Wednesday, 4th October, 2017

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Wednesday, 4th October, 2017


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












45. Mr Mutale (Chitambo) asked the Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development:


  1. whether any youth clubs in Chitambo Parliamentary Constituency benefitted from the Youth Empowerment Fund from January, 2015 to December, 2016;


  1. if so, how many clubs benefitted; and


  1. what the names of the clubs were.


The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mawere): Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may wish to note that there was no youth club in Chitambo Constituency that benefitted from the Youth Empowerment Fund between January, 2015 and December, 2016. The Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development is yet to disburse the Youth Empowerment Fund in the Central Province for 2015 and 2016. Once funded, the ministry plans to fund the Central Province and it is hoped that the projects of the applicants from Chitambo Constituency will be among those approved.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mutale: Mr Speaker, why were the funds for 2015 and 2016 not disbursed to the Central Province?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, the Youth Empowerment Fund was disbursed in six provinces, leaving out four provinces, which are Central, Lusaka, Copperbelt and Southern. One of the reasons the Central Province did not receive the fund at that time was the none availability of funds and also the issue of reviewing the programme after empowering the six provinces. So far, the review report is out and the recommendations from that report are still being studied.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, why is the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development not emulating the processes that were undertaken by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government? Under the MMD’s tenure, this fund was distributed equitably throughout the constituencies. The constituencies were able to receive the applications and disburse the requisite funding that was made available. So, why is the same not being done now to ensure that there is equity?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, there is equity in the way the youths throughout the country are empowered. Funds have been disbursed to six provinces and are yet to be given to the other four provinces.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about …


Mr Mwiimbu: On point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the question I raised was very specific and it was pertaining to the funding of the Youth Empowerment Fund per constituency. However, the hon. Minister has not answered the question. May you direct him to answer the question because that is what hon. Members are expecting to hear from him.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, as you continue responding to the questions, please, try to address this issue of equity. If the question is not clear, I will request the hon. Member to repeat it. Is the question clear?


Mr Mawere showed assent.


Mr Chiyalika: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about the Youth Empowerment Fund for the period 2016 to 2017. We are now almost concluding the 2017 Budget and have, in fact, started debating the 2018 Budget. In Lufubu Constituency, the youths have never received any funding. When will this funding actually be disbursed to respective constituencies?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, before I proceed, I just want to make a point of correction. We are addressing the period January, 2015 to December, 2016, and not 2017. The question is very specific. It is on one programme which the ministry is implementing and this is the Youth Empowerment Fund. Under my ministry, we have a number of empowerment programmes and this is just one of them. I have indicated that for the Central, Copperbelt, where the hon. Member of Parliament comes from, Southern and Lusaka provinces, we have not yet disbursed funds for the Youth Empowerment Fund.


Mr Speaker, as to why we will not give money to constituencies, all constituencies are considered when the Government thinks of empowering young people. When we, as a Government, target young people in the districts, we are mindful of the constituencies they come from. When identifying beneficiaries, we always consider those jurisdictions.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the Youth Development Fund is very important for our youths and it is a big issue in Chama South. Does the ministry have plans to involve hon. Members of Parliament in the disbursement of this fund and in the identification of the youths who can be in a position to contribute to our national development?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, when answering this question, I indicated that a study has been conducted, the report is out and that we are considering its recommendations. This exercise of reviewing the Youth Development Fund was done by the Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR), which is under the Ministry of National Development and Planning. The impact of this programme was reviewed to ascertain whether it is sustainable. I also indicated that one of the reasons we delayed disbursing this fund is that we were waiting for the report, which is now out and we are looking at the recommendations. At an appropriate time, we will communicate the next step. As a Government, we are very willing to ensure that we engage our counterparts, the parliamentarians, to ensure that this programme becomes a success.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, a few weeks ago, the hon. Minister rolled out another programme to support young street vendors, yet constituencies in the rural areas have not received the Youth Development Fund. Are these programmes rolled out just for the sake of studies or are they really genuine? Will these programmes reach out to our constituencies?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, these programmes are not academic. They are real. I indicated that this fund has not been disbursed to the province that the hon. Member has referred to. Therefore, it is difficult for me to confirm whether this programme is academic or not according to him. However, this programme is real in the provinces where it has been disbursed and the youth have benefitted from this fund. 


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutale: Mr Speaker, how much money under this fund will be disbursed to the Central Province, in particular, Chitambo District, so that people there can know how much will be going their way?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, for now, it is very difficult for me to indicate how much money will be sent to the Central Province, and Chitambo District in particular, because we are still considering the recommendations from the study which was undertaken. Definitely, at an appropriate time, I will come back to this august House to advise the hon. Member of Parliament for Chitambo on how much money will be sent there.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, questions of this nature tend to attract particularisation of questions to constituencies, and in the nature of things, when a question is centred on a particular constituency, the hon. Minister is only prepared for that constituency. So, if we continue making these enquiries, we could go on and on. Try to raise policy issues, if any. If not, target a particular question. Generally, I also urge members of the Executive to supply information on programmes of this nature to hon. Members of Parliament to pre-empt these kinds of questions. They are predictable.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, in his statement, I heard the hon. Minister say that the Central Province was not a beneficiary of the Youth Development Fund and that only six provinces had benefitted from the fund, the Copperbelt Province being one of them. Since I hail from the Copperbelt Province, Mufulira to be precise, is the hon. Minister in a position to tell the House now or at a later stage how much was disbursed to the Copperbelt Province and Mufulira in particular?


Mr Speaker: I have just provided counsel ...




Mr Speaker: ... and immediately after that, the same issue I raised comes up. You are even cautious by saying “In future, can the hon. Minister give me information ...”




Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, normally, the forms for accessing the fund are to be supplied to the provincial office in the provinces. I know that Chitambo Constituency is not close to Kabwe, which is the headquarters. Is there a possibility of the ministry coming up with a way which will make it easier for the youths to access this fund in the future?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, knowing very well that the youth are in various places and may find it very difficult to reach the provincial office, we normally encourage them to submit their applications at the district level. In most cases, we ask them to submit their applications to the district commissioners’ offices or the local authorities. The applications are, then, sent to the ministry. We try by all means to provide an avenue through which our youths can access this fund as easily as possible.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, arising from the answer the hon. Minister has given that constituencies have been benefiting from the Youth Empowerment Fund, I would like to find out whether he is in a position to come to the House with a consolidated list to show us which constituencies have benefitted and how they have benefited from this fund.


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, I would propose that, perhaps, I come with a ministerial statement in which this information can be given in detail.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, my question was similar to what the hon. Member of Parliament for Ikeleng’i has asked about.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to state whether these funds are in the 2018 Budget or they are being funded by an outside budget. This is because I heard him talk about funding for 2015 and 2016. So, one would assume that there is an accumulation of funds somewhere, which is against accounting principles.


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, we have budgeted adequately for this Youth Empowerment Fund. So, hon. Members of Parliament will notice a change in the budget line for youth empowerment programme for 2018. Definitely, we are mindful of the accounting principles and taken that into serious consideration.


Thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister care to come one day in the not so distant future with the criteria that he uses for youth club qualification. What I am trying to find out here is whether he has a clear standard that is not subject to human manipulation. This is because there is a notion that the manner in which these clubs are selected is highly partisan. Is there a standard where a person could apply electronically without showing his/her face and qualify for this Youth Empowerment Fund?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, I am very willing to come back to this House to give the criteria we use for youth club qualification, which is very transparent, such that every youth can participate in getting empowered by this good Government. Of course, as I have promised, I will come back with a detailed ministerial statement on the Youth Empowerment Fund so that these grey areas are addressed and dealt with once and for all.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Phiri (Mkaika): Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that within a short period of time, the Social Cash Transfer programme has made an impact because of decentralisation. I would like to find out from him whether he has any plans to decentralise the Youth Empowerment Fund further to the districts so that our youths can access these funds. In the Eastern Province, Katete in particular, I have not seen any of our youth clubs accessing these funds.


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, the programme is very decentralised in terms of benefiting districts. The youths who are benefiting from this programme come from various communities. Actually, they come from the branches, sections, wards, constituencies and districts. They do not come from Lusaka. So, these funds are not centralised. They are actually decentralised. Our job is just to allocate these funds to the respective districts and beneficiaries.


Mr Speaker, in terms of identifying the beneficiaries, it is done at district level or, at times, at constituency level. As I have promised, and as it was done in the past, we will engage the Parliamentarians even before we roll out any programme so that even they are fully aware of the programme the ministry is trying to roll out.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mawere: These are old programmes in which we have realised that there were some lacunas. However, going forward, we will fully engage the Parliamentarians so that they also appreciate and understand the procedure on how young people can benefit from these funds.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, from the answer that the hon. Minister gave to the hon. Member of Parliament for Chitambo, is he telling us that the Government will release the moneys for 2015 and 2016, which were not paid, because the 2015/2016 budgets have already gone and we are now debating 2018 Budget. Therefore, is he saying that the Government will still go ahead to pay the money in arrears for 2015 and 2016?


Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, the money will never be paid in arrears. We have budgeted for it in the 2018 Budget. So, we will pay from that budget.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.




46. Mr Phiri asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the construction of bridges at the following crossing points in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency would commence:


  1. Mnyamanzi;
  2. Chisale;
  3. Kalowe; and
  4. Mtetezi; and


  1. what the time frame for the completion of each bridge was.


The Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business (Mr Musukwa) (on behalf of The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the construction of bridges at Mnyamanzi and Mtetezi crossing points in Mkaika Parliamentary constituency will commence in the third quarter of 2018 upon procurement of the works by the contractor.


Sir, the repair works at the bridge at Chisale and Kalowe will be undertaken using the Force Account once funds are made available by the Road Development Agency (RDA). This will be undertaken after a comprehensive assessment of the works has been done.


Sir, the completion period for the bridges at Mnyamanzi, Chisale, Kalowe and Mtetezi crossing points in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency is nine months from the date of commencement of the works.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Phiri: Mr Speaker, may I find out from the hon. Minister whether he has any plans to repair the Mnyamanzi Bridge since children find it difficult to cross during the rainy season to the other side where there is a school called Mnyamanzi Primary School. May I find out if there are any other plans to construct a temporary bridge that these children can use to cross to and from school.


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the ministry, the hon. Member and our technocrats will sit down to see if a stopgap measure can be provided.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!








(Debate resumed)


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to debate the Budget Speech. In doing so, please, allow me to remind our colleagues on the right that a strong Opposition is good for this country.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: A strong Opposition is also good for this Parliament as well as the Executive. A strong Opposition will check Government excesses and help curb corruption.


Mr Mutale: Question!


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, when our colleagues in the Government do not listen to alternative policies or advice, what tends to happen is that the Republican President comes here to account to the people of Zambia, as he did a number of days ago, and to tell them that the country has experienced subdued economic activities. This is found on page 10 and 11.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I just want to be sure that we are on the same hymn in the hymn book.


Mr Nkombo: It is the same, Sir!


Mr Speaker: I want you to assure me that you are debating the Budget Speech.


Dr Imakando: Sir, I am, indeed, because the hon. Minister of Finance was a bearer of a message from His Excellency the President.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President continued to say that there was reduced gross domestic product (GDP) growth at less than 3 per cent, reduced power generation, reduced agricultural productivity, reduced service provision and failure to cope with infrastructural contractual obligations. On page 16, he said that non-traditional exports declined, total exports decreased and there was sluggish job growth. Later in the speech, in paragraph 126, His Excellency the President eventually admitted that poverty levels remain unacceptably high at 54 per cent. I must add that for Mongu Central, the poverty levels are at 80 per cent.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, I did not receive inspiration and hope from that speech. So, I waited for the hon. Minister of Finance thinking, perhaps, that he would somehow inspire confidence but, unfortunately, I left this place disappointed.


Sir, I am disappointed because 50 per cent of the Budget goes towards paying salaries. If you add other statutory and constitutional payments, it goes up to 60 per cent. 60 per cent of this Budget is already gone. This is what we would call fixed costs in micro-economics. These are costs that cannot be changed over a short period of time. They are sunk costs. This leaves us with 40 per cent, out of which 30 per cent goes to paying back loans contracted because of the Patriotic Front’s (PF) appetite to borrow. This leaves only 10 per cent for service provision, poverty reduction and job creation.


Mr Speaker, in a situation where the income of the country will only grow by 4 per cent, I cannot see from where we will get jobs for the young people.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Sir, in a country where you have 54 per cent of the population being defined as poor, you cannot talk about not leaving anyone behind because you have already left them behind anyway.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, there are a number of initiatives that the Government wants to undertake, but I will zero in on agriculture. This Government is suggesting a roll-out of the electronic voucher (e-Voucher) system. We have carefully listened to the statements about the system and three important points stand out. The first is that the e-Voucher system depends on having point of sale machines, but these machines need internet provision. Secondly, the e-Voucher system depends on the widespread availability of agro-dealers in the rural areas. Lastly, the system depends on picking out the right beneficiaries.


Sir, looking at our capacity in the agriculture sector and the ability to have point of sale machines, it is clear that many rural areas will not have point of sale machines; there are not enough agro-dealers in many rural areas; and it will be very difficult to target these wide-spread rural farmers. The result is that this is a problem waiting to explode.


Mr Speaker, we will come back here next year to receive excuses. The usual excuse will be poor rainfall. Last year, there was an additional excuse of poor energy. The reason managers are hired is to navigate economies in tough times. It will not do to come to this House to give excuses.

Mr Speaker, this e-Voucher system that we want to roll-out will simply roll-out problems. If we are not careful, we will end up with a distressed agriculture sector. Having already created problems by reducing the price of maize, I think, we need to review our agricultural policies.


Mr Speaker, poverty is widespread. If the hon. Minister says that this Government will not leave anyone behind and he has only about 10 per cent of the Budget to use to end this poverty, we will have challenges that will lead to serious problems. The youths out there are waiting for jobs. If I am to zero-down on Mongu Central, where we have, maybe, one or two industries, employment is only in the Government and, perhaps, non-governmental organisations (NGOs). The speech did not provide hope for the youths. What we want to see is a situation whereby funds are not wasted on fire tenders.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Sir, what we want to see is a situation where the Ndola/Lusaka Dual Carriage Way does not gobble funds. We want to see that these funds are taken to help with feeder roads. We have a difficult time ahead of us. The youths are waiting for jobs. When I look at the initiatives being suggested in this Budget, it seems to me that it is business as usual. If it is the case, there is nothing much to expect out of this Budget.


Mr Speaker, what is critical for this country is to create confidence in our economic and business environments. Listening to the hon. Minister’s speech, I could not hear anything that will attract investors to this country. Zambia is a small economy and it needs the participation of investors. We need to open up Zambia for investment. However, for as long as we do not appreciate alternative policies coming from the Opposition, we will continue to have challenges.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Sir, I would, therefore, like to encourage my colleagues to allow for alternative policies. We have been giving advice and our colleagues constantly reject it. For Zambia to be inclusive, this Government must have inclusive ideas. It cannot be inclusive if it has only exclusive ideas.


Mr Speaker, I want to end by saying that the people of Mongu are not inspired by this Budget. There are no jobs that will be created. With 4 per cent GDP growth, there will be no new firms and jobs coming on the scene. Therefore, there is no hope. Let me refer to the promises made by the PF Government. The PF Government voluntarily promised the people of Mongu to build King Lewanika University.




Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, in the Western Province, we value education. When we heard that a university would be built for us, we were very excited. Just as the Government has abandoned many projects, it has abandoned the construction of King Lewanika University. During our suspension, I took time to walk around and I saw a lot of abandoned structures.


Ms Mulenga: Ubufi!


Dr Imakando: Sir, there was nothing that looked like a university.




Mr Speaker: Order! Continue.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President said that the construction of King Lewanika University will commence and I hope it will. I must add that a stadium was supposed to be built in Mongu. If you go to that site, you will only find shrubs that are used for making … I will not finish what I wanted to say.




Dr Imakando: Sir, the point is that the people of Mongu are waiting to see if even the little that is in the Budget will be given to the people of Zambia, especially to them.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, I stand to speak on behalf of the people of Zambia, especially those in formal and informal employment, this includes my people in Kazungula.  


Mr Speaker, I recognise the good debates of those who spoke before me and I want to adopt them as my own because they had a lot of information. On page 8 of the Budget Speech, under Pillar One, there is “Economic Diversification and Job Creation.” In particular, my interest is on the subheading entitled, “Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries.” Our lives are anchored on diversification, agriculture, livestock and fisheries.


Sir, last year, we had a long chat over the same and this matter is before us again today. I want to believe that the advice which we gave may not have been taken well by this Government. Where we come from, we talk and sleep agriculture because we regard it as a business. If only this Government could lend us a listening ear, it could make some good strides. Livestock development is not one you can engage in under trial and error. This Government must listen from the experts. I would ask this Government to swallow its pride and listen to Mr Hakainde Hichilema who is a great farmer in this country.




Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, we can only reduce poverty if we learn from the good works of the good people of this country regardless of their status in society and apply the lessons on a larger scale to help Zambia. However, it is not everyone in this country who we can learn from in this regard.


Mr Speaker, there are provinces that already have animals that can make money for this country. There is no way you can just wake up today and think that you can produce more copper from the Southern or Western provinces as compared to the Copperbelt or North-Western provinces. It is not possible. The Government would first have to invest heavily in the provinces to reach the copper production levels of the North-Western and Copperbelt provinces.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, for beef, however, you can rest assured that if you do what is right in the Southern and Western provinces, you will quickly get the benefits and the profit that is desired.


Mr Speaker, our beef is not exported on to the international market for known reasons. The Ministry of Livestock is aware of why our beef cannot go beyond the local markets and get us good returns. It is because there are certain things that are lacking. We suggested that some provinces be declared centres of excellence so that we can quickly get to the desired mark. Required necessities must be provided in those areas and stop the cross country kind of agriculture that that is being pursued. It is not possible to run agriculture that way. The Government wants to give animals to people who have never kept animals. The desired results cannot be achieved. Learn from where it is already being done, develop what is there and quickly start exporting to earn this country the required monies that can help to reduce poverty. This is just on one side of livestock business.


Mr Speaker, there is the crop side to the livestock sector. The farmers who grow maize have been left behind. At that rate, it is nothing to talk about. However, there is the crop side of the livestock sector and maize is an integral part. We can provide the market for maize by providing feed stocks that are required for animals. This way, you can still deal with the issue of poverty. However, at the rate we are going, our people in rural areas have already been left behind against the theme of the Budget and the President’s speech.


Mr Speaker, many people have been left behind and I am not too sure which people are being targeted. Yesterday, we heard that the Government is putting fertiliser and seed in wrong areas leaving fertile grounds. As long as this continues to be done, the desired results will not come in the shortest possible time until the United Party for National Development (UPND) takes over the Government and deals with these matters.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, allow me to bring to your attention the disappointment of your people in Kazungula that this Government is failing listen to their cry on the K60 per 50 kg bag of maize which it has imposed on them. This Government is killing its people and as I speak to you today, they are very disappointed. I am not sure how we will get over this issue, but by God’s grace.


Mr Speaker, I want to address the issues that affect workers in this country. I spent a good number of years as a worker in this country with many of my good friends in this House and I spoke for the people. I can see some bourgeoisies across with whom we fought around tables bargaining to get a bit of what was necessary for the people in the working class.


Mr Speaker, it is bad to make workers a cost serving centre because they provide labour, which is not cheap, but expensive. You know too well that for the past two years or so, there have been no salary increments in the public sector. These workers spend most of their time in employment being productive in offices. Whether you abuse them or not, they have vowed to work for this country and it is only fair that when it comes to meeting reasonable remuneration, you do not make them a cost serving centre.


Mr Speaker, it is difficult to survive, as a worker, in Zambia today. No wonder they are being encouraged to take the wrong ways of raising money. Workers in Zambia, today, are heavily taxed. Before the presentation of the Budget, there was a cry from them for a reduction in the highest tax band from 37.5 to 35 per cent. It appears this cry fell on deaf ears and was not adhered to. Instead, we saw an increment in taxes in many forms.


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: The hon. Minister could not have touched on those levels of percentums, but it went on to touch many areas from where everyone is trying to survive. For example, there is a K2 imposed on cement.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Livune: Maybe, you have never worked or have been a sole trader and so do not feel what the workers feel.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, workers are annoyed with this Government. The Government is fighting to end poverty and in doing so is encouraging civil servants to build small houses around. However, in their quest to build, it wants to charge them extra monies on already expensive commodities. The K2 on cement is another addition on the heavy taxes.


Mr Speaker, in Zambia, workers are the ones who pay all forms of taxes. Any form of tax in this country is paid by the consumers, who are the workers. They are the end users of these commodities and services. A worker is taxed at the source and all the way through. How will the worker appreciate this Government which continues to praise itself as the alpha and the omega? Workers are annoyed with this Government and I hope it can listen because it is not too late to consider some concessions and give relief to workers.


Mr Speaker, the so-called clinched deal on salary increment that was given and takes effect on 1st January, 2018, by percentums of 7 to 9 is in quantum something between K200 and K300. You can apply 37.5 per cent because that money just falls in the highest bracket and will be taxed. When you talk about the quantum of that increment, we are somewhere around K180 and K150 as increment. Can we calculate how much money has been increased on the part of what a worker must pay for? A worker must pay all the road taxes, all the taxes on food and commodities and must now also pay toll fees on the roads. It is an extra cost on a worker and this Government feels that there is nothing wrong over which workers must complain.


Mr Speaker, even at K20, which is the average toll fee, it is still high. Just K5 for toll fees is sufficient. These are things for which people will pay on a daily basis until the Lord Jesus Christ comes, but the Government wants to get all the money overnight and satisfy its members’ egos. It is not fair. Workers are lamenting and want some relief from the expenses.


Mr Speaker, as I was coming, I saw another toll gate being constructed somewhere around Livingstone. Again, just after Choma, another toll gate is being put up. Sooner rather than later, there will be another toll gate between Sesheke and Kazungula. So, to reach Lusaka, you have to deal with four toll gates. One way is K80. Now, who will pay all that money? It is the simple Zambian worker who is taxed heavily through and through.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: The only way the Government thinks of raising money is to touch on these issues. I want it to spread its thinking.


The reason being that, Mr Speaker, in the one for last year, which is the current one, the targets were clear and specific. There was no doubt about what the Government intended to do, and by the same token, about the level of its achievements and failures. However, in the 2018 “Zambia Plus”, the hon. Minister’s colleagues have prevailed upon him to move away from setting targets which are measurable. This is unfortunate in a lot of ways because this Government told this House that it would use the performance management system in the Civil Service. Therefore, if it is moving away from an approach which sets clear and specific targets, it is a cause for worry.


Sir, when you are planning for the future, you have to look back and see what you have achieved and, maybe, even take into account the precedence. I note from the speech which was presented that the hon. Minister in his wisdom, and for various reasons, of course, was selective in indicating the areas in which the Government made some achievement. Notably, he indicated that the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA), as a pension house, was encouraged to participate in investment activities and that is why it has invested in the rehabilitation of the Chingola/Solwezi Road at a cost of K2.1 billion, which is a good thing. He also indicated that the set up of the Agricultural and Industrial Credit Guarantee Scheme was successful and it has been put in place. However, these were not the most important issues from the point of view of the citizens and people of Nkeyema in particular.


Mr Speaker, let me refer to a few promises which were made in last year’s Budget, which I thought should have been reflected upon so that we would have understood what the problems had been. This would have, then, formed the basis for the Government to plan for the future. Otherwise, then, it means that the Government is planning in a vacuum.


Mr Speaker, in last year’s Budget, we were told that 144 prefabricated bridges would be installed on feeder roads across the country. As I stand here, I can confidently say that there is not a single bridge in Nkeyema. So, in the context of not being left behind, I have two issues with this. If such bridges have been constructed somewhere else in this country, I am very concerned because we have been left behind, yet we pay taxes. So, I will be interested to know what has gone wrong. Equally, if there was a problem, we would have felt much better had it been indicated.


Sir, let me give a typical example of why I say the format for last year’s Budget presentation was better structured. A target had been set, in 2017, to increase access to clean and safe drinking water from the current 51 to 55 per cent and access to sanitation from 44 to 47 per cent in rural areas. This would have been done through the construction of 2,000 and the rehabilitation of 1,000 water points, and the construction of 300 sanitary facilities. This is very good and how it should be because we are in a position to hold the Government accountable on what it has achieved, when it plans to undertake the other projects for this year and what the basis is. However, coming back to the issue of equity, nothing has happened in Nkeyema in relation to this.


Mr Speaker, let me come to the battle cry of the PF Government before it came into power. It set a target to create100,000 jobs and we know that there have been difficulties in this regard. Even if no jobs had been created, we would have loved to see the level of achievement. However, in the 2018 Budget, that target is not there. So, come next year, what will we talk about? It will be our word against that of the Government and it is not right. As a matter of fact, and I requested the hon. Minister of Finance last time, that, maybe, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) can produce information on a monthly basis relating to employment. That is what we expect it to do.


Sir, there was also an issue about restoring credibility to the Budget process to minimise unplanned expenditure, and that was part of what was planned. Quite clearly, this has not been achieved. If it was, we would not be talking about fire engines, but something else. The Government also intended to alternate some of its functions and had given a date by which this was to be done. However, it has failed to do this. So, we expected the Government to explain why it failed and how, then, it would take remedial action to ensure that what is being planned is achieved.


Mr Speaker, let me briefly talk about the public and private sector employees. These people pay so much tax. Even in the current arrangement going forward, they are expected to carry us forward and pay more taxes, yet their level of remuneration is very low. On page 36, paragraph 176, the hon. Minister has given a pointer of what the Government might do to disadvantage these people more, but he has not indicated what that is in specific terms. However, whatever happens, this will still have an impact on the reduced take home pay for the people. The hon. Minister stated that:


“Sir, in order to ensure that the Government collects the much-needed revenue on a cost reflective basis, I propose to revise upward fees and charges collected by various Government institutions that have not been revised for a long time.”


Sir, this is a loaded statement. Definitely, when he decides to implement what those issues he has in mind are, that is when the chickens will come home to roost.


Mr Speaker, let me come back to the issue of not being left behind. I would like to encourage the Executive side of this House to prevail on the bureaucrats to not come up with themes which do not make sense, which are a mockery in other words. In the Budget Speech, we have been told that the Government intends to put up three farming blocks on the Copperbelt, Luapula and Northern provinces. We are not against projects in other areas, but the point is that in Nkeyema and Kaoma, we have farming blocks which are more than eight years old. The Government which set them up in Ngombe-ngombe and Kamwange was supposed to put roads, dams and other infrastructure.



Sir, imagine I am seated here and hearing that there will be a creation of farming block and that resources will be channeled there. What does the Government take us for? I am making an appeal to the hon. Minister to reflect on this issue and address it appropriately.


Sir, the other issue is the Lusaka/Mongu Road. I complain about this road because the worst part of it passes through my constituency. Other people may not be concerned about the state of this road because they are not affected. I have not gotten an answer regarding this issue. Therefore, I do not feel good when I hear that new roads are being constructed while nothing happens to the Lusaka/Mongu Road. When you look at the discrimination, it is mainly against the rural people. As a result, the rural constituencies are worse off than the urban ones. So, when the hon. Minister says that the Government does not want to leave anyone behind, what is that supposed to mean? If the Government was walking the talk, as it claims it to, there would be positive discrimination in favour of rural areas and not the other way round. How can constituencies in Lusaka have the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and the Millennium Challenge Account, yet Nkeyema is deprived of the CDF? The Government, then, comes to this House to say that it does not want to leave anyone behind. What sort of approach is that? That is not good. Let us be …


Mr C. Zulu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I am sure you have been following these debates. I do not want to encourage points of order while other hon. Members are debating.


Hon. Opposition Members: Sit down.


Mr Speaker: What you should do is make notes and then raise the issues at an appropriate juncture.


You may continue hon. Member.


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, let me now talk about the electronic voucher (e-Voucher) scheme, which my colleague spoke about. I would say that it is unfortunate, in so many years, that the workshop which was scheduled to take place last week did not. I am still looking forward to that workshop taking place because it is there that we would have given some input from our experiences. Had the workshop taken place, we would have suggested that some of these bureaucrats from the ministry take a day out with us so that they could see what we see.


Mr Speaker, the substantial part of my constituency has no network, how then can the e-Voucher be introduced? What should be done first is to install communication towers. When that is done and everything is up and running, then, the e-Voucher scheme can be introduced. There is also the issue of phones, which the beneficiaries are supposed to buy. However, for me, the bigger issue is that last year, when we spoke about the challenges when the project was being piloted, we learnt that some people, especially the aged, were forgetting their passwords. I can confirm that in Nkeyema, no training has been offered to the old people to ensure that they do not forget their passwords even after the network is installed. I am sure that this could be the same even in other areas. This is October and, very soon, the planting season will be upon us. Therefore, although the intention is good, it will not work. Instead, it will create more problems in terms of project management and implementation. However, this may work in areas which are better off. Since the PF Government prides itself in being a listening Government, we should not discuss the same issues over and over.


Mr Speaker, the other thing is that hon. Ministers should move around and see these areas also. That is the only way they will understand the gravity of the problem and ascertain whether we are being unreasonable. If you asked a person from Nkeyema whether he/she has seen an hon. Minister before, you would learn that, maybe, they have only seen one. So, let the hon. Ministers also travel and see these areas instead of just going on international trips. Local travel is also important as it will enable them to relate with us.


Sir, as I conclude, the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) is important because under the current system, council secretaries have their own challenges and we have no influence. Therefore, even if this fund is increased and given to them, the intended purpose will not be achieved. For some reason, there are so many transfers taking place even in small districts like Nkeyema. So, the powers that be may need to reflect and apply brakes on some of the things being done.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing the voice to Chienge to debate the Budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. Firstly, I am pretty sure that the people of Chienge are happy to hear that the tax holidays have been done away with because they were simply theft by investors who would come into the country to conduct their businesses and change the names of their companies once the tax holidays had ended. So, I want to say, “well done to the Government.” I hope that, in future, this country will not allow the so-called tax holidays.


Sir, the majority of the people of Chienge are not as educated as some of us seated here or as the people in the urban areas who are able to understand what the Budget is all about. Seeing as our Government does not provide the interpretation of the Budget to people in rural areas where illiteracy and poverty levels are so high, our people do not understand what it is. All they have is a bit of financial intelligence here and there.


Mr Speaker, having listened to the hon. Minister’s Budget Speech, I picked up a few things that I feel affect the people of Chienge and most Zambians. Although the hon. Minister said that the Government does not want to leave anyone behind, most people have been left behind. When you look at the issue of taxes, you will see that Zambians are heavily taxed. If I bank my money, the bank takes some of it through taxes. Wherever you go, Zambians are paying taxes in one form or another. In the long run, we will go back to the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days. I remember when I was young, people used to keep money underneath their beds because they would be so scared to bank their money due to high taxes. Someone has been taxed heavily and when they take their money to the bank, it also charges some kind of tax. Further, when you want to go somewhere, you are required to pay toll fees. If you want to build a house, you are also subjected to high taxes. The majority of our country’s civil servants have low incomes. Similarly, the businessmen and women also have low incomes and are what we used to called sido men and women.



Mr Speaker, I am very concerned about the Government’s pronouncement on electric geysers. Every Zambian wants to own property. When the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) came into power, it ensured that Zambians were empowered to own properties. Due to the fact that we do not have geyser manufacturing industries, we have to import them. This Government has, however, proposed to increase customs duty on electric geysers from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. This will mean people avoiding buying geysers. For example, solar geysers are K8,000 plus. Where will a civil servant get this kind of money?


Mr Speaker, this increase in customs duty on electric geysers will lead to deforestation. Charcoal will be on high demand because people need to warm water in winter, or any other time, for those that cannot take a cold bath. I am urging this PF Government to re-examine this Budget and consider the common man on the ground.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutale: Question!


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, there are too many levies. The television levy, for example, has been adjusted upwards from K3 to K5. What, then, is the purpose of buying a decoder from the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC)?


Mr Mutale: Question!


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, yesterday, I heard that the reason for the increase in television levy is maintenance of machines. What machines? However, can the money meant for maintenance not be obtained from the money realised through the sale of decoders?


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Katuta: All these are ways of making a Zambian poorer. 

Sir, allow me to raise a concern on the statement that there is no free life in Zambia. Only someone who is not a mother can say this. People in Zambia are in much pain because of these upward adjustments of levies and taxes by this Government simply because it wants to raise domestic revenue. I expected the hon. Minister of Finance to tell us how well the previous Budget performed. By knowing that, we would, perhaps, understand how these figures or the ideas on revenue collection in the 2018 Budget have come about.  


Hon. Opposition members: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta: Alas, there is nothing of the sort in this Budget.


Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, said that 500,000 jobs would be created. When he addressed this House, the hon. Minister of Finance said that 200,000 jobs would be created. Next thing, we will hear that 100,000 jobs will be created. Where are these jobs? A lot of shopping malls have come up. I actually refer to it as ‘mallisation’ and not industrialisation. How can we allow our country to be a dumping site for products from other countries? Do we expect our youth, who are the future leaders, to benefit from what is happening now? No.


Sir, what are we leaving for our children by coming up with budgets that do not consider them? The theme of this Budget is, “Accelerating Fiscal Fitness for Sustained Inclusive Growth without Leaving Anyone Behind,” yet we have left our youth behind.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta: We have many university and secondary and primary school dropouts because their parents cannot afford tuition fees.


Mr Speaker, I want to raise a concern on the investment environment in Zambia, which I feel only favours foreigners. The hon. Minister of Finance spoke about multi-facility zones (MFEZ) such as the Lusaka Multi-facility Zone, which I have been to several times. The reason that the place cannot develop is the amount which the Government is asking for. Any Zambian, on top of being levied a K2 on a pocket of cement, cannot afford to invest there. Where does a Zambian get US$250,000? Borrowing money from a bank does not help either because interest rates are as high as 30 plus per cent.


Sir, I would like to urge the Government to reconsider this Budget because as much as it believes that it has not left anyone behind, it indeed has left the common man, who is the true Zambian, behind. The Government must interpret this Budget to the true Zambian way before it is even presented. They need to hear from the real stakeholders or shareholders of this country, who are the youth and the common man.


Mr Speaker, I would also like to comment on the five pillars that the Government has laid out, particularly Pillar No.1, which is economic diversification and job creation. I want to specifically look at agriculture, livestock and fisheries.


Sir, I have always wondered what the Zambia National Service (ZNS) is doing. We want to bring foreign farmers when we have our youth whom we can group into co-operatives for training by the ZNS. The Government can, then, give them farming blocks. Other countries such as Canada, Bangladesh and India have done it. Why should we bring in an outsider to grow cassava? In Chienge, Luapula Province, people grow cassava as a livelihood. There are so many youth in that area. They can be grouped into co-operatives or in out-grower schemes rather than bringing a foreigner to grow cassava or sugarcane.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, I also want to talk about farming blocks. The hon. Minister talked about creating farming blocks on the Copperbelt, Muchinga and Northern provinces. What about Luapula Province? For example, Chienge has vast land. This is why I am saying that the people of Chienge have been left behind. I wonder whether it is because they have an Opposition Member of Parliament as their representative. I do not subscribe to that notion because this is a democratic country.




Ms Katuta: In any case, Mr Speaker, the Opposition is good for checks and balances. To be told that you cannot get a certain project because you belong to a different party is wrong.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about the K2 levy on a pocket of cement. I find this absurd.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Ms Katuta: This is really unacceptable in a country where people cannot even afford to have three meals a day. It is particularly worse for the civil servants. All I can say is that the Government should not complain when there is so much theft in Government offices. If, for example, someone wants to build a House in Kalingalinga, he or she is supposed to buy a pocket of cement at K65. However, because of this K2 levy, they will end up paying close to K70.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta: Honestly, how many pockets of cement will someone have to buy to put up a structure? Does this mean that civil servants or anyone else should be confined to small houses? They too want to live in luxurious homes.


Mr Speaker, I want to remind the Government to give us statistics of its achievements in the 2017 Budget. I did not hear any achievements. To me, everything is theory. I know that theory is good, but when it is not implemented, it is a sheer waste of time. It is just rhetoric.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, an agro-economy is the most powerful. I would urge this Government to focus on agriculture. Bangladesh has done it. As I speak, it is the fourth largest exporter of agro products in the world. Can Zambia not do the same when we have a lot of water and vast land?



Mr Speaker, before I wind up, I would like to urge this Government to ban the importation of the so-called Tilapia fish from China. Why can we not start the aquaculture in Zambia? The House may wish to know that 80,000 tonnes of fish is being imported from China. This simply shows that something must be wrong with the Government. It would be better for us to undertake that kind of fish farming in Zambia. Let us get the ideas of how it is being done instead of allowing them to bring that kind of fish because when it lands in Zambia, it is no longer fresh fish.


Sir, with the few words from the people of Chienge, I find that the Budget Speech has left them behind, especially those in the rural areas because not much has been said about how a man in the rural will be helped by this Budget. If anything, I find it so expensive. The PF Government said it was pro-poor and that its intention was to put more money in our pockets. However, the opposite is true because there is no more money in our pockets.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the 2018 Budget.


Sir, if I was to give the Budget a proper title in my native language, I would simply call it “idondamwaka.”




Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, in simple terms, idondamwaka is a tropical ulcer.


Sir, to the people of Dundumwezi, the current Budget is one that has not changed their livelihood in any way. This is my eleventh year in this House and I have been sitting and listening to different National Budgets presented by various hon. Ministers of Finance all this while. What I have noticed is that the 2018 Budget is actually the worst among the Budget speeches I have heard in the previous years. I will illustrate this statement.


Sir, before, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy’s (MMD) term came to an end, we had fifteen satellite depots in Dundumwezi. As I stand here, Dundumwezi has less than ten satellite depots, yet this is a constituency which produces tonnes and tonnes of maize, which is our staple food.


Mr Speaker, just last week, I was in my constituency and I toured a number of depots. The first depot I explored was the Bilili Depot and found that out of hundred general receipts which were issued to our farmers, only five farmers were paid, as at last week, from this year’s budget. As if that was not enough, I went to Kasukwe Depot, which is about 50 km. Out of more than hundred general receipts, which were issued by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for the payment, I established that not a single farmer was paid. Further, when I went to Katambo Satellite Depot, I discovered that more than 150 farmers had supplied their commodities to the FRA, but only less than three farmers were paid. It is for this reasons that the people of Dundumwezi have said that this Budget is a tropical ulcer.


Sir, I want to imagine that this is the same scenario which will come out of the 2018 Budget because there is nothing different that has come out of it.


Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has allowed people to rob our farmers.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sing’ombe: Mr Speaker, I will give a very clear example. We have the Zambia Weights and Measures Agency in this country. I consider this agency that concentrates only on petroleum products. If the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) decided to reduce the fuel prices today, we would find that most of the service stations would adjust the pump prices by tomorrow. This is because the Zambia Weights and Measurement Agency is active when it comes to petroleum products.


Sir, for instance, if we went to one of the chain stores and discovered that a commodity such as sugar was weighing less, it would make headlines. However, the Zambia Weights and Measurements Agency has not gone to the rural scads to ensure that the scales used ate calibrated. You would find that most of the farmers are giving more than they are receiving, yet this Government is not even concerned.


Mr Speaker, we, as farmers, are not happy. I can foresee a situation whereby our rural farmers will still continue nursing the tropical ulcer, which is not healing in 2018.


Mr Speaker, if someone tells me that he/she wants a pair of shoes, which is size eight, it will not be of any help for me to get size four. It is as good and not having helped him.


Sir, in 2011, the PF Government, through the late Head of State, Mr Micheal Sata, may his soul rest in peace, indicated that 650 health posts would be dotted throughout the country. Whilst we have seen clinics being built in other parts of the country, the people of Dundumwezi have not seen not even a slab.


Mr Speaker, sometimes, when I sit, …


Mr Lufuma: Hear, hear!


Mr Sing’ombe: … I wonder when I hear someone say we have to move together and ensure that no one is left behind when the people of Dundumwezi have no single clinic. It is disappointing to see that no support has been given to the projects despite taking the initiative to build a clinic using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). 


Mr Speaker, for instance, nothing is happening to Kasukwe Health Post, which was completed about five to six years ago. As I stand, no nurse has been posted to that clinic. So, I get concerned when I hear hon. Ministers requesting hon. Members of Parliament to use part of their CDF when they know that they do not have the capacity to give us supporting staff. The people of Dundumwezi and the rest of the country will nurse a tropical ulcer the entire 2018.


Mr Speaker, at the moment, teachers are not allowing pupils to learn because their parents have not paid school fees. It is not that parents are deliberately refusing to pay school fees, but the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has not paid them for the crop they supplied to it. It is sad that even those who are in examination classes are not allowed to sit and learn because their parents have not paid the required school fees. A number of pupils and parents have complained about this because the Government policy is that no pupil should be sent back on account of failing to pay school fees. What we are seeing now is that examinations are just around the corner, but pupils are not given time to revise or learn.


Mr Speaker, the road network is another problem. If we are to take count of how many lives have been lost on the Turn Pike/Mazabuka Road, we will find that there so many. I have not heard anything on resurfacing this road. If you drive from Mazabuka to Monze, you will find that the entire road has now turned into a ‘crocodile’ road.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sing’ombe: This is because it has not received the attention of the PF Government. Just two months ago, His Excellency President Edgar Lungu, so-called my namesake, came to Dundumwezi. The PF Government has continued abusing Dundumwezi. The road that the Government is purporting to construct is the Ngoma Road from Kalomo to the Kafue National Park through Itezhi-tezhi. However, just because the Government wants to continue abusing Dundumwezi, the name of the road has all of a sudden changed from Ngoma Road to Dundumwezi Road. If you drive along that road, it is a death trap.


Sir, what surprised us was that the road that is supposed to be constructed is in Chief Siachitema’s area, but the meeting on the construction of this road was held at Chief Chikanta’s Palace, which is in another chiefdom. I was wondering what type of co-ordination this is and if it is even true that this road will be constructed. The area of construction is different from the place where the meeting was held.


Mr Speaker, I had the privilege to drive on this road with Hon. Chitotela, the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development. Earlier on, we had planned to drive to about 50 km on that road. Alas, barely less than 20 km of the journey, the hon. Minister gave up. He could not stomach the situation and he said to me, “Please, napapata, let us just go back.”




Mr Sing’ombe: This means, “Please, I beg you …


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, it is enough to say you went on this road with the hon. Minister. My fear is that you may now start debating him.


Mr Sing’ombe: I am grateful for your guidance, Mr Speaker. The hon. Minister literary begged me to make a U-turn because he could not stomach the bad state of the road. I sympathised with him and allowed him to go back. However, I did not hear anything in the Budget Address addressing the state of the Dundumwezi Road, as the Government is now calling it.


Sir, we are slightly excited with the pronouncement by the hon. Minister of Transport and Communication. We have seen trucks driving into Dundumwezi bringing equipment for the construction of four communication towers. This has excited us because we were the only constituency that was not connected to the rest of the province and country at large. So, people are waiting to see these projects completed so that we can also conduct meaningful business.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want the hon. Minister of Finance to challenge me by releasing the required funds. Otherwise, I will continue terming this Budget Address as idondamwaka.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I think the first step in my debate is to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for his delivery of the Budget Address. From the beginning, I would like to state that there is an adage, in English, in fact, that “In the midst of plenty, a fool starves.” We have heard from both His Excellency the President and hon. Minister of Finance about the poverty levels in this country. We also know the natural resource endowment that we have in this country.


Sir, building a house is done in stages. I was fortunate to be the only person who debated the Motion to suspend the Standing Orders in order to allow the event that culminated into this process of budgeting and national development, as presented by the hon. Minister of Finance last Friday. During the debate of the Motion, I said that we should never treat this just as an event, but as a process that must be followed up. It is like a building block arrangement.


Mr Speaker, in front of me, I have three Budget speeches. One was delivered by Hon. Alexander B. Chikwanda of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government in 2016. It had a theme which …


Mr Sing’ombe: It is for 2015.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, Hon. Sing’ombe is confusing me. The address was delivered in 2015, but the Budget was for 2016 and the theme was, “Fiscal Consolidation to Safeguard our Past Achievements and Secure a Prosperous Future for All.” I have no idea what these achievements were, but the key words there were ‘for all’. From that Budget Address, I have some highlights on how the hon. Minister of Finance, then, established a sinking fund. I am sure Hon. Mutati knows that there was a sinking fund which is still on the books. This fund was intended to make it easy to pay the Eurobonds at the time when they matured. I will still come back and ask the hon. Minister whether this sinking fund is still in existence and whether it is working.


Mr Speaker, then, came the current hon. Minister of Finance, who delivered a Budget Speech on 11th November, 2016. The theme for this address was, “Restoring Fiscal Fitness for Sustained Inclusive Growth and Development.” The key word there was ‘inclusive’. I will also come back to that later. I will make a quick quote from this particular speech and leave it because I want to deal with the one that he delivered last week.


Mr Speaker, on page 2 of the 2017 Budget Speech, the hon. Minister said that the “Zambia” Plus, which is a home grown economic recovery programme, would be complemented by external support from co-operating partners, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF). I have a set of questions about the IMF bailout programme, which he also referred to in the 2018 Budget Speech.


Mr Speaker, on page 8 of the 2017 Budget Speech, on the transport sector, the hon. Minister said:


“67. Mr Speaker, rail transport continues to play a critical role in the socio-economic development of our country. In 2017, Government will attract equity partners to revamp the operations of Zambia Railways Limited ...”


Sir, we should not forget that we came from a painful experience of asking the Government to discontinue the concession to the Zambia Railways Limited and Spoornet. Now, the hon. Minister is talking about getting equity partners. In the 2018 Budget Speech, on page 13, the hon. Minister said:


“Mr Speaker, in the railway transport, Government will revitalise Zambia Railways Limited and concession TAZARA.”


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s people at the office, the colleagues he works with, the civil servants, are very semantic. They like to play around with English words. I want to know what the Government will do with the Zambia Railways Limited. We had a painful experience with the concession to Spoornet. We also had a painful situation with the concession to the Kasumba Lesa Border Post, which is a serious money earner. The hon. Minister needs to come and explain to me exactly what games are being played at the Kasumba Lesa Border Post because that is a cash cow for the country. I am told that the concession has been given to some Israeli company to which we are losing a lot of money. “In the midst of plenty, a fool starves,” was my opening remark.


Mr Speaker, we have talked about the IMF. It has been one year and the hon. Minister has not told us exactly where we are with this issue. I can only speculate, and what I am speculating is that the IMF may be having difficulty putting our economy on a bailout programme. For avoidance of doubt, a bailout means to parachute from an aeroplane, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. It is also to abandon a harmful and difficult situation. It is also a colloquial term describing the act of giving financial help to a company or country that is in dire, which means serious, financial difficulties or bankruptcy. So, if the Government is going to the IMF for a bailout, it goes without saying that there is bankruptcy threatening the neighbourhood. Hon. Felix Mutati, bankruptcy means drowning in debt. In tonga we say “Kunyinkila mu nkongole.” When you drown, you cannot breathe because we breathe air and not water. As you will respond to these issues I am bringing up, give me some comfort that the issue of the IMF bailout programme is on course, and if it is, it means that we are in trouble.


Mr Speaker, the IMF bailout programme is clad in conditionalities of good governance. Correct me if I am wrong, but I can only speculate that it is not giving the Government this bailout because it has been bad. The issue of disrespecting human rights, violation of human rights and abuse of citizens is too much. That is my speculation. Please, mark my words because I am selecting them carefully.


Mr Speaker, I suspect that because the hon. Minister’s colleagues do not respect fundamental human rights and freedoms of people, especially people like us who are opposing them, the IMF is not giving the hon. Minister of Finance the bail out. I must actually thank him, and, please, he should not feel offended, for being a voice of reason. He is. I think that if the hon. Minister was not there, probably, the worst would have been the case. The experiences those of us who do not share the same aspirations with the Patriotic Front (PF) have been having are too ghastly to contemplate. They are too traumatising, and everyone knows what I am talking about. Needless to say, I have been a jailbird and so have Mr Hakainde and Hon. Syakalima. Everyone has been to jail in this dispensation of the PF. As the hon. Minister sits in Cabinet, he should tell his friends the truth that, probably, my speculation that human rights abuses, the issue of refusing to give people civil liberties, such as their right to associate, assemble and even to worship, is why the IMF is not giving the Government the bailout. The Government is in a plane which has a parachute, which is the bailout programme, but it cannot jump out.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: What will happen next? It will crash land. I think, that as the hon. Minister speaks with his colleagues in solitude, he should tell them that time to come back to normalcy has arrived. Let the Government allow us freedom of conscience and enable us to tell it that it is wrong and tell it things as we see them.


Mr Speaker, nine months ago, His Excellency the President of the Republic, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, said that his hon. Ministers are corrupt. His Excellency the President was clear in his mind that there are hon. Ministers who are corrupt. In this Budget Speech for 2018, the hon. Minister mentioned the word “austerity,” which was the trending word in the last Budget too. Austerity is a difficult economic condition created by Government measures to reduce public expenditure. Now, you tell me, is building a road for US$1.2 billion per km and useless fuelling stations and hotels along the way austerity? That is not austerity.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I put it to the hon. Minister that an economy is not driven like that. When citizens come here to petition, they are arrested. This is a sacrosanct place. This is where Zambia congregates. When Zambians who employed us came here to say that they wanted to know about the fire tenders and the cost of a particular road, they were arrested and taken to Emmasdale Police Station, yet we are being told about austerity. Everyone here has a duty to perform. This is a sacrosanct place and that means we cannot change it. It will outlive us. Human beings come and go, but institutions remain.


Sir, there is no connectivity between the Budget speeches by Mr Chikwanda, the elder brother to the hon. Minister of Finance, and Hon. Mutati’s . There is no connection to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). I am yet to see the connection to the five-year National Development Plan and the Agenda 2063. For me, this is like Guy Fawkes Night, if you know what I am talking about. It is like ...


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Nkombo: Thank you, Mr Speaker, when business was suspended, I was telling the hon. Minister of Finance that the process of Budget implementation should not be reflected on that particular Friday when he presents the actual Budget. We should not treat it like Guy Fawkes Night. That is where I was coming from.


Mr Speaker, for those hon. Members who may not understand the Guy Fawkes night, I wish to explain that on 5th February, 1605, a person called Guy Fawkes, with his gang of men with gun powder wanted to blow up the House of Lords in England in order to restore the Catholic leadership in that particular Kingdom. So, every year, the British have celebrated a ceremony called Guy Fawkes Night. Over the years, it has now become a bonfire night. So, whenever there are fireworks blasting all over in the night, then, they know that it is the Guy Fawkes Night. That is what I am talking about. With that said, let us not make our Budget like a bonfire night, an event at which people just see balloons.


Mr Speaker, I am making a personal request, for once, from Hon. Mutati that there be no alcohol served after presentation of the Budget Speech.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Nkombo: Those who have money must go drink at their own time.


Mr Speaker: No. May you take a seat.




Mr Speaker: I do not think it is fair to address that issue to Hon. Mutati because he is not the one who arranges that function. A few minutes ago, you were debating issues up to this point. Let us reflect from there. It is not fair to lay the blame on him. In fact, these are issues we discussed in during a meeting of the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services, where you belong, where the welfare of Members of Parliament is dealt with.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: It is my ignorance. Sir, I thought it was his ministry …


Mr Speaker: No, it is not the hon. Minister.


Mr Nkombo: … that buys the alcohol. However, whoever buys the alcohol …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I do not want to interject. I have allowed you to debate. If you have an issue with these arrangements, whether on that occasion or any other, write to the Chair. I believe you are the Vice-Chairperson of the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services.


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: You, as the Vice-Chairperson and, through the Chairperson, will deal with that issue.


You may continue.


Mr Nkombo: It is my ignorance. So, I will just abandon that idea.


Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I was talking about posterity and I wish to quote on page 2 of the hon. Minister’s Budget Speech where it says:


“Mr Speaker, during the nine months of implementing of the Economic Stablisation and Growth programme, dubbed “Zambia Plus”, a lot has been achieved.”


Mr Speaker, I want him to go back to the basics on that trending word ‘posterity’ because only that will allow him to get the IMF bailout programme. Once he goes back there, he can also teach the whole country, especially his colleagues, that it is the issue of unsettling each other in one country that could actually stop us from getting this programme.


Again, Sir, this is a speculating bound statement I am about to make. We hear that the hon. Minister of Finance is borrowing a lot of money from China, yet he knows very well that the Chinese neither care about human rights nor many other things. All they care about is themselves, yet he is borrowing money from China, which attaches no conditions apart from him paying back. For example, the money we see allocated to the Kitwe/Lusaka Road, which is riddled with corruption, was borrowed from the Chinese. We need no evidence to say that there are bad elements on that contract and it should be revisited.


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: To put it more candidly, within the party that the hon. Minister of Finance is serving, there are people who are disgruntled about this road, but are just shy to talk about it. Some are within here and others are outside. So, I am advising him to not be part and parcel of the victims of the time when the time for reckoning comes. We do not need those roads …


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: … in the manner that he presented them. What we need is the smooth flow of traffic. Concentrate on investing in the railway line. He must plead with his colleagues, the ones he is serving with, to save his face.


Mr Speaker, I take my hat off for the hon. Minister of Finance. He is a brave man. If I were him, with all the shenanigans and attacks from the PF on him, I honestly would have failed to present that Budget.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Sir, he is a strong human being and has this country at heart. If it were me, I would have fizzled off. I would advise him to go an extra mile by not allowing his colleagues to intimidate him. He has the mandate to run financial affairs of this nation. The back stops at him and when things go wrong, the people he calls colleagues will desert him. These same people he calls colleagues.




Mr Nkombo: They will desert him and say the man who was dealing with the pocket of the country is the Minister of Finance and they will run away faster than immediately. That is the way they take off.




Mr Nkombo: I wish him the best and urge him to finish the projects that he will start.


Mr Speaker, I cannot end my debate without dealing with the constituency that has been very dear to me. There is nothing that the PF Government has done in Mazabuka Central, apart from introducing the Equalisation Fund for the council workers.


Mr Speaker, I also want to remind him that Nakambala Estates is one of the biggest estates south of the Equator and it contributes hugely to the coffers of this country. Why is it being treated like a step child? May I be told the reason for that. Apart from the mines with which he fights about electricity tariffs every day, Nakambala Estates pays him a good cheque.


Sir, on the issue of the fight against corruption, there is no need to take us round and round. Just go to all the civil servants, starting with me, to account for all the properties that we own and ask for tax returns and see how many people pay tax. The hon. Minister of Finance will catch the culprits who are stealing from the coffers. Everyone should be able to account for what they have. There should be no sacred cows and only then will he put this society together.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Thank you, Mr Speaker for according me an opportunity to contribute to the debate on the hon. Minister of Finance’s Budget Speech. I only have a few issues to raise. This speech is basically a good one.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Mr Kabanda: There are a few areas which I want to address.


Mr Speaker, on page 3 of the speech, the hon. Minister of Finance talks about global and economic developments in 2017. The economy has certainly been performing well lately and even the kwacha has appreciated. However, sadly, the people out there have not had any benefits trickling down to them from this improved economic performance. It would be prudent if people benefitted from the economic growth we have been experiencing in the recent past.


Sir, secondly, taxes from the mining sector are not properly captured. The mines are supposed to contribute immensely to the Treasury, but I do not understand why they have been dillydallying in as far as payment of tax is concerned. I remember that His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, ...


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Kabanda: ... said that the mines must find their way out if they are not keen on paying taxes because we are cable of managing our own mines.


Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, it is important that we make hay while the sun shines because ...




Mr Speaker: Continue debating.


Mr Kabanda: ... if we do not make money from these mines today, we will regret in the future. Even multinational companies have equally joined the queue of evading taxes to the extent that we are being stifled by subsidising them. In short, the common Zambian is paying more taxes than the multinational companies. This should be avoided at all costs.


Sir, on page 6 of the speech, the hon. Minister talks about debt and the arrears position. We hope that there will be no supplementary debt incurred. Instead, we should concentrate on unbundling what we owe so far. No additional debt contraction should be encouraged.


Mr Speaker, on page 8, the hon. Minister talked about economic diversification and job creation. We have seen the growth of industry in this country, which has been quite unprecedented. The building industry has grown alongside other infrastructure developments. Unfortunately, job creation has remained at its lowest rate. We need to do more in this area.


Sir, what has become of Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) and the industrial clusters that we have been talking about? We need to do something about this because we need to build a Zambia that will have dreamers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) because they are actually the lifeline of this country. We should ensure that our dreamers evolve ...


Hon. Member: Stop reading!


Mr Kabanda: I am not reading.


Sir, we should ensure that our dreamers evolve from incubation and grow into huge industries.


Mr Speaker, page 15 of the speech talks about the Social Cash Transfer scheme. We should do more in this area so that we only target the needy people as opposed to a wholesale arrangement where we give money to people who do not deserve it. Some people claim to look after orphans while others claim to be old, but they are capable of contributing to the economic growth of this country. Even those who are being spoon-fed should graduate to a level where they are able to sustain themselves at some point.


Sir, the speech also focused on climate change and disaster risk reduction. Most investors are evading the Environmental Impact Assessments. Many investors are not following the law. We should do more in this area so that we preserve our flora and fauna, which have suffered a lot of setbacks. We have Mukula trees which are almost extinct and rivers which have gone dry because we are not able to control what is being done on our rivers and in our forests.


Mr Speaker, on page 17, the hon. Minister of Finance talks about feeder roads. Feeder roads are in a deplorable state and we hope that they will be attended to this year so that we can ensure that food is taken to markets.


Sir, in terms of decentralisation, we should focus on the grassroots because that is where all activities take place. Money should be directed to the grassroots as opposed to giving it to local authorities, through the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF). This fund is being misapplied in most local councils. I remember that the hon. Minister of Local Government said that he needed councils to account for the LGEF, but I do not know how many have. This is why we need to increase the amount of money given to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). At least a chunk of the money being given under the Local Government Equalisation Fund should go to the CDF.


Mr Livune: Hear, hear!


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, most of the funds sent to local authorities, through the Local Government Equalisation Fund are used to buy motor vehicles for chief officers while the people on the ground are not seeing any tangible benefits. This is one area that we should focus on because activities are taking place at the local level, hence the decentralisation programme that the hardworking Government of His Excellency the President Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is pursuing.


Sir, on page 20, the hon. Minister talks about creating conducive water supply and sanitation. Much needs to be done in this regard because our people do not have portable water in most areas. Serenje is one of the many places that require boreholes to be sunk because our people need to have access to portable water.


Mr Speaker, on page 22 of the speech, at paragraph 107 (i), the hon. Minister of Finance talked about concentrating resources in areas to facilitate economic diversification, including ongoing projects.

Mr Speaker, His Excellency the President has ably tackled this issue by directing the hon. Minister of Finance to release money for the completion of projects which have already been started instead of starting new ones. In Serenje, we have about 32 km of township roads which have been abandoned by the contractor because of insufficient funds. We hope that with this new directive from His Excellency the President, we should be able to see the roads worked on.


Mr Speaker, there is also an issue of cleaning up the wage bill, particularly in the Public Service, which is very huge and has many ghost workers. We should be able to clean up our data base. I think this is one area which is consuming a lot of money and where there is a lot of financial haemorrhage. We should engage experts in ensuring that our funds are protected by avoiding paying ghost workers.


Mr Speaker, let me also talk about land administration. We should put in place proper mechanisms for land administration because the current situation, as far as land administration is concerned, is quite archaic. The hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources will agree with me that much needs to be done to ensure that land is properly administered.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, on page 24 of the Budget Speech, there is an issue of asset management. We should dispose of non-performing assets because they are a drain on national resources. I do not know how far we have gone with this issue.


Mr Speaker, overall, I can only say that this speech is very well-thought through and requires the support of every well-meaning Zambian.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the very powerful speech that he delivered to this august House. His speech has inspired a lot of hope in most us, hon. Members of Parliament, because most of the areas that we thought had been left unattended have also been tackled.


Mr Speaker, there are some areas that require a bit of effort. We say so because there is a tendency to forget people who come from urban areas. There is also a tendency to believe that there is no poverty along the line of rail. As a result, programmes such as the Social Cash Transfer by pass us. So, we are pleading with our Government that much as it thinks about the rural communities, it should also consider thinking about the Social Cash Transfer in areas such as Kabwe Central, which is both rural and urban.


Mr Speaker, let me also commend the hon. Minister of Finance for his excellent speech on the food security pack. I am aware that this is one area that the Government has actually been using to reduce poverty. The food security pack is a very good system that should continue. Allow me also to make a contribution to the debate on the Budget Speech by stating that the people of Kabwe Central are very happy with the administration of the day, but have one query which I wish to now present.


Mr Speaker, the ...


Mr Siwanzi: You are reading.


Mr Ngulube: Who is reading?




Mr Ngulube: I am referring to notes. I am very intelligent. 




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabwe Central, do not be deflected by people who are carrying on with the practice which you are familiar with.




Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I am aware that this is a very lively House and I do not know what would happen without humour.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I am talking about social protection. I am aware that retirees and retrenchees of the Zambia Railways Limited have not been paid for more than twenty years now. The cry of the people of Kabwe Central is that the Government begins to demolish some of the arrears that are outstanding.


Mr Speaker, allow me also to talk about the issue of feeder roads in my constituency. Kabwe Central Constituency is right in the provincial headquarters of the Central Province, but our roads are not different from those in Chienge. As we were promised by the hon. Minister of Local Government, we would be glad if some of our urban roads could be given a facelift through the 2018 Budget. We know that this working Government will listen to this cry. I am aware that it is only the Patriotic Front (PF) Government which can actually give us good roads because it is the one in power right now.


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, allow me also to state that there is a commitment by the hon. Minister of Finance towards the home-grown school feeding programme. It would be nice if this programme is scaled-up because it is a very good one. The 1,500 million children that this Government is targeting is commendable, but I think it would be important that, as schools receive their funding or their budgets, this component so that we do not just depend on well-wishers. I am also aware that the Ministry of Finance is doing everything possible to make the lives of the people of Zambia better. Since I always speak under five minutes, I end here.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: I have no indication, so far, and it is quite strange that it is so.




Mr Speaker: Last time, we debated the President’s Speech and I received a barrage of complaints about people not being able to debate.




Mr Speaker: I am speaking. I hope that at the end of this exercise, people will not rise from slumber and start mounting complaints. This is the time to debate. We have deliberately put only two questions in response to those complaints. Please, Whips, take note of this. You line up your members for debate. There is no reason we should not debate. There was a weekend in between and during which this speech should have been analysed. If you are suggesting that we should close the debate, I can easily do that this evening so that we move on to our next segment.




The Acting Leader of Government Business and Chief Whip (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.



The House adjourned at 1730 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 5th October, 2017.