Tuesday, 16th October, 2018

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Tuesday, 16th October, 2018


The House met at 1430 hours














70. Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. how many metric tonnes of maize the Food Reserve Agency (FRA);


  1. whether the FRA will meet its target to ensure food security in the country; and


  1. if the target will not be met, what urgent measures the Government is taking to ensure food security in 2019.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Madam Speaker, as at 11 October, 2018, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) had procured 166,831 metric tonnes of maize. This represents 33.4 per cent of the targeted amount of 500,000 metric tonnes.


Madam, a comparative assessment of previous seasons’ purchases with this season’s indicate that the FRA might not meet the target of 500,000 metric tonnes.


Madam, the FRA has 479,727 metric tonnes for the national strategic food reserves. The maize comprises this year’s purchases and carry-over stocks. The stocks held by the millers, grain traders and the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU) members are estimated at 473,343 metric tonnes, which brings the total of the country’s stocks to 953,090 metric tonnes. Farmers are also hoarding maize stocks for their consumption until the next harvest, and I urge them not to offload all their stocks onto the market.


Madam, the Government, through the National Stocks Monitoring Committee, continuously monitors the maize stock levels in the country. In order to ensure food security of the nation, it has restricted the export of maize and mealie-meal.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for his answers to this important question.


Madam, it is being rumoured round the country that the Government has issued a statutory instrument (SI) to ban the export of maize and mealie meal. Is the rumour true?


Mr Katambo: Madam, there is no ban on the export of maize and mealie meal. However, there is an administrative restriction. Therefore, no statutory instrument (SI) has been issued to ban the export.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Kamboni: Madam, the administrative restriction has affected the price of maize negatively. Before the measure was taken, the market price, not the FRA price, was K1.40 per kg. It has now gone down to K1 per kg. Why did the Government introduce these measures? Did it consider how the price of maize would affect the farmers? The farmers have been negatively affected.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, the country needs to be food-secure. That is why we have effected these administrative restrictions. We must be able to sustain ourselves by having enough stocks as a country.


Madam, ours is a liberalised market. Therefore, farmers are able to sell wherever they can get a good price. Some stakeholders like the private commercial buyers, grain traders, Zambia Agriculture Commodity Exchange (Zamace) and the ZNFU are buying at prices as high as K90 per 50 kg bag while the FRA is buying the same at K70. So, the measures have not affected the price of maize.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Madam Speaker, my question is a follow-up to the one asked by the hon. Member for Kalomo Central.


Madam, the private sector rarely reaches places like Milenge. So, the people there depend solely on the price prescribed by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) which, for this marketing season, is K70. Further, the hon. Minister has said that the private sector is offering prices as high as K100. Is it not possible for the Government to consider the plight of the people in rural areas like Milenge and offer the same prices of maize as those offered by the private sector?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, as I have stated already, the FRA has been restricted to procuring only K500,000 metric tonnes each season to avoid crowding out the private sector. The fact that the private sector is able to offer a higher price than the FRA shows that the private sector has been stimulated by the restriction of the FRA to purchase only 500,000 metric tonnes. It should also be noted that increasing the FRA price has budgetary implications. Hence, if the price was increased, there would be a need for a supplementary budget, as what has been allocated in the Yellow Book is not adequate for that.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Mulenga: Hear, hear! Ema answer, aya!


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Speaker, why has the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) failed to buy the targeted 500,000 metric tonnes of maize?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, there could be several reasons the FRA would fail to meet the target, but I will cite only one or two. Firstly, the private sector is offering a higher price, meaning that our farmers opt to sell their maize to them. Secondly, farmers could be hoarding their maize in anticipation of higher prices.


I thank, Madam Speaker.


Dr Kambwili (Roan): Madam Speaker, does the hon. Minister not think he is treading on dangerous ground by buying only 167,000 metric tonnes instead of 500,000 metric tonnes? The Government always gives the excuse that the maize is not of the required moisture levels. However, in case we do not have enough maize on the market, what will give this country its much-needed food security? The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) is supposed to buy maize for strategic food security, but has only bought 167,000 tonnes.


Mr Katambo: Madam, we are not treading on dangerous ground. It is important to note that the FRA stores maize in its strategic reserves for three to five years, and that is why it is recommended that the maize has a moisture content of 12.5 per cent when being purchased.


Madam Speaker, the national monthly human consumption is estimated to be 131,374 metric tonnes while the total maize requirement for human and industrial consumption is estimated at 165,459 metric tonnes. This covers feed production for livestock and all other uses.


Madam, it should be noted that the FRA is a seller of last resort because the maize it keeps is for the strategic reserves. In the next marketing season, that is, in six to eight months, we shall procure the stock levels needed to achieve sustainability where food consumption is concerned.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) goes into the maize market later than other players and with no cash in hand. Further, it offers lower prices when compared with its competitors. That is why it might not meet its procurement target.


Madam Speaker, what measures are being put in place to ensure that the FRA does not fail to meet its target in the future?


Mr Katambo: Madam, like I explained, with our allocation in the Budget, we are able to buy only 500,000 metric tonnes of maize. Further, the hon. Member is talking about resources. Sometimes, we are constrained by resources when it comes to paying our farmers on time. We understand that what would make farmers supply more maize to our designated satellite depots are quicker payments. So, we are making an effort to ensure that the Treasury releases the resources to purchase maize and pay the farmers on time.


I thank you, Madam Speaker


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Madam Speaker, the administrative restriction that is being talked about is affecting our farmers negatively. When will it come to an end?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, like I said, the administrative restriction is there to ensure that the national consumption requirement is met. So, as soon as the National Stocks Monitoring Committee assures us that the stock levels are sufficient, we will allow maize and mealie meal to be exported. For now, we allow them to only sell their maize within our borders. They can be sold from province to province or district to district. So, the restrictions are only in relation to mealie meal and maize going out of the country, especially via illegal trade. These administrative measures have been put in place in order to safeguard national food security.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Madam Speaker, the small-scale farmers in Chifubu Constituency have been coming to my office to find out when the Government is going to pay them for the maize they supplied in the last farming season. They are extremely worried because they are entering another farming season. Could the hon. Minister confirm whether the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has paid all the farmers for the 165,000 metric tonnes purchased in the last farming season.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, as of yesterday, K23.3 million had been released, of which K20 million had been released earlier. We have an obligation to settle the debts to our farmers. In the 2017 Crop Marketing Season, all the 76,000 farmers who supplied maize to the FRA were paid. We are meeting our obligations to farmers who have supplied maize to our designated satellite depots across the country.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Chonya (Kafue): Madam Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, the private sector is offering a higher floor price for maize than the one the Government is offering. However, I would have expected it to be the other way round because the private sector is usually accused of being hungry for profits. Could he help me understand why the situation is the way it is.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, it is this House that approves the budget for the FRA. The target is 500,000 metric tonnes for the strategic reserves, and the resource envelop provided restricts us to buying only that much maize on the market.


Madam, the private sector is offering higher prices because this is a liberalised market. Therefore, farmers are able to get better prices for their grain.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kamboni: Madam Speaker, temporarily, the administrative ban has caused the private sector price to fall from K1.40 per kilogramme, and that has negatively affected many farmers. Consequently, in Kalomo, farmers are hoarding their maize in warehouses, waiting for the ban to be lifted. In a liberalised economy and an economy that needs foreign exchange like ours, why should the Government effect an export restriction like this one? People should be free to sell anywhere they want. If they are not happy with the prices in the country, let them export.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, yes, ours is a liberalised economy but, to ensure that there is food security in the nation, we had to effect the restriction on the exportation of mealie meal and maize.


Mr Siwale (Mafinga): Madam, there is an outcry from small-scale farmers who sold maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) because they are made to travel long distances to access their money. In Mafinga, for example, farmers have to go to Isoka, the nearest district, to get paid. In a situation where someone only sold two or three bags of maize, the transport cost would swallow all the money to be received as payment. Previously, the FRA used to arrange with banks for them to go and pay the farmers where the farmers are. Could the hon. Minister enlighten us on what measures the FRA could take to help small-scale farmers out of this problem?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, I have taken note of the hon. Member’s concern. However, when the Treasury releases money for paying farmers to the FRA, there are mobile services used by financial institutions to pay the farmers in far-flung areas. I agree with the hon. Member that there is a need to ensure that farmers in Mafinga do not walk long distances to be paid their money.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Jamba (Mwembeshi): Madam Speaker, maybe, I did not get the hon. Minister correctly. He said that as far as the Government is concerned, the reserves at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) are adequate for the nation’s consumption needs and that the administrative restrictions were taken only to ensure that there are reserves in the country. Does he not think that the game the Government is playing is disadvantaging small-scale farmers, considering that there are millers who buy a bag of maize at K100? When the restriction is lifted, the farmers will be able to sell the maize at a higher price outside the country. Why can the Government not just allow whoever wants to sell outside the country to do so and let the market regulate itself?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, if we open up in the manner the hon. Member is suggesting, we will have no food in the country. Food security is national security. We are supposed to sustain ourselves first and, then, export the excess. That we will allow. However, we need, firstly, to take care of our citizens before we can lend a hand to others across the borders. So, we have restricted the export of maize and mealie meal to safeguard national food security.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Mwashingwele (Katuba): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has spoken about our economy being a liberalised one. He has also said that the reserves have the capacity to sustain the country for three years. Listening to these answers, I just wonder whether the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) imposed the restriction so that it could be the sole exporter of maize and make a huge profit at the expense of peasant farmers.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, the ban is just a temporary measure that will soon come to an end. What is worth noting is that we are supposed to sustain ourselves by ensuring that our strategic reserves are filled up to the recommended stock quantity.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Madam Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he said that the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) did not manage to procure the targeted tonnage for the strategic food reserve. What was the problem? Was it that there was not enough maize on the market? If so, then, why did the agency close a number of buying points, leading to a number of our peasant farmers complaining that they did not have an opportunity to sell their maize to the FRA? Why was the buying time short?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, the purchasing patterns in the previous crop marketing seasons indicated that by this time, we would have purchased close to 500,000 metric tonnes. Hence, in my response, I indicated that the FRA “might” not meet the target of 500,000 metric tonnes. There is still two weeks to the close of the purchasing exercise in our satellite depots. So, there is still room for our farmers to sell their maize to the FRA. Further, as I indicated, the Treasury is releasing funds meant to pay farmers who supplied maize to the FRA.


Madam Speaker, in certain areas where there was low production, the farmers did not sell maize to our designated satellite depots. That is why, as the hon. Member has observed, some of our satellite depots have closed.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Madam Speaker, the first hon. Member to ask a question wanted to know whether, indeed, there was a ban on the export of our maize, and the hon. Minister denied that, saying that there is only an administrative ban instead.


Madam Speaker, it is very important for the farming fraternity to know exactly what the Minister is talking about. What does he mean when he says that there is no export ban, but an administrative restriction? What is the difference? It is very important that the hon. Minister clarifies that. Can he give us a better clarification.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, as I have indicated, based on the information provided by the National Stocks Monitoring Committee, we effected an administrative restriction on the exportation of mealie meal and maize so that we can sustain ourselves as a country. So, this is just an administrative restriction. For a ban to be effected, we would have to issue an SI, which we have not done.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, does the hon. Minister not think that the administrative ban he has put in place is just meant to secure his place because the Government is not releasing money for him to compete with the members of the public who are already in the field? How confident is he, in terms of the priorities of his Government, that his ministry is considered the most critical? Is he confident that it can be put in the strategic plans that money should be available to his ministry all the time?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, I will keep repeating myself. The administrative restriction is just there to safeguard the availability of food in the nation. The market is liberalised, which means that private players like the Grain Traders Association (GTA), Zamace and the ZNFU are offering good prices for maize. So, it is up to the farmer to sell his/her maize where he/she can find a good market. This is the important point that our farmers are supposed to note. They can sell where they find a good market. That is what I said.


The target of 500,000 metric tonnes is tied to the allocation in the Budget. Therefore, we are confined to buying that quantity by the limited resource envelop given to the ministry, which the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, who is my brother-in-law, endorses.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will take questions from the hon. Member for Kantanshi, the hon. Member for Kasama Central, the hon. Member for Chembe, the hon. Member for Magoye and the hon. Member for Siavonga.


Mr A. Mumba (Kantanshi): Madam Speaker, just last week, in Kantanshi, thirty-five bags of mealie meal purchased them for orphans by a non-governmental organisation (NGO) were confiscated by the police because it was mistaken to have been intended for export. Under this administrative restriction, are there any guidelines the ministry has provided, especially in constituencies in border towns, such as Kantanshi, which is on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), so that we can avoid putting the police and district administrations at loggerheads with the local people, as happened in Kantanshi last week?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, we are employing a multi-sectoral approach. So, we are working with the Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Home Affairs, which have put security officers on routes to border areas to enforce the restriction on the exportation of maize and mealie meal. However, people with permits are allowed to export. So, it is very unfortunate that thirty-five trucks belonging to a non-governmental organisation (NGO) were impounded. I am sure the security wings were just doing what was necessary to confirm that the mealie meal or maize was not meant for export.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has told this House that the Government has not banned the exportation of maize and that it has only taken a restrictive administrative measure. However, the farmers are not able to export maize and, to me, that amounts to a ban despite the hon. Minister’s saying no statutory instrument (SI) has been issued. What is the difference between the restriction and a ban?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Kasama Central, the hon. Minister has just explained the difference.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Madam Speaker, I have stated on several occasions in this House that the people of Chembe have suffered as a result of the restriction on maize and mealie meal exports. I am happy that the hon. Minister has said that there is only a restriction on exports, not a ban. Could he make it easy for me to explain to the farmers in Chembe whether or not they will be allowed to sell their maize to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during this administrative arrangement? If they will not be allowed, why do we not quit the semantic games and just call things what they really are?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, perhaps, you need to do more. For the benefit of the people in Chembe Constituency and the ordinary person who might not understand the role of a statutory instrument (SI) in export bans, please, explain what you mean when you say there is a restriction, not a ban.


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, like I indicated, this is a temporary ban that will soon come to an end. When an SI is issued, the ban is effected. This is because an SI has to be issued for a ban to be effected. However, we have just put in place administrative restrictive measures so we can keep our maize stocks in the country. The farmers in Chembe are allowed to sell their maize anywhere within the country, from Luapula Province to Lusaka Province or from Chembe District to Masaiti District, for example.


Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Kambwili: Those are semantics.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister, an ordinary person might not understand the technical difference between a ban and administrative measures. Are the farmers able to sell maize beyond our borders? If not, would you not call that a ban on exports?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, selling maize beyond the border is exporting.


Madam, considering the stock of maize in the country, we have put in place restrictive measures to keep the maize and mealie meal in the country to sustain and secure ourselves.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, food security is national security. So, we need to sustain ourselves first and, then, allow for exports. When we meet the targeted quantities in our strategic reserves, which will be soon, we will allow the exportation of mealie meal and maize.


Madam, when an SI is issued, a ban is effected. However, no SI has been issued for us to effect a ban. So, these are just restrictive measures.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Machila (Magoye): Madam Speaker, during the last marketing season, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) targeted small-scale farmers. However, its price was quite low, as it did not consider the cost of production per hectare. Therefore, the farmers avoided selling to the FRA, hence the agency’s failure to meet the target.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, just ask your question.


Mr Machila (Mwembezhi): Madam Speaker, when the FRA realised that it had not bought the targeted stock quantity, it resorted to using the administrative restriction to disadvantage the farmers by forcing the price to go down. Are the administrative measures not a deliberate destruction of the agriculture sector in the country?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, that is not the case. I have indicated several times that the fact that we have not issued an SI means that there is a ban, yes, but only temporary one. I also said that there are several reasons the FRA failed to meet the target. I stated that, for example, the private sector is buying maize at a higher price and that farmers sell their maize where they are offered the best price. I also indicated that hoarding of maize by farmers in expectation of higher prices can also cause the FRA to not meet the target of procuring 500,000 metric tonnes.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mulunda (Siavonga): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the Government is unable to buy the 500,000 metric tonnes of maize and that farmers have decided to sell their maize to the private sector because they know that agricultural inputs are very expensive. Now that the Government has taken administrative measures that prevent farmers from selling their produce where could have got more money to enable them to buy the expensive inputs, how will it help them when it is beating them from left, right and centre?


Mr Katambo: Madam Speaker, the farmers can sell their maize to a better local market, since some buyers are buying a 50 kg bag of maize at K90. The FRA, being under the Government’s umbrella, is buying at K70. So, it is up to the farmer to decide. As long as the FRA has enough carry-over stocks to maintain the strategic reserves, the nation, including the voters in the hon. Member for Siavonga’s constituency, is safe.


Madam, I repeat that these are temporary administrative measures. Once we reach the target, we will open up the market like we have always done. I have already said that national food security is national security.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








(Debated resumed)


Madam First Deputy Speaker: When business was suspended on Friday, 12th October, 2018, the House was considering the Motion moved by the hon. Minister of Finance that the House do now resolve into Committee of Supply on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year 1st January to 31st December, 2019, presented to the National Assembly in September, 2018, and the hon. Member for Kasempa was debating.


May the hon. Member continue with her debate.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Madam, when we adjourned, I was asking a question on behalf of the people of Kasempa, which is: How did we get to the point where we are in so much debt that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, not us, is no longer listening to the cries of the poor?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Tambatamba: The PF came into Government with a pro-poor agenda. How did we get to the point where despite all the revenue that we collect, the Government still went ahead and acquired debts from China, Europe and many other places? Obviously, there is an issue to do with stewardship, and the people of Kasempa are saying that the PF Government must review and rethink the way it implements its business plan, which is the Budget. The Budget is supposed to be focused on human development, and at the centre of human development is the provision of social services to the poor. The new thinking is that the priorities of the poor must be our priority. They must not be put at the tail end of this business plan by which we are going to govern ourselves. Governance is not just a matter of looking after people or saying we are taking care of them, collecting taxes and going about our business as usual. Rather, it is about ensuring that there are meals on people’s tables. It is also about providing social protection, which is what most people in Zambia need.


Madam Speaker, after looking at what has been put in this Budget, the people in Kasempa are saying that the PF Government has equivocally refused to listen to the cries of the people. They are saying so because socio-economic infrastructure, which is their priority, is at the tail end of the Budget. They are also wondering how they are going to get to a point where they will be equal to their colleagues in some constituencies where they hear that all things are rosy, and roads, schools and clinics have been built or rehabilitated.


Madam Speaker, last week, we heard quite a few of our colleagues from the Northern Province claim that it is rosy in their areas and that their people are getting services. The people of Kasempa are saying that they, too, need to be heard. Otherwise, they will not get to the point where they can support this Budget.


Madam, Lufikwa has been upgraded to a secondary school, but it does not have classrooms befitting its new status. The same goes for Lunga, Kamakeche, Kaimba and Mukinge Day, which are secondary schools only in name because they have not had the necessary infrastructure for the past two years. By next year, the Ministry of General Education might even withdraw the secondary school status from the mentioned schools. So, social services are missing in Kasempa, meaning the people there are not a priority in this Budget.


Madam Speaker, key social economic infrastructure like feeder roads, in particular, and roads, in general, are nowhere in the constituency. The people of Kamakeche and Mukunashe are unable to get a lift to the central business district (CBD) of Kasempa Constituency and procure services within twenty-four hours. Similarly, they cannot reach out to the police when there is crime in their area. How do they support this Budget when the road they have been asking that it be graded has gone ungraded for so many years? They are saying they will support the Budget when they start seeing this PF Government responding to their infrastructure needs. They are also saying that since the nine rural health posts they were promised are nowhere to be seen, it is not possible for them to support the PF Government.


Madam Speaker, let me get back to the issue of stewardship, as it is what has got us where we are today. We approve the Budget in this august House, but we also allow controlling officers to spend as they wish, not in accordance with the Public Finance Management Act. So, as people of Kasempa, we are asking when we will ensure that people are guided when spending public finances and that those found guilty of misappropriation or misapplication of funds, or ignoring the whole system, for example, buying whatever we want at any time without following the laid-down procedures at the procurement stage or looking into the pot from which we get what we spend ‒


Madam Speaker, the people of Kasempa are saying they are also Zambians and that they would like to be provided with the social services that are critical to their survival, such as education, health care and roads, including major trade gateways like the Kasempa/Mumbwa Road, and the Kasempa/Kawama Road. They need those roads to be worked on so that they are able to trade. The roads are also needed in the spirit of linking Zambia. Only when the roads are worked on will they be able to support the Budgets presented to this House. They want a pro-poor Budget that provides for the basics. Our people are not asking for too much, such as asking to have Kenneth Kaunda International Airport-standard airports in their locations. They are only asking for services basic to their survival. 


Madam Speaker, I appeal that the Public Finance Management Act be implemented effectively by ensuring that the key stakeholders, the investigative agencies that are supposed to follow up on those who are found wanting, start doing their job. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that when the Budget is being implemented, all the relevant arms of the Government ensure that we spend what we have in the Budget, and that the rule of law is applied to the letter.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to debate the 2019 Budget Speech.


Mr Lubinda: On a point of order, Madam.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I am a bearer of a message from the people of Zambia.


Hon. Government Members: Ah!




Mr Mwiimbu: The people of Zambia are lamenting this year’s Budget for various reasons. The first reason is the failure of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, which was assented to by the His Excellency the President in January 2016.


Madam Speaker, the second issue is the failure by the Government to involve hon. Members of this House in the budgeting process. We have been lamenting this issue for more than two decades now, and I have no doubt in my mind that most hon. Members here, including those on your right, get to know the contents of the Budget in this House.


Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Mr Mwiimbu: That is how it is. If you asked the hon. Members on your right why they made this Budget the way it is, they would tell you that they had no input. It is the technocrats who participated in its preparation.


Madam, we have been lamenting ‒


Mr Sichone: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Wait!


Madam, we have been lamenting this flaw in the budgeting process. Both sides of the House have been speaking in unison about the need for a Budget Act, but our colleagues have ignored the provisions of Article 205 of the Constitution of Zambia. As if this was not enough, my colleagues on your right have also abrogated the Constitution of Zambia pursuant to Article 207, which clearly provides that this House must approve all loans that the Government acquires. However, our colleagues have ignored that provision because they want to borrow with impunity without taking into account the interest of Zambians. These are two breaches of the Constitution by the hon. Members on your right.


Madam, the hon. Minister has presented the Budget at a time the Kwacha is melting like butter in the Kalahari Dessert.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: As a result, the Budget she has presented is off tangent. It has also melted. In real terms, this year’s Budget is smaller than last year’s. In addition to that, there is no guarantee that the Kwacha is going to appreciate, but there is a very high likelihood that its value will melt down further.


Mr Mutale: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: As if that was not enough, in the last two weeks, the people of Zambia have been subjected to a very high increase in the price of fuel. There has also been an increase in electricity and, as a result, the cost of living has sky-rocketed because the two commodities are major drivers of the economy. The people of Zambia cannot tighten their belts any more than they already have. In fact, they cannot use their belts anymore because they have become too thin due to the measures the PF Government has put in place. So, they have taken their belts out.


Mr Sichone: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: The PF has no consideration for the people of Zambia.


Mr Mutale: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: It has not done anything to cushion the impact of the increases in fuel and electricity.  


Mr Sichone: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, the majority of employees in this country are civil servants, whose salaries cannot sustain them anymore because of the rise in electricity tariffs and fuel prices. As if that was not bad enough or the pain that has been inflicted on the people by the PF was not enough, the Government has introduced many taxes that will affect the people of Zambia. It has introduced road tolls, the Borehole Tax and the so-called traffic management, which was given to a private sector company. All these are costs to the employees of this country and to all those who run businesses in this country. Unfortunately, whatever cost is incurred is transferred to the people of Zambia. The PF pledged that it would run a pro-poor Government, but the Government is no longer pro-poor. It also promised that it would put more money in the pockets of Zambians, but there is no more money in the pockets of Zambians. Zambians now do not even wear trousers or dresses with pockets because there is no money to put in the pockets. That is what the PF has done to them.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister came to the Floor of this House and told us that we are in the current bad economic situation because of the careless and unpatriotic sentiments that have been made by certain leaders. However, we are a Christian nation, and a Christian should speak the same language whether in Zambia or outside it. These are Christian values. If there is corruption in Zambia, I should talk about corruption here and do the same when I go outside the country. If I am Christian, why should I say that there is no corruption in Zambia when I am in England?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Since we portray ourselves as Christians, we must speak the same language both here and outside. If there is bad governance here, I should be able to say it both here and outside the country.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Why should I pretend? Pretence is un-Christian. So, those who are pretending are the ones who are unpatriotic because they do not love this country while those who speak the truth are the ones who are patriotic because they love this country.


Mr Sichone: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, we are aware that the surrogates of the PF have been making statements pertaining to the economy and what is in the international media. Is it us who have talked about the purchase of the aeroplanes by the Zambian Government? It is the surrogates of the PF and the PF Government. Two days ago, the Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Defence issued a statement that did not make sense. He admitted that the Government had bought four planes and, to our colleagues, that was an official statement. Is it us who are misleading Zambians? It is our colleagues on the right. They have bought four planes at the expense of funding Government ministries like the Ministry of Gender and the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, which have been allocated less than K39 million, yet they have purchased planes at not less than US$40 million each. That is more than the cost of running a ministry.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Who is irresponsible? Is it us or our colleagues in the Government? Whom should they blame? They have publicly stated what they have done.


Hon. UPND Members: Mwaona manje.




Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, is it us who bought fire tenders at US$42 million, which is more than the budget of a ministry? Who is responsible? Is it us or our colleagues on your right? They have failed to increase the budgetary allocations. If you look at the budgets for all the ministries next year, you will see that apart from one or two, they have all been reduced, and the reason is that the Government does not have the money. At least, that is what we have been told and, as a result of the failure to source money, the PF Government will only be paying salaries this coming year. There will be no projects implemented for the people of Zambia in the various constituencies.


Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I challenge the hon. Minister of Finance to come and contradict me on this by saying that she has the money. However, I have no doubt that she will not do that because there is no money, and the reason is that a major chunk of public resources has gone to debt servicing. Since it is mandatory for her to pay the debts, she had to sacrifice funding to the ministries and services to Zambians. That is what has happened.


Madam, our colleagues have been saying that there is no debt crisis. I want them to tell me why they have reduced funding to the ministries if there is no crisis. I also want them to tell me why they are not releasing the money for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) which is provided for in the Constitution. Let the hon. Minister of Finance come and tell me why civil servants are not paid on time if there is no crisis. She should also tell me why the Government had to go and renegotiate the loans it owes the Chinese Government if there is no crisis. She should also come and tell this House why the PF Government wants to renegotiate and resell the Eurobonds if there is no financial crisis. I want her to tell me why even this institution is not funded on time and our poor women and youths in the constituencies are not being funded if there is no financial crisis. There are no projects for women in my constituency, and I have no doubt that the same applies to all the constituencies represented by my colleagues on the left.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I have no doubt that there are no projects for the youths in our constituencies either because there is no money.


Madam, there is no financial prudence on the part of the PF Government, and that is why we are in this crisis. So, I want the hon. Minister to come and tell me why the Katunda/Mumbezhi Road has not been constructed for the benefit of the people of the Western Province. We have been told every now and then that the road will be constructed.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: If there is money, we want her to tell us when it is going to be worked on. She should also tell us when the Mumbwa/Kasempa Road will be constructed.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I want her to tell us when the Monze/Niko Road will be worked on if the money is there. If the money is available, she must come and tell us that the Bottom Road is going to be constructed.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, the hon. Minister should tell us why she thinks it is a priority to buy tear gas to be used on our people.


Mr Kampyongo interjected.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, it is such things as the hon. Minister of Home Affairs making comments to the effect that he will deal with me like he has just done that cause the country to appear undemocratic and to be cast in bad light in terms of governance.


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam.


Mr Sing’ombe: But why? Wakamba.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Take your seat, hon. Minister. You uttered exactly the words that the hon. Member has attributed to you. It is just that I did not want to disturb the flow of the debate. However, let me guide again: Let us avoid such comments.


Hon. Member for Monze Central, please, continue.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear! Umpa!


Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker, we have been lamenting on the Floor of this House the state of the Kafue/Livingstone/Sesheke Road, which is an international road. The bulk of our goods are imported on that road, yet nothing much is being done to rehabilitate it. I want the hon. Minister of Finance, when she comes on the Floor of this House, to assure us that the money is there to work on the Kafue/Livingstone/Sesheke Road. I also want her to assure us that the issues we have been raising on the Floor of this House pertaining to the financing of projects in our various constituencies will be addressed. Otherwise, she must admit that there is a debt crisis in this country. If she takes us as partners, she should tell us that there is a crisis and that we should manage this crisis together. Otherwise, she will have difficulties. She has no money.


Madam Speaker, once again ‒ and this is not a warning ‒ I want to state that the propensity of the Government on your right to abrogate the Constitution of the Republic of Zambia is what has led us to the situation we are in now. The Constitution of the Republic of Zambia provides for the establishment of the Parliamentary Service Commission and, without any reservations, we passed an Act to that effect on the Floor of this House. However, those colleagues on your right have refused to operationalise the law. The commission would have enabled this House to provide the requisite checks and balances, but our colleagues across have decided not to present a Bill in that regard because they do not want to be checked. They want to do wrong with impunity. However, mark my words, a time will come when they will pay the price.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Abrogating the Constitution is a very serious matter, but our colleagues in the PF have abrogated many provisions of the Constitution, yet they still want to present a Constitution for us to rubber-stamp in this House.


Ms Lubezhi: Never!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mark my words, Madam, they will not get any support from us. If they are failing to uphold the current constitutional provisions, why should we continue amending the Constitution and spending so much money on behalf of the people of Zambia? How can we do so when they do not believe in the Constitution? Zambia has a Constitution, which I have here with me, but our colleagues do not respect it. Ordinarily, they should not even be in Government. Once one breaches the Constitution of the Republic, one is not supposed to be in Government. Therefore, our colleagues in the PF should sit up and learn to adhere to the provisions of the Constitution. This is advice they can take or ignore at their own peril.


Finally, because our colleagues in the PF like being praised, I praise them for all the failures and the pain they have inflicted on the people of Zambia.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this rare opportunity to make some few comments on the Budget.


Madam Speaker, if I was to pick a few positive things from the Budget Speech, I would pick the following statement by the hon. Minister on page 4:


“Sir, Government has been concerned with the high cost of most financial services which has been constraining business expansion as well as financial inclusion. To address this, the Bank of Zambia, in August 2018, issued directives to do away with unwarranted bank charges and fees.”


I note that has been done. We were subjected to many charges from the left, right and centre, but that has been done away with. I think this is a positive move. 


Madam Speaker, being the son of a miner who was born and raised in Mufulira, my focus will be on the mining sector. People have said that there is too much taxation, but I do not agree with them. Maybe, we should help the hon. Minister of Finance by looking at the mining sector. On page 7 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister mentions that:


“The mining sector will also continue to be important through its linkages with other sectors and the generation of foreign exchange.”


I agree with this statement. We can talk of diversification and anything else, but the mining sector remains the mainstay of our economy. Over the years that we have been independent, this sector has been the number one foreign exchange earner. Even the 1965 reserves that we talk about, which were accumulated after we became independent, were generated from selling copper. So, this sector is very important.


Madam Speaker, I recall that on Friday, last week, the hon. Member for Kantanshi asked a question on Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) that generated so much interest in this House that you had to curtail the debate on it. Most of the questions were very positive and I could see a lot of patriotism because people believe that we need to get enough money from the sector. That patriotism should culminate into changes in the national laws and Budgets. The people have been crying about this sector. I think you recall that ActionAid and the grouping of eminent persons chaired by Former President Mbeki have revealed many glaring facts about how metal producing countries are not getting enough tax money from the multinational corporations (MNCs) that run their mines. However, here we are, today, criticising one another and missing the opportunity to galvanise ourselves and make laws that will help us generate enough money for our country. We are criticising a law in the Budget today. If we are patriotic Zambians and we believe that we have not been getting enough money from our copper, the time to act is now. My opinion is that the hon. Minister of Finance has not even gone far enough to recover what belongs to Zambia.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the Zambia Chamber of Mines, which has been critical of any increment to taxes on the mining sector. Most of you who have been here long enough will recall that even in 2008, when the Zambian Government wanted to revise the development agreement with the mines because of the outcry from the people of Zambia, the Zambia Chamber of Mines stood firm against that idea and threatened to sue the Government. As a result, the Government almost went for arbitration. I understand that the Zambia Chamber of Mines is an advocacy body or a front for the mining companies who sponsor it. However, its mission statement also says that it places the interests of the local communities and the Government before those of its mother body. So, it needs to be seen to be neutral, not one-sided.


You will recall that when the Windfall Tax was introduced in 2009 under the Mwanawasa and Rupiah Banda


Administration, the Zambia Chamber of Mines fought tooth and nail against it. So, the Chamber of Mines has not allowed the Government to operate freely so that we can get the benefits from this important sector.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is not the only country that is making adjustments to the tax regime in this regard. I will give the example of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where a ten-year stability programme that the country signed has been reversed and mineral tax has been increased. The DRC has the foresight to know that the price of copper will continue rising. Soon, there will be electric vehicles, and one important element in the production of those vehicles is copper. So, our neighbours are very sharp. They have adjusted the mineral tax.


The hon. Minister of Finance will recall that the largest producer of copper in the world is Chile, whose mineral royalty tax was at 3 per cent not too long ago. The tax was, then, increased to 5 per cent. Today, it is at 14 per cent. It was raised following the earthquake in that country. In fact, there is no country that has left its mineral tax regime unchanged. So, I do not see why the Zambia Chamber of Mines has been against any mining tax increments. I am saying this because I have heard from the discussions on the Budget that they body is against every tax that the Government intends to introduce. That is not fair. The South African Chamber of Mines has changed its name to the Minerals Council South Africa because it now takes into account the interest of the communities, unions, workers and the Government. So, I appeal to the Zambia Chamber of Mines to be neutral. It must also consider adopting the tripartite perspective. That is, it has to consider the interests of the Government, the employers and the community, which includes the employees.


Madam, I want to believe that the biggest problem in our country’s mining industry, which is an important sector, is that all the mining companies do is focus on the price of copper on the London Metal Exchange (LME). This is where the Zambia Chamber of Mines must come in and help the country because it has a moral responsibility to look at the interest of the country. When the copper price falls below a certain level, the mines stop production. Hon. Minister, we should take this matter very seriously. As a country, we have not made progress as far as production is concerned. We recorded the lowest copper production during the post-Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) period after the mines were privatised in 2001. Production dropped to between 240,000 metric tonnes and 250,000 metric tonnes. Note that since then, the growth of our country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) follows the pattern of copper production.


Madam, in 2006, our production rose to 600,000 metric tonnes. However, from 2006, 2007 or 2008, it has been static, hovering between 700,000 metric tonnes and 750,000 metric tonnes. If you look back at the statements issued by Hon. Kalombo Mwansa and Hon. Maxwell Mwale around 2008 and 2009, you will see that we envisaged copper production to hit 1 million metric tonnes by 2010 or 2011. In 2016, the Government also envisaged production to hit 1 million metric tonnes. From 2008 when the Government first projected that production would reach 1 million metric tonnes around this time, we could have hit 1.5 million metric tonnes. That way, a drop in prices would be mitigated by high production volumes. Why has our production failed to go above 800,000 metric tonnes from 2001 to date? That is why I think that as the hon. Minister issues statements and makes projections, there is no need to mention the 1 million metric tonnes because that is the figure that has been mentioned all along. This time, we should have been talking of about 1.6 million metric tonnes. How come production has not been raised to 1.6 million tonnes? It is because our focus has been on the price instead of production. I believe that the country needs to move and make progress.


Madam, I agree with the hon. Minister of Finance’s proposal on page 31 of her speech that we introduce a fourth tier rate at 10 per cent on the sliding scale mineral royalty regime that would apply when copper prices rise beyond US$7,500 per metric tonne. This is good planning because it prevents fire fighting. Our problem in 2009 was that the tax could not be introduced midway because doing so would have made planning difficult for the mining companies. That was the argument of the Zambia Chamber of Mines when President Dr Mwanawasa, SC, introduced the Windfall Tax. The people of Zambia have been complaining that they have been losing out on this tax. Fellow compatriots, today, we are planning ahead. Should the copper prices hit US$7,500, then, the tax must kick in. How can we criticise this kind of planning?


Madam Speaker, I should re-emphasise that the Zambia Chamber of Mines has not been fair to the country. It has a moral responsibility to protect the interests of Zambians, who have complained of not getting enough from the copper the country produces. If anything, the hon. Minister must have taxed the mines more.


Madam Speaker, as I wind up my debate, I wish to state that apart from copper mining, we must also focus on agriculture. However, the allocation to the agriculture sector falls below the international standard. The Abuja and Maputo Declarations, just like our idea, call for us to grow the economy through agriculture. However, doing so requires adequate funding to the sector.


With those few remarks, I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Backbenchers: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Madam Speaker, let me start by commending the hon. Minister of Finance on, at least, two items, starting with the successes of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).


Madam, according to the Budget Speech, the IDC has managed to make seventeen parastatals out of forty-five profitable by creating competition among them. This has not happened in a very long time. When the IDC was created, I thought it was a very big mistake. However, it looks like the Patriotic Front (PF) Government knew what it was doing. Making seventeen out of forty-five enterprises profitable gives the hope that all the forty-five will be made profitable. I am sure each chief executive officer (CEO) of the parastatals wants to see his company perform better than the rest.


Madam Speaker, I also commend the hon. Minister for coming up with the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System. From what I read, the Government managed to eliminate 884,000 ghost farmers from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) support list and, according to a report by the Secretary to the Cabinet, saved K1.5 billion.


Mr Mwamba: Hear, hear!


Mr Simbao: I find this to be very positive ...


Hon. Government Member: That is very positive.


Mr Simbao: ... and commendable. That said, let me now go to the revenue table.


I have a problem with the Company Income Tax versus Personal Income Tax. I thought it would be more acceptable if the figures were reversed. The Company Income Tax should have been K11 billion while the Personal Income Tax should have been K7 billion. I believe that in other countries, the Company Income Tax is more than the Personal Income Tax. I feel that the Company Income Tax is low because we have not prepared the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) well. So, it is not able to collect enough tax. If we properly empowered the ZRA, it would probably collect more tax than it collects. So, I urge the hon. Minister to seriously look at empowering the ZRA beyond what has been done so far. Equally, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) collects less than a third of what it is capable of collecting. If the agency collected 100 per cent what it could collect, it go a long way in increasing the revenue of this country.


Madam, it is also possible that most of companies evade paying the 35 per cent Corporate Tax because it is too high. Since the tax is on profits, the companies keep declaring losses so that they do not pay tax. So, we are not getting much out of the Corporate Tax, and it could help if the hon. Minister reduced it to, say, 15 per cent. Mauritania did it and doubled the collections without any increase in the companies that invested in the country. The increase was due to an increase in the number of companies that started paying the tax.


Madam Speaker, I am also concerned about foreign financing. In my view, this is another debt. I worry because we are already indebted and, if we include debt in our revenue, I do not know how we will come out of this problem. I, therefore, encourage the hon. Minister to not bring in foreign financing in the Budget. We can do with what we have and plan to make money from what we are able to do instead of sourcing it from outside. Already, the expenditure table shows that we have to allocate 17.2 per cent of the Budget to debt servicing. This is a lot of money that we should not be paying. Debt, in itself, is not wrong. Almost all of us live in debt. No wonder it is said that people who use their money for expenditure do not think very well.




Mr Simbao: People are supposed to use other people’s money to make a profit. So, we can only work hard to, probably, reduce our debts.


Madam, I welcome the Sales Tax, but I also ask the hon. Minister to exempt some items, for example, mealie-meal, so that all Zambians can afford to have their favourite meal, nshima. There are many things that we do not need, but maize is a must have.


Madam Speaker, since the hon. Minister is considering doing away with the Value Added Tax (VAT), I suggest that she waives the Sales Tax on companies involved in value addition to copper to encourage the activity. I say so because the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (Zesco) is not able to buy locally produced materials. Companies like Neelkanth Group Zambia Limited and Metal Fabricators of Zambia (Zamefa) Plc are almost closing down because they are not able to sell their products, yet they have very high technology. The Sales Tax or, before it, VAT made the products of the companies very expensive such that Zesco. Today, Zesco is not able to locally procure what is called Figure 8 or drop wire, the cable that is used to connect electricity from the pole to a house, when one applies for an electricity connection. At one time, I could not believe that the company bought tonnes of the cable from China because it is one of the simplest products a company like Zamefa can produce. It basically consists of strands of wire and insulation. So, I suggest that the hon. Minister considers exempting companies like Zamefa and, I believe, Mecaf from paying the Sales Tax so that such products can become affordable in Zambia. If we are to change this country, we must promote the use of locally made products in this country. Today, if you go to any of the shops selling cables, you will find many South African-made cables called Alvern and other brands. That should not be the case.


Madam, the building wire cables being brought into Zambia are very simple products. I do not dispute the good quality of Alvern cables. However, if they can be produced in South Africa and sold in Zambia at a cheaper price than those produced by Zamefa, then, there is something wrong we are doing, and there is no way the companies in Zambia will become profitable or increase their production in this scenario. Zamefa used to sell cables to South Africa, but it is not doing that anymore. Therefore, this country is losing out on all the foreign exchange that Zamefa used to bring in. We know that Zamefa used to add value to the copper, which is produced in this country. Now, it is not able to do that. The company also used to produce winding wire or magnet wire, which is used by companies like the one that makes transformers in Ndola. Now, we buy products from outside, yet we have the technology in Zambia that we can use to produce winding wire for making transformers. The only product we produce from all the copper that Hon. Mbulakulima was talking about is rod, which is not profitable because after converting cathode to rod, you only add 5 per cent as your mark-up. That is just a transformation with nothing much done to the metal. It is still 99.99 per cent copper. So, it does not bring us any money. If anything, we can supply rod throughout the world because the technology at Zamefa is a huge investment and capable of making rod, but the company is not able to do that.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about our being a landlocked country. For a long time, we have been told that Zambia is disadvantaged because it is landlocked. However, I want to dispute that because the things that come from Japan, America or wherever are transported over the same distances as those that could go out of the country. I fail to understand why things that come in should have an advantage over those that go out. So, I think the hon. Minister of Finance must seriously look at transportation of goods from Zambia to other countries because we can do a lot and really benefit. We should stop saying that we are landlocked and disadvantaged. We should get out of the box and refuse to accept that. We want to change the way we do things, and I believe that the hon. Minister should seriously work to debunk the myth that being landlocked is a disadvantage.


Madam Speaker, in relation to copper and cobalt, the hon. Minister knows that it is now projected that between 2040 and 2060, between 40 per cent and 50 per cent of vehicles will be electric. In the manufacture of the vehicles, the biggest components are cobalt for the batteries and electric motors, and we have the capacity to make both. So, our Government should seriously consider investing in research and development (R&D) in both items.


Madam Speaker, I do not know how much cobalt Zambia has, but those who monitor information on metals know that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), our neighbour, has two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. Further, cobalt is one of the most expensive metals currently, and it will be used to make batteries for electric cars. We can start manufacturing both motors and batteries. We have many educated people in fields like engineering, chemistry and physics who work outside the country. The Government needs to bring them all together and put money into research. The cobalt batteries and electric motors are the future. Let us not sit back and watch people take our minerals away.


Madam, promoting agriculture is a good thing because every one of us wants to eat. However, most of us who have had the opportunity to look at our First National Development Plan (FNDP), which was made in 1965, have seen that its components were similar to those of our recent national development plans in that it did not adequately promote manufacturing. It told us to concentrate on farming while other people were mining our minerals and taking them away.


Madam Speaker, there is no country that has developed on agriculture. If you read the history of America, you will see that, yes, it used to produce cotton for Britain. However, that was just a spring board to industrialisation, and it is industrial technology that has taken America to where it is. So, industrial technology is what we need here. We should not worry too much about our food. We need maize, and no one should argue about that. In fact, I get upset when people say maize is not everything because every country has its staple food, and ours is maize. Let us forget about doing away with maize. Instead, let us just grow more of it. However, we should do other things as well. Agriculture is a must, but it should not be the only thing on which we base our economy. It should be a springboard like it was for America. Copper is our anchor because no matter what happens, it will bring us dollars. However, when we get the dollars, we should invest in manufacturing. There is a lot that we can do.


Madam Speaker, I heard somebody on radio question the roads being constructed by our friends, the Chinese. He said we should close our schools of engineering because we are not using our engineers, and I initially wondered whether he was mad. However, when you think about it seriously, you will realise that the Government needs to establish a body that can do a lot of research and take Zambia out of its problems.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about Senga Hill in the short time that I am left with. The constituency is one of the oldest I know of. The areas known as Mungwi and Mpulungu today all used to be part of Senga. I am very grateful that the President made the area a district. However, there is not much to show for it. You may know that Senga Hill Mission School in Senga is the oldest school in the Northern Province. At one point, there used to be only two schools, namely Lubwa Mission and Senga Hill Mission, and many people have come from the two schools. However, today, if you saw Senga Hill Mission School, which is very near the road, you would be surprised because there is nothing to see there.


Madam Speaker, when Hon. Siliya was Minister of Education, she started the construction of a boarding high school in Senga Hill. However, from then, the school has not gone very far. Most of the buildings are at roof level. So, I request the hon. Minister of General Education to do more to complete the school so that we can start talking about Senga Hill being one of the oldest constituencies and having one of the oldest schools in this country with pride.


Madam Speaker, a Canadian organisation successfully trialled the growing of rain-fed wheat. However, by the time of harvesting, the Canadian organisation had left Zambia and the people did not know where to take the wheat or what to do with it. So, they were very discouraged. I am trying to say that rain-fed wheat can be grown in Senga Hill. So, the Government should complete the research started by the Canadians and empower the people of Senga Hill.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Madam Speaker, thank you for according me an opportunity to add the voice of Sioma to the debate on the Budget Speech. I belong to a school of thought that holds that the value of a budget is in its implementation, not its presentation.


Madam, before I talk about the pillars, let me talk about Value Added Tax (VAT) and the Sales Tax.


We know that the VAT to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has been stable at around 7 per cent. However, that poses a financial burden on the Treasury. Although we have had the tax for twenty years, we have had challenges around it, and that needed to be communicated to the people of Zambia by the hon. Minister of Finance. Small and medium-scale enterprises SMEs have been paying a lot of money to qualified accountants and tax experts for auditing services. That is a challenge.


Madam, VAT has also been a challenge in the sense that there have been disputes over claims between the Government and the mining sector, leading to an increase in the domestic arrears of the country. I feel this is why the Government thought it wise to revert to the Sales Tax. In this regard, I appeal to the Ministry of Finance that between now and April 2018, when the Sales Tax will be implemented, it should engage in more consultations with countries like Canada and the United States of America (USA), which have effectively implemented the tax. As an economy whose growth is not robust, we cannot continue with VAT. That is why I feel the Government has done well to revert to the Sale Tax.


Madam Speaker, the inadequacy of the funds in our Budget and the poor releases of funds all point back to how the country mobilises its resources. Let me cite the example of our councils, which should help us in resource mobilisation at the local level. For example, the Lusaka City Council (LCC) has the capacity to raise revenue and contribute to the resource envelope of this country. So, why is it in a deficit when a council like Nakonde District is doing well? Where is the issue? These are the issues that we should address, and the hon. Minister of Finance should see to it that we help this country to raise enough revenue to address the issues at hand. The failure by councils to perform to expectations is worrying. The delays in the release of the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) are also worrying. I have been wondering why it is released three weeks after the release of salaries for civil servants who are on the Payroll Management and Establishment Control (PMEC) system, yet 80 per cent of the LGEF is meant for salaries of council workers and 20 per cent for capital projects. So, the delay affects the performance of councils. 


Madam, Pillar One is on economic diversification. However, economic diversification has been under discussion since 1964. It is only under this leadership that we have seen the Head of State, His Excellency the President, show the desire to pursue the agenda aggressively, ...


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: … and I applaud him for it because he has taken the right step forward. However, when we talk about agriculture as being one of the sectors that have been identified as areas of economic diversification alongside tourism, the allocation of 4.9 per cent of the National Budget to the sector is not adequate according to the Maputo Declaration. We know where the challenges are. However, I appreciate the Government’s effort in ‒


Mr Mwiinga: Owe!




Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, I need your protection.


Madam Speaker, I appreciate the Government’s pronouncement that it will fund irrigation infrastructure. I heard debates in which some hon. Member said that development has not gone to his or her constituency, yet that constituency has benefitted from irrigation infrastructure. That is not right. We should appreciate when we receive from the Government and complain when we have challenges.




Ms Chisangano: Question!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


Allow her to debate.


Hon. PF Members: Mwomboshi!


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, Mwomboshi in Chisamba has benefitted, and the hon. Member for Chisamba even quoted from the same page I have alluded to in the Budget Speech when she debated. I think that criticism is acceptable, but it has to be positive.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, as regards energy under Pillar One, the Government, through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), is connecting Sioma. Areas like Nakabunze, Kanja and Nangweshi will soon have electricity, ...


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: … and Sioma appreciates that, although it urges the Government to go further and electrify Kalongola and Mutomena, where there is a secondary school.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: Madam, let me discuss Pillar Two, which addresses poverty and vulnerability reduction. As a woman, I know that poverty has a woman’s face. Therefore, any intervention that does not target the woman does not address the poverty of the country.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: As much as we appreciate the World Bank interventions that have benefitted the co-operatives in Sioma, we also appeal to the Government to allocate locally generated resources to the empowerment of women and youths. We should be aware that the population of this country comprises mostly youths. Therefore, there is a need to empower the youth and women in order to address poverty, especially in the rural areas.


Madam Speaker, the School Feeding Programme would address the challenge of early marriages ...


Mr Michelo: Bauze, mbuya.


Ms Subulwa: … in Sioma, especially in Dihehe, Sinjembela, Mutomena, Liwandambo and Silowana, which is a border area where the problem is more pronounced. So, I urge this Government to consider implementing the programme for the people in those areas. In Mwanambao, the problem is that of boys leaving school to go and look for employment in Namibia. So, I think that the Government should implement the programme for the people in Mwanambao and Likondwama as well.


Madam Speaker, I applaud the President for coming up with the Presidential Initiative Fund. We appreciate the initiative because it was instituted by somebody who has a heart for the people, and the people of Sioma also want to be considered for a share of the fund.


Madam Speaker, Pillar Three addresses the issue of developmental inequalities.


Dr Kambwili: Nga kuma drugs?


Ms Subulwa: Madam, the developmental gap between rural and urban areas needs to be bridged. So, in as much as we appreciate the fact that the Government has built the Sioma Bridge and tarred the roads in the constituency, we still need feeder roads. Reverting to the agricultural sector, the Government has initiated the Cashew Nut Project in the Western Province. The project is good, and I believe that when it starts yielding fruits, the province will contribute significantly to the GDP of this country. So, I appeal to the Government to consider working on the feeder roads in Sioma, particularly in areas where the project is being implemented, such as Liabango, Mutomena and Nangweshi so that we can make the project viable. There are other projects being implemented, and I said earlier that it would be very unfair for us to leave out certain economic roads that would add value or bring economic returns to the country, such as the Mongu/Lusaka and Sesheke/Livingstone, so-called Nakatindi Road. I feel that the Government should fund works on those roads.


Madam Speaker, let me get back to my constituency, Sioma. 


The Matebele Bridge has not been rehabilitated for a long time, and the people of Sioma have sent me here to urge the Government to rehabilitate it. I once asked the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development a question on the bridge in this House and he assured me that it would be worked on. I told my people what I had been told, and they are still waiting for that to be done. So, I appeal to the Government to look into the matter.


Madam Speaker, the people of Sioma have sent me here to appreciate the few projects that the Government has implemented so far. It is the only Government, I must say, that has shown the people of Sioma that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Subulwa: For a long time, the people there have been abandoned. It is only now that things are happening for them. For example, new communication towers have been erected in Sitoti, Siukela and Mutomena. So, the people of Sioma are thankful. However, they also request the Government to put up a communication tower in Sinjembela or in the border area. There are lodges at the Boma area and, if we are to promote tourism, there is a need for a communication tower to be placed there. Furthermore, there is poor network where His Royal Highness Chief Lukama lives. So, the Government should consider erecting a communication tower there as well.


Madam Speaker, I applaud the Government for the mini hospital in my constituency. For a long time, the people of Sioma have been crying for a hospital with a mortuary. Currently, they rely on the mortuaries in Senanga and Sesheke. So, we request the Government to consider putting up a mortuary facility as it constructs a mini hospital at Nangweshi.


Madam, regarding the critical issue of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), the people of Sioma are saying that last year, inangena. What happened this year? We want the CDF because ‒


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


You know what to do.


Ms Subulwa: Sorry, Madam Speaker. It means we were given the CDF last year, but it was not given to us this year. So, we appeal to the hon. Minister ‒


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Translate “inangena.


Ms Subulwa: Madam, inangena means “it entered” or ...


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Continue, hon. Member for Sioma.


Ms Subulwa: Madam Speaker, using the CDF, we constructed 1 x 3 classroom blocks in Lipaneno, Mwanzi, Chibale and Kalenge. You can see how much the fund can do for our area. So, I appeal to the Government to consider giving us the CDF on time so that we can plan well for our constituencies.


In conclusion, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that the Budget is implemented. It should not be a mere academic exercise. We have confidence in her and believe that she is going to implement the Budget to the letter.


Madam, the people of Sioma are grateful and they fully support the Budget.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo (Kapiri Mposhi): Madam Speaker, I rise to put across my views on the much-debated 2019 National Budget. I take cognisance of the fact that my colleagues have already ably dealt with many of the issues in the hon. Minister’s Speech, line by line. Therefore, I will attempt to check the credibility of the Budget and of those who prepared it. I will also check the performance of the last Budget and other economic issues.


To start with, I notice that there is quite a number of youths in our galleries this afternoon. I will take advantage of their presence to say one or two things about the youths in relation to the Budget and make it clear to them that there is nothing for young people in the Budget.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Madam Speaker, Africa’s greatest asset is its young people, and that also applies to our country. There is nowhere on the planet where the population of young people is growing as much as in Africa. However, it is worth stating that the Government has betrayed us because the only inheritance it is leaving for us is a debt accumulated in seven to eight years. This is a bigger debt than what President Kaunda left for this country.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: In my opinion, the Government is really skating on thin ice. It has basically taken our country on a suicide mission.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: That is where we are as young people. None of our assets have been enhanced, and that is risky. That is how revolutions come about. If the political leadership, especially the Executive, does not give the young people of this country a reason to wake up and live for everyday, it will do the opposite, that is, give them a reason to die for.


Ms Siliya interjected.


Mr Kakubo: I will come to you shortly, hon. Minister.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Madam Speaker, what is even more catastrophic is that the people who are heckling are responsible for bringing us where we are.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: They are responsible for many of the fundamental things I want to deal with today.


Madam, when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government got into power, it found our country at a debt position of only 20 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In a clear case of gross incompetence, it has brought us to almost 60 per cent of the GDP.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: In my view, in any job, no matter how simple, gross incompetence leads to redundancy.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Our colleagues’ time of reckoning is coming. As I debate this afternoon, I know there will be screams. However, one thing I know for sure is that every time I come here and look at the other side, every day that passes, I see their days of being there becoming fewer.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Kakubo: Madam Speaker, the young people are aware that there is nothing for them in this Government. The Budget does not reflect a setting right of the problems that this Government has put us in. Like I said, I will strictly deal with the principles that it has, so far, breached.


When the PF Government took over office, it found the foreign reserves of the nation at five months’ import cover. However, it went for our national reserves as well and we are now at less than two months’ import cover. The US$1.8 billion of foreign reserves is unsustainable and laughable anywhere in the world. Do you know what that does? It exposes the nation to external shocks. Our country cannot be hedged against any strategy hatched against it by another country. That is what the PF Government has done to the youth population of this country. There is nothing in its strategy that will give us a competitive advantage in the future. It has robbed us of our future.


Mr Mweetwa: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: However, we shall not allow that any longer. The clock is ticking, and I am here to remind the young people that we are the ones they have been waiting for. The PF Government has played right into its own trap and we shall take advantage of that. There is no reason for students at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in a rich country like ours ‒


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: When business was interrupted, the House was considering the Motion moved by the hon. Minister of Finance that the House do now resolve into Committee of Supply on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Year 1st January to 31st December, 2019, presented to the National Assembly in September 2018, and the hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi was debating.


May the hon. Member continue.


Mrs Mwanakatwe entered the Assembly Chamber.


Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, just as well the hon. Minister of Finance has walked in. I will pick up where we left off.


Mr Speaker, my desire at this point is to put into context what the hon. Minister of Finance has done to every Zambian in terms of their accumulating debt.


Mr Speaker, it is not possible for us to discuss this Budget without emphasising the consequences of the debt that the PF Government has accumulated. Before business was suspended, I had put it across that when the PF Government assumed office in 2011, our country was not at risk of debt distress. Our debt to GDP ratio was at 20 per cent. However, one of the PF’s key achievements, in a negative sense, is that it has moved the ratio to almost 60 per cent. What does that mean for every Zambian? My concern is the effect the debt has on us, the young people, who are the country’s most precious resource. We are much more precious than the copper and mukula tree that has been abused so much.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, as youths, our children, who are still infants, will face the brunt of paying back this debt. By the amount of this debt in Kwacha terms, which was K159 million as at June 2018, means that the PF has put on every Zambian, including the old woman in Kapiri Mposhi, the old man in Chasefu and those being born as I speak, a debt of, at least, K11,400.


Mr Mutelo: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: That is what the PF has done in only eight years. There has been a lot of talk from the PF that it has been managing this country in a very good way. Clearly, that has been a clear case of an illusion of grandeur.


Mr Speaker, a Government think-tank called Zambia Institute for Policy Analysis and Research (ZIPAR) has come up with some calculations to help every citizen to understand the current state of our economy. For example, it shows that in 2010, when the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) was in power, it cost our economy K5 to add a K1 to our country’s GDP. In other words, one needed to invest K5 to make a K1 profit. However, in a space of seven years, what the PF has done to our economy is that it now costs us K9 to add K1 to our GDP.


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Again, that is gross incompetence on the part of the PF.


Mr Speaker, perhaps, if I may suggest an antidote to this situation, and to get our colleagues’ attention, when there is a by-election, not even a little dancing on the podium should come from them. They should not dance when the rest of the world is laughing at us because 40 per cent of the children in Zambia are stunted not just physically, but mentally as well.


Mr Speaker, this Budget does not address the plight of the Zambian child. Nothing ‒


Dr Hamukale: What is the source of that information?


Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, this fact cannot be debated.


Mr Chabi: Icilimba!


Mr Kakubo: Our colleagues may not even be aware of the facts on the ground because they are under the illusion that everything is okay. However, let me tell them that the country is aware.


Mr Mutelo: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Sir, before business was suspended, I also talked about the foreign reserves. Every country in the world maintains foreign reserves. However, the PF has lost sight of why we maintain the reserves. The country maintains the reserves for two key reasons, among others. One is for managing our critical imports like fuel.


Mr Kakubo: Never before have the citizens bought diesel at K16 or K17 in this country.


Mr Kampyongo: Where is it cheap?


Mr Mutelo: In Shiwang’andu.


Mr Kakubo: This should not be happening. There is absolutely no reason for dragging the country down that route.


Mr Kampyongo: Is there a borehole is Kapiri Mposhi?


Mr Kakubo: Sir, our colleagues came into power when we had US$4.5 billion to US$5 billion in our reserves. However, this Budget has not explained where US$4 billion of reserves has gone. The critical question is: Where has the money gone? How did the PF manage to move the country from five months’ worth of import cover to less than two months’? On that score, I recommend that the hon. Minister of Finance goes back with her Budget and comes back with a new one.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Seminar!


Mr Kakubo: I make it clear now that I am joining the number of hon. Members who have stated that they will not, by any means, vote for this Budget.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: I will not vote for it.


Mr Mwamba: Surely we know.


Mr Mung’andu: It is okay.


Mr Kakubo: In any job, Mr Speaker, past performance is very important.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: We are faced with a Government that has always defended the state of the economy by saying that the traffic congestion in Lusaka and the houses being built by some citizens in Chalala mean that the economy is doing very well.


Mr Mutelo: And eSwatini.




Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, all of us know the truth. The country cannot be taken for a ride. So, we know something the PF does not know.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: We know how the people are suffering in our constituencies. The idea that the economy is doing well because some people are driving vehicles and building houses does not take into account the income inequalities in our economy. Further, there is no economic theory that can back the idea that a build-up in traffic in a city whose roads were built more than fifty years ago means development. Where?




Hon. UPND Members: In Zambia and the PF!


Mr Kakubo: Mr Speaker, I will not vote for this Budget, and I hope it sinks into our colleagues that the country is not with them anymore.


Sir, I am on record as asking the hon. Minister of Finance to apologise to the nation for the damage her Government has done to this. However, she refused to apologise.


Hon. Government Members: There is no damage.


Mr Speaker, I will ask her one more time.


Mr Mung’andu: Question!


Mr Kakubo: She has to apologise to this nation because the facts are clear.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Sir, there is so much talk by certain individuals in this House about one term. I will respond to that at some point, but if some people think that the fire that is burning in this politician will die out when he is no longer in this House, they are seriously mistaken.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: I am in too deep.


Mr Speaker, again, I am on record as having talked about agriculture. The famers in my constituency go through the same things as the farmers in other parts of this country. In 2015 and 2016, the PF Government made some farmers contribute K400 each to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), but it did not deliver inputs to them, and it has not addressed the issue in its Budget. It did the same thing in the 2017/18 Farming Season, and I am on record as asking it to refund the farmers in Kapiri Mposhi and elsewhere. The Government’s account is not adding up anymore. When one gets someone’s money and the owner of the money asks for a refund, one only has to do a reversal of the transaction. The Government’s explanation was that it was still looking through the papers and trying to get the money to pay back the farmers. Is that not a clear case of daylight robbery of the farmers? The farmers paid. So, the Government needs not raise any money. Again, this is gross incompetence. Where has the money for the farmers gone?


Sir, this is a Budget. The Government has been unable to implement the 2018 Budget for the basic reason that it has been unable to make disbursements. It appears hon. Ministers of Finance only come to fulfil the Constitutional requirement for them to make pronouncements on Budgets that have nothing to support our people. Our country cannot move like this anymore.


Sir, my colleagues have addressed the issue of debt. My idea was just to bring it to the realisation of every individual that the level of debt the PF has put on Zambia means that every Zambian, including everyone in this House, already owes both local and international creditors.


Mr Speaker, the Government has been systematically telling the commercial banks to lower the interest rates. We cannot conclude on this issue without discussing why the interest rates have gone up. Is it the commercial banks that raised the interest rates? I am of the view that it is not. The Government systematically and deliberately raised the interest rates. It had gone onto the market outside, but it could not borrow. So, it borrowed from the commercial banks, thereby creating a financing gap vis-à-vis private borrowers. Just like any commodity, when there is too much demand, the price goes up. The interest rate is basically the price of the Kwacha. Therefore, the Government caused the high interest rates in the country through its insatiable appetite for borrowing, but blamed the banks for it and asked them to lower the rates. However, it is not possible for the banks to do that.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Every Kwacha the PF Government got out of the economy through the commercial banks meant one less Kwacha for the private sector to borrow. So, the Government has robbed the private sector.


Sir, time is against me, but I would like to put it on record that the biggest disaster in our country is that the PF Government is under the illusion that it can get out of this problem without involving the people of Zambia. The people of Zambia won against President Kaunda and President Chiluba. I can assure this House that Zambians will also win against this lot.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Zambezi West may take the Floor.


Hon. Member: Ema sister, aba!


Princess Kucheka (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to add the voice of the people of Zambezi West to the Motion on the Floor.


Sir, my focus of debate is on Pillar Three, which is on reducing development inequalities. This is addressed on page 16, paragraphs 103 and 104.


Mr Speaker, on paragraph 103, the hon. Minister of Finance says:


“Sir, Government remains concerned with the rural˗urban divide and the gender and income inequalities that undermine our quest for a socially just Zambia.”


On paragraph 104, the hon. Minister goes on to say:


“Mr Speaker, in order to address the disparity between rural and urban areas, Government will continue investing in rural infrastructure development. Some of the interventions will include construction and rehabilitation of feeder roads under the Rural Connectivity Project, construction of basic infrastructure in newly created districts and the electrification of rural areas under the Rural Electrification Programme.”


Mr Speaker, in paragraph 104, the hon. Minister of Finance says that in order to address disparities between rural and urban areas, the Government will continue investing in rural infrastructure development. The key statement is: “Government will continue investing in rural infrastructure development.” I ask: In which rural areas is that happening? I come from a rural constituency but, in the first place, the people of Zambezi West Constituency are not even aware that the Government has started investing in rural infrastructure development. Where is that happening? I ask because there is nothing like that happening in Zambezi West. I, the representative of that constituency, am not aware of the investment. Zambezi West is one of the really underdeveloped constituencies. There is no construction or rehabilitation of schools and teachers’ houses, bridges, feeder roads, police stations or posts, or youth skills centres. There are also no employment opportunities, hydro or solar electricity, or social amenities. There is nothing.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, in my constituency, in terms of development, there is zero, kwawuchi, nada, niente, niets.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, what does that mean?


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, Kwawuchi is Luvale, nada is Portuguese, niente is Spanish and niets is Dutch. All these words mean ‘nothing’ or ‘zero’. In Chinese, it is méiyǒu.




Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, the problem we have with this Government is that it is not doing anything in some of our constituencies. There is no inclusiveness in terms of development because some of us are excluded. Budgets are approved every year, but we are not included. When our colleagues go to Zambezi West, they just tell stories and do nothing else.


 Mr Mwale interjected.


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, I need to be protected from the hon. Minister here.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: You are protected. Just concentrate and speak through the Chair.


Princess Kucheka: I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, the people of Zambezi West have said ‘No’ to this Budget because they do not benefit from the Budgets. I can even ask you to accompany me to Zambezi West one day and you will be shocked by what you will see. This Government has forsaken us. It is doing nothing for Zambezi West Constituency.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, our colleagues on your right only get concerned about Zambezi West when they smell a by-election. When there is an impending by-election there ‒ and I do not know how they smell by-elections ‒ they can even send a Chinese with no vehicle to go there and claim to be a contractor. That is exactly what happened in 2014. A Chinese contractor was sent to go and construct a secondary school. However, to date, not even the foundation of the school has been laid. The Chinese contractors stayed there for six months just eating dogs they bought from the local people.




Princess Kucheka: They did not even have transport. So, whenever they wanted to go to the Boma, they hired motorcycles from the teachers in the area. What kind of contractors were they? We do not want that. If the Government does not want to give us development, it should leave us alone. Why should we be used when there is an election and abandoned thereafter? When there is an election, even the hon. Ministers who do not go there to address the problems of the people will go there in their vehicles and start campaigning. They even give K20s or K40s to the people after telling them to line up.


Mr Machila: Shame!


Princess Kucheka: That is not the development we want.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, you may not be able to prove the issue of giving out K20s or K40s. So, withdraw that statement.


Princess Kucheka: You want me to withdraw it? No!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Withdraw the statement, hon. Member.


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, I have evidence on my phone of an hon. Minister visibly doing that.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: You may not be able to lay that evidence on the Table. So, just withdraw the statement and continue your debate. So far, you have been debating very well.


Princess Kucheka: Okay, Mr Speaker, I withdraw the statement. However, the hon. Minister who did that knows what I am talking about.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, what I would like to ask this Government is to remember the rural areas. The problem with our colleagues in this Government is that they love the urban areas too much. They claim to be pro-poor, and that is what they told the people during election campaigns. However, what do they do? Instead of taking development to rural areas, they take all of it to Lusaka, the Copperbelt and –




Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, you see! These hon. Ministers of yours are acting completely ‒




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, concentrate on your debate and ignore those who are debating while seated. You know they are not permitted to do that. So, just ignore them because they enjoy it when they disturb you.


Princess Kucheka: I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I urge my colleagues on your right, including the Backbenchers, to not look at us as if we are always politicking. This is about reality, not politics.


Mr Siwanzi: You cannot be trusted.


Princess Kucheka: The hon. Member who is saying I cannot be trusted knows that the road to his constituency, Nakonde, is eroded on both sides.




Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, I ask the Government to including every constituency in its development agenda. It should not only consider them when there are elections there. Not long ago, when the President was asked by a reporter to comment on the 2019 Budget on his return from the United States (US), he said that he had nothing to say because it was his Budget. That is what makes me feel that we are not included. Does the National Budget belong to the President? It is a Budget for the people of Zambia, not for him. That is where the Government is getting it wrong. Our colleagues think it is their Budget, not one for all of us. That is why they go to get nkongole or debts without including us. Thereafter, they come back to the House to cry.


Mr Speaker, we have to be included. Had the hon. Minister of Finance involved us before the Budget was presented here, we would not speak like this because we would be party to the process. However, we were excluded. So, we are now telling the Government what is wrong with the Budget. Things are not alright. An example is the way the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme is implemented in my constituency. Some constituencies are vast and lack transportation. The people there depend on ox-carts. Can you imagine people travelling for 150 km to the Boma on an ox-cart just to pick up K80. Meanwhile, they would have used K50 to travel from their place to the Boma and another K50 to go back. Does that make sense?


Hon. Opposition Members: No!


Princess Kucheka: It does not. So, I hope the Government can find other means of getting that money to those poor people. Otherwise, to tell you the truth, those people will not benefit. I hope that my colleagues can do something different. Sometimes, it is good to do things differently. To tell you the truth, since the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power, the people of Zambezi West and many other constituencies, including the constituencies represented by my colleagues on the other side who were saying, “Hear, hear!”, have not benefitted. I think it is not only the people of Zambezi West who have not benefitted.


Mr Speaker, ...




Princess Kucheka: Mr Speaker, the other thing I have observed is that the Budget is brought into this House to be debated and people say all sorts of things but, unfortunately, our colleagues on the right make up their minds about it even before coming into this House. So, even if we debate, whatever we say is not taken into account. It does not mean anything. So, I ask the hon. Minister of Finance to think about the things that have been said and the complaints that people have brought forward. She should include them in the Budget and remove what is not right.


Mr Speaker, I would like this Government to stop the practice of buying councillors because the resulting by-elections are costing us a lot of money. Can you imagine what that money, which is just wasted, could do for the people of Zambezi West if it were given to them? Can I say that this is a wasteful Government?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Princess Kucheka: This is the most wasteful Government I have ever seen.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Princess Kucheka: Maybe, the only time we can survive and smile again is when the great man, HH, Mr Hakainde Hichilema, comes into power.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Princess Kucheka: At the moment, we all have sad faces. My colleagues on the right have the slogan of not leaving anyone behind. However, in order for it to be relevant, they need to include all of us. We are one.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Chirundu may take the Floor.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: However, before he does, let me say that I think today is the last day for hon. Backbenchers to debate. I have looked at the list of people who want to debate. Tomorrow, the Executive will start responding to the issues that have been raised. In this regard, I ask hon. Members to consider bringing out their points briefly so that all those who wish to debate today can be accommodated. 


Mr Syakalima (Chirundu): Mr Speaker, I thank you. I hope I will be fast so that you can accommodate other hon. Members who want to debate.


Mr Speaker, I would like to start from where I ended when I debated the President’s Speech. You may recall that I had stated that I anticipated very little from the Budget if the President’s Speech was to anything to go by. Next year’s Budget is the most voluminous ever presented to this House. I checked the statistics and found out that 15 per cent of children born in the country have low birth weight. This means that many of our children are born underweight. This Budget is very weighty, but it has nothing for the children. I also checked what has been allocated in this Budget for health, especially for the procurement of drugs. That Budget line has been drastically reduced from over K1 billion to K900,082,236. What that means is that all the things we have been complaining about, such as stunting, low birth weight and malnutrition, will not be dealt with adequately. For your information, only K14 has been allocated per under-five child in this Budget. Where can you take K14, really? To buy lollipops?


Sir, this Budget will not take this country anywhere. Instead of hiding behind words like ‘austerity’ and ‘break even’, we must tell the people to brace themselves for harder times.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Syakalima: This Budget will bring harder times. So, instead of making rhetoric here and there, the Government must say the truth so that our people prepare for the harder times ahead of them. The budget for drugs has been reduced, meaning that there will be no drugs in hospitals. For this year, K1.1 billion was budgeted for drugs, yet there are no medicines in hospitals. Last week, I went to my constituency and found that there are no medicines in some hospitals and clinics. So, what can we expect next year? Of the K900,082,236 allocated for drugs in the 2019 Budget, about K555 million has to be used to pay arrears for drugs that were procured, meaning that the budget for drugs next year is actually about K300 million. What is the Government going to do with that? It means that there will be disaster after disaster in this country.


Sir, I know that the hon. Minister of Finance said that the Government has not defaulted on payment of debt. However, it has defaulted and will default on education because it made cutbacks in the education and health budgets, which means that the money for buying drugs and employing teachers has been reduced. There are more than 30,000 trained teachers roaming the streets, but the Government will employ only 2,000 this year. By servicing debt, the Government is actually killing our people in hospitals and schools. Children will find no teachers in classrooms. The Government has said that it has built health infrastructure, but clinics have no doctors and other medical personnel while schools have no teachers and materials.


Mr Speaker, agriculture contributed about 16 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2008. Today, it contributes about 6 per cent or 7 per cent. If the people on the right were clever enough to think this way, they would have invested all the money they borrowed in agriculture, which could have given us returns in the short term, and the international debt could have serviced itself.




Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, the Government borrowed money and spent it on over-priced and overblown contracts. Today, we are in a debt distress. The Government is saying we have not yet reached a debt distress level. That might be the case, but we are nearing those levels. I am a psychologist and, in psychology, the word ‘distress’ is used when dealing with human beings, not the numbers. I can see distressed pockets, distressed citizens and distressed patients. Just about everyone is distressed. I think that next year’s Budget does not give us any hope. Our colleagues in the Patriotic Front (PF) must admit that they have been a disaster.


Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, in the 2019 Budget, the Government has increased the number of beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme. However, questions still linger around the scheme. That is why I have said that our colleagues will not wish away this issue. We were given several permutations on it by the PF. For example, the Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations said the President knew about the problem and instituted investigations way back in June 2018. Later, when the matter was laid bare, heads rolled, including that of an hon. Minister. Today, however, somebody has come back to tell us that the money was in some bank account. Where did the money come from? Who is telling the truth? I still expect Her Honour the Vice-President to explain to us in detail the truth concerning this money, as directed by Mr Speaker. I am suspicious about where the money that we are now being told was in an account has come from because there was a lot of talk about it for over a month without anyone telling us the truth. Today, the hon. Minister of Finance can tell us that the Government has returned £2.7 million. That might sound like a small amount in the hon. Government Members’ vocabulary but, to some of us, it is big.


Mr Speaker, since the number of beneficiaries has increased, but the donors have withdrawn funding to the SCT scheme, the Government will still not meet its obligations to the more than 700,000 people who have been put on the scheme. Therefore, we, especially I, will not relent in asking for answers. I do not know how the mismanagement of the SCT Scheme is being explained. No one seems to be telling the truth. We shall check to see whether the money in the bank did not come from the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) or other such agencies. Mind you, anything that has a paper trail can never be hidden. So, this, too, will not be hidden. It is unacceptable for people to suddenly say the money has been found in some account.


Hon. Opposition Member: From where?


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, sometimes, it is important to tell the truth. Honesty does not cost anything, especially when one is on one’s way out.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Syakalima: One should learn to tell the truth. I shudder to realise that in Africa, every time there is a change of Government, the people have to start afresh. Why can those who take over not just build on what has been left? What does the PF want us to come and do if it is behaving this way? What will it leave behind?


Mr Kafwaya: Just sit where you are. You are not coming here.


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, whether the PF likes it or not, it is on its way out.


Sir, let me talk about the international reserves vis-à-vis the debt. The importance of the international reserves cannot be overemphasised. Some hon. Government Members who know what this means agree with me. I understand that the Government’s target is to reach three months’ import cover by next year and it is asking us to be realistic. It is actually preparing to fail. Instead of targeting four months’ or five months’ import cover, it is saying it wants to be realistic and that it will not achieve that next year. So, it is still in problems. The world is watching and when it sees that we have two months’ import cover, can it trust our economy? The Government says some people are talking negatively or have negative perceptions about this country. Like my colleague said, we will tell those who are corrupt that they are corrupt and those who are reckless that they are reckless because that is what they are. They should not tell me that I am not patriotic just because I am telling them the truth. Patriotism is being happy and proud of what one’s country does. Can I be happy with corruption or the fact that our children are unable to access education?


Hon. UPND Members: No!


Mr Syakalima: Can I be happy that our patients do not receive any drugs in the hospitals? What kind of patriotism are our colleagues talking about? A patriot is a person who is happy about what a country does to its citizens. What does ‘PF’ stand for? ‘Patriotic’ what?


Hon. UPND Members: Failures! Patriotic Failures!


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, it is important for us to be honest with one another in all we do. The issue of the international reserves will hurt us. I do not even know how the Government will take them back to three months’ import cover, which is still below the threshold. Where will the money come from? The Government is getting money from one pocket and using it to service its debt and, because it does not want to default in that regard, it will default on the social sectors. What this means is that because of the disastrous way it accumulates debt, the Government will ‒ our colleagues were told to stop borrowing recklessly, but they called us bitter. Today, it is embarrassing for the PF to defend the debt it has accumulated when it was told not to over-borrow.


Mr Speaker, there is an insect we call chihunye.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Syakalima: What is the English name for that insect? (Asking the hon. UPND Members).


Hon. Member: Chihunye mbwenya obo.


Sir, you must have come across the insect that eats until it exhausts everything, then, it turns on itself and eats its own back. Eventually, it dies. The depletion of our international reserves is equivalent to that insect’s behaviour. Instead of preserving our reserves, we are depleting them. Eventually, like chihunye, we will die if we continue depleting our international reserves. Our colleagues are behaving like a person who feeds a crocodile meat and hopes to be eaten last. They will still be eaten. The PF members behave like refugees who hope to be repatriated one day. Who told them that they will not be in the country? Even if they get out of power, they will not go to Tanzania or Uganda. They will still remain in Zambia, and they will have only themselves to blame. It is said that when the curtains fall, the wise leave the stage. Our colleagues should get off the stage.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Samakayi (Mwinilunga): Mr Speaker, I promise to debate in less than fifteen minutes.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance came here and issued a statement on the micro-economics of this country. She was basically making us aware of the environment in which we operate.


Sir, regarding Budget performance, I believe that going forward, we would do much better if the hon. Minister reformed the Budget presentation a bit to include a review of the performance of the preceding Budget because we believe that the devil is in the detail of the Budget.


Mr Speaker, having looked at the Budget, I note, with sadness, that the release of the various allocations that we made for 2018 has not been pleasing. I think that the hon. Members seated in this House are aware that the disbursement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) has been very bad. The same goes for disbursements to the ministries, especially with regard to the recurrent expenditure that helps the ministries to operate efficiently.


Sir, when the Budget performs badly, the people in the rural areas suffer, as the little money that is released remains in Lusaka while the people in the rural areas get nothing. That is the problem with the Budget for this year. Many people have been left behind. Though our colleagues claim that their Budget is inclusive, I want to say that it is not because they have left behind the people of Mwinilunga, in particular, the North-Western Province, in general, and many other rural areas, including the Northern Province.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, the development trajectory we are on is not going to help us because the Government has been singing about diversification without taking corresponding action. That is why it has a problem broadening the tax and economic base of the country. It has continued taxing the same people. I, therefore, advise the hon. Minister of Finance that there is a need for us to invest in agriculture and tourism. There is also a need for us to work on the feeder roads in the rural areas in order to boost agriculture in this country. There is also a need for us to invest in our extension officers and in research and development (R&D). Otherwise, we will end up with a dead agriculture sector.


Sir, the issue of negative perceptions is a creation of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. The Government can change the perceptions by being transparent.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Samakayi: When it is not transparent, people start concocting stories on many issues. The reason is that people hide information from the public. The factor that promotes negative perceptions is arrogance. Our colleagues are very arrogant! We have a duty, as Opposition Members of Parliament, to advise them …


Mr Ngulube: Osapunda!




Mr Samakayi: … and provide checks and balances. However, when we do that ‒


Mr Mwale: You are jealous!


Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, one hon. Minister says we are jealousy. When we criticise them, they say we are jealous. What does that mean? It means that there is something wrong they are doing and that they do not even know what they are supposed to be doing. Why should we be jealous of them?


Hon. Opposition Member: Of their incompetence?


Mr Samakayi: Can we be jealous of their incompetence?




Mr Samakayi: Who is ever jealousy of someone’s incompetency? Nobody.


Sir, we have a duty, as Opposition Members of Parliament, to provide checks and balances, and I beg our colleagues to allow us to do our job.


Mr Speaker, I come from the Lunda Kingdom called Lunda, where there is the saying that, “Wadikala nsombu hedimi heyila. Wadikala mayala kumadiki nevumu”.




Mr Samakayi: I will explain that. Nsombu is a very tasty wild fruit that colours the tongue blue-black when eaten. So, if one eats it, but denies doing so, as one speaks, the tongue exposes the truth. The second part talks about a girl who denies having a boyfriend or vice-versa. However, what do people see next?


Hon. Opposition Members: A pregnancy!




Mr Samakayi: Ivumu!


One cannot hide these things. When people say there is corruption, it means they have seen it. Our colleagues can deny it, but the people will see the truth in no time. Equally, when they say we are not heavily indebted, we will see the truth in no time. Already, we are seeing the truth our colleagues were denying. So, the semantics they were using to say that we were not in distress have not helped because we have moved from low risk of debt distress to medium risk. Next, we will be at high risk. What does that mean?


Hon. Opposition Members: Pregnancy!


Mr Samakayi: And there is no dununa reverse in this case. No going backwards.




Mr Samakayi: There is only going forward. So, the next issue will be distress. Already, the farmer in Mwinilunga, Shiwang’andu and other constituencies is already in distress because the money he/she is supposed to be paid is now going to paying for loans. That is what it means. One does not need to be a rocket scientist to know that.


Sir, the effect of being highly indebted is well known. One does not need to be an economist to know that debt will increase the lending rates. So, no economist will argue with me on that. The impacts of depleting the national reserves are also well known. The exchange rate and the balance of payment account are impacted negatively. We are almost in the negatives, and these are problems that the Government has created. This Government inherited a robust economy. This has exposed the Government’s inefficiencies and lack of ability to manage the national economy.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: They must resign!


Mr Samakayi: Mr Speaker, I will now talk about the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) for a little while, and I ask the hon. Minister of Agriculture to listen well.


Sir, experts have said we do not need to keep 500,000 metric tonnes as our Strategic Food Reserve because that is way too much. What we need is about 300,000 metric tonnes. Why does the Government insist on keeping 500,000 metric tonnes? Further, farming is a business. If I buy fertiliser and I grow maize without support from the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), the Government should have no business in what I do with the maize or where I sell it.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Samakayi: The Government is stifling business in the agriculture sector.


Sir, I promised to debate in less than fifteen minutes.


Mr Mwiinga: Iwe, debate! Batukane!


Mr Samakayi: Sir, my constituency has been left behind. The Manyinga/Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road has not been worked on despite its having been budgeted for over the last three years. There is nothing happening. Something must also be done about the road going to Kambimba Border Post because it can contribute to the National Treasury by opening up Kambimba Border Post, which is next to Kolwezi, a very big town in Katanga Province. That, in turn, can enhance trade between Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Sir, I also want the PF Government to have a listening ear and look at the feeder roads that lead to the six chiefdoms in Mwinilunga. I know that my brother, Hon. Malanji, suffered when he was campaigning because the road was not very comfortable.




Mr Mwiinga interjected.


Mr Samakayi: Further, there is no road to talk about between Mwinilunga and Solwezi. The contractor is still there waiting for a payment that is not forthcoming because the money is going to paying loans. We are under distress in Mwinilunga.


Mr Speaker, if the hon. Minister thinks Zambia is not in distress, she should know that in Mwinilunga, we are in distress.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, in paragraph 131 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance states that she will get back to this House with details of the austerity measures she will implement in 2019. The proposal by the people of Chimwemwe Constituency is that when she does that, she should be mindful of the need to spare the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). It should not be a victim of the austerity measures.


Mr Speaker, we have a few suggestions to make on what we think should constitute part of the austerity measures. One suggestion is that of reducing the sizes and number of foreign missions. Currently, we have thirty-one foreign missions. When I enquired, I was told that most embassies employ between fifteen and twenty members of staff. However, if that is true, do we have the financial power to sustain that many employees in the face of the serious austerity measures that are earmarked for implementation next year? The people of Chimwemwe are saying we should downsize the numbers of staff so that we save the little resources the country has.


Sir, the people of Chimwemwe are also of the view that the Commission of Inquiry on the Voting Patterns and Electoral Violence has done its work and that it is time the hon. Minister of Finance considered cutting its funding so that the money saved can be channelled to the CDF or other competing national needs.


Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President told us last week that there was an influx of ward councillors resigning from other political parties and joining the Patriotic Front (PF) because they have seen that it is only in the PF where there is development. In that regard, when will we start printing the ballot papers locally? If I recall, it was stated on the Floor of this House that in 2021, Zambia will consider printing ballot papers for the general election locally. If that is to be achieved, why do we not start with the current ward elections? The people of Chimwemwe are asking the hon. Minister of Finance to start saving the little foreign exchange we are generating by printing the ballot papers for the upcoming ward by-elections locally.


Mr Speaker, in relation to debt management, I read somewhere that there are many countries in the world that owe China a lot of money and that the United States of America (USA), for example, owes China in excess of US$1.1 trillion, that Angola owes China in excess of US$23 billion and that our debt is about US$9 billion. Further, in China, there is a programme called Infrastructure for Minerals. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has allowed China to mine for minerals as payment for debt. The people of Chimwemwe are saying it could be about time we considered that option. How do we hope to pay the US$9 billion debt? Will it be through suffocating our people using tollgates to get whatever resources they have in order to pay our external debt? Why do we not engage China? If Angola and the DRC have paid their debt to China using minerals, why do we not take that route so that we give ourselves space in debt servicing? Every month, we spend a lot of money on interest repayments. That money can be saved if we engaged China in such an initiative.


Sir, the people of Chimwemwe expected the Ministry of Religious Affairs and National Guidance to protest the 30n per litre duty on non-alcoholic beverages. The people of Chimwemwe had hoped that the duty would be levied on alcoholic beverages, not non-alcoholic ones. The people of Chimwemwe also want to know the position of the hon. Minister of Religious Affairs and National Guidance on the 20 per cent tax on live casino games.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the people of Chimwemwe want to know the position of the hon. Minister of Religious Affairs and National Guidance on the 20 per cent tax on live casino games.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance stated in this House that the Budget she was presenting was the eighth one presented since the Patriotic Front (PF) Government took over the governance of the Republic of Zambia. She further stated that was an opportune time to reflect on the progress made and lessons learnt in the nation’s quest to create an inclusive and just society that leaves no one behind. The progress we have seen in Chimwemwe Constituency is that of tarred roads, modern markets and market sheds constructed, upgraded clinic and a mini hospital in Twatasha Ward constructed by the Aids Health Care Foundation, acquisition of earthmoving equipment using the CDF for 2017, and acquisition of a tipper truck and front wheel loader for implementing the Keep Zambia Clean, Green and Healthy Campaign at constituency level. At national level, the people of Chimwemwe Constituency are witnesses to massive investments. In Ndola, for example, there is Logo Industries and Mount Meru Investments, which make cooking oil from locally grown soya beans, groundnuts and other oil-producing crops.


Mr Speaker, regarding the lessons learnt, in Chimwemwe Constituency, the people are of the view that there are a sizeable number of technocrats and controlling officers in the Government who are working very hard to frustrate the good efforts of the Executive. For example, President Edgar Lungu went out of his way to source money to pump into the Ministry of General Education. However, what did we see? What reports are we getting from the ministry? More than eighty members of staff have been suspended over embezzled donor funds. Similarly, at the Ministry of Transport and Communication, there are reports of suspensions over missing funds in the Communication Flight Department. That is in addition to the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (Zampost) saga. Further, just last week, the hon. Minister of Health was on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television announcing to the nation that the Government had made tremendous progress in investigating last year’s theft of drugs worth millions of Kwacha from Medical Stores Limited (MSL), which is under the Ministry of Health. The question is: How many people have been suspended from MSL? If no one has been suspended, the question is: Why? The people of Chimwemwe expect answers when the Executive responds to help us on this matter.


Mr Speaker, as regards the good policies of the PF Government, …


Mr Livune: Question!


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwila: … there is the very good policy of reserving the selling of live birds and block- making for indigenous Zambian companies, and Zambians by birth and descent. However, what we are seeing is the complete opposite. The question is: Who is supposed to implement the policy? Is it members of staff from State House who are supposed to enforce the Statutory Instrument (SI) or is there a ministry responsible for doing so? If the responsibility falls on a ministry, what is that ministry doing? When will it implement this good policy?


Mr Speaker, we are still just talking about the Buy Zambian Campaign without any implementation. Equally, on the policy that 30 per cent of all output from the mines should be transported by rail, we still see trucks transport copper and cobalt concentrates by road, resulting in damage to the roads we are building at a great cost.


Mr Speaker, let me address the policy of 20 per cent sub-contracting to Zambian companies. According to the Budget Speech, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) is at 75 per cent completion level and US$199 million has been spent on it, but only US$1.2 million or 0.6 per cent has gone to local contractors. So, the people of Chimwemwe Constituency recommend that we enforce the policy of awarding 20 per cent of all contracts to local contractors. Further, the 20 per cent should be the contract value, not just the works.


Hon. PF Member: Yes.


Mr Mwila: Mr Speaker, lastly, let me talk about the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF). The Ministry of local Government sends the LGEF to local authorities with the instruction that 20 per cent be spent on capital projects in respective localities. In Kapiri Mposhi District, I saw the hon. Minister of Local Government commission a multi-storey guesthouse. However, Kapiri Mposhi is the only district that can be said to have done something with the LGEF. Most of the other districts have nothing to show for the funds they receive. So, we are saying that we should implement our policies. We also urge the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that monies allocated to the Office of the Auditor-General are released on time. Yes, we will implement austerity measures next year, but let us not allow them to affect the operations of this office because it has exposed many things, thereby saving a lot of money that will go towards meeting other national needs.


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


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, I am a bearer of a message of hope and good will from the good people of Chifubu Constituency, who have sent me to come to this House and commend the hon. Minister of Finance for coming up with a growth-driven Budget. I want to state very clearly that the 2018 and 2019 Budgets seem to be performing very well in that the 2019 Budget depicts a 21 per cent growth in terms of expenditure and revenue. This alone should give hope that the Patriotic Front (PF), under the leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is focused on ensuring that Zambia moves forward.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, it is very evident that over the last seven years, Zambians have witnessed unprecedented levels of development all over this country. When you go to Chavuma or the Copperbelt, you will find development. The Government has taken development to the doorstep of even those who are questioning me now.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, there has never been a more focused and determined leadership than that which has been demonstrated by President Lungu.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: The 2018 National Budget was K71 billion, but the hon. Minister has raised it to K86 billion. That alone tells you that this country is moving forward. I listened to a negative debate in this House in which somebody asked why the Government had failed to meet the international threshold of budgeting for the Ministry of Health. I want to state very clearly that if you look back in the past, you will see that because this Government is focused, it has borrowed and invested in the Ministry of Health, and built schools and hospitals. When you look at the loan repayment component under the Ministry of Health, if you add up what we are paying back after developing the health facilities, you would see that the expenditure surpasses the international threshold. This is because K14.9 billion is meant to repay the loans that are funding projects in various sectors, such as health.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Therefore, this Government is making sure that we do not lose lives or fail to provide medical facilities to our people. We cannot save money and wait to build a hospital in the next ten years when there is a lender who is willing to give us a loan to provide quality health care for our people immediately. That is why the people of Chifubu told me to tell the PF Government that they are very happy and want it back in Government in 2021.


Mr Livune: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, Chifubu has received its fair share of development. Roads have been rehabilitated in the constituency, including works on 7.3 km of roads under the Pave Zambia Road Project. Other projects are ongoing while three of them have been completed. The second project is the K131 million water project in the constituency. The project is doing wonders for our people, who used to face water challenges. The third project is a modern market that is under construction. Its construction will eliminate the possibility of cholera breaking out in the constituency. As you are aware, if you empower a woman, you have empowered a family and the nation. In view of these initiatives, the people of Chifubu asked me to tell the people of Zambia that the PF Government is developing this country.


Mr Livune: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Sir, the 2019 Budget is an instrument that the Government is going to use, and one thing I like about it is that it is in harmony with His Excellency the President’s Speech to this House delivered when he opened the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly. Further, the two documents feed into the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). When one looks at them, one will see that they constantly complement each other. What that means for the people of Zambia is that investors are looking at what is happening in this country and seeing that the leadership is consistent and focused on improving the lives of the people. It is really encouraging to see that on every day that you monitor the global market, you see people who are thinking about investing in Zambia. Not long ago, the President commissioned a K850 million investment in the mines in Kalulushi. Further, two days ago, I was very impressed to learn that a German company that wants to invest US$100 million in Zambia’s energy sector. That can only happen when there is a determined, focused and stable leadership.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: So, for now, the only leadership that people in the entire country are looking up to is the PF Government under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, Zambia is, maybe, in its infancy in terms of development.


Mr Michelo: Abaleya.


Mr Ng’ambi: Our colleagues on the left think that developing a country is as easy as ukwanshika insaka. It is not like that. Development is a process, and we, Zambians, are very happy because we are under the good hands of a patriotic Government that is strategically putting things in place to make Zambia a prosperous middle-income country by 2030. This can only be done by a Government that understands that development is a process. We know that this country has challenges everywhere, but the Government is determined to ensure that it will be a prosperous middle-income country by 2030.


Mr Speaker, I also want to bring out the fact that the hon. Minister has set benchmarks for this country in the 2019 Budget in terms of the micro management of the economy of this country. On page 6, paragraph 42, she makes it clear that we want to attain a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of not less than 4 per cent in 2019. That, in my view, is moving towards becoming a middle-income country by 2030.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Ng’ambi: The second benchmark is to maintain inflation within the range of 6 per cent to 8 per cent. Achieving a single-digit inflation rate is a milestone in Africa, but Zambia has managed that in the last four years. The Government also aims to raise the international reserves to, at least, three months of import cover, increase domestic revenue to not less than 18 per cent of the GDP and reduce the fiscal deficit to 6.5 per cent of the GDP. Looking at the policies that the hon. Minister wants to implement in 2019, it is clear that she is talking about fiscal consolidation.


Sir, there has been an outcry from our colleagues on the left that the country is going into debt distress. However, fiscal consolidation will address that, and I am surprised that nobody is acknowledging that. The able hon. Minister of Finance has come up with a policy solution to the fiscal deficit and the debt stock in 2019. The Budget recommends economic fundamentals that are supposed to be put in place in order for this country to be economically stable. The hon. Minister also said that she will prioritise the dismantling of domestic debt. Domestic debt is a challenge that needs to be overcome, and the hon. Minister’s commitment to dealing with it should give a lot of hope in this economy because ...


Mr Chisopa:  Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: ... once the Government reduces on internal borrowing, the economy will have the excess liquidity needed to expand private sector driven businesses. In that regard, I say, “Bravo!” to the Government …


Mr Livune: Question


Mr Ng’ambi: … because that is what most entrepreneurs in this country have been itching to see the Government do. Once businesses expand, domestic revenue will increase and employment opportunities will be created.


Mr Mwamba: And more money!


Mr Ng’ambi: That alone will make us attain the prosperous middle-income country status by 2030. This Budget sits very well with the President’s statement that this country must be a middle-income country by 2030.


Mr Chisopa: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: It is really pleasing that in bullet point number IV, the hon. Minister is focusing on the pace of debt accumulation and wants to reduce Government borrowing in 2019 in order for us to sustain the economy. However, I must state that even at the current debt levels, especially in terms of the foreign debt, Zambia is still within the internationally-accepted threshold. When you look at things from economic fundamentals side, you will see that as long as our economy is growing, the space for us to borrow much more is also increasing. That can be achieved given the foundation that the PF Government has already set.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, the other day, I was surprised to hear somebody ask why the Government should spend K1.2 billion on building a dual carriageway …


Hon. UPND Members: Question!




Mr Ng’ambi: … between Lusaka and Ndola.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, order hon. Members!


Mr Ng’ambi: I want to assure you that the road is very important to the economic development of this country.


Rev. Sumaili: Yes!


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: It will also certainly serve people’s lives and assets.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: You can imagine if Zambia has to wait for another thirty years to save K1.2 billion in order to build that road. How many lives and people’s assets would we lose?


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, this Government cares for its people. So, it wants to avoid wastage of human beings on the road. I drive all the way from Ndola to here and I see many accidents on the way.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: The President is saying that we must stop the wastage of human beings and people’s assets. So, we need to borrow in order for this country to move forward.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, it is very important that the hon. Minister also made it clear that she wants to continue developing the education sector because education is critical to our progress.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: Zambia forward!


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, I feel very sad when people say our debt levels are too high because the implication is that we want to exclude some people from the education sector, from receiving quality health care and from getting connected. Sometimes, I get so surprised because my friends on the left know that the Huawei Project involving the construction of 1,009 communication towers is being financed through a loan, yet they often ask when the towers will be erected in their constituencies. If they do not want to use borrowed money, they should not ask for those facilities.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. UPND Members: Question!




Mr Ng’ambi: Sir, I assure you that it will be very difficult for the people who want to govern this country in 2021 because the PF is coming back. I want to urge Zambians not to listen to prophets of doom. This Government will ensure that development is delivered to their doorsteps.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: Sir, as people, we decide whether to be negative or positive in life. There are people who are subjective and there are people who are objective. As Frank Ng’ambi, I want to be objective.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’ambi: This Government is doing very well.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: I just want to remind the House that there are more than ten hon. Members who have indicated to debate. When you look at the time, we may only accommodate two or three. So, please, let us debate and bring out our points concisely so that we accommodate others. I think I had earlier indicated that today is the last day for the hon. Backbenchers to debate.


Mr Chisopa: And add some politics.


Ms Langa (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing the people of Chilanga to add their voice to this debate.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: I want to start by reading the statement that our beloved President, …


Mr Livune: Question!


Ms Langa: … His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, …


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: … made during his opening remarks:


“We have the greatest power in our land.”


The “we” are we, the leaders and hon. Members; you and I. I continue with the quotation:


“The power to shape the destiny of our country, the power to translate the dreams and hopes of our people into reality. A reality of food on the table of each household, health care and education on the doorstep of every community in a vibrant economy with a place in it for everyone.”




Ms Langa: This is a very important statement for our nation, Zambia.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: As leaders of constituencies and our country, Zambia, the mandate is ours. What are we doing for the nation of Zambia? Are we, maybe, asking what Zambia is doing for us?


Mrs Simukoko: Hammer, hammer!


Ms Langa: Let me talk about agriculture. Agriculture is the biggest pillar of our nation, Zambia, apart from mining. The Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) yamene




Ms Langa: … has really helped many of our people in the rural areas.


PF Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: Most people who signed up for FISP got fertiliser ‒


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Can you just say what you just said.


Ms Langa: Sir, I said, “FISP yamene”.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Please, translate that.


Ms Langa: FISP, the same one.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: That is the meaning. Please, go ahead.






Ms Langa: “The same FISP”. That is the meaning, Mr Speaker.




Ms Langa: We have seen growth in agriculture because of FISP. We have also seen diversification in agriculture through the same FISP. With FISP, we have seen our people move from growing maize to chicken rearing …


Mr Ng’ambi: Yes!


Ms Langa: … and keeping of pigs. Other people have gone into growing vegetables or other crops like cassava. This programme has encouraged many of our farmers to work in groups, and ...


Hon. PF Members: Hammer, hammer!


Ms Langa: … the groups are becoming co-operatives. It is up to us, as hon. Members of Parliament and leaders in this House, to encourage our people to register their groups as co-operatives because co-operatives are job-creators for our nation.


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: Let us create jobs through the co-operatives. We must learn from other countries, such as Israel, where the kibbutzim have worked very well. We can also learn about the irrigation system used in Israel which, although a semi-desert country, is a major exporter of vegetables and fruits.


Sir, already, I have seen that the Government has allocated some money to the construction of dams for irrigation so that we no longer rely solely on rain-fed agriculture.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: I encourage the Government to continue with the construction of dams because the people of Chilanga want to benefit from them.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: As you know, Chilanga is an agricultural area and the predominant economic activity of the people there is agriculture. In this regard, let me point out that the construction of a dam in Shampule stalled along the way. I urge the Government to continue with the construction of dams in Chilanga.


Sir, I have seen that some hon. Members do not appreciate the Government even when resources are allocated to the construction of dams in their constituencies. They still say that there is no development in their constituencies. For instance, the hon. Member for Chisamba has said that there is no development in her constituency.




Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, ‒


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Chilanga!


I was going to ask you if the hon. Member for Chisamba said what you claim she said. However, just avoid mentioning names so that you do not provoke points of order.


You may continue.


Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. Nevertheless, I hope she is still listening.




Ms Langa: Sir, in terms of irrigation, most of the districts can benefit from dam construction and make our country self-sufficient in food. The country can also supply vegetables and maize to the region and beyond. Our food is in high demand. So, I encourage my fellow Zambians to tap into the market and see what they can do for Mother Zambia through the exportation of crops. The onus is on us, the leaders. We should not look at what the Government is going to do for us. Instead, we should look at what we can do with our people. The policies are already in place. What we need to do is provide information to our people so that they can get involved in these kinds of policies.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!




Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, I would like to put it on record that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is the first Administration in this country to establish a tractor assembly plant, which is worth US$100 million.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! 


Ms Langa: The plant …




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Members!


Let us allow the hon. Member for Chilanga to debate freely.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: They want to confuse me because they think that I will, then, stop debating.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


You are protected. Just continue debating.


Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your protection.


Sir, the establishment of the tractor plant will bring about a lot of mechanisation.


Mr Mwiinga: Where!


Ms Langa: Our farmers used to cultivate using hoes. Now, the PF is sending the hoe to the museum by introducing tractors. 


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: Sir, I urge the people of the Southern Province to see that tractors are now being assembled in Zambia. The people in the Northern Province should also start using the tractors being assembled in our country to cultivate their fields. 


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, for the information of the House, the hoe is going to the museum.


Sir, let me also talk about industrialisation. The PF Government has put emphasis on industrialisation and value addition. We can add value to cashew nuts and fruits, and to a variety of other products in a number of other projects.


Sir, the people of Chilanga would like to see value addition to crops like tomatoes, of which they are the biggest producers in Lusaka. So, we would like to see value addition in Chilanga, which would create many jobs for the people.


Mr Speaker, I also see value addition encouraged in the mining sector through the reduction in taxes on people engaged in value addition. That is the best direction for the Government to take, as it will enable us to grow the economy so that money can start flowing in our country through investment.


Sir, let me now talk about tourism.


Sir, I urge the people of Zambia, especially us, the leaders, to be the first to love our ...


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: … dear country, Mother Zambia, the only country we have. Alongside agriculture and mining, tourism is a key sector of our economy because it promotes industrialisation. Therefore, tourism has to start with us, the leaders. We, the hon. Members of Parliament and leaders of this august House, need to start touring Zambia. We should make it a habit to tour a different constituency, town or province every year so that we promote tourism in our country. When we, the leaders, come together and start loving our country, then, our people will also love it and help us develop local tourism, which is cardinal. When we develop local tourism, international tourism will also develop. Therefore, I encourage the people of Zambia to love their country and read a lot about its tourism sites. Schools should also organise visits to tourism sites and promote tourism activities so that children grow with an appreciation of tourism. For instance, once, I went to market tourism in Finland and, whilst there, I was telling the people in that country that the best time to visit Zambia was from June because that is when the tourism season opened. However, the people there told me that they loved their country too much to visit any other country during summer. So, I encourage my hon. Colleagues to start loving our country and visiting its tourist destinations.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, let me now talk about education.


Sir, I have read in the Budget Speech that the Government will upgrade 500 schools to secondary schools. That is important because most secondary schools in Chilanga are in far-flung areas. So, the upgrading of schools to secondary schools will encourage our learners to complete their education. I, therefore, ask the hon. Minister of General Education to consider upgrading some of the basic and primary schools in Chilanga.


Mr Livune: Question!


Ms Langa: There is a school in Kacheta that only goes up to Grade 9. After that, the children do not know where to go for their high school education. There is a similar school in Chilingolongo called Makeni GRZ (Government of the Republic of Zambia). I ask the hon. Minister of General Education to consider upgrading it, too. We also need Balmoral Primary School to be upgraded because there is no secondary school near it. I also urge the hon. hon. Minister of General Education to upgrade Linda Open Primary School and Kalundu Basic School in Chimanja Ward, Chitukuko Primary School in Mundengwa and Shampule Primary School.


Mr Speaker, the home-grown School Feeding Project is very encouraging because most children stay away from school because of a lack of food in their homes. Just like the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme and other programmes the Government has is implementing, this is a very good programme. Therefore, I urge the hon. Minister of General Education to include Chilanga District in the programme so that our children in areas like Mano, where children normally stay away from school, can be encouraged to start going to school. If we get involved in this programme, the people of Chilanga will be happy and the children will be encouraged to continue going to school.


Mr Speaker, let me speak about health.


Sir, I congratulate our Government on the policies in the health sector, where there is construction of many hospitals, including the 650 health posts, including the mini… mini… mini hospitals that Zambia is benefitting from.




Ms Langa: Chilanga is also benefitting, as we have seen the construction of three mini hospitals in the constituency. I only urge the hon. Minister of Health to ensure that a district hospital is built in Chilanga because the people there would like to have one. Apart from that, I urge the hon. Minister of Health to quicken the process of implementing the medical insurance scheme, as that is one of the resolutions of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).


Mr Speaker, let me now come to water and sanitation.


Sir, Chilanga is a farming area that depends on boreholes for water. However, we are now talking about the control of ground water. In this regard, I ask the hon. Minister of Finance to allocate some funds for the establishment of a water and sewerage company in Chilanga in the next Budget. Chilanga should also tap into such projects and have a big project to talk about.


Mr Speaker, before I end, I would like to put it on record –


Ms Langa looked behind her.


Mr Mulunda: What are you looking for?


Ms Langa: Wait and see.




Ms Langa: Mr Speaker, I put it on record that our Government is on the right track and that we are going to get out of debt. We should not fear. Instead, we are supposed to inspire hope in our people. Why should we fear a US$9 billion debt compared with the wealth of our country, Zambia?




I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you. In the first instance, I want to commend the hon. Minister of Finance for having delivered the 2019 Budget Address. It is never an easy task, especially when the country is facing a debt crisis. Under such circumstances, there is little money left for development because most of it goes to servicing debts.


Mr Speaker, the theme under which the hon. Minister delivered her speech is, “Delivering Fiscal Consolidation for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth”.


Sir, fiscal consolidation is just about spending within one’s means and avoiding getting into debt. So, I agree with the theme. In fact, it is similar to the one for last year’s Budget, except for a few different words here and there. My only problem is the affinity of the Patriotic Front (PF) to saying the right things and doing the opposite. Last year, we were told that there would be fiscal consolidation. That has not happened, and I fear the same might happen this year. I also want to tell you that as I debate this Budget, I also have a theme, which is, “Rescuing our Treasury from Capture”.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Ya cinja game.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thought that I should discuss this Budget in the context of the political economy in which the Budget is shaped and implemented because year after year, we are told that there is going to be fiscal consolidation, but it does not happen. We are also told that we are going to divide our money this way and that way, including allocating some of it to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), but that does not happen. So, what are the forces that are behind the gaps between the promises and what is actually delivered? This is the fiscal capture that I am talking about, and it is very important. As long as we do not deal with it, we will always talk about figures only here. We will keep talking about funding this and that but, at the end of the day, nothing is going to happen. So, we need to deal with this issue.


Mr Speaker, I just want to spend a few minutes giving examples of how the Treasury has been captured by forces that do not mean well for our country.


Sir, currently, there is a disconnection between the budgetary process and Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which we should be implementing. The 7NDP was developed in a very collaborative manner. People came from everywhere to make submissions, and the plan was made in such a way as to facilitate balanced development. Today, there is no balanced development being facilitated. The only development plan that is being implemented is on the roads in Lusaka Province and the Copperbelt Province. For the rest of the country, we are getting only crumbs. We have no teachers and chalk in schools, and departments are not being funded. So, the question is: If we all sat down and came up with the priorities for the country in a balanced manner, province by province and sector by sector, who changed the plan and turned it into a development plan for roads in Lusaka and on the Copperbelt only? I suspect that there are forces that have captured the Treasury and pooled the resources in one sector or direction.   


Mr Speaker, here we are discussing the Budget of the country. We are going to make pronouncements and appropriations in this House for the education and health sectors or the CDF, for example. However, at the end of the day, most of us will wonder whether the CDF, which is very important, is going to be disbursed, and we are justified in having that doubt because in 2015 and 2016, we did not receive the CDF. In 2017, only half of the allocation was released. Granted, there was a supplementary appropriation. However, it was not seen. We are now in October and racing towards November, but the CDF is nowhere to be seen, except in very few constituencies. Again, the question is: What is the force in the country or this House that is able to go behind Parliament? Remember that appropriation is law, but some forces are able to go behind our back to the Ministry of Finance and change everything, and it is not about money because every year, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) tells us that it has collected more than enough. We also know that we borrow more than enough. So, the question is: What is the mysterious force that is able to grab our CDF and take it somewhere else? What mysterious force is able to grab money meant for buying chalk for schools and take it somewhere else?


Mr Speaker, the most shocking demonstration of the capture of the Treasury is in the acquisition of debt for the country. It is absolutely shocking. I know that treasuries all over the world face spending pressures. It is common everywhere. However, they always act as the goal keeper. They can say, “We can only spend so much. Beyond that, the economy will be harmed. In Zambia, looking at the past eight years, it is like there is no goalkeeper in the Treasury. It also looks like there is another force in this country that seems to be able to just snap its fingers and say, “Hon. Minister of Finance, I have found money. Sign for this loan”. I cannot believe that what has been happening is done voluntarily by the Treasury because it is the Treasury that tells us every year that we should not spend what we do not have. It encourages us to be prudent. How, then, can it sign for the huge loans the country has been getting? My conclusion is that there is somebody out there who is able to override the Treasury and the laws and say, “Hon. Minister of Finance, there is a loan here. Come and sign for it”. The Treasury has been captured.


Mr Nkombo: We need to rescue it.


Dr Musokotwane: Yes, we need to rescue it.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Siwanzi, go back to your seat.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Siwanzi crossed the Floor.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Liuwa may continue.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, thank you.


Mr Speaker, let me spend a few minutes talking about the damage that the force that has captured the Treasury has done to the country in the context of debt.


Sir, I do not see this Budget we are discussing holding. I have serious doubts about that, but I will come back to this point later. For now, let me just highlight a few points about the difficulties that this debt situation that has been forced on us by the mysterious force has created. As we sit here, the debt situation of the country is worse than what it was before the Highly-Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. Publications from all the professional institutions in Zambia, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have shown very clearly that the debt situation today is worse than it was before the HIPC Initiative.


Mr Speaker, excluding the money earmarked for projects, the hon. Minister of Finance expects to collect K56 billion in revenues, taxes and fines. Of that amount, 42 per cent will be used for debt servicing. So, for every Kwacha of domestic revenue collected, 42n will go to debt servicing. When you add debt servicing and salaries, for every Kwacha of revenue that will be collected, 87n will go to debt servicing and salaries, meaning that the amount of money that will remain for other expenditure is 13n. Let us not talk about the project money that will be borrowed because that is already tied to specific projects. It is not available for buying chalk, hiring teachers and similar activities. So, only 13n out of every Kwacha is available for development. How can this be sustainable? It is impossible.


Mr Speaker, let me comment on the international reserves that people have talked about.


Sir, it seems that everyone else in the world, except the Zambian Government, sees the imminent crisis that is headed for Zambia, as I said the other time. As at July 2018, the international reserves were at US$1.77 billion, according to Government statistics. Next year, according to the Yellow Book, the Government is supposed to spend US$1.5 billion on servicing the external debt, yet what we have in our kitty is US$1.77 billion. Let us say we have US$1.8 billion and are supposed to pay US$1.5 billion. How much does that leave us with? It is US$300 million. Even if we assume that there will be some inflows into the reserves from mines and other sources, they cannot be much because the revenue from the mines is about US$6 billion or US$7 billion, of which a part is used to cover costs. So, how much tax can be reasonably collected from that amount? So, if nothing is done to change the situation, next year, we will only have US$300 million.


Sir, in 2013 and 2014, the amount in the reserves was US$3.1 billion. From US$3.1 billion, it has dropped to US$1.77 billion and, next year, if nothing is done, we will only remain with between US$300 million and US$500 million. The last time we were at that level was around 1994. If the exchange rate collapsed today, the Government would say that it is because the United Party for National Development (UPND) and the international media have been talking negatively about things. However, that is like somebody who is drunk falling and injuring himself/herself and, then, blaming witchcraft for it.




Dr Musokotwane: The truth of the matter is that the evidence is there for every literate person in the world to see. The reason I have doubts about the Budget holding together is that the low level of the reserves will obviously cause the exchange rate to depreciate. When that happens, we will no longer spend 87n on debt servicing and salaries but, maybe, 95n or 97n. So, how can the Budget hold like that? It is impossible.


Sir, let me say that all the problems I have mentioned have been caused by the capture of the Treasury. So, how can we rescue the Treasury and help the Ministry of Finance? I think all of us in this Parliament have a big responsibility. We have forgotten that we, the ordinary Members of Parliament, outnumber the Frontbench. We are the ones who have allowed this situation to continue by allowing the Government to keep borrowing as if we do not have powers. So, the first thing we need to do is assert our authority in this House to make sure that the Planning and Budgeting Bill and the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act is presented to this House so that we can help the Treasury because the Frontbench or the Cabinet has totally failed.


Sir, only the people in this House can support this country by asserting its authority over the affairs of the country. Further, it is clear that the way we budget is no longer helpful. So, I suggest that going forward, the role of Committees be strengthened. Every ministry’s budget must be approved by the relevant portfolio Committee before it is presented to this House.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane: That way, the House will have real powers. As it is, we come in at the tail end of the process. I, therefore, suggest that we change the budgeting process. The Budget for the Ministry of General Education must go to the Committee on Education, Science and Technology. Similarly, the Budget for the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry must go to the relevant portfolio Committee so that there can be proper negotiations on how money is allocated.


Mr Mwiimbu: And the hon. Minister agrees with you.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, my final point is the suggestion that we think very carefully about the way we budget. Today, we budget on the basis of ministries. It is now up to, for example, the hon. Minister of Higher Education to allocate resources to the provincial structures in the ministry. This House has no power over that. Going forward, perhaps not this year, but the coming few years, I suggest that budgets be made according to the provinces. The Western Province, Luapula Province, Central Province and all the other provinces must have their own budgets. One of the advantages of doing that is that the provinces will be able to come up with their own priorities. Further, provinces that allow corruption and theft of Government funds will lose only their money. In the end, there would be a difference between provinces where there is good governance and those where there is poor governance.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to say that the Treasury has been captured by the mysterious forces that are making it do strange things. It is up to this House to rescue it. If we do not that, then, we must not complain when the Treasury fails to release the CDF because there are forces making it do things against its will.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add the voice of the people of Mumbwa to the debate on this very important Budget Speech delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Sir, in this Budget, the hon. Minister has outlined the achievements of the Patriotic Front (PF), such as the amendment of the Constitution, the expansion of health and education facilities, and enhancement of the country’s interconnectivity through an improved road network and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure. She has also indicated that the Government wishes to consolidate and build on these achievements. On the basis of these points being outlined as achievements, I have difficulties supporting this Budget, and I will state my reasons.


Sir, the expectations of the people of Mumbwa Parliamentary Constituency have not been met. This Budget Speech is not responsive to our challenges and the challenges of many other constituencies in the nation.


Hon. Government Member: Question!


Mr Nanjuwa: Sir, according to the PF Government, amending the Constitution is an achievement. I have difficulties agreeing with that because the Constitution Amendment Act 2016 already requires another amendment. It has many lacunae. What sort of achievement is that?


Mr Speaker, there are many challenges in the education and health sectors. We have already been informed of the staffing gap of about 55,000 teachers in the education sector. In response, the Government plans to recruit about 2,000 teachers annually over the next ten years. So, bridging the gap will take more than the ten years that the Government has indicated. Already, the Government is leaving our constituency behind.


Sir, the construction of 650 health posts is not an achievement when many of us do not see them. Further, I have difficulties agreeing with the idea that we have achieved enhanced interconnectivity of the country because not a single communication tower was installed in Mumbwa in 2018. How, then, can the PF call that an achievement? Even with regard to road infrastructure, I have in mind many roads that have not been attended to. One of them is the Kafue/Mazabuka Road, which is in a deplorable state. There is also no achievement that can be recorded in the road sector for the people of Mumbwa when the Mumbwa/Kasempa Road is not mentioned. The construction of roads must be done in a fair manner, not the way it is being done. Most of the roads in many rural areas are not being attended to.


Sir, in Pillar One on page 7 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister talks about economic diversification and job creation. Diversification has become a perennial song. Every year, there is talk of diversification. The question is: Are we really diversifying? The answer is that there is no real diversification that is taking place.


Sir, there is a big challenge in agriculture. The Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System has been underperforming in my constituency. Even the statistics that the hon. Minister gave out in her Budget Speech leave much to be desired. To date, there are a good number of people in my constituency who have not accessed farming inputs for two consecutive years despite having remitted the K400 contribution every year. How can this be an achievement?


Sir, the disbursement of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is another issue that needs serious attention from the Government. Last year, we only received 50 per cent of the CDF while this year, we have not received any amount of the money that funds projects over which the community has decision-making powers. I implore the Government to take seriously the issues of the CDF so that there can be meaningful development everywhere.


Sir, most of the important issues have already been raised by my colleagues. I, therefore, end here.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, from the outset, I would like to unequivocally support the Budget Speech and the Budget that was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker, many of my colleagues have debated. So, I will not stand here and pretend that I have learnt economics from the debates in this House. So, I will restrict my debate to the housekeeping measures that the hon. Minister outlined on page 31, paragraph 197, as follows:


“Sir, I propose to amend the Income Tax Act, Mines and Minerals Development Act, Customs and Excise Act, Value Added Tax Act ...”


Sir, I welcome all these measures, but I would have liked the hon. Minister to have included what has been outstanding from the 2016 and 2017 Budget Speeches. I want to point out that the Budget-making process starts from formulation, moves on to approval, the stage at which we are, then to implementation and, finally, feedback. I am not a very happy person that we are debating the 2019 Budget without the Budget and Planning Bill having been presented to the House ...


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Musonda: … because the immediate past hon. Minister of Finance indicated in his Budget Speech that he wanted to get this House closer to the Budget-making process. Let me borrow words from the President, who came here to remind us that this is the strongest institution in the land. We hold the key to the running of the affairs of the people of Zambia who elected us. Unless we get much more involved in the whole Budget-making process, I do not see how the Budget’s performance can be said to be very good.


Mr Speaker, I have heard debates in the House in which some people are saying that they will not support the Budget. I wonder whether that is mere rhetoric or people do not realise that the business of the Government is goes on in perpetuity. The Government has to work all the time. I do not know whether those who were lamenting and saying that they may not support the Budget sat back and thought about the consequences to the nation of the Budget not being approved. The Government of the Republic of Zambia is the major employer in this country. That is how the economy is. So, the consequences of the Budget not going through will be felt immediately. That is why I appeal to all those who have negative sentiments that we should do our job, which is not to support the Budget, but to ensure that this House starts participating in the Budget-making process.


Hon. Opposition: Hear, hear!


Mr Musonda: We are part of the Government. So, I do not know why some people talk about the Government as if we were not part of it. We are the legislative part of the Government. The President reminded us that put together, we wield a lot of power. Unfortunately, the level of political polarisation I have seen in this House leaves much to be desired.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Musonda: I remember when we used to have debates in secondary school.


Mr Livune: When?


Mr Musonda: A theme was picked and you were told to oppose it at all cost while the other team was told to support the theme at all cost. Afterwards, a trophy was awarded to the winning team. I do not feel comfortable when I see us take that route in this House because at secondary school, we competed for a trophy but, here, the trophy is the people of Zambia.


Ms Chonya interjected.


Mr Musonda: Are we passing laws that will benefit the people of Zambia?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Musonda: If a call for the repeal of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act was made, how are we, as hon. Members of Parliament, ensuring that the Act is repealed? That Act, to me, is one of the most important tools in procurement, which is a huge component of the Budget. So, if we do not handle it well, there is potential for wastage of Government resources through mismanagement.


Mr Speaker, for the past two years, I have been waiting for the Budget and Planning Bill to be presented to the House, and for the Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act to be repealed and replaced. I also expected the housekeeping measures that the hon. Minister has proposed to influence the 2019 Budget. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance not to be swayed or intimidated. The Budget, as presented, is very good, but she must stand her ground and introduce the relevant pieces of legislation so that we implement the Budget as planned.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chibanda: Go on!


Mr Musonda: Sir, let me say one thing about debt stress. I get very worried when we talk about debt as if this House has resigned itself to not having anything to do with debt. We even seem to be leaving it to our children and their children. What are we here for, then? When are we going to come up with bipartisan policies that will address this issue holistically? This brings me to the very important issue of dialogue. We need dialogue because we cannot do without it. We cannot continue running the way we are running.


Dr Chibanda: Go on!


Mr Musonda: Mr Speaker, with those few words, I support the 2018 Budget Speech.


Thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: I give the Floor to the hon. Member for Roan Constituency.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kambwili (Roan): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this year’s Budget Speech.


Sir, from the outset, I want to thank my sister and good friend, the hon. Minister of Finance, for her well-articulated speech, which she made in her good British accent.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, we should ask ourselves how this Budget will help the people of Zambia. Is it going to help the people of Zambia or not? Looking at the way it has been framed, I believe it has absolutely nothing to offer to the people of Zambia.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Siwanzi: Question!


Dr Kambwili: I think that leaders must always ask themselves what they are doing for the people of Zambia.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune: That is right!


Dr Kambwili: Are they helping to reduce poverty in Zambia or are they helping to worsen it?


What we see is a pure demonstration of how the Patriotic Front (PF) Government of President Edgar Lungu has failed the people of Zambia.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Dr Kambwili: I will justify my statement for the benefit of those who are saying, “Question!”. People like Hon. Sikazwe are supposed to be witch doctors in the village.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, Hon. Dr Kambwili!


Withdraw that statement.


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, I withdraw it, but tell him not to provoke me because I will hit back.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Ignore those who are trying to provoke you and speak through the Chair.


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, the Government of President Edgar Lungu has failed the people of Zambia, and I will explain how the President has failed.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sikazwe: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Minister for Presidential Affairs, take your seat. The time you should have raised the point of order has passed because I have already ruled the hon. Member on the Floor out of order and instructed him to withdraw the statement he made, and he has done so.


Let us continue listening.


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, fifty-four years after Independence, with an ever-growing population and more problems than ever before, we have a Government that thinks that contracting debt in a very small economy is the way to go. Further, the debt is not being contracted because the Government feels for the people of Zambia and wants to bring development. Rather, it is being done for some people to get commissions from the projects being awarded, and for politics of appeasement because the Government wants to show the people of Zambia that it is building roads, schools and other infrastructure even though it is collapsing the economy in the process.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Dr Kambwili: I say that the PF is collapsing the economy because it is behaving like someone who earns K4,000 a month, but borrows K50,000 and promises to pay back the whole amount in the same month.


Hon. PF Member: But you were part of that.


Dr Kambwili: You can see that there is a mismatch and that our colleagues are not bringing development, but pocketing commissions from the contracts they award.




Dr Kambwili: Some of them, including the person heckling loudly, have become very rich in the last two years.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, when you take that route, it becomes very difficult for the Chair to manage the House because you may not have the facts. I am sure you have gone through the Budget Speech. Debate it and avoid issues that will bring problems in the House.


You may continue.


Dr Kambwili: Mr Speaker, one cannot spend more than one can generate or borrow more than one is able to pay unless there is something wrong with one’s head.


Mr Speaker, look at what we are going through now, such as the reduction in the budgetary allocation to the health sector. Surely, were this a reasonable Government, would it prioritise the payment of debt over the buying of drugs in hospitals and still call itself a government?


Hon. UPND Members: No!


Dr Kambwili: With this year’s Budget, we still do not have sufficient drugs in hospitals, but the Government has reduced the allocation for the health sector from K1.2 billion to K900 million. What kind of thinking is this?


Sir, all the money that the Government is making is going to paying off debt, yet the Government is saying it will continue borrowing. What do our colleagues think will happen? If they can reduce the money for drugs from K1.2 billion to K900 million in one year, what will happen in the future? According to this Budget, the Government will borrow US$2.5 billion more to support programme implementation, meaning that it will have to pay more money on debt servicing and allocate less to the social sectors like health, education, ‒


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1955 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 17th October, 2018.