Debates- Thursday, 27th June, 2013

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Thursday, 27th June, 2013

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]






Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to reiterate my earlier announcement that our colleagues from the National Assembly of Malawi will be arriving tomorrow in readiness for the games to be played on 30th June, 2013. Therefore, with only two days remaining before the games, I wish to implore all the hon. Members participating in the three sports disciplines, namely chess, netball and football to reinvigorate their training. The rest of the hon. Members are also invited to render moral support to the teams on the material day.

Thank you.




The Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mrs Kabanshi): Mr Speaker, in response to your directive to my ministry to prepare a ministerial statement on the prolonged suspension of the Livingstone City Council, following a point of order raised by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mwandi Constituency, allow me to deliver the ministerial statement to this august House. 

Sir, a council is created, pursuant to Section 3 of the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia. Further, a council is a Government institution which is given duties and functions to perform by the Local Government Act and other pieces of legislation. The Local Government Act, Cap 281 under Section 88, has provisions which mandate the Government, through the minister responsible for Local Government, to ensure that for any actions which are ultra vires, a council is disciplined so as to instill harmony and positive performance in the delivery of services on behalf of the electorate in the local communities.

Mr Speaker, the Government cannot apply this provision arbitrarily, but it is applied in circumstances which are against the legal provisions and not in favour of the residents a council is created to serve. The suspension of the Livingstone City Council was invoked by the Government through my ministry in January, 2013, by Statutory Instrument No. 5 of 2013, The Local Government (Appointment of Local Government Administrator) (Livingstone City Council) Order, dated 17th January, 2013, and appointed Mr Alex Bwalya Provincial Local Government Officer for Southern Province and Local Government Administrator to discharge all the functions of the council. 

The circumstances that compelled the Government to suspend the Livingstone City Council comprise the following:

Background Leading to the Suspension of the Council

Sir, on Tuesday, 15th January, 2013, the council convened a special meeting where it was resolved that the Town Clerk, Ms Vivian Chiwila Chikoti, and other senior council officers, be suspended. However, as hon. Minister responsible for Local Government, I nullified the decision to suspend the officers due to the fact that the council did not follow laid-down procedures as provided for under the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia which mandates the Local Government Service Commission to deal with all staff matters. 

Training of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation Delegation from Zambia in the United States of America from 6th to 16th January, 2013

Sir, it is important for this august House to note that shortly after the Ordinary Council Meeting was held on 31st December, 2012, the Town Clerk went on a trip to the United States of America (USA) from 6th to 16th January, 2013. She was invited by the Ministry of Tourism and Art to be part of the delegation that went to attend training in the USA as part of the preparation for the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly. As you are already aware, the City of Livingstone, Zambia and Victoria Falls Town in Zimbabwe will co-host the UNWTO General Assembly from 25th to 29th August, 2013. The Government of the Republic of Zambia has already funded the development of various infrastructure for this landmark conference. It, therefore, follows that this tour of duty to the USA was important in itself and it helped the delegates from Zambia to learn from the USA’s vast experience and compare notes in order to enhance Zambia’s preparedness for the UNWTO General Assembly. The Town Clerk was among other officers suspended illegally when she was abroad on duty. 

Management of Town Clerk’s Office

Mr Speaker, when the substantive Town Clerk left the country on 2nd January, 2013, she assigned the Director of Finance, Mr Muchindu Siasinyanga, to perform the duties of the Office of the Town Clerk.

Events Leading to the Special Council Meeting on 15th January, 2013, and Resulting in the Suspension of Officers;

(a)Provincial Development Co-ordinating Committee Meeting

Mr Speaker, at a Provincial Development Co-ordinating Committee meeting for the Southern Province held in Choma from  27th to 28th December, 2012, and chaired by the then Permanent Secretary for the Southern Province, Dr Chileshe Mulenga, a number of developmental issues affecting the various districts in the Southern Province were discussed, including those relating to garbage collection. 

Sir, a follow-up consultative meeting was later held in Livingstone on 29th December, 2012, to deal with the issue of garbage collection. Recognising the challenges facing the council, especially with regard to lack of equipment for garbage collection, the meeting resolved that a weekly waste management day be launched and be held every Wednesday of the week during which all stakeholders comprising the Government, corporate institutions as well as individuals in the city would participate by providing equipment and/or any other necessary material to be used for the waste management activities.

(b)    Preparations for the Launch of the Weekly Waste Management Day on 9th January, 2013

Mr Speaker, the Acting Director of Public Health, Housing and Social Services, Mr George Kumoyo, was tasked to prepare for the launch of the Weekly Waste Management Day which was scheduled for 9th January, 2013, starting at 0800 hours. The programme, as stated above, was designated to help keep the City of Livingstone clean and would play a part in cleaning up the city in readiness for its co-hosting of the UNWTO General Assembly in August, 2013.

Sir, this activity was to be launched by Dr Chileshe Mulenga. However, on the day of the launch, there was a delay in commencing the programme because Mr George Kumoyo failed to prepare for the function timely. This resulted in the programme starting at 0850 hours instead of the scheduled time of 0800 hours. Consequently, Dr Chileshe Mulenga, who was the guest of honour, recommended to the Local Government Service Commission the suspension of Mr George Kumoyo.
(c)The Acting Town Clerk sought guidance from the Local Government Service Commission on the instruction to suspend Mr George Kumoyo

Mr Speaker, on 11th January, 2013, the Acting Town Clerk wrote to the Chairman of the Local Government Service Commission seeking guidance as regards the letter from Dr Chileshe Mulenga in which a recommendation was made to suspend Mr George Kumoyo.

Convening of a Special Council Meeting to Consider the Recommendation from the Permanent Secretary to suspend Mr George Kumoyo

Sir, on 14th January, 2013, His Worship the Mayor wrote to the Office of the Town Clerk to convene a special council meeting on 15th January, 2013, to look at the recommendation from Dr Chileshe Mulenga to suspend Mr George Kumoyo. Subsequently, the council sought permission from the Provincial Local Government Officer to hold a special council meeting on Tuesday 15th January, 2013, to consider the matter concerning Mr George Kumoyo.

The Provincial Local Government Officer granted permission to hold a special council meeting on 14th January, 2013, to consider the matter concerning Mr George Kumoyo.

Proceedings of the Special Council Meeting

Mr Speaker, notice of the meeting was sent to all councillors and chief officers on 14th January with the following agenda items:

(a)    Prayer;
(b)    National Anthem;
(c)    Apologies, if any; and
(d)    Consider the report of the Town Clerk, if any.

Sir, the Special Council Meeting held on 15th January, 2013, to consider the recommendation by Dr Chileshe Mulenga to suspend Mr George Kumoyo was scheduled to start at 0830 hours. However, His Worship the Mayor, Councillor Aggrey Njekwa, arbitrarily directed that the meeting starts at 1000 hours to give councillors ample time to study the matter at hand.

Mr Speaker, the meeting started at 1000 hours and the Director of Finance, who was the Acting Town Clerk, read the notice convening the meeting after a prayer. Thereafter, the officers, apart from the Acting Town Clerk and Acting Chief Committee Clerk, were requested to leave the council chamber by His Worship the Mayor, alleging that the Special Council Meeting had been called to reveal the performance of all senior officers and the recommendations by Dr Chileshe Mulenga directing the council to suspend Mr George Kumoyo.

Sir, after due debate and upon a proposal duly seconded, the agenda was amended to read, “To scrutinise the performance of all senior officers and the recommendation by the Permanent Secretary of the Southern Province to suspend the Acting Director of Public Health, Housing and Social Services.”

Mr Speaker, the Acting Town Clerk proceeded to report on the contents of the letter dated 9th January, 2013, received from Dr Chileshe Mulenga in which he directed the council to recommend the suspension of Mr George Kumoyo for alleged failure to prepare for the launch of the Weekly Waste Management Day which was officially launched on 9th January, 2013.

Suspension of Officers

Sir, after due debate, councillors resolved to take the following action:

(a)suspend the Town Clerk for alleged gross mismanagement, misconduct and incompetence in absentia while in the USA in preparation for the UNWTO;

(b)suspend Mr George Kumoyo for failure to perform on the Weekly Waste Management Day as agreed; and

(c) put the Acting Assistant Director of Engineering Services, Mr Rennie R. Shindelele, on forced leave for refusing to carry out assignments and for sometimes using unpalatable language.

Mr Speaker, the Southern Province Local Government Officer advised the Livingstone City Council, in, writing against its decision to suspend the Town Clerk and Mr George Kumoyo, as the decision was illegal since the mandate to deal with human resource matters was vested in the Local Government Service Commission, but the council did not heed the advice to reverse its illegal decision.

Communication of the Proceedings of the Special Council Meeting to the Local Government Service Commission

Mr Speaker, on 15th January, 2013, after the Special Council Meeting, the Mayor held a press briefing at which the suspension of the Town Clerk for alleged gross mismanagement, misconduct and incompetence was announced. This was aired on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television 1900 hours news, Muvi TV and local radio stations in Livingstone.

Mr Speaker, on 16th January, 2013, the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) requested the Acting Town Clerk to provide information on the suspension of the Town Clerk and other officers to enable the commission to study the matter. The minutes of the proceedings of the Special Council Meeting were availed to the LGSC and my ministry.

Sir, independent investigations conducted by the Government, through my ministry, revealed and confirmed the report of the council as follows:

(a)the initial notice circulated to hold the Special Council Meeting indicated only one item on the agenda which is the Acting Director of Public Health, Housing and Social Services. However, the meeting illegally altered the agenda to include the Town Clerk and other officers before it started;

(b)despite being advised by other councillors not to alter the agenda, the Mayor,  who was the chairperson of the meeting, ignored the advice and illegally included, on the agenda, the item on the Town Clerk and other senior officers to achieve his hidden motive;

(c)the meeting ignored the advice of the Provincial Local Government Officer to rescind the decision to suspend the Town Clerk and other management staff as it was ultra vires;

(d)the councillors displayed lack of leadership skills;

(e)some councillors were fond of bulldozing matters thus disregarding the provisions of the law in the conduct of council meetings;

(f)the mayor failed to provide the required leadership as demanded by the provisions of the Local Government Act and Council Standing Orders to ensure harmony and peace in the conduct of council meetings;

(g)the meeting altered the agenda which set out the business to be considered during the Special Council Meeting against Standing Order No. 38, which forbids such actions, rendering the meeting illegal; and

(h)the decision made by the council was contrary to Standing Order No. 38 and, therefore, illegal.

Mr Speaker, after studying the matter, my ministry suspended the council on 16th January, 2013, for illegally suspending the Town Clerk and other officers. On 17th January, 2013, the Acting Town Clerk received a letter with a gazette notice, communicating the suspension of the council and conveyed the Government’s decision to all the honourable councillors. Prior to the expiry of the initial suspension period of ninety days, my ministry was availed a status report by the Local Government Administrator which revealed a lack of remorse by most councillors, in particular, the Mayor, who was antagonising management, particularly the Town Clerk.

The report by the Local Government Administrator to my ministry revealed the following:

(a)when the council is in place, it does not work in harmony with the council management despite the orientation process which the councillors and officers went through which my ministry organised and implemented in all councils, including the Livingstone City Council after the September, 2011 Tripartite Elections. The councillors do not understand their roles and responsibilities as policy makers and do not appreciate the roles and responsibilities of officers as implementers of policies and decisions at local level;

(b)councillors do not fully understand the roles and responsibilities of the LGSC regarding human resource functions;

(c)councillors do not understand and appreciate the role of the principal officer and chief officers in rendering professional advice in council meetings; and

(d)councillors, as policy makers, make negative remarks, like what the hon. Opposition Members are doing, against their own decisions in the operations of the council.


Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, after carefully considering the report on the findings of the Provincial Local Government Administrator, the Government, through my ministry, and by the powers vested in my office under Section 88 of the Local Government Act Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia, decided to extend the suspension of the Livingstone City Council in accordance with Statutory Instrument No. 30 dated 19th April, 2013, and the Local Government (Appointment of Local Government Administrator) (Livingstone City Council) Order, 2013.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the suspension of both the Town Clerk and other officers was contrary to the provisions of the Local Government (Amendment) Act No. 6 of 2010, which mandates the LGSC, as a Government agency, to handle all human resource matters.

Sir, the Special Council Meeting which was held on Tuesday, 15th January, 2013, was convened to consider a special agenda item of the Acting Director of Public Health, Housing and Social Services pursuant to the provisions of Section 23(a) of the Local Government Act Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia, which stipulates that no business shall be transacted at a special council meeting other than that specified in the notice of meeting relating hereto.

However, the meeting went ahead and illegally amended the agenda to include the issue of the Town Clerk and other senior officers. It is also important to note that the Provincial Local Government Officer granted the LCC authority to convene a special meeting to consider the matter concerning Mr George Kumoyo and not the substantive Town Clerk and other senior officers.

Mr Speaker, the Government, through my ministry, is closely monitoring the activities of the councillors at LCC who are currently on suspension, and shall review the extended suspension before it expires for consideration to lift it.

My ministry will ensure that the following recommendations by the Local Government Administrator are implemented by re-orienting the councillors and officers to:

(a)ensure that the council fully understands the roles and responsibilities of the LGSC;

(b)advise the councillors to understand and appreciate the role of the principal officer and other chief officers in advising and implementing decisions of the council;

(c)sensitise the councillors, as policy makers, on the principle of collective responsibility to avoid contradicting themselves against the council operations;

(d)ensure that councillors and officers of the council work as a team to deliver efficient and effective services for the benefits of residents of the City of Livingstone; and

(e)ensure that there is harmony between the two offices and the Mayor and Town Clerk to ensure effective performance of the council.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

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

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, how does the hon. Minister reconcile her decision with that of the …

Mr Mbewe: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, I rarely stand on points of order.


Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, my point of order is on the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia. Today’s edition of The Post newspaper says that the Government has cancelled Mr Rupiah Banda’s passport and that, now, he cannot travel outside the country. The Constitution of Zambia stipulates the benefits of retired Presidents. One of the benefits is a diplomatic passport for both a former President and his spouse. Is the Government in order …

Hon. PF Members: Which government?

Mr Mbewe: Is the PS Government in order …

Hon. PF Members: It is PF.

Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, is the Patriotic Front (PF) Government in order to cancel the former President’s diplomatic passport? I am going to ‘lie’ the paper on the Table.


Mr Speaker: I am sure you meant lay.


Mr Speaker: There is no reason to lie in the House.

Mr Mbewe laid the paper on the Table.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!

I have said before that the Government practises the doctrine of separation of powers. So, in instances of this sort, there is another branch of the Government available to test and adjudicate upon the legality or otherwise of the action taken by the Executive Branch of Government. It is not for me to decide whether or not that is legal. 

That is my ruling.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, before a decision could be taken by the council, the then Permanent Secretary advised the council to suspend one director at the council. The council simply went ahead to deal with the culprit and the boss. How did the hon. Minister reconcile her decision with that of the Permanent Secretary? Was there any consultation between the two offices?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, there was no reconciliation to be done because the Permanent Secretary merely advised the council to communicate the problem that it saw with the director to the LGSC which was going to act on it.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Sir, the hon. Minister informed the House that the Town Clerk travelled to the USA following an invitation from the Ministry of Tourism and Art. Was this invitation to travel to the USA ever tabled before the council for consideration and who met the expenses?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the Town Clerk is the chief executive officer of the council that is responsible for hosting the UNWTO General Assembly in August this year. As for the issue of the expenses of the Town Clerk’s trip, I do not have the answer to that question. I have to go and find out because I do not want to give false information. Besides, that was not part of the issues that made me suspend the council.

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that she is unable to lift the suspension of the Livingstone City Council because the councillors are not showing remorse and respect after her decision to suspend the council. How are the councillors not being remorseful when the council has been suspended? Since the councillors are on suspension, they are not attending to civic duties. They are not meeting at the council to make any decision or carry out any activities. How has the hon. Minister arrived at the conclusion that the councillors are not remorseful and respectful and, therefore, she cannot review and lift the suspension?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I read to this august House the report that I got from the Local Government Administrator that led to the extension of the suspension. So, before I lift the suspension, I will wait for another report from the Local Government Administrator. If the administrator says that the councillors’ conduct has not changed, I might even dissolve the council.

Thank you, Sir.

Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Mazoka (Pemba): Mr Speaker, the LGSC comprises only five members who are charged with the responsibility of making laws for all the councils throughout the country. To me, it seems that the creation of this commission has brought about a lot of anarchy in all the local authorities. Would the hon. Minister confirm that.

Mr Livune: Hear, hear!

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I think the LGSC is doing a commendable job …

Mr Livune: Question!

Mrs Kabanshi: … because most of the hon. Members have been coming to me and saying that there is a lot of improvement in the councils. So, I am surprised that the hon. Member is saying that the LGSC is not doing a good job. I would just like to make one correction. The LGSC is not in charge of making laws for all the councils, but is responsible for all the human resource matters for all the councils in the country.

Thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, following the suspension of the Livingstone City Council, garbage collection has remained a problem. Before the situation worsens, who, in the opinion of the hon. Minister, is responsible for the collection of garbage in Livingstone?

Ms Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, councillors are there to make policies, but not to implement them. The council management implements the policies that are made by the councillors. At the moment, the administrator is performing the function of the councillor which is policy making while management continues to perform its function of policy implementation. In fact, the administrator is doing a better job in the absence of the councillors.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, after listening to the hon. Minister’s statement which, to me, sounded like she was in a council meeting, …


Ms Kalima: … I would like to find out what the motive behind the suspension was, especially that the hon. Minister now seems to be looking forward to the dissolution of the council.

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the motive behind the suspension of the councillors in Livingstone is to show all the councillors in Zambia that they should abide by the law.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Kabanshi: The PF Government wants to revamp local Government.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr L. J. Ngoma (Sinda): Mr Speaker, for the avoidance of any doubt, may the hon. Minister indicate what the Permanent Secretary’s advice was to the Livingstone City Council. I ask because, in one vein, she has read out a statement to the effect that the Permanent Secretary advised the Livingstone City Council to suspend the director and, in another, in answer to the follow-up question from the hon. Member for Katombola, she said that the council was advised to consult the LGSC. Can the hon. Minister clarify this.

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, I have read this ministerial statement several times. I have equally researched and talked to my Permanent Secretary who said that he advised the council to seek advice from the LGSC, which they did not do.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, may I know how long the administrator will run the Livingstone City Council. Will he be there indefinitely?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the administrator will run the Livingstone City Council until we see an improvement in the conduct of the councillors.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: How will you see it?

Mr Sianga (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, is the Permanent Secretary …

Ms Kalima: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to rise on this very serious point of order. Sir, a few months ago, a Select Committee constituted by you was set up to scrutinise the appointment of the Acting Chief Justice to the position of Chief Justice. The candidate was not ratified and the Executive was advised to submit another name. However, to date, the PF Government has allowed the unsuccessful candidate to continue acting as Chief Justice incompetently as she did not qualify for that position.

Mr Speaker, I get very concerned over matters such as these. What is the use of this House? Is the PF Government in order to render this House irrelevant? 

I seek your serious ruling, Sir.

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that if you wish to seek a response from the Executive Branch of Government on the subject, please, file in a question for oral answer.

Hon. Member for Sesheke may continue.

Mr Sianga (Sesheke): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the council in Livingstone is doing better without the councillors. Is the PF intending to do away with councillors throughout the country?

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, that is not our intention. In fact, as I said earlier, we only want other councillors to see that it is important for them to conduct themselves in a manner that builds their image because, at the moment, councillors seem to be involved in a lot of things.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mwila: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I rise on a procedural point of order. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasenengwa in order to raise the issue of a select committee which you appointed to scrutinise the appointment of the Chief Justice? The hon. Member of Parliament in question was a member of the Select Committee referred to. Is she, therefore, in order to bring to the House issues which were discussed in your Committee which has not presented the issues to this House yet?

Mr Speaker: I am afraid there is a procedural hitch to that point of order. You cannot raise a point of order on a point of order. 

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told this House that the reinstatement of the council is dependent upon the councillors showing remorse. I would like to know how she is going to measure the change in behaviour and remorse if the councillors are not working.

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, it is not for me to measure, but the communities …


Mrs Kabanshi: … that elected the councillors to their positions.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, …

Hon. Members: Mailoni brothers, Mailoni brothers!


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, finally, the Mailoni brothers are no more and we give credit to the PF Government.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Livune: Question!

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, for every …


Mr Speaker: Order, order!

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, there is a time frame for every suspension period. It can be one month, three months or six months. May I know the time frame for the suspension of the councillors in Livingstone.

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, the suspension for the councillors was ninety days. However, we did not see any change in their behaviour after that period. Therefore, we added another ninety days.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mrs Kabanshi: Mr Speaker, at the moment, we are still scrutinising them. The community in Livingstone is giving us feedback. So, if I am going to get a good report, I am going to make sure that I lift the suspension at the end of the ninety-day extension.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Sichinga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to render an explanation to this August House on the action that the Government has taken to adjust the maize production subsidy as well as the removal of the miller/consumer subsidy.

 Mr Speaker, the Government intends to brief all stakeholders, including the hon. Members of this August House, so that they can understand the facts surrounding these very important matters. This is to ensure that the context and application of these facts are properly construed. I further wish to take this opportunity to inform hon. Members and the nation, at large, about a number of reforms and changes which the Government is in the process of effecting in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. These changes and reforms are aimed at improving the effectiveness of our service delivery to the beneficiaries. I wish to emphasise that the Government intends to commence these programmes immediately although some of them will be executed over a number of years before they can bear any fruit.

Mr Speaker, I also want to talk about the adjustment made to the modalities of the maize production subsidy and the removal of the miller/consumer subsidy. The issue surrounding the changes, which the Government has made to the maize subsidies, have been most misunderstood or misinterpreted. Therefore, let me begin by providing the genesis of how the subsidies were introduced in 2002/2003. I will also indicate where we stand at the moment.

Mr Speaker, there have been two types of subsidies. The first one was the production subsidy. This was meant for small-scale farmers and it was provided in the form of fertiliser and seed. The payment for maize to these farmers was higher than the market price. 

Mr Speaker, the second subsidy was provided through the sale price of maize grain to millers. This price was lower than the purchase price at which the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) purchased the maize from the small-scale farmers.

Mr Speaker, over the last ten years, that is, from 2003 to 2012, a substantial amount of subsidy was provided to small-scale farmers. However, in my presentation this afternoon, I will only give information on the amount of subsidy spent on the last five years from 2008 to 2012 for brevity’s sake. This information is also going to be made available to hon. Members in their pigeon holes and I hope that this will clarify the position of the Government on this issue to the hon. Members. For purposes of the estimates of production, I have included 2013 and, next week, with your permission, Sir, I will present to this House details of what level of production we expect in 2013.

Mr Speaker, the following is a summary of production and consumer subsidies to the agriculture sector over the last five years. I will explain the differences later.

Total Subsidy on    2007/08    2008/09    2009/10    2010/11    2011/12     2012/13 Farmer Production    K’bn    K’bn    K’bn    K’bn    K’bn        KR’m

Total Subsidy on 
Farmer Production    799.2    695.2    749.7    1,354.7    1,181.2

Production Quantity
(Metric Tonnes ‘000)    1,211.6    1,887.0    2,795.5    3,020.4    2,852.7        2,532.8

Maize Purchased by     
(Metric Tonnes ‘000)    74    199    883    1,752        1,046

FRA/Miller/Grain/     213.48    203.80    209.83    1,785.0    2,262.52        655.50
Total Subsidy

Value of Maize 
Purchased by FRA    122    328    1,457    2,890    1,726

Total Subsidy    1,012.68    899    959.53    3,139.7    3,443.72        879.2
Mr Speaker, the value of maize purchased by the FRA in 2012 is less than the subsidy amounts due to carry over amounts from the previous years. In addition, the total subsidy is equal to production subsidies plus the FRA/Miller/Grain Trader subsidies.

Mr Speaker, the production subsidies were made through the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to enable the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to distribute selected farm inputs. The subsidy to the FRA was meant to procure the maize from the small-scale farmers.

Mr Speaker, let me begin by addressing the undoubtedly most important programme currently running in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, which is the FISP.

Sir, this programme supports production and has been implemented since the 2002/2003 farming season. This programme was originally designed to address the declining crop production at the time, especially maize. This followed a succession of droughts and floods which the country experienced. These calamities resulted in a diminished asset base for many small-scale farmers, as most of them had attempted to use whatever resources they had to finance crop production in order to ensure their domestic food security.

Mr Speaker, the overall intention of the programme was and still is to increase production of staple food and contribute to poverty reduction, particularly amongst the rural population. This is done through the supply of agricultural inputs to small-scale farmers. The exercise was meant to contribute further to increase household food security and improve incomes, hence reduce poverty among them.

Sir, the system of procuring and distributing inputs has largely remained unchanged since that time, save for the change in the level of farmer contributions towards inputs. The concept was that at the beginning of the programme, the farmer would contribute 40 per cent of the cost of the inputs while the Government’s subsidy would be at 60 per cent. 

Mr Speaker, in the second year, the farmer and Government were to share equally the cost of the inputs while in the third year, there should have been a reduction in the Government’s contribution. The farmer was expected to pay 60 per cent while the Government was to meet the 40 per cent. This was meant to allow for progressive reduction in the subsidies by the Government. The farmers were then supposed to increase their contribution and this programme had a specific three-year lifespan. This was also meant to allow the farmers to graduate to another level at the end of the three-year period of helping to support each beneficiary.

Sir, in the 2008/2009 farming season, just before the Presidential By-elections, the farmer contribution was changed from 50 per cent per pack to a cash contribution of K50,000 per 50 kg bag of fertiliser and 50 per cent for a bag of seed. This was supposedly meant to be a temporary change which was reported to have been done partly as a response to the global increase in fertiliser prices.

Mr Speaker, due mostly to the uncertainties caused by the global financial crunch that started in 2008 and also to increase farmer capacity to respond to the challenges created by the economic crunch, the PF Government decided that for the season of 2011/2012, the farmer contribution of K50,000 per 50 kg bag would be maintained. This was in spite of the fact that the cost of managing the programme had risen significantly. However, this was intended to mitigate the impact on the beneficiaries. 

Sir, the result is that other aspects of agricultural development programmes, particularly the diversification into higher value crops such as soya beans, sorghum and wheat for small-scale farmers, have been neglected. Therefore, small-scale farmers have not benefitted from the higher commodity prices which they could have done under the present prices because they have not grown such crops on a large scale since they have concentrated on maize.

Mr Speaker, the FISP, which is currently in place mostly for maize grain to some 900,000 small-scale farmers, has achieved a good measure of success in enabling Zambia to attain maize grain self-sufficiency and security both at household level and national level. In fact, the programme has enabled exports to neighbouring countries, primarily from small-scale farmer production. However, this has been achieved at an exorbitant and uneconomic cost through supplementary budgets approved by this House, which has exacerbated rather than eliminated poverty among small-scale farmers, especially in the rural areas.

Sir, the 2010/2011 farming season was the best performing season and the production was 3.1 million metric tonnes while in 2011/2012, the production dropped to 2.7 million metric tonnes. In the 2013 farming season, it is estimated to reflect a further drop to 2.5 million metric tonnes despite the support that is being provided. However, this success, as I have indicated already, has come at a very expensive price.

Mr Speaker, I have given details of the budget for the production of maize, the actual costs that were incurred and the quantity of the production. The exceeded amounts and number of times that the budget was exceeded are as follows:

Year    Exceeded Amount    Number of Times    Excess (%)
    (K) billion

     2008        614.2             4.32        3,325
 2009    260.2     1.6    605
 2010    319.7     1.74    745
 2011    869.7     2.8    179.35
 2012        681.2     2.4     l,365
Sir, during the 2011 farming season, the actual cost of the production subsidy was K1,354 trillion while in, 2012, the cost is estimated to be at K1,181.2 trillion, plus there is an outstanding debt of about K280 million which is due to be paid for products and services offered by the private sector.

Mr Speaker, let me move to the issue of the FRA’s role. The background to the role and operations of the FRA dates back to 1995. The Government, through an Act of Parliament, established the FRA to maintain and administer the National Strategic Food Reserves. Later, in 2005, the Government amended that Act to add the responsibility for crop marketing, and I emphasise this point.

Sir, in the earlier years, 1996 to 2001, the agency operated a smaller programme involving purchases which did not exceed 50,000 metric tonnes per annum. Most of these purchases were done through a tender process which required the suppliers to deliver the purchase stock at the FRA’s main depots. During this period, the agency operated in not more than ten districts. 

Mr Speaker, this model did not benefit the small-scale farmers directly, as the crop delivered to the agency was purchased through middlemen. However, from 2002 to about 2004, there was an increase in Government funding for the crop purchases through the agency. This led to the agency increasing the number of districts in which it operated from ten to about forty.

Sir, following the amendment of the Act in 2005, the agency expanded its operations tremendously by opening several satellite depots in all the districts where the agency had a presence. In fact, since 2005, the number of districts where the agency is operating has increased to over seventy. In order to reduce the transport and handling costs incurred by the small-scale farmers, the agency has been operating an average of ten satellite depots per district with a maximum of 1,300 satellite depots in 2010 and 2011, and this number was maintained up to 2012.

Mr Speaker, in 2011, as a result of the historical bumper harvest, there was a need to increase the number of satellite depots because the country had recorded one of the highest production quantities. The FRA was called upon to purchase all the available grain and it purchased 1,751,660 metric tonnes which was the highest purchase by the FRA. The increase in purchases by the FRA also put considerable strain on its storage facilities. I wish to mention that there is secure storage capacity for only 743,200 metric tonnes of maize in our country.

Sir, when you purchase 1,751,660 metric tonnes of maize, the rest of the stock would have to be stored outside secure premises. Similarly, funding from the Government Treasury for 2011 was only K150 billion against the actual cost of K3, 216 trillion. 

Mr Speaker, besides limited funding, the agency also suffers from inadequate storage capacity and a considerable part of the purchased maize goes to waste because it quickly deteriorates and rots, hence it has to be disposed of, leading to losses in times of high production. Sometimes, the loss is as high as 32 per cent of the crop that is purchased. 

Sir, in 2012, the FRA operated a total of 1,231 depots of which 1,006 are considered accessible. Included in the accessible number of depots are seventy-two satellite depots in the Western Province which ordinarily would be regarded as inaccessible. Out of this, a further 125 satellite depots are also inaccessible. 

Mr Speaker, the next point I wish to make is the miller subsidy arising from this. The second component of subsidies is the cost of running the FRA, which I have just described as well as its operations for the procurement of maize from small-scale farmers. This is normally purchased at a higher price …


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sichinga: … of KR65 per 50 kg bag and sold to millers at KR60 per 50 kg bag with a resultant loss of KR5 for every 50 kg bag that is sold or KR100 per metric tonne. 

Mr Speaker, the Government funding to the FRA has neither been enough nor readily available. This has resulted in delayed payments to farmers. This is why we see farmers sleeping in the cold outside banks awaiting payment. The situation led the FRA to commit to very high debt with four commercial banks. The debt now stands at more than KR2.2 billion. It has been observed that over the last five years, for example, the original budgets have been exceeded as I have already explained.

Mr Speaker, any objective assessment of the level of subsidies will reveal that it was inevitable and necessary to review the cost benefit of the subsidy being spent on one food commodity, maize, at the expense of developing a diversified agricultural base which could provide a lot more food crops for increased food security and improve the overall contribution of the agriculture sector to both the gross domestic product (GDP) and rural development. 

Mr Speaker, in order to ensure the successful implementation of these changes, a multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary team comprising all stakeholders has been constituted to work out the modalities which will result from this change. The pricing structure by the FRA will, therefore, be announced in due course after the team has completed its work. The team is due to complete its work this weekend. 

Mr Speaker, one of the goals of the PF Manifesto and its programmes is to encourage farmers to diversify and promote the growth of other high value crops. In addition, the manifesto also calls for the promotion of tailor-made subsidies which are known as smart subsidies towards small-scale farmers and the promotion of a wider range of crops for the entire country. Based on the foregoing premise and partly as a result of the above-mentioned factors, the Government has decided to take the following policy measures commencing this coming session:

(a)re-align the farmer contribution to the FISP by changing it from the KR50 contribution per bag to KR130 per bag. The Government will continue to make a KR100 contribution to every bag of fertiliser. In addition, the Government will provide free seed for the same at the value of KR150;

(b)allow 659 FISP beneficiaries to barter their maize crop for fertiliser as follows: 

(i)provide two 50 kg bags of Grade A non-genetically modified organism (GMO) maize in exchange for one 50 kg bag of fertiliser both for basal and top dressing. This is D-Compound and Urea;

(c)encourage farmers not to reduce their production of maize while diversifying into other crops by offering to subsidise 100 per cent of the seed pack, as I have already mentioned;

(d)make modalities of managing this new approach and details will be communicated subsequently; and

(e)consider implementing what is referred to as the e-voucher or e-card. The e- voucher system is a subsidy management system aimed at responding to the weaknesses identified in the current FISP subsidy system. This is an electronic-based commodity input and output software-driven platform which seeks to allow for private sector participation in the input marketing system. It also enables a gradual withdrawal by the Government from the physical supply of inputs and allows the private sector to do so. This computerised system will enable the establishment of databases of the following beneficiaries: 





(v)prices; and 

(vi)services required in various locations.

This is intended to cover more than the existing number of inputs. 

Mr Speaker, the service provider is required to provide a database for processing transactions to manage inputs and the resultant subsidy that the Government needs to pay for the beneficiaries to the suppliers.

Mr Speaker, in order to enable hon. Members to fully appreciate the contents of this ministerial statement, an information pack has been provided in their pigeon holes. The contents of the pack includes several documents. Amongst them are explanatory leaflets as well as flyers summarising the costs that I have just provided to the House on the FISP as well as the FRA operations for 2008-2012.

Mr Speaker, the major question to be asked is how this will impact the agriculture sector in view of the policy changes. It must be emphasised that both the Government and ministries should operate within the Budget limits. We do not have infinite resources to operate the programmes. That is why there have been supplementary budgets brought to the House in the past. 

However, because the Government appreciates the tremendous contribution which is being made by small-scale farmers in our country, it has become necessary to revise the cost-sharing formula equally for this year and we intend to review that subsequently. 

Mr Speaker, in conclusion, it is clear that this level of indebtedness that the Government is carrying is unsustainable. There is a need to find a more acceptable and lasting solution to this serious and persistent challenge. It raises the cost of maize commodity, increases supplementary budgets and causes citizens to spend nights in the cold outside banks. If the current subsidies were to be maintained, it would mean that the FRA would continue to be in a loss-making position and be a bottomless pit as some have suggested. This is because the FRA would have to depend on the Government to support its operations. 

Mr Speaker, in 2010, the subsidy was so high that, in 2011, we had to borrow from commercial banks.

From the foregoing, it is quite clear that the review of the operations of the FRA as well as the FISP has become necessary. It is also necessary to respond to the challenges that I have highlighted above. This year, the FRA will purchase maize in accordance with the Act. This means that the FRA will restrict its participation in the market to securing only the strategic grain reserves as well as any excess that will not be purchased after the private sector has participated.

Mr Speaker, to continue encouraging farmers to maintain production of maize, the FRA will maintain the maize buying prices at KR65 per 50 kg bag. The private sector is encouraged to continue participating in maize marketing during the 2013/2014 farming season. 

Mr Speaker, after careful analysis of the empirical evidence before the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, it is evident that given the current unavailability of financial resources and Budget limitations, it is inevitable that most unpleasant decisions have to be taken such as removal of the miller/consumer subsidy while that of the producers will continue to be supported on a fifty-fifty basis. 

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

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

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has told this House that one of the reasons for the increase in maize production in this country is the introduction of the FISP. This is why we have been having bumper harvests in the past. Now that the Government has removed the production subsidy and farmers are being asked to pay KR100 instead KR50 per bag, will this not lead to a decline in production? 

Sir, just last week, I was in Mumbwa, at my farm, and upon interacting with the people in co-operatives, I was told that they had initially deposited KR400 for eight bags of fertiliser and are now being asked to top up another KR400 to make it KR800 which they cannot afford. How will the increase in the price of fertiliser assist farmers to produce more maize this coming season?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, may I correct the impression that seems to have been created by the question by the hon. Member for Zambezi West, Mr Kakoma. The production subsidy has not been removed, but adjusted.


Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, an adjustment is not a removal. It is just a change. Secondly, I would like to state that it may have some impact on the production. The ministry is examining other options at the moment. 

Yesterday, in response to one of the questions, I explained that the productivity per hectare that is cultivated in this country is far below the regional average. We are achieving only 1.89 metric tonnes per hectare instead of between 5 and 7 metric tonnes. One of the assignments we are carrying out at the moment is to ensure that we improve on that performance through conservation farming, crop rotation and other alternative practices that farmers must implement. In answering that question, it may be illustrative to the hon. Member that while he was in Mumbwa, I had also gone to Chikankata where I was comparing the performance of a farmer who uses conservation farming against one who does not use conservation farming. They are all in the same area, but one who is using conservation farming is producing more than those who are not using conservation farming. That illustrates that there are alternatives that we are examining at the moment and which we intend to implement in order to improve productivity.

The second point that I am supposed to respond to is that farmers were asked to deposit KR400 initially and now they have been asked to provide KR800. The ministry did not make such an announcement. In fact, I made the announcement well before hand in which I indicated that there would be these changes. Therefore, the assertion that the ministry or some authority had issued that statement is incorrect. I am not so sure where that information came from. 

Mr Speaker, we must be realistic enough to cut our suit according to the cloth that is available to us. We will have to look at providing security for alternative food crops other than maize.

I thank you, Sir.
Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I have had a change of heart.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the PF Government has continued with its deception policy. After realising that it made unrealistic, unachievable, unmanageable and unattainable promises to the people of Zambia, it removed subsidies so that the ordinary citizen can participate in capital projects. I would like the hon. Minister to confirm whether, with the removal of subsidies, the miller will not pass that cost on to the consumer.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I thought that the information that the hon. Minister has provided here was factual. It is not based on conjecture or opinions. Secondly, I have deliberately gone backwards to the time before the PF Government came into office. I have deliberately given detailed information on what happened in 2002, well before the PF Government. I have also given details of what happened in 2008, 2009 and 2010, before the PF Government. We only came in at the tail end of 2011. So, the statement that has been made by the hon. Member is not correct and it is not my wish to engage in opinions at the moment. What I have done is to provide the facts. I have also stated that we have provided details of how much production has come in all these periods. Even with the subsidies in place, production has also declined. Therefore, we must examine the whole programme. It is not just the fertiliser that produces maize. There are a number of other factors such as the rain patterns, army worms and practices. 

Sir, since the hon. Member has also touched on the issue of infrastructure, let me respond to that. No farmer is able to deliver his/her maize to the market unless there is a road. It is, therefore, the responsibility of this PF Government to ensure that it provides the infrastructure not only of roads, but also the storage where that maize which is produced can be safely stored.

Ms Lubezhi interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order! 

Hon. Member for Namwala, that is unparliamentary behaviour.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister can continue.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, it is necessary that the Government also undertakes to provide additional extension services to other equally important crops as well as other agricultural products. For example, with regard to the issue of animals, where the hon. Member for Namwala comes from, there are problems of diseases and these must be tackled. We must develop vaccines. We must ensure that the animals are put in safe places. We must develop disease-free zones where the animals can be kept. We need to breed animal stocks instead of having to import. All these have to be done and funded. Surely, this must be an important issue. As far as I am concerned, the infrastructure is a necessary and a concomitant feature of the need to diversify.

I thank you, Sir. 

Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Nkombo:  On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo:  Mr Speaker, my point of order is a very important one that borders on harming diplomatic relations with other countries and, to be specific, South Africa. I want to apologise to the hon. Member for Monze Central for interrupting, but I thought this was very important.

Sir, sometime in May, the Vice-President of the PF, while on sabbatical leave in England, during an interview with The Guardian newspaper, indicated that South Africans were backward. This matter raised a lot of concern and debate and terminated at the Government spokesperson confirming that it is His Honour the Vice-President actually uttered those words in his own capacity as a way of circumventing embarrassment. 

Mr Speaker, as though that were not enough, during the African Union (AU) meeting in South Africa, our Head of State was also quoted rightly or wrongly, commenting on the bald head of the South African President. This statement did not seem very right.

Hon. Opposition Members: Shame!

Mr Nkombo: Sir, I have a piece of paper that is attributed to one of the Government Ministers in the PF, Hon. Greyford Monde, the former hon. Member of Parliament of the United Party for National Development (UPND) and now working in the PF Government, having announced that the legendary icon, Mr Nelson Madiba Mandela, had passed on.

Hon. Opposition Member: Shame!

Mr Nkombo: This attracted debate. Allow me to quote what Hon. Monde said, “Nelson Madiba Mandela, man of the century, rest in peace.” There was a conversation on Hon. Monde’s facebook page where a very responsible citizen responded as follows, “Hi Grey, Mandela is still alive and is responding and trying to open his eyes, said by his great granddaughter. I received a twit from the BBC Breaking News about fifteen minutes ago and, if you are interested, you can follow the twitter.” 

Another responsible Zambian by the name of Andrew Ngosa responded as follows, “Mr hon. Minister, please, stop circulating false information about Madiba for the sake of human dignity.”
Sir, Hon. Monde is neither an hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs nor Chief Government Spokesperson. Is he, therefore, in order, whether acting in his personal capacity or as an hon. Minister of the PF, to broadcast the death of a human being who is still alive and for whom the whole world over is praying for his healing.

 I seek your ruling, Sir.

Mr Nkombo laid the paper on the Table.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Speaker: Order!

My ruling is that the subject of the point of order does not fall within my remit.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: This is a matter which should be dealt with outside the House. More importantly, as you are all aware, there are established diplomatic channels of dealing with matters of this sort. Certainly, this should not be subject to a ruling by the Speaker of this House.

Hon. Government Members:  Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, as I raise this question to the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, I would like to appeal to him not to mislead the House like the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing did when she purportedly indicated that she had powers to dissolve councils when she does not have those powers under the Local Government Act.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mwiimbu: Hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, you are aware that when the PF Government came into power, they were in the forefront of instructing millers to reduce the price of maize and mealie-meal in order to ensure that there was affordable mealie-meal in this country. There was a meeting at which they were directed to reduce the price of mealie-meal. Hon. Minister, after the withdrawal of the subsides, I want you to state whether you are still going to instruct the millers to follow the Government pricing of mealie-meal or if they will determine their own pricing of mealie-meal irrespective of the consequences on the consumers in this country. Can you respond to that.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I do not know about the statement of the other hon. Minister.


Mr Sichinga: I thought I had made a ministerial statement on matters pertaining to my purview and I would have expected the question to arise from there. Having said that, I have no intention of misleading the House. In fact, I have never misled the House. It is my sincere hope that all the hon. Members of Parliament are aware of what is going on in our country with regard to …


Mr Speaker: Order, order!{mospagebreak}

Mr Sichinga: … the market liberalisation and the processes that we are going through to bring about a more private-sector-led economy. However, I will not stand here and inform this House that the Government will not instruct the millers to follow its pricing on maize. The simple reason is that it is the responsibility of the Government to govern. This requires that there should be regulations and laws of the country, including instructions such as statutory instruments that hon. Ministers are empowered with to be able to govern the country. 

Mr Speaker, in the case of mealie-meal, I wish to explain that the benefits of the lower price that was offered to the millers was not being    passed on to the consumers. Therefore, even though the Government was buying, through the FRA, at a lower price of K65 and selling at K60, we did not see that benefit, hence its decision, at the time, to invite the millers to seek an explanation as to why there was no adjustment to the prices when they were being subsidised.

Sir, the Government will continue to watch and monitor the situation. In fact, the FRA Act provides that it should intervene in the market to bring about equilibrium and equity in the market in order to keep the prices down. Maize is not an ordinary product. It is part of the staple diet of our country. No responsible Government can stand by and say that there will be a free market. As many of those who have studied economics know, free markets are not that free because they are driven and influenced. I wish to advise the hon. Member for Monze Central that I will not make such a statement of inviting the millers to discuss with them the appropriate prices for a staple commodity of the country.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for his ministerial statement. I heard him lament the perennial supplementary budgets to support the purchase of maize. I also heard him indicate that there was a success story regarding the availability of grain in the last five years of the period he was discussing. The hon. Minister has also talked about how the Government had been able to allow exports.

Sir, I would like to know whether these maize exports have generated profits in the sales and what impact those profits, if any, have made on the operations of the FRA so that it does not come to ask for a supplementary budget in order to purchase grain year in and year out.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I will respond in the same manner I responded last time. If there is a need for any detailed profitability that is being sought, if the question can be asked in advance, then we will respond to it. The reason for this is that it is not possible for any hon. Minister, including a certified accountant like myself, to start computing profit margins, whether they are gross or net profits or gross contributions while standing in this House. It is, therefore, necessary that a questioner be asked in writing well in advance.

Sir, the issue of subsidies is twofold for the FRA. Firstly, the operations of the FRA, as an institution, have to be maintained. What I can say is that the cost of operating the FRA exceeds KR100 million every year just for the existence of the institution. However, that figure changes depending on the quantities that the agency has to deal with. The lower the quantities, the lower the cost and the higher the quantities, the higher the cost. However, there are also components which are called fixed costs which remain the same regardless of whether you have a big or small volume of the grain.

Sir, I also need to know if we are talking about the component that is exported only or that which has been subsidised locally. I also need to know if we are talking about the component which has been distributed as mitigation for famine or not. All these questions would have to be known before I can give an accurate answer. So, I am not in a position to do that. Suffice it to say that the exports that the country has recorded under the PF Government so far have been sold at a price that is comparable to the market price.

Mr Speaker, I would also like to reiterate that the prices at which we are selling grain at the moment, and not giving donations because this is a commercial operation, range between US$ 350 to US$ 355 per metric tonne. There have also been commitments on the quantities, but not all the deliveries have been paid for. These monies are paid into a special account at the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and it is used to service the indebtedness that the FRA has. So, although there have been some sales, they are not sufficient to sustain the operations of the FRA while maintaining the subsidies. I hope that answer is of some use. I would like to encourage the hon. Member to raise a question for oral answer and we will respond to it.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the hon. Minister for the elaborate statement that he gave which I, however, fear did not get the audience of the ordinary people. I think the speech would have been good for a seminar because it was at a level too high to be understood by ordinary people.

Sir, if the hon. Member was a widow out there in Kanyama or wherever and, suddenly, the price of mealie-meal went up from K38 to K70 or K90, would he thank the Government and say it has done a good job? I would like the hon. Minister to answer truthfully.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, firstly, let me begin by responding to the suggestion of holding a seminar. Yes, it seems to me that since some of us might not be accountants or economists and knowledgeable in various issues, I would be quite happy if a seminar was held at which details and statistics which are factual can be provided. I leave it to the authorities that be to do that. My ministry is ready and, when the hon. Members take time to look into their pigeon holes, they will find …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the Government is quite comfortable organising a seminar not only to help the hon. Members of Parliament, but also to use them as vehicles to explain what the Government is doing since they are also part of the Government. We will go beyond hon. Members of Parliament. In fact, we have been engaging at very high levels with various groups and will continue to do that.

Mr Speaker, in the packs that are being distributed to the hon. Members, there are quite a lot of details that are helpful in enabling them to appreciate where we are. Let me mention that we have tried as much as possible to simplify this issue.

Sir, Hon. Dr Musokotwane also asked me to be truthful in my answer. I trust that he knows that I have always been truthful. He also talked about me being compared to a widow, I think that the Government’s responsibility is, in fact, towards the widows and children as well as those that are weaker in our society. It is the same as asking a child who is of age to assist with the home chores. By doing that, you are training the child to become independent.

Mr Speaker, in this particular case, we are not removing subsidies because we want people to suffer. In fact, as late as this morning, I had representatives from remote areas in Simaubi near Namwala who were complaining that as far as they were concerned, the difficulties they had concerned roads. So, the issues at hand are to try to provide all the services needed by our people and not just one thing.

The complaints by these people, some of whom are animal keepers, cassava growers, fishermen and those growing soya beans, which has a higher price currently than maize, is that we had forgotten about them. These people are also complaining that they would like to produce wheat, which is a winter crop, and increase the number of times that they use their fields if they were able to do that. As a responsible parent, it is our duty to try to spread out this benefit. I believe that by the end of this exercise, when its fruits can be seen, the Government’s actions will be appreciated better. I say so because we will not just have secured maize, but food security which goes beyond maize.

Mr Speaker, I have no intentions of abandoning the widows because they are very close to my heart. My mother was a widow for a long time and, so, I know what it takes to be in that unenviable position. I was eight when she was widowed and she had to bring us up as a single parent. I know the pain of a widow.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, on behalf of …

Mr L. J. Ngoma: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr L. J. Ngoma: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise this point of order which borders on the seriousness of the PF leadership and Government in terms of the administration of this country. On several occasions you have ruled and guided that hon. Cabinet Ministers should come back into the Chamber after the break. As I can see clearly, there are only three hon. Ministers out of the entire Cabinet. This raises a serious concern that they are disregarding your rulings and guidance. Therefore, are they in order to continuously disregard your rulings and to take the Zambian people for granted? 

I seek your serious ruling, Sir.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: This issue was raised yesterday and I addressed it. For the record and, in response to this point of order, I indicated that there was a notice that was communicated to me advising that certain hon. Members of the Cabinet will not be able to attend the House because they have been engaged on official duties. I went further and indicated that the number is specified or certain. I then implored the Chief Whip to take note of this matter and ensure that the hon. Members of the Cabinet that are not listed on that notification I referred to should be present. That was my ruling and my position has not changed. If, as it were, there are any hon. Members that are not attending official duties and are not present, I urged the Chief Whip to assist me in that regard so that we deal with this matter. That was my ruling and I maintain my position.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, in Vubwi the staple food is maize. The rest may be snacks or cash crops. So, the people of Vubwi take anything to do with maize seriously. The people of Vubwi have interpreted the policy measure indicated by the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock as follows: In the past, the people used to make a contribution of K280,000 under the FISP. Now they will be required to pay K400,000 or KR400. This is an increase of 43 per cent. The question that they are asking is: Is this not an extra dosage of poverty being injected into them?

Mr Sichinga: Sir, I really appreciate the message from the people of Vubwi. In fact, it is for that reason that I went to great lengths to give the genesis and chronology of how the FISP grew and how the subsidies started. I went as far back as the 2002/2003 farming season. I explained that there was a process of graduation after three years. In fact, what has happened is that we have not had any graduation. The same beneficiaries who take the inputs do not seem to graduate from the programme. I said that I had people in my office this morning who were complaining that, in fact, a lot of the people that are supposed to be beneficiaries of the fertiliser under the FISP do not get it in bags. They get it in medas and small sizes. A meda is a subcomponent of what is called a four gallon tin. That is what they get in their hands at their farms. 

Mr Speaker, in other words, the FISP has not really been benefiting our people to the extent we believe it has been helping. One of the problems has been the targeting. How do we ensure that they receive the fertiliser in 50 kg bags? If they received the full component of that particular subsidy, they would, in fact, be much better off. That is the mechanism we are seeking to use at the moment. 

Sir, this is why I went on to explain what we shall do with the e-card or e-voucher, which is to help us improve the methodology of allocating these resources. If we had the resources and time, we would even have gone a step further. We would have used biometrics to identify the people collecting the FISP packs through their thumb prints or eyes. This would help us identify the true beneficiaries. That has not been the case. Therefore, it has become necessary for us to change the system.

Sir, maybe, I could use this opportunity, with your permission, to clarify how the new system will work. The way it has been working is that there are four bags of fertiliser that were supposed to be provided originally for basal dressing. Then another four bags of top dressing, primarily urea, and then 20 kg of maize seed. That was the full pack. However, because the numbers were more than the 500 poor farmers that were targeted, it was decided that we halve the quantities per pack. In other words, instead of four bags of basal dressing, it was agreed that there would be two 50 kg bags of basal and two 50 kg bags of top dressing fertiliser. Instead of 20 kg of maize seed, there was to be  a 10 kg.

Dr Kazonga turned behind to talk to Mr Mbewe.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Member to listen to me because he has asked a question so that we do not repeat this particular question. The proposal, at the moment, of what we intend doing is that we maintain the four bags of fertiliser; two basal and two bags of urea for top dressing. The value of each bag of fertiliser is KR230. The total of four bags comes to KR920. The seed value is KR150 for a 10 kg bag. When you add KR920 and KR150, it comes to KR1,070 in total. That is the total value or cost of one pack. 

We have proposed that the Government meets KR100 of the cost of one bag of fertiliser. If you multiply that by four, it comes to KR400. In addition to that, we will take seed and provide it freely to the beneficiaries. So, if the seed of 10 kg plus the four bags of 50 kg fertiliser genuinely reach the beneficiaries, they will be receiving more than they have been receiving up until now. What I am saying is that the Government will provide KR400 for four bags of basal and top dressing plus KR150 per pack. That brings the total to KR550. The value that will be contributed by the beneficiary is KR520. So, the Government is meeting 51 per cent and the beneficiary is meeting 49 per cent of the cost of one FISP pack. This information will be provided in the packs that hon. Members of Parliament will get.

Mr Speaker, it is important that this be accompanied by measures to ensure that the beneficiaries truly receive what they deserve. Due to the difficulties that we have had with the current FISP, we have decided we will use the e-card and I will come to the House to explain how this will be done. By the proposal of Hon. Dr Musokotwane, we can either have a workshop or seminar to deal with this particular issue so that everybody understands exactly how it will operate.

Hon. Members: Workshop!

Mr Sichinga: I am hearing people say workshop, so I think that is something that we will consider.

Mr Speaker, at the same time, I have people from my province, Luapula, who are saying, “How about fish for us?” I also have relatives in the North-Western Province saying, “How about cassava for us?” My relatives in Chama are saying, “How about rice for us?” while those in Muyombe are saying, “How about soya beans for us?” 

Ms Siliya entered the Chamber.

Hon. Member: And Petauke!

Mr Sichinga: In Petauke, they are also asking, “How about other products that we produce like groundnuts?” I would like to support all these products. However, it is not possible to do that on a limited budget. I must spread it out and not concentrate on one product. In the past, we never had the beneficiaries give something back for what they received. This has resulted in what my friends in the Southern Province call Civwolevwole which means that everybody receives freely without accounting for anything. That is what it means. We would like to make sure that this is a very focused and smart subsidy which goes to the beneficiaries and not to waste. That is what we are seeking to do. I am also counting on the hon. Members to be helpful in this particular process. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Chisanga: Mr Speaker, what is the proposed figure to be paid by a farmer for a bag of fertiliser? Is it KR100 or KR130?

Mr Speaker: Before the hon. Minister responds, I would like to urge hon. Members to pay particular attention to what he is saying because I can see him repeating himself. 

The hon. Minister may answer.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, the total cost of the pack is KR1,070, comprising four bags of fertiliser, each costing KR230. Therefore, the total for four bags is KR920. For seed, we have arrived at KR150 on average, but they vary. Some charge KR130 while others charge KR170. We have taken the figure of KR150 as our subsidy. Of that amount, the Government will contribute KR100 per bag. The total for four bags is KR400, but the Government will also offer a 10 kg bag of free seed worth KR150. When you add KR400 and KR150, it comes to KR550. So, the figure that I have given to you is exactly what I have stated in the documents that are in your pigeon holes. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by events.

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mulusa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mulusa: Mr Speaker, we all know that in the Zambian setup, the people who drive policy and make decisions are Cabinet Ministers. In this vein, are the hon. Members of Parliament on your left hand side in order to continue sitting here and hope to debate with fellow Back benchers who cannot make any decisions?


Mr Speaker: I have made a ruling on this subject and I will not repeat myself.

The hon. Member for Lupososhi may continue.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, maize is a political product in this country. There are two issues to its production. One is the implementation side and the other is the policy-making side. The policy-making side has been made very clear. I am worried about the implementation side. I would like to know what the Government is doing to ensure that the District Agriculture Development Offices (DACOs) in various districts are sensitised and the farmers do not meet hurdles when it comes to the issuing of the FSIP products and the selling of maize as it has been in the past.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, the observation that the hon. Member has made is correct. It is true that many times, the right policies are pronounced, but their implementation is always impeded by some vested interests in-between.

Sir, with your permission, I could use the opportunity to share what a visitor I had from Simaubi shared with me this morning. However, to start with, they are saying that in the FISP, we have the issue of the community participating in the selection of the beneficiaries. My ministry has undertaken an exercise from which I wanted to know how many farmers we have in the country. We have just completed the census, hon. Member for Lupososhi. There are just under 1,500,000 farmers in this country. Of that number, 900,000 fall in the category that I referred to as vulnerable but viable, meaning that if they are helped, they would be viable. If they are not, they would be very vulnerable. Using that, we have sent this register of farmers back to the communities and asked them to tell us who the beneficiaries should be.

Mr Speaker, this visitor said to me, “Hon. Minister, that is a mistake you are making because the people that sit in the groups called camps where the decisions as to who benefits or not are a club are made. They sit together and decide that they will receive more fertiliser at the expense of the true needs of the beneficiaries.” The other point he made to me was that while you sit here in Lusaka, the people who are in the co-operatives will always get this fertiliser for themselves and not distribute it. He also said that there have also been many co-operatives that have been created in families for the purpose of getting fertiliser. That is what the hon. Member for Lupososhi is talking about.

Mr Speaker, we have recognised that, and hence the reason we are going for the e-card where an individual will have a card on them like a bank card with one’s details and finger prints. It is an intelligent card which is swiped.  When you swipe it, it will show whether you are the right person or not. However, this technology will take us a bit of time to implement. I am hoping to implement it in partly this year. I will first test it in ten districts and then implement it in full next year to see what can be done. In the meantime, my colleagues who are seated behind me and I, as well as all the Cabinet Ministers and the Deputy Ministers have been directed by the President to go out and explain these details. The material that you will all receive includes videos and explanations. We are going all out to the districts and provinces to explain to the DACOs and the Provincial agriculture C-ordinating Officers (PACOs) how this system will operate.

Mr Speaker, I am going to the Eastern and Muchinga provinces. My colleagues will go to other provinces. Hon. Kazabu is going to the Southern, Copperbelt and the North-Western provinces to see his relatives there. Hon. Monde is going to the Western Province to see his father and grandfather’s graves as well as Central Province. Hon. Mwewa will go to Luapula and the Northern provinces. We are reaching out to all these areas. The materials are in place and everything has been prepared. I want to assure you, hon. Member for Lupososhi, that we are not tired. As you can see, all of us are quite active and fit. We are going on the road and making sure that all is done.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: I hope that after we have given the report next week on what we expect as a yield, with your permission, we will start to go with the hon. Members from both sides that are here. I hope that you will be available to explain to our people what is going to take place, how they will benefit and how the adjustments will work for them.

I thank you, Sir.




621. Ms Imenda (Luena) asked the Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications when the Government would facilitate the erection of communication towers in the following areas of Luena Parliamentary Constituency:

(a)    Nangili;

(b)    Nangula;

(c)     Namboma;

(d)      Ikwichi; and

(e)    Ushaa.

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga):  (Rushed into the House) Mr Speaker, in order to facilitate mobile communication services to Nangili, Nangula, Nambomba, Ikwichi and Ushaa (ran out of breath) …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, I will allow you to pause. 


Mr Speaker: Order!

We do not want to have tragedies on the Floor of the House. You may pause for a minute or two and regain your breath before you continue. 

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I was saying that in order to facilitate mobile communication services to Nangili, Nangula, Namboma, Ikwichi and Ushaa, site surveys to assess resource requirements will be undertaken in the third quarter of 2013. The completion of the surveys will facilitate the programming of the said areas for the erection of communication towers and associated equipment. The objective is to have countrywide coverage by 2015.

Mr Speaker, this question is similar to another question that was posed yesterday.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Kalima: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Order!

A point of order is raised.

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to raise a point of order. I do not know whether you had allowed me to stand earlier.

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Speaker: Order!

Do you want to proceed or not?

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, I will proceed. However, I do not know why the hon. Government Members on the other side are interjecting. 

Sir, is it in order for hon. Ministers to explain their answers in this House continuously for over two hours to the extent that some of us are curtailed from asking questions? Is it in order for hon. Ministers to take all the time and curtail others? 

Mr Speaker, I seek your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Order!

My short ruling is that there is no shortage of time. We are at liberty to continue with our business until 1955 hours. By issuing long responses and being duly slow to explain these issues, the hon. Ministers are not curtailing debate. At the end of the day, the discretion lies with Mr Speaker to decide at what point the debate should continue or not. In this case, I noted that the hon. Minister was virtually repeating himself, hence my decision to move to the next segment of our business.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I want to find out whether the hon. Minister is aware that it is still a challenge to have telecommunication in Luena? Has he placed this issue as a priority.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we have seen how important it is to have proper telecommunication facilities in Luena. That is why this issue is a priority and we are carrying out surveys that will be completed by the third quarter of this year to enable us to roll out a programme which the people of Luena will be able to appreciate.

I thank you, Sir.


622. Mr Mpundu (Nchelenge) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock when the Government would facilitate the establishment of sugar and banana plantations for small-scale farmers in Nchelenge District.
The Deputy Minister of Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Mwewa):  Mr Speaker, feasibility studies carried out in Luapula Province have shown that most of the soils in the province, particularly in Nchelenge District, are not suitable for the production of sugar. However, the soils in Kawambwa District were found to be suitable for the commercial production of sugar. To this effect, the Government is in the process of developing the Luena Farm Block which will become the second largest sugar estate in the country once it is operational. This will provide out-grower services to sugar cane farmers in the farm block and surrounding districts such as Mwansabombwe and Nchelenge. 

Mr Speaker, on the other hand, Nchelenge District has high potential for banana production because of favourable climatic conditions. However, production of bananas in the district is still very low due to low farmer adoption. The Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, is providing extension services and technical support to small-scale farmers engaged in banana production. The establishment of a banana plantation in Nchelenge District should be demand driven by the farmers for it to be economically viable.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, my question relates to sugar production in Luena that has been mentioned. I have noted with quite some excitement that you intend to develop this aspect. What model do you want this production of sugar to take? Is the Government going to do this, or is it going to call on investors? It is not enough to just say that you plan to do it, hon. Minister.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Sichinga): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the question that the hon. Member has raised. I wish to take this opportunity to inform the House that we are using a multi-sectoral approach because part of our diversification programme is to move away from mono cropping. This information might be of help in answering this question, and it will also be for the benefit of the other hon. Members. We have conducted a study of the soils in this area and many other areas. There are ten farm blocks, that is one in each province. These blocks are primarily the areas that we want to develop. We will start the core venture in the middle who will be supported by commercial farmers around them. After this, we will use medium-scale farmers and emergent farmers and, finally, we will develop the out-grower programmes which will involve our people. We may not have all the resources to speed up the process to make this investment. Therefore, we ask the private sector to participate and help the Government. In this case, the Government will provide some basic infrastructure like we have done in Nansanga Farm Block where we provided roads, power, dams and other basic infrastructure to make it attractive to other investors.

Mr Speaker, in the case of this particular constituency we are talking about, I wish to show how important the issue of diversification has been in this area.

Sir, this area produced 40,000 metric tonnes of maize in 2008. In 2009, production increased to 57,000 metric tonnes. In 2010, it went up to 69,000 metric tonnes while in 2011, it was 124,000 million metric tonnes. In 2012, it was 96,000 metric tonnes.

Sir, what this means is that with the right kind of policy and investment, it can grow. Similarly, if you look at what has happened with the beans, it was at 1,647 metric tonnes in 2008, and increased to 4,362 metric tonnes in 2012. 

Mr Speaker, this is telling us that if we diversify our crops and change the practices of the farmers, we can get where we want to be. So, this will be combined. We are not going to restrict to Government only because we do not have all the investment amounts. We will ensure that we include the private sector. 

Sir, this will also provide feed to the industrial cluster and allow for agro-processing to take place in these industrial clusters. If it does not happen in industrial clusters, we will combine it so that we get agro-processing going side by side with industrial clusters.

I hope that clarifies the issue, Sir.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}


623. Mr Mpundu asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting when the following would be provided to the Nchelenge Office:

(a)video camera;

(b)digital still picture camera;

(c)voice recorder;

(d)indoor and outdoor speakers;

(e)internet services; and

(f)water transport.

The Deputy Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Mr Njeulu): Mr Speaker, the ministry will ensure that the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) throughout the country, including Nchelenge, is given the necessary equipment to carry out its work effectively this year. 

Sir, to this effect, equipment for Luapula Province has already been procured and is awaiting delivery. Nchelenge District will receive a voice recorder, indoor and outdoor speakers as well as internet services. However, the equipment will not include the video camera and a digital still picture camera as this is only provided to the provincial office.

Mr Speaker, water transport will be provided in the near future not only to Nchelenge, but also all the districts across the country. However, this will only be done when funds are made available.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mpundu: Mr Speaker, I would like to find out why the Government does not provide the video camera and the digital still picture cameras to officers at district level.

The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Mr Sakeni): Mr Speaker, we are talking about the availability of funds. Some provinces do not have video cameras to date, and manpower is also not enough. 

So, until we deal with matters at provincial level, that is when we will start going to the districts.

I thank you, Sir.


624. Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa) asked the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health:

(a)whether the ministry carried out any vaccination exercise in Liuwa Parliamentary Constituency towards the end of 2012; 

(b)if so, against what disease; and

(c)what effect the vaccines used had on children.

The Deputy Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, in 2012, the ministry had carried out both routine vaccinations and the mass measles vaccination campaigns. The mass measles vaccination campaign was conducted in September, 2012, targeting children from 6 months up to 15 years countrywide. The national coverage for the campaign was at 96.1 per cent while the target was 95 per cent.

Sir, the Government carries out routine immunisation services throughout the year, through Under-Five clinics, to vaccinate children under the age of one year, with the following:

(i)BCG for severe Tuberculosis;

(ii)polio vaccine for poliomyelitis;

(iii)DPT-Hib-HepB for dipheria, whopping cough, tetenaus, haemophilus influenza and hepatitis B infections; and

(iv)measles for measles.

In addition, pregnant women are also vaccinated against tetanus.

In terms of effects, the routine vaccinations protected children against the childhood vaccine- preventable diseases while the measles mass vaccination campaign was carried out to contain the measles outbreaks that were going on in the country. The surveillance system has not recorded any confirmed outbreaks of measles following this mass immunisation campaign.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, in the aftermath of the vaccinations that were made, I received reports that there were many children who fell ill and had to be taken to Kalabo District Hospital for treatment. Can the hon. Minister clarify whether the vaccinations that were undertaken had something to do with the outbreak of the disease or whether this was something else.

Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, though the hon. Member of Parliament is not specific on what type of disease the children had, I would like to mention that when vaccinations are given to children, it does not mean that they cannot get sick. Sometimes, they can get sick, but it is not as severe as it would have been if the child was not vaccinated.

I thank you, Sir.


625. Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education when the Government would construct the following:

(a) university in Northern Province; and

(b)a vocational training institute in Luwingu District

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Professor Willombe): Mr Speaker, it is the intention of the Government to construct universities in all provinces. At the moment, the Government has six university projects being upgraded and constructed. Due to budgetary constraints, the Government is not able to start additional university projects in the remaining provinces. 

However, when funds are made available, the Government will construct universities in all provinces, including the Northern Province.

Mr Speaker, the ministry, in its Teachers Education Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training (TEVET) Sector Plan for 2010 to 2014, has planned to construct trades training institutes in selected districts such as Mumbwa, Sesheke, Mwense, Mporokoso, Lundazi, Kaoma and Petauke districts.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, as regards the trades training institute, Luwingu is a hub and the population is growing rapidly. Is the ministry considering partnering with the Ministry of Youth and Sport in terms of provision of equipment because there is already a skills training centre that exists in order to remove youths from the streets of Luwingu?

Professor Willombe: Mr Speaker, the intention of the Government is to construct trades training institutes in all districts and this will be done when funds are made available.

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, why are universities set up? Is it for political or geographical reasons or because of the human resource needs of the country?

Professor Willombe: Mr Speaker, it is demand.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mwanza (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, it is on record that there are two universities in a village in Muchinga and also in Chongwe. Is the hon. Minister aware that the people of Zambia are not happy about this? There are areas such as the North-Western Province and Solwezi West Constituency, in particular, where these facilities do not exist.

Professor Willombe: Mr Speaker, I am not aware that people are not happy.

I thank you, Sir. 

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that it is the PF Government’s policy to have a university in each of the provincial headquarters. May I know whether there is this structured plan which indicates when each provincial headquarters will have a university. For instance, one that will spell out whether there will be one in Chipata or Solwezi in 2014. Do we have such a plan?

Professor Willombe: Mr Speaker, the plan is limited to what is under construction at the moment. 

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm that the creation of these universities are being announced on an ad hoc basis?

Professor Willombe: Mr Speaker, the plan is to construct universities in all the provinces. The question of when they will be constructed is related to demand in particular situations.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister imply that there was no demand in other provinces like the Northern and North-Western compared to the two universities that are located in one village? Was the demand in Chinsali more than that in these provinces? 

Mr Mulenga rose to make a point of order.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, respond to the question.


The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga) (on behalf of the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri)): Mr Speaker, there is a plan for us to ensure that we have universities in the provinces, but we are trying to roll them out in accordance with the plan that we have so that each province will eventually have a university. 
I thank you, Sir.
Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I am very astonished with the answer …

Mr Mulenga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mulenga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member of Parliament who asked the question to the hon. Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education in order to call Chinsali, which is a gazetted province, a village? 

Mr Speaker: It is very difficult for me to make a ruling on a matter that requires precise geographical information. What I heard the questioner say was that wherever these universities are situated, they are situated in one village; nothing more, nothing less. 

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for that ruling, nothing more, nothing less. 

Mr Speaker, I picked some inconsistency from the hon. Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education. He said the construction of these facilities is demand driven. When the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa asked him whether there was no demand in other parts of the country and the North-Western Province, in particular, he indicated that they were working on a plan. Is that not the reason most hon. Members, here, have left because they feel that there are serious inconsistencies …

Hon. Government Members: Aah!

Mr Nkombo: Can the hon. Minister tell us whether the construction of these facilities is demand driven. If it is, we need one in the Southern Province, too.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the people of Zambia demand for universities everywhere. That is the reason we have a plan. The plan will be executed. So, the people of the Southern Province should be patient, because they will get one.

I thank you, Sir.


626.Mr Sianga (Sesheke) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)when the Government would install a new generator set at Yeta Hospital in Sesheke District; and 

(b)when the Government would provide the hospital with appropriate and sufficient bedding.

The Deputy Minister of Health (Dr Chikusu): Mr Speaker, the Government will install a generator set at Yeta Hospital in Sesheke District between September and December this year. The hospital power needs were assessed early this year and the Ministry of Heath has started the procurement process.

Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Health has procured various types of hospital linen which is being distributed to various health facilities. It is expected that Yeta Hospital will benefit from this consignment which is being distributed. 

I thank you, Sir. 


627. Mr Sianga asked the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection:

(a)whether the Government was aware that the Forestry Department in Sesheke District did not have a reliable vehicle and, if so,  when the office would be given another vehicle;

(b)how much money was raised by the department from 2010 to 2012, year by year;

(c)whether the Government was aware that the department did not have adequate furniture; and

(d)whether the Government had any plans to allow the department to use a percentage of the revenue it collected on its operations.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Dr Mwali): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of that problem. Currently, there is a vehicle which is being repaired for the Sesheke District Forestry Office by Toyota Zambia in Livingstone. 

Mr Speaker, the following revenue was raised by the Forestry Department in Sesheke District from 2010 to 2012, year by year: 

        Year            Amount Raised

2010            470,663.36

2011             696,458.10

2012             751,075.00 

Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that the department in Sesheke does not have adequate furniture. The ministry has a provision in this year’s Budget to support twenty district offices and this includes Sesheke.

Sir, the ministry has plans to allow the Forestry Department to use a percentage of the revenue it collects on its operations. To this effect, there are discussions going on between the ministry and the Ministry of Finance so that the Forestry Department can start benefiting from this facility. 

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Sianga: Mr Speaker, are there any plans to provide the people of Sesheke with a new land cruiser vehicle, considering the poor terrain or road network in Sesheke?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, allow me to say that the initial question was centred on having a reliable vehicle. Therefore, we are repairing the vehicle and, once this is done, it will be reliable.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, when a vehicle starts undergoing repairs, it is no longer reliable. When is a reliable vehicle going to be supplied to Sesheke?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are going to ensure that Toyota Zambia repairs that particular vehicle to a reliable standard.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mutelo (Lukulu West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member is asking whether you would purchase a new vehicle for Sesheke. He has heard of the one which is being repaired.

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, we are dealing with the financial year 2013 and we are not purchasing any new vehicle this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I note that the ministry is having discussions with the Ministry of Finance concerning the possibility of allowing them to use part of the revenue they collect for operations. May I know how far these discussions have gone and when, most likely, a decision will be undertaken so that Sesheke, for example, can start using some of this money?

Dr Mwali: Mr Speaker, there are two parties involved in the discussions. Therefore, I can only speak for my ministry, but we have to await the response from the Ministry of Finance as well. 

I thank you, Sir.


628. Mr Lufuma asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs:

(a)whether the Government had any plans to construct palaces and install solar power for Chiefs Kalunga and Chiyengele in Kabompo West Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b)whether there was a standard design for chiefs’ palaces.

The Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mrs Kawandami): Mr Speaker, the Government has provided KR10,215,500 and KR1 million in the approved 2013 Budget for the construction and rehabilitation respectively of chiefs’ palaces countrywide. The exercise to determine which palaces require rehabilitation and construction is currently in progress. Further, the installation of solar power is the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development. However, the Ministry of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs will endeavour to engage with the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Water Development regarding solar power. 

Sir, the chiefs who will be categorised as paramount chiefs will receive a standard design palace and all other chiefs will also receive a standard design.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the general answer that is always given, but my question is specific to Kalunga and Chiyengele. Is there anything in this year’s Budget for these palaces?

Mrs Kawandami: Mr Speaker, I have stated on this Floor that there will be palaces that will be built in all the ten provinces. We will build one palace in each province. The ministry, in conjunction with the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, have also identified palaces that need rehabilitation. We will only have to work with what is in the Budget.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga: Mr Speaker, if I got the hon. Minister correctly, especially when she was responding to the second part of the question on the standard designs, she indicated that there was one design for paramount chiefs and the other one was for the rest of the chiefs. My question is, is it not possible for the Government to consider the categorisation that is available where we have the paramount chiefs, then senior chiefs and, finally, the chiefs so that even the designs of the palaces can follow that categorisation?    

Mrs Kawandami: Mr Speaker, according to the budget, it is only based on the paramount chiefs and all the other chiefs.
I thank you, Mr Speaker.


629. Mr Chungu (Luanshya) asked the Minister of Health:

(a)why the mobile hospital boats, which were under the jurisdiction of the ministry, had not yet commenced operations on Lakes Bangweulu and Mweru; and
(b)when the operations would commence.

Dr Chikusu: Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Health, procured twenty-seven boats under the mobile health services of which seventeen were marine ambulances while twelve were passenger boats. The passenger boats were handed over to the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications while the marine ambulances remained with the Ministry of Health. The marine ambulances under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Health are operational on both Lakes Mweru and Bangweulu in Luapula Province. The marine ambulances are used in cases of emergency only and upon request. In the Lake Mweru area, the ambulances have been used to evacuate patients from Kilwa, Isokwe, Mupitwa, Chisenga and Potolo islands while in the Bangweulu area, the boats are used to evacuate patients from Chishi, Chilubi and the surrounding islands to the main land.

Mr Speaker, as stated in part (a) of the question, the boats became operational immediately after delivery in 2011.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, is there any fee charged for the use of the marine ambulances?

Dr Chikusu: Mr Speaker, there is no charge for using the marine ambulances.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I just want to ask the hon. Minister to confirm whether it is true with regard to the reports that are coming to the effect that it is becoming increasingly difficult to operate these ambulances because of the high cost of fuel on account of the huge engines.

Dr Chikusu: Mr Speaker, the fuel costs can be high, but it not on that basis that they are expensive to run.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.



Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee of Government Assurances for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on Monday 10th June, 2013.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Zimba (Chama North):  Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, in line with its mandate of ensuring the fulfillment of assurances made on the Floor of the House by hon. Government Ministers and Deputy Ministers, your Committee considered both new and outstanding assurances. In so doing, your Committee noted, with concern, that some undertakings and commitments made by the Executive as far back as 1997 have still not yet been fulfilled. For example, on 1st October, 1997, the hon. Minister of Works and Supply stated on the Floor of the House as follows, “Tenders of the Lwampa/Machile Road are being processed and works on the road will cover Lwampa/Machile, Mulobezi and Sesheke.”

Sir, this assurance has been pursued by successive Committees on Government Assurances since it was made in 1997. Shockingly, it was stated in an Action-Taken Report submitted to this House in June, 2012 that the Government, through the Road Development Agency (RDA), would consider the inclusion of the Lwampa/Machile Road in the 2013 annual work plan. This, however, would be subjected to the availability of adequate funding in the 2013 Budget.

Mr Speaker, your Committee finds it unacceptable that a road for which tenders were being processed in 1997 has not been worked on until now, sixteen years later. The project is not even included in the current work plans of the RDA. Your Committee is prompted to wonder whether this is not a case of the hon. Minister making a pronouncement on the Floor of this House which is factually incorrect and, therefore, misleading to the House and the nation at large.

Sir, what is even worse is that this assurance is, but one of the many that have been outstanding for long periods despite further assurances that the Government is committed to implementing them. Your Committee is of the view that this often happens because some assurances are made without due consideration being given to the requisite financial outlays to fulfill them, and the lack of proper implementation plans. As a result, these projects are either never actually commenced or they suffer from chronic under funding which negatively impacts on their completion.

Mr Speaker, in light of the foregoing, your Committee wishes to implore the Government to take its recommendations on all such projects seriously so that these assurances are brought to their respective logical conclusions.

Sir, your Committee was privileged to undertake a foreign tour to Rwanda as part of its work during the session. The purpose of the tour was to learn from both the Government and non-governmental institutions that were responsible for the designing, redesigning and expansion of the road network in Rwanda. Your Committee also wished to learn from the relevant ministries and/or the Government departments and non-governmental organisations with regard to the measures being taken to enhance value addition among small and medium enterprises in Rwanda.

The visit was conceived as part of the follow-up activities relating to two assurances; the first one dealing with the re-designing and expansion of roads and the other dealing with enhancing value addition for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Speaker, as regards fulfilment of the Rwandan Government’s undertakings made on the Floor of the House, your Committee learnt during the tour that the Rwandan Parliament did not have a committee on Government Assurances or its equivalent. However, it was explained to your Committee that once an undertaking was made by a Government Minister or a recommendation made by a Parliamentary Committee, it was the responsibility of the Prime Minister’s Office to co-ordinate with the relevant ministers and ensure that the undertaking was fulfilled timely. If the House was not satisfied with the progress on the implementation of the undertaking, the House had the power to summon the minister concerned and question him/her as regards the fulfilment of the undertaking or to demand a formal statement from the minister on the matter.

Sir, it was stated that ministers generally complied with the requirement to fulfil their undertakings and commitments, as they sought to avoid being summoned to the House. However, in the event of failing to comply, the House could invoke its constitutional powers to censure. In line with these powers, once a minister was censured by the House, the President was obliged to accept the resignation of the minister concerned, or to remove the appointment of the minister if it was not offered voluntarily.

Mr Speaker, in this regard, much as your Committee is not necessarily calling for power of censure, it wishes to urge members of the Executive to make commitments only when these have been well thought through, and all plans relating to financing and implementation are in place. In this regard, your Committee implores the Leader of Government Business in the House to take a keen interest in all assurances that have been outstanding for two or more years so that they can be implemented without further delay. Where some assurances cannot be fulfilled on account of policy changes, it is incumbent upon the Leader of Government Business in the House to ensure that an appropriate ministerial statement is made on the Floor of the House to withdraw the assurance timely and enable your Committee to close it.

Sir, as regards the re-designing and expansion of roads, let me hasten to state that Zambia currently faces a very serious and growing problem of vehicular traffic congestion on her roads, especially in the cities. It is not in dispute that traffic congestion is a major problem which requires urgent attention. There are numerous detrimental effects on vehicular congestion and these include:

(a)wasting motorists and passengers’ time with the resultant opportunity cost;

(b)delays which may result in late arrival at places of work, meetings and school, resulting in lost business;

(c)disciplinary action for reporting late at various places or other personal losses;

(d)inability to forecast travel time accurately, leading to drivers allocating more time to travel and less time on productive activities;

(e)wasted fuel;

(f)increased air pollution and carbon dioxide emission, owing to increased idling;

(g)acceleration and breaking; wear and tear on vehicles as a result of idling in traffic and frequent acceleration and braking, leading to more frequent repairs and replacements;

(h)stressed and frustrated motorists, leading to rage and adverse effects on the health of motorists;

(i)higher chances of collisions due to congestion; and

(j)constant stopping and going. 

Further, as a non-productive activity for most people, congestion reduces overall economic health.

Sir, these are but a few of the negative effects of traffic congestion. During the tour to Rwanda, your Committee learnt that Rwanda has a very elaborate planning system with regard to the development, monitoring and maintenance of the road network in the country. As a result, the road infrastructure throughout Rwanda is extremely well-maintained and the traffic flows no matter what time of the day. Further, all road projects are carefully prioritised, taking into account inter alia, their contributions to the easing of traffic flow as well as their economic relevance.

Mr Speaker, as regards value addition to SMEs, it is worth noting that the majority of our people are engaged in small-scale activities with very few, if any, involved in medium and large-scale production. This means that the growth of SMEs has the potential not only to contribute significantly to the GDP, but to also uplift a significant proportion of our population from depths of poverty. It is, therefore, a sector that deserves our urgent attention.

Mr Speaker, during its tour to Rwanda, your Committee learnt that since 1995, the Rwandan economy has been one of the fastest growing in Africa and, indeed, in the world. Following the 1994 genocide, the Rwandan Government has, apart from restoring security throughout the country, ensured the return of most subsistence farmers to their fields. Ninety-two per cent of the Rwandan population is in the rural areas, the highest percentage in Africa, and almost all the economically-active among them work as subsistence farmers.

Sir, the economy of Rwanda is driven by the locals themselves. Although there is no deliberate effort to prevent entry of foreign investors into the economy, your Committee learnt that other than agriculture, the major sectors in the Rwandan economy, which are mining, construction and tourism, are dominated by small-scale operators. These operators are well-organised in a co-operative system and, through this system, the Government reaches these operators with various services such as input support, extension and financing, among others. It is through this same co-operative system that value addition activities such as processing of tea and coffee are done. The Government of Rwanda is also planning to set up manufacturing hubs in the agriculture and mining sectors to facilitate and promote value addition by working through the co-operatives which would be the production hubs.

Mr Speaker, your Committee, therefore, urges the Zambian Government to make serious efforts to revive the co-operative system as it is one effective way in which most basic services can be delivered to small-scale entrepreneurs.

Sir, in a nutshell, there is a lot that Zambia can learn from the way the Government of Rwanda conducts public affairs, particularly with regard to the two issues which were the focus of your Committee’s visit. I would like to urge all members of the Executive to study your Committee’s report carefully and implement the recommendations made by your Committee in the interest of development of our country.

Mr Speaker, finally, your Committee wishes to express its sincere appreciation to you for the guidance rendered to it during the session. Your Committee further wishes to extend its gratitude to all the stakeholders who appeared before it and made both written and oral submissions.

Sir, your Committee also wishes to thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the advice and services rendered to it throughout its deliberations.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

I thank you, Sir.

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

Mr Zimba: Now, Mr Speaker.

Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to second the Motion which is on the Floor of the House. I have a few issues that I want to highlight but, before I come to what I have put down on paper, I just want to state that the issue of Government assurances is very cardinal. If I can just give a bit of a background, I remember that some of the issues which we are struggling to try to fulfill today were done at a time when I was not an hon. Member of Parliament. I believe that time it was not the PF which was in Government …


Mr Zimba: … but another party. When the assurances were being made, we were hearing about it from the outside. You can imagine that for failing to fulfill these Government assurances, some people in some parties are taking advantage and claiming that they can do better than others. Anyway, I do not want to dwell much on that because it may seem to be very political, but what I am saying is that any failure in trying to fulfill an assurance by a particular government …

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, please, confine yourself to your task.

Mr Zimba: ‘Yeah’, that is why I was trying to just …


Mr Zimba: It is important that I bring out issues clearly so that we understand them. Let me come back to the report now.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, allow me to briefly highlight a few of the assurances that have been made on the Floor of the House and point out how and why the failure to fulfill these assurances is a cause for serious concern to your Committee. In fact, this is what I was trying to bring out.


Mr Speaker: Continue.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, in March, 2012, the hon. Minister of Tourism and Art informed this House that the Government was looking at ways of improving accessibility to all tourist sites, including Pambashe. I think this is a recent assurance. Your Committee notes that tourism is one of the sectors that have enormous potential to create employment and contribute to wealth generation in this country. In particular, it is one sector that can effectively contribute to lifting our rural communities out of poverty since most of the tourist attractions, both natural and cultural, are located in the rural areas. However, one of the greatest challenges facing the sector is a lack of goodwill to have all-weather access roads to tourist destinations. 

Therefore, Mr Speaker, the assurance on improving accessibility to tourist sites raises some hope in all of us that some real development can be realised in the rural areas. The assurance is most welcome. However, giving an assurance is one thing and implementing it is yet another thing. The attainment of development depends on how effectively the implementation process will be. I implore all of us, especially our colleagues in the Executive …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: I believe it is not the present Executive only and that is why I gave a background.


Mr Zimba: They are taking over these assurances from some …


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, please, stick to your speech.

Mr Zimba: The Executive has to be mindful that time is of essence. We all want to see the living standards of Zambians, especially those in the rural areas, improve quickly. So, I implore the Government to quickly implement these assurances and meet the needs of our people who are thirsty for development.

Mr Speaker, let me come to an old assurance, which is for 2009. I do not think it was the PF in Government that time. Some of these assurances were made by people who are still in the House today.


Mr Zimba: I do not know how they can manage to condemn others when they never fulfilled their assurances.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, just take a seat …

Mr Zimba: I am sorry, Mr Speaker, let me come back to the …

Mr Speaker: No, no, take your seat.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, please, bear in mind that there is a principle of continuity in these matters. This may not have dawned on you, but you have to bear that in mind. There is no point in your dissecting different epochs as you make your presentation and making running commentaries along the way. These are Government assurances, period. Irrespective of the time they were made, you inherit them. So, you can reserve your opinions.

You may continue.

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for the guidance. Let me just finish what is on my piece of paper.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, in 2009, the Government, through the hon. Minister of Local Government and Housing, announced plans to implement a long-term solution to the problem of lack of a drainage system in Kanyama Compound here in Lusaka. Of course, these plans were commendable but, disappointingly, the drainage system in Kanyama has not been attended to to date and flooding and all its related social ills have continued to ravage the residents of Kanyama on an annual basis. In the meantime, your Committee was informed that the Lusaka City Council is caught up in a wrangle with the contractor, following the termination of the contract for this work. While it is appreciated that there is a dispute between the two parties, we are concerned about the inordinate delays in resolving the issues, especially that they come at the expense of service delivery to the people of Kanyama.

Your Committee is of the view that the delays are caused, at least, in part by inertia on the part of the council and are, therefore, unacceptable. We call upon the Lusaka City Council to urgently deal with this matter so that the lives of fellow Zambians residing in Kanyama can be improved.

Mr Speaker, in the same year, 2009, the hon. Minister of Education assured the House that the Government was working on plans to provide a centre of excellence in each province. You can be surprised with some of these assurances.


Mr Zimba: This centre would be a school for special education needs which should cater for various forms of disabilities. Mr Speaker, let me make it clear that I do not believe that disability is equivalent to inability. The truth of the matter is that a child with disability can perform as well as any other child as long as a child with disability is afforded an opportunity to maximise his potential. In this light, we implore the Government to prioritise and fast-track the construction of these planned centres of excellence in various provinces so that all the children with disabilities are able to access them. We should, as a country, table all necessary measures not to further disadvantages to our disadvantaged persons with disabilities by effectively denying them access to education because without education, they will be condemned to a life of perpetual poverty. This is unacceptable because the goal of any Government is to alleviate poverty among its entire population.

 Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister of Agriculture, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: … in 2010, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: … made an assurance on the Floor of the House that the Government had constructed a number of sheds in most of the districts and that Chisamba, ‘Kawe’, Natuseko …

Hon. Members: Kabwe!

Mr Zimba: That is not a problem. Do not worry about the pronunciation. We know Kabwe and we know where it is.


Mr Zimba: … silos had been put in the ministry’s programmes for rehabilitation. He added that funds to rehabilitate the other silos would be sourced. Therefore, all storage shades and silos that needed rehabilitation were going to be considered in the programme. That was a very serious assurance. Your Committee was informed that to date, the rehabilitation of silos has not been undertaken. Sir, this is a serious matter in light of the fact that Zambia is striving to diversify her economy with agriculture being one of the sectors identified to spearhead this transformation. Further, the availability of adequate storage facilities for agricultural produce is critical in the fight for national food security. Therefore, your Committee is concerned that the nationwide programme to rehabilitate grain storage facilities has not yet been undertaken. Your Committee earnestly implores the Government to expedite this programme.

Hon. Opposition Members: Which Government?

Mr Zimba: The PF Government …


Mr Zimba: … despite having taken over from the previous Government. I know that it is very capable of doing it.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, before you intervene, let me apologise. 

Finally, let me comment briefly on the outstanding issues under the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications and, in particular, those concerning the construction of roads. I am happy that our President has taken note of this and we do not have problems.

Sir, the road network in any developing ‘enconomy’ is like …

Hon. Members: Enconomy?


 Mr Zimba: … the arteries in the body that carry blood …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: … to all parts of the body.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: On roads, transporters carry produce, crops, minerals, forest produce, tourists and so on and so forth. Many more things are carried on the roads …


Mr Zimba: … from the areas of production or the consumers of these products are brought to the areas of production. Roads also facilitate the movement of human beings to access essential facilities such as schools, hospitals and clinics. The road network connects the remotest areas to urban centres. This way, it plays both an economic and social function. I hope you understand this.


Mr Zimba: In this vein, any part of our country that is not connected to the road network is cut off and we all know that a part of the body that is cut off from blood supply dies. There is no life at all, needless to say that, as a country seeking to lift all our people out of poverty, we cannot afford the luxury of leaving some parts of our country unserved by a good road network. That is why I am commending my President. Therefore, Sir, it is disheartening to note that so many promises have been made about roads that will be worked on, but have not been fulfilled. I am happy that now they are being fulfilled. 

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Zimba: Let me simply say that we in the leadership, especially our colleagues in the Executive, should always be mindful that each day we do not fulfill our undertakings is a day too long and we condemn our own people, our own brothers and sisters to a slow and painful death. I know that the promise on the Matumbo/Chama Road has been fulfilled since the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government. I am very happy about that.

Mr Speaker, in this regard I wish to sincerely appeal to the hon. Minister responsible for Transport, Works, Supply and Communications to urgently review your Committee’s report and take urgent action on the matters related therein. I know that the hon. Minister has already worked on that one.


Mr Zimba: Sir, with these few words, I beg to second the Motion and thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to raise this very important procedural point of order. When reports of your Committees come to this House, there are serious matters which are reported to this House without putting on partisan spectacles and making a spectre out of them. We are here witnessing the seconder beginning to introduce partisan politics. Is he in order to trivialise his noble obligation this afternoon of seconding a non-partisan report of your Committee?

Mr Speaker, further, is the seconder in order to take advantage of his proximity to my grandfather, Hon. Munkombwe, who is also a citizen and voter in Choma, by consistently mocking and making him uncomfortable when he says that these assurances were not met by those who were in Government. Is he in order to make the stay of my grandfather in this House uncomfortable?  

I need your serious ruling, Sir.


Mr Speaker: My ruling is that I counselled the seconder of the Motion and I believe he took heed of my advice. For the record, there is a principle of continuity. It matters not who is at the helm or in the driving seat. We are here dealing with Government assurances, period.

As for the purported discomfort, I am not able to discern that. Therefore, I assume that your assessment may have been wrong.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Mooya: Mr Speaker, I will be very brief as usual. We all know that unfulfilled assurances or promises give false hope and are also very expensive. As the mover of the Motion pointed out, some of the promises were made a long time ago in the late 1990s but, to date, they have not been fulfilled. Therefore, I think that the way forward, as I heard from the report made by the mover of the Motion, is that we should probably go the Rwandan way of applying sanctions to whoever fails to implement the assurances. Alternatively, I think that His Honour the Vice-President could come and withdraw most of the assurances that have been outstanding since 1997. This is my third term in this House, and I was not here in 1997. However, assurances that were made in 1997 are still being discussed. Therefore, I think we should go the Rwandan way, or His Honour the Vice-President should withdraw the outstanding assurances.

Mr Speaker, above all, the Government should listen to advice. Let me give an example of the Chama/Matumbo Bridge. In 2003, we lost lives at this bridge. At the time, the Government wanted the components required to repair the bridge to be transported through Chama. Some people advised the Government not to use the components the Government bought on a Bailey bridge because they were meant for a bridge on a small river which could be twenty metres wide. The Government never listened. That crossing at Luangwa River is almost 200 metres. The Government insisted on using those components and, to date, that has not been achieved at all. Therefore, listening to advice is also very cardinal.

Mr Speaker, finally, let me touch on the rehabilitation and extension of the Kasaba Bay Airport Runway. The figures mentioned for this project do not tie up. On page 60 of the report, I notice that it is says that the extension of the runway will be 2.1 km. Another report says that the extension will be 2.5 km. In addition, the sum of the contract is K96 billion or KR96 million. These figures do not tie up and I would like the hon. Minister to reconcile these figures because there is quite a gap from K63 billion to K96 billion. These are my comments.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the report tendered to this House by Your Committee on Government Assurances.

Mr Speaker, I concur with the mover and seconder of the Motion. Let me highlight the disappointment that we all get in this House when a number of assurances that have been, and those which continue to be made are not followed by action. For example, on page 6 of the report, an assurance was made as follows:

“Mr Speaker, Mweru-Wantipa National Park and many other national parks are being considered for upgrading … This is a matter that is receiving active attention.” 

Mr Speaker, on the same page, the report says:

“The Permanent Secretary explained that the Government was still considering upgrading Mweru-Wantipa National Park, although no progress has been recorded so far on the park.”

Mr Speaker, on page 7 of the same report, it says:

“Your Committee is disappointed over the fact that Mweru Wantipa National Park, which was specifically mentioned in the assurance, is not one of the parks earmarked for upgrading, almost a year after the assurance was made. Your Committee resolves to seek a progress report on the upgrading of Mweru-Wantipa National Park in particular.”

Mr Speaker, this basically indicates that assurances are made on the Floor of this House. However, we are not getting the commensurate actions to support these assurances. For me who is in this House for the first time, I take the Government Assurances as absolute truth, and I think that this Government or the previous Government made a commitment to the people. When I talk to the people, I should be able to tell them which assurances are receiving attention. However, as the seconder of the Motion said, it becomes difficult four or five years later to tell the people anything if nothing has been done about the assurances. Should we go and tell them that this was just an academic exercise, and that when we go to the House, we get assurances and nothing is done about them? That is not the way we should be going. In fact, I think that those who are sitting on this Committee on Government Assurances are doing a very good job of summarising all the assurances that go to different ministry portfolios. Therefore, this work is already done for the ministries, and it is up to them to make sure that these assurances are followed up.

Mr Speaker, I have another example on page 40 of the report. The assurance on this page was on the Chienge/Kaputa Road and “On 4th November, 2003, the hon. Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications made the following assurance: “Maintenance of the road between Chienge and Kaputa has been included in the 2004 Budget.”

Mr Speaker, to date, this road has not been worked on. We are thankful for the Link Zambia 8,000 km Road Netwok Project which has included this road to be tarred this year. This assurance was made many years ago and different hon. Members of Parliament for both Chienge and Kaputa have come to this House and gone, and nothing has been done about this road. I think that we should be very serious, and we should not take treat the assurances as an academic exercise. We should not continue to get a report from your Committee every year and then nothing happens about the assurances. Something must be done about this. 

Mr Speaker, I would like to propose that Cabinet Ministers who give us these assurances in the House should answer questions from your Committee members so that they are able to give these assurances.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ng’onga: At the end of the day, what we want is to make a commitment and follow it up with actions because most of these commitments are made in this House. Yes, the Budget may be inadequate but, depending on the numbers that we make, a lot of progress should be made.

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

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House.

Sir, as a Government, we are committed to executing all the assurances that we make. We intend to make a difference in the execution of the assurances. 

Mr Speaker, having heard the contributions from the Floor of the House, I would like to state that the Government has taken note of all them. We will review them to see how we have been doing with regard to the assurances in the past.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Antonio: Mr Speaker, I would like to start by thanking the seconder of the Motion who really made the House lively. I would also like to thank the two hon. Members who have contributed to the debate, Hon. Mooya and Hon. Ng’onga.

Sir, my humble plea is that the Leader of Government Business in the House should take a keen interest in these assurances so that the people of Zambia get what is promised to them by the Executive.

I thank you, Sir.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to


The House adjourned at 1843 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 28th June, 2013.



630. Mr Matafwali (Bangweulu) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a)how many people were employed by ZCCM Investments Holdings Plc from 2010 to 2012, year by year; and 

(b)how much money the company had spent on emoluments in the same period.

The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, the number of people employed by ZCCM Investment Holdings plc is as follows:
    Year    Number of Employees 
    2010    71
    2011    82
    2012    82
Sir, the amount of money spent on emoluments was as follows:
    Year            Total Emoluments 
    2010        23,221,000
    2011        22,359,000
    2012        23,157,000