Wednesday, 14th March, 2018

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Thursday, 22nd February, 2018


The House met at 1400 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Higher Education (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to issue a statement on the delayed opening of public universities, namely the University of Zambia (UNZA), the Copperbelt University (CBU), Mulungushi, Kwame Nkrumah, Chalimbana, Mukuba and Robert Kapasa Makasa universities


Sir, in October, 2017, the first case of cholera was recorded in Lusaka. Towards the end of the year, the epidemic had escalated to alarming proportions and, in a bid to mitigate its effects, the hon. Minister of Health decided to close all schools and institutions of higher learning, and other public entities like markets, restaurants and pubs until the disease was contained. The learning institutions had been scheduled to open in January, 2018.


Mr Speaker, on 2nd and 3rd January, 2018, public health teams from the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and the Ministry of Health inspected the universities to assess the extent to which they had complied with the standard public health requirements for learning institutions. The inspections revealed some areas that required attention. Consequently, it was decided that UNZA and the CBU would not reopen until all the necessary rehabilitation works were undertaken. Similarly, the reopening of Mulungushi, Chalimbana, Kwame Nkrumah, Mukuba and Robert Kapasa Makasa universities was postponed.


Mr Speaker, on 12th January, 2018, a decision was made to reopen universities that would meet the public health requirements. Unfortunately, UNZA and the CBU remained closed because they did not meet the requirements. Among the universities that were cleared to reopen were Chalimbana and Kwame Nkrumah. However, after reopening, the two universities reverted to their habit of not upholding hygiene, which put the health of students at risk. Therefore, they were closed again.


Mr Speaker, the continued closure of the institutions was in the interest of the general public, as they host huge populations from all over the country in concentrated areas. Therefore, keeping them open at the height of the cholera epidemic would have been inimical to the interests of the public because containing an epidemic that breaks out at a place like UNZA would be next to impossible, unless the whole community was quarantined. Secondly, the hygiene standards in our public institutions have fallen to their lowest levels, as evidenced by the re-closure of Chalimbana and Kwame Nkrumah universities, which had initially been opened.


Sir, the public health inspections that have commenced as a result of the cholera epidemic will continue to ensure that highest standards of hygiene are maintained in our institutions of higher learning. Therefore, our institutions will be inspected routinely even after they reopen.


Mr Speaker, my ministry realises the important role that universities and colleges play in the economic dispensation of this country. No wonder, it was prompted to work closely with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Local Government and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) in the Office of the Vice-President to improve the sanitation conditions at the institutions. That was done for the benefit of students, staff and the public now and in the future.


Sir, the Government has striven to improve infrastructure in universities by increasing student accommodation and learning facilities. However, most of the infrastructure is in a bad state due to a lack of periodic maintenance by our university management teams. This, in turn, means that sanitation facilities have become deplorable and pose a threat to the health and wellbeing of the students and the general populace of this country. Furthermore, our universities’ culture of dependence, especially on the Government, has created a situation in which taps, cisterns, sockets and other facilities are vandalised with impunity, as there is no care for public property. The ‘Boma iyanganepo’ mentality has taken centre stage in our institutions.


Mr Speaker, the focus of rehabilitation works at our universities has been on the sewer systems, ablution facilities and the general improvement of water reticulation. Subsequent to the rehabilitation works, the Ministry of Health inspected UNZA on 26th January, and 8th and 9th February, 2018, to ensure that the work done is of an acceptable standard. We expect the CBU to be inspected on 26th February, 2018, and hope the school will reopen after that inspection. I have also inspected the CBU and UNZA.


Mr Speaker, the universities have made gallant efforts to address the challenges they face. However, through the inspections and my interactions with the managements, I have realised that improving the facilities to acceptable public health standards is a mammoth task that requires a lot of financial and human resources. For example, we discovered that while the universities had been generally cleaned, the infrastructure required further works. It was also very clear that both students and managements had not been taking good care of the facilities. For instance, in blocks where students are allowed to cook, the rooms were filthy and in a state of disrepair. Even the cooking facilities, where they existed, were not cleaned regularly by the students, with stoves that had once been black turning an indescribable colour.


Sir, it was also apparent that the resources the universities generated were insufficient to meet the cost of such comprehensive rehabilitation works. For example, the K1 million UNZA put invested was only sufficient to cater for the works at the old residences. The buildings are made of concrete. Therefore, reaching the pipes required heavy equipment. The K1.2 million that Mulungushi University spent was also insufficient. So, the Government had to step in and ensure that institutions were rehabilitated properly and on time to allow for our learners to go back to class. In this regard, the hon. Minister of Finance and his team for providing K5.8 million from the infrastructure budget towards the upgrading of the facilities at the institutions. Of the K5.8 million, K2 million was given to UNZA, K1.8 million to the CBU, and K1.2 million to Mulungushi and Kwame Nkrumah universities. That money has gone a long way in facilitating the rehabilitation of ablution blocks at the four universities. My engagement with the Ministry of Finance continues to bear fruit. In this vein, I thank that ministry for its unwavering support. I also thank our men and women in uniform who augmented the efforts at the CBU and will soon move to UNZA for the same purpose. Because of their support, the comprehensive rehabilitation of sanitation and water reticulation facilities at the CBU is at 95 per cent complete while at UNZA it is 80 per cent complete. These efforts led to the reopening of some universities. For example, MU opened on 18th February, 2018, while the other two universities are expected to reopen as soon as public health inspectors are satisfied with the sanitation standards there.


Sir, it I aim to ensure that the resources that have been provided for the works are prudently used to execute quality works that will stand a taste of time.


Mr Speaker, allow me to address the staff and student populace through this august House.


Sir, while the ministry acknowledges the fact that most of the facilities being replaced have not been maintained for some time, it is disheartened to note that most of the damage has been the result of vandalism. Students in the institution of higher learning, who are expected to epitomise all that is good to society are the ones who vandalise facilities provided for their convenience. They also continue to overload the facilities through squatting, the practice of accommodated students taking in fellow students at a fee. In some instances, a room meant for two students accommodates eight. I, therefore, appeal to the students to make an extra effort in caring for the facilities at their disposable. I also urge them to avoid squatting, as that overstrains the facilities, which were provided at a huge cost to the taxpayers in order to promote continuity of learning. They should guard those facilities like they guard the facilities in their homes.


Mr Speaker, allow me to address the remarks by University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU), issued to the press on Wednesday, 13th February, 2018, and which, I must say, I find unfortunate and misleading.


Sir, UNZALARU knew the reasons UNZA did not reopen in December, 2017, as planned. At no time did the ministry request for a postponement of the reopening of the institution on account of processing of student bursaries. The cholera epidemic was not an excuse for keeping the universities closed; it is real, and some families have lost their loved ones to it. Had the members of the union inspected the hostels like some of us have done, they would have appreciated the work that has gone into bringing those facilities to where they are now. In fact, were UNZA still what it was in the past, when staff regarded themselves as problem solvers, the union there would have been in the forefront supporting the Government.


Mr Speaker, when cholera first hit Zambia, I was Head of Pathology and Microbiology at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), and I immediately requested the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, to quickly support a team that I had put together to study the causes of the disease. Through that study, we found out that there was a link between the incidence of cholera and vending in places where there were no proper sanitary facilities. Unfortunately, the institutions that are supposed to advise the Government keep pointing accusing fingers at it instead, and have refused to be part of the solution like other universities.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Before you resume your seat, hon. Minister, there is one vernacular expression you used. For the record, please, translate it into English.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, ‘Boma iyanganepo’ means, “The Government should look into it”.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s statement gives me the impression that the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing in this Government because she has lamented the fact that more students squat, sometimes as many as eight, in a room meant for two. However, it is her ministry that gives bursaries and enrols students. Who does she think has caused that problem? Is it those who enrol more students than the institutions have the capacity to handle just to get more money or the University of Zambia Lecturers and Researchers Union (UNZALARU) and the administration of the University of Zambia (UNZA), on whom she is now clearly putting the blame?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, let me educate my hon. Colleague on the enrolment process.


Sir, the ministry has no role to play in the enrolment of students because the universities have autonomy and academic freedom. Therefore, we expect all registered universities to establish the necessary student and learning management structures, including the Academic Office, which is headed by the Registrar. That is the structure that enrols students. There is also a Senate, which is the final authority on the recruitment of students. The Academic Office is also the one that sets the enrolment criteria.


Sir, of late, universities have had two streams, namely Full-Time Non-Quarter and Supplementary Non-Quarter. I will explain the difference. A person has to have a certain number of points to pursue certain programmes in a university. Under the Supplementary Non-Quarter stream, however, people who do not have the required results are also enrolled, and it is the introduction of the second stream that has increased the burden on the institutions. While I do not blame the management for introducing the second stream because we gave them the freedom to do that, we have now requested them to discontinue it and continue with only the Full-Time Non-Quarter because the system has been abused.


Mr Speaker, yes, the ministry is responsible for giving bursaries. As you may recall, last year, the hon. Member brought students into this august House to hear him express their complaints about not having been given bursaries.


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, please, resume your seat.


Hon. Minister, we recall the incident to which you are referring. However, in the absence of categorical evidence to that end, we will run into a controversy if you expressly accuse the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central of having physically brought the students into the Assembly Chamber. Please, withdraw that.


Mr Nkombo pointed at Hon. Prof. Luo.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, as I withdraw that statement, could you, please, protect me from the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central’s finger. I wish to make it known to him that pointing at me amounts to gender-based violence (GBV).




Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the students who were brought into this House had complained that they had not been given bursaries and we had to lobby the hon. Minister of Finance to look for extra financing and give them the bursaries. I do not want the ministry to ever do that again.


Mr Speaker, the left hand knows exactly what the right hand is doing, and I am providing the right guidance to the universities around the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, after listening to the hon. Minister’s statement, I can only say ting bu dong, “I do not understand”, ...


Mr Ngulube: … because Kwame Nkrumah University was cleared …

Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!

In what language is that expression?

Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, it is in Chinese, but I will withdraw it.

Sir, I do not understand the hon. Minister’s statement because Kwame Nkrumah University was cleared to reopen by the Ministry of Health and the reasons she has given for its closure seem to be applicable to the University of Zambia (UNZA), the Copperbelt University (CBU) and Chalimbana University. Further, I wonder how Kwame Nkrumah University will reopen after the Ministry of Health inspects it when all the lecturers there have been fired. There are no and the Government has advertised their positions. The students have also been chased despite the university being habitable. There is no problem with the cholera there. Can the hon. Minister explain. 

Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I can only say ting bu dong, too, …



Prof. Luo: … regarding the hon. Member’s question.


Mr Speaker, there is a question on Kwame Nkrumah University on the Order Paper. So, I will address this subject comprehensively in my response to that question. Suffice it for me to say, again, that Kwame Nkrumah University passed the first inspection and I announced at a joint press briefing with my colleagues, the hon. Ministers of Health and Local Government, that the university should reopen. However, in a follow-up inspection, the health team found that the students and staff had reverted to their usual unhygienic practices.


Sir, during our time as students, when I was given a room, the first thing I did was to paint it and organise my things properly. I also cleaned the tub every time I took a bath. Unfortunately, our current students do not do that anymore. There is a big difference between the way the hostels looked when students were in residence and the way they look after the clean-up and rehabilitation works. The hostels were initially so dirty that I told the students who accompanied me on one of my visits that they must have a strong immune system to survive in those conditions. If I had to live there, I would die. For example, when I opened the oven of one of the stoves the students used, the cockroaches that came out of it were so frightening I almost died.




Prof. Luo: I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s statement is based on the policy imperative that the reopening of the three universities will be contingent upon the rehabilitation of the water reticulation system and the buildings, among other facilities. Further, she has pointed out that the amount of money required for the works is colossal. So, clearly, the universities face an operational expenditure problem. What strategic measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that the universities have sustainable operational expenditure?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I have state on several occasions in this august House that there is no university anywhere in the world that is 100 per cent government-funded. In this regard, let me inform the citizens of this nation who have studied at any of the universities, including those seated here, that we will soon contact them to start contributing financially to their former universities. Alumni contribution programmes sustain many universities all over the world. The inherent existence of a critical mass in universities also helps in their sustainability. No wonder, the people in universities are called the intelligentsia or, in French, le crème de la crème. So, they are expected to run their institutions and departments. 


Sir, the hon. Member for Nalikwanda knows that members of staff in universities can generate money for their institution by using their intellect to engage in robust research. That is how I got most of the funding for the country’s programmes on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) when I was Head of Pathology and Microbiology at the UTH, and the records are there. I also managed to build laboratories at the institution and organised the initial funding for the establishment of the Cancer Diseases Hospital when I was a lecturer in the School of Medicine at UNZA. Additionally, I raised the money that was used to separate diagnostics from blood transfusion in all the National Blood Transfusion centres across the ten provinces of Zambia. Further, as we are all aware, a certain percentage of any money generated by academic staff through consultancy is supposed to be given to the universities. Unfortunately, lecturers in our universities who engage in consultancy work pocket all the money they raise. Fortunately, a Bill is being prepared that will prescribe the percentages of revenue sharing between lecturers and their institutions.


Sir, as regards innovation, there is a need for universities to partner with the private sector so that innovations from academia can be popularised by the private sector. That way, money will be generated for academic institutions.


Sir, we have many financing strategies for universities. So, we will dismantle the arrears that public universities owe, but after that, we will have to streamline expenditure, including the conditions of service. For example, some members of staff who live in institutional houses also receive housing allowances. That should not continue.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for her statement. However, my word to the ministry, in my language, mutoyuba pamunwe, meaning “you are hiding behind a finger” on this problem, which is big.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Mwashingwele: I think her statement and responses to questions clearly show that we are not going where we want on this issue. For example, some primary and secondary schools in Lusaka Province where pupils use pit latrines were allowed to open. The University of Zambia (UNZA) and Copperbelt University (CBU) have flashing toilets and can be cleaned in a very short time. So, why are they still closed? It is very important for the nation to know the reason.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, digging a pit latrine and fixing a leaking pipe set in concrete at a university are two different things. Let me invite hon. Members to visit UNZA because it seems they are speaking from an uninformed perspective, which can be dangerous. Like the University of Tel Aviv, of which it is a replica, UNZA was built purely of concrete. Therefore, to drill through its walls and to find leaking pipes requires heavy-duty equipment and a lot of time.


Sir, nobody in this House is hiding behind a finger because there is no merit in doing so. What will I gain by doing that? I am saying things as they are, and I invite my hon. Colleagues to go and see the amount of work we have done in the universities. I am sure they will be very happy because the students in those institutions, whom we are protecting, are their children. Do you know what would happen if an epidemic broke out at the UNZA, which has over 24,000 students from all over the country? The answer is that we would quarantine all of them because allowing them to go back to their homes would mean spreading the disease to the rest of the country.


Sir, I also challenge my colleagues to read online reports on the diarrhoeal epidemic in Bristol, United Kingdom (UK). While we grappled with the cholera epidemic here, there was also an outbreak of the disease in Bristol, and the authorities there also closed schools and institutions of higher learning because that is a universal standard public health measure. My colleagues may wish to read on public health measures.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I am on record saying that Zambia is a very dirty country on the Floor of the House. We have seen …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member of Parliament for Moomba!


The only liberty I have given you is to ask for clarification. If you wish to address the nation on that subject, you may look for another opportunity and another platform.




Mr Speaker: Please, ask a question if at all you have one.


Mr Chaatila: Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Sir, since the students in the learning institutions come from an environment I will classify as generally dirty, as the hon. Minister is putting devising ways of ensuring that the learning institutions have clean environments, what measures, other than the usual inspections, will she take to ensure that the institutions remain clean?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I will not lend my approval to the assertion about students coming from a dirty environment. What I will deal with …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!


In fact, hon. Minister, I have already dealt with that aspect. I forestalled it.


Prof. Luo: Thank you, Mr Speaker, for your guidance.


Sir, we had put in place a number of measures even before the outbreak of the cholera epidemic because we had realised that our institutions merely enabled students to pass their subjects. So, for example, it merely allowed the engineering students to acquire their engineering degree in four or five years and leave. Therefore, one of the reforms that we have come up with is what we call learning centres. We want to take our students beyond mere passing of examinations. The centres will teach students personal hygiene and its benefits, proposal writing so they will be able to write proposals and work for themselves and conduct in interviews. So, all the students’ human development issues will be addressed through the learning centres.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Jamba (Mwembeshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister may be aware that members of staff are an important factor in the running of the universities and the achievement of all she is talking about in terms of hygiene. Does she not think that the impasse between the Vice Chancellor and staff at the Copperbelt University (CBU) will hamper her efforts to keep that university clean when it reopens?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, indeed, universities cannot run without members of staff. No wonder, I convened a meeting of all the past Vice Chancellors, deans and other senior staff aimed at identifying what has gone wrong in our institutions over time. The idea of the meeting came about because of the impasse at the CBU.


Sir, one of the causes of the impasse at the CBU is the fact that the lecturers were against a trip I took to Israel, which was meant secure attachments for our students to various Israeli institutions. Particularly, I took advantage of an attachment programme in agriculture offered in Israel, a country that grows literally everything despite being a desert surrounded by salty water bodies. The Israelis are able to desalinate the water and water their crops. In fact, Israel is one of the countries with the highest investment in technology. We managed to negotiate for students to be going on attachment at no cost at all to the Government or the universities. In fact, the students are paid a salary while on attachment. When I spoke to the first twenty students on whom we trialled the programme, I found out that, after eleven months, the students who had been sending some money back home had saved around US$5,000 while those who had not been sending money back had saved $11,000. That meant that students who went with nothing came back with K50,000 each in their pocket, apart from the skills that we need to advance agriculture in this country. Therefore, I found it very interesting that the lecturers have a problem with that initiative, which will be rolled out to other universities.


Mr Speaker, some lecturers accuse the Vice Chancellor of being responsible for the going down of the School of Graduate Studies. However, the administrative structure of university, which I know my colleague who once served as Vice Chancellor knows, has deans who head the different schools or faculties. So, I wonder why the lecturers blame the Vice Chancellor, but not the dean of the school. For instance, if I fail in my role as Minister of Higher Education, why should someone blame His Excellency the President before without blaming Hon. Prof. Luo?


Sir, the other source of disagreement is the School of Distance Studies. However, that, too, has a responsible dean. So, why do they protect the non-performing deans and blame somebody else? However, there are ongoing discussions on the matter. I would like to see a justification for some of the demands. Maybe, the running of universities has changed from the time we were there. Now, it seems that the Vice Chancellor is responsible for running schools, in which case we should stop paying deans or heads of department. What I know is that in terms of promotion, for one to be promoted, one must show an account of the students and lecturers one has developed.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Musonda: Hear, hear! Ema professor aba!




Mr Speaker: We are almost getting into one hour on this subject. We now need to wind it up.


Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for her statement.


Sir, having listened to the statement, I get the impression that to resolve the challenges that her ministry is facing, we need a Marshal Plan that will tackle the immediate, medium and long-term challenges. However, my question is: How much money has the Ministry of Finance released for her ministry to tackle the current challenge, outside the assistance provided by the security forces?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I actually tabulated the money from the Ministry of Finance and thanked the ministry for its unwavering support. I said that we received K5.8 million, of which UNZA requested for K2 million to complete its works, the CBU requested for K1.8 million while Mulungushi University requested for K1.2 million.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that she inspected the hostels with public health inspectors from the ministries of Health and Local Government. She was even so shocked to find cockroaches that almost killed her.




Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


I think you are misrepresenting her statement. She did not say that she was almost killed by cockroaches, but rather that she was almost frightened to death by them.




Mr C. M. Zulu: Sir, she was almost killed by the sight of the cockroaches.


Sir, now that the hon. Minister is aware of how things are, the reason we got to a situation in which the institutions have broken windows, door frames and other things could be that we did not have a maintenance plan. The health inspectors only visited the universities because of the outbreak of cholera. Is the Government considering coming up with a programme for the periodic inspection of universities by her and public health inspectors so that we can prevent, among other things, cockroach infestation of campuses?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Ministers of Health and Local Government, through the Public Health Institute, which is under the Ministry of Health, have decided to be carrying out regular inspections in relation to periodic maintenance of institutions. Further, my ministry and the Vice Chancellors of the different universities have agreed to institute a programme called ‘The Quick Fix’ in which money will be provided for periodic maintenance every month.


Sir, I thank you.


Dr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, universities all over the world are running away from providing accommodation so that they can concentrate on their core business of providing academic learning. Why has the Government continued to advocate for the building of more hostels at the university instead of leaving that task to the private sector and save the money it spends on maintaining hostels?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, obviously, the initial model for providing more student accommodation was that of the Government building additional hostels through public-private partnerships (PPPs). Currently, there are many people who have indicated an interest in investing in such facilities. In this regard, and in line with the idea of establishing career centres in universities, we need to start training our people in negotiations skills for us to achieve what we want to achieve. When our people negotiate on behalf of the public, they must have the skills to get the maximum benefit for citizens. The lesson from UNZA on the issue of PPPs is a bitter one. So, the PPP model of providing student accommodation is the progressive way forward, but it must be supported by training.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, higher learning institutions hold the future of the current generation and those to come. Unfortunately, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has degraded them to the level where their ranking has drastically fallen. For instance, in Africa, the University of Zambia (UNZA) …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


What is your question, if you have any?


Mr Jere: Yes, Sir, I have a question.


Mr Speaker, I wanted to cite the relevant data on what has happened because of the …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Please, resume your seat so that I can provide some guidance.


This is not an occasion for you to debate. A debate and a question for clarification are two different things. You want to debate or cite statistics, but I am afraid, that is outside the scope of this exercise. The purpose of this exercise is for you to seek clarification on the ministerial statement through a question, not a debate or lecture.


You may continue.


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the guidance.


Sir, in relation to payments for services rendered to the university, such as by lecturers, and of student allowances, what measures have been put in place to avoid closures in the future?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, there is a misconception that the closure of universities is due to non-payment of dues and student allowances. For example, regarding the recent fracas at the CBU, the university has three or four campuses and we had started paying student allowances at the School of Medicine when the riots at the Main Campus broke out. I have since engaged the students so that they can realise that whether we start with the Main Campus, the Graduate School or School of Medicine in paying allowances, they are all the same. So, we need to address selfishness and self-centeredness in students through the career centres and the leadership of the universities.


Sir, unfortunately, I am not here to deal with speculations because we work with evidence. I emphasise: We work with evidence. The culture that is taking root in Zambia, whereby anybody just speaks and people take what he or she says as truth, is wrong.


Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for handling this issue well. However, currently, I see old infrastructure and the increased number for students at the core of the closures of the universities, especially the University of Zambia (UNZA). Seeing as these challenges will not end any time soon, does the hon. Minister think that the policy of constructing universities in provincial centres will be the solution, going forward, as that will lower the enrolment levels in the existing institutions?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the programme to which the hon. Member has referred is still on. This year alone, we will construct universities at Nalolo, Kabompo and Katete. Additionally, we are encouraging the establishment of private universities.


I thank you, Sir


Mr Kakubo (Kapiri Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I am grateful for the opportunity to seek clarification from the hon. Minister.


Sir, among the fees that students pay, there is a mandatory fee towards the maintenance of the university infrastructure. The Copperbelt University (CBU) charges about K350. For a university that has, at least, 14,000 students, that amount adds up to over K4 million annually. Assuming that the University of Zambia (UNZA) charges the same amount, the Government collects K5 million for maintenance annually. Can the hon. Minister (pointing at Hon. Prof. Luo) to explain where that money goes. Further, why has she suddenly managed to obtained money from …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Let me guide everybody on the practice of pointing fingers at others. There is just something inappropriate about that.


You may continue, hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi.


Mr Kakubo:  Mr Speaker, much obliged, and I apologise to the hon. Minister for pointing at her.


Sir, my question to the hon. Minister is: Why do students live in deplorable conditions when they pay colossal amounts of money for the maintenance of their universities?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we have recognised that problem. So, before we pay off the arrears of public universities, we will send forensic auditors there because we want to know how the money has been spent. The Permanent Secretary (PS) in my ministry has since sent circulars to all public institutions of higher learning informing them to have separate accounts for all the fees they charge, not only for the maintenance fee. For example, they also need to have separate accounts for the recreation fee so that we start enhancing recreational facilities for students. Currently, when we go to those institutions, we do not see any recreational activities, yet education is not only about passing engineering, for instance, but the total development of the students, of which recreation is an important part.


Mr Speaker, because of the lessons we have learnt, we have decided to have separate accounts for maintenance. That is why I said we will implement the Quick Fix Programme on periodic maintenance of institutions.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, having attentively listened to the ministerial statement, I commend the hon. Minister and Patriotic Front (PF) Government for realising the need to put more money into the rehabilitation of public universities and doing so.


Sir, some practices have held sway on the institutions …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


What is your question?


Mr Mwamba: Mr Speaker, my question is on the longstanding practices mentioned in the hon. Minister’s statement, which have helped to run our institutions down. The practices include cooking in rooms and having many students in one room. What measures will be taken to end such practices after the renovation of the institutions?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I have asked the different institutions of higher learning to put in place modalities for addressing this problem. When I visited the CBU, I found that some barriers had been put in place to only allow certain students access to certain areas.


Sir, there has been a misconception about this problem. In fact, we are only talking about it because of the cholera epidemic. However, if you look at it from a broader perspective, you will see that some students get free accommodation and, in turn, rent out bed spaces, becoming landlords and landladies and collect colossal sums of money from their colleagues. That is an abuse, as they collect money that is not theirs, and that practices is continued in the students’ future lives. They take money that is not theirs or, for a lack of a better word, they steal money for four years. That is why I want to curb the practice. It is not only because of the cholera epidemic, but to facilitate the total development of students so that when they leave the universities, they would be on the correct path, well-grounded and honest enough to face the world, which can be rough.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








140. Mr Munkonge (Lukashya) asked the Minister of General Education when the following secondary schools in Lukashya Parliamentary Constituency would be officially opened:


  1. Musa; and


  1. Ntumpa.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, Musa and Ntumpa secondary schools in Lukashya Parliament Constituency will be officially opened when the contractor completes the remaining works.


Sir, the delay in completing the two schools is due to delayed disbursement of project funds.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Munkonge: Mr Speaker, Ntumpa Secondary School has been at 90 per cent completion for the last ten years while for Musa Secondary School has been at the same level for seven years. To a layman, the schools look complete. Could the hon. Minister be more specific on when the schools will open or does he expect me to go back to my constituency and tell the people that we may see some progress in the next ten years?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, an answer has been supplied to you.




Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the progress will not take ten years. In fact, like he has said, Ntumpa Secondary School is almost 90 per cent complete, and the money owed to the contractor is only about K2.6 million. Further, given the fact that the President has directed that the construction of schools that are above 80 per cent complete should be accelerated, it is our hope that the school will be completed by the second quarter of this year. So, I assure the hon. Member that Ntumpa Secondary School will be completed.


Mr Speaker, as regards Musa Secondary School, there were some engineering problems related to the contractor. However, we hope to fast-track its completion. The money remaining to be paid on this project is just about K6 million. So, all in all, we will put more focus on these schools and others in a similar situation in 2018.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, just like Ntumpa and Musa secondary schools, there are many schools countrywide that are more than 90 per cent complete, but they have not yet been opened. Does the hon. Minister’s answer for Musa and Ntumpa apply to all the other schools in the country?


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, like I have said, in 2018, we will focus on schools that are 80 per cent complete or above. If there is a school that is at that level in Kabwe Central, I assure Hon. Tutwa Ngulube that it will be completed before the end of 2018, funds permitting.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Chonya (Kafue): Mr Speaker, as my colleague from Kabwe indicated, there are a number of schools that have not been opened in the country. In Kafue, Chikupi Secondary is an example. The community there has been willing put in efforts like in the digging of pit latrines because of the pressure for children to start attending the school. However, the ministry has not been very willing to engage the community. Why is the ministry resisting that kind of help from concerned stakeholders? Clearly, the issue here is one of the Government’s being broke because we cannot talk about funding being delayed for ten years. The Government has no money, but why is the ministry rejecting the good will of the communities? 


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, I am surprised. To give my hon. Colleague an example, when we opened Nyamphande Secondary in Petauke, the school was not completed, but the community, school administration and the District Education Board Secretary’s (DEBS) Office worked together to dig pit latrines while we were waiting for the school to be completed. So, if she has that situation in Kafue, she and I can discuss. I can also meet the community and school administration to discuss ways of putting up temporary facilities while we await the completion of the school.


I thank you, Sir.




141. Mr Lufuma (Kabompo) asked the Minister of Finance:


  1. what the total national debt stock was as of September, 2011;


  1. what the total national debt stock was as of August, 2017;


  1. of the total external debt stock, how much was attributed to loans from China in both nominal and percentage terms;


  1. how much interest was paid, per month, on both domestic and external debt; and


  1. what the debt sustainability ratio was as of August, 2017.


The Minister of Finance (Mrs Mwanakatwe): Mr Speaker, as of September, 2011, Zambia’s total public debt was K21.1 billion or about US$4.8 billion, of which external debt amounted to US$2.15 billion while domestic debt amounted to K12.82 billion.


Sir, as of August, 2017, Zambia’s total public debt was K113.67 billion or about US$12.45 billion, of which external debt amounted to US$7.56 billion while domestic debt amounted to K44.55 billion.


Mr Speaker, as of the end of August, 2017, total national debt stock attributable loans from China was US$2.12 billion or 28 per cent of the external debt portfolio.


Sir, below are the interest payments made on both external and domestic debt from January to August, 2017:


Month (2017)              Domestic debt (ZMK)             External debt (US$)


January                               219,526,530                            57,536,220


February                            611,635,007                            10,056,865


March                                319,104,616                            26,946,358


April                                      98,262,730                           51,517,351


May                                   644,610,678                            14,657,296


June                                   420,272,162                              4,841,654


July                                    199,614,521                            69,149,466


August                                684,393,374                              9,053,000


Mr Speaker, as of August, 2017, external debt, as a proportion of the gross domestic product (GDP), was 28 per cent while domestic debt was at 18 per cent.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for her detailed exposition of our debt stock.


Sir, as she has explained, our debt stock was US$4.8 billion in 2011. By 2017, it had reached US$12.45 billion. We almost trebled the 2011 figure in a very short period. No wonder, the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have described our debt stock as catastrophic, warning that it might lead to economic self-destruction. For example, the interest we pay on our debt annually is as high as 30 per cent of our National Budget. Further, in 2018, 50 per cent of our National Budget will be for payment of salaries, leaving only 10 per cent for operations of the Government and 10 per cent for investment. To compound our situation, the IMF has refused to lend us US$1.6 billion towards the 2018 Budget, whose implementation was premised on the assumption that the loan would successfully be contracted. This means that the key assumption of the 2018 National Budget has been nullified. How, then, does the hon. Minister of Finance hope to implement the Budget in a manner that will bring growth to the economy and attain the gross domestic product (GDP) projected for 2018?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, firstly, let me correct the statement that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has refused to lend us money. The truth is that we are still discussing with the IMF. Going forward, we want to put in place a sustainable economic programme and consolidate the reforms on which we have embarked. As a member of the IMF, we cannot ignore it and it cannot ignore us, as it is an important partner to us. So, we will continue to engage it.


Mr Speaker, secondly, our debt stock increased because we got a Eurobond from the international capital market mainly to finance infrastructure development. As at the end of 2017, the debt stock was US$7.9 billion. So, the increase between in that year was quite minimal. We are able to fulfil our external debt obligations sustainably. There is no risk of our defaulting at all.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, with your indulgence, I want to say that the hon. Minister should learn how to answer questions. The hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo, ...


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central!


Please, resume your seat.


I think that I have said before that if we approach each other with mutual respect, we will avoid many problems. If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of the hon. Minister’s answers, and you have the right to be, just seek clarification on that aspect.


You may proceed.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, we will do that with the help of the Chair.


Sir, the hon. Member for Kabompo asked the hon. Minister how the Government would finance the 2018 Budget, whose implementation is already approaching the third month, after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) refused to lend us the US$1.6 billion required to meet the balance of payment (BoP)? We need an answer to that question.


Sir, the IMF is talking to us, too, and we have no confidence in the Government’s ability to get a positive result from its ongoing discussions with the IMF. In fact, I assure you that the IMF will not give this Government the money. If it does, cut one of my fingers.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the IMF is discussing with the party in power. That aside, we have managed without an IMF programme for a while now. Further, we have US$600 million worth of support, which is constant, at the Reserve Bank, and we have been able to meet our debt commitments. Later, when I answer a question on the Eurobond, you will see that we are able to sustainably service our debts because of our enhanced resource mobilisation efforts and the support of partners other than the IMF who have given us loans on a long-term concessional basis.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, some of us do not easily understanding economics, debt issues and interest rates. We just hear those terminologies on social media and, from what we hear on social media, it appears that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has already rejected the Government’s proposal to borrow money. Could the hon. Minister explicitly state whether or not the IMF has refused to give the Zambian Government money. Some people have alleged that the Fund has refused to give the Government money because of allegations of corruption in the Government. Could she help clear the air by telling us the truth.


Mr Speaker: Reluctantly, I allow the hon. Minister to answer the question at the expense of repeating herself.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I will repeat what I said.


Sir, the Government is implementing a programme of reform with the IMF. That is why the two parties keep engaging each other. This is a home-grown programme in which the Government is addressing some issues that the nation should address, anyway. To be honest, yes the IMF is watching, but it is also quite pleased with our pace of reform. Soon, we will go for the spring talks and we want to go a programme over which we have full ownership. If we show to the IMF that we are sticking to that programme, I do not see why our proposal can be rejected.


Sir, I have not received a letter from the IMF saying that our proposal has been rejected. Maybe, others have seen it. What I have seen is evidence of a series of engagements. For example, last week, a senior IMF officer was at the ministry to check on whether we are implementing the measures we promised to implement, that is, cleaning up the system, broadening the tax base and enhancing performance management. We want the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) to work so that we can get proper data and information so that when we go on a programme, if we do, and it is important that we do, we will show our partners that we are managing both our internal and external debts well. This is about showing that we have a sustainable debt management programme in place.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister comment on the statement by the Patriotic Front (PF) that it will leave the Government without money, but Zambians with all the benefits. We are in 2018, but still dealing with a debt stock going back to 2011. If the PF Government left office today, would it leave Zambians in a debt trap or with benefits?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, we will to leave Zambians with benefits. In fact, Zambians are already benefitting from the loans we have contracted. We have built roads, bridges and schools, and have schedules of how we spent the money. So, we know where the money has gone. We have ensured that we had proper infrastructure in all areas of operation to benefit the people in those areas. If I want to trade in Chilubi Island, how do I get a product to the market there? I will need transportation. The money has gone where it is required. Therefore, the future of Zambia is secure, as we have contracted debt for good reasons.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, we have heard about the home-grown economic stabilisation programme and engagements with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) because they permeated last year’s Budget Speech. Further, the Government has indicated that it seriously engaged with the IMF this year. For purposes of this Budget, in particular the balance of payment (BoP) support, how soon do we see those engagements bearing fruit?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member for that good question.


Sir, we see the engagements bearing fruits in the short to medium term, by which I mean from 2017 to 2020. We are also looking at several areas where we intend to plug some loopholes so that we can very quickly enhance revenue collection. Therefore, I believe that the programmes on which we have embarked, which I will be happy to share with you later, will ensure that significant benefits accrue to us.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kakubo (Kapiri-Mposhi): Mr Speaker, I recognise that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is in discussions with the hon. Minister of Finance and her team. However, I wish that the hon. Minister could note that every time the Government meets the IMF, the IMF issues a media statement, and Zambia is being discussed all over Southern Africa and elsewhere. The statement released by the IMF on this subject this week is very clear, and has two concerns. Firstly, it says that from 2011 to date, the graph of the public debt under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has been going up. Secondly, and more importantly, the IMF says that it will only engage the PF Government on any bailout plan once it clearly demonstrates how public debt will be repaid. Could the hon. Minister explain to this House the Government’s plan for slowing down the accumulation of debt. That is what is important here.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, my press release today, I went on record mentioning the reforms the Government is implementing to attain debt sustainability. Further, I have said that we ended 2017 with an external debt stock of US$7.9 billion, which shows that the rate at which we contract debt has already slowed down. On the domestic front, our debt of K48 billion is mainly arrears owed to suppliers. We intend to systematically dismantle the amount.


Sir, I need to repeat that I have not received a letter from the IMF stating that the institution will not put us on a financing programme. To be honest, we have many things we need to address internally alongside the things we are already doing. Actually, we prefer to talk to the IMF after we do the needful. For example, we have decided to stop contracting commercial loans in preference for long-term and concessional loans. We are also look at the whole debt stock and breaking it down manner that allows us to prioritise spending. My colleague, the hon. Minister of General Education already talked about our policy of prioritising the completion of projects whose implementation is at 80 per cent or more. We will pay local suppliers so that we release some liquidity onto the market. These are the things we are doing to strengthen our bargaining position because there is nothing worse than bargaining from a weaker position when you want to get better terms on your loans.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, has there been any analysis of the huge debt that will be handed over to Zambians, especially our children, in terms of how much of the money has been lost to corruption due to ubomba mwibala alya mwibala?


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I did not get that vernacular expression. What did you say?


Hon. Opposition Member: You eat where you work.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, I am Lozi, but when I asked by Bemba friends, ...


Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Dr Imakando: ... they said it means that those who work in the field eat from the field.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you are safer using the official language, English, in which you are more competent instead of relying on hearsay.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, I thought those were Presidential words and ...




Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: ... that saying them might ring a bell.


Mr Speaker: My point is that our official medium of communication is English. So, when you resort to other means, I get lost.


Dr Imakando: I am guided, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I understand the expression to mean “who works in the field eats from that field”.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, he who works in Parliament gets paid by Parliament.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Bwalya (Lupososhi): Mr Speaker, in asking a question, the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, Mr Gary Nkombo, clearly stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) also engages his party. He went on to say that one of his fingers should be cut off if the IMF agrees to help Zambia, which is a very serious statement. Somebody has bet his life against ...


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Lupososhi!


Please, resume your seat.


I do not think you should be exercised by the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central’s statement. The opportunity you have now is to ask the hon. Minister of Finance a question. Focus on that because I do not encourage long, winding and unnecessary prefaces to questions. I want people to be precise when asking questions. If you do not have a question, then, pass the opportunity.


Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, patriotism is very important.


Sir, in her discussions with the IMF, has the hon. Minister sensed anything pointing to the fact that the country’s negotiations are being derailed by the involvement of some seemingly unpatriotic individuals?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, stability is always an important factor to the IMF and other lenders. That is why politicians need to be careful about the statements they make. The IMF takes them seriously. If my colleagues are as keen on the IMF programme as I am, then, we need to be together in what we tell the world and be consistent in our messages about Zambia.


Sir, I agree that patriotism is paramount because Zambia is our country and we do not have any other. We want the negotiations to succeed. That is what the ministry and the Cabinet are working for, and we have seen some good signs. For example, Fitch and Moody’s rating agencies have given us a positive rating while Standard & Poor's is still assessing us. I will announce the rating tomorrow. However, I can say that I anticipate a positive rating. Further, the Central Bank, in its statement on the state of the banking sector, indicated that the reserves have remained stable, the reserve ratio and interest rates have gone down and the exchange rate is stable. So, we look forward to a future in which our economy will grow. As at the end of December, 2017, the GDP had grown by about 3.9 per cent, which means the fundamentals are positive. All we need is to get them to a level at which the economy can expand and the local industry can grow. It takes both sides of the House to safeguard what we have achieved and consolidate it.


Sir, I see a green light at the end of tunnel, not an amber or red one.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, there is a concern in development circles, the international community, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the figures Zambia gives on its debt stock are inconsistent with those given by the Bank of Zambia and the co-operating partners’ own calculations. It is alleged that is one of the main reasons the donors and the IMF are not keen on granting our request for a US$1.6 billion loan for balance of payment (BoP) support. Could the hon. Minister share her views on that.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for this question because it is important for us to dispel the assertion that we have been massaging the figures.


Sir, we have data on all the loans we have contracted, and it shows that, as of December, 2017, our external debt stock was US$7.9 billion while the local debt stock was US$48 billion. We are engaging the IMF so that we can come to a meeting of minds on this country’s the debt stock. Our records are also open to the IMF for scrutiny. So, I really need to meet with them very soon so that we can iron out that misunderstanding. We believe in our figures because the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia work closely together to come up with the figures. If any further debt is contracted, we will add it up to the total debt stock. However, that does not mean there are no things we are reviewing in the pipeline. We have not said aye or nay. So, I assure the hon. Member for Kabompo and the nation at large that we are very sure of our figures. One of the things that give us confidence is that we are reviewing our whole system in the Ministry of Finance to make sure that we can capture all the relevant data. If there is something else to be announced, I will come to this House and announce it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, we have been facing this problem since 1964. The highest economic growth rate in this country was in 1965, when the economy grew at 16 per cent. In 1994, we dropped to -8.4 per cent. By 2007, we were at 7 per cent while, by 2016, we were at 3.4 growth rate. Now, the hon. Minister has told us that we are at 3.8 per cent. The key issue is sustainability of the debt, which is a function of wealth creation or economic growth. From the figures the hon. Minister is giving us, there is no assurance…


Hon. PF Members: Ema preface aya!


Prof. Lungwangwa: …that our economy is growing substantially. So, what guarantee is there that there is sustainable debt servicing …


Hon. PF Members: Ask your question.


Prof. Lungwangwa: … in our country? I think we have problems here.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Nalikwanda for the question. I think his stress on sustainability is very important.


Sir, we are coming from a GDP growth of 3.4 per cent in 2016. It has gone up to 3.8 or 3.9 per cent against the backdrop of an economic down turn due to poor copper prices and a generally weak global economy in 2015/2016. Further, we had a drought and electricity price hikes. Going forward, commodity prices are going up, rainfall patterns have improved and economic diversification is in full drive. So, we can only believe in ourselves to sustain our debt and grow the economy. The revenue base must improve to enhance sustainability and support all the programmes that the country needs to implement. There are many poor people to take care of. So, we cannot remain at this level forever.


Mr Speaker, if the country is to grow, the Government has to implement growth and sustainability programmes. So, I assure you that the debt sustainability is tenable because we have achieved it and will continue to achieve it by thinking outside the box on expanding our revenue base. So, you will see us come up with several measures that will increase sustainability, including watching our spending. This is why we have decided to look at the current infrastructure projects so that we concentrate on completing those that are at, at least, the 80 per cent implementation level and, then, take on projects that will grow the economy, create jobs and reduce poverty.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, it is a well-known fact that the Patriotic Front (PF) under the bad leadership of Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a heartless regime.




Mr Chilangwa: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.




Mr Lubinda: On point of order, Sir.




Mr Michelo: My question is: …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


Resume your seats.


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, I think you heard my counsel earlier, but let me repeat it: Hon. Members must ask questions on the subject of the hon. Minister of Finance’s statement directly.


Mr Mwiinga: Ubomba mwibala!


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, thank you for your counsel.


Sir, my question is: What is the estimated debt stock that she will pass on to the next regime in 2021 when she leaves office?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. PF Members: Ah!


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the next regime is the Patriotic Front (PF).


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Mwanakatwe: So, we will manage the debt sustainably so that we can continue to provide leadership under His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, the impression is being created around this country by people I will call doomsayers, people who have no faith in their country’s ability to operate internally and outside the context of external institutions that do not have our interests as their primary concern. Could the hon. Minister make it clear that this Government and the people of Zambia have the internal intellectual and material capacity to deal with whatever economic challenges this country can face. Can she make it clear that what we face is not a cul-de-sac and that this country will not crumble tomorrow.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I think this is a good question.


Sir, sometimes, I wonder whether we, Zambians, love ourselves as much as we should. Really, we ought to love ourselves more. Otherwise, we will just keep hurting one another. This is also why we need to have confidence in ourselves and our internal capacity. For that reason, I think that it is not right for the Government to be rushed into an IMF programme while it is still busy cleaning up the system. We need to go to the IMF with the confidence that the programme will be successful once we get on it. Otherwise, I am 110 per cent certain that we will be put on the programme because we will be 100 per cent ready for it. That is why the people at my ministry are working flat out to make our system more effective.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr A. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, we have seen that the policy rate in this country drop from 10 per cent to 9 per cent, as have the statutory reserve ratios. I hope that the benefits will be passed on to the people of Zambia because interest rates have continued hindering small businesses from growing.


 Sir, the hon. Minister has been talking about increasing domestic resource mobilisation. My concern is that small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are supposed to be the lubricants for the growth of our economy, including the gross domestic product (GDP) she has mention, are not paid within time. I think that is adding to the domestic debt every month. I know that some institutions have the money to pay on time so that taxes can be collected regularly, yet they have copied the Government’s habit of not paying on time. Does the ministry have any plan to ensure that institutions that have money pay on time for services, including staff emoluments, on time?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, domestic debt and delays in paying our small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are top items on the ministry’s agenda. I think I announced the other day that we are looking at domestic suppliers and want the Government to release some of the IDCs that have to be paid so that we relieve the pressure. The angle the hon. Member has introduced is an interesting one, and I will look at it to see what we can do to ensure that companies that owe domestic suppliers pay on time. I know that, sometimes, the excuse they give is that the Government has not paid them.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kufakwandi (Sesheke Central): Mr Speaker, debt servicing now accounts for 30 per cent of our annual Budget. Does the hon. Minister not agree we made mistakes in 2011 by rushing to borrow from the capital markets instead of the multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB), which would have given us concessional loans on a much longer term?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, at that time, the prevailing conditions made it imperative that we borrowed three bonds from the international bond market. Suffice it for me to say that we will do what is right for the country. We needed to develop the infrastructure in the country starting in 2011. Otherwise, I do not think that the country would be where it is today. Now, my focus is to ensure that money goes where it is needed. When we do not need to borrow, we should not do it. We should only borrow if we know we will enhance productivity. So, even as hon. Members cry for roads, schools, clinics and hospitals, we will need to look at the levels of debt we can sustain. We should remember that there is a debt ceiling that we have not breached before, which is 40 per cent of GDP. Currently, we are at about 28 per cent, and we are managing our debt in a very mature and systematic manner. So, I do not think we made a mistake at all.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that under the new Constitution, which was assented to two years ago, all loans are supposed to be approved by Parliament before they are contracted. However, this Government has neglected to present the Loans and Guarantees Bill to operationalise that provision of the Constitution. Does the Government not think that it is doing that with impunity so that it can continue with unchecked borrowing? Further, when will this Government present the Bill in question so that Parliament can start playing its role as provided for under the current Constitution?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Roan has raised an important issue that pre-occupies the Government. We have to present a Bill to Parliament to amend the Loans and Guarantees Act and operationalise the provision to which the hon. Member has referred.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Finance, do you have an idea of when that Bill will be presented to the House?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, this important Bill is being worked on. Unfortunately, I cannot give an exact time frame at the moment. As soon as we finish working on it with the Ministry of Justice, we shall inform the House.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




142. Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development when the construction of staff houses at Namabanga Health Centre in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency would commence.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the construction of staff houses at Namabanga Health Centre in Nangoma Parliamentary Constituency has been completed. Our assumption is that this question was filed in before the houses were constructed.


Sir, the construction of additional staff houses is currently under procurement and the works are expected to commence after finalisation of the procurement process.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, as far as I know, only two houses have been constructed. Therefore, I know that the Government will build more houses because the health centre is currently understaffed, with only two staffers. As it looks at the construction of houses, will it be possible for the ministry to work on the road from the district centre to Mabanga Hospital? I ask this question because when we have a problem, we find it a bit difficult to reach the district centre.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister will not answer that question because it is a new one.




143. Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Finance:


  1. what had caused the delay in paying terminal benefits to retired civil servants; and


  1. what measures the Government was taking to expedite the process.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the terminal benefits for Public Service workers upon separation from the Government include leave pay, long service bonuses, repatriation allowances and pensions. These benefits are budgeted for by the individual ministries, provinces and spending agencies (MPSAs).


Sir, the cause of the delay in paying terminal benefits are the challenges faced on the fiscal front, especially in the period between 2015 and 2016. The challenges include:


  1. low revenues from trade taxes as a result of reduced trade due to the depreciation of the kwacha against major currencies, low copper prices and poor performance of non-tax revenue;


  1.  expenditure pressures caused by high subsidies, especially during the 2015/2016 period when the Government spent exceptionally high on the importation of fuel and electricity;


  1. failure by civil servants to take their annual leave in preference for commutation of leave days; and


  1. the huge pay rise awarded in 2013, which raised the employer’s contribution and size of benefits due for payment, as the law dictates that the last pay be used in calculating benefits.


Mr Speaker, in order to expedite the payment process, the Government allocated K2.1 billion towards the dismantling of arrears across all economic classes. Part of this amount is being used to service the outstanding terminal benefits owed to retired civil servants.


Sir, the Government intends to release the full budgetary allocations for other emoluments to avoid accumulating new arrears. In this regard, in 2017, it released K834 million out of the allocated K1 billion, which represented a budget performance of 73 per cent. In 2018, it has set aside K1.4 billion, which it intends to release in full, for liquidating the arrears on personal emoluments.


 Mr Speaker, the Government also allows, with prior authority, all MPSAs to use savings made on their personal emoluments budgets to liquidate arrears on terminal benefits. It also encourages workers to take their annual leave, which not only reduces its terminal benefits liabilities, but also helps to raise productivity of the workers by allowing them rest and rejuvenation.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, the hon. Minister said that inter alia, the retirees have not been paid because of low revenues and the depreciation of the kwacha.


Sir, in the last meeting, I moved a Motion urging the Government to expedite the payment of retirees’ benefits and the hon. Minister was one of those who voted against it. Seeing as the Government bought forty-two fire tenders at US$1 million each, should I believe her when she says the Government prioritises its spending? Further, what assurance does she give us that the K2.1 billion in the Yellow Book will be disbursed, seeing as money has to be mobilised and disbursed before the retirees can be paid?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, considering where we are coming from, and having paid the retirees 73 per cent of what they are owed, I think we should be patted on the back. Going forward, we want to ensure that we are able to full pay terminal benefits as they fall due. Mind you, when people retire, we continue to pay them their salaries and allowances until their pensions are fully paid. We do not throw them out into the cold. We believe that we will be able to pay terminal benefits if we expand the revenue base. All in all, I agree that it is important that retirees are paid their dues.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, why has the commutation of leave days become a right instead of being a preserve for those whose services are indispensable at the time they are supposed to take their leave?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, we have tasked the Secretary to the Cabinet to come up with policies and procedures on that. Unless it is imperative to do otherwise, people should take their leave. We, hon. Ministers, are not allowed to carry leave days over into the following year, and we want that to be applied in the Civil Service too.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the English.




Mr Mutelo: Sir, the hon. Minister said that if she left the Government today, Zambians would not cry. If she left the Government today, does she not think that the retirees would cry?




Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, in 2017, we provided K1.65 billion for payment of pension benefits, of which we released K1.47 billion or 89 per cent. In 2018, we have provided K1.06 billion and, since we released K1.47 billion in 2017, I do not see how we can fail to disburse the whole K1.06 billion for this year. With regard to other terminal benefits, as I have said, we released 73 per cent of the budgeted amount. So, I can assure the Zambians that …


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was had just given some statistics showing how committed we are to dismantling terminal benefit arrears.


Sir, for other benefits, of the budgeted K1.1 billion, we have paid K834 million, which is 73 per cent. The allocation for 2018 provision is K1.36 billion.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister and her Government are failing to pay people who have worked for this country. As a result, the retirees are being pushed turned into destitution. Meanwhile, the ministry keeps telling us that it is committed to the prudent management of the financial resources of this country. What surprises me is that …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member of Parliament for Nkeyema!


You seem to have a penchant for long and winding prefaces to your questions. If you have a question in mind, just formulate it and put it to the hon. Minister. You may have a strong desire for those observations to be heard, but this is not the platform for that.


Do you have a question?


Mr Mbangweta: Yes, I do, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Ask it.


Mr Mbangweta: Yes, I will ask it, Sir.




Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbangweta: Sir, why does the hon. Minister’s Government continue retiring people in the national interest and continuing to pay them for doing nothing when it is failing to pay people who have worked for this country for a long time?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for Nkeyema for his question.


Sir, at the risk of repeating myself, I will restate what the information I just shared to show how committed we are to paying pension benefits.


Sir, we have paid 89 per cent of pension benefits against the backdrop of huge arrears. In terms of other terminal benefits, we have paid 73 per cent. Surely, does that not demonstrate an adequate commitment on the part of this Government to the wellbeing of civil servants when they retire? I assure Hon. Mbangweta that we will continue dismantle the arrears and, hopefully, clear all of them. From the amounts we allocated and disbursed in 2017, the hon. Member can see that we are able to pay even more than what we allocated in 2018.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, earlier, Hon. Gary Nkombo asked the hon. Minister how she expects us, the Members on your left, to believe that she is not collecting enough money for paying terminal benefits when she managed to collect enough money to buy forty-two fire tenders at US$1 million each. Could she answer that question.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: We want clarity!


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Bushe mwalikoma amatwi?


Hon. Opposition Members: Aah, ba malukula!




Mrs Mwanakatwe: Hon. Member of Parliament for Dundumwezi, …




Hon. Opposition Members: Translation!




Mr Speaker: I do not know where that comment came from.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Because …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!


Just a minute. I want to trace where the comment came from.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Because I keep having to repeating myself, …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!


Just wait, I need assistance.


Anyway, we will have recourse to the verbatim record.


Hon. Opposition Members: Aah!


Mr Speaker: You may continue, hon. Minister.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I think our actions will speak louder than our words. So, I urge the hon. Members to watch our actions going forward because, as is its tradition, the PF will do what it promised, and that is to dismantle the arrears. We do not want to see pensions go unpaid. No wonder, I shared the statistics on our payment of terminal benefit arrears, which should give the hon. Members confidence that we are committed to paying and that we will pay.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sing’ombe: Fire tenders!


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I have a very simple and straightforward question.


Sir, this Government has been known to spend colossal amounts of money on procurements that do not help in the development of this country. One such procurement was the purchase of fire tenders at US$1 million each.


Mr Nkombo: Hear, hear!


Mr Lufuma: Could the money spent on the purchase of only one of the vehicles not have been used to pay off the retirees? Or, is the payment of retirees not a priority?


Mr Sing’ombe: Hear, hear!


Mr Lufuma: Could the hon. Minister of Finance, please, give us an answer.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Speaker, really, I wish to stick the subject at hand, which is terminal benefits, not about fire tenders. So, all I can say is that we are budgeting properly for pensions and other retirement benefits, and mobilising resources to ensure that we can pay. I trust that 2018 will be even better than 2017. We can achieve a 100 per cent pay-out.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I hope we will not continue to be repetitive on this issue. Usually, when hon. Members become repetitive in their questions, I am tempted to move on to another question.


For avoidance of doubt, what the hon. Minister has been saying repeatedly is that the Government has attained a certain percentage in terms of paying terminal benefits. She has also mentioned the budgeted amounts for last year and this year. Of course, you are entitled to seek further clarification. However, repetition is not permitted by our rules. So, I will simply curtail repetitive questions to save time.


Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, it takes long for retirees to get their money and some people die before getting their money. Does the Government have a record of retirees who died before getting their terminal benefits?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I do not have the figures off-the-cuff, but the records are there.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, when will the former employees of the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD), most of whom have since died, be paid their dues?


Mr Speaker: Former employees of which organisation? I did not follow you.


Mr Hamusonde: NAMBOARD, Sir.


Mr Speaker: NAMBOARD?




Mr Speaker: Do you mean the National Agricultural Marketing Board? How is it connected to the Ministry of Finance?


Mr Hamusonde: Sir, NAMBOARD was a parastatal company. 


Mr Speaker: Anyway, I will let the hon. Minister answer. I do not want to jump in.




Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, that is a new question because it is talking about a parastatal. The question to which I am responding today is about former civil servants. So, I ask the hon. Member for Nangoma to file in a new question if he wants me to talk about former the National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) employees.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




144.  Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. whether the Government had any plan to sell the former National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) houses in Ndeke Township, Ndola, to sitting tenants;


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


  1. if there was no such plans, why.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, through Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 101 of 2001, the Government transferred the former National Agricultural Marketing Board (NAMBOARD) houses in Ndeke to the then Ministry of Works and Supply. Further, there was a court ruling to the effect that the sitting tenants in the houses were illegal tenants who could not benefit from the sale of the houses.


Sir, the Ministry of Works and Supply has indicated to us that it will not sell the houses to the sitting tenants because it intends to allocate them to civil servants.


Sir, as stated above, the Government will not sell the houses because it intends to allocate them to civil servants.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




145.  Dr Chanda asked the Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development where the Government had any plans to support youth sport tournaments in Bwana Mkubwa Parliamentary Constituency.


The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mawere): Mr Speaker, the role of the Government is to formulate policies on the development and promotion of sports in the country. Youth sports tournaments are spearheaded by different sports associations around the country under the auspices of the National Sports Council of Zambia (NSCZ). The national sports federations have administrative structures that implement programmes according to their mandates in the communities, districts and provinces. The national sports federations hold various youth sports tournaments in various constituencies, including Bwana Mkubwa, according to the resources they possess.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




146. Mr Hamusonde asked the Minister of Home Affairs:


  1. whether the Government had any plan to construct a police post at Keezwa Primary School in Nangoma Constituency;


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


  1. if there was no such plan, why.


The Minister of Defence (Mr Chama)(on of behalf of the Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, there is no allocation for the construction of a police post at Keezwa in Nangoma Constituency in the 2018 Budget. Therefore, the Government has no immediate plan to construct the said police post. The area hon. Member of Parliamentary is encouraged to use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to construct the police post.


Sir, the construction of a police post at Keezwa Primary School can only be undertaken when it is budgeted for. However, the Government’s policy is to complete the ongoing projects before embarking on new ones.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Hamusonde: Mr Speaker, there used to be police officers at that school some time back. Why were they were removed when the structure is there?


Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, the officers were moved to a new police post. I think the hon. Member has seen the checkpoint on the way to Mumbwa, which was established to make sure that there was control of many other things that the ministry has to check on.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister encouraged Hon. Hamusonde to use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to construct the police post he requested the Government to construct. My simple question is: How can he use the CDF when the Government does not release it? Where will Hon. Hamusonde get the CDF money for him to use it to provide that service?


Mr Chama: Mr Speaker, the money is provided for in the 2018 Budget. Even in 2017, some constituencies received part of their CDF allocations.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




147. Mr Mukosa (Chinsali) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. whether the Government had any plan to promote fish farming in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency;


  1. if so, what the specific plan was;


  1. when the plan would be implemented; and


  1. if there was no such plan, why.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Ms Mulenga): Mr Speaker, my ministry has plans to promote fish farming in Chinsali District.


Sir, the specific plans are as follows:


  1. construction of thirty-two fish ponds;


  1. rehabilitation of twelve fish ponds;


  1. training and provision of extension services to 180 fish farmers in the area;


  1. stocking of nineteen ponds with 20,000 fingerlings; and


  1. upgrading of the Government Fish Farm in Chief Nkula’s area of the District into a fully-fledged aquacultural research station in the district.


Mr Speaker, the plans are on-going.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister says that the plans are “on-going”, does she mean they are being implemented currently?


Ms Mulenga: Yes, Mr Speaker.


I thank you, Sir.




148. Mrs Mwansa (Nyimba) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. when the livestock restocking programme would be extended to Nyimba Parliamentary Constituency;


  1. what the total number of livestock earmarked for the programme in 2017 was; and


  1. what the total cost of the programme was.


Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, livestock stocking and restocking is a countrywide programme that is being implemented by the Government and co-operating partners, such as Heifer International, World Vision and Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN).


Sir, Nyimba Constituency benefited from the programme in 2017.


Sir, the ministry runs a number of projects, including the following:


  1. World Bank-funded Livestock Development and Animal Health Project (LDAHP);


  1. African Development Bank (AfDB)-funded Livestock Infrastructure Support Programme (SLIP);


  1. International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD)-funded Smallholder Agribusiness Promotion Programme (SAPP); and


  1. IFAD-funded Enhanced Smallholder Livestock Investment Programme (E-SLIP).


Mr Speaker, the projects mentioned above have restocking and stocking components in the form of matching grants, pass-on-the-gift or soft loans. The E-SLIP, which has a restocking component, has an approved funding of US$12 million, which will go a long way in promoting the restock of all livestock species across the country. However, the programme is demand-driven and targets co-operatives, farmers associations and individuals interested in livestock production.


Sir, as already stated, the approved amount for the E-SLIP is US$12 million. The amount to be spent specifically in Nyimba will be determined by the request for funding from communities in the district.


I thank you. Mr Speaker.




149. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the construction of the Lupande Health Post in Mkaika Constituency would be completed;


  1. what had caused the delay in completing the works; and


  1. what the time frame for the completion of the outstanding work was.


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, the construction of Lupande Health Post in Mkaika Constituency is being done through the Indian Line of Credit to Construct 650 Health Posts across the country. The initial contract was terminated and a new contractor will commence work by the end of the first quarter of 2018. The date of completion will be known after a revised programme of work is submitted to the Government by the new contractor to be engaged.


Sir, the delay has been caused by difficulties in securing counterpart funding, which led to the suspension of works in September, 2017. The counterpart funding has since been provided by the Indian Government.


Sir, the time frame for the completion of the outstanding works will be determined once a new contractor is engaged and a revised programme of works is submitted to the Government.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.




150. Mr Lufuma asked the Minister of Finance:


  1. how the three Eurobonds issued by the Government were utilised, year by year, and sector by sector;


  1. how much interest had been paid on each Eurobond per year; and


  1. whether the Eurobonds would be fully repaid when they mature.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, as hon. Members may recall, the first Eurobond amounted to US$750 million and was issued in 2012 to finance various infrastructural projects like those in the road, energy and health sectors to accelerate development and improve the livelihoods of Zambians.


Sir, in 2012 and 2013, the Government released US$310 million to the road sector, US$255 million to the energy sector and US$120 million to the railway sector. Other disbursements were US$29.4 million to the health sector and US$20 million for the recapitalisation of the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ).


Sir, the second Eurobond amounted to US$1 billion and was issued in 2014 mainly to fund the completion of some outstanding projects and unlock further economic capital. The bulk of the loan was channelled to infrastructure projects, which accounted for K2.8 billion expenditure in 2014 to 2016. Notable expenditures under this category included K1.8 billion for roads, K634 million for the establishment of new districts and K123.8 million for the railway system. Other sectors that benefited include the energy sector, which received K955.7 million, education sector, which was given K496.6 million and the recapitalisation of state-owned enterprises was done at a cost of K480.4 million. The remainder was shared among the health, agriculture, water and sanitation, and general Budget support, as appropriated by Parliament.


Sir, in 2015, the Government issued the third sovereign bond amounting to US$1.25 billion. It is important to mention that due to volatility of our domestic currency during that period, it was found prudent to hold part of the money in United States Dollars to reduce exchange losses when making payments in foreign denominated currency. Nonetheless, releases were made to various sectors in an effort to foster economic growth and unlock liquidity in the economy. The notable expenditures from the third Eurobond were K2.6 billion to the agricultural sector, K2.3 billion to the energy sector, K2.2 billion to the road sector, K434 million to the health sector and K339 million to the education sector. The balance went to water and sanitation, construction of housing units for the security wings, recapitalisation of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), installation of navigation radars, procurement of dredging equipment and general Budget support, as appropriated by Parliament.


Sir, below are the interest payments for each of the Eurobonds:


Eurobond                    Principle Amount (US$)         Annual Interest Paid (US$)


I                                            750,000,000                               40,312,500


II                                        1,000,000,000                               85,000,000


III                                      1,250,000,000                              112,124,000


Sir, the Government does not intend to default on the Eurobond repayments when they fall due in 2022, 2024 and 2025 to 2027, respectively. In order to deal with the refinancing risk posed by the maturing of the Eurobonds between 2022 and 2027, the Government is proactively considering mechanisms aimed at redeeming the Eurobonds, including through the implementation of a sinking fund.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, one of the reasons we have perennial outbreaks of cholera is obviously that of our low investment in water and sanitation facilities, particularly in the western side of this city and other parts of the country. It is gratifying, therefore, to hear that part of the second and third Eurobonds was allocated to water and sanitation. Can the hon. Minister mention specific projects that were funded under the water and sanitation sector?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I am afraid, I did not hear the question.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Lukulu East, repeat your question, and speak a little more loudly. Your voice was quite low.


Dr Kalila: Yes, I will be very audible this time, Sir.


Mr Speaker, I was bemoaning the low levels of investment in the water and sanitation sector, which has led to perennial cholera outbreaks. My question is: What specific projects were implemented in the water and sanitation sector? As far as I can see, there is little to show for the money that was invested.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I just have broad figures of what was invested in the water and sanitation sector, and I can share those figures with the hon. Member. However, if he wants a detailed breakdown, I will be happy to provide that information later.


Sir, from the second Eurobond, K100,902,826 was invested in 2014, from the third Eurobond, K146,250,000 was invested in 2015 while, from the first Eurobond, US$29,397,662 was released to the health sector in 2013.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the World Bank (WB) and International Monetary Fund (IMF) undertook an analysis of our debt and expressed serious doubt about Zambia’s ability to repay the bonds when they matured. The hon. Minister’s predecessor once said that he would borrow money from other people in order to repay these Eurobonds. In other words, he would roll them over. Further, the Government is failing to agree a programme with the IMF because it wants to continue borrowing while the IMF does not want that. Will the Government be able to convince other lenders to lend it the money to pay off the Eurobonds when they mature? 


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the answer is a categorical yes.


Sir, there is serious interest among lenders to lend us money. However, we are more interested in concessionary loans than commercial loans. Meanwhile, there is still some time before the Eurobonds mature. In the meantime, we want to set up a sinking fund to ensure that we can repay the Eurobonds when they mature. So, I do not foresee us having any problems in repaying the Eurobonds.


I thank you, Sir.


 Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government borrowed the Eurobonds, it promised to put in place measures to ensure that the Government would have the money to pay back both the interest and the principal of the Eurobonds in 2022, 2024 and 2025, and one of the measures mentioned in 2012 was the establishment of a sinking fund. Has that fund been established? If not, why?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the sinking fund will be established this year.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Sir, since the three Eurobonds were quite a substantial amount of resources, how were the funds were apportioned, province by province?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I do not have that information right now, but I can provide it later.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, as a point of counsel, I do not know what questions will be asked, but I suppose most of them will be like the one just asked by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kasempa, and I am sure that you can predict the responses from the hon. Minister of Finance. The principal Question was confined, perhaps, at a macro level. However, we are now descending to the micro level. For that reason, the hon. Minister might repeatedly respond the way she has just done. So, you may want to bear that in mind as you ask your questions.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, earlier today, the hon. Minister indicated that, around 2012, there were certain circumstances that necessitated the Government’s issuance of the Eurobond, which is more expensive than a concessional loan. What were those circumstances?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, the main driving forces behind our decision to opt for the Eurobond was the need to develop our infrastructure and the failure of the local market to provide the money we needed. Meanwhile, the external market was ripe and the Zambian bond is always very popular. Apart from that, the international capital market was more attractive than the domestic one. Further, we did not want to continue stifling domestic capital markets’ ability to lend to private enterprises.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, firstly, I congratulate the hon. Minister for her appointment to her current portfolio. Secondly, I heard her say that some of the money from the Eurobonds was invested in the creation of new districts. What was the Government’s forecast of money that would be realised from that investment to enable it repay the loans?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Sir, the investment in the new districts were US$309 million in 2014, US$323 million in 2015 and US $2.1 million in 2016, taking the total to US$634,229,554.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, from the first Eurobond, US$120 million was invested in the rehabilitation of the railway track from Livingstone to Chililabombwe. Have there been improvements in the operations of Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) in terms of the time it takes the trains to move from one station to another? Further, has the main objective of that investment, which was to reduce the pressure exerted by the transportation of bulk cargo on our roads, been met? I ask this question because I have not that happen and I seriously doubt the ability of the ZRL to give the Government returns on that investment.


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, Hon. Nkombo’s concern is well noted.


Sir, As regards the Government getting a return on the money it invested in the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL), I have been told that the company has improved somewhat, although it there is room for further improvement. Next week, I will sit down with a team from the company to look at what fruits the injection of US$120 million in the ZRL has born. Thereafter, I will be able to give the House a clearer picture. I know that more wagons were procured recently. Further, I would like to believe that the investment has improved the speed of railway transportation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, it is quite clear from our debate this afternoon that this Government has made serious mistakes.


Sir, firstly, usually, when a country finds itself in a situation where it has to borrow, especially for the kind of loans that the Government borrowed, the aim is to invest the funds into long-term projects like roads. However, there was a strategic inconsistency in that we borrowed on a short-term basis. Even an individual who borrows money for a long-term project asks for a longer repayment period. Is the Government in a position to, at least, apologise to Zambians, especially to the future generations, for putting them in this debt, which we are unable to explain to the people in the rural areas because we cannot point at any infrastructure in which the Government has invested?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question.


Sir, the Government borrowed the money in 2012, but it will only be repaid starting in 2022. Further, the first and second tranches were actually very well priced and Zambia was moved into the middle-income category of countries. Further, the concessional window had narrowed. So, we had to go to the international market. We are making good use of the money, and you heard me mention the sectors into which the money was invested. Therefore, I have no apology to make to the people of Zambia because they will benefit from the loans.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the figures given by the hon. Minister show that we are paying about US $337 million annually in interest on the bonds. That is about as much money as that borrowed for the Kafue Hydro Power Station, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) and many other projects. These are colossal sums of money.


Prof. Lungwangwa: Is the hon. Minister in a position to apprise the House on the feasibility studies that were undertaken in determining the economic viability of the projects into which the loans were invested and their ability to generate the resources needed to service the debts?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, appraisals were done before we decided on the sectors in which to invest, according to the needs. For example, if there is no infrastructure like hospitals, schools and housing in a district, surely, it makes sense for our people to be provided these facilities. Everything aspect of the Eurobond deal was analysed critically to ensure that we put the money where it could enhance productivity.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, the Eurobond was borrowed at very high commercial rates instead of the cheaper concessionary terms that could have been given by institutions like the World Bank (WB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). That being the case, one would think that we would the money would be invested it in productive ventures from which we could have realised returns immediately or, at least, within the ten years that we had before the bonds matured. However, the hon. Minister has mentioned that US$360 million was invested in the creation of districts. What did we envisage to gain from that investment? Further, how has the investment panned out? I do not know if the hon. Minister has been able to follow me because ...


Mr Lubinda: On a point of order.


Mr Lufuma: Are you following me, hon. Minister?


Mrs Mwanakatwe indicated assent.


Mr Lufuma: Sir, what were the anticipated returns on the investments in the new districts?


Mrs Mwanakatwe: Mr Speaker, investing developing infrastructure in new districts opens the districts up for development. That is the way to enhance productivity and get returns from investments. When we invest in districts, we create an environment that creates economic vibrancy. Lufwanyama District is a good example what I am talking about. I also talked about providing health care services, which were not available in those areas.


I thank you, Sir.




151.  Mr Lufuma asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting:


  1. whether the Zambian National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) had a new equity partner;


  1. if so, what the name of the partner was;


  1. how many shares, in percentage terms, were allotted to the partner;


  1. what the value of each share was; and


  1. what additional value the partner had brought to corporation.


The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) does not have any equity partner and, because of that, the corporation’s legal structure has not changed.


Sir, given my answer to the first part of the question, the other questions fall off.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I am surprised by the hon. Minister’s answer because the information I have is that TopStar is an equity partner in the ZNBC. If the hon. Minister’s answer is correct, what is TopStar doing at the ZNBC?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I repeat: The ZNBC has no equity partner. However, the corporation has a 40 per cent stake in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called TopStar, in which there is an equity partner.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, who are the other shareholders in the special purpose vehicle (SPV)?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, the remaining 60 per cent stake in TopStar is owned by Star Times Media Company.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, this lady is very clever.




Mr Lufuma: Sir, could the hon. Minister itemise the benefits are accruing to the ZNBC from the shares it holds in TopStar?


Mr Speaker: I am sure that when you consider your Question, you realise that what you are now asking ...


Mr Lufuma interjected.


Mr Speaker: Let me finish. I am still speaking.


You follow-up question is a departure from the principal Question, but I will give the hon. Minister the liberty to answer.


Ms Siliya: Sir, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) required all countries to migrate to digital broadcasting by, I think, 2015. However, African countries negotiated an extension of the deadline to 2018.


Sir, to fund that process, the ZNBC decided to form an SPV called Top Star with digitalisation experts, StarTimes Media Company. That SPV has enabled us to digitalise our broadcasting on the line of rail from Kazungula to Chingola and Chililabombwe on the Copperbelt. Very soon, we will embark on a digitalisation switch-on in three provinces. Thereafter, we will do the same in the last three provinces by the end of December, 2018.


Sir, digitalisation is important for the country in terms of the quality of the signal. Another benefit we will get from this platform is that the Government will have to build broadcasting infrastructure across the country and construct studios in all the provinces. Already, that infrastructure is being built in some parts of the country.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: HThose hon. Members who are yet to ask follow-up questions, please, be informed that we are considering Question 151.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister whose answers, I think, are political sliding tackles.




Mr Speaker: I do not know what you mean, but continue.




Mr Michelo: Sir, we, the people of Zambia, want the hon. Minister to go on record promising them that the ZNBC has not been sold to TopStar or another Chinese company.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Minister has already answered that question.




Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the responses she is giving.


Sir, the people of Chama South know that the partnership will benefit this country immensely in digital migration. However, equipment becomes obsolete and technology advances. Is the hon. Minister assuring us that the technology will be constantly updated even after the special purpose vehicle (SPV) so that our people will continue to have advanced broadcast equipment?


Mr Speaker: That question is unrelated to the principal Question.




Mrs Chonya: Mr Speaker, let me try.


Sir, the hon. Minister has told us that 60 per cent of TopStar is owned by StarTimes while Zambia has owns 40 per cent. What is the rationale and implication of Zambia having a minority stake while a foreign company owns a large share?


Mr Speaker: That question is also unrelated to the principal Question.




Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that, challenged with delivering digital migration to citizens, the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) had to enter into an agreement with TopStar, in which it eventually obtained a 40 per cent stake in the special purpose vehicle (SPV). Given these circumstances and considering the requirements of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), would she not review her response to part (a) of the principal Question, …


Ms Siliya: Chifukwa?


Prof. Lungwangwa: … which required her to inform us whether the ZNBC has a new equity partner? Would she not say that the ZNBC has a new equity partner in the delivery of digital migration to the country through its 40 per cent shareholding in TopStar?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, review your answer.




Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I think the problem here is with the nomenclature.


Sir, the ZNBC, as a corporate entity, has not acquired an equity partner and its corporate legal structure remains the same. However, the corporation has acquired a 40 per cent stake in an SPV called TopStar, which it created together with StarTimes Media Company. It is through that platform that the digitalisation process is being rolled out in the country. I hope that the nomenclature is clear now.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




152. Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. whether the Agricultural Mechanisation fund had been established;


  1. if so, which institution was administering the fund;


  1. what the criteria for accessing the fund were; and


  1. how many farmers, if any, had benefited from the fund.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, there are several private and public agriculture mechanisation funds available to farmers. Currently, the ministry is supporting farmer groups and institutions to acquire funds under the Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project (APMEP) and the Irrigation Development Support Programme (IDSP). In addition, other public institutions like the Public Service Micro-Finance Company and the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) also offer mechanisation loan facilities.


Mr Speaker, as stated above, there are various mechanisation funds administered by different public and private institutions. The ministry currently runs the APMEP and the IDSP.


Sir, to access equipment under APMEP, a co-operative must:


  1. be viable;


  1. be engaged in an agricultural business activity, such as processing or value addition;


  1. have an executive committee with female representation;


  1. have, at least, K20,000 in the bank; and


  1. be able to keep records.


Sir, co-operatives are also at liberty to form associations.


Sir, for individual farmers to access the equipment, they must:


  1. be a model farmers with, at least, ten followers;


  1. have, at least, 2 ha of land; and


  1. be resident in the area and active for five years.


Sir, under the IDSP, groups or individual farmers access equipment by writing business proposals that are evaluated for viability.


Sir, under APMEP, 8,743 farmers directly benefited from the mechanisation equipment during 2016/17 and 2017/18 agricultural seasons while 52,458 benefited indirectly. The beneficiaries included household members and unskilled labourers. Under the IDSP, so far, five institutions, namely Zambia National Service (ZNS), Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS), Zambia Police Service (ZPS), Zambia College of Agriculture (ZCA), and Mpika and Chapula horticultural colleges, have benefited.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




153. Mr Mukosa (Chinsali) asked the Minister of General Education:


(a)        when computers for all the schools in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency would be procured; and


(b)        what the cost of procuring the computers would be.


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the Government plans to procure computers for schools countrywide, including for those in Chinsali Constituency, as they enhance the teaching of information communication technology (ICT) in primary and secondary schools. However, due to the non-availability of funds, the purchase of computers is currently being done in …


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that, due to a non-availability of funds, the purchase of computers for schools is being done in a phased manner.


Mr Speaker, the total cost of procuring computers for all schools in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency will only be known when the procurement process commences.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube’s microphone malfunctioned.




Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I suspect foul play from my neighbour, Hon. Chabi.




Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, the situation in schools is quite pathetic. We have seen pupils sit for examinations in computer studies, yet we have also seen pupils be ferried in buses, sometimes over many kilometres, just to access one computer, which they have to take turns using. Does the ministry have plans of scrapping information and communications technology (ICT) examinations until every school is given adequate computers? Further, does the ministry intend to expedite the procurement of computers? I ask this question because I think that if one expects pupils to be examined …


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


I think you have already asked your question.


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, what has been happening from the time we introducing computer lessons and examinations in our schools is very unfortunate. However, I want to comfort Hon. Tutwa …


Mr Ngulube: Hon. Ngulube!


Mr Mabumba: Oh, yes, Hon. Ngulube.


Sir, when we introduced the subject, we clarified to this august House that we recognised that computers would not be available to all the schools simultaneously, as some were able to buy from their own resources while others had to be supported by the Ministry of General Education Headquarters. We also said that pupils in schools that did not have computers could be taught computer theory, but they could not sit for examinations in the subject. That position still holds. We also clarified that we could not wait for all schools to have computers before introducing the subject. I assure my hon. Colleagues that we did not have that option. We had to give our children who could the opportunity to start learning computer science.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, since the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) talks about not leaving anybody behind, I think we should also consider dumb, deaf and blind children. Will the computers about which the hon. Minister is talking be distributed to children with such special needs?


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, when we introduced the new curriculum in 2014, materials for children with special needs were considered part of what needed to be procured. If some schools in Kasama have not received those materials, it is not because we have not started distributing them across the country. Again, due to financial limitations, not all the schools have been catered for, but we will continue providing those materials to our children with special needs.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I welcome Hon. Mabumba back to the Ministry of General Education.


Sir, as the ministry distributes computers to schools, including those in rural areas like the ones in Liuwa, when does it plan to give us teachers, desks, chalk and other requirements, of which we do not have enough?


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, although the hon. Member has deviated from the principal Question, I will try my best to answer his question.


Sir, the recruitment of teachers is an ongoing process. For example, we are just concluding the recruitment process for 2017. The shortage of desks is also being looked into. That is why I said that in some areas where we have had challenges, my colleagues in the ministry and I will look at what reforms we can effect. Yesterday, I said that there was a way in which we recruited and deployed teachers, and procured desks and other learning materials. I just want to tell Hon. Dr Musokotwane that I will pay attention to those things. During my first stint in the ministry, these are the things I dealt with, and it is high time we resolved them so that the pupils we are here to serve, including those in Liuwa Constituency, start seeing the benefits of some of the reforms on which my colleagues and I will embark in the next few weeks.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, there are primary schools to which this Government has supplied computers, but they are not connected to the national electricity grid and they do not have even solar panels. What plans does this Government have for such schools?


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, having been a Minister of Energy, one of the programmes I superintended over this year involved the setting up of grid extensions in areas where schools and public institutions were not yet electrified. However, as my colleagues are aware, the limitation is the funding. Were the funding sufficient, we would be able to electrify many schools using either solar systems or off-grid solutions. So, let me just inform my colleagues that if my colleagues will continue with the programme, as I hope they will, this year alone, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) will implement about forty grid extension projects and I expect many institutions to benefit from the programme.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that pupils taught only computer theory due to a lack of computers in their schools are not supposed to be examined. Meanwhile, the truth is that such pupils sit for examinations. Has he taken stock of that?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, let us try and confine ourselves to the Principal Questions. In this instance, the subject is provision of computers.


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, the position on which pupils should be presented for examination in ICT was made very clear a few years ago and it has not changed. So, if there are some schools in my colleagues’ constituencies that do not abide by that policy, the Permanent Secretary (PS) is able to clarify matters to the provincial and district educational officers. If we have such inconveniencies in our schools because of a communication breakdown, I apologise and promise to rectify the problem.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the answers he has provided.


Sir, as we wait for the Government to raise the money to buy computers for all schools, what interim measures have been put in place to ensure that those who do not have computers, such as Muzamanze in Chinsali, Nashinga and Chilunda, are provided some just so that pupils can, at least, use them to write examinations?


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, there are three ways of providing a school with computers. The first is for the ministry to buy for the school. The second is for the school to buy from its resources while the third is for co-operating partners to donate to the school. Although the major way remains that of procurement by the Government, some schools generate resources internally to buy computers. For example, I have been to rural schools in Chibombo that have computers.


Sir, for the schools in Chinsali, maybe, when I tour the area, we will be able to encourage the school administrations to buy two or three computers using money realised from user fees.


I thank you, Sir.




154. Mr Mukosa asked the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs:


  1. whether the Government had plans to promote the Chipoma Falls in Chinsali Parliamentary Constituency as a tourist attraction;


  1. if so, what the specific plans were:


  1. when the plans would be implemented; and


  1. if there were no such plans, why.


The Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Speaker, yes, the Government has such plans and it has been implementing strategies to promote various waterfalls in the country, including the Chipoma Falls Heritage Site. Firstly, the site was declared a national monument by Gazette Notice No. 255 of 1964. That is, in itself, a marketing promotional tool. Secondly, there is signage showing the direction of the site, and that also promotes the site as a tourist attraction. Further, the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) featured , had the site on its 2016 calendar.


Sir, the Government, through the NHCC, has been running a quiz on the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television on various heritage sites, including Chipoma Falls National Monument. Further, during the Luapula Expo and Investment Conference, the falls was among the sites published, including through banners. The site is also featured in a publication titled ‘A Guide to Zambia’s Heritage’ currently being sold at selected sites and one of the Book World outlets in Lusaka. Finally, the NHCC showcases various sites, including the site in question, during trade fairs, and agriculture and commercial shows.


Mr Speaker, the NHCC will continue to promote various sites, including the Chipoma Falls, during major shows and trade fairs. The commission also intends to set aside some funds for the production of a publication on heritage sites in the Northern and Muchinga provinces. The publication will encompass the site in question. Additionally, the commission and the ZNBC are working on modalities for collaboration in the promotion of domestic tourism. That, too, will encompass the site in question. The quiz on heritage on the national broadcaster is, but one manifestation of that collaborative effort. There is also a plan to facilitate the construction of a lodge at the site by the private sector.


Sir, the promotion of sites during shows and trade fairs is done on set dates while the publication on the Northern Province heritage sites will be published in the second quarter of 2018. The NHCC and ZNBC collaboration to promote domestic tourism was done at the end of 2017. Finally, the site for the construction of a lodge has been handed over to the private investor.


Mr Speaker, part (d) of the Question falls off because of what I have explained above.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mukosa: Mr Speaker, does the ministry have any intention of making it easy for private investors, especially Zambians, who want to construct lodges and other facilities to do so? I ask this question because the private investor who was given a twenty-six-year lease to operate a lodge at the site has failed to commence any construction work because he was required to pay US$30,000, but has failed to do so, only managing to raise about US $5,000.


Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for this follow-up question.


Sir, we have laid-down tender procedures that the private investor to whom the hon. Member has referred claimed he would comply with when applying for the lease. It was on that basis that he was given the site. However, two years have passed in which he has failed to commence the construction of the lodge and he has since come back to the ministry to ask for an extension, of which he has been given until the end of the first quarter of this year. If he fails to comply after the end of the extension, then, we will re-advertise the tender.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube: Thank you Mr Speaker. The Russians they say spasiba.




Mr Mutale: Ati shani?


Mr Speaker: What does that mean?


Mr Ngulube: Spasiba means “thank you”, Mr Speaker.




Mr Ngulube: Sir, does the National Heritage Conservation Commission (NHCC) consult his office before making some of the decisions it makes, which damage some of the heritage sites that our children would love to see when they grow up? Most heritage sites have been given out for mining concessions, and I have in mind the place where the skull of Broken Hill Man was discovered in Kabwe, which the NHCC allowed the Chinese to take over after receiving K70,000. As I speak, the Chinese are busy digging at the site.


Mr Sichalwe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central may wish to know that once a site has been declared a national monument or heritage site, it is supposed to be protected. So, in light of the information he has given to the House, I will take keen interest in finding out whether the site was declared and gazetted as a national monument site.


I thank you, Sir.




155. Mrs Mwansa (Nyimba) asked the Minister of Agriculture when a motor vehicle would be procured for the Agriculture Department in Nyimba District to enhance the office’s operations.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, Nyimba District has a Toyota Land Cruiser, plate number GRZ 389 BR, and twelve motorcycles. Those are the ones on which it relies for operations. Currently, we are working closely with the ministries of Works and Supply, and Finance to accelerate the procurement of motor vehicles, which has been included in the 2018 Budget. Once the Ministry of Finance releases the funds, Nyimba District will be considered for provision of a motor vehicle.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!




156. Mrs Mwansa asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. when the construction of classroom blocks at Chinabi Secondary School in Nyimba Parliamentary Constituency would commence;


  1. how many classroom blocks had been earmarked for construction in 2017; and


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


Mr Mabumba: Mr Speaker, Chinabi Secondary School is not among the 335 schools that were upgraded through either full contract or community-based projects. The construction of additional classroom blocks at the school is purely a commendable community-driven initiative. In view of the current policy of not embarking on new projects before completing the current stock, the construction of classroom blocks at Chinabi Secondary School will only be considered in the future, as the Government is currently preoccupied with completing projects currently under implementation. So, no new construction projects were embarked on in 2017 and 2018.


Sir, in view of my answer to parts (a) and (b) of the Question, part (c) falls off.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




157. Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe) asked the Minister of National Development and Planning what the total human population, by gender, was in the following wards in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency as of 31st May, 2017:


  1. Lubuto;


  1. Chimwemwe;


  1. Buntungwa;


  1. Twatasha;


  1. Itimpi; and


  1. Kawama.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of National Development and Planning (Mr Chiteme): Mr Speaker, the Central Statistical Office (CSO) is unable to provide population projections at the ward or constituency level because the statistical methodology it uses can only produce reliable steady population projections at the district level and above. The rationale behind making population projections at the district level and above is that population projections are more likely to be stable at those levels than projections at the ward and constituency levels. Due to rapid urbanisation, it is difficult to make population projections in some wards in predominately urban areas using standard methodologies of growing the base census population using demographic growth rates, that is, net effects in births, deaths and migration. Reliable population projections at sub-district level can only be made during a national census, which is undertaken once every ten years. Resources permitting, the CSO is supposed to undertake inter-censal surveys that provide some mid-year population estimates at the lower levels.


Sir, during the 2010 Census of Population and Housing, the wards in Chimwemwe Constituency recorded the following population counts:


Ward Name                             Total                Male                            Female


Lubuto                                     12,203             5,931                           6,272


Chimwemwe                            14,193             6,908                           7,285


Buntungwa                               14,483             8,469                           9,014


Itimpi                                        11,777             5,931                           5,846


Twatasha                                  23,719            11,640                         12,079


Kawama                                  37,966            18,861                         19,105


Constituency Totals                 117,341           57,740                         59,601


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, given the high population figures the hon. Minister has mentioned, does he agree with the people of Chimwemwe that there is an urgent need to plan for, at least, one secondary school in Twatasha Ward, which has only a basic school? Further, would he not agree that there is an urgent need to plan for, at least, one secondary school in Kawama Ward?


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker,  the current planning frameworks are fragmented, as they split physical planning, which deals the planning for facilities at the local level as it relates to town planning, from development or socio-economic planning, which is under the Ministry of National Development and Planning. The local planning authorities undertake spatial planning, such as allocation of plots and, in conjunction with the line ministries, decide where infrastructure, such as schools, should be constructed.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister telling this House and the nation at large that he can only plan for constituencies and wards after the next census? I believe that some of the objectives of Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) relate to urbanisation and education. So, does the Central Statistical Office (CSO) relies on data from the previous census and cannot do any projections between censuses at the sub-district level? Does the office wait for ten years to pass before having updated population data?


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, I have said that my ministry is responsible for economic and social development planning while physical planning is the responsibility of the Ministry of Local Government. That said, my ministry can still plan between censuses because it has access to sub-sensal survey estimates, which can be made mid-yearly.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the ministry gets population data only once every ten years, which means that the Government does not get anything in between. Would he, therefore, advise the hon. Ministers to always listen carefully to hon. Members of Parliament when they advise on where there is a need to construct infrastructure, such as schools and health centres, since the Government has a statistical blind window between census?


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, may I remind the hon. Member for Liuwa that there is a difference between a national census, which deals with population and development, and human development statistics, which relate to regional groupings and inform Government decisions on where to build schools, hospitals or clinics. The national census relates to the number of people in households.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, ten years is a long time. However, the Government is also supposed to conduct a demographic health survey (DHS) biennially, which should be of help to the ministry because it is a mini census. Did the last DHS not give the Government sufficient information to inform processes that can address the issues raised by the hon. Member for Chimwemwe? Basically, the issue at hand is the non-correlation between the number of people in the constituency and the available facilities, such as schools.


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, the Government has good news for Hon. Nkombo because my ministry is undertaking the surveys to which he has referred across the country, starting with Luapula Province. The hon. Minster for Luapula Province can confirm this.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




158. Mr Mwila asked the Minister of Development planning:


  1. what the national poverty datum line was as of 31st May, 2017; and


  1. what measures the Government was taking to reduce the levels of poverty in Chimwemwe Parliamentary Constituency.


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, CSO uses the cost of basic needs (CBN) approach when determining poverty lines used to identify the poor. This method starts by determining the cost of a simple food basket that meets the minimum nutritional requirements of a family of six. An allowance for non-food requirements is parametrically determined and added in order to arrive at the basic needs basket, which acts as the poverty line.


Sir, in April/May, 2015, the national poverty line (NPL) was estimated at K214 per adult person per month or K968 per month for a family of six. When consumer price index was updated, as of 31st May, 2017, the NPL was estimated at K278 per adult person per month or about K1,256 per month per family of six.


Sir, the Government has come up with ten programmes under the Poverty and Vulnerability Reduction pillar of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). The implementation of the programmes is in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 1, which seeks to end poverty in all its forms everywhere, and entails the existence of appropriate social protection systems with substantial coverage of the poor and vulnerable, and mechanisms for reducing the social exclusion of the poor while enhancing their productive capacities. In addition, the Government is promoting livelihood potential among the poor and vulnerable populations, with a focus on the provision of finance, agricultural inputs and entrepreneurship skills. Furthermore, income redistribution programmes, such as the social cash transfer (SCT) will also be adopted.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, would the hon. Minister not agree with me that most of the statistical analyses of poverty are predominantly urban-based and meaningful only to the urban environment?


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, the demographic information is collected in both urban and rural areas.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, what does the hon. Minister think are the causes of extreme poverty in Chimwemwe? Are they bad policies, corruption or a lack of planning?


Mr Chiteme: Mr Speaker, none of the mentioned reasons.


I thank you, Sir.






159. Mr Mwila asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry what measures the Government had taken to ensure that Zambia became a manufacturing hub of Southern Africa.


The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa) (on behalf of the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, the following are the measures the Government has put in place to ensure that Zambia becomes a manufacturing hub in Southern Africa:


Multi-Facility Economic Zones and Industrial Parks


Sir, the Government is promoting the development of multi-facility economic zones (MFEZs) and industrial parks. This is meant to make the country competitive through increased value addition to the raw materials with which the country is endowed. The main focus of MEFZs and industrial parks is manufacturing and value addition. The zones offer investment-supporting infrastructure, such as good roads, power and water, in order to attract and facilitate the establishment of manufacturing industries. The Government has also been providing targeted incentives in the MFEZs and industrial parks so as to attract further investments and contribute to the growth of the manufacturing sector. To date, the Government has created six MEFZs and industrial parks in Chambeshi, Lusaka East, Lusaka South, Roma, Lumwana and Ndola (the Sub-Sahara Gemstone Exchange).


Value Chain Programme


Mr Speaker, through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC), the Government is implementing the Value Chain Programme with a view to promote manufacturing and value addition to local resources. The CEEC provides the finance to enable enterprises acquire the necessary equipment and machinery for manufacturing activities. Under this programme, the Government currently supports more than 1,800 projects in activities like mango juice production and processing of fish, rice, dairy, cotton, honey and forestry products.


Development of Industrial Yards


Sir, the Government, through the CEEC, is also in the process of developing industrial yards aimed at providing the necessary infrastructure and equipment for manufacturing activities targeting the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).


Infrastructure Development


Mr Speaker, infrastructure is important factor in manufacturing. In this regard, the Government has prioritised infrastructure development as a key strategy for developing the manufacturing sector in the country. The main thrust of infrastructure development has been road construction and rehabilitation, expansion and construction of hydro power stations, rehabilitation of railway lines, and construction and modernisation of airports. The putting in place of adequate, reliable and quality infrastructure will greatly accelerate the growth of the manufacturing sector.


Mr Speaker, in order to support these measures, the Government has put in place polices that include the following:


Vision 2030


Sir, the Government developed the Vision 2030, a long-term plan to create a strong dynamic middle-income industrial nation by 2030 through a vibrant manufacturing sector. The goal of the plan is to develop a fully integrated manufacturing sector and increase the sector’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to about 36 per cent by 2030. It also envisages the gradual transformation of the structure of the economy from an agricultural base to a manufacturing base.


Seventh National Development Plan


Sir, as you are aware, the Government recently launched the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), whose goal is to create a diversified and resilient economy for sustained growth and socio-economic transformation driven, among others, by manufacturing through local value addition. This will play a big role in promoting the manufacturing sector in the country.


Strategy Paper on Industrialisation and Job Creation


Sir, the Government has developed the Strategy Paper on Industrialisation and Job Creation, whose focus is on promoting the exploitation of natural resources and labour-intensive industries in priority sectors, such as manufacturing. The strategy will endeavour to reduce the cost of production in the manufacturing sector through, among other measures, a reduction in the cost of services from statutory bodies that regulate business activities in the country.


Commercial Trade and Industrial Policy


Sir, the Government is implementing the Commercial, Trade and Industrial Policy, whose goal is to develop a competitive, export-led manufacturing sector through the adoption of new technology, reduction of the cost of doing business and continued creation of a stable and conducive environment. The policy has prioritised six manufacturing sub-sectors as drivers of industrialisation, namely processed foods, textiles and garments, engineering products, wood and wood products, leather and leather products, and gemstones. The implementation of the policy is expected to stimulate and promote value addition activities on primary commodities through manufacturing. Further, the Government is making efforts to promote structural economic transformation through diversification of the economy from mining to manufacturing.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that elaborate answer. However, what is the Government’s position on former parastatal companies like Monarch Zambia Limited in Kitwe, which were manufacturing-oriented, but were sold to foreigners during the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and are now being turned into Chinese malls that sell Chinese imported products?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I think that is a different question altogether. If he needs that information, maybe, he can file in a new question.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: What was your question, hon. Member for Chimwemwe?


Mr Mwila repeated his question.


Mr Speaker: Then, I agree with the hon. Minister that your question is not related to the principal question.


Mr Munkonge: Mr Speaker, as a way of promoting industrialisation, could the hon. Minister not consider identifying materials and crops whose exportation in raw form can be banned so as to, probably, expedite the Government’s quest to industrialise the country? Imagine what sort of industries our country could have if we insisted that value should be added to copper before it can be exported.


Mr Nkhuwa: Sir, I agree with the hon. Member, and that is the route the Government is taking. That is what we have done regarding the export of mukula logs. We have stopped people from exporting mukula logs to which no value has been added. 


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mrs Chonya: Mr Speaker, apart from attracting new companies to the newly-created industrial parks, does the Government have plans to recapitalise industries like the Kafue Textiles of Zambia (KTZ) and Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) in order to enhance our manufacturing base?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, we have a plan, under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), to recapitalise these companies.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that one of the measures the Government has taken to make Zambia one of the manufacturing hubs in Southern Africa is the promotion of value addition. Related to that, we have been told on several occasions in this House that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry would start constructing industrial clusters in selected districts. How far has the Government gone in that regard?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, there are industrial parks in the provinces under the IDC and the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I wish the hon. Minister had said where these industrial parks are in the provinces.


Mr Speaker: You can ask him the question.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I have a different one altogether.


Sir, this country is run by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and, although the hon. Minister’s demeanour is quite acceptable, his Government is very arrogant and pontificates every step of the way. It praises itself too much, yet this country cannot produce even a toothpick.


Sir, in his answer, the hon. Minister said that the Government has banned the exportation of mukula logs, yet the Government ...


Mr Chiteme: Gary for President!




Mr Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, the people in the Government have been smuggling mukula logs in sealed containers at night under Zambia National Service (ZNS) and police escorts. Now, the hon. Minister is saying that the reason the Government banned the export of mukula logs ...


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Do you have a question?


Mr Nkombo: I do, Sir.


Mr Speaker: What is the question?


Mr Nkombo: Sir, why does the Government not lift the statutory instrument (SI) that effected the ban the exportation of mukula logs so that value can be added to that raw material? Lifting the ban will enable those mukula log harvesters in the North-Western Province to benefit from the Government’s establishment of factories that can process the mukula logs. The hon. Minister knows very well that those in the Government export mukula logs and dubiously give the proceeds, I am told, to some company ...


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


You have already asked your question.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, can the hon. Minister tell me why the Government has not reversed the ban on the export of mukula logs so that the PF youths who are making noise through blogs can benefit from that endowment from God and add value to it. I hear that the wood from mukula logs is used to produce wooden panels for expensive cars and that can be done right here, in this country.


Mr Mwiimbu: Gary for President!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member pointed an accusing finger at me and my Government saying that we are taking mukula logs out of the country at night. I must put it on record that I am not involved in any such activity.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr Nkhuwa: I think the hon. Member’s statement is unfounded and speculative. If there is anyone who is engaged in smuggling mukula logs out of the country, they should be reported to law enforcement officers so that they can be dealt with. As far as we are concerned, the ban on the export of mukula logs is still in effect and it will only be lifted when people start adding value to the logs. 


I thank you, Sir.


Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, manufactured products constitute the bulk of intra-African trade. However, trade that trade is still very low. Our contribution to intra-African trade was 11 per cent in 2015, 12 per cent in 2016 and 13 per cent last year, and it the lowest in the world. Meanwhile, serious African countries are exploiting intra-African trade to promote manufacturing as a basis for industrialisation. The key issue for participating successfully in that trade is being able to identify the competitive and comparative advantages of a country. What are our competitive and comparative advantages in the manufacturing sector? Where are we focusing our attention? We need to take full advantage of the infra-African trade, as Africa is hungry for manufactured goods.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I think it took me five to eight minutes to read my lengthy answer to the principal Question, and I do not want to read it again. So, let me just say that we are promoting the establishment of MFEZs and industrial parks, and that is the starting point in improving our manufacturing sector and making Zambia competitive through increased activities in value addition to the raw materials with which this country is endowed.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon Minister, the question is whether the Government is focusing on any specific comparative advantage in terms of the manufacturing industry. What products have been identified in which Zambia has a comparative advantage in terms of manufacturing?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, yes, there are products that have been identified. For example, we have been talking about adding value to the copper on which we are sitting. We also talk about ...


Hon. Opposition Members interjected.


Mr Nkhuwa: ... the mukula tree.




Mr Nkhuwa: Sir, we have the mukula tree and ...


Ms Mulenga: It is not funny.


Mr Nkhuwa: ... we want to add value to it before exporting it. So, those are the products in which we have a competitive advantage over our neighbouring countries in terms of value addition.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, we all know that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government made a lot of noise around ...




Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Please, resume your seat.


A Government does not make noise. It governs. Further, this is an august House and there is nobody making noise here. This is Parliament and that word is derived from ‘parlé’, which means to talk.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Therefore, when you are talking, you are not making noise.


You may continue.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for that counsel.


Sir, what I meant to say is that in his State of the Nation Address to this august House, the President made pronouncements about industries that would be opened. For example, he talked about a pineapple processing plant in Mwinilunga. However, that has not come to fruition. To date, we have not seen any progress in that regard. Further, there were pronouncements about the setting up of a mango processing plant. We have a lot of mangoes in Zambezi and Lukulu districts, but they just go to waste. Right now, if you went with me to those two places I have mentioned, you would see a lot of mangoes going to waste. Further, currently, the mukula tree is being harvested everyday in my constituency. Could the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry give a clear road map or plan on the establishment of industries in the areas I have mentioned.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I have with me a list of things I read through. The Government has identified six priority manufacturing sub-sectors as primary drivers of industrialisation. The main ones are processed foods, textiles and garments, engineering products, wood and wood products, leather and leather products, and gemstones. The implementation of the policy is expected to stimulate and encourage value addition activities on primary commodities through manufacturing. I can tell you that, currently, this is being done in the MFEZs.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I am from a town that was well-known for the manufacturing of garments. The town had Mulungushi Textiles, which was closed. It also used to have Kabwe Industrial Fabrics Company (KIFCO), a company that used to manufacture sacks for the whole country. My town had many other factories that closed down. Are there plans or deliberate measures that the Government will put in place to reopen Mulungushi Textiles, KIFCO and other industries as we move towards making Zambia an industrial hub?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, we are encouraging the private sector to invest in companies like Mulungushi Textiles and the others that closed down.


I thank you, Sir.








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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1936 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 23rd February, 2018.