Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018

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Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, thank you for affording me this opportunity to update the House and, through it, the nation on the amendment of the very important Public Order Act.


Sir, as the House will recall, early in 2017, the Ministry of Justice requested the public to make submissions to it on the review of the Public Order Act. Throughout 2017, the Ministry of Justice and other Government departments and agencies, led by His Excellency the President, kept urging citizens, organisations and, particularly political parties to submit their views on how to make the Public Order Act responsive to the needs of our dynamic society. By the end of the year, the Ministry of Justice had received submissions from institutions and individuals on the review of the Act.


Mr Speaker, after receiving the submissions, the Government constituted a technical working group consisting of officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC) as the lead facilitator in the review process. In May, 2018, the ZLDC submitted a comprehensive report to the Ministry of Justice regarding the areas for the possible review of the Act. The recommendations of the report were that:


  1. consultations on the review of the Public Order Act should be subjected to a wider stakeholder consultative process;


  1. a platform be created to allow for countrywide consultations with stakeholders;


  1. case law relating to the Public Order Act be identified and critically reviewed;


  1. the Zambia Police Service be fully involved in the consultative process;


  1. a draft Bill be prepared for consideration by the Cabinet and for submission to Parliament; and


  1. adequate time be allocated for capacity building, sensitisation and awareness on the amendment to the Public Order Act Cap 113 of the Laws of Zambia before the next general elections.


Mr Speaker, in light of the recommendations from the ZLDC, the Ministry of Justice, in consultation with the Ministry of Home Affairs, commenced the drafting of the Draft Public Order Amendment Bill, 2018.


Sir, His Excellency the President in paragraph 144 of his address on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly said:


“In our quest to promote a culture of tolerance and national unity, the Government has continued to engage political parties and other stakeholders. These engagements have begun to yield some positive results, with political youth leaders agreeing that there is more that binds us together as Zambians than what divides us. This is in line with our ideals as a Christian nation and indeed our national values and principles.”


He concluded his reflections on this matter in paragraph 145 where he said:


“The Government remains committed to amending the Public Order Act Cap 113 of the Laws of Zambia.”


Sir, in keeping with this statement, the Cabinet, at its meeting, directed that the Bill be subjected to multi-stakeholder consultation before its consideration by the Cabinet and subsequent presentation to this House. In this regard, the multi-stakeholder meetings for the review of the Public Order Act will be conducted as provincial public awareness meetings. These meetings will be held in all the ten provinces of Zambia, beginning in the third week of October, by officers from the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Justice and the ZLDC.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Lubinda: Sir, the objective of the meetings is to sensitise stakeholders on the current provisions of the Public Order Act and to solicit stakeholder views on the areas of proposed reforms.


Sir, you may wish to note that the Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) of the World Organisation of National Parliaments has offered to facilitate a workshop on the review of the Public Order Act for various stakeholders, which include parliamentary committees, relevant line ministries, political parties, the Zambia Police Service, the Human Rights Commission (HRC), the Law Association of Zambia (LAZ) and other relevant stakeholders for sharing experiences and practices with other countries. The Government has welcomed the gesture and the workshop is scheduled to take place immediately after the provincial public consultative meetings. The outcome of this process is anticipated to be the making of recommendations on the areas of reform to the Public Order Act in order to facilitate the drafting process before the final enactment by this Parliament.


Sir, the Public Order Act is among the pieces of legislation that have been earmarked for review in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) for 2017/2021. Further, Chapter 22 of the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto states that the Government will consult all stakeholders in the review and amendment of the Public Order Act. Like I said earlier on, this position was reiterated by His Excellency the President when he addressed the House. He emphasised the need for the review of the Public Order Act.


Sir, I want to emphasise that the Government remains committed to ensuring that a legal framework that supports freedom of assembly, association and participation, especially in politics and other spheres of human endeavour, is put in place to support the growth of inclusive democracy in our country. In this vein, I wish to conclude by stating that once all the necessary consultations have been concluded, the Bill to reform the Public Order Act will be presented to this House for enactment. We hope this could be done during this session. However, if we do not manage, it certainly should be concluded during the Legislative meeting of Parliament in February, 2019.


Sir, I would, therefore, like to call upon all interested groups and individuals to take a keen interest in participating in this noble task.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for doing justice by bringing this statement to the Floor of this House for our information. I have listened to his statement that members of the public were reluctant to make submissions. I would like to find out from him whether he does not think that the reluctance was a protest to show that the people do not have trust in what the Government does, especially considering how the Public Order Act is applied.  The Act is ignored with impunity, whereby the supporters of the Patriotic Front (PF) can do whatever they want and nothing will be done against them but, when the members of the Opposition do anything, the police officers are on them. Does the hon. Minister not think this is the reason people do not trust the Government?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, as all of us are aware, the Government has been asking for various stakeholders, particularly the political parties that cry the loudest about how the Public Order Act is archaic and how it has been abused to make submissions so that we, together, can reform the law. Now, if the same people who say that the Public Order Act is abused are saying that they cannot make submissions, it leaves a lot to wonder.


Mr Speaker, I do not think that there is any person who feels affected by this law who has shied away from making submissions because of a lack of trust in the Government. I indicated that quite a number of organisations made submissions. However, because it is provided for in the PF manifesto and was also stated by His Excellency that we should not leave anyone behind, the Government has decided to open up the process further by taking the consultative process to the provinces. Let us wait until we get there to see whether, indeed, the citizens will not participate in the process.


Mr Speaker, I appeal to all political parties to make submissions this time around. Instead of missing this opportunity and complaining on radio that the Public Order Act is not good, here is an opportunity for all of us citizens to galvanise our thoughts so that we can give to ourselves a Public Order Act that meets the needs and aspirations of our society.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, I am wondering whether the idea of bringing piecemeal amendment Bills in this House speaks to the anticipation that there will be another Bill in the next meeting to amend a lot of thorny issues which pertain to the 2021 elections. Why is the Government bringing piecemeal Bills instead of bringing the whole Constitution to the House for amendment?


Mr Speaker: We are not talking about the Constitution.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I want to confirm to the hon. Minister that I am one of the people who do not trust his Government in as far as this particular piece of legislation is concerned. I want to put this statement on record.


Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister aware that the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto that he kept referring to in his statement and the Public Order Act is subservient to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, particularly the same law that he quoted which is in Part III of the old Constitution that deals with fundamental human rights and freedoms of an individual? Is he also aware that there was a court judgment involving Christine Mulundika and Others in which the Supreme Court actually acquitted them and that that acquittal could have rendered the same piece of legislation they have used to subdue people who are opposing them null and void?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central does not trust this Government over the Public Order Act, yet he still expects it to ensure the rights in Part III of the Constitution, which is the Bill of Rights, are enjoyed.


Mr Speaker, in answering the question as to whether I am aware about the judgment where Christine Mulundika and Others were acquitted, I am aware of even more information. I am aware of the fact that as a result of that Supreme Court Judgment, this Parliament amended the Public Order Act to exclude the clause in it which the court found to be in contravention of the Constitution.


Sir, I wish that my colleague could do a bit more research so that when he comes to ask a question, he asks me an appropriate one.


Mr Speaker, the Act as it stands is not in contravention of any article of the Constitution because, fortunately, it was brought before the courts which determined that one section was repugnant.


Mr Lubinda: This responsible and trustworthy Parliament amended that section of the Constitution.


Ms Siliya: Section 5.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, that is Section 5 of the Public Order Act. If the Government was able to do that, it should give my colleague confidence to bring forward any innovative ideas to make this law more responsive to the dynamic society of Zambia to bring them forward. I can assure you, this Government is a listening one.


Mr Michelo: Question!


Mr Lubinda: Sir, we could have gone ahead to amend the Public Order Act …


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lubinda: … without necessarily having consultative meetings. The reason we are having meetings is that we would like to hear the views of the people. I would just like to remind the House that in 2017, the Minister of Justice had the authority of the Government to conduct another provincial consultative process. When I delivered a statement on the Floor of the House, the hon. Colleagues on your left said they did not trust this Government and that they had already made a decision that they did not want Zambia’s membership to the International Criminal Court (ICC). I said that we would listen to the people. Ultimately, what happened is that the voice of the people prevailed. The people of Zambia, through that consultative process, said Zambia must remain a member of the ICC. Today, Zambia is still a member of the ICC. So, that is an example to show you that this Government is coming with totally clean hands.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lubinda: Sir, I would like to appeal to my dear colleague, the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central, to take away that mistrust and participate in the process. As former Whip of his party, he should encourage hon. Members of Parliament from his party to take part in this process. He should encourage his president to take part in this process because if we just discard their views without reason, they can hold us accountable. They should not judge us before trying us. They should try us first before making their judgment. Let us cross the bridge when we get there, my dear colleagues. He should encourage the people of Mazabuka to take part in the process.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, through your indulgence, allow me to send my message of condolences to the Nkhata family. Mr Boniface Nkhata was an hon. Member of Parliament for Chama South, Provincial Minister for the Eastern Province and Deputy Minister of Mines. He passed away and we buried him yesterday.


Mr Speaker, it is clear from the explanation of the hon. Minister that the Government invited comments not only from members of the community, but also institutions which I am sure include political parties. Will the hon. Minister be in a position to explain to the people of this country if any political party or, indeed, any stakeholder does not make submissions through this consultation processes?


Mr Speaker: I may have missed the question.




Mr Speaker: What is the question?


Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, it is clear that the consultative process started in 2017 and that others are suggesting on the Floor of this House that some people will not participate in making submissions. It has been recognised that the Public Order Act is not working well. No wonder the hon. Minister has presented an opportunity for everyone to fine-tune it. Now, should there be any political party that will not make submissions crying foul tomorrow? Will the hon. Minister be in a position to explain to the country why a certain political party did not participate in the process?




Mr Mung’andu: If possible, the hon. Minister should guide that such a party should not complain going forward.


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Ema Deputy Ministers, aya!


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for Chama South and also join him in his commiseration.


Sir, what the Minister of Justice may do is to publish the names of individuals, organisations and political parties that will make submissions. I do think that it is within the Government’s power or interest to list down those who will not have participated in the process.


Mr Mwiimbu: Yes!


Mr Lubinda: Sir, I will leave that to society to judge. I will certainly take exception to those who do not participate in the process, saying that we did not look at some clauses and complaining that the law is not good. I am sure we have people of high morals who will not come and cry foul that they did not take part in the process. I have said all and sundry should come and take part. Those who shun the process must also reserve the right to complain about the process or even its outcomes. The game is open for those who want to play ball with us. Please, come and let us address the challenges that we are facing squarely.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, in one of his responses, the hon. Minister made reference to the Government prompting a national inquiry on the question of Zambia pulling out of the International Criminal Court (ICC) without any probable or reasonable cause whatsoever, leaving the citizens wondering why the Government wasted taxpayers’ money to undertake such kind of an adventure.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: Sir, now, over the question of the Public Order Act, when the Patriotic Front was in the Opposition, it complained about it. It knows about the challenges which the people of Zambia have already pronounced adequately. The seven days notice is too long. When people want to demonstrate or express themselves, they cannot wait for seven days for their views to be heard. The other issue has to do with the administration of the Public Order Act by the Zambia Police Service in respect and, particularly to the discretion that it enjoys. Even without any reason, the Zambia Police Service can stop a meeting or procession. The third issue has to do with the fact that those who have been denied the opportunity by the Zambia Police Service to undertake their adventure, demonstration or meeting have to appeal to a minister who in most cases is a partisan interested party when it comes to questions of a political nature normally. Hon. Minister, you know that these are the issues. Does it, therefore, make sense at a time when there is this economic recession and the fuel price is going up, to set up such an inquiry to waste taxpayers’ money by you going around the ten provinces when you know the issues …


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mweetwa: … and how they can be dealt with? Does it make sense, hon. Minister, to waste taxpayers’ money in this manner?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker −




Mr Speaker: Order!


I want to secure some silence.


Mr Lubinda: Thank you, Sir.




Mr Speaker: Let us have order, please.


Please, continue hon. Minister.


Mr Lubinda: I would like to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for that question.


Dr Hamukale: Laugh at him.


Mr Lubinda: Firstly, let me say I may be a brother’s keeper but, certainly, God forbid, I cannot be a keeper of his morals.




Mr Lubinda: Sir, it is totally unfortunate for anyone who was a Member of this Parliament in 2017 when I came here to inform the nation that we were going to conduct nationwide consultations on Zambia’s membership to the ICC to pretend that I did not advance the reasons for doing so. It is totally unfortunate because everyone in this House knows the reasons which I advanced. One of the reasons was that at the recently held African Union (AU) Summit, African Heads of State had proposed the motion that African countries must pull out of the ICC. I indicated that His Excellency the President did not want to go that route without consulting the Zambians. It is immoral for anyone to pretend that he/she never heard what I said.


Mr Speaker, I also want to emphasise that I may be a keeper of my brother, but I will not be a keeper of his morals. I did say that –




Mr Speaker: Order!


Let us have some order!


Let me provide some guidance. Hon. Minister, in order for us to move with dispatch, let us focus on the question at hand. I know you gave an example and the hon. Member for Choma Central also responded. However, in order for us to move with efficacy, let us focus on the subject. The hon. Member for Choma Central has put the question and I do not want to repeat it. Just answer the question.


You may continue.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, in a democracy, cost is of essence, but its tenets are even more important. We cannot dispense a democratic process such as the need to consult the Zambian people because of the consideration of cost. Also, for this gathering behind me and on your right, democracy is very important at whatever cost. That is the reason we make democratic decisions on this side.


The question, Sir –


Mr Nkombo: You are not answering the question.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Justice, give me a moment. 


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, you know very well that you cannot engage the hon. Minister in that way. You cannot also dictate the pace at which he will respond to the question. He is putting a foundation that democracy has a cost. The question, which the hon. Member for Choma Central raised, is cost related. There is nothing wrong here. Just be patient. Tolerance should start from here.


Hon. Minister of Justice, you may continue.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, let me conclude by saying that we have invited all stakeholders, including the hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central, to come and make their submissions through the consultative process. I did not say that they should make their submissions here. I said that they should make their submissions through the consultative process.


Mr Speaker, it is the same as telling a person to give his views on a particular matter at a meeting at the council chamber. However, it would not be fair if the person chose to give his views at the tavern to show that he is very eloquent and knowledgeable. You need to go and present your views through the system that has been provided. We are inviting the hon. Member for Choma Central to present his ideas through the right channel. He should not present them at a wrong forum. That is wrong.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three interventions from the Leader of the Opposition, hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa and will close with the hon. Member for Kabwe Central. As I see it, this is a straightforward issue. It should not generate so much controversy. The hon. Minister came to announce a portion of a legislative programme vis-à-vis the Public Order Act.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I listened to the answers that were given by the hon. Minister of Justice pertaining to the questions that were raised by the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central and, lastly, the hon. Member for Choma Central.


Sir, the hon. Minister referred to the fact that he is very conversant pertaining to a decision of the Supreme Court and, thereafter, the amendment of the Public Order Act that was made on the Floor of this House. I have no doubt that he is aware that as a result of that particular amendment that was made to the Public Order Act, when citizens want to demonstrate or have a procession, they have an obligation to merely notify the Zambia Police Service. If the Zambia Police Service has any issues, it would have to suggest a date when that procession or demonstration shall take place.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister may be aware that the Zambia Police Service has been abusing this clause and has instead been asking members of the public to seek permission, which they have been denied without any justifiable reason. Does the hon. Minister not think that it is the management of this section, that is currently an issue, taking into account the fact that during the reign of the late President Chiluba, the late President Mwanawasa and President Banda, there were no issues pertaining to the Public Order Act? However, immediately the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power, the issues arose. Party cadres even instruct the Zambia Police Service not to allow processions and demonstrations.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, as members of the public, we can attest to this and there is evidence to that effect. Does the hon. Minister not think that it is the issue of management on the part of the Zambia Police Service? What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that the Zambia Police Service religiously follows the Public Order Act?


Mr Speaker: Leader of the Opposition, the issue you are raising is pertinent, but not for this forum. It has not even arisen from the statement that the hon. Minister made. It is not the only issue, anyway. There are many issues. The hon. Minister came merely to announce the programme. There are several issues. Now, you want him to begin expressing an opinion on issues. I would like you to ask a question.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, firstly, I will start by thanking the Leader of the Opposition for showing that even amongst themselves, there are some contradictions on this matter. Earlier on, one colleague was saying that when the PF was in the Opposition, its members complained about the application of the Public Order Act. However, the Leader of the Opposition is saying that until the PF Government came into power, there was no problem with the application of the Public Order Act.




Mr Lubinda: I am sure that they will sit and reconcile that over tea.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, regarding the second matter, in case the Leader of the Opposition may not have been paying attention when I was reading the statement, I did say that some of the steps that we intend to take include involving the Zambia Police Service fully in the consultative process. Adequate time will be allocated to capacity building, sensitisation and awareness on the amendment of the Public Order Act before the General Elections.


Sir, the Zambia Police Service will be required to be sensitised and will be part of the process of amending the Act so that they may respond to some of these issues should we confront them with the questions such as the one the Leader of Opposition has raised. Why is it that he is misunderstanding things?


Mr Speaker, I always say that I am not a lawyer like the Learned Leader of Opposition. If a law is difficult to implement, then, there must be something wrong with it because laws are meant to be implemented. So, if there is a law and it is very difficult to apply it, what are you supposed to do? We should look at the law and ask why it is not being applied in line with the intention of the crafters of the law. This is what we are doing.


Sir, the Leader of Opposition is aware of all these challenges. Thus, instead of lecturing me here, why does he not take time to go and make that very important submission to the right forum and not here? If he has such brilliant ideas, let him use the right forum. It is no use talking about football in an inappropriate place like a tennis court? Ha! Please, Leader of Opposition, go and discuss that in Choma because it is very close to Monze. That will not cost you too much. Go there.


Mr Speaker, I would like to make an earnest appeal to my dear brothers and sisters to take this as a national duty. Let us not look at it as a partisan matter. Let all political parties take part. Like my colleague said, those who will not take part in the process should, surely, lose the right to complain.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister mentioned that the International Parliamentary Union (IPU) will be conducting a workshop on the Public Order Act. I would like to find out from him what prompted the IPU to conduct the workshop.


Mr Lubinda  looking at the Hon. Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I know why the hon. Minister is looking at me, but I am gagged.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I actually feared that question. I was hoping it would not come. Now that it has come, I want to state that the IPU, a body that takes care of the interests of all parliamentarians in the world, has made the offer to come and conduct a workshop in Zambia. The offer was sent to the hon. Minister of Justice through the Office of the Hon. Mr Speaker. Unfortunately, this offer arose from a complaint which was sent to the IPU by twenty members of the Zambian Parliament. When they sent a complaint, it was investigated by the IPU Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians. It is the one which concluded that probably there may be a need to bring all the players together so that we can interrogate the Public Order Act and its application. With that intention, the IPU was prompted to arrange for a workshop.


Sir, this Parliament did not see anything adverse in this offer because it is a member of the IPU. The Government happily accepted the offer. We hope that because it is the IPU which will be here then, hon. Members on the left will come and participate freely because they would rather trust the IPU than trust their own Government.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I am aware that the Public Order Act has been a thorny issue starting from the 2016 General Elections. Even before that, everybody had been crying that the Government, especially the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, has not moved, as it had actually promised people to move, on the Public Order Act. As a lawyer, I am also aware that some of the issues that the Public Order Act deals with have probably become outdated by now. There is a schedule of churches that the Public Order Act has listed down which do not have to get permission from the Zambia Police Service whenever they want to gather. I am also aware of the part of the Public Order Act which stops people from wearing military attire. Apart from these consultations, which will go on where people will go to make submissions, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether there is a fixed time frame when the Public Order Act Bill or anything like that will be presented to this House for enactment.


Sir, I say so because I am a victim of the Public Order Act. The Zambia Police Service has become so overzealous that it wants hon. Members of Parliament to get permission from them whenever they want to hold development meetings. Sometimes, they just storm into churches and stop people from praying citing the Public Order Act, which we know does not allow them to do that. So, is there a specific time frame so that when the hon. Minister’s statement changes like it changed on the Constitution, we can come back and remind him that he had invited us …


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: … to wait for a particular date?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Ema lawyer, aya!


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Minister indicated specifics. However, maybe, for the avoidance of doubt, please, repeat yourself, hon. Minister.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, obviously, the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabwe Central was not in the House when I delivered the ministerial statement. Otherwise, he would not have asked that question. Nevertheless, he has raised another important issue.


Sir, when I was contributing to the debate to His Excellency the President’s Official Opening of Parliament Address, I indicated that within the next two weeks, with the permission of the Hon. Mr Speaker, I would bring this statement which I would follow-up with the statement on the Constitution refinement process. When I deliver the statement, I will remember to respond to the question, which the hon. Member has asked and the impression he has created that out of the Government’s volition, the Constitution refinement process has stalled. I will address that at that stage.


Sir, however, I have already indicated that it is the hope of the Government that during this Meeting of Parliament, the Bill will be presented. If it is not presented, then, certainly, it will be presented during the Legislative Meeting in February, 2019. Let me conclude by saying that this is the demonstration of the fact that there are brilliant ideas on the either side of the House. With these brilliant ideas, we could have just sat on this side of the House and proposed amendments, had we wanted, and moved on.


Mr Speaker, however, we are aware of the fact that on the other side, too, there may be some brilliant ideas, some of which we may not have heard, but the majority of which we already know like the one stated by the hon. Member. Nonetheless, we still do not want to leave anyone behind. So, the churches he has referred to will also certainly come and make submissions so that when we bring the Amendment Bill, it will carry the aspirations of the majority Zambians.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!








46. Ms Chisangano (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to construct a youth skills training centre in Gwembe District; and


  1. if so, when the plans will be implemented.


The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mawere): Mr Speaker, like I have always indicated on the Floor of this august House, …




Mr Speaker: Order!


Let us have some order, please.


Mr Mawere: Sir, the Government has plans to establish, at least, one youth resource centre in all the districts of the Republic of Zambia, including Gwembe District. This will be done through a phased approach, depending on the availability of funds from the Central Treasury. The response to part (b) of the Question is as stated above.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




47. Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:


  1. when the Water Reticulation and Sanitation Project in Kaputa District will be completed;


  1. what the cause of the delay in completing the project is;


  1. what the total cost of the project is; and


  1. what the scope of the outstanding works on the project is.


The Minister of Tourism and Arts (Mr C. R. Banda) (on behalf of the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Dr Wanchinga)): Mr Speaker, the Water Reticulation and Sanitation Project in Kaputa District is scheduled to be completed by 31st December, 2018. The delay in completing the project has been due to the deplorable state of the access road to Kaputa District. This has proved a challenge in the transportation of materials, especially during the rainy season.


Further, Mr Speaker, you may wish to note that since its declaration as a district, Kaputa has had no centralised sewerage system, which has led to a number of water-borne diseases being recorded annually. In order to address this challenge, the variations to the scope of works were effected to include sewerage works. This undertaking has, therefore, significantly affected the project completion date, resulting in an extension of up to 31st December, 2018.


Mr Speaker, the project is being implemented at a total cost of K161,284,107.87. The scope of the remaining works includes:


  1. supply and installation of the remaining minor parts of the water treatment plant;


  1. construction of pumping station and installation of pumps and a standby generator;


  1. installation of house connections and water meters;


  1. testing and commissioning of the water storage tank; and


  1. construction of the bio-digesters, sewer pipelines, sewer ponds and installation of house connections.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Minister for being very truthful when responding to the question. However, I would like to find out from him whether the materials that have led to the delay in completing the works are readily available in the country or they are  yet to be procured from outside.


Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I want to assure the hon. Member that the materials are in the country and were ordered from South Africa. They have since been transported and the project is to be completed as I have stated.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, I thank you for another opportunity to ask a supplementary question. During the works, especially during the installation of the sewer pipes that pass under

houses, some houses developed very large cracks. I wish to find out whether within the component of the project there is compensation for those houses that are getting damaged. What should people do in order to address that issue?


Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, the aspect of compensation is not included in the scope of works that we are undertaking at the moment. I am pretty sure that those are things that would come by way of variation in the near future.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, in answering part (b) of the question, the hon. Minister indicated that the completion of the project was delayed due to the deplorable state of the road. I wish to find out from the hon. Minister whether the Government has got any plans to improve the state of the road in question.


Mr. C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, that is part of the contract. The improvement of roads is part and parcel of the programmes that we, the Government, have embarked on throughout the country.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, I am sure the people of Kaputa are wondering what will happen next since the reason for the delay is now clear. I do not know whether the Government has a specific programme or date when this project will be completed. This is because we are aware that most of the projects were marked. The neighbour to the hon. Minister, Hon. Chitotela, said that projects, which are below 80 per cent completion level, will not be completed and that only those which were above 80 per cent completion level would be completed. So, the question is: At what percentage is the project and when is it going to be completed so that my brother from Kaputa can come back to this House in 2021?




Mr C. R. Banda: Mr Speaker, I think right from the start, in responding to part (a) of the Question, I clearly stated that the Water Reticulation and Sanitation Project in Kaputa District is scheduled to be completed by 31st December, 2018. The answer cannot be clearer than that.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








(Debate resumed)


Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to continue –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, let me express my gratitude to you for allowing this very short, but important point of order. I recognise the fact that the hon. Minister of Finance is not here, yet we are debating her Budget Address. Yesterday, my leader, the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central, raised a valid point of order which was validated by you. He made an observation that the Yellow Book, whose details we need to use in arriving at a reasonable and informed debate on the hon. Minister’s speech, was unavailable.


Sir, your response was that your office was aware and was doing everything possible to avail the Yellow Book. You might have noticed me going out five minutes ago as I gave the hon. Minister of Finance a benefit of doubt to see if the Yellow Book had arrived at Parliament grounds. Alas, it has not.


Sir, is the House, therefore, in order to proceed with this activity, which is embedded in the law under Article 200 of the Constitution of Zambia, without an update on what seems to be validating the story going around that the Government is failing to reconcile the figures in the Yellow Book?


I seek your guidance, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! 


Mr Speaker: My ruling is that indeed, you are correct in narrating the history to your point of order, namely that your colleague, the Leader of the Opposition, did, in fact, raise this matter yesterday. I also indicated to the House that it is a matter that I have been pursuing very actively. By this morning, I was assured that the initial run of the copies has actually been done. There has been an advance copy forwarded to my office. So, it is not correct to state, assume or surmise that, there is a reconciliation of figures being done. I regret this state of affairs. It is very unusual. I think it is the first time that we have had this state of affairs, and I hope that sooner than later, we will have this matter behind us.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, yesterday when the House adjourned, I had begun saying that this Budget is framed around very misleading assumptions, untrue concepts, theories and constructs. Therefore, it cannot be supported. The figures are sitting on a wrong structure. Therefore, sooner rather than later, they are bound to collapse because there is nothing holding them. I said that I will mention some of the assumptions the hon. Minister has made. I will go item by item. The bottom line is that a budget should be within a context, and the context in this case is wrong. The figures are sitting in the wrong place.


Mr Speaker, I talked about how she thinks that one of the successes of the Patriotic Front (PF) is the passing of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which everyone knows is a total flop or failure. That is why we are talking about amending it now.


Sir, one assertion, which the hon. Minister made, is that social safety nets have been scaled-up. Both the support to small-scale farmers under the electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) system and the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, which are part of the social safety nets, have serious problems. She said that one of the signs that the e-Voucher system is working is that the number of beneficiaries has reduced and, therefore, savings have been made. That is a very wrong metric to use. The correct way to measure the success of this programme would have been to ask: What is the hectarage for cultivation, productivity and, possibly, how many people are being weaned-off the programme? However, the hon. Minister thinks that cutting down on the number of beneficiaries makes the programme a success. It is like me saying that I have managed to contain my budget in my home by killing three out of my five children, and have remained with two that I can manage well. What sort of reasoning is that? So, this Budget is flawed.


Mr Speaker, another assertion the hon. Minister of Finance made is that because the Government is about to finish constructing the new terminals at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA), we are on our way to making Zambia an air transport hub. Why did she not ask herself why countries that have had better airport terminal buildings than ours for a very long time have never become air transport hubs? It is like saying I will renovate my house and I will have a beautiful family and, then, everyone will come to visit. You can have a big house and still have no visitors. People will be going to somebody who has a small hut the same way we enjoy going to the house of somebody who is friendly. In marketing, they say that this kind of thinking is like inventing a mouse trap and thinking people will find you wherever you are in the middle of the bush, yet no one knows about your invention. Meanwhile, other people are inventing other means of trapping mice like chemicals etcetera. So, it cannot be true that building new terminals at KKIA will make Zambia an air transport hub.


Why did she not ask why even with the troubles that some of our neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe have had, international airlines that transit via Harare and Lusaka would rather do their cleaning and refuelling in Harare and not Lusaka. Why is it that in Zambia there is no company that is offering catering services for airlines? These are the issues she should have looked at. Why is KKIA building a bad reputation? When one professor arrived at the airport for an academic discourse with his colleagues, he was turned back to his country. That creates a negative image about the airport. So, how can you make it a hub when such things happen? One woman came to this airport and it was assumed that she was not wearing panties. She was inspected, and no one told us what they saw, but she was sent back. That creates a bad international image. One leader who came to the Zambian border seeking asylum was turned back to his country. Then, you want to believe that you will be a hub one day. How do you become a hub like that?


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister made the assertion that because the Government is renovating the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Zambia is going to be a meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions destination. All she needs to do is go and ask the Chiluba Administration what happened when they renovated Mulungushi International Conference Centre and built the Millennium Village in Lusaka for an African Union (AU) meeting. Mr Richard Sakala is still alive. Did that turn Lusaka into a convention destination? It did not. Probably, they even did more than what is being proposed to be done. There are many factors that make a place a meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions destination. Go to conference destinations like Sharma el Sheikh in Egypt. Some hon. Ministers have been there. You can wish to go back there even in your personal capacity. Can you go back there because a meeting room has been renovated? There are other support services, infrastructure and activities that make meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions destination. Lusaka is not ready for what the Government is claiming. However, the hon. Minister said that when Mulungushi International Conference Centre is renovated, there will be a boom in tourism. That is a wrong concept around tourism. It does not work like that, and it will not work. It is a wrong thing, but it found itself in the hon. Minister’s Budget. She has built figures on a wrong foundation that will not stand. 


Mr Speaker, she said that the Government is going to promote tourism by telling people in the tourism industry to lower their charges, among others,. I want to believe that is the sales promotion tactic which the Government wants to tell the private sector to engage in. The public sector owns a minute percentage of tourism products. In the Budget, there is nothing which corresponds with the encouragement you want to give to the private sector. What motivation is the Government going to give the private sector to lower their prices? Only yesterday, the price of fuel went up. Not too long ago, the Government introduced levies and charges in the tourism sector. The hon. Minister is happy with how much is going to be raised from the tourism levy in the Budget. All these are costs, but she said that the private sector will lower their prices in the tourism industry. What is going to be their reason for lowering their prices? Is the Government going to wake up one day and tell those who are in the private sector to reduce their prices? If she wants, she can make an experiment. She can go and tell lodge owners to lower their prices from tomorrow. Will they do that? This is a wrong construct; wrong reasoning; wrong approach; and wrong everything. This Budget is not sitting on in the correct place.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister also talked about promoting tourism away from Livingstone and South Luangwa National Park by taking animals to the north. An elephant in Lower Zambezi will still be an elephant when transferred to Nsumbu National Park, for example. So, why would I leave Lower Zambezi and go to Nsumbu National Park to see an animal which I can see in Livingstone and Lower Zambezi, which is a two-hour drive away? What makes people go to Kruger National Park is not that they want to see the colour of an elephant there because an elephant is the same anywhere. It is the support infrastructure around the park which attracts tourists. Again, all that the Government needs to do is look back to what the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) desired for the Northern Circuit. There are documents on this subject. The hon. Minister of Finance should have them. She should go and look at what the MMD desired for the Northern Circuit and Livingstone between 2006 and 2008. It was a total package. You cannot just say that because you have moved animals from one park to another, there will be an increase in tourism activities where the animals have been moved. Even the animals will be surprised about why they are being moved to a different place. To go and do what?



   Mr Belemu: They will ask: Why have we come to be troubled here?


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Belemu: Sir, again, that is a very wrong approach, but they are putting money in it.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has proposed to expand the Budget. The last Budget which could not be funded fully was smaller. Even mere –


Mrs Mwanakatwe walked into the Assembly Chamber.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, the mere Constituency Development Fund (CDF) could not be released. To date, we have not received it, yet the hon. Minister is proposing to expand it. What are the compelling arguments for increasing the Budget when we are failing to fund smaller budgets? What are the economic arguments behind this? What has grown? What has changed? All we know is that debt has increased. Does it, therefore, mean that when debt increases, then, both the projected income and expenditure is increased so that you balance the Budget? In fact, to make an inference, the Expanded Budget used to make once suspect that to meet this Budget, the Government probably wants to go the route of printing more kwacha. What has changed in the economy? We are being told everything is shrinking, including our gross domestic product (GDP), meaning the economy is shrinking. In the meantime, we are proposing bigger budgets. Again, that is a very wrong assumption.


Sir, let me now talk about investment in public infrastructure development. If this is applied in the right context, it is one of the tools that can be used to check an economy that is sluggish. However, one of the questions that we must ask is: What is the economic cost of the Government investing in infrastructure? That is not the basis for my submission.


Madam Speaker, we must also ask ourselves what will happen to the resources that will go into infrastructure development. Indeed, you need to jerk up the economy by investing in public infrastructure. Countries that have calculated what they want to do with this tool have ended up benefitting their economies. That is because when money is pumped into public infrastructure development, it is expected that the local contractors will benefit. In addition, the money will remain in circulation, and what was once a sluggish economy will pick up because there will be more money in circulation. At the same time, the country will be benefitting by having good infrastructure. What is happening with our investment in infrastructure? By and large, we know who the contractors in this sector are. That money is not coming back into the economy. That money is going out. Therefore, the motive behind using infrastructure to improve the economy is not working at all when the costs of this infrastructure are added.


Mr Speaker, by intimation, the hon. Minister of Finance said that she would, at some point, be going to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The question I have for her is that as she goes there, what message will she be carrying from Zambia regarding the World Bank and the IMF? I say so because within the Government, there are those who think that they can do away with the IMF because they have new friends in China. So, hon. Minister, when you arrive there, what message will you take to the World Bank and the IMF on behalf of all of us? I think the hon. Minister needs to make that clear by stating the position of the country and what she is going to do with the World Bank and the IMF. As we sit here today, there are conflicting views, including those from Cabinet. You do not need to construct what you are going to say when you get there. You need to tell us what you are taking there.




Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, how can the hon. Minister go to the World Bank and the IMF to listen and, then, make a decision there alone?


Hon. UPND Member: This is not your country.


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, as I wind down, let me talk about two very interesting things. The hon. Minister of Finance must have brought up these issues for a reason. I have no quarrel with the hon. Minister bringing in the issue of Christianity and how this economy should be run on Christian principles because it is very good. The only thing I am questioning is why she has only brought up this now. What is the reason? I pray that the hon. Minister will not come back next year and say the reason the money for the Social Cash Transfer Scheme was abused was that we were tempted by the devil, ...




Mr Belemu: ... or like the Government did in the past when it prayed against high inflation.  The hon. Minister of Finance knows very well that inflation is controlled through monetary policy tools by the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). Therefore, the hon. Minister should have advised her colleagues from going to a prayer meeting to ask inflation to reduce from 9 to 8 per cent, for instance. It will not happen because there are certain configurations at play.




Mr Belemu: Sir, there are people who work for the Government and, unfortunately, they are paying themselves allowances to pray for liquidity to improve. That is a tool that BoZ chose to tighten liquidity at some point. Hon. Minister of Finance, let them to go and pray. My worry is about having such provisions. When the country reaches a point when things begin failing, then, you say we are not praying enough. That is why the economy is not improving.




Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, there are things that I have told my children not to pray for. For example, I have told them not to pray for my allowance at Parliament because it just requires the hon. Minister of Finance to sign a Statutory Instrument (SI) for that to be done. Therefore, why do you want to pray? Pray for the cows to multiply because that is understood.


Sir, the last issue I want to talk about is that the hon. Minister of Finance brought in the issue of Zambia being a unitary State. This is interesting. Why is the Government reminding us that we are a unitary State? Who has disputed that fact? I thought that the unitary State issue was resolved in 1964 under the Barotseland Agreement of 1964. What is remaining and what we wanted to see in this Budget is the implementation of the Barotseland Agreement in figures, and not be told that we are a unitary State.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Belemu: Mr Speaker, it has been a while since I proposed love to a woman, but I want to believe that you cannot be going home and telling the same woman that you love her and you want to marry her when you are already married to her. The woman will start thinking twice and wondering what has changed. Therefore, if we are a unitary State, why, then, are you telling us that? Who has said we are not a unitary State? Why are we budgeting if we are not a unitary State? I have problems supporting this Budget and, until the Government reconciles certain issues, I will not do that.


Sir, in conclusion, Hon. Mwashingwele once reminded me of a certain bus. I had an experience with this bus at a place called Nambwa when I used the Landless Corner/Mumbwa Road. There, I found this bus had two tyre punctures and the driver had no spare tyre. People said that they had been on that spot for about eighteen hours. I convinced my son that we needed to help the passengers by taking the tyres to Mumbwa for repair. As we were coming back from Mumbwa with the repaired tyres, the bus conductor mentioned to me that he forgot to tell me that the bus also did not have fuel.




Mr Belemu: Sir, my son laughed at me the entire time, especially after I read what was written at the back of the bus and I translated it to him. At the back of the bus were the words Mutanta baluya Bus Service meaning a bus that can only be boarded by unwise people. So, my son laughed the whole way and told me that had I read what was written at the back of the bus, I probably would not have helped them. As I look through this Budget, I can only equate it to that kind of a bus. One thing will go wrong after the other. When you repair the wheels, something else will go wrong. This Budget is mutanta baluya.


I thank you, Sir.




Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to also add the voice of the people of Mazabuka Central to the debate on the Budget Address that was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance ...




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Nkombo: ... on 28th September, 2018.


Mr Speaker, the theme of the Budget is “Delivering Fiscal Consolidation for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth”. We all know that the country’s growth rate is at 3.5 to 4 per cent against the growth of 7 per cent at the time the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) was removed from office in 2011. This marks a 50 per cent drop in the growth rate.


Sir, in decoding the theme for this year’s Budget, I want to remind the hon. Minister that sustainability is the maintenance of a rate or level in a balanced fashion in which the exploitation of resources, direction of investment, orientation of technological development and institutional change are all in harmony, and enhance both current and future potential to meet human needs and aspirations. In other words, it is simply the inter-connectedness of the domains such as the environment, economic and social domains whilst inclusiveness is a concept that advances equitable opportunities for economic participants during that growth. They also extend to have, human capital equity, environmental equity and social protection and food equity.


Sir, I rise to debate the Budget Address with a very heavy heart and, as a matter of fact, a sense of duty and responsibility to the people of Mazabuka Central Parliamentary Constituency who brought me here. I rise because I have a sense of duty to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia and to the entire country.


Mr Speaker, through you, I am calling on the hon. Members of this House to hear me out. I want to remind them that this activity of approving the Budget, which we are doing now, sits at the core of our responsibilities as hon. Members of Parliament. Many hon. Members of Parliament tend to think that buying coffins and being benevolent in constituencies marks their pedigree. However, I wish to state that this particular activity is what defines an hon. Member.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance came to this House on 28th of September, 2018, and requested us to approve the Budget. When something is requested of you, you have an option to either say yes or no. At the end of this exercise, we are going to see the hon. Minister bring the Appropriation Bill which will be transformed into law, and will bind her to follow what we agree to in this House religiously, failure to which she will actually be guilty of an offence of going against the Constitution. We have seen, time and time again, hon. Ministers of Finance bring Budgets and present figures to the House. On the other side, because budgeting is not an event but a process, when the Auditor-General comes at the tail end of this process, he/she finds a lot of unexplained and unbudgeted for expenditure, theft and so on and so forth.


Mr Speaker, for as long as the hon. Minister has not respected the previous Appropriation Bills, she must count me out of supporting this one. Leave my name out of it. I will not support their Budget today. I am saying this because the people of Mazabuka say that they have seen the Budget presentation, but wonder what is in it for them. What about the 18 km township road that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government promised them? When it fails to complete projects, its members go on the mountain top and say that the area hon. Member of Parliament has failed as if the hon. Member is the one who is responsible for the Treasury. What about those people this time around?


Mr Speaker, I will not agree to enter an aircraft that does not fly. I want to equate this Budget that the hon. Minister presented –


Mrs M. Phiri interjected.


Mr Nkombo: There is a tin that is making noise, Mr Speaker.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, you know better than that. You cannot engage in dialogue in that fashion.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I was reporting to you about the unpleasant noises that I just heard. My style is that I keep quiet when people are debating. You know my tradition.


Mr Speaker: I am following both your debate and the running commentaries.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, for as long as it will be business as usual when dealing with the Appropriation Bill, the hon. Minister of Finance must count me out of this particular approval process. I want to be on record as having said no when the time comes. They have failed to tell us how the 2018 Budget performed. We went through this process in 2017, but they have not told us whether the Budget performance for 2018 in terms of utilisation and disbursement is at 20 per cent, 22 per cent, 50 per cent or, indeed, 100 per cent. I know for a fact, and it is of no contest, that the hon. Minister of Finance and the PF have failed lamentably to release the Constituency Development Fund (CDF).


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Everybody knows.


Mr Muchima: Maybe, he has received it.


Mr Nkombo: Some people may have received it, but this is the reason I am telling the hon. Minister of Finance to count me out. I am not going to be part and parcel of people who just follow the flamboyant language that the hon. Minister used on that day to try and convince people that this particular Budget Speech is of substance. Further, the hon. Minister of Finance has since failed to bring the Yellow Book for me to see and be satisfied that Mazabuka has an allocation under the K6 billion provided for roads for the 18km which the Government has been failing to construct for the last four years. I see no reason for supporting this Budget.


Sir, it is alright if the Government is going to use the arrogance of numbers to support this Budget because there will be people who think that Lusaka is Zambia and Zambia is Lusaka. I come from Mazabuka and the people of Mazabuka, Lubombe, Shakapinga and Chizobo have not seen the effects of the Budgets that we have been passing year in year out, but this time around, they would like to see them. That is why the Leader of the Opposition indicated that the devil of this particular Budget Speech is in the details of the Yellow Book.


Mr Speaker, I would like to see how the hon. Minister has allocated the money. It is the same Government that keeps filibustering about the issue of only completing projects that are above 80 per cent completion, yet they paid China Jiangxi a contract sum that I am not privy to. China Jiangxi then decided to disband and go away because it failed to meet its obligation to work on the 18 km of roads in Mazabuka. Is it because it is my constituency?


Sir, human beings come and go, but institutions remain. One day they will be indicted against the Constitution which compels them to develop this country in an equitable fashion.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Sir, they will be indicted. They should not think that these public offices are places they can use to play the game of regionalism and come and go as they please.  In by-elections, hon. Government Members are fond of saying that those who do not vote for them will not see development. They say that all the time. Development is attached to this same Budget that we are passing today. From today onwards, I want to state that I do not want to hear anyone saying that those who do not vote for them will not see development because that is criminal.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Sir, we are in an indivisible democratic State where all citizens must participate. It is a participatory democracy. The PF has taken the Zambians for granted so much so that it thinks its participation is only on election day.


Mr Speaker, the Zambians demand that they participate in this democratic dispensation every single day and this happens to be one of those days. I say this from a high moral ground because I represent people and fortunately the people who vote for me are very wise. They know that I –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, you are debating yourself.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: You are now focusing on yourself.


Please, continue hon. Member.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I think the whole of Zambia knows that an hon. Member of Parliament has no money to build even a kilometre of road. That is why it is embedded in this Constitution that resources of the country are going to be disbursed equitably.


Sir, I have said this before and I will say it again, the time of reckoning – Hon. Minister of Finance, you must look at me as I talk. You will be indicted –




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, take a seat.


Mr Nkombo resumed his seat.


Mr Speaker: I do not think you can direct the hon. Minister of Finance to look at you. What for?




Mr Speaker: Just focus on your debate. I have given you chance to debate, whether the hon. Minister of Finance looks at you or not.


Please, continue, hon. Member.




Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, thank you for your wise guidance. The hon. Minister of Finance should know that human beings come and go, but institutions remain. We have heard sentiments from the Executive surrounding this Budget. They said that if we are not satisfied with this Budget, we must make our own. This is a very absurd comment coming from the Executive. I must say that I take great exception to someone telling me to make a plane which cannot fly.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, take a seat.


Mr Nkombo resumed his seat.


Mr Speaker: If we start debating statements, which were made outside the House, it will become very difficult to manage –


Dr Kambwili: But they are related!


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Roan, it is not the first time we have said this. We are on record. There have been attempts to bring in especially Presiding Officers, in relation to statements that are made outside. Focus on the debate. You know that it is not competent for anybody to advise you to make your own Budget. It is not possible. I certainly would not uphold that position, anyway. I would not uphold that position.


This is a multi-party Government. It has an Opposition as well as the Ruling Party. If we concentrate on this line of debate, we will just lose time. There are issues to debate. Why not debate them? Why debate extraneous statements? Wherever they are made, you want them to be part of this record. How? As far as I am concerned, I am dealing with the speech that was delivered here and not other speeches, wherever you get them.


The hon. Member may continue.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance should be reminded, once again, that it is always good practice to pay attention when matters of this nature are being discussed. It is always important to do so. She must take a leaf from some of us who keep quiet and not run comments when she is talking.


Sir, I would like the hon. Minister to follow me as I go through the Budget schedule. I want to begin with the item “General Public Services”, under External and Domestic Debt. The hon. Minister told us that out of the total Budget, about K56.1 billion was going to be drawn from local revenues. Am I right? She also indicated to us that about K6 billion and K2 billion of the Budget was going to be spent on defence and public order, respectively. How can anyone under the sun equate the disbursements to agriculture, which includes the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), and public order which involves buying of tear gas, at K2 billion? Who do you they want to tear gas? They want to buy shields to shield themselves from whom? This is not a country at war where they must spend about K2 billion every year to support the suppression of the people. I am sure there is leftover tear gas from the last fiscal year. Why is it that they are buying the same amount of tear gas? Whom do they want to tear gas?




Mr Nkombo: Sir, to me, this is a preponderance of a dictatorial type of government. They should move this money to agriculture.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, as a matter of fact, the Maputo Declaration that was signed by Heads of State in 2008 put a benchmark that disbursements to the agriculture sector should not be less than 10 per cent of the total annual Budget. Why is it at 2 per cent?  I wish Hon. Katambo was here to hear me now defend his ministry because I think that there is more sense in putting money in agriculture than in the buying of tear gas. We have said many times that the FRA is just a vehicle for people to embezzle money. Let the crop marketing system run itself because it is based on the principle of demand and supply. Why is the FRA not able to walk on its own after so many years? Where does it take the proceeds of the maize it buys and sells year in and year out? Why should they spend such little money on agriculture? Come on!


Sir, we need to start leading by example. If I asked how many of us here have even a ka garden where we grow cabbage, then, you would understand why it is easier to put money in bullets and tear gas than in tomato and cabbage.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Sir, as we come to address the details of this Budget, we will move an amendment to shift this money to where it should be where the people of Zambia will most appreciate it.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Sir, we heard that there is a scandal in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare which has been exposed because it is buoyant. There are scandals in the Ministry of General Education and Ministry of Health.


Mr Speaker, the Abuja Declaration on Health, which was also signed by Heads of State, dictates that there should be a minimum allocation of 15 per cent of the annual Budget to health. The budget has now been reduced to 10 per cent. Why are they taking money to areas that are not priority? Yes, they may say that they have to pay debt. Yes, they are debt ridden. Inkongole zyakubakalila akati eni.




Mr Nkombo: I said that the debt is right in the centre of the PF. Akati eni means at the centre. Inkongole zyakubakalila akati eni where they cannot avoid it.




Mr Nkombo: Hon. Lubinda knows what I am talking about.


Mr Lubinda: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Justice, resume your seat. There is no need to single out the hon. Minister of Justice.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, the Government will take 42 per cent of the annual Budget to pay loans. Yes, we are in a difficult situation. We cannot tell them to not pay the loans because they contracted them, but how much benefit have the people of Mazabuka, for instance, got from loans that were acquired recklessly?


Mr Speaker, it was here where an hon. Minister of Finance said that I wished them dead at the time when they came to lift the threshold of borrowing. I bravely said, and will say it again, that if God permits us to live in a natural way, those who are older will die before those who are younger and will leave these debts to those who are probably unborn. Look at the malaise that they have caused the people of Zambia. Within two years, they have borrowed a lot of money which they are only putting in their mouths which we cannot even see.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, we cannot even see what the money, which the Government borrowed, has done. At least, in my constituency, Mazabuka, I have not seen jack. I have seen nothing. I am not the kind of person who is going to be like a tick that goes to the grave with a carcass. I refuse to be part and parcel of the approval of this Budget because I know that the PF has now done its time.


Mr Speaker, I want to tell the people of this country that there is nothing that the PF is offering in this Budget. They have difficulties with donors. They will raise about K56.1 billion from local revenue, which includes fines and charges. For instance, on the increase in fuel prices yesterday, the people of Zambia should know that we, on the left, doubt everything that the hon. Minister said yesterday. We think it is their way of raising money in order to meet this Budget.


Mr Speaker, I am talking about what I am thinking. What I am thinking about has no boundaries. Mr Speaker, you cannot put a fence around what I am thinking.


Mr Speaker: Certainly not the Speaker. I have not stopped you.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, to get to my home, I used to take 20 minutes, but now that they have put speed cameras the whole way, I take one hour.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, all this is in their quest to raise money in order to meet this Budget. The slowness of traffic is also eating on man hours.


Mr Mwiimbu: It is slowing down the economy.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, it is slowing down the economy terribly. In their insatiable appetite to make money, they want to take milk out of a stone. They are now going to levy everyone. There is no country in the world that I know of that has survived and developed on taxes, fines and charges. The people of Zambia must know that the price of fuel has gone up because the PF wants to raise money. I will demonstrate why I think like this before I sit down. There was a time when crude oil –


Mrs Mwanakatwe shook her head.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, she is shaking her head. Yes, the price of crude oil was US$20 a barrel not so long ago. Today, it is about US$70 per barrel. Why are the prices of petroleum products such as diesel, petrol and paraffin not ever affordable in this country? Somebody must answer that question. Why did the Government give the Zambians false hope by promising to bring in cheap diesel which was only going to last us for five days. That made them think that they were heroes and mighty. Fuel for just five days. There is no Government that I know of that works like that. A Government that plans for five days.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, you go to the mountain top, saying that you have solved our problems for you went to Saudi Arabia and bought cheap crude oil, which could even be sold at K5 per litre. We never even saw that K5 per litre fuel in those five days. Who is fooling who? The Zambian people have now discovered that the PF Government is not their friend. It has never been their friend. It did them aka red naka black, which is like a casino game.




Mr Nkombo: Sir, their time of reckoning is very near. To the Zambians, I say hold on. It will soon come to pass.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance came to this House as a bearer of a message which I am holding in my hands (displaying the Budget Address). I am equally a bearer of a message from the people of Lusaka Central ...


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Lubezhi: ... who have sent me here. My sister also lives in Lusaka Central. She has asked me to be a bearer of the message that the Budget should not be approved.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiinga: Bola yabipa!


Mr Michelo: Wapya munzi.


Ms Lubezhi: Sir, the reason for not approving this Budget is that it is unrealistic and unreasonable not just to the people of Zambia, but also to the bearer of the message from the President herself. I do not know how she will manage to implement this Budget. She is not being fair to herself.


Mr Speaker, let me quickly take you to page 25 of the Budget Speech on which there is the expenditure by functions’ table of the Government. By the way, before I say anything about this table, hon. Minister, the next time you bring the Budget Speech to Parliament, try to improve the font. Some of us who have bad sight cannot see the contents of the table clearly. We can hardly read the table.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Namwala, in our Standing Orders, there is a rule about relevance.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: If you have that particular challenge, you know, just out of etiquette, approach the Office of the Clerk and say, I have this challenge, please, can you convey this message to the Executive. We will process that complaint on your behalf.


Mr Michelo: They do not listen.


Mr Speaker: We look after your welfare. You do not have to come here and say such things in front of Zambians.


Mr Syakalima: Hehe!




Mr Speaker: Zambians expect you to debate the Budget Speech and not the specs.




Mr Speaker: You may continue with your debate.


Mr Syakalima: Maybe, even the font has collapsed.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, kindly allow my debate to flow.


Let me talk about what is on page 25 of the Budget Speech. If I make mistakes with the numbers because I can hardly see them, please, I stand to be corrected. Under expenditure on page 25 of the Budget Speech, the Government has allocated K14,947,077.126 to service external debt and K8,626,278.083 to service domestic debt. Simple arithmetic gives us a total of about K23.6 billion. The answer as to where this money is going to come from is on page 28, which is the resource envelope of about K56.1 billion. This simply means that 42 per cent of this allocation will go towards servicing the debt. Actually, on the same page, we are being told that it is actually the interest and not even the principal, which will be paid for using the money which I am talking about here. Fortunately, figures do not lie. Now, if 42 per cent is not going to take care of the principal, in banking and finance, we call that amortisation which is a very sad state of affairs.


Mr Speaker, let me take you back. When the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power in 2011, of the domestic revenue, what was going to servicing debts? It was only 17 per cent of the Budget. In the usual PF way of doing business, in 2014, debt servicing went up to 25 per cent. Those in the PF Government could not put any mitigating measures in place because they were not concerned with what was happening. Debt servicing kept on rising. In 2017, it went up to 29 per cent. In 2019, we are talking of about 42 per cent of the Budget going towards debt servicing.


Mr Speaker, that is the more reason the people of Lusaka Central have sent me here to come and say that we should not approve the Budget. The people of Lusaka Central and Namwala are wondering how this Government will manage to implement its projects and to make investments. In its usual way, the PF Government will quickly run to get more loans from China.


Mr Speaker, I have problems with the loans which the Government gets from China because they are expensive. I wonder why the Government does not go for concessions. I can give an example of a loan, which was contracted from Exim Bank of China of K373 million to revamp the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC). We were reliably informed by our colleagues on the right that the ZNBC needed an equity partner. This equity partner came in the form of Star Times. I wonder why the Zambian Government could not just go straight to China to get this loan. Instead of the Government getting the loan, ZNBC came together with Star Times under the pretext that it needed an equity partner. After the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the ZNBC and Star Times was signed, Top Star was born. Top Star is now selling decoders to the Zambians. That is the money which will be used to repay the loan. As if that was not enough, Top Star engaged a company from China called Star Technologies to renovate the ZNBC. This is the problem I have with this Government.


Mr Speaker, in this Budget, the hon. Minister of Finance did not come out categorically as how the diversification in the agriculture sector will be rolled out. On page 25 of the Budget Speech, the Road Development Agency (RDA) has been given 7.9 per cent of the Budget beating the allocation to the Ministry of Agriculture. Those who are in Government know very well what is involved in the operations of the RDA. That is why they keep on giving RDA more money.


Agriculture, Mr Speaker, if properly managed has the potential to revamp the economy of this country. The PF Government should pump money into cotton growing. The people of Muchila in Namwala Constituency are being used by foreign investors under the outgrower project. However, year in and year out, after toiling on the land, they still remain poor. The only time they benefit from the cotton is when it comes back into this country as second hand clothes, popularly known as salaula.


Sir, the hon. Minister talked about fish restocking. There is no money for fish restocking. Even if we brought all the fish in the waters of this country together, it would only be worth one bull from my kraal. The Government should have instead talked about improving the yields at the Zampalm Plantation in Mpika. Since Mpika is always cold, the trees are usually stunted, hence the poor yields.


Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, the Government should have pumped money into cotton production. The Swarp Spinning Mills in Ndola was the only plant in this part of the world that used to produce yarn. Had its operations continued, this industry would be pumping more than US$80 million per annum into our economy. However, in 2012, when the new Government came into power, it sold Swarp Spinning Mills in Ndola. The people who bought the beautiful equipment dismantled it and took it to South Africa, and the plant is now a fertiliser shed. Furthermore, the Ndola Weaving Textiles, Kafue Textiles of Zambia (KTZ) and Mulungushi Textiles of Zambia in Kabwe are now fertiliser sheds. Instead of the unable leadership of the PF Government giving jobs to a million people in Europe and the United States of America (USA) where we export our cotton in raw form, it would have been giving jobs to the people of Zambia and, probably, their aim of creating 500,000 jobs per annum would have been achieved through the textile industry. Alas, what do we get other than giving the RDA an allocation which is higher than that for agriculture?


Mr Speaker, if we were to develop the textile industry in this country, even the loans would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the only way the Government thinks it can make money is through taxation. Taxation takes away money from you and me. Once there is no money, taxation reduces the spending power. When the spending power is reduced, the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector suffers. Once you cripple the SME sector, you cripple the engine of any economy. It is as simple as that. When the hon. Minister came here, she introduced sales tax and left it hanging. What is sales tax? Sales tax is a consumption tax. However, the reason the hon. Minister left it hanging is that it is a very difficult tax to impose.


Mr Speaker: Sorry, I missed you when you …




Mr Speaker: … stated what sales tax is. Just go back on it. I did not get you.


Ms Lubezhi: Yes, Mr Speaker. I said that sales tax is a consumption tax.




Mr Speaker: Continue, do not engage them. Just continue with your debate.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, look at them (Pointing at the hon. Government Members).




Mr Speaker: I will not even look there. Continue with your debate.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister came here, she did not tell us the rate of the sales tax because she knows very well that it has more disadvantages than advantages. It will be very difficult in this economy for the hon. Minister to come up with an appropriate and single flat rate for all the sectors. That is why when she came here, she only introduced the sales tax without giving us the actual rate. Since the font that was used in the Budget Speech is not legible, maybe, I missed the rate of the sales tax.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Namwala, give me a minute.


Ms Lubezhi: Sir, it is my prayer that when the hon. Minister winds up debate, she will give us the rate of the sales tax.




Mr Speaker: Order hon. Member for Namwala!


Let us give the hon. Member for Namwala an opportunity to debate. Let her make her points freely and in silence. At an appropriate juncture, the hon. Minister of Finance will respond. She is going to clarify some of the issues. She is taking note. That is why she is here. However, let the hon. Member for Namwala make her points as well. Whether you agree with her or you think otherwise, let her debate and say what she has to say. She is entitled to this time and platform regardless of what we know or do not know.


Ms Lubezhi: There is nothing they know.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Namwala, you may continue.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, I was saying that it is my prayer and hope that when the hon. Minister comes to wind up debate, she will give us the rate of the sales tax since she left it hanging. The reason she did this is that she knows very well that it is very difficult to come up with a flat rate of the sales tax for different sectors of the economy. She may probably be waiting for people to make submissions for her to come up with the rate. However, it will be very difficult for the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) to collect the sales tax. This is because sales tax is collected at the point of a transaction, and does not take into account the different values of transactions in different sectors. That is the problem that will be there with the sales tax.


Mr Speaker, I am running out of time. In conclusion, it would be in the best interest of the PF Government – How I wish we had a law which could make the hon. Minister withdraw the Budget she submitted last week on Friday. I am holding the national Budget in my hands in order to cry out loud. Probably, if it was for Moono Lubezhi and Sons General Dealers, I would have been fine with it. However, we are talking about a National Budget for the people of Namwala, who have never seen a tarred road. The Monze/Niko Road has not been tarred and the contractor only left heaps of soil that have since developed into anthills, yet the Government has allocated a lot of money to the RDA. That is the more reason the people of Namwala urged me, as their Member of Parliament, not to be part and parcel of the academic exercise of approving figures and apportioning of monies which do not benefit them.


Mr Speaker, the people of Namwala are saying that instead of the little blue things called solar hammer mills which these people have littered this country with, which are not even working, they should have littered this country with solar –




Mr Speaker: Order on the right!


Ms Lubezhi: Sir, they should have littered this country with solar ginneries which would have improved the livelihoods of the people. The solar hammer mills, which the Government has installed everywhere, are not even operational yet. We do not even know if at all some of them have already been vandalised.


Mr Speaker, nothing works out under the under the PF Government.


Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Mr Lubinda interjected.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, we have tried to advise the people on your right. The only unfortunate thing, which we have noticed, is that they have just remained static in the way they do things. This is unfortunate. They do not care for the people who voted for them. That is if at all they were voted for.




Mr Speaker: Order!


 Hon. Member for Namwala, I do not think you should go there. Here, where we are, we have a lawfully constituted Parliament, which you are part of yourself. Can you withdraw that statement.


Ms Lubezhi: Which one?


Mr Speaker: Where you questioning that the people on the right were not voted for? That is what you have said. That they were not voted for.


Ms Lubezhi: If at all!


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Speaker: Just withdraw what you said.




Mr Speaker: Give me a minute.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement, “If at all the people in the PF Government were voted for”.


Mr Speaker: Please, continue hon. Member.


Ms Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, in conclusion, may I invite the PF hon. Members of Parliament and all the members of the party to an annual concert, which will be sponsored by the people of Namwala.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, this is a wrong forum to make that announcement. You will find another forum. If you are done, I will allow you to sit.


Ms Lubezhi: No! I am not done.


Mr Speaker, in 2016, there was a song called dununa reverse.  This is the song which has brought us this far. The people on your right were telling us about dununa reverse.  Indeed, the people of Zambia bought into that song without being told what dununa reverse really was. As I am speaking today, the price of fuel has increased. Indeed, it is dununa reverse. This is according to the PF’s campaign song. It is in this breath that the celebrated song of 2016 has won an award. The concert called dununa reverse must continue. Therefore, these people must continue dancing to that song. The PF people!




Mr Lubezhi: Mr Speaker, finally, …


Hon. Government Members: Again!


Ms Lubezhi: … the Budget, which was brought by the bearer of the message from the Head of State, is hereby rejected. I am the bearer of a message from the people of Lusaka Central and Namwala …




Ms Lubezhi: … that this Budget has been rejected. It shall not go through. All the Backbenchers who mean well know that there are adequate reasons for making us say that this Budget should not go through.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya (Lunte): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to have my say on the Budget, which was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance. I rise in solidarity with the people of Zambia to support the Budget.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I support this Budget because its implementation …




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Kafwaya: … means taking educational services to the people of Zambia.


Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: Sir, it also means taking health services to the Zambian people. The application of the money contained in this Budget means upgrading the feeder roads for my people in Lunte. It also means making highways to make the transaction of business efficient in our cities.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has made it very easy for me to support this Budget.


Prof. Luo: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: Sir, she made it extremely easy because the Budget is in tandem with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). It is also consistent with His Excellency the President’s Speech, which was delivered to this House just three weeks ago. The Budget speaks about poverty and vulnerability reduction. It also talks about enhancing human capital, and the creation of a conducive governance environment for a diversified inclusive economy. So, when I look at the 7NDP and the President’s Speech, I notice that there are the issues that are being addressed.


Mr Speaker, during its deliberations in the last fiscal year, your Expanded Committee on Estimates, which is now being referred to as the Expanded Committee on the Budget, sat to consider the 2018 Budget. It recommended that the Mineral Royalty Tax should be increased and also be made a final tax. This Budget has taken that recommendation on board, demonstrating that the Ministry of Finance under the leadership of the Hon. Mwanakatwe is listening to your Committees. This makes me a very proud member of your Committee.


Hon. Government: Hear, hear!


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, let me address my concerns under two headings. Firstly, I would like to share my national perspective of this Budget and also localise it to Lunte. Then, I will conclude.


Sir, how do I, from a national perspective, see this Budget? The hon. Minister talked about upgrading 500 community schools. Upgrading 500 community schools will increase the capacity of our education system. This is not what I can fail to support because I want more Zambian children to access education. I want more children who are not in school to have opportunities so that they can acquire skills which we need to develop our country and grow our economy.


Mr Speaker, this Budget talks about constructing eighty-two secondary schools with the support of the World Bank. How can I not support that?  How can I be proud to stand here and say I am not going to support the enhancement of education opportunities? It is impossible for me to think that. However, in a country where people have diverse views, it is expected that some individuals will not support a budget, which seeks to increase education opportunities.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about progressively reducing the fiscal deficit. We understand the complexities and discourse which surrounds the fiscal deficit. The prudent hon. Minister stood here and said that the Budget seeks to progressively reduce the fiscal deficit. She has put a figure to it …


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours




Mr Kafwaya: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was illustrating in my second point how easy the hon. Minister made it for me to support the Budget Address. Of course, after going through the whole speech, I realised that I actually did not have brain damage which would have made me fail to support the 2019 Budget. So, it became very easy to support the Budget. I looked at a number of progressive things which the hon. Minister proposed in her Budget Speech, some of which I have already referred to.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about providing about K10.7 million to operationalise the National Health Insurance Scheme. Many Zambians do not have access to healthcare because of not having the necessary scheme which supports everyone. This is in addition to the lack of sufficient infrastructure and supporting implements. The hon. Minister, however, said that in next year’s Budget, she has put aside about K10.7 million in order for the nation to implement the scheme for which legislation was passed by this House not too long ago. So, as I said, it becomes impossible for me to turn around and not support such a measure, having been part of hon. Members who actually passed the National Health Insurance Bill, 2017.


Madam Speaker, there is a proposed adjustment to the taxation regime. The hon. Minister said that she wants to replace the Value Added Tax (VAT) with sales tax and put an effective date to that, which is April, 2019. She is a very prudent hon. Minister of Finance who said that that is a change that requires analysis and a bit of time to look at the pros and cons so that there is an effective model in place. In fact, this is not just about bringing efficiency, but also simplifying tax computations because a lot of business men and women are actually defrauding the Government through taxation computations, which take into account the top line and all of the issues that come under it. However, the sales tax is a very simple way of taxing businesses. You just tax the top line. If an entity is having difficulties in producing documents that justify expenses or all the other things below the top line, you just go after the top line. You just place a value and tax the business. That is it, and the Government collects its money. So, other than simplifying the actual taxation process, the hon. Minister seeks to achieve efficiency.


Madam Speaker, one more thing, which made me very happy, was the modification of the penalty units for those businesses which will not comply with transfer pricing regulations. This is very important. The hon. Minister said that she proposes to increase the penalty units from 10,000 to 80 million. Now, we all know very well that 60 per cent of illicit financial flows in this country, and Africa in general, come from financial transactions that include transfer pricing. Therefore, the hon. Minister wants to ensure that illicit financial flows are limited because which businessman or woman will be happy to be imposed with 80 million penalty units just for flouting regulations regarding transfer pricing policies? By so doing, the hon. Minister recognises that this is a very important commercial issue which can benefit our country immensely. The measure will help our country deal with all of these economic and social issues that we are going through. Therefore, for a sane person like me who is representing people, to come here and say that I do not support this Budget would be very surprising. I, therefore, support these measures, pronouncements and proposals wholly.


Madam Speaker, in concluding my first point, I just want to make reference to what the hon. Minister said when she talked about reducing income tax for companies which will be adding value to copper cathodes. Now, our Republican and Patriotic Front (PF) President, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has been talking about value addition. Incentives need to be provided for companies to begin the process of value addition. Therefore, the hon. Minister said that she is reducing the Company Income Tax rate from 35 per cent to 15 per cent. That is reducing it by 20 percentage points in order to provide incentives to companies. This is aimed at encouraging companies to choose the value addition route. This will enable us to add value to our raw materials and create more jobs. How can I not support this proposal? Can the people of Lunte and Zambia find me normal not to support such a proposal? I think that the people of Lunte cannot excuse me and, therefore, I stand in front of the Zambian people declaring that I wholly support these proposals.


    Madam Speaker, let me now come to my view of this Budget as it relates to the people of Lunte. I have talked about the need for Lunte/Zacharia/Chanda Road to be upgraded to bituminous standard. Treasury authority was granted to work on this road in the presence of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in Kasama. However, to date, the Ministry of Finance has not provided funds for this road to be upgraded. I appeal to the hon. Minister to ensure that the road is considered in her Budget. The people of Lunte want to see the bridge at Lukulu constructed. I appeal to the hon. Minister to provide resources for Lukulu Bridge and Luangwa Bridge to be worked on to ease the movement of the people of Lunte.


Madam Speaker, Kalungwishi Farming Block will create 35,000 jobs to the people of Zambia because the people of Lunte alone cannot exhaust those jobs. The farming block is promising for agricultural development. It can change the landscape of the Northern Province. I look forward to seeing a provision for the farming block coming out of the Budget which Hon. Mwanakatwe read to us this past Friday.


Madam Speaker, the grading and gravelling of feeder roads within Lunte is needed. The people of Nkanda Bana, Muyembe, Mulukuma, Chibelushi, Oto and Kabosha want their roads to be gravelled and graded. The people of Lunte should have a fair share of the provision under infrastructure development in this Budget from this fair Government.


Madam Speaker, in conclusion, for us, the Zambian people, to achieve the objectives that have been set out in this Budget Speech, we need to make sure that there is transparency. Transparency can only be achieved by updating the Zambian people on a regular basis on what the Government is doing and what processes it is using to achieve all these things. We need to keep explaining to the Zambian people what this responsible Government is doing so that we reduce the amount of fake news that is being churned out as well the damage of the misleading statements which are made by people who do not mean well for this country.


Madam Speaker, Zambia remains the only country where we, the people, can enjoy life. This includes the people of Lunte. Therefore, when a good proposal like this Budget is brought to the House, the Zambian people, who need the services which will result from the implementation of this Budget, need to be supported by our support for this document.


Madam Speaker, with these few remarks, I support the Budget.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, I thank you sincerely for giving me this opportunity to debate the Budget Speech, which was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Madam Speaker, in the first place, I pity the hon. Minister of Finance because the Government she is in was voted into power on the principle that there would be lower taxes and more money in the pockets of the people of Zambia. However, to date, there has not been more money in the pockets of the people. In fact, there has even been more taxes. I expected the Budget Speech to address the issue of taxes. Hardly three days ago, the price of fuel was increased. That affects a person in Mafinga and Ikeleng’i because the prices of everything will be increased. Even the price of chilli will be increased.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance is my good colleague. I admire her too much.


Hon. Members: Ah!


Mr Muchima: The way she speaks –




Mr Muchima: The way she articulates – I would love –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, ...


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, she presented the Budget with passion.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: ... I just want to remind you that she is Mrs Mwanakatwe.




Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, Mrs Mwanakatwe is also an hon. Member of Parliament and hon. Minister here.


Madam Speaker, I admired how she presented her Budget. I would like her to take into account the feedback from mostly us on your left. I have seen that the majority of the people on your right are pretenders. I have listened to their debates. They have praised the Government and the Budget while, at the same time, they have bemoaned the various issues, which have not been addressed in their areas.  Let us be sincere here. We should not be intimidated by anybody. The Budget in Zambia does not work at all. Whatever the hon. Minister said in a very nice accent will just be water under the bridge. What will be implemented will be completely different. Even the previous Budget, which was presented by her predecessor, Hon. Mutati, achieved nothing at all in Ikeleng’i. For example, iron sheets costing K150,000 for a primary school, with only two classroom blocks in Ikeleng’i have not been bought to date. Why should the Government continue telling me about what it is doing? Why should I start praising it, singing and dancing when I have not seen the Budget implemented in my area? Until I see the Budget, which was presented, actualised and Ikeleng’i being put on the map, I will not do that. 


Madam Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government said it is pro-poor. What does pro-poor mean? The Government should go and provide services to people in Shang’ombo, Jimbe and Ikeleng’i. Instead of doing this, the members of the PF have just been speaking a beautiful language, appeasing people. During campaigns, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme monies come in briefcases. Immediately after the campaigns, there is nothing. I want these issues to be addressed.


Madam Speaker, the Government is talking about austerity measures, when the Budget has been increased from about 26 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2018 to almost 29 per cent in 2019. Austerity means reducing expenditure like the President of Tanzania has done. Instead of hiring jets, he is now flying in economy class with his people. He has reduced the number the number of people he moves with.


Sir, in Zambia, we should have first all, examined the Civil Service to find out how bloated it is. How do we reduce the size of the Civil Service so that we can have money to attend to important things that affect poor people? One area we could look at is the position of the district commissioner (DC). The DCs are just a burden on our Budget. Since they are cadres, they should be paid from the contributions of the hon. Members to the party. They are not supposed to be on the Government’s payroll. That is one austerity measure which can be implemented. I have given the Government a hint. The DCs should be removed from the Civil Service because they do not add value to it. They are just cadres.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, the DCs keep changing Government motor vehicles and go wherever there is an election. We are saying any vehicle being driven by a DC should have the chassis number and blue book checked so that we verify the aspect of ownership. They are misusing Government fuel and vehicles. How are such things supposed to be part of austerity measures? They are not. That is misusing resources.


Madam Speaker, with regard to taxes, I want to ask why the Value Added Tax (VAT) has been removed. This tax which was introduced in 1994 has been doing extremely well except that this Government is failing to handle the mines. The Government treats foreigners in a special way, while the Zambians are treated like secondary citizens. The Government should have just told the mines that it was making certain changes and made it clear to them that they were free to leave if they were not comfortable with them. They would not go. However, after putting in place certain changes such as the windfall tax, they will come to your offices to drink tea or you will fly to the North-Western Province or the Copperbelt Province and be convinced and then, the Government will change its position on the matter. This has happened before, and we do not want that. We are the owners of this country.


Madam Speaker, I am saying to the hon. Minister of Finance that enough is enough. The Government has given too much respect to foreigners. We are the owners of this country. Why should foreigners pay concession rates for electricity? The people who are supposed to do that are we the Zambians. We are supposed to pay concession rates and not a foreigner who is making money which goes out of the country. It does not remain in Zambia. When we talk about plots, one can go to look for a plot, which he/she will never get. However, a person with eyes like this (Mr Muchima made a sign for squint eyes) is already building a mall there.


Hon. Government Member: Ah!


Mr Muchima: Sir, it is very painful. It is difficult for me to get a plot even if I have been a politician and also served in Government for so many years. I can apply for one, but will never get it. However, you find foreigners being given plots anyhow, especially by some of those who have served on the Copperbelt Province. The National Budget should address issues of national interest, which are our priorities. In the Budget, I expected the Zhimbe Road and Mazabuka Road as well as the road from Kazungula to Sesheke to be prioritised because they are international roads which are bringing revenue to the country. The other one is the Nakonde Road. Where is the hon. Member of Parliament for Nakonde? He should go and look at the state of Nakonde where revenue, which contributes to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) comes from. He should go and see how disastrous the road is, yet he will stand here and say I support this Budget. What is he supporting? Does he have eyes? As the representative of the people, we are supposed to be their ears.


Madam Speaker, personally, I am saying that the PF Government’s budgets do not work.


Hon. Government Member: Iye!


Mr Muchima: Sir, I want the Zhimbe Road to be worked on.


Madam Speaker, let me now come to tourism. I have been to Uganda where we were taken to see the source of the River Nile. We were taken on a boat on Lake Victoria to the source of the Nile. In Zambia, we have beautiful features such as the source of the Zambezi River in Ikeleng’i. See how the place has been neglected under the hands of the PF Government. There is no airstrip there, yet I hear the Government making pronouncements on how it will implement and finish other projects. These are things that can earn the country excess money through tourism. Work on that road and the airstrip and you will see how many people will be coming to that place. Connect it to Angola and you will see what will happen. The problem here is those who are part of Government keep saying that the people of such and such a place did not vote for them. The Government does not like us, but it likes our money. Most of the money for this country comes from the mines in the North-Western Province. The Government wants our money, but it does not like us.


Hon. Government Member: Question!


Mr Muchima: Sir, the PF Government wants us to be voting for it. Unfortunately, I will not do that.


Mr Lusambo: It is Zambian money.


Mr Muchima: Zambian money, nkwanu!




Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, everything in this country is owned by ...


Mr Lusambo sat next to Mr Simbao.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order hon. Member for Ikeleng’i!


That pact between the hon. Minister for Lusaka Province and hon. Minister of Labour and Social Security is not helpful. Hon. Minister for Lusaka Province, please, go back to your seat.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Lusambo resumed his seat.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member of Parliament for Ikeleng’i will continue with his debate.


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, I thank you. We need to be sincere with ourselves. I have read the theme for this year’s Budget, which is “Delivering Fiscal Consolidation for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth”. When it comes to inclusive growth, I want to state that we have plenty of water in the North-Western Province, ...


Mr C. M. Zulu: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr C. M. Zulu: Madam Speaker, is Hon. Muchima, whom I respect so much having worked with him when we served as Deputy Ministers in the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources under the Patriotic Front (PF), in order to say that certain people from this side of the House do not like people from the North-Western Province? This is promoting hate speech. Is he in order to come out like that?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: To the extent that he did not mention anyone on the right, he is in order.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: From where I am sitting, we do not look at where each one of you comes from. As a House, we should be beyond that. We should be debating national issues. I do not know who, on the right or left, comes from the west, east or north. Therefore, when debating, let us not go regional. Let us try to avoid that because it does not help the House. Hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, please, take that into account. We need harmony in this House. If we are going to be looked at collectively as being relevant to the people of Zambia, we need to be relevant.


Please, continue with your debate.


Mr Ng’onga: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, I thank you for the counsel. Those who are in the PF Government should lead by example because they are in leadership. They should show that they do not have akapatulula. They should not behave in a segregative manner. What is happening is that Budget after Budget, we do not see the money trickle down to the rural parts of the country. I should not be begging for it. It took the humble hon. Minister of General Education to go and plead for iron sheets which I have not even received. However, the hon. Minister is doing a good job. I hope the iron sheets will be bought.


Madam Speaker, when the Government talks about inclusive growth, it must be referring to  goods and services. That is why I am saying that I am a messenger of the people of the North-Western Province. I am here to speak for them. Unfortunately, my name is Elijah Muchima. By my name, people can know that I am a Lunda man. In simple language, you can say that I am a kalubale. We have seen what happens when people are in these offices. Today, I cannot call a Permanent Secretary (PS) with the hope of going to discuss developmental issues with him/her. Instead, I will be asked to wait in the corridors while he talks to his officers. However, a ka cadre will come from somewhere and straightaway be allowed to see the PS. That is what is happening and causing this segregation that I am talking about. I am told to wait in the corridors despite being a Member of Parliament who is such an important person who speaks for the people.


Madam Speaker, appointments with PSs are so difficult to secure. That is not how we used to do things when we were ministers in the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government. When the hon. Members of Parliament sought audience with us, we used to give them platforms to address the issues affecting our people. That is not the same with this Government. The people in this Government love themselves very much. They only care about the cadres whom they fear so much.


Madam Speaker, we want this money to go to the people. We want the hon. Ministers to go to the rural areas to inspect projects. They should not just visit rural areas using chartered aircrafts during campaigns. It is amazing that immediately after making promises during campaigns, the hon. Ministers go away.


Sir, with regard to austerity measures, we should avoid unnecessary by-elections after councillors are bought off. Where is the Government getting the money to do that? I said it even before that they are spending money on such things. When there is a by-election, hon. Ministers travel to the areas where there are by-elections and eat into time that could be used for other productive things. We spend a lot of time on the by-elections for councillors which the Government is inducing. We can accept the ones that occur as a result of death, but not induced ones.


Madam Speaker, Hon. Lubinda, who is the hon. Minister of Justice, should change the laws to help the hon. Minister of Finance. We do not want these induced by-elections. If a councillor from the United Party for National Development (UPND) dies, let us replace him/her with another member from the same party to avoid the cheap campaigns by the Ruling Party.


Mr Lubinda interjected.


Mr Muchima: Sir, this Budget should have addressed issues to do with entrepreneurship.


Mr Lubinda: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Ah!


Mr Muchima: Sir, it is entrepreneurship that will ensure growth. It is entrepreneurship that has made China and India have progressive budgets, but it is totally ignored here in Zambia.


Madam Speaker, if I were the hon. Minister, I would have addressed the issues that surround tourism because it is our source of income. What can be done to improve services that can create employment? When the MMD was in power, we used to hear about issues to do with the Southern Circuit and Northern Circuit. If we carried on in that manner, we would have polished the industry so that we could have had something to be proud of as Zambians.


Madam Speaker, if I owe the Government money today, the bailiffs will come, attack me and leave me in poverty. However, when the Government owes me money, it takes years for it to pay me ...


Mr Nkombo: Without interest.


Mr Muchima: ... without any interest. You have to hire lawyers who, at the end of the day, get everything from you.


Mr Mwiimbu: Aah!




Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister should address the issue of compensation. The people who have been waiting for a long time should be paid. This issue of non-performing loans is created by the Government itself because it is not putting money in circulation by paying its creditors on time. We want the Government to help us.


Sir, there are also issues to do with the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA). RTSA is a centre for the collection of money, which has been situated kilometres away from the town centre. People are sent back and forth between offices which is causing more corruption. The Government should create a one-stop centre or put offices in various places. I do not have time to keep going to Mimosa or Chilanga. These are things which are causing problems and need to be addressed. Who is running RTSA at the moment? The system at RTSA is rotten. It is on one minute and off the next. However, the people are expected to keep going to Mimosa. All that time spent between offices should be reduced so that we are productive.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about reforming the State-owned enterprises (SOEs). She was very proud to say that seventeen SOEs have started declaring dividends. However, seventeen out of forty-five in percentage form is a fail. It is not even half.


Mr Nkombo: Zamtel!


Mr Muchima: Sir, when Hon. Mutati was Minister of Finance, he said that he wanted the SOEs that were not performing to be completely done away with. Why are we still keeping all the SOEs when only seventeen out of forty-five are doing well? What about the remainder?


Madam Speaker, how does the hon. Minister of Finance create her reserves? Her reserves are at US$1.7 billion and the debt service is at US$1.5 billion. We wanted her to address this issue. How do we build our reserves in this country? Zambia is already considered to be a high risk country. How do we come out of that position? The hon. Minister of Finance is proudly saying that we are still within the normal threshold, yet the Government has failed to release the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for the past two years.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima: Sir, when a little money is released, it goes to selected individuals. That is not prudent in terms of management. This money comes from taxes and is needed everywhere.


Madam Speaker, if I were the hon. Minister, I would concentrate on issues like the ones which the United National Independence Party (UNIP) focused on. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government had national Budgets which they implemented nationally. The UNIP Government put up a motor assembly plant in Livingstone, a bicycle manufacturing plant in Chipata and a pineapple cannery in Mwinilunga. The UNIP Government worked in every part of the country and also connected roads nationally. That is the way the Government is supposed to distribute wealth to the country.


Madam Speaker, I have travelled throughout this country. Even if some hon. Government Members are debating passionately, the state of the infrastructure in their constituencies is just as good as what some of us in the Opposition have in our constituencies. I have seen the road infrastructure and bridges from Lundazi up to Chinsali. I heard somebody debate about infrastructure, and saying that the PF is about roads. What about buildings? Teachers are staying in thatched houses. Why is it that houses cannot be built for them? What is happening? We need to investigate why the construction of roads is more attractive than other infrastructure.


Hon. Member: Calm down!


Mr Muchima: I calm down? I am annoyed!




Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, in relation to agriculture, we were supposed to diversify from copper to agriculture.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima: I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for according me this opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the period 1st January, 2019 to 31st December, 2019.


Madam Speaker, from the outset, I wish to draw the attention of the House to the first page of this 2019 Budget Address. On page 1, paragraph 5, the hon. Minister of Finance stated:


“Mr Speaker, as I present this Budget, I wish to emphasise that Zambia is and will remain a Christian nation whose values, principles and ethics in all aspects of life are anchored on our covenant with God. These values will always be mainstreamed in our policies and national development plans to guide our attitudes and aspirations.”


Madam Speaker, I wish to question the sincerity of that statement.


Hon. Government Member: Why?


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, I have my own reasons which I will share a little later.


Sir, the hon. Members on the right have not been sincere to the nation, especially when they make pronouncements under the auspices of a Christian nation. I am glad that the Executive has now acknowledged its failures by stating in this speech that the poverty levels remain high, especially in the rural areas. The Executive has also acknowledged its failure to attain the targeted gross domestic product (GDP). It also acknowledged most of the challenges which we are facing. However, the reasons attributed to these failures have led to us starting to question their sincerity.


Madam Speaker, poverty levels remains very high among in our society. Zambia ranks amongst the least in the world, probably third from the bottom, on the list of poverty stricken countries. In her speech, the hon. Minister claimed that the Government will reduce the fiscal deficit which is estimated at 7.4 per cent of the GDP this year, against a target of 6.1 per cent. She also claimed that the Government will maintain the debt within sustainable levels. In addition, she claimed that the Government will build a smart Zambia to stimulate private sector investment. I will rebut these assertions. According to the hon. Minister, the pillars are set and on their way to ensuring that we attain economic growth.


Madam Speaker, in the structure of my debate, I will begin by reminding the House and the nation about certain indicators which are so important and which are contained in the address that we need to critically look at. We need to look at the figures which they have presented to us and the nation. From this, we will make informed decisions and inferences before we can either support the Budget or not.


Madam Speaker, let me begin by looking at economic growth. The hon. Minister stated that the Government wished to attain a 4 per cent economic growth in 2018 from the 3.4 per cent which was announced in 2017. The Government is targeting an economic growth of about 4 per cent in 2019. Unfortunately, I do not believe that this is attainable. I will give my reasons a little later.


Madam Speaker, the agriculture sector has been subdued by many factors. One very well known factor, which has been debated extensively in this House, is the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) which was implemented prior to the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) system. We know its failures. Unfortunately, the Executive has failed to concede. Instead, it has attributed the failure of the agriculture sector to other factors such as the drought. The FISP is one of the factors that have caused the GDP not to be attained as planned. We need to itemise the issues and the failures of the Patriotic Front (PF) for us to understand why we are not reaching where we should be.


Madam Speaker, I now want to comment on the debt position. Officially, according to the hon. Minister of Finance, we have US$9.4 billion foreign debt as at June, 2018. The Government guaranteed loans are at US$1.2 billion as at June, 2018. I want to bring to the attention of the House that domestic debt is in addition to what we already owe in terms of foreign debt. According to the hon. Minister’s speech, domestic debt sits at K51.9 billion, which is about 19.2 percent of the GDP. Now you understand why the economy is not growing. If the Government borrows this kind of money, we must understand that, effectively, it crowds out the private sector from the space. The economy cannot grow when the private sector has been crowded out. If this money, K51.9 billion, was available to the private sector to grow this economy, we would then be talking of the growth which the PF Government is talking about of 4 per cent and above. Otherwise, those percentages will remain theoretical. This is why when I looked at the Budget Address, I thought that it was more academic than practical. I am giving these facts because I want to speak so much about the figures that we have a good understanding of what is contained in the Budget Speech.


Madam Speaker, as regards monetary indicators, it is in the public domain that 23.5 per cent as at August, 2018, was the average lending rate. This is not a low interest rate. It is high. Therefore, it still remains expensive to get credit in our country. If it is expensive to get money and employ it in business how then will the private sector flourish in this economy?


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that 11.9 per cent of loans are non-performing. This means that there are institutions that have borrowed money from the banks, the money that we deposit in the banks, which they have failed to pay back. These are non-performing loans. We are above the 10 per cent which is the agreed standard rate. This means that the economy is not performing well. It is these indicators which suggest that we are in a crisis. How do we expect the private sector to foster the growth of this economy when firms are unable to pay back the loans which they get from the banks because they are unable to do well in business? It is a chain reaction. These things are not cast in stone. The figures are bare and are given by the hon. Minister. The Zambians should ask about these figures. It is not just a question of saying I support this and that.


Madam Speaker, I also want to comment on the macroeconomic objectives, policies and strategies that have been set for 2019. On page 6, paragraph 42, the hon. Minister of Finance talked about these objectives. They are very flowery objectives that have been stated. At their own time, hon. Members and the nation could refer to the page stated above to see the strategies that have been put there. They look flowery, but I have difficulties believing in the hon. Minister’s assertions in terms of the objectives.


Madam Speaker, on the fiscal policy, the hon. Minister has talked about us attaining fiscal consolidation so that we do not have a huge deficit at the end of the year. Unfortunately, fiscal consolidation cannot come without fiscal discipline. We have examples regarding fiscal discipline. Not too long ago, we were discussing about the missing Social Cash Transfer Scheme funds. This is the fiscal indiscipline we are talking about. We fail to apply due diligence by ensuring that the donor money, which supplements our Budget, is used and accounted for prudently. We end up having situations, whereby donors are withdrawing their support. At the end of the day look at our Budget, we only have very small amounts to be gotten from foreign support.


Madam Speaker, I want to conclude my debate by looking at the 2019 Budget itself. The hon. Minister of Finance has proposed bold and substantial changes in terms of revenue mobilisation. We are talking about estimates of revenue and expenditure. One of the issues that she is proposing in her Budget Speech in terms of revenue collection is a paradigm shift from the Value Added Tax (VAT) to a new tax regime, the old and archaic sales tax.


Ms Tambatamba: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, the world over, people moved away from the sales tax.


Ms Tambatamba: But we are in a crisis.


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, a lot was invested in introducing VAT. Why do we want to go back to the archaic tax regime? I would only urge hon. Members of Parliament on your right and my colleagues on the left not to support this Bill once it comes to Parliament. This is an archaic tax system. It will not help us. In short, what we and the hon. Minister of Finance are conceding is that we have failed to administer VAT. That is right. We have actually failed to administer VAT, yet it is the simplest tax system to use. Now, if we have failed to administer VAT, how shall we manage with the sales tax? Research has shown that when you try to tax more, you actually lose more through tax evasion. People come up with ways of evading tax.


Mr Michelo: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, that is when you even lose more. We need to review the decision that has been made concerning the sales tax. The challenge of taxation which we have at the moment has led to many taxes being introduced in various aspects. Yes, I do support the hon. Minister of Finance in terms of really widening the tax base. However, we should do it correctly. Our problem is not with the broadening of the tax base, but how we manage what we are supposed to correctly collect. We have allowed cadres to take care of places where we are supposed to collect revenue. That is the reason we are suffocating. We are suffocating because we have trivialised the systems of collecting revenue.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, revenue is what finances the expenditure that we are actually appropriating here. We do not have money for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and other things because we have not collected enough tax. There are many demanding activities in the economy that require funding. Therefore, there should be no leakages of any form in the tax collection process. I propose that the hon. Minister of Finance restructures the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and not the tax administration system. Let the ZRA be efficient. Boot out the cadres from the ZRA. Let us leave professionals to run that institution. Then, we will collect the right tax. We will then have enough income to allocate to the Budget lines which are suffering like the CDF. Otherwise, I do not entirely support this Budget because it is too academic and is business as usual.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, the reason is very simple. When you look at the operationalisation of the 2018 Budget, you can tell that the performance has been pathetic. I do not want to mention the figures.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, a case in point is clearly the CDF which we all know about. How much has been disbursed for the CDF from the 2018 Budget allocation?


Mr Mwiinga: Nothing!


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, talking about my area, Zambezi East, we have not seen feeder roads being worked on. The people of Katonto and Nyakuleng’a are questioning why I sit in Parliament to allocate monies for the country, but they do not see anything coming forth in terms of the improvement of roads and sinking of boreholes. Therefore, I do not support his Budget because it is business as usual and is very academic.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving the people of Mufulira an opportunity to add their voice in supporting the Budget, which was ably presented…


Mr Michelo: Question!


Dr Chibanda: … to the nation through this august House by the hon. Minister of Finance, Mrs Margaret Dudu Mwanakatwe.


Hon PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, I must first say that the hon. Minister of Finance has vindicated the women of this country.


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: She has done a commendable job. She is equal to the task.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, the people of Mufulira have asked me to compass my debate on a few issues in the Budget. We will start with the external debt. The external debt of our country stands at US$9.4 billion. The people of Mufulira are saying that if the hon. Minister of Finance brings a law to Parliament to enable her to get more money to develop this country, we should support her.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, this Budget is meant to stimulate our economy. It is actually meant to give hope to the people of this country. I must commend the Government for having taken a bold decision in biting the bullet to come up with such a Budget. The last time the Budget brought up similar measures, I think it was in 2012. That Budget was very strong on the mines. The people of Mufulira have asked me to base my debate on that.


Madam Speaker, we wish to welcome the windfall tax that the Government has introduced.


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, it is long overdue because the mines belong to the Zambian people. For a very long time, the Zambians have not been getting the proceeds of what God has given to them. The windfall tax should have actually been introduced now when the price of copper is at US$6,800 per metric tonne. We would have earned more money. That is why we need to start getting the windfall tax now.


Mr Mung’andu: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, the Zambians have been deprived of what comes out of their mineral wealth for a long time.


Madam Speaker, we wish to also say the scrapping of the Value Added Tax (VAT) was actually long overdue for it did not add any value to the tax component.


Mr Nanjuwa: Question!


Dr Chibanda: It has been excessively abused by the mining sector.


Mr D. Mumba: Question your stomach.


Dr Chibanda: They have actually been sustaining their operations on the returns that they claim from the Government. This has actually depleted Government’s resources. So, the changing of this tax component will mean that the mining sector will no longer be claiming the VAT refunds from the Government. The mines have been sustaining their operations on the VAT refunds from the Government. That money would have been used to construct roads in Shang’ombo and Mushindamo, and the Ndola/Mufulira Road would have been completed a long time ago. Therefore, every well-meaning Zambian must not be too myopic to go against this measure. This measure is meant to benefit us by stimulating our economy. I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for a job well-done. She has actually called a spade a spade.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, the Government has taken on a broad approach in the sense that the hon. Minister has allocated one quarter of the Budget to repaying the debt, which clearly speaks to the fact that we are committed to repaying the debt. The US$9.4 billion debt is actually being taken out of context. We only owe the so-called Chinese that every ‘Jim and Jack’ is talking about approximately US$3 billion.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw the term “Jim and Jack”.


Dr Chibanda: Noted, Madam Speaker.


Out of the US$9.4 billion ─


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw it.


Dr Chibanda: I withdraw it, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker, out of the US$9.4 billion, the Zambian Government only owes the Chinese Government a meagre amount of about US$3 billion. Why, for crying out loud, are some people not saying that those whom we owe more money are taking over Zambia? The Opposition’s fears are very clear. They know that they will have nothing to talk about if, by chance, they formed Government because the PF Government would have done everything that was meant to be done.


Madam Speaker, the Government clearly means well by being consistent with its policies. The Budget clearly resonates well with the President’s Speech that was presented in this House. It clearly shows the Government’s commitment to the people. Therefore, this Budget means well.


Madam Speaker, concerning the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), I note that the hon. Minister has assured us that it has been well budgeted for. It is important for us to realise that this time around, as a country, our hon. Minister of Finance happens to have a constituency. The hon. Minister will do well to make sure that, at least, in 2019, we are given the full allocation of the CDF. She will be on the right side of history. In the same vein, as Backbenchers, we are waiting for the hon. Minister to come up with a Supplementary Budget so we can be given our balances. Some constituencies were given K500,000. However, the people of Mufulira did not get anything. As Members of Parliament, we are eagerly waiting for the hon. Minister to bring a Supplementary Budget to the House that we will approve. I think she will be able to do that.


Madam Speaker, I wish to bring to the hon. Minister’s attention the fuel issue that is being conducted and taken out of context. I conducted my research. It clearly told me that Zambia is selling fuel at US$1.54. Some countries in Europe like Portugal are selling fuel close to US$2 and that has not been an issue. We cannot sell fuel at less than the price at which it is going for now on the market. A barrel of crude oil is going at US$75.14. How on earth can Zambia sell fuel at any cheaper cost? Therefore, people must be objective. We should not be politicking even over things that are not worth it.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, we should look at the economic indicators of what is happening in the country. The bad part is that everything in this country is being used for political expedience. We should come out of this cocoon, and realise that there is a Government at any time. Leaders of Opposition political parties should support their colleagues because by any chance, if they formed Government, they would also require to be supported.


Mr Sikazwe: They never will.


Dr Chibanda: They should come out of the mode of being perpetual opposers …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: … because they will not distinguish sense from nonsense.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order in the House!


Let us listen to the doctor speaking.




Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, according to my research, the first country in the region that adjusted the price of fuel was South Africa. It increased the price of fuel to the highest point in a long time in the history of that country. Zimbabwe has increased the price of fuel and so has our own country Zambia. Therefore, at what point is President Lungu and the PF Government not meaning well for the Zambians if the increase in fuel prices is a global reaction? I urge my colleagues to research so they can use common logic.




Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, the mining sector speaks to us as the people of the Copperbelt Province. I request the hon. Minister to consider bringing a law that will compel the mining sector to have the proceeds of copper domiciled in the Zambian bank accounts. This will help our country. It does not help us in any way to have copper produced on the Copperbelt Province and, when it is sold, its proceeds sit in an account in Zurich. The proceeds are supposed to sit in the Zambian bank accounts. The law will help us because the copper proceeds will be in our country. In the same vein, I urge the hon. Minister to consider coming up with a law that will enforce corporate social responsibility in the mining sector. We have been reduced to beggars. We beg for resources that come out of the proceeds from the sale of our products, yet this is supposed to be backed by a law. The Copperbelt Province must be the most developed province in this country because it has the best mineral resources that God has given us.


Madam Speaker, with these few words, I wish to commend the hon. Minister of Finance for being brave enough to present this Budget to this country. The people of Mufulira will be behind her.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to support the 2019 Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance, Hon. Margaret D. Mwanakatwe, which the people of Kaputa are very proud of, having been presented to this House in the manner in which it was presented. From the outset, the hon. Minister proposed to spend K86.8 billion, which is 28.9 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP), in the 2019 Budget. In my debate, I will focus on the allocations towards the road infrastructure and the agriculture sector, and will conclude with issues to do with the education sector.


Madam Speaker, I will refer to page 26 of the Budget Speech on economic affairs, and it reads:


“Sir, in order to support Government’s agenda for economic diversification –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I had just started supporting the Budget Speech, which was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. I had just started quoting from page 26, where the hon. Minister was talking about the allocation on the economic affairs. This will bring me to the amounts allocated to road infrastructure, which I want to talk about.


Madam Speaker, I wish to quote where the hon. Minister indicated that:


“Sir, in order to support Government’s agenda for economic diversification and job creation, I have allocated a total of K20.7 billion towards the Economic Affairs function compared to K17.3 billion in 2018. Hon. Members will agree with me that without consistent investment in our economic sectors, it will not be possible to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth that can significantly help reduce the developmental inequalities, poverty and vulnerabilities that continue to affect many of our people.”


Madam Speaker, she further stated that:


“Mr Speaker, I have allocated a total of K6.5 billion to the road infrastructure. This will cater for, among others, the continuation of the Link Zambia 8,000 km Road Project and the rehabilitation and upgrading of feeder roads across the country through the Rural Roads Connectivity Programme.”


Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of Kaputa, this is where I need to start from. From the outset, I would like to state that the K6.5 billion allocated to this sector is insufficient. I say so because I looked at the budget provision for 2017, which was K8.6 billion. So, when we compare the K8.6 allocation for 2018, which has been high even in smaller Budgets with the K6.5 billion allocated in the 2019 Budget, we will notice that it falls far short of what is expected in this particular sector. This is after realising the fact that we have already raised a lot of expectations from the Zambian people. These expectations are not only coming from the people of Kaputa, but also the people of Chilubi, Chienge, Lukulu and Lundazi. So, everybody is expectant that the road sector’s allocation will be higher so that the promise by the PF Government to take the roads to the people is realised.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, the amount allocated in the 2019 Budget will definitely not leave us at the level where we want to be.


Madam Speaker, on behalf of the people of Kaputa, let me zero in on what I indicated in my previous debates on the Floor of this House that in 2011 when we came to Parliament, the roads linking Kaputa from Mporokoso to Nsama, and then Kaputa to Nchelenge or Kashikishi via Mununga to Chienge into Lambwe Chomba were in the first phase of the works. Hon. Colleagues who have been hon. Ministers are fully aware that the expectations have not started today.


Sir, on two or three occasions, His Excellency the President visited us in Kaputa. He promised the people of Kaputa that the roads will be worked on before 2021. Therefore, I am very expectant that the works will be carried out. This is why I am looking at the 2019 to enable me to find an answer for the people of Kaputa. As I indicated earlier on, out of all the developmental programmes, the first request of the people, through me, has been to link Kaputa to the rest of the country ...


Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga: … through Mporokoso to Kasama and also through Nchelenge to Mansa and to the Copperbelt Province.


Madam Speaker, Kaputa is endowed with a lot of natural resources. First and foremost, we have land, which is surrounded by water bodies. There is Lake Mweru on the Luapula Province side, Lake Mweru-Wa-Ntipa in Kapata and there is also Lake Tanganyika bordering Nsama and Nchelenge. So, it is a piece of land amongst the waters. You can imagine what kind of development could come out where there is a lot of water. The land has very good climatic conditions. Plants which look like palm trees grow naturally without any effort. So, those are some of the resources we can tap into.


Madam Speaker, as I speak, the area is also endowed with mineral resources. However, most developments have never taken place because of a lack of road infrastructure, which leads to some parts of the country. I am convinced that once the Patriotic Front (PF) Government deals with the road sector and opens up Kaputa to the rest of the country, it will be able to contribute to our gross domestic product (GDP). The people of Kaputa will not be beggars or ask for resources from this country because they have enough resources. Now, because of the road infrastructure, even the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) cannot open an office there.


Madam Speaker, we trade with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on a small-scale. The funds we make out of that trade cannot be captured in our national account because what is being realised is low because of the high cost of doing business. So, the people of Kaputa have persistently indicated to the Government, through the hon. Minister and other colleagues, to just focus on the construction of the road for the people of Kaputa between now and 2021.


Madam Speaker, we can just put together whatever budget we have either in the education, health or water sectors for the construction of roads in Kaputa. We will come back to ask Zambia for more development later. As for now, as far as the people of Kaputa are concerned, they just want the road network to be worked on.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, if we deal with the road network, the people of Kaputa will  have been given what they asked for. They have not asked me for ten or fifteen things. Yes, we are getting incorporated into other programmes, which the Government has but, as far as we are concerned, I stand on a very solid ground that the people of Kaputa who are listening have one massage, which they have consistently asked me to deliver. It does not matter how many times one can talk to the people of Kaputa; one can talk to them in the morning, afternoon, evening or before going to bed, they will still be asking about the road linkages.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, the people of Kaputa were promised that 10 km of township roads in the district would be tarred in 2018. The previous hon. Minister of Finance can attest to this fact. However, even as I stand here today, the tarring of the 10 km of township roads in Kaputa has not started. This is definitely a demotivation for the people of Kaputa to continue supporting the Zambian Government going forward.


Madam Speaker, there are many feeder roads that the people in Kaputa would want the Government to work on. However, first and foremost, let us deal with the urgent thing that they need. The people of Kaputa are saying that out of the K6.5 billion that has been allocated for road infrastructure nationwide, the Government should ensure that some roads in Kaputa, Nsama, Chienge, Lambwe Chomba and Mununga are taken care of. This is a very rich part of Zambia in terms of natural resources. In terms of tourism, we have the Kasaba Bay, three waterfalls on the Kalungwishi River and three other waterfalls on the Lukulu River, some of which are even bigger or comparable to the Mosi-oa-Tunya Waterfalls.


Mr Livune: Question!




Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, my friend should visit the area in order to see what is there. So, a good road network to that particular part of Zambia would open up the area so that we can tap into its abundant natural resources. This is the place that we need to connect to the rest of the country. This will be the next ‘Kuwait’, so to speak. What happened in Kuwait will happen in Kaputa. We should not wait for that to happen for us to construct roads in the area because it will be too late. Let us construct roads there and connect the place to the national power grid. When the development that took place in Kuwait comes to Kaputa and Chienge, it will just find everything in place.


Madam Speaker, I think I have belabored this matter enough. Allow me to now talk about the allocation for the agriculture sector. Again, I want to go back to the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto. On page 33 of our party’s manifesto for 2016 to 2021, we have stated that agriculture will be the mainstay of our economy. Agriculture will bring about the economic diversification and investment that is required for job creation as well as to ensure both nutritional and food security at household level. However, when I look at the allocation to the sector in 2019, I think this will be the lowest allocation we have ever had seen since 2012. I say so because for next year, the allocation to the sector is K5.4 billion, out of which K1.4 billion is for the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and K672 million is allocated to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA).


Madam Speaker, the allocation for the agriculture sector in 2018 was 9 per cent of the National Budget. Next year, it is 6.2 per cent of the Budget. According to the Maputo Protocol, which our Heads of State all consented to, member countries are supposed to allocate a minimum of 10 per cent of the national budget in order for them to have meaningful development. This was agreed upon and a foregone conclusion. Therefore, everybody has been expecting that the agriculture sector, that is crops, livestock and fisheries combined, would be allocated a minimum of 10 per cent of the 2019 National Budget.


Madam Speaker, I think a 6.2 per cent allocation of the National Budget falls far short of the expectations of both the Maputo Protocol and those involved in agriculture. Knowing very well that over 40 or 50 per cent of this particular allocation will only go to FISP and the FRA, it means that most of the major programmes that are supposed to be implemented within the sector will not be implemented because the resources are just not enough.


Madam Speaker, let me give an example of a critical programme that has been left out. In the previous Budget of 2018, the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, had started a very ambitious programme for the development of farming blocks. I have not seen this programme in the 2019 Budget. This leaves me wondering whether that particular programme that the Government had embarked on has been abandoned. This is a programme which can bring in jobs, open up areas where the farming blocks are located and even bring in foreign direct investment (FDI). Why are we putting it at bay and looking at other areas? It means that we have left out a giant that should have actually started creating jobs and improving our sleeping economy.


Madam Speaker, I have also looked at the issue of research and development. The funds that have been allocated to FISP and the FRA will, indeed, ensure food security, but if we do not invest enough money in research and development, we are definitely not going anywhere. Studies have shown that investment in research and development has a high impact on reducing poverty and ensuring that people that need support actually benefit from government interventions.


Madam Speaker, I think most of my hon. Colleagues would agree that 80 per cent of the Zambians, both in urban and rural areas, derive their livelihood from agriculture. Further, about 70 per cent of the labour force in this country is directly engaged in agriculture. So, putting money in the sector would not be a wrong move. It is an economic sector that can definitely contribute to our diversification process, create jobs and help grow our economy. Therefore, I am hoping that in future, more funds will be allocated to this sector. I know this Budget is trying to reduce the deficits that we have in many sectors, but even amidst all this, we can still develop the sector. When the mining sector is doing well, we can probably get some resources from mining and invest more in the agriculture sector. The mining sector thus far has done very well to grow our economy, but we cannot expect it to sustain us up to 2030 or 2050, because it depends on wasting assets. Let us now focus our attention and resources on the agriculture sector so that the funds that we realise are invested prudently in various areas of our economy.


Madam Speaker, at the moment, we still lack enough resources for extension services, training and feeder roads to enhance the growth of the sector. For our colleagues in the southern and eastern parts of the country, there is a need to construct small dams to deal with water for livestock and people. Although we have invested some money in the construction of big dams for irrigation, we need funds for the small dams because they do not only provide water for cattle and people, but also many other activities that people who live around those areas are engaged in.


Madam Speaker, I support this Budget very strongly. However, I am urging my colleagues to ensure that we look at the priority areas which can prop up our country by making investments which can move us forward as a proud nation.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kabanda (Serenje) Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing the people of Serenje to add their voice in support of this very good Budget which is before this House. The issues before us transcend partisan politics because we are dealing with matters that affect all of us on both sides of the House.


Madam Speaker, although the people of Serenje are busy preparing for the Central Province Investment Forum and Expo, they have said that they totally support this Budget. However, they have a few issues to raise in terms of the provision of funds for the rehabilitation of the Serenje township roads, which are about 15.2 km. These roads are supposed to be rehabilitated and upgraded to bituminous standard.


Madam Speaker, the other issue that the people of Serenje have asked me to talk about to this House and the nation is debt management. Debt requires prudent and effective management in that for us to mop up enough resources to manage our Budget, we need to broaden our tax base because that is the only way we can support the growth of the economy.


Madam Speaker, the mining sector has not been contributing enough to the development of this country. It is for this reason that I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for having introduced the sales tax that is going to ensure that the mining sector contributes enough revenue to the gross domestic product (GDP). Apart from that, there are base metals like manganese which have come on the market. Manganese is a new base metal which is very lucrative. Thus, we need to look at ways and means of taxing manganese. Manganese mining is on the increase, particularly in Serenje District and the outlying parts of Mkushi District. The roads in these areas are in a very bad state because of the ferrying of manganese to the railway station. Therefore, we need to collect as much taxes as possible from this base metal. We have lost out on copper for a long time. This should be an opportunity for us to cash in. As the hon. Minister may be aware, this metal is a diminishing resource. It will not be with us forever. Therefore, now is the time to get revenue from it.


Madam Speaker, we also need to talk about global and domestic economic developments in 2018. The multi-facility economic zones (MFEZs) need to be actualised. It is high time we did that. The zones have worked very well in China. China is seeing gold in this country which other people are not able to see. We need to speed-up the implementation of these MFEZs which will benefit both the Chinese and Zambian business community. In the area where Huawei is located in China, there is also a university. So, there is a lot of research and development being undertaken there. That is the reason our universities should also be encouraged to engage in research and development. I know that many people have been condemning the presence of the Chinese in this country, thereby raising issues of xenophobia. The Chinese are partners in the development of this country. If we keep the Chinese in Zambia for ten years, Lusaka will become heaven on earth.


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, am I protected?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Yes, hon. Member for Serenje, you are protected.


Continue with your debate.


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, China does not only lend money to Zambia, but also lends money to Europe. Europe has investments in China. The West has huge investments in China. So, I do not feel shy that we can go to China and ask for help. I know the benefits which this country will accrue if the economic facilities are properly managed because I have personally been involved in the MFEZs.


Madam Speaker, I also want to talk about inclusive development. The people of Serenje Constituency are saying that they should not be left behind, particularly in areas of housing, water and grading of roads.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order on the far right, especially that corner there.


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, the people of Nabowa and Mapepala are crying for graded roads so that they can transport their produce to the markets. The roads are in a deplorable state, including the roads in the townships. They need to be graded. This reminds me of the dismal performance of the local authorities. As the hon. Minister disburses money to local authorities, she should ensure that there is a follow-up so that we do not throw money in bottomless pits. The performance of most local authorities in this country leaves much to be desired. We need to check the performance of local authorities. I will cite an example. Only 20 per cent of the money from the Local Government Equalisation Fund given to councils is supposed to be applied to services. I know that 80 per cent is supposed to go towards personnel emoluments. The 20 per cent should actually trickle down to the communities where the local authorities are situated. However, this is not happening.  A lot of monies are being spent on trips in and outside the country.


Madam Speaker, concerning amending the Rating Act, I will borrow the words of Hon. Tutwa Ngulube who said that amending this Act will be like shooting ourselves in the foot. The local authorities have been failing to collect revenue from various properties in their areas of jurisdiction. It is not that the revenue has not been sufficient for them to provide services. The revenue has been sufficient except that the local authorities have not been able to collect it. Therefore, the introduction of the Rating (Amendment) Act will just create problems for us. Since we are heading towards 2021, I can see an outcry from property owners. We should examine that proposed amendment to the Rating Act very seriously. I will cite a local authority like Lusaka. Surely, there is no way that Lusaka City Council (LCC), with all the properties around Lusaka, can fail to collect rates and fail to pay salaries. There is a lot of money lying around here. The amendment of the Rating Act will not be the answer. Let local authorities rely on the provisions of Section 25 of the current Rating Act to collect the revenue which is due to them.


Madam Speaker, it is also the request of the people of Serenje Parliamentary Constituency that the hon. Minister considers ensuring that the gross domestic product (GDP) goes back to 8 per cent. Even as we manage our debts, we should strive to ensure that we get back to 8 per cent. We should also be mindful of the fact that non-performing loans will actually cost us if we do not service them timely. We should service them timely so that we do not fall in the trap of having a 15 per cent penalty slapped on the non-performing loans.


Madam Speaker, let me now talk about the non-performing assets. We have the issues to do with the administration of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. The mismanagement of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme would not have arisen if the Zambia Postal Service (ZAMPOST) was solvent. The hon. Minister of Finance assured this House that all non-performing companies would be unbundled and perhaps liquidated. We are still waiting to see those identified companies that will be sold. If we do not sell them, we will be servicing them, but from which resource envelope shall we be doing that?


Madam Speaker, the management at ZAMPOST has been fired. Proper management requires that even the board should not have been spared. That is because the board supervises management. Therefore, it should have also gone. Similarly, the Permanent Secretaries (PSs) who are chief advisers to the hon. Ministers should also go. If an hon. Minister can go, why should the PS remain? The PS is the chief advisor as well as chief financial controller in a ministry. These are some of the issues that we are supposed to look at.


Madam Speaker, the poverty levels are above 50 per cent. They are around 54 per cent or so. To reduce the poverty levels, we need to create job opportunities for our youths. We also need to empower our women, who are the heads of most households. When you empower a woman, you do not only empower a home, but also a nation. Therefore, there is a need for us to find resources to empower women clubs in Makopa, Mapepala and Kabamba because these are the people who will contribute to the economic growth of this country. We are yet to see the details from the hon. Minister of Finance on how she intends to finance the Budget locally. Notwithstanding that, I think we should look at ways of creating jobs for our youths as well as empowering our women. I am not done yet.




Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, the kwacha’s volatility may also increase the interest rates if the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) starts applying the fiscal policies that it normally applies. Therefore, the Government should be alert enough to ensure that the policies are controlled and kept within the minimal levels.


Madam Speaker, I normally do not take long.


Hon. Members: Aah!


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, I rest my case.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!




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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1905 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 4th October, 2018.