Debates - Tuesday, 25th June, 2013

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Tuesday, 25th June, 2013

The House met at 1430 hours

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]





The following hon. Member took and subscribed the Oath of Allegiance:

Patrick Ansel Ngoma




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members may wish to acquaint themselves with the presence, in the Speaker’s Gallery, of the following Chairpersons of Parliamentary Committees from the National Assembly of Lesotho:

(a) Honourable Thabiso Litsiba, MP, (Leader of the Delegation);

(b) Honourable Kimetso Mathaba, MP;

(c) Honourable Tsomelo Ramakeoane, MP; and

(d) Mrs Mamokete Sekotolowe, Committee Clerk, (Secretary to the Delegation).

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: I wish, on behalf of the National Assembly, to receive our distinguished guests and warmly welcome them in our presence.

I thank you.




The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to deliver a ministerial statement on the engagement and retirement of Prof. Clive Chirwa and the subsequent dissolution of the board and appointment of a new Managing Director for the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL). This follows a point of order raised by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, MP.

Sir, arising from the repossession of the Railway System of Zambia (RSZ) by the Government of the Republic of Zambia, in September, 2012, it was found appropriate to reorganise the running of the company. Consequently, Prof. Clive Chirwa was engaged as Managing Director for the ZRL, on contract, on 11th January, 2013, and a new board was appointed.

Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, explained to the board and Prof. Chirwa’s management team their roles in leading and managing the company.

Unfortunately, Sir, what transpired, right from the beginning, as early as February and March, 2013, was that Prof. Clive Chirwa did not recognise the authority of the board and disobeyed most of its instructions. As a result, the board served him with warning letters and reminded him of his duties as set out in the contract.

Mr Speaker, given the above scenario, the Ministry of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications brought the board and Prof. Clive Chirwa’s management team to a round table discussion and gave them further guidelines on the Government’s expectation of them and their roles under corporate governance. Unfortunately, despite this, Prof. Clive Chirwa did not take the advice.

Sir, it should be stated that Prof. Chirwa did not take the initiative to raise any complaints against the board to the ministry. Instead, he opted to do so through the media.

Mr Speaker, as a result of Prof. Clive Chirwa’s behaviour, the board served him written warning letters whose messages he ignored. Consequently, the board charged him. Upon refusing to exculpate himself, the board informed the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications on the need to dismiss him. However, whilst the hon. Minister was studying the matter, Prof. Chirwa went to the media to attack the board which later decided to release information regarding his misconduct through the same channel.

Sir, upon examining the matter, the Government decided to start afresh, in terms of the leadership and management of the ZRL. In this regard, the board was dissolved and Prof. Clive Chirwa was suspended.

Sir, given the severe allegations against Prof. Chirwa in the media, the Government decided to carry out investigations. In this regard, it appointed the Permanent Secretary responsible for transport and communications to manage the affairs of the ZRL. This is because, having served on the board, he was familiar with the operations and problems of the company.

Mr Speaker, the ministry will closely monitor the performance of the new Managing Director of the ZRL to ensure that the Government’s policies and interests at the company are safeguarded.

Finally, in deciding the fate of Prof. Chirwa, the Government resolved to retire him in public interest.

Sir, in the meantime, I wish to assure this august House and the nation that the Government will endeavour to put the ZRL on a positive route to recovery. The Government, with the use of the US$120 million from the Euro Bond, plans to execute the following:

Course of Action Amount to be Spent

Rehabilitation and upgrading of the rail track 81.8 million

Procurement of modern rolling stock 38.2 million
(locomotives, wagons, coaches and tanks).

Mr Speaker, other areas that are not covered by the US$120 million will be financed by additional Government funding with the help of the private sector.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.{mospagebreak}

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I believe that this parastatal is supposed to be run by a board. Could the hon. Minister explain why a Managing Director, who is supposed to be subordinate to and appointed by the board, was instead appointed by the Government and later ratified by the board? The same thing has happened again. A Managing Director has been appointed in the absence of a board. Is this manner of appointment by the Head of State not the reason a Managing Director was insubordinate to the board to the extent of what has been stated in the ministerial statement?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, when the running of the company was taken over, there was no board in place. So, we needed to appoint a Managing Director. When a Managing Director is appointed in the absence of a board, the board ratifies the appointment once it is put in place. In this particular instance, there was no anomaly.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, appointments to high offices such as that of Managing Director are supposed to be scrutinised and security services tasked to go through the history and curriculum vitae (CV) of the candidate in order to decide the authenticity of the claims in the CV. May I find out whether that process was engaged in this particular case.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are a Government that follows and does everything according to the law. We followed every procedure that was necessary.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the Government is a Government of Laws. The ZRL is a parastatal company. So, why has it retired its Managing Director with full benefits as is supposed to be the case for Civil Servants?


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I mentioned that he was retired in ‘public interest’ and not ‘national interest’. Although the terms may be used interchangeably, there is a difference between the two in that the benefits are different. We went the public interest route and it does not include full benefits.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, it is very clear from the hon. Minister’s statement that the board performed its functions and duties diligently where as the trouble always seemed to be coming from Prof. Chirwa. Why did the hon. Minister find it necessary to dissolve the board as well?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, if you have been following the issues at the ZRL, you will realise that there were issues attached to the board and those attached to the Managing Director and that is why investigations are underway. The best way was to dissolve the board and get rid of the Managing Director.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out when a new board will be appointed at the ZRL.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, a new board will be put in place soon.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by events.

Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister confirm the assertion that the new Managing Director has been confirmed even when he has said there is no board.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the Managing Director can only be confirmed when the board ratifies the appointment. As far as I am concerned, he is Acting Managing Director. That is the reason I said we are monitoring his performance closely.

I thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that Prof. Chirwa was retired in public interest. Would it be possible for the hon. Minister to provide the package which Prof. Chirwa has gone with so that we can confirm that the shares he was supposed to part away with from the ZRL are safe?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, there should be no anxiety. We, as a Government, are in control and doing things for the benefit of the Zambian people. Whatever is going to be given to Prof. Chirwa will be acceptable by everybody. Nobody should mislead the nation about his going away with 25 per cent of the ZRL shares because we are following the law in public interest and we will do so to the letter.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, my question has been overtaken by events.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, during the tenure of office of Prof. Chirwa at the ZRL, a number of allegations bordering on corruption were made and Government wings moved in to investigate them. May I find out the outcome of those investigations and whether Prof. Chirwa and the board members who were accused have been cleared of the allegations made against them.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, there is a report that has been given to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The DPP will look at it and see whether prosecution can be executed

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mbulakulima (Chembe): Mr Speaker, in order to avoid speculation about the Government having acted ultravires taking into account that the board and the Managing Director were dissolved and retired, respectively, will the findings of this commission be made known to the public, and if so, when will this be done?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, the report will be made public.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, how many other candidates were considered for the position of Managing Director at the time Prof. Chirwa was engaged?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I cannot say exactly how many candidates, but Prof. Chirwa has a Doctorate of Science in Engineering. He was the best candidate for the job at the time.

I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Chipungu (Rufunsa): Mr Speaker, we are aware that some money was squandered. We are told that Prof. Chirwa stayed in a very expensive apartment. What will happen to this money that was misused? Is he going to pay it back to the Government?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I said investigations are being conducted and if anything is found on anyone, including the members of the dissolved board, then, action will be taken accordingly.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister claims that the board was dissolved. However, at the same time, a member of the dissolved board was appointed as Managing Director. May I know the reason behind this.

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, I am not claiming, but stating facts. We have engaged the former Permanent Secretary to run the ZRL because, at this particular time and as an interim measure, he is the best person to resolve the problems that the institution is facing because he is familiar with them.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Kazonga (Vubwi): Mr Speaker, as part of promotion of good corporate governance and a follow-up to the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Siavonga, is the Government considering advertising the vacant position of Managing Director for the ZRL?

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, at the moment, we are monitoring the performance of the Acting Managing Director. in collaboration with the new board when it is constituted, we will decide on what course of action to take.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}




596. Mr Katuka (Mwinilunga) asked the Minister of Local Government and Housing:
(a) when the tender procedures for Chibwika/Kamapanda Road Project would be completed;

(b) when the construction of the road would be completed; and

(c) what the total cost of the project was.

The Deputy Minister of Local Government and Housing (Mr Kufuna): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the tender for the Chibwika/Kamapanda Road Project is still in process. The evaluation report was tabled before the Ministerial Procurement Committee for consideration in February, 2013. The contract is yet to be awarded.

Sir, the details regarding the completion period of the project can only be known after the tender process has been concluded within the course of 2013.

Mr Speaker, the details regarding the total cost of the project can only be known after the tender process has been concluded.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katuka: Mr Speaker, it has now been over a year of waiting for this tender to be awarded. May I know what has led to the delay in the awarding of this contract.

Mr Kufuna: Mr Speaker, the consultations between the Ministry of Local Government and Housing and the Ministry of Justice, which have not yet been concluded, have led to the delay in awarding of this contract.

I thank you, Sir.


597. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo West) asked the Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development:

(a) why the fuel prices in Zambia were higher than the prices in other countries in the region;

(b) what steps the Government was taking to ensure that the price of fuel was adjusted downwards;

(c) what measures the Government had taken to ensure that the procurement of oil was more transparent and protected from possible abuse and corruption;

(d) why the Government had put restrictions on the oil marketing companies (OMCs) from freely importing fuel into the country; and

(e) why the Government was an active participant in the importation and sale of oil and fuel.

The Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, the price of fuel in Zambia is relatively higher than other countries in the sub-region. This is attributed to the challenges in infrastructure in the petroleum sub-sector. Indeni Petroleum Refinery, which is the main source of fuel for the country, processes commingled feedstock which is a mix of pure crude oil and processed products, including diesel and naphtha, which is very expensive to refine. As such, the feedstock has an inherent relatively high production cost due to the fact that the processed components of the feedstock are relatively expensive.

Sir, in addition, the refinery consumes losses at approximately 10 per cent of the feedstock which is relatively high when compared to modern refineries. This, therefore, adds to the high production cost. Furthermore, unlike most refineries, which are located at the coast, Indeni Petroleum Refinery is located 1,700 km from the Port of Dar-es-Salaam. Therefore, when you add the transportation cost from Dar-es-Salaam to Ndola, the feedstock becomes relatively more expensive.

Sir, the Government is, however, cognisant of the aforementioned infrastructure challenges and has since adopted a policy to upgrade Indeni Petroleum Refinery at an estimated cost of US$410 million. The upgrading will enable the refinery to process crude oil, which is much cheaper than commingled feedstock. The Government also recently removed the import duty on crude oil imports in order to reduce the increase in fuel prices, following the removal of Government subsidies. Without this measure, the recent fuel price increase would have been higher than 21.5 per cent.

Mr Speaker, as indicated in the aforementioned response, the Government is addressing the challenge of high fuel prices in Zambia by making infrastructure investments which will enable refinery processed crude oil other than what the refinery is restricted to and, therefore, pass on the benefit to the consumer. The benefits are expected in the medium to long-term.

Mr Speaker, the procurement of oil is conducted through an open competitive tendering process which not only ensures transparency, but also value for money out of the process as provided for in the Zambia Public Procurement Act of 2008. The Government will, therefore, strictly follow the provision in the Zambia Public Procurement Act which ensures transparency and accountability in the procurement process.

Sir, no restrictions have been put on the importation of fuel by the OMCs. All the OMCs are free to import fuel into the country as long as they obtain an appropriate licence from the Energy Regulation Board (ERB).

Mr Speaker, the availability of fuel is of strategic importance to the country and, therefore, borders on national security. Therefore, the Government needs to be actively involved in this area to ensure security of supply. Since Independence, the Government, through parastatals, such as Zim Oil or the Zambia National Oil Company (ZNOC), has been involved in the procurement of fuel for the country due to the logistical challenges associated with it. The Government may consider leaving the responsibility of importing fuel to the private sector when the country establishes sufficient strategic petroleum reserves, both in fuel terms as well as infrastructure. It is for this reason that the Government is pursuing an ambitious programme of constructing bulk fuel depots in all provincial headquarters.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Mucheleka: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, is it in order for the hon. Minister of Justice to remain quiet on the constitution making process? On one hand, we are aware that the technical committee responsible for drafting the Constitution has requested for a one-month extension. On the other hand, the hon. Minister, in his last statement, indicated that he was sticking to the 30th June, 2013, deadline. I am aware that we are almost towards the end of June. Can the hon. Minister clearly state the position on whether that extension has been granted. I need your serious ruling.

Mr Speaker: Let me come back to our perennial challenge on points of order. This is a classical instance where an urgent Question would be an appropriate course of action to adopt. I, accordingly, advise the hon. Member to pursue that course of action. Let me take this opportunity to remind the hon. Members that points of order are essentially and primarily meant to address procedural issues. I will be extremely reluctant to allow points of order that can be channeled through available and equally effective avenues.

You may continue, hon. Member for Kabompo West.

Mr Lufuma: … I would like to thank the hon. Minister who has belaboured to explain the position concerning oil prices.

Hon. Government Member: Question!

Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, would I be right if I said the restrictions currently imposed on the OMCs, inhibiting them from freely importing fuel into the country, hence making the importation of fuel competitive and thereby lowering its price, are imposed to protect the inefficiencies of Indeni? Indeni, as explained, is besieged by problems and is responsible for the increase in the prices at the pump.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, it is partly true that the production line at Indeni is not efficient. This is due to having outlived its life span because it was supposed to have been replaced some years back. As it is, it is barely trying to sustain production amidst a lot of losses in that production line. To cushion that, of course, we would like to allow the other OMCs to flood the market with fuel, as we are doing. All that they need to do is obtain an appropriate licence from the ERB. At the moment, Puma and Total companies are importing fuel. They have opted to import jet A fuel. So, we can allow any company which feels it can import fuel to do so as long as it obtains that appropriate licence.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, of what relevance is the oil pipeline in view of the fact that fuel prices have continued to be amongst the highest in the region?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the oil pipeline was intended for a very good purpose, which was to flood fuel in the country during the time of embargoes on the south as well as other oil producing states. So, it was very eminent at that time and its purpose was well-designed to alleviate the suffering of the Zambian people in fuel acquisition. That has also been over-run with time because that pipeline, like Indeni, has got a lot of leakages. There are a lot of problems on the line, as such, we are losing quite a sufficient amount of oil during transportation. In the end, this is being cushioned by the prices of fuel we are experiencing at the moment. However, we have just budgeted for repair works to be done. We are aware of those problems and will ensure that we eradicate them. As I said earlier, in future, once we have the appropriate refinery in place, that pipeline will not be carrying commingled oil, but crude oil which is cheaper to process.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Antonio (Kaoma Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has mentioned that there is a budget to provide funds to upgrade the Indeni Oil Refinery. I would like to know when this upgrading will take place.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I did not say that there is a budget line for this purpose. The US$410 million, which is needed to upgrade Indeni, is not readily available. It is up for financing by the investor who would like to offer to undertake the upgrading. So, we are looking at upgrading it on borrowed monies as we do not have a budget for it as a Government.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, in the hon. Minister’s answer, he stated that the high cost of fuel arises from the difficulties in refining it. I would like to find out from him why the Government opted to buy expensive fuel at a cost of US$500 million for the 237,000,000 litres that were bought instead of opting for the cheaper fuel at the cost of US$165 million.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, as far as we are concerned, we do not think that information is true. The Government did not buy fuel at a cost of US$500 million. It paid US$260 for the fuel and that is the fixed cost which was in the bidding. I do not know where that information that has been disclosed by the hon. Member is coming from.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katuka: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just confirmed that the prices of fuel in this country are higher than those in other countries in the region and that the reason this is so is that other countries have been blending unleaded fuel with ethanol. Is the Government considering doing going that route as well?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, the Government is considering alternative ways of reducing fuel prices. As you may be aware, the hon. Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development was recently in Zimbabwe to see how this particular technology can be brought to Zambia. We are, therefore, on track.

I thank you, Sir. {mospagebreak}

Mr Hamudulu (Siavonga): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that all the OMCs are free to import fuel as long as they …

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 raise this point of order.

Mr Speaker, when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power in 2011, it promised to reduce all taxes. According to media reports, this Government has introduced airport taxes on both domestic and international flights of KR26 and KR56, respectively.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Ms Kalima: Mr Speaker, this was not in the Budget.

Is the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications in order to keep quiet and continue subjecting the poor people of Zambia to suffering and injustices without explaining why these taxes have been introduced?

Mr Speaker, I seek your serious ruling.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

My short ruling is that the hon. Member should file an urgent question.

The hon. Member for Siavonga may proceed.

Mr Hamudulu: Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Minister stated that OMCs are free to import fuel as long as they follow the laid-down procedure. Over the years, despite the number of OMCs we have in the country, there has not been a private company actively involved in the importation of the said commodity. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how competitive this business is in Zambia with such active Government participation.

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, like I said earlier, the Government is not involved in the importation of fuel per se. It sends out tenders and follows the right bidding procedure after which it awards contracts to private transporters and the OMCs. On top of this, the Government asks the companies that have the capacity to import large volumes of fuel to do so. This is what is happening right now. Total is bringing in fuel on its own accord even though the Government’s contract was awarded to Puma.


Mr Yaluma: Furthermore, much as Puma won the tender to supply fuel, it has gone further, on a separate agreement, to import Jet A fuel. The Government is, therefore, open to any company that wants to import fuel. Capacity is what is limiting most of the OMCs from importing fuel.

Mr Speaker, at one time, when we had a shortage of fuel in the country, I had a meeting with the OMCs and we concluded that whichever company had the capacity to bring in fuel would be given a temporary permit to import petrol or diesel and only three managed to do this. In the end, the programme was not even embarked upon. We, as a Government, are receptive. We allow people who have money to come in and help us alleviate the fuel problem in the country.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Kaingu (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) …

Prof. Lungwangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this chance to raise a very serious and procedural point of order.

Mr Speaker, a very unacceptable procedure governing the operations of the House has emerged. Last week and today, we heard a very unacceptable way in which we are conducting the Business of the House.

Sir, last week, we had responses that qualified the questions that were being posed. For instance, those responding to questions came up with statements like, “That is a very intelligent question.” Today, we have heard statements like, “That is a brilliant question.” As you have always reminded us, this is an honourable House and we should be conducting our business in an honourable and dignified manner.

Mr Speaker, the way in which we interact and respond to each other can be demeaning, derogative or dehumanising. Clearly, if we continue on this path of qualifying the way we respond to each other, either in question or answer, this House, procedurally speaking, will be degenerating into a forum that is not dignified.

Mr Speaker, on the basis of this procedural development in the House, I seek your serious ruling and guidance to the House.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: Order!

There is no doubt that the point of order is on firm ground because it has raised a procedural issue, as it ought to be always. I also note, unless my memory serves me wrong, that the matters complained about, unfortunately, seem to have emanated largely, if not exclusively, from the hon. Members on my right who deem it their role to run commentaries in the House. I think that this is a very unfortunate trend which we should bring to an end as quickly as possible.

By all means possible, I do agree with the hon. Member that there is a need to maintain the dignity and respect of the House. I, therefore, hope and trust that those of you who are inclined to making these running commentaries will, henceforth, desist. I do not think that we should demean the integrity and standing of this House.

The hon. Member for Mwandi may proceed.

Mr Kaingu: Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Minister, your party alleged that, during the time that the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) ruled, fuel was very expensive because of corruption. Now that fuel is very expensive, under the PF, are you going to retract that allegation?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, as much as I would like to comment, I will not because I do not remember such a comment being made by this Government at any time.

I thank you, Sir.

Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. minister indicated that all OMCs are free to import finished petroleum products into the country. Freedom can either be real or perceived. My question arises from the fact that, without Customs Duty and Value Added Tax (VAT), Indeni would not be able to compete against imported and taxed fuel.

Therefore, Sir, do these imported petroleum products attract import tax and VAT? If so, is your statement that OMCs are free to import finished products not misleading, knowing fully well that the tax that you have imposed is, in fact, going to prohibit them from importing the products and, therefore, there is no freedom in reality?

Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, I would like to qualify my earlier statement. First and foremost, when I said that the OMCs are free to import fuel, I meant that they should meet the minimum requirements to participate in that venture. Hon. Dr Musokotwane is very right to say that these products attract a certain amount of tax. There is a 25 per cent duty on the ‘guys’ when they go to …

Mr Speaker, I retract that unparliamentary statement. The OMCs have to abide by a 25 per cent duty. That is just one of the requirements although there could be some other requirements to meet. They also need to have the financial capacity to go into that business. Otherwise, they may derail our programme. So, the hon. Member is right that there are some other requirements that the OMCs are required to meet.

I thank you, Sir.


598. Mr Sichula (Nakonde) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a) how many tonnes of maize the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) stored as strategic reserves from 2010 to 2012, year by year; and

(b) at what price the FRA sold the maize at (a) to local millers in 2012.

The Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Monde): Mr Speaker, strategic reserves, as highlighted in the Food Reserve Agency Act, Cap. 225 of the Laws of Zambia, are stored in order to ensure a reliable supply of designated agricultural commodities for the country. The strategic reserves are also stored to meet local shortfalls in the supply of the designated agricultural commodity as well as other food emergencies caused by drought, floods or other natural disasters and to correct problems relating to the supply of designated agricultural commodities which result from the manipulation of prices or monopolistic trading practices.

Sir, at any time, the country should have, at least, three months worth of consumable maize, which is a strategic reserve. Strategic reserves remain constant at a given amount and are only sold and replenished when one stock comes in during the corresponding marketing season.

Mr Speaker, in 2010 and 2011, the maize that was stored as strategic reserves was 300,000 metric tonnes whilst in 2012, it was 500,000 metric tonnes.

Sir, the maize that was in storage over and above the 500, 000 strategic reserves in 2012, was sold at K744, 800 per metric tonne from January to November, 2012. From December, 2012, the stock was sold at K1, 200,000 per tonne.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Kalima (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, with your permission, allow me to congratulate Hon. Mutelo for coming back into the House.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Kalima: I was not here to witness the powerful comeback of the hon. Member because I was part of the delegation that travelled to Botswana with the Hon. Mr Speaker.

How many tonnes of maize does the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock intend to buy and store this year?

Mr Speaker: I would also like to confirm that I led a delegation, whose names I will not mention, to the Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) Conference.


Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, this year, the FRA intends to buy 500, 000 metric tonnes.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, since the Government floor price for maize is KR65 per 50kg bag, which is low compared to what the private millers are offering, is the Government going to buy maize from farmers since it is not doing so at the moment and the stocks are depleting?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, although the question is a relatively new, I think, the Government is still buying maize this year.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, recently, we learnt that most of this maize for strategic reserves is bought using funds borrowed from commercial banks. Why does the Government not use the sale proceeds to settle these loans?

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, that is one of the reasons this Government has seen it fit to remove subsidies on some of these costs.

Hon. Opposition Members: Question!

Mr Monde: Sir, we intend to stop borrowing loans by ensuring that there are no subsidies in the process.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister began by outlining the provisions in the Act which provides for strategic reserves. I would like to know, in real terms, whether we have strategic reserves in Zambia or we just have maize that is stored before it is sold in the same way I, for instance, store maize at my farm before I sell it.

The Minister of Agriculture and Livestock (Mr Sichinga): Mr Speaker, could I suggest that we restrict our responses to the questions that are before us. If hon. Members have specific questions on the subject matter outside the principal question, we are quite ready to respond to them, but they should put the question first.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: I think that is for the Hon. Mr Speaker to state and rule on. If you feel constrained, certainly, you can indicate.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Deputy Minister indicated that he thinks that the Government is going to buy maize this year. I am wondering whether it is the PF’s Government policy not to be sure about whether to buy maize or it is Hon. Monde’s thinking concerning this national matter.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to maintain sufficient stocks of maize. Therefore, we have stated that, for the specific years that have been asked about, there were specific quantities of maize that were stored. In the same vein, this year, we intend to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, arising from the hon. Minister’s statement that the FRA will only buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize this year and given that, in the past, small-scale farmers used to produce a lot of maize because they were assured of a ready market by the FRA, what will happen to the excess maize above the 500,000 metric tonnes that will not be bought by the FRA? Has the Government killed the market for maize?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, in our earlier statement, we indicated that we would like to provide space for the private sector to participate in maize marketing. Our statement went a step further to indicate that any excess that will be available will be mopped up by the FRA. However, we would like the private sector, millers in particular, to procure sufficient stocks to meet the requirements of the market.

I thank you, Sir.{mospagebreak}

Mr Ntundu (Gwembe): Sir, I am aware that there are just rats running around in the silos in Monze and Chisamba.


Mr Ntundu: So, where are the reserve stocks that the hon. Minister is talking about stored? Can he clearly state where the Government is keeping the maize other than that which is being stored by the millers (pointing at Mr Sichinga)?

Mr Speaker: Please, avoid pointing a finger at the hon. Minister.


Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, this is why I said that we would rather answer follow-up questions according to what has been asked of us in the substantive question.


Mr Sichinga: If a list of the storage facilities where the reserves are stored is required, that information is available and can be provided to the House. However, I would have liked to be requested that we provide this particular information in advance. We did not prepare this information as far as this question is concerned.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, on one hand, we have been told that the Government is going to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize this year. If that is converted into bags, it is about 10 million bags. On the other hand, the Government has indicated that the withdrawal of maize subsidies is because the cost incurred when purchasing maize from the farmers is too high. Therefore, if this year’s budget for maize purchasing by the FRA is K300 billion, where will the hon. Minister get the excess funds because K650 billion is what is required to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I have indicated that any purchase of excess maize that is required will be met by the private sector. Further, the withdrawal of subsidies is a process and not an event. It will be done progressively.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga interjected.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, you cannot interject from your seat and, more importantly, object.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister in order not to be very specific in answering my question when he has announced that the Government, and not the private sector, will buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize? The value of 500,000 metric tonnes is K650 billion. Therefore, is the hon. Minister in order to mislead us that the private sector will give him money without specifying where exactly this money will come from?

Mr Speaker: As the Question for Oral Answer session on this subject continues, hon. Minister, please, bear in mind the intervention from the hon. Member for Kalomo Central.

Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock has said that the FRA is only going to buy 500,000 metric tonnes of maize this year, with a possibility to buying some more if the private sector fails to buy the rest. However, if the private sector manages to buy the surplus that the hon. Minister has talked about, can he assure the farmers and traders that they will be free to export the maize they will have in their possession since the Government is not buying that maize?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, our top priority is to feed the Zambian people. Obtaining an export permit is not automatic. Therefore, we have to meet the needs of the Zambian people first before any exports can be allowed. The fact that a particular buyer has purchased maize does not necessarily entitle them to export it.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Katambo (Masaiti): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned price manipulation. Can he highlight who manipulates the prices to this august House.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, in a free market, the price is determined by supply and demand. This allows a process of manipulation where an individual may offer less or more for a given product. This is why we, as a Government, intervene to provide a stable price.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, with the limitation on the tonnage to be procured, how comfortable is the hon. Minister with the situation that is going to arise; considering that most of the farmers are the poor people in this country? If they are left to briefcase buyers, their vulnerability will be subjected to further pain and anguish. How comfortable is the Government about subjecting the poor to that kind of situation when it should provide a ready market for their produce?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, there is no question about this Government subjecting the poor people to uncertainty. What we have said is that the maize will be purchased. As is normally the case, the FRA is the buyer of last resort.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, as I speak now, there are people from Zimbabwe who are buying maize in Kalomo and Choma. According to the hon. Minister, somebody buying maize does not mean that they are entitled to export it, but certainly the people of Zimbabwe are buying maize to take it back to their country. What measures is the Government putting in place to make sure that this maize does not go to Zimbabwe even if it has been bought by Zimbabwean nationals?


Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, first of all, I would like to implore the hon. Member of Parliament that if he is aware of that information, it is his duty to make it available to us.


Mr Speaker: Order!

Mr Sichinga: As we stand at the moment, all exports are supported by permits. If there is somebody who is exporting without a permit, then, he/she is breaking the law and hon. Members have taken an oath in this House to be responsible and uphold the Constitution. Therefore, they are duty-bound to let us know that this is going on.

Mr Speaker, having stated that, I want to inform the House that there are legal exports to our neighbouring countries taking place. This has been arranged on a government-to-government basis, including with the Government of Zimbabwe.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Siliya (Petauke): Mr Speaker, I think the hon. Minister needs to be much more categorical in his answers because we keep hearing that there is free marketing prevailing in the agricultural sector and the Government is only interested in purchasing the security stock of 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. We know that maize production in this country, especially in the last few years, has gone over 2 million metric tonnes.

So, why are we finding it difficult to allow individuals who decide to get in the business of maize marketing to make money out of it by selling maize either locally or exporting it? Why are we finding it difficult to actually give them the free will to do as they please with what they have produced as long as the Government has been able to secure reserve stocks? Why should it be good for the Government to export and not individuals who are businessmen and women in this business to do as they please and become rich?

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, in the current system, the private sector, through millers, purchases maize from the FRA from December to April progressively, because, up until now, the private sector has not had sufficient capacity to finance the availability of grain in their production systems. The FRA, therefore, provides the reservoir of the stocks that need to be purchased. However, these stocks dwindle progressively during the year. Therefore, it is the duty of the Government to ensure that there are sufficient stocks, first of all, to meet our requirements at home before exports can be made. It is not that there is a deliberate intention to stop individuals from exporting, but we must make sure that the Zambian people are fed first. Surely, that makes sense.

I thank you, Sir.

Brig-Gen. Dr Chituwo (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that the Government intends to purchase 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. However, we also know that the private sector is already buying maize. May I know what plans the hon. Minister has put in place to fulfill this intention of ensuring the food security in our country in the event that he finds that the private sector has actually bought off most of the maize.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, first and foremost, that is not possible. The hon. Member, who has asked this question, having once been an hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, knows only too well how impossible that is. However, the situation, at the moment, is that we have carry-over stocks and the additional stocks are only needed for top-up.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Malambo, is it?

Mr Ndalamei: Sikongo.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chadiza.


Mr Mbewe (Chadiza): Mr Speaker, you are welcome.


Mr Mbewe: Mr Speaker, may I find out whether the 5,000 metric tonnes of maize the hon. Minister is talking about includes the maize that will be bought through a barter system or it is only that which will be purchased using hard cash.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, first of all, it is not 5,000, but 500,000 metric tonnes. I hope that the hon. Member of Parliament is made aware of that. The 500,000 metric tonnes of maize includes both that which is to be procured through a barter system and hard cash. However, this will be determined by the quantity of carry-overs as we move into the marketing season.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Sikongo, now.

Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, with the feeder roads that are in a bad state in the rural areas, is the hon. Minister sure that the private sector will buy the maize from these areas?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I am not sure that the private sector will buy all the maize. As has been shown in the past, the private sector tends to go to the easier places to reach. This is why the FRA is the buyer of last resort.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Habeenzu (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, this Government wants people to eat cassava. Why then is it protecting maize?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I am not so sure where the hon. Member of Parliament got the information that this Government wants people to eat cassava.


Mr Sichinga: We want people to eat food. Therefore, I will not be in a position to answer the question about cassava, unless he can tell me the source of his information.

I thank you, Sir.


599. Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi) asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs:

(a) when the Government would rehabilitate Senior Chieftainess Chungu’s Palace in Lupososhi Parliamentary Constituency; and

(b) when the Government would construct new palaces for the following chiefs in Lupososhi Parliamentary Constituency:

(i) Tungati;

(ii) Katuta; and 
(iii) Chabula.

The Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Taundi): Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation and construction of palaces for chiefs in Zambia will commence this year. There is a provision in the 2013 Budget for the rehabilitation and construction of palaces totaling KR 11, 215,500. The ministry is currently working out modalities of a standard design and the criteria for distribution.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, ...

Mr Muntanga: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, was the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in order to conclude his answer and ignore your advice urging him to clarify my question as regards where he will source the budget deficit of K350 billion that is needed if 500,000 metric tonnes of maize is to be purchased, as intended by the Government, because the budgeted K300 billion is not sufficient?

Mr Speaker: The difficulty I have with this point of order is that, in as much as it is pertinent, and I did earlier on direct the hon. Minister to do as stated, it is procedurally belated.

The hon. Member on the Floor may continue.

Mr Bwalya: The criteria and the awaited standard designs are welcome. However, Chief Chabula’s Palace is non-existent and he is actually squatting. Is there anything in the immediate future that can be done to provide for that particular chief so that he can have somewhere to stay?

The Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, the Government operates on a Budget. Therefore, we are not in a position to provide alternative accommodation because it is not provided for in the Budget.

Mr Speaker, secondly, the responsibility to look after a chief rests, first and foremost, on the subjects. Historically, the people in a chiefdom provided accommodation for the chief. However, as a Government, we recognise the fact that the poverty levels in this country are high hence the need to take up the responsibility to assist. In that light, I would like to advise the hon. Member of Parliament to ask the people of Chief Chabula’s area to support him until we are able to build him a palace.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.


600. Mr Kapyanga (Kabwe Central) (on behalf of Mr Sichula (Nakonde)) asked the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock:

(a) which countries had bought maize from the FRA in 2011;

(b) how much foreign currency had been realised from the sale of maize at (a); and

(c) which other crops had been sold to foreign countries in 2011, apart from maize.

Mr Monde: Mr Speaker, the following countries bought from the FRA:

Market destination Quantity (MT) Sales Value (US$)

Botswana 1,291.35 219,529.50

Burundi 3,291.32 509,093.05

Congo DR 76,658.02 12,856,215.35

Kenya 48,086.24 8,100,720.70

Madagascar 688.89 93,000.15

Mozambique 12,867.25 2,087,434.38

Namibia 6,722.63 1,138,962.52

South Africa 34,971.57 5,900,894.25

Zimbabwe 395,745.60 66,956,935.63

Total 580,322.87 97,859,785.53

Mr Speaker, apart from maize, the following are the other crops that were sold to foreign countries in 2011:

(a) wheat;

(b) rice;

(c) sorghum;

(d) beans;

(e) cotton;

(f) tea;

(g) groundnuts;

(h) flowers;

(i) tobacco;

(j) mixed vegetables;

(k) soya beans;

(l) peas;

(m) oranges;

(n) guavas;

(o) mangoes;

(p) bananas;

(q) grape fruit;

(r) spices; and

(s) sugar cane.

The total value of these crops was US$408,318,657 or KR1,995,706,723.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, the total figure of US$97,859,785 realised from the export of maize looks impressive. I want to know whether any profit was made or not from the export of the maize by the FRA. If there was a profit, I would like to know how much it was and where the proceeds of the sale have gone.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, may I ask that the hon. Member raises that as a separate question. This is because the details of the principal question did not ask for the profit margin to be provided. However, if it is required, we will provide the answer to that in due course.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the able manner in which he has answered the question.

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, it is unnecessary to compliment an hon. Minister.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the amount of money that was realised from the sale of the crops mentioned makes this sale look like it is good business for Zambians. What plan does the Government have to make sure that all the people that are involved in agriculture, especially the small-scale farmers, improve their production so that we can take advantage of this and sale to our neighbours?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, it is true that the entire region has been suffering, in one form or another, from shortages of grain. In fact, from 2008 to-date, only Zambia and one other country have been having surplus maize. Therefore, it is quite clear that it is good for us to increase production and encourage our people to not only produce enough for the country, but also for export. However, not the entire production is going to be exported. Usually, only 50 per cent of what is produced is purchased. One of the thrusts of the Government, at the moment, is to make Zambia a net exporter of food and we want the country to be a food basket for the region. However, in order for us to do so, we have to increase our output, which can take many forms.

Sir, the challenge of production at individual level is that production is not profitable without the help of a subsidy from the Government. Therefore, it is necessary that we increase the yields that individual farmers are able to produce. We need to produce about five to seven metric tonnes per hectare for production to be profitable. At the moment, we are realising only 1.89 metric tonnes per hectare and, at that level, a producer will not make a profit, especially without the Government subsidising him/her. Our thrust is to improve on the performance through conservation farming, crop rotation and other good farming practices to ensure that the farmers are able to attain the level of productivity that will yield profits for them.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Namugala (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, maize is clearly a good non-traditional export for Zambia and we need to do more to ensure that our farmers, especially the small-scale farmers, produce more of it. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether he does not think that there is confusion in the agricultural sector in terms of policy. In some cases, we understand that, without consultation, production subsidies have been removed thereby undermining the capacity of our farmers to produce more. In other cases, even obtaining export permits has become an issue. As a country, should we not be helping our farmers to grow more crops in a more efficient manner so that we improve our agricultural sector and introduce more non-traditional exports?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I totally agree with the hon. Member of Parliament. That is exactly what the Government is doing at the moment. However, this is a process of conversion that starts from the small-scale farmers, who are the main producers. In fact, they are the only producers of the grain that the country has at the moment. We need to maintain a balance between domestic consumption and exports to ensure that there is food security at national level. This is why it has become necessary to provide export permits so that we can manage the availability of grain to the people of Zambia.

Mr Speaker, it is true that we ought to encourage exports and this is exactly what the Government is doing at the moment. We are doing this so that we can maintain stocks and availability of the grain for the millers. In fact, we are looking at the stocks available to us and what amount can be exported. It might be illustrative for me to say that the Government has undertaken government-to-government sales. We intend to provide a ministerial statement to give details about this. However, for today, suffice it to say that we have a number of countries that are importing maize from Zambia at the moment.

At the moment, the total value of the exports is US$72,500,000, in terms of what is going out from government-to-government. So, clearly, we would like to have more stocks that are available, but they also have to be financed. This is the process that we are working through to make sure that the mechanisms for financing the purchases and exports are put in place.

Mr Speaker, the point that the hon. Member has made is valid and we are working towards ensuring that we not only export maize, but also other products because there is a ready market in the region. Clearly, the removal of the subsidies may be part of achieving this process, but it cannot be confined to only this aspect. However, as I said, in order for it to be profitable to the individual farmers, we need to improve our yields in all respects.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Pande (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the figures that have been given by the hon. Minister for the maize which was produced …

Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I apologise to the hon. Member for Kasempa for interrupting his question, which I believe would have added value to what we are doing this afternoon.

Sir, time and again, you have advised hon. Members of Parliament, including hon. Ministers, against being indolent or, in short, exercising laziness. Follow-up questions are supposed to be related to substantive questions. Arising from this question that we are dealing with, I categorically asked the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock on the need to know whether there was a profit as a result of the sales of these exports and, if so, what the profit was. In his response, he indicated that, to him, this may be a new question that requires fresh research. Is he in order not to give me the figures as the people of Mazabuka Central, who sent me here, want them? We know that once we admit maize into the FRA warehouses, there is a price that is attached to this maize and in the same token, this applies when we sell it. Is it not a sign of indolence not to give me the figure of the profit or loss? If there was a profit, what is the figure of the profit we made? If we made a profit – the proceeds of these transactions − where did the money go? Is he in order not to give me the details as I want them?

Mr Speaker: Order!

As I understood the hon. Minister’s response, he was not able to give, in figure terms, the precise profit, if any, that had been made.

Anyway, I have also said before that, it may not be possible for hon. Ministers to give specific information on follow-up questions. In those instances, I think, it is only fair and proper to allow them an opportunity to go back to their offices to gather that information from various sources.

I have also said …

Mr Livune interjected.

Mr Speaker: Order, Hon. Member for Katombola!

… that they are not encyclopaedic in their function. Nonetheless, if it is possible for the hon. Minister to give a general indication on whether a profit was made, I think, they would be at liberty to do so. We need to be clear about this and, as the Question for Oral Answer Session continues on this particular subject, I will direct the hon. Minister to give a general indication, as much as the precise figures may not be available.

May the hon. Member for Kasempa continue, please.

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated the figures for the 2010/2011 production of maize. That was as a result of the bumper harvest which was achieved by the farmers due to the good agriculture policies of the MMD Government.

Hon. MMD Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Pande: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister expecting the same figures, if not more, in terms of maize production, for 2013/2014?

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, first of all, per your direction, there was no indolence in an hon. Minister saying that he responded to the question according to the details it required. For the benefit of responding to the hon. Member’s question, so that I do not overlook it, the question is very clear. It is asking for amounts realised on this sale. As an accountant, my understanding of a sale is not a profit. It is what we call turnover and that information has been provided. It also asked about other crops that were sold to foreign countries. The answer has been given, both in terms of quantities as well as value.


Mr Speaker: Order! Order!

Mr Sichinga: In my response, I indicated that, should the details of profits be required, a Question can be raised and we will provide the answer to that because the transaction costs that were associated per respective country require computing. However, it is not possible for an hon. Minster of any kind, including the hon. Member of Parliament himself, to do so, in the space of time we exchange these questions. So, I have not been indolent in anyway. I also think that the word ‘indolent’ is unparliamentary.

Hon. Opposition Members: No!

Mr Sichinga: Secondly, Mr Speaker, …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Minister, if you wish to put that word to test, somehow, I think an appropriate question can be made by a point of order and so on and so forth, but I would rather you leave that to the determination of the Hon. Mr Speaker.

Hon. Opposition Members: Yes!{mospagebreak}

Mr Speaker: You may continue.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, the production figures of 3.1 million metric tonnes that are available for 2011 were, indeed, an all-time high record as far as this country is concerned. The figure for 2012 reduced to 2.7 million metric tonnes. The volume for 2013 is expected to further drop to 2,532,800 metric tonnes. There are a number of factors that have affected the 2012 and the expected 2013 figures of production.

For 2013, the following factors affected production:

(a) the sparseness and spread of the rains was poor. Although the volume of rain that was received was appropriate, its spread was not;

(b) the problem of army worms that attacked the crop at the beginning of the season prompted replanting; and

(c) the four different climatic zones of our country are such that the output differs, depending on how much rainfall has been received in a respective areas. So, at the moment, the southern region, which is region number two, including parts of the Eastern Province, has suffered the most. The middle part has done reasonably well although some patches have not done as well. The northern regions have done very well.

Sir, the cost of production differs depending on the region. The best performing region is one which is producing at about K30.00 per bag. That includes the Northern, North-Western and parts of Central provinces. The worst performing is the Western Province at K86.00 per 50kg bag. This, again, is affected by weather patterns, soils and also other practices.

Therefore, the outputs are considerably affected by the rain pattern. So, I would not say that 3.1 million metric tonnes will remain the highest level of production in this country. It could change and this is not only because of the policies, but also the pattern of rainfall which is an act of God. So, the maize production for 2013 may not necessarily be the last time we will be discussing the issue of excess and record maize.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, in the question by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mafinga, she clearly pointed out that the issue of subsidies had not been well-explained and that it would hurt production. In his response, the hon. Minister agreed with her. Can he confirm that he disagrees with the policy of his Government on subsidies …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Siliya: … and that this is going to injure the production of maize which we are beginning to realise is a profitable business.

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I thought I was very categorical in my responses. I have given details on how farmers at individual level perform. For the benefit of the hon. Member for Petauke and any other hon. Member who did not hear, I stated that the productivity of the farmers varies. We are supposed to produce five to seven metric tonnes per hectare. However, at the moment, we are at 1.89 metric tonnes per hectare. If there was no subsidy, farmers would not be able to make any profits.

Mr Speaker, just so that there is no misunderstanding, production subsidies have not been removed, but adjusted. What have been removed are consumption subsidies at miller and consumer level.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has gone on to tabulate the different production costs across the country. In arriving at the price of KR65 per bag of maize, I am aware that the price is determined by many factors, including production costs.

Mr Speaker, when the Government exports this maize, is it selling it at a price higher or lower than KR65 per bag? We want to know whether they are selling at a loss or a profit.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Sichinga: Mr Speaker, I am not in a position to …

Hon Opposition Members: Aah!


Mr Sichinga: … give details on what took place in 2011. However, what I will provide to the House … I see laughter on the right side of the House and this is what I mean when I say we do not pay attention.

Mr Speaker, the figure that we are exporting the maize per metric tonne ranges between US$350 and US$355. The question was whether we are making profits on the exports that were made in 2011 and I stated that to determine that profit requires computing the costs that were involved in the production at the time. I was not able to provide that information and said that if there is a question that is raised seeking a response to that, then, I would provide that information.

I thank you, Sir.


601. Mr Hamusonde asked the Vice-President whether the ballot papers that were ferried by helicopter during elections were accompanied by polling agents when ferrying them from polling stations to the totaling centres in the Parliamentary Constituencies.

The Deputy Minister in the Vice-President’s Office (Mr Kalaba): Mr Speaker, polling agents do not accompany helicopters that ferry papers from polling stations to the totaling centres in constituencies where air transport is used to ferry election materials. During elections, passengers on the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) aircraft, hired by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), are restricted to election personnel. As such, ballot papers ferried by helicopter are only accompanied by a police officer and the election officers for the respective polling stations.

Mr Speaker, may I also take this opportunity to congratulate Hon. Ngoma on his well-deserved victory …

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kalaba: … and also wish Hon. Mutelo, the Member of Parliament for Lukulu West, who has come to this House on the United Party for National Development (UPND) ticket, doom.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1615 hours until 1630 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I was just winding up by congratulating the Hon. Ngoma on having come into this House and also congratulating Hon. Mutelo for the UPND on having being elected.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the helicopter is accompanied by a police officer. How do we know that these police officers do not belong to a certain party?

The Vice-President (Dr Scott): Mr Speaker, the standard work horse of the ZAF helicopter is the Z9 which carries a total of ten people of whom three are crew members − two pilots and an engineer. In addition to that, according to our response, there is a policeman or woman and three election officials. This leaves room for three more people, assuming that there are no ballot boxes occupying the seats.

Sir, in many cases, there would be five or six candidates in the election. So, it is not feasible to have any sort of cover for the prevention of helicopters going to undisclosed destinations swapping round the ballot boxes in circles which would require the complicity of the entire crew, the police and the election officers. I do not believe it happens. Without buying bigger helicopters, it is not going to be feasible to carry polling agents except on a random basis.

I thank you, Sir.


602 Mr Sianga (Sesheke) asked the Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education:

(a) when the Sesheke High School whose dormitory roofs had been blown off would be rehabilitated; and

(b) when a water pump would be installed at the school.

The Deputy Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, like I said on Tuesday, last week, the challenges of Sesheke Secondary School include poor water reticulation and sanitation, high water bills owed to the Western Water and Sewerage Company as well as the two dormitories that had their roofs blown off.

Mr Speaker, we have allocated KR344,000 to address the challenges in (a) and (b)

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Sianga: Mr Speaker, after being told that the ministry has allocated KR344, 000 and with the introduction of the secondary school, is it considering the blown-off roofs as an urgent matter?

Mr Mabumba: Speaker, I have said that, in 2013, we have allocated KR344,000 to address the roofing of the structures as well as water challenges.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, since we have so many instances of blown-off roofs in this country, may I find out why we do not have funds set aside for such emergencies.

The Minister of Education, Science, Vocational Training and Early Education (Dr Phiri): Mr Speaker, there is a separate budget line for blown-off roofs, beginning, 2013. This line has not been there for a long time. Talking about Sesheke Secondary School, I physically visited the school and restrained my eyes from producing tears. Since 2007, the two dormitories have remained unattended to. I asked the administration how it had been running the school amidst such dilapidated infrastructure, but there was no straight answer, except to that it had no allocation from the headquarters. Therefore, I took it upon myself to pursue this matter. When I returned from my trip, I discussed the need to urgently do something about the state of the school with the two hon. Deputy Ministers because such negligence should not be allowed. We are playing with the lives of our children.

Let me assure the hon. Member of Parliament that, with the renewed interest in blown off roofs, we will, as much as possible, as the infrastructure plan will indicate, deal with this issue. However, where such incidents occur, there is also the Office of the Vice-President to which we all run for emergency works.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, most of the schools whose roofs are being blown off are those that are newly-constructed. Has the hon. Minister tried to find out why the newly-built school roofs are being blown off when the old buildings are still withstanding the wind?

Dr Phiri: Mr Speaker, the Infrastructure Unit in the ministry has been directed to look into that. The report is about to be made available and we will inform the hon. Member what it will indicate.

I thank you, Sir.


603. Mr Ng’onga asked the Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection:
(a) whether the Forest Act No. 7 of 1999 had been operationalised and, if so, what tangible benefits had been achieved; and

(b) if the Act had not been operationalised, what the reasons were.

The Deputy Minister of Lands, Natural Resources and Environmental Protection (Mr Chingimbu): Sir, unfortunately, to date, the Forest Act of 1999 has not been operationalised, as provided for under Part 1, Section 1, which deals with commencement. Operationalising the Forest Act entails the establishment of the Zambia Forest Commission to replace the Forest Department and the ministry was expected to appoint a date once all transformation processes were finalised and agreed upon by Cabinet. As such, there are no tangible benefits that have been achieved as envisaged under this Act. The Government is currently using Forest Act No. 39 of 1973.

Mr Speaker, the reason for not operationalising the Forest Act No. 7 of 1999 is due to the financial implications associated with the establishment of the Zambia Forest Commission.

I thank you, Sir.


604. Mr S. Chungu (Luanshya) asked the Minister of Youth and Sport:

(a) how much money had been spent on the preparatory matches that the Zambia National Football Team played prior to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament in South Africa;

(b) how much money had been paid to each Zambian player that participated in the tournament; and

(c) what measures had been taken to ensure that Zambia qualified to the 2014 World Cup Tournament scheduled for Brazil.

The Deputy Minister of Youth and Sport (Mr Miyutu): Mr Speaker, a total of KR1,457,914 was spent on the preparatory matches that the Zambia National Football team played prior to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations Tournament in South Africa and it is broken down as follows:

Activity Amount Spent (KR)

Accommodation 612,150

Airfares 296,800

Allowances 548,964

Total 1,457,914

Mr Speaker, each Zambian player, who participated in the tournament, was paid a sum of Kr80,640, broken down as follows:

Type of Allowance Amount (KR)

Daily Allowance 7,560

First Draw Against 22,950

Second Draw Against 22,950

Third Draw Against 27,000

Total 80,460

Mr Speaker, the Government will continue supporting the Senior National Football Team so that it qualifies for the 2014 World Cup slated for Brazil. Further, the august House may wish to know that the Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) had put up early training camps with intensified training sessions and a friendly match played against Namibia in Windhoek. Namibia, prior to the Lesotho and Sudan games, played at the Levy Mwanawasa Stadium in Ndola on 8th and 15th June, 2013.

Sir, FAZ has put up plans to camp the team in a country in West Africa that has similar climatic conditions as Ghana to prepare for the crucial and decisive match in September.

I thank you, Sir.


605. Mr Mucheleka asked the Vice-President when the delimitation of constituencies by the ECZ would begin.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, the ECZ shall conduct delimitation of constituencies when the new Republican Constitution is enacted. The number of constituencies is a constitutional matter provided for under Article 63 (1) and, therefore, can only be altered when the Constitution is changed in that regard.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, now that there is very serious procrastination on the part of the Executive with regard to the constitution making process and its position on the matter is not very clear, can the hon. Minister clearly indicate the timeframe within which the actual delimitation will take place, given that we are not even sure if we will have a new Constitution due to procrastination.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, my answer was very clear and categorical. However, for the sake of Hon. Mucheleka who, sometimes, does not follow proceedings, …

Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!

Mr Kalaba: … allow me to go through the answer again. The ECZ shall conduct delimitation of constituencies when the new Republican Constitution is enacted.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, we now have new districts for which new hon. Members of Parliament have not been elected. Given that the enactment of the new Constitution may not happen because we would need to hold a referendum, which is like another election for which we have not budgeted, what will happen …

Mr Mucheleka: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Mucheleka: Mr Speaker, is it in order for the hon. Minister to indicate that I do not follow procedure, and yet it is supposed to be left to you to guide us as you have always done? I feel the hon. Minister is the one who does not follow procedure because he does not even know what he is doing. I need your serious ruling on this issue.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: There is a problem of timing. Let me remind the hon. Members to be very timely in the manner in which points of order are raised. It must be instantaneous otherwise, we will be going backwards. On a lighter note, it is also difficult for the Hon. Mr Speaker to tell apart hon. Members who follow procedure from those that do not. However, the point is taken.

The hon. Member may continue.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, in the event that a new Constitution is not enacted, what will happen to those areas that have been declared districts, but do not have new hon. Members of Parliament representing them? The likelihood of not having a new Constitution is imminent, especially because enacting it will require a referendum and, to date, there is no money for that purpose. Furthermore, citizens, who have since attained the age at which they can vote from the last time elections were held have not been added to the voters’ list to ensure that they exercise their right to vote and we are fast drawing towards 2016. So, what will happen to those new districts that have been created without constituencies?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I have followed the question of Hon. Kakoma very well and it is based on assumptions. The Government will wait for the process to be exhaustive. Once that time arrives, we will move accordingly, by the rule of law.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, His Honour the Vice-President has indicated that we will have to wait for the enactment of the Constitution in order for the delimitation exercise in constituencies to carried out. He has also indicated that Hon. Kakoma’s question was assumptious. Permit me to give him one quick example before I ask him a question. Siavonga now holds two districts, which are Chirundu and Siavonga, and yet they both share one hon. Member of Parliament, this gentleman here ( pointing at the hon. Member for Siavonga). Is the enactment of the Constitution the only determinant in establishing the delimitation exercise for constituencies? If the Constitution is not enacted, Hon. Hamudulu will be an hon. Member of Parliament for new districts and this has never been heard of in this whole world. It will be the first time it will happen under this PF Government. Could you kindly clarify this matter, please.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, delimitation only takes place when there is an amendment to the Constitution.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Chisanga (Mkushi South): Hon. Minister, through you, Mr Speaker, in an event that the Constitution does not go through before 2016, what is going to happen in the case of Hon. Hamudulu?

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, the question that the hon. Member is asking is similar to the one that was posed by the hon. Member for Zambezi West. My answer was that this House does not dwell on assumptions. Therefore, the Government will not proceed in that line. The answer which I had given earlier still stands.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that there are areas with boundary anomalies which were already delimited prior to the last elections, for example, Chilumba Ward that is shared by Mpulungu and Mbala constituencies, I would like to find out if there are any measures to rectify these anomalies, including instances where a constituency belongs to two districts.

Mr Kalaba: Mr Speaker, I am sure that when a new Constitution is put in place, those challenges and worries will be taken care of.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.



Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply 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 Chishimba (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, the report before …

Hon. Government Member: Don’t kubeba!


Mr Simbao: … the House sums up the programme of work that your Committee adopted for this Session, in line with its mandate. The report dwells on two major issues.

Firstly, it presents details of the study tour your Committee undertook on the state of airports and airstrips in Zambia. Secondly, it shows the reaction of your Committee to responses that the Executive gave on recommendations that your previous Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply made.

Mr Speaker, allow me to present a summary of the major issues in the report beginning with the topical issue on the state of airports and airstrips.

Sir, the main objectives of the study were as follows:

(a) to establish the adequacy of the airport infrastructure and facilities;

(b) to establish the adequacy of security equipment;

(c) to determine how much land each airport and airstrip has;

(d) to establish if there are any plans to upgrade airports and airstrips;

(e) to determine the adequacy and skills of personnel; and

(f) to establish the volume of traffic handled by the airports and airstrips.

In carrying out the study, your Committee considered oral and written submissions from stakeholders. Your Committee further toured all the four international airports in Zambia, namely Kenneth Kaunda in Lusaka; Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe in Ndola; Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula in Livingstone; and Mfuwe in Mambwe, Chipata, Kasama and Kasaba Bay airports and Kabwe, Serenje, Mkushi and Mpika airstrips.

Mr Speaker, what has come out of the study is that the infrastructure at airports has aged. In addition, although the designs of the terminal buildings, particularly at international airports, may have been appropriate at the time of construction, they are no longer in line with current standards of the aviation industry. It is also important to mention that some airports, such as Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Kasama, were military airbases during the colonial era. Interestingly, they still have some of the original structures in use to this day.

The House may wish to know that the current aircraft and passenger movements that are handled by our aerodromes are still below their designed capacity. This includes the busiest airport, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka which, on average, operates just below fifty per cent of its capacity. However, the designs of the terminal buildings and attendant facilities are such that there is a high level of inefficiency in handling passengers when there is more than one flight involved, either in checking-in or checking out upon arrival.

Sir, even with these comparatively low passenger volumes, there is inadequate maintenance of some basic facilities such as toilets. Poor air-conditioning in departure and arrival lounges has been reported. Water reticulation systems are old and affect the supply of water in terminal buildings. The Government is strongly urged to ensure that there is continuous maintenance of these facilities.

A key infrastructure at any aerodrome is the runway. Of the four international airports, there are no major issues that were reported on the condition of the runway surfaces on three airports, Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Mfuwe. Despite the good business at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, the runway and taxiway have cracked sections. Your Committee is aware of plans to relocate the airport. However, the new airport is still a long way off and, therefore, it is imperative to attend to the surfaces of the runway and taxiway now. The Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport was also reported to have poor lighting on the runway as a result of aged electrical systems and vandalism. These should also be attended to to ensure safety of the flying public.

Mr Speaker, a physical check on the runways of some airstrips indicate that a number of them have good gravel runways. However, there is a problem of maintenance. There is no continuous vegetation control and landing marks have faded. There is a need for the Government to ensure that there is continuous maintenance of airstrips.

Mr Speaker, the study revealed that most aerodromes in Zambia are not on titled land, with the exception of Kenneth Kaunda, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula international airports and Kasama airport. While there may have been more security of land in the past, the situation has changed. There are a number of cases of encroachment on airport and airstrip land. It is, therefore, important that as the Government embarks on plans to upgrade airports and airstrips, title deeds are obtained for all the aerodromes. The Government should further ensure that sufficient land is secured for future developments such as extension of current runways or construction of new ones.

Mr Speaker, with respect to equipment, your Committee would like to commend the Government for the investment it has made in fire and rescue services at airports. All airports that your Committee visited had adequate capacity of water carried on wheels by fire tenders in their respective categories. The only concerns of your Committee are that, other than at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, all other airports’ fire stations do not operate on a twenty-four hour basis and some airports do not have fire bases. The Government should, therefore, look into these issues.

Sir, although, all the four international airports have security equipment for screening passengers, their number is inadequate to efficiently manage situations where passengers on more than one flight have to check in at the same time.

Mr Speaker, our airports are seriously lagging behind in air navigation services. Based on submissions from witnesses, a good air navigation system requires, on the minimum, an airport surveillance radar, an efficient communication system, weather equipment, an instrument landing system and very high frequency omni-directional Range (VOR), preferably co-located with distance measuring equipment (DME). Currently, none of the airports in this country have surveillance radar. The one at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has been unserviceable for a long time. The other communication equipment in use at airports is old. Most weather stations are ill-equipped. Only Kenneth Kaunda International Airport has an instrument landing system installed. Fortunately, all international airports have the VOR installed.

Sir, airport authorities contend that, with the current low aircraft traffic levels, the surveillance radar is not of absolute necessity. They further contend that the alternative communication equipment in use, though old, is adequate to ensure that the Zambian airspace is safe.

Mr Speaker, while this is understood, it is important that Zambia is up-to-date with recent developments in its air navigation. Airports should, therefore, have modern air navigation equipment installed. The Government has ambitious plans of upgrading airports and airstrips. So far, there are works currently going on at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport. Works began at Kasaba Bay, but stalled. However, I will amplify this matter later. Upgrading works have also been carried out at Kasama, Chipata, Solwezi and Mongu Airports.

Sir, the planned upgrading of aerodromes is more than welcome. Zambians are really looking forward to having world class international airports. Therefore, implementation of these projects should not be delayed. Your Committee also wishes to urge the Government to make it a policy that each provincial capital has an airport with a bituminous runway. In addition, all major Government-controlled airstrips should have tarred runways.

Mr Speaker, your Committee has observed that technology and other operational processes are forever changing. It is, therefore, important that key personnel involved in the efficient operation of airports are adequately trained. This can only be made possible if the Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI) is adequately recapitalised to ensure that it produces graduates that are relevant to the modern-day aviation industry.

Having touched on the issue of Kasaba Bay Airport briefly, allow me now to elaborate more. Sir, your Committee had the opportunity to visit this particular project. It was very disappointed by the state of affairs, considering that over KR50 million has been spent on the project. The work carried out is far less than what should have been done with the amount of money that was released for the project. Owing to the importance of the project in the development of the Northern Circuit, your Committee strongly urges the Government to do the following:

(a) identify another contractor to complete the project;

(b) investigate the contractor and consultants on the project to ensure that the Government was not defrauded; and

(c) ensure that the project is supported by other investments in access roads and accommodation to make it more worthwhile.

Mr Speaker, let me end with a comment on the Action-Taken-Report. Your Committee would like to thank the Office of the Vice-President for ensuring that there was positive action taken on some of the recommendations of your previous Committee that led to closure. However, there are a lot more outstanding issues. Your Committee, therefore, urges His Honour the Vice-President, as Leader of Government Business in this august House, to impress upon all ministries to take on board the informed advice that Parliamentary Committees render to the Executive.

Sir, on behalf of the Members of your Committee, I wish to express my gratitude to you for the guidance that you rendered. Gratitude also goes to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the procedural advice and other services that were provided to your Committee during its deliberations. Lastly, I wish to thank all stakeholders that made submissions to your Committee and those that accompanied it on the local tours.

Sir, I beg to move.{mospagebreak}

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

Mr Chishimba: Now, Mr Speaker.

I beg to second the Motion urging this august House to adopt the report of your Committee on Communications, Transport, Works and Supply for the second session of the eleventh National Assembly.

May I begin by commending the Government for its plans to upgrade the nation’s airport infrastructure as well as airstrips. It is certainly true to state that Zambians are looking forward to having ultra modern international airports. At least, there is light at the end of the tunnel in that Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport in Livingstone will soon have a new look.

Sir, much as we may desire to have airports of international repute, we need to be systematic in the way we implement the plans of upgrading them. Your Committee is of the view that it will be prudent to deal with a few aerodromes at a time. It is a fact that, as a nation, we do not have adequate resources to spread across the country at the same time. In this vein, it is important to channel all available resources to finish off the works at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport, then, pick another one, preferably, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in Lusaka. For the other airports, in the intervening period, a comprehensive rehabilitation programme should be developed to attend to some of the deficiencies that have been identified such as poor runway surfaces, poor runway lighting, poor air conditioning in departure and arrival halls, poor electrical and water reticulation systems and poor air navigation equipment.

Sir, in implementing these plans of upgrading airport infrastructure, we should have in mind not only complicated structures, but also consider cost-effective, but modern structures. South Africa has such models for example, Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.

Mr Speaker, a key feature at any airport is the control tower. The physical appearance, furniture and equipment of the control towers at our airports require a lot of attention. The able Chairperson of your Committee has given a detailed account on the state of air navigation equipment found in our control towers. Even if the equipment is old, the control towers can still have good furniture and a presentable appearance. I am sure that this listening and action-oriented Government has taken note of these concerns.

Mr Speaker, the bigger picture in all these efforts is to develop Zambia. Aerodromes are just a part of the broader efforts. For aerodromes to play their part effectively, they need to be backed by a good road network and other infrastructure such as hotels. The Kasaba Bay Airport Project, as an example, will not be very beneficial without a good road network and further investment in accommodation facilities. Mfuwe International Airport also needs such support infrastructure.

Mr Speaker, let me end on security and the human-animal conflict. Some airports, for example, Chipata Airport, face the challenge of trespassers on the runway which poses as a safety risk for aircraft. For other airports such as Mfuwe and Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, the trespassers are, unfortunately, not human, but wild animals. These are potential dangers and, therefore, I wish to urge the Government to secure airports by putting electric fences or any other effective mechanism that will ensure that neither wild animals nor human beings cross over the runways.

Mr Speaker, as earlier mentioned, I have no doubt that the current administration has the capacity to address the concerns that have been highlighted in the Committee’s report. May I also thank you, Sir, the Clerk of National Assembly, staff and all witnesses that your Committee interacted with for supporting its work.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, I would like to thank the Committee’s Chairperson for a report well-delivered and also the seconder, Hon. Moses Chishimba. I have noted a few omissions in the report. Probably, the Committee did not pay attention to what I have to highlight because it felt that these concerns may have been taken care of.

Mr Speaker, the House may remember that, last year, the then Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications, Hon. Yaluma, explained to this House, on a couple of occasions, the circumstances that led to the power blackouts at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. I have not heard from the report that the Chairperson of your Committee delivered and even from his seconder whether the issue of standby power generators has been dealt with in all these airports that are functional today.

Mr Speaker, I , therefore, wish that, as the hon. Minister makes his comments on this report, he could shed some light on whether the standby generators have been fitted at these installations. I remember the then hon. Minister being taken to task on the issue of security of these facilities at the time when we faced two power interruptions at the then Lusaka International Airport which is now Kenneth Kaunda International Airport. The reasons that the hon. Minister gave to this House and the nation were not so satisfactory at the time. I am sure that the new hon. Minister will tell us whether generators that have adequate capacity to run an airport have been installed.

Sir, I want to also agree with the comments that have been made by the Chairperson regarding giving our international airport facilities a facelift. I think this is a matter that should be given priority. Having just returned on a trip from a country that gained independence not so long ago, you, Sir, and other colleagues, can bear me witness that King Sobhuza International Airport in Botswana is receiving an extensive facelift. You can see the seriousness of the Batswana because they are not only refurbishing their airport, but also giving it a complete facelift by including scanners, very important person’s (VIP) lounges, if you like, and conveyers for passengers to move from the airport building straight into the aircraft.

Sir, the other concern I have is the issue of the radar system. The Chairperson indicated that the Committee was convinced by the airport authorities that, at the moment, the radar system is not of primary importance. I think this is a pessimistic way of thinking because a radar system was invented for a specific purpose that has to be achieved. The fact that we land two big aircraft and other small planes in, maybe, five hours at our main international airport should not be reason for us to sit in the comfort zone and think that the radar is not necessary at all. There shall come a time when our airports are going to be busy and, at that time, the price of this particular equipment may have doubled or even tripled. I think that it is always wise to make hay while the sun shines. Therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Minister that, in the next Budget, he must not only buy one radar system for the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, but also all the facilities that we have.

Sir, I also wanted to quickly make comment on vegetation and refueling facilities around these airports. Last year, I raised a concern that Kasama Airport is a nerve centre. It is on the flight path to many destinations not only in Africa, but also worldwide. I have not heard the Chairperson or his seconder indicate whether Kasama Airport has been equipped with refueling facilities for Jet A1 fuel. It is also true that, last year, when I raised this concern, I indicated that certain flights, some of them commercial, that go to Kasama Airport on either charter or, indeed, scheduled passenger flights carry Jet A1 fuel in the passenger cabin for refueling there. That, to me, is a huge concern because in the event of any spark, an aircraft will just convert into a big bomb and we are going to lose lives.

Mr Speaker, we have discussed the issue of the human-animal conflict in relation to airports several times. The location of the Kasaba Bay Airport should be reviewed considering that animals have a natural passage to Lake Tanganyika. Fifty years from now, someone will say that there was a concern raised because the animals would have either fled into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to interruption or there will be a fatality resulting from a collision between an elephant and a plane at that airport. I believe that it was wrongly designed.

Sir, the Chairperson finally indicated that there is a need to put bituminous standard air landings at every provincial centre airport. While agreeing with him that this is, indeed, long overdue, I think that it should actually cascade to district level. Every district must have a bituminous standard air transport landing facility. I argue this way because, in many countries, including the neighbouring DRC, many people fly as a normal means of transport. They do not have to jump onto a train or a bus. Considering that this country has resolved that bulk cargo is going to be transported using our roads, it is important that airports are made at every district. That way, you will see that air traffic will increase and once it does, it goes without saying that more people will afford to fly and the price of flying will drop.

Mr Speaker, those were my only few concerns. For now, let me put on record that I support the report wholeheartedly, save for these few comments which I would like the hon. Minister to clarify, especially the issue of the standby generators.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate. First of all, I would like to thank the mover and the seconder for the able manner in which they have moved the Motion. I only have two concerns and, therefore, will be very brief.

My first concern is the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, which is our prime international airport. I have heard that you, Mr Speaker, have just flown into Zambia from somewhere. I equally flew into Zambia from somewhere just this week. Looking at the aerial view of our airport, it gives you the impression of how poor we are as a country, especially when you compare it to that of the country from which you have just come. It is a serious sign of poverty. This is our international airport which only has one terminal building and one boarding gate. When you are coming from a neighbouring country like Zimbabwe, which is facing serious economic problems, there are, at least, five boarding gates at their international airports as compared to our singular gate. You wonder how.

Mr Speaker, this is why I totally agree with the Chairperson and Hon. Nkombo for emphasising the need for a modern terminal building. I recall that, in the past, there was talk of building a new airport or refurbishing the international airport in Lusaka, but plans were shelved by the new Government when it came into power. I would really like to urge the Government to review this issue so that we have a new modern airport.

Mr Speaker, just a few weeks ago, I was at the airport in the company of a colleague who felt pressed and needed to use the toilet, but there was no water there. He was advised by the man attending to the toilets to hold on because …


Mr Kakoma: … there was no water. Mr Speaker, when you are already pressed, you cannot hold on.


Mr Kakoma: In fact, the alternative solution that he was offered was to be allowed to use the toilet only if he wanted to pass water, but nothing more than that.


Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, that can be discomforting to the passengers and embarrassing to our visitors. As Zambians, we may understand our situation. However, it can be very embarrassing for visitors.

Mr Speaker, during the rainy season, I have also seen people getting soaked while alighting from an aircraft and getting to our terminal building or boarding one. There are no walkways or conveyers leading the passengers straight into the plane. That shows that we are really …

Mr Muntanga: Backward!

Mr Kakoma: … backward, if it is correct terminology. We are behind in development issues. There is a need to do something about the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport.

Mr Speaker, I also agree with the report’s observation that the encroachment at the airport must be resolved because we are looking at Zambia becoming a medium income earning country through the Vision 2030, and by the time this status is achieved, there will be a need to expand the airport. If it will be taken up by housing units, it will be very difficult to expand it.

Mr Speaker, the second observation I wish to make has to do with your report on page 8, which was looking at the state of airstrips in the country. Your Committee came to the North-Western Province and apart from observing that the Solwezi Airport did not meet international standards, which is unfortunate for those of us who travel to Solwezi, it also came up with some information that the runways at Mwinilunga, Kabompo and Zambezi were well maintained and re-graveled to acceptable standards. I do not know whether your Committee toured the Zambezi Airstrip. If it did not, then, whoever provided this information to your Committee highly misled it.

Mr Speaker, as hon. Member of Parliament from Zambezi, I know that that airstrip is not well- maintained and it has not been re-gravelled in the recent past. I can tell you, for example, that the runway is bumpy due to potholes, and that can be a danger to the safety of aircraft landing and taking off. There is also no fence around that airport.

As a result, cows and goats, among other animals, graze on the runway. This is dangerous to the aircraft that will be landing because there could be some serious accident caused by a head-on collision.

Mr Speaker, the control tower is dilapidated. In fact, it has been turned into a bedroom. Some people are sleeping in the control tower as we speak. Some workers have converted the terminal building into houses.

Hon. Opposition Member: Hear it from the horse’s mouth.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, the suggestion that this airport is well-maintained is a bit baffling to me. I hope that your Committee will be interested to tour that airstrip next time so that the correct status may be known by Parliament.

Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mooya (Moomba): Mr Speaker, first, let me declare interest and mention that I am a Member of this Committee.

Mr Speaker, let me highlight the issue of Kasaba Bay International Airport, which has already been touched by the Chairperson. The mover of the Motion said that we were disappointed at what we saw at the airport. However, our hearts were broken by what we saw. It seems we are being very wasteful and are not serious at all in executing projects.

Mr Speaker, the picture has already been painted, but let me add a few more details to what was said about this project. The project to build Kasaba Bay International Airport was abandoned in 2012 and a lot of money has been spent on it. I think the contract sum was KR63 million and KR50 million was spent before the project stalled in 2012. The amount of work that was done is not worth KR50 million. The documents that we were given show that there was a variation in the amount as the contract sum went up to KR71 million when the original amount was Kr63million, and yet there is still a lot of work that remains to be done.

Sir, some of your Committee Members have done this type of work, airport construction, in practice. After KR50 million was spent, the balance for the remaining works is KR21 million and I do not know whether the works that remain to be done are worth that much. However, one thing that is sure is that there is still a lot of work to be done. A lot of damage was caused. I noted that Hon. Nkombo rightly mentioned the wrong location or design of the runway. We noticed animals crossing across the runway and the beach has been destroyed.

Mr Speaker, the consultant who was engaged to do the work was acting as a supervisor at the same time, and he had to hire equipment as well. No wonder the sum of the contract kept rising.

Mr Speaker, these are the details I wanted to add. The picture was already painted, I only wanted to fill in a few details.

I thank you, Sir.

Ms Imenda (Luena): Mr Speaker, in support of the Motion on the Floor, let me add a few words.

Mr Speaker, let me first start by asking a question. What is wrong with Zambians? Almost fifty years after independence, we still seem to be in reverse gear in almost everything, compared to other countries. Look at our neighbour, Zimbabwe, despite its problems and shortcomings, in the past few years, I think, it is better than us by far in terms of infrastructure and facilities at their airports. Even Kigali Airport is much better than ours. We have had fifty years in which to improve things, but nothing seems to work. Is it because of corruption or greed? What is it? We need to ask ourselves these questions.

Mr Speaker, I have just arrived from London via Dubai.

Hon. Members: Uko!

Ms Imenda: Those who have been to Dubai Airport will agree with me that it is a masterpiece. It was voted the best airport in Asia. However, most hon. Members who have travelled to other places will agree with me that when they come from wherever and land at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, they are tempted to liken our international airport to Mongu Airstrip.

Hon. Members: Aah!

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, I wonder what is really happening. I think that we need to do something about this. Speaking of Mongu Airport, if I may call it that, it is the only airport in the country which is not hosting commercial and passenger flights. I want to know why it has been neglected. When I was a child, I recall that there used to be flights from Livingstone to Senanga, Senanga to Kalabo, Kalabo to Mongu, Mongu to Kaoma, Kaoma to Lukulu and Lukulu to Zambezi.


Ms Imenda: It is true. That is what used to happen because people I went to school with were coming from Zambezi and they had no other means of transport other than that. There were also no other means of transport when going to and from Kalabo, Sesheke and other destinations, but I do not know what happened along the way. I urge my fellow hon. Members to ask questions why this is so. I also want to know why Mongu is being neglected.

Mr Speaker, I will briefly comment on the issue of the Kasaba Bay Airport which is under construction. I think there is something seriously wrong with the contract awarded for the works of the Kasaba Bay. In my opinion, it is flawed and I am backing calls for investigations into it.

Sir, the constractor was using equipment from the Rural Roads Unit (RRU). This unit is for the construction of roads and not airports. So, this contractor has deprived places like Luena of equipment. At the moment, a road is supposed to be constructed in Luena and I urge the hon. Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications to go there urgently and see the mess, I do not know what else to call it. Money is being wasted …

Mr Speaker: Order!

The word ‘mess’ is unparliamentary.

Ms Imenda: I withdraw that word, Mr Speaker.

Sir, in fact, I would request that the so-called construction be halted for the time being.


Ms Imenda: That is just a way of digression, but I am still talking about airports. I just wanted to make it clear that the RRU equipment, which was meant for the construction of roads, is being used to construct the Kasaba Bay Airport. That is not acceptable.

With those few words, I support the report.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to support the Motion on the Floor.

Sir, I will not dwell much on the issues of the issue of international airports because it has been ably highlighted. I will basically look at the airstrips and also briefly comment on Kasaba Bay Airport.

Mr Speaker, regarding the airstrips in the Northern Province, one of the areas that have been reported or indicated in your report on page 7 is the airstrip at Chocha in Kaputa. This airstrip was well-used and serviced by our military personnel sometime back, as Kaputa borders with the DRC. Although the report indicates that this airstrip is well-maintained, I do not agree with this because it has been neglected.

However, Mr Speaker, I would like to urge that this airstrip be included among those that are going to be upgraded because its location is strategic. Kaputa is in a border area and the nearest airstrips that you can talk about would probably be in Kasama. There is nothing to talk about in Mporokoso and Chienge and, in times of distress, we will need to use these airstrips in order to mobilise our defense forces to get to these border areas. So, it is an important airstrip that must be upgraded and looked at seriously.

Mr Speaker, allow me to add my voice on the issue of the Kasaba Bay Airport. Most of the hon. Members who have spoken have given a gloomy picture about the international airports in the country. For me, I attribute this to scandalous activities of the previous Governments because the money which was budgeted and allocated to such an important project would have definitely impacted in a large way in lifting the face of the Northern Tourism Circuit. However, huge sums of money have gone to waste. When you look at the works that have been done and what still remains to be done, it is not something to smile about.

Mr Speaker, if the works on Kasaba Bay Airport had been completed, it would have been of benefit to the whole area starting from Mpulungu, Mbala, Kaputa all the way to Nsama, including our friends in Luapula like Nchelenge and Chienge. They would all have benefitted because of the influx of tourists that would be landing in that area.

In fact, in the early years, during the First Republic, Kasaba Bay was an airstrip which was frequented by both tourists and Government officials. The question of animals crossing across the runway and causing danger was not there. That piece of land is huge and should there be activity at that airport, animals will be deterred by the noise and will drink water from the other side of the bay. So, we cannot worry about the crossing in and out of animals.

The economic activity that this international airport would bring to that part of the country is enormous. As I speak, almost all the lodges or places that depended on tourists are all non-functional. For example, Ndole Bay and Nkamba Bay business activities are no longer in existence because of the inactivity of this particular important project which should have been completed.

Again, Mr Speaker, the seconder of the Motion talked about the road network linking Kasaba Bay or Nsama, which was part of Kaputa, to Kasama. It is a dilapidated road which makes travelling difficult. My colleagues who have travelled on this road will agree with me that this particular network needs to be completed and linked to this particular project.

I, therefore, urge the hon. Minister to do something so that this particular project commences, henceforth, without delay. If there are investigations to be instituted, that should not inhibit the project from continuing because already, huge sums of money have been poured into that project. We cannot wait for any more years to pass by otherwise that project will be a white elephant. Completing this project will not only bring joy to the people of the Northern Province, but also to the people of Zambia as a whole.

I thank you, Sir.

Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to debate on the Motion on the Floor.

Sir, I would like to add my voice in support of the Motion, but as I do that, let me refer to a few areas of concern.

Mr Speaker, the key issue that your report is bringing to the House is the need for us, as a nation, to modernise our air transportation system with a serious look at our airport facilities.

The key issues which are being highlighted in your report are, firstly, the need for us to construct new facilities in order to be up-to-date with modern requirements in air transportation.

Secondly, Mr Speaker, is the need to renovate existing facilities which are dilapidated and pay attention to modern facilities, especially air navigation facilities and other support facilities in air traffic services. There is also a need for technical staff to manage air transportation system more efficiently. That being the case, the question that arises is why we are our own enemies as far as air traffic transportation is concerned.

Mr Speaker, Zambia is centrally located and it is possible for us to develop an air hub. We can fly to any part of the world from Zambia, especially given the long range aircraft that are used in the modern air transportation.

Sir, in the past, you could fly to New York, India, Rome, London and other countries from Zambia. That is an indication that if, as a nation, we pay serious attention to developing an air hub, especially by developing our international airport, then, we can attract attention. There is no need for people to go to Johannesburg in order to fly to various international destinations when they can do it from Zambia.

Mr Speaker, as the hon. Member for Luena has indicated, when we look around, …

Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Chilangwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament who is speaking used to be the Minister of Transport and Communications. Why did he not achieve to create the hub that he is talking about today? Has he just realised that he could have created this in his time? I need your serious ruling.

Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!

Mr Speaker: My ruling is that there is nothing procedural about the point of order. That is a point of debate. Points of order should not be used to debate.

The hon. Member for Nalikwanda may continue.

Prof. Lungwangwa: … our neighbors have taken serious steps to modernise their airports. Mozambique, Angola, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Botswana and many other countries have modern airports. When we look at the situation of Zambia, we find that we are a Cinderella country as far as modern airport development is concerned.

Ms Imenda: On a point of order, Sir.

Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Ms Imenda: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member is order to use unparliamentarily language? ‘Cinderella’ is not parliamentary language.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Nalikwanda, you are out of order. Please, retract that word.

Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, I apologise. In the place of the word ‘Cinderella’, we can say that we are behind when compared to many countries around the region.

Mr Speaker, it is because of that realisation that a lot of effort was made to try to modernise our airports. There were plans put in place to modernise our international airports, namely Mfuwe, Kenneth Kaunda, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International. The National Airports Corporation (NAC) made a comprehensive plan of designs and a lot of money was spent on the designs of the four international airports.

Sir, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport had a provision for two runways and efforts were made to relocate the squatters who were on the eastern side of the runway to other pieces of land. This was done to pave way for an international runway running to the east of the current runways. A lot of effort was made to try to source private capital to invest in the airport under the public-private partnership (PPP). However, unfortunately, as your report indicates, that effort has stalled and we do not know what has led to the delay. This is despite the fact that His Excellency the President came to the House in 2011 to inform us that all the projects in the past regime would continue.

Mr Speaker, when we look at Livingstone International Airport, in line with NAC, the new international terminal was put in place, in terms of contracts, in 2009/2010 and work has progressed. The terminal at the airport will soon be completed.

Mr Speaker, a lot of effort has been put in place to try to modernise the provincial airports. For example, we have terminals that have been completed which were started in 2008/2009. Terminals were built in Chipata, Mansa, Kasama and Solwezi runway which is still under construction.

Sir, we are very slow in modernising our air traffic facilities and the slow pace at which we are moving will not serve the country in terms of its economic development. We are supposed to be a middle income earning country by 2030 and that is the vision which we have all embraced. However, in order for us to effectively realise that vision, we need to move fast and that is the point that the hon. Minister in charge of air traffic transportation has to realise. We have to move fast in modernising our air transport facilities like airports.

Mr Speaker, we have to pay special attention to the plan that is already in place, not only for provincial or international air facilities, but also for smaller airstrips like Mpangwe in Lundazi, Kasempa in Kasempa and many others. These aerodromes were identified for renovation and we need to move fast on this. We need to transform Kenneth Kaunda International Airport into an air hub that can compete effectively with other air hubs within the region as quickly as possible.

As a nation, there is no reason, whatsoever, we cannot move fast on this. It is in the interest of the country and of our development. In this regard, we have to move along.

Mr Speaker, these are efforts which were identified many years ago. Work has started and we should get on with it so that we have modern airport facilities in place to serve our people internally as well as externally. This will also make Zambia a more attractive country for investment because airport facilities and air service facilities are part and parcel of the factors that go into creating an effective and enabling environment for investment. With these few comments, I support the report.

I thank you, Sir.

The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to also add my voice to this important report that has been made by your Committee. I appreciate the speeches by the Chairperson, the seconder and many others who have added their voices to the debate on this report.

Sir, I will try to answer to a few contributions that were given by hon. Members of Parliament. Hon. Garry Nkombo, we have six generators at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport. We also have a generator at Mfuwe Airport with about 500 KVA. We also have a standby facility at Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe. Therefore, I must state that when it comes to power, we have the facilities.

Hon. Kakoma, the runway at Solwezi Airport has been extended from 1.3 km to 2.7 km. Therefore, it is not an airstrip, but an airport. There is a lot more that has been done. If people are using the terminals for sleeping, that is another issue that we need to look into.

Hon. Mooya, the contract at Kasaba Bay has not been worked on to our satisfaction, as a Government. What we have done is to review that project and ensure that it follows the correct procedures. If there were any underhand methods that were used in awarding the contract for this work, we will make sure that the people involved are brought to book because I believe that, as a Government, we need to spend money wisely.

Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa, I agree with you that we have nothing to show fifty years after Independence. We are in the jubilee year. That is why it is important to listen to what the Patriotic Front (PF) has in store for the people of Zambia.

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, Hon. Ng’onga, I agree with you on the need for proper airstrips in this country. Prof. Lungwangwa, making a hub is what we need to do with all the other forms of transport. Let me give you an outline of what the PF has in store for the people of Zambia. It is concerned about the state in which the airports and airstrips are. Our vision, as the PF Government, is to make sure that we have a transport hub in terms of air transport, road transport and railway transport. As a nation, we are strategically placed and this is a strength which we must take advantage of. Come next month, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Terminus will be completed and it will be a state-of-the- art. You will see what you have been seeing in Dubai at the Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport. That is what we want to achieve. We want to give the people of Zambia the very best because that is what they deserve.

Sir, we are going to rehabilitate the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport at a cost of about US$384 million. We are going to put up a proper terminus and ensure that the current facilities are changed into domestic ones. Currently, in the interim, we are trying to carry out some rehabilitation which I am sure you have seen. This is in order to just make you comfortable before we execute the major project. That project will take into consideration putting up a lot of facilities, including conference facilities. We are on course and you should not worry, Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa. We do not just talk. You will see the results soon. What we want are results so that people can see what we are doing. At the end of the five years, you will see what we would have achieved. That is what we are trying to do.

Sir, the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport will not only be rehabilitated, but also relocated so that we can have a new international airport. It will be a good airport. We are doing everything we can to ensure that we equal the levels of other international airports. We do not just want to see pictures in books. We are going to execute that and put everything into place so that you can see the modern Zambia for yourselves. When it comes to navigation equipment, we will ensure that our people use proper navigation equipment. There is no way you can run airports on procedural systems every time, for example, air traffic controllers having to talk to the pilots. We want to use the state-of-the-art method which is the radar system. There was an attempt to put up one, but you know what happened.


Mr Mukanga: Mr Speaker, we are going to ensure that we put the radar into place so that the people can have the facility and that all of us will be happy when we are travelling. This will ensure our safety. Without a proper radar system, safety is compromised. The procedural system is fine, but we need to improve and ensure that we meet what other countries have achieved around the world.

Mr Speaker, we will try to resolve the fuel challenges as we continue to rehabilitate all the other airstrips and airports. With your commitment and support of our budget together we are going to give Zambia the very best as a Government

I thank you, Mr Speaker.{mospagebreak}

Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, I am grateful to the many hon. Members of Parliament who have contributed to the debate on this particular report. I just want to mention that we did not see each and every airstrip in the country and I want people to know that. Even Senga Hill has an airstrip, but I did not talk about it. We mentioned only the airstrips that we visited, but we know that there are many more in Zambia. I hope that the Government, through the hon. Minister, will look at the other airstrips.

I thank you, Sir.

Question put and agreed to.


Mr Kakoma (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Economic Affairs, Energy and Labour, for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2013.

Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?

Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.

Mr Speaker: Order!

Business was suspended from 1815 hours until 1830 hours.

[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]

Mr Kakoma: Sir, your Committee is guided by the terms of reference as set out in the National Assembly Standing Orders. Going by its terms of reference, your Committee undertook a study of Zambia’s current trade policy with regard to regional and international trade protocols. Your Committee also considered the Action-Taken Report on the report of your previous Committee. Further, your Committee undertook a foreign tour to Uganda.

Mr Speaker, it is my belief that hon. Members have read the report and, as such, I will only highlight the salient issues that caught the attention of your Committee during its deliberations. Let me begin by giving a brief analysis of your Committee’s observations and recommendations as contained in your Committee’s report.

Sir, you may wish to note that some stakeholders submitted the volume of Zambia’s trade in the region has expanded substantially through Zambia’s participation in the free trade areas. This is in spite of the challenges faced by the country such as failure to add value to products, inadequate infrastructure and high cost of doing business, especially for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It is your Committee’s considered view that the Government should continue with the policy of trade liberalisation cautiously with emphasis on value-addition, infrastructural development, research and reduction of the cost of doing business.

Mr Speaker, your Committee observes that Zambia has not fully taken advantage of the opportunities under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) of 2000, trade in the European Union (EU) and other regional groupings due to the production of sub-standard products. In this regard, your Committee strongly recommends that the Government ensures that Zambians are sensitised on the types and quality of goods that can be exported to the AGOA market, the EU and other regional groupings with particular emphasis on value-addition.

Further, the Government should ensure that Zambia takes advantage of the yawning market in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). Your Committee also observes that sectors such as agriculture continue to be threatened by porous rules of origin for products such as wheat, as huge amounts of it pass through SADC countries that are deficit producers and land in Zambia thereby having a negative effect on the local wheat market.

In this regard, your Committee implores the Government to ensure that current rules of origin for wheat are amended to only allow trade in wheat under the duty free status if wheat is wholly grown in a SADC country. The SADC country should be a surplus producer so that all the economic benefits accrue to that country and not countries from outside the SADC region.

Sir, your Committee was saddened to learn that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, which is mandated to safeguard and promote competition as well as protect consumers against unfair trade practices, lacks sufficient human resources and skills to effectively monitor and maintain competition and fair trading practices in the country. Your Committee, therefore, calls on the Government to ensure that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission is capacitated in terms of skills and human resources to enable it to effectively monitor and maintain competition and fair trading practices in the country.

Mr Speaker, in relation to the above issues, your Committee interacted with several stakeholders who tendered both written and oral submissions. To further appreciate what was obtaining on the ground in other countries, your Committee undertook a study tour of Uganda from 5th to 11th May, 2013. The foreign tour provided your Committee with an opportunity to learn the best practices in monitoring standards of imported goods, following the declaration of free trade areas and ensuring that local products compete favorably in the free trade areas. Your Committee’s findings from the tour were as follows:

(a) the Ugandan Government has placed emphasis on the development of standards and the establishment of laboratories to check standards;

(b) the Ugandan Industrial Research Institute (UIRI) has a Technology Development Centre (TDC) which provides engineering support services, such as equipment maintenance, repair and refurbishment, in order to promote value-addition to local products and ensure that they compete favorably in the free trade areas;

(c) the industrial chemistry and microbiology laboratories at the UIRI offer a diverse range of analytical services in the area of product analysis and in the support of product development to clients;

(d) there is political will to support research and development in Uganda;

(e) the Ugandan Government offers price support to farmers in instances where prices of crops such as cotton fall; and

(f) the Ugandan Government is implementing the “Buy Uganda, build Uganda Policy” which is particularly beneficial to the textile industry. This is a drive where the government has made a rule that, where capacities allow, the government purchases locally made products for use in government institutions, especially schools, the security and defence forces.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee recommends the following:

(a) the Zambian Government should place emphasis on the development of standards and ensure that local laboratories have the capacity to check the standard of goods;

(b) there should be an effective pre-shipment inspection of all imported products. Sub-standard products should not be allowed to enter the country. Recently, we had a case of meat containing chemicals used to embalm dead bodies. This could have been prevented if there had been pre-shipment inspection;

(c) the Government should capacitate the technology development and advisory unit at the University of Zambia (UNZA) to enable it to carry out its mandate both to public and private sectors, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs);

(d) the Zambian Government should ensure that laboratories in Zambia are enabled to help clients, especially SMEs, in adhering to product quality, enhancing research projects and also mitigating risk;

(e) there should be political will to support research and development in Zambia;

(f) the Government should also consider establishing a price stabilisation fund for high value crops such as tea, tobacco, coffee and cotton for farmers when prices fall on the international market. This way, farmers will be cushioned against unexpected price fluctuations; and

(g) the Zambian Government should have a deliberate policy of purchasing locally made products, were capacities allow, for use in public institutions, especially schools, security and defense forces to promote Zambian products. 
Mr Speaker, your Committee also urges the Government to address the outstanding issues that have been raised in the Action-Taken report for the Second Session of the Eleventh National Assembly.

Sir, I wish to conclude by taking this opportunity to thank you for the guidance provided to your Committee during the Session. I also wish to thank all the stakeholders who appeared before your Committee. Lastly, but not least, let me thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the support they rendered to your Committee.

Mr Speaker, I beg to move.

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

Mr Bwalya: Now, Sir.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to second the Motion on the Floor of the House that has been ably moved by the Chairperson of your Committee. In doing so, I wish to comment on a few points contained in your report.

Sir, your Committee observes that Zambia’s national quality infrastructure and technical regulation regimes used in monitoring standards for imported goods are not harmonised and developed to their full potential with those of its major trading partners in the region and beyond. In this regard, your Committee strongly recommends that the Government ensures that Zambia’s national quality infrastructure and technical regulation regimes are developed to their full potential and harmonised with those of its major trading partners to enable the effective monitoring of both imported and locally produced goods.

Your Committee also observes that cheaper imports from the EU and other advanced economies have continued to threaten the existence of the agricultural sector in Zambia. Notably, dairy, wheat, soya beans and livestock sectors have remained vulnerable to raising imports from advanced economies as they are without any form of protection. This is a serious threat to the livelihood of farmers. It is also contributing to rampant unemployment due to declining farm incomes.

Mr Speaker, page 9 and 10 of your Committee’s report, raises issues to do with the high cost of conducting business in Zambia. This is one issue that is contributing to high levels of unemployment in the country. This retards development mainly in two ways. Firstly, it brings Zambia into disrepute with regards to marketing of products and also discourages investors from coming into the country. Secondly, it impacts negatively on the creation of employment, which is contrary to our Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto.

Mr Speaker, on page 10 of your report, your Committee observes that the Government has made strides in ensuring that the National Quality Policy is effected. This is key to national development and should, therefore, be given the urgent attention that it deserves. There is an urgent need to operationalise this policy so that the issues highlighted are addressed.

In this regard, your Committee strongly recommends that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry be well-equipped and have the necessary capacity to enable it to implement trade remedies against cheap unsubsidised imports in order to prevent injury to the key domestic market or sector.

Mr Speaker, in this regard, we need to ensure that the one-stop shops that have been talked about are well-equipped and decentralised so that various districts in various provinces can access these services within one shop. The Decentralisation Policy must be speeded up.

Mr Speaker, with regard to the foreign tour to Uganda, your Committee observed the following:

(a) the Ugandan Government has a strong drive for value-addition that the Chairperson ably made reference to;

(b) the Ugandan Government has placed emphasis on the development of standards and the establishment of laboratories to check standards; and

(c) the Ugandan Industrial Research Institute through the public-private partnership (PPPs) assist SMEs to produce and package their products at a minimal fee and also offer free training in information and communication technology (ICT) services to the public.

Mr Speaker, page 18 and 19 of your Committee’s report brings out the issue of education. This is key to poverty eradication and industrialisation. We, therefore, wish to urge the Government to ensure that the skills for the girl child are prioritised. As the adage goes, “When you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”

Mr Speaker, on page 19 of your Committee’s report are issues to do with sustainable financing mechanisms. It is important that SMEs are assisted and financed. We should also provide quality financing. We can have many youth or women’s clubs financed with KR6,000 or KR5,000 and not have sustainable financing. India and Mauritius are good examples of sustainable financing of SMEs.

Mr Speaker, in view of the foregoing, your Committee recommends that the Government places emphasis on adding value to raw materials before goods can be exported.

The Government should also place emphasis on the improvement in standards of local products and ensure that laboratories have the capacity to add value to them. Further, it should provide help to SMEs which cannot manage to package goods to required international standards.

Mr Speaker, on the issue of standards, on page 25 of your report, the issues highlighted are to do with funding and where to get this money from. There was a request by previous Committee on issues to do with modified tax for mines.

Sir, your Committee is happy to note that there are strides being taken in that direction. Lastly, I would like to thank the Chairperson of your Committee for the manner in which he presided over the affairs of your Committee during its deliberations and the session in general.

Sir, with these few remarks, I wish to second.

I thank you, Mr Speaker.

Mr Muntanga (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank the mover of this Motion and the seconder who, despite looking at the report, was straying during his debate.

Sir, I wish these reports could be taken seriously by any Government and not just the PF. If those in power followed the recommendations in your Committee’s reports, a lot of problems would be solved. For instance, when the Report on Agriculture was tabled before this House, the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Livestock was not even present. Similarly, we are looking at the report of the Committee on Economic Affairs and Labour and some of the observations made in this report hinge on agriculture. It is, therefore, important that these ministries do not just ignore what is contained in these reports. They may think this particular report only touches on issues related to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry when, in fact, that is not the case. Much as this report falls under the ambit of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, there are issues raised in this report that touch on the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Therefore, if the hon. Minister of Agriculture and Agriculture disappears and does not listen to this debate, chances are that he will not even take time to read this report.

Mr Speaker, I would like to refer to your Committee’s report on page 13 where the Deputy Chairperson highlights some concerns. One of the concerns raised relates to the fact that we are allowing wheat imports from countries that do not produce wheat. For instance, we know that some of our neighbours have big milling companies when they do not produce wheat. They just import wheat from elsewhere and then export it to Zambia. This country accepts that wheat to the detriment of the locally-produced one. If the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock does not know how much wheat is being produced locally, how, then, will it protect its production? It is important that concerns raised by your Committee are looked at seriously. We are aware that, within the SADC region, there are certain activities which do not favour Zambia at all. This House has heard the steps Uganda has taken to protect its own industry. Unfortunately, Zambia is not doing much to protect its local industry. The issue of wheat has been brought out and so has that of tobacco. Lack of value-addition to local products is also another area of concern. However, our Government chooses to overlook the importance of value-addition to crops such as tobacco. Instead, it allows raw tobacco to be exported to our neighbouring countries.

Sir, this Government places emphasis on the origins of certain products. Why should the Government emphasise on the origins of products when it allows raw tobacco to be exported to its neighbour, which brands it and claims that it is from that country when, in fact, it is a Zambian product? This has been happening for some time now and not just under the PF Government, but also under the MMD Government. This is because people do not want to follow what is said and recommended in your reports. There are several people who move around with export permits and it is not known where these people get these permits from. Whether they get them from the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry or the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, nobody knows.

Mr Speaker, we may talk about imposing bans on maize exports, but I can assure you that maize will still be exported from this country. There are people with export papers which are overlapping from last year. When you inquire, these people with permits will tell you that they paid the Government huge sums of money and they were simply collecting what was owed to them. Where are these systems checked?

Sir, we now have a situation where our local laboratories’ effectiveness are being questioned. The recent debate relates to Zambeef’s imported meat and whether it contains a certain chemical that is harmful to humans. The laboratory tests conducted on that meat are being doubted because we have no capacity to check all the products imported into this country before consumption. We had a situation in this House where we were told that Zambia was not importing chickens, but that later turned out to be false because an imported chicken, which was bought from one of the shops, was brought into this House. This was done to show that, contrary to the hon. Minister’s statement, some shops were already selling imported chickens. Where are the systems to check and protect what is grown locally? Let us not be defensive when dealing with issues of national importance. It is not a brain contest, you need to be level-headed and solve these problems with the seriousness they deserve.

Mr Speaker, we have observed that when certain questions are raised in this house, those who are supposed to provide this House and the nation with the right answers take it as an intellectual competition. Your reports need to be taken seriously. It is not enough for the Government to say it has taken note of the report’s recommendations.

Sir, people lament about how sad it is that, as a country, we have no airline. One wonders why some of our industries have closed. The First Republic did a lot for this country. We had a poultry unit, among others, but all these were sold in the name of liberalisation. Dunlop plant was closed during the liberalisation process. I would like to appeal to the Government to run this country effectively and not make stories. That is why we end up having so many contradictions in most of the issues affecting the nation. If we clearly understood the issues at hand, we would not have all these contradictions.

Mr Speaker, some people try to justify the Government’s position on certain issues by claiming that it is written somewhere in the Ruling Party’s manifesto. Hon. Ministers should understand their party’s manifesto and explain it to the people clearly. The issues raised in this report are very important. It is only right that we do the correct thing in order to achieve development in Zambia.

Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister of Finance comes here to present the Budget, he talks about various sectors in our economy. He needs to clearly explain which Government departments are responsible for these sectors. His Honour the Vice-President, whom I am sure is listening somewhere, should ensure that his hon. Ministers adequately explain national issues in this House. At the end of the day, we expect the concerns raised in this report to be addressed. I do not understand what the problem is in doing this. We should not be going back and forth. We, in the United Party National Development (UPND), believe in going forward and not backwards. Our colleagues should not be yo-yoing up and down. When there is a lion, prepare yourself …

Mr Speaker: Order!

Hon. Member, just withdraw the word ‘yo-yoing’. Not only is it not English, but it is also unparliamentary.

Mr Muntanga: Mr Speaker, I withdraw that word.

The Government must not be taking one step forward and then five steps backwards. We want to continue to succeed. If the Government does a proper job, its success is also ours. It must understand this and discuss national issues better. If it does not listen, its failure will be our advantage to remove it from power. That is the game of politics.


Mr Muntanga: We will, however, emphasise and plead with the Government to do the right thing.

Mr Speaker, the only things which come without party politics are the reports of your Committees such as this one. This is because these documents are produced by hon. Members in the Opposition and Ruling Party. So, this is a document that these people on your right should not ignore, but look at seriously. Sometimes, people ask us what goes wrong in implementing the recommendations in such beautiful reports. The reason is that the people given the opportunity to rule do not listen. So, I hope that the Executive will listen and take this report seriously.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I would like to support the debate on the Motion on the Floor. In doing so, I also wish to add my voice to the many progressive comments that have been made by other speakers. This report, once again, highlights the fact that the institutions that we have mandated, as a country, to protect our economic interests are not performing as the Zambians expect of them. This report is a worrying sign that, despite all the millions of kwachas and dollars that we keep pouring into various efforts at negotiations with other regions and trade organisations, Zambia is not a net beneficiary of most of these negotiations.

Mr Speaker, I know this report does not clearly highlight the exact figures of trade balances and other net effects of the various efforts that our institutions are making, but it was very exciting to see the definition of the term ‘benefit’. We were expecting that your Committee would bring out what the tangible benefits to Zambia have been for all the efforts in all these regional and international agreements. One would also expect that the Zambians would learn, through this report, what impacts these agreements are making on our economy. It is very clear that, probably because of the time constraint or the answers not being easily available, Zambia is not a key beneficiary of the agreements that we have signed.

Mr Speaker, the report brought out something very interesting regarding the exports of Zambia to the SADC and COMESA regions. The report highlights that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, which is responsible for negotiating most of these agreements with other ministries probably has not protected the interests of ordinary Zambians and the economy at large.

Why would we report that US$300,000 was pledged to two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) or co-operatives without confirming if that pledge was delivered? We bring that out as a benefit, and yet there is no substance anywhere to show that this US$300,000 from the United States African Development Foundation (USADF) was delivered to these organisations. That is most unfortunate because one would expect the report to clearly state that this benefit was actually delivered. However, we cannot get that from this report.

Mr Speaker, it is also worrying that there is an acknowledgement that we have been exporting under the AGOA through another country, which is South Africa, by taking raw materials such as chilli peppers and cotton yarn. We claim that we are benefiting from the AGOA exports through taking these materials to South Africa. This admission, on our part, that we cannot process cotton yarn and chilli peppers is a very worrying trend.

Mr Speaker, Zambia has struggled to develop its wheat industry, especially the production capacity. I was, however, equally taken aback by how we got to allow public officials to append their signatures to an agreement allowing any country to pick wheat from anywhere in the world, process it into flour and export to Zambia. How did this happen? Where were our officers and what was their interest in their signing such an agreement, which is clearly against Zambian interest?

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, it also worries me that when you go through the report, it is clear that our officers in the Government are fully aware of our position because one of the pages, especially page 9, has articulated this position very well. Our position, as has been articulated, clearly shows that we are not capable of benefiting from the SADC agreements on trade in terms of infrastructure. We are not ready in terms of our production capacities and issues of quality. So, how did we go ahead and sign agreements which we have failed to benefit from in the end? Even as we became signatory to these agreements, we were not ready for such undertakings.

Mr Speaker, these worries bring out questions of value-addition. Look at the situation of salaula. The term ‘salaula’ refers to used clothes.

Mr Speaker: Or second-hand clothes.

Mr Simfukwe: Yes, second-hand clothes, especially imported from overseas. Salaula is a very good example of things dumped in our front porch or yard by developed countries because they do not need them and think we can use them.

It certainly looks cheap and beneficial to our people, but in the long run, those are jobs that have been taken away. We cannot fail to make those clothes that we are buying as salaula. We even go to the extent of ignoring the advice of health practitioners that some outfits that come as salaula, such as under garments, are a very serious national health risk. We still go ahead and allow them in our country.

We cannot fail to make shirts that are being sold as second-hand clothes. They are dumping those clothes right under our noses. Those are jobs being lost. If we can produce shirts, even at slightly higher prices than salula, we would be using our own materials and creating jobs thereby taking care of the problem of cotton exports.

Mr Speaker, we used to process blankets in Zambia in Livingstone and Ndola. Now, the market is flooded by imported blankets. That is dumping. We have the material in Zambia and, maybe, even some machinery is there, but locked away by the manufacturers because blankets are being dumped on our door steps. They look affordable and cheap to our people, but those are lost opportunities for job creation, which are being created in other countries.

Mr Speaker, I will just touch a bit on the offals that we are told are being imported. Even I, as an Agricultural Economist, never realised that. I have learnt in the last few days of the Zambeef saga that we actually import offals. I am sure that the livestock experts and the hon. Minister will agree with me that if there is any place where disease hides in an animal, it is in the offals. I am very shocked that this country has been importing offals and we have allowed that.

Mr Speaker, all this shows that we have allowed ourselves to be a dumping ground. We have signed agreements, at great costs, through allowances, transportation and so on and so forth. We have gone out to sign our own death warrants. For example, there is, probably, no single benefit from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as we speak, but we went there and signed the protocol. Are we ready to defend the economic interests of our country? Are our officers ready to defend our economic interests? How did they sign these arrangements?

Mr Speaker, Mulungushi Textiles can produce enough material to wipe out salaula from this country. What is happening? Are we going to manage to run this factory if it is opened with these WTOs and SADC agreements that we are party to?

Mr Speaker, I am still arguing that our Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, the main channel for negotiations, has been a letdown. In fact, with due respect to the hon. Minister, I am an advocate for the abolition of the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. This ministry is irrelevant. It must be broken up and taken into specific economic ministries and let it function from there, but not in one building. It needs …

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, this ministry needs to adopt a bottom-up approach. When it negotiates, it needs to start with the raw materials and ask what we have as a country and what we want to do to put it through the value chain. This ministry should not start by arriving at seminars, negotiating meetings or trade organisations and then picking up ideas from there. It should pick it up from our value chains here. What is happening to cotton? If it is not selling abroad, the Government should ask why not. It, then, must go out there to negotiate for our cotton and not to append signatures to things that have nothing to do with what is happening to our economy.

Mr Speaker, if the energy we are showing in political battles, by-elections and all these maneouvers that are going on in the political industry were used to rethink our economic system, we can move forward.

Mr Muntanga: Yes!

Mr Simfukwe: If that energy that is bubbling in the political arena can be used to rethink how our economy runs and check why we are failing to create jobs and why our shops are full of imported goods, it can bring a lot of good. A number of people in this House would not even want to be here. Sometimes, it is unemployment that causes so much demand to be hon. Members of Parliament.


Mr Simfukwe: There would be enough jobs out there for others to stay out of politics.

Hon. Member: There is no brain energy.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, it is a wonder that there is so much money that is being spent to look for economic space in the regional and international market, and yet, right here in Zambia, in our own country, we have failed to manipulate and monopolise our own market.

Mr Muntanga: You have seen?


Mr Simfukwe: This is the question that we should ask ourselves. Why are you spending money flying all over the world looking for export markets which you are not getting, and yet back here, right in our own country, we control only about 10 per cent of our own Zambian domestic market? Foreign imports protected by agreements that have been signed without due regard to our own economic interests have cost us our own domestic market.

Mr Speaker, the expectation certainly …

Mr Muntanga: You are the hon. Minister of Commerce!

Mr Speaker: Hon. Muntanga, …


Mr Speaker: … that is a classical case of running commentaries. You can applaud in the usual and traditional way, but not to run commentaries.

Continue, hon. Member for Mbala.

Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, I thank you. As I conclude, …

Hon. UPND Member: Aah, do not conclude.

Mr Simfukwe: … I wanted to highlight that this report would have helped us to shed more light on data regarding what Zambia is importing. There is information on what we are exporting and I am sure that if we had also focused on comparing the exports with the imports, the balance of trade issues would have been very bad on our side. Zambia is a deficit trader. Although there has been some increase in our exports, I am sure the data shows that the imports into Zambia have increased even more. We are a deficit country despite all the efforts.

Mr Speaker, we need to look at what we are exporting as well. It may look like a good figure, but some reports indicate that we are mostly exporting copper, which accounts for most of what we are exporting. The reports also indicate that most of our copper is unprocessed. It is raw copper and some of it made into some cables. We might appear to be doing a lot of exports to the SADC region, but these are primary commodities. One report indicated that the top ten exports of Zambia to the SADC and COMESA regions are all primary commodities. We are not processing our commodities.

Mr Speaker, this shows that despite all these efforts of participating and signing all sorts of agreements, we have really not taken advantage because, in any value chain, primary products are the cheapest. Therefore, the real money is made by those who buy our primary products.

Mr Speaker, why is it that, amidst all of our production and exports, an effort has not been made by our Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the officers responsible to ensure that the primary products that we export continuously improve in their valued-addition and become products that have already been processed within our country. This is the only way we can guarantee that jobs are created for our people.

Mr Speaker, I thank you.

Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!

The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Chenda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to contribute to the debate that is on the Floor of the House. Let me begin by saying that I am grateful to your Committee for all the issues that it has raised in the report, which are very pertinent and we are going to consider them seriously as we go forward.

Mr Speaker, one issue that we cannot falter on is political will. We are known for taking very courageous decisions that clearly demonstrate our political will to try to correct issues and put this country in a position which will be beneficial to the citizens.

Mr Speaker, much has been said, however, let me respond to a few pertinent issues. The issue of standardisation is a matter of serious concern to all of us. I must pay tribute to Hon. Mutati, who was the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, for having come up with the National Quality Policy, which has clearly come up with measures that should be taken in order to ensure that we have comprehensive national quality infrastructure in this country.

Hon. Members: Hear, Hear!

Mr Chenda: Mr Speaker, I am glad to say that most of the measures that are contained in this National Quality Policy are going to be implemented by this PF Government. This House may be pleased to know that yesterday, the Government considered and approved four Bills that will deal with National Quality Policy issues or national quality infrastructure. This means that I will bring a Bill to this House that will deal with metrology, which is simply the science of measurements. This Bill will reform the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA) and the Zambia Bureau of Standards (ZABS), which is an institution that deals with standards and it will also bring about another agency that will be dealing with compulsory standards so that issues such as the Zambeef saga will be dealt with appropriately.

Mr Speaker, issues regarding reducing the cost of doing business were raised. We are determined to ensure that we accelerate the private sector development reform programmes. This will reduce the cost of doing business and take away the unnecessary bureaucracy as well as create systems that will facilitate private sector investment.

Mr Speaker, regarding issues of trade, I must say that we are signatories to the SADC Trade Protocol and the WTO. You may wish to know that Zambia is a net beneficiary in the balance of trade. Therefore, if we do not honour our obligations, in accordance with these protocols we signed to facilitate trade, how are we going to export our goods? Therefore, as we argue about the protection of our national products, it is important for us to be mindful of the fact that we are beneficiaries of the same rules that govern trade.

Mr Speaker, regarding the rules of origin, especially on the issue of wheat, I must inform this august House that we are aggressively taking measures to negotiate to reinforce the rules of origin on wheat to ensure that the wheat which has been imported from somewhere and is being re-imported from us by some neighbouring countries can be arrested.

Mr Speaker, I also want to touch on one issue that was raised by Hon. Muntanga, regarding the establishment of the Price Stabilisation Fund on agricultural products. You will agree with me, Hon. Muntanga, that this issue was considered in the Budget that this House approved. Money was set aside in the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock budget to deal with this issue. Therefore, we have begun to take cognisance of this problem and, when funds permit, we will put more money in this fund so that this issue of price stabilisation can be dealt with.

Mr Speaker, let me reassure the House that we have listened to all the very serious contributions that have been made on the Floor of this House and we will pay serious attention to all these issues so that, together, we can correct these situations and push our country forward.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Kakoma: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to wind up the debate. I would like to thank the hon. Members for Kalomo Central and Mbala for their quality debates and contributions to this Motion. I also want to thank the hon. Minister for his positive attitude towards the issues that have been raised in the report. From the debaters, I heard none oppose the report and, therefore, I urge all the hon. Members of the House to support this report so that its recommendations can be adopted by the Government for implementation.

Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Question put and agreed to.

Mr Speaker: Order!


The Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications (Mr Mukanga): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.

Question put and agreed to.


The House adjourned at 1929 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 26th June, 2013.