, there are two on-going drainage projects in Lusaka that cover part of the Central Business District (CBD). The projects are being implemented with funding from the American Government through the Millennium Challenge Account. These are:


  1. the 24 km Bombay Drainage Project, which is being implemented by Cooperativa Muratori Cementisti (CMC) Contractors at a contract sum of US$35.3 million. The project started in August, 2015, and is expected to be completed in April, 2018; and


  1. the 26 km Mazyopa Drainage Project, which is being implemented by Construcoes Gabriel Couto Contractors at a contract sum of US$17.2 million. The project started in September, 2015, and is expected to be completed in December, 2017.


Madam Speaker, the total cost of the two projects is US$52.7 million.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Hamusonde: Madam Speaker, there were some contractors who were executing similar works between 2009 and 2012. Is the hon. Minister telling us that the initial contractors did not do a good job? Why is the job being done again?


Mr Kaziya: Madam Speaker, the project was not abandoned. We engaged the new contractors to continue with the projects that we had previously implemented, this time, using funding from the American Government.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Lumayi: Madam Speaker, the drainage system in Lusaka is a big problem. Have the companies implementing the projects, whose names I cannot pronounce, but sound Italian, successfully implemented projects in Zambia before for them to be given these contracts?




Mr Kaziya: Madam Speaker, when assessing bids, we look at profiles of the bidders, including the works the companies have executed elsewhere. So, the Government decided that it was prudent to choose the two companies after looking at their profiles.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.




110.  Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu) asked the Minister of Tourism and Arts:


  1. whether the Government had any plans to construct offices for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife at Tuta-Yongolo Camp in Bangweulu Parliamentary Constituency;


  1. if so, when the plans would be implemented; and


  1. if there were no such plans, why.


Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW) has no camp known as Tuta-Yongolo. The camp to which the hon. Member might be referring in this question might be one of those that were closed by the Government during the transformation of the Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) into a Government Department, namely Mukuku and Yongolo wildlife camps in Kalasa-Mukoso and Kafinda game management areas GMAs), respectively.


Madam Speaker, Yongolo Camp could be reopened because it is strategically located in the animal corridor in the Kafinda, Bangweulu and Kalasa-Mukoso GMAs. However, the DNPW has a fly camp at Katumba, where wildlife police officers are deployed in teams on a regular basis. A fly camp is a non-residential camp that is used by officers seasonally or on a rotational basis to launch anti-poaching patrols, especially in seasonally inaccessible areas or those that are too far from a regular camp. Officers operate from there for a month or more after which they are replaced by another group.


Madam Speaker, the camp in question is not a permanent one and the area is not suitable for establishing a permanent camp because it is water logged and has no social amenities like schools and clinics for wildlife officers’ families. Therefore, the Government has no plans of constructing offices or houses there. The officers who operate that camp are from a camp called Chitundwa in the Kalasa-Mukoso GMA, which has five houses, but only four officers. Plans to renovate the houses and build new ones to accommodate more staff may be considered in the future when funds are made available.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Kasandwe: Madam Speaker, as the hon. Minister may be aware, the popular black lechwe of the Bangweulu Wetlands almost became extinct, but we are now seeing a rebound in their numbers. However, only a permanent presence of wildlife officers will sustain the growth in the population of that animal species. Are there any other plans for managing the reserve? Is it possible for the Government to engage an agency that can manage the GMA?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, like I said, when funds are available, we will renovate the camp. However, investors who wish to manage the camps can apply to our ministry. We also give concessions to investors. All they need to do is apply.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Katuta: Madam Speaker, if that area is developed, it can attract a lot of revenue for the Government because it is like a game park. Is the ministry aware of that area’s potential for tourism development?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, indeed, we know that there are animals there and we encourage people to apply to manage those reserves.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, allow me to pay tribute to this Patriotic Front (PF) Government for the job it is doing in protecting our wildlife through the Department of National Parks and Wildlife. As we drive through Tuta, we see wild animals that almost became extinct at one point. Are there any plans to put up signs on the roads there so that the motorists do not hit the animals?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, indeed, it is important that we put up signs to show that the area has a high animal population. I am sure that has been done in some national parks. So, I do not see the reason we cannot do it in that area.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, the entire Chama District is a game management area (GMA) and the Community Resource Board (CRB) gets income from the hunting activities that take place in the communities annually. However, there are no houses in the wildlife camps for the people who take care of the animals. If anything, their livelihoods are worse off than those of the local people. Does the Government have plans to ensure that the money that CRBs receive benefit the community, including the construction of houses for village scouts? The use of that money is not audited and I do not know why. If you look at the number of ‒


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


You have asked your question.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, a percentage of the money is paid to Community Resource Boards (CRBs) and it is incumbent upon each one of them to decide how to use its money, depending on the needs in its area. Some have built social amenities like clinics, schools and police posts while others have ploughed back into conservation efforts by employing village scouts and paying them an allowance.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




111. Mrs Jere asked the Minister of Home Affairs:


(a)        whether the Government had any plans to construct police posts in the following chiefdoms in Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency:


(i)         Chief Mwanya;


(ii)        Chief Chitungulu; and


(iii)       Chief Kazembe;


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


(c)        what the estimated cost of constructing one police post was.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Madam Speaker, the Government has plans to construct police posts in the Mwanya, Chitungulu and Kazembe chiefdoms of Lumezi Constituency in collaboration with the constituency office (CO). Works on the police post in Chief Chitungulu’s area have already started and we hope that the new hon. Member of Parliament will pick it up from there and work with us to complete the project.


Madam Speaker, the projects will be implemented as planned in collaboration with the new hon. Member of Parliament and we will ensure that the projects are completed.


Madam Speaker, with community support, the estimated cost of constructing a police post is K800,000.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, Chama District, thanks to the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, is more developed than some districts in Luapula and part of the Northern provinces.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Do you want to retract that or you want to qualify it as ‒


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, I was only joking with my tribal cousins.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow that but, next time, please, joke with your cousins outside the House.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: You may continue.


Mr Mung’andu: Madam Speaker, thank you for the guidance.


Madam, currently, there is a two-roomed police post in Chama District. However, the district has no prison, yet the population has increased. So, when our relatives are incarcerated ‒


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Chama South!


The principal question was on Lumezi. Therefore, your question must be specific to that constituency. Do you have a question to ask?


Mr Mung’andu: Yes, Madam Speaker.


Madam, does the Government have any plan to construct police posts and prisons in Chama and other districts?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, restrict your answer to police posts.


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member’s office must emulate the relationship that exists between the ministry and the Lumezi Constituency Office in the putting up of infrastructure like police posts. Other hon. Members of Parliament have done that in their constituencies, including Hon. Lubinda and Hon. Kapata, who have built four and two police posts, respectively. So, let us build that kind of rapport. I am aware that the hon. Minister of Local Government is working hard to ensure that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is disbursed so that hon. Members can implement development projects. So, we have plans to build police posts, but the ministry’s limited resource envelope needs to be supplemented by supportive relationships with the constituency offices.                 


I thank you, Madam.




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


  1. what measures the Government had taken to mobilise funds locally for HIV/AIDS programmes in Zambia; and


  1. why Zambia was not a priority destination for researchers on the HIV/AIDS vaccine.


Prof. Luo (on behalf of the Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya)): Madam Speaker, although the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) response is said to be heavily dependent on external aid, the Government’s contribution is under-estimated as it is mainly in the form of missing or hidden costs. In fact, the Government is the largest financial contributor to the national response. Its contribution includes costs associated with the financing for infrastructure, such as hospitals, training schools, health centres and roads; supply of health commodities and equipment; utilities; transport; staff salaries; and other recurrent expenditures. One point that is often used to discount this vital Government financing component is that it is difficult to quantify how much of that expenditure is really spent specifically on HIV/AIDS. However, it is not difficult to understand that without these basic necessities that the Government provides, no health programmes of any kind would run effectively.


Madam Speaker, let me also hasten to say that the Government is grateful to all partners who are supporting the Zambian HIV/AIDS programme, particularly the United States (US) President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund. With the ambitious agenda to end HIV/AIDS as a public health threat towards epidemic control by 2030, the country has embarked on a fast-track programme to reach 90 per cent of the people living with HIV/AIDS; initiate and retain 90 per cent on anti-retroviral therapy (ART) and get 90 per cent of those on treatment to achieve viral suppression. These targets require a large injection of resources and an increased commitment of locally-generated resources, and Zambia has embarked on that path. Through the social health insurance scheme, the Zambian Government will increase and sustain the contribution to the response. However, this measure will need to be complemented by innovative approaches to resource mobilisation, such as introducing a small tax towards funding to HIV/AIDS programmes from, for example, toll gate fees and a levy on airtime.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is one of the top ten countries with the highest HIV/AIDS burden, with the current prevalence rate being 11.6 per cent among people aged 15 to 49 years. The treatment programme has been scaled up to nearly 900,000 people out of the approximately 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS.


Madam, vaccination is one of the most cost-effective interventions in combating infectious diseases and research on candidate HIV vaccines has been on-going globally. As a high-prevalence country, Zambia has attracted and participated in some of the global research work. For example, the Ministry of Health, in conjunction with the Tropical Disease Research Centre (TDRC) in Ndola, is currently on track with research on a therapeutic vaccine. Further, in collaboration with the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research in Zambia (CIDRZ), the ministry is participating on an HIV vaccine trial network exploring candidate vaccine trials at different phases. This clearly shows that Zambia is a priority destination for HIV vaccine researchers and that the capacity of local research teams is being built.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, there have been some concerns that the country’s heavy dependence on external aid, which the hon. Minister has ably acknowledged, can lead to this country’s failure to sustain HIV/AIDS programmes should the co-operating partners withdraw their funding. Could the hon. Minister assure us that will not be the case.


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, I think that with the health insurance scheme and the taxes that we want to introduce, I can assure the House that the hon. Member’s fears will not come true.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Kalila: Madam Speaker, I am sincerely grateful to Hon. Ng’onga for asking that very good and important question.


Madam, I am aware that the National AIDS Council (NAC) Act obliges the Government to establish an HIV/AIDS Fund. However, that fund has not been set up. What is the reason for that?


Prof. Luo: Madam Speaker, in fact, the HIV Research Fund was set up. However, we could not build up the required amount. So, we resorted to using the health insurance scheme and introducing some tax levies.


Madam Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1255 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 28th February, 2017.