Thursday, 18th July, 2019

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Thursday, 18th July, 2019


 The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to give a ministerial statement on the exhibition that is currently taking place at the National Archives of Zambia under the theme, “Zambia’s First Female Vice-President and the Role of the Office”.


Sir, the National Archives of Zambia, through the statutory provisions of the National Archives Act Cap 175 of the Laws of Zambia and the Printed Publications Act Cap 161 of the Revised Laws of Zambia, collects, manages and preserves public records, archives and printed publications. It also ensures that they are accessible to Government institutions and the public for research and decision making. The Government, through the Ministry of Home Affairs, is committed to enhancing security and accessibility of records at the National Archives of Zambia. To that end, major strides in modernising the department, as evidenced by what is currently prevailing, have been made.


Mr Speaker, on 26th June, 2019, Her Honour the Vice-President officially launched the exhibition at the National Archives of Zambia. The department has been having different exhibition themes from the collection it holds. This particular one, however, is one of its kind, as it is showcasing Zambia’s first female Vice-President’s family, education, community and political life. It is also aimed at educating the public on the various departments under the Office of the Vice-President and her predecessors from the time Zambia got its Independence in 1964.


Sir, this exhibition is a great historical milestone as it will help the general public appreciate the history of our country through Her Honour the Vice-President and the various works she has executed before and during her tenure of office. Furthermore, the House should note that the National Archives of Zambia is the memory of the nation. It holds information from the pre-colonial, colonial and pre-Independence era to date. The National Archives of Zambia, therefore, has a rich collection of our national documentary heritage.


Mr Speaker, I wish to appeal to my fellow hon. Members of this august House to recognise and use the National Archives of Zambia as a national reference and information centre for study and research on all facets of public life. As a nation, we need to have a reading culture to keep us well-informed of what happened in the yester years and today. Our information should, however, be authentic and verified. I also use the records in the National Archives of Zambia.


Sir, the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) highlights a poor reading culture as being detrimental to achieving rapid progress in development. It is, therefore, cardinal that we embrace the initiatives being brought out by this department. Accordingly, I urge all hon. Members of this august House to take time to visit the exhibition that will run up to 21st December, 2019.


Mr Speaker, I also appeal to the general public, including hon. Members of this august House, to deposit the books that they publish and all other materials that have historical value at the National Archives of Zambia. This will enrich its collection as demonstrated by Her Honour the Vice-President.


Sir, in conclusion, I must register that I feel sad when I see many good publications written about Zambia by non-Zambians, when we, as Zambians, should tell our own stories through written publications. We need to take up this challenge for the sake of posterity. The Government is accordingly taking serious measures to address the constraints that impede the work of the National Archives of Zambia. The department, in the meantime, continues to collect public and private records. These become archives that are accessed by the general public and, from time to time, are exhibited.


Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the Office of the Vice-President, and private and public institutions that have rendered support to the on-going exhibition. I, once again, appeal to the hon. Members of this august House to take time to visit the Exhibition Gallery at the National Archives of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, if I heard the hon. Minister correctly, he indicated that the National Archives of Zambia collects and manages information for research and decision making in all facets of public life. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why the nation does not use the records at the National Archives of Zambia to make decisions, especially concerning the disputes over chiefdoms and chiefdom boundaries because I know that those records are there.


Mr Speaker: I will not invite the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to respond to that question and my reasons are as follows:


There are two issues in your question. You would like to find out why the nation does not use the archives to resolve issues and, in the same breath, you want the hon. Minister to address why disputes concerning boundaries are not resolved through the use of archives. The question of boundaries falls outside his mandate. There is a specific hon. Minister who should address that issue and he should be engaged for that purpose.


Generally, let me say that I consider this statement to be fairly straightforward and non-controversial. We have a lot of business at hand so we need to use our time very judiciously. Unless, there is something which is not clear from the statement, please, proceed to ask questions. However, if it is as clear as it is to me, we should move with dispatch.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Mr Speaker, I followed the hon. Minister’s statement correctly and he indicated that the National Archives of Zambia is a learning lane where we can go and learn by looking at the artefacts and the other collections that are there. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how learners, especially those in distant places, can access the National Archives of Zambia?


 Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, like I said, the National Archives of Zambia is a reservoir of national memories and a collection of various information is deposited with the department. The department has presence in all the ten provincial centres, except for Muchinga which is currently served by Luapula Province and the Northern Province. Therefore, people in different provinces can always access the services of the National Archives of Zambia from the provincial centres.


Sir, I know that you guided on the initial question posed by Hon. Ng’onga. The only bonus information on that aspect is that, indeed, like I stated in my statement, the department has information from the pre-Independence time. The former District Commissioners have records that could be helpful to our people in recollecting and knowing the origins of their places.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will allow the last four questions from the hon. Member for Kanchibiya, Hon. Raphael Nakacinda, the hon. Member for Kasenengwa and, lastly, the hon. Member for Chilanga.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the Ministry of Home Affairs and, in particular, the National Archives of Zambia, for the activity it is undertaking. Her Honour the Vice-President is a symbol, particularly of the girl child. She started off from a village and accessed education in different schools both here at home in our land and abroad. Further, she is fighting Gender Based Violence (GBV) and she stands for the rights of women. This is a good story which we need to tell our children, particularly those in rural areas like Munkuta in Chief Kabinga’s area, Ndopu, Nalolo and Chief Mulonga’s area in Mushindamo in the North-Western Province. How is the ministry going to ensure that children in urban and rural areas get to hear about the life of Her Honour the Vice-President, who is a role model?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I agree with the hon. Member for Kanchibiya that Her Honour the Vice-President is not only an icon but also one of the few surviving freedom fighters. Indeed, she was brought up in a rural area and she traversed the plains of Nalolo to access education as a girl child. She was a wife to a freedom fighter and she was also a freedom fighter, but she continued to go to school and she capacitated herself. Like I said, she later became a politician. So, her achievement of becoming the first-ever female Vice-President of this country is a remarkable record which needs to be taught in schools. This should have a bearing on not only the girl child in an urban area but also one in a rural area such as Kanchibiya, like the hon. Member for Kanchibiya has mentioned. The girls who cross plains to go to school should know that with determination, they can also walk Her Honour the Vice-President’s journey.


Sir, we are trying to see how we can work with the partners who have supported the current exhibition to get the information to the provincial centres so that school-going children in these areas can be given a chance to learn about this remarkable icon. Her Honour the Vice-President is not only the first-ever female Vice-President, but she is also one leader who has managed her life as a housewife by bringing up her children. So, we shall try to see how we can support the department to ensure that it extends the exhibition to other provinces so that many people can access the information.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister –


Dr Kopulande: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Dr Kopulande: Mr Speaker, there have been recent events concerning the attack on the hon. Minister of Justice. Yesterday, a letter ostensibly authored by the said hon. Minister of Justice went viral on social media. We have come to the House today, and the said hon. Minister of Justice is seated on the Backbench. The letter purported to be authored by him states that he has resigned from the Government.


Mr Speaker, I believe that matters of governance are of high seriousness. Is the Leader of Government Business in the House in order to remain quiet and not advise this House on the status of the said hon. Minister of Justice, ...


Mr Lubinda moved to his seat.


Dr Kopulande: ... who has now come to sit next to me ...




Dr Kopulande: ... on the Backbench, when he is supposed to be seated on the Frontbench?


I seek your serious ruling, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: My ruling is that, normally, when changes of this sort are made, I am one of the first addressees. Those of you who have been affected in the past know how promptly we make changes, especially seating arrangements. So, I can confirm that the hon. Minister of Justice is currently seated at the right place.


 Hon. Nakacinda, you may continue.


Mr Nakacinda: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the immediate past point of order by the hon. Member of Parliament for Chembe made reference to a letter. Generally, the tradition is that when an hon. Member makes any reference to any correspondence before this House, he/she must lay it on the Table. Some of us have not read social media ever since we raised points of order from sources or documents published on social media. After we laid those documents on the Table, we were brought before the Disciplinary Committee.


Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member for Chembe in order to have made reference to a letter which he has failed to lay on the Table for everyone to understand what his point of order was all about?


I seek your ruling, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: There are two issues here. The first one is that you are raising a point of order on a point of order, and that is the first problem. The second issue is that the way the culture of the House is, from time to time, we do things in jest, and I took this in that spirit or as a light moment. That is it.   


Hon. Nakacinda, you may continue.


Mr Nakacinda: Mr Speaker, I also wish to congratulate the hon. Minister for the exhibition. Like he indicated, it will be beneficial to pupils and future generations. However, in other jurisdictions, for example, in South Africa, such activities are not only used to profile such icons, but they have also been turned into tourist attractions. Moving forward, is the hon. Minister considering making similar activities beyond educating the masses in our jurisdiction, Zambia, by also telling the story of the role the country played to liberate the region, and thereby make the country a tourist attraction?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, indeed, it is important for us to profile our leaders. The exhibition is an eye-opener. It is the first time that the profile of a sitting Vice-President has been showcased. It is as it is said that ladies are fixers of issues. It is the first time that a sitting Vice-President has deemed it fit – We requested to showcase her profile while she is still alive so that she can clarify certain issues. Historically, we only profile people when they are no more, and facts that could have been left out might not be included and the profile not corrected. So, the exhibition is an eye-opener for the ministry and, indeed, the department.  


Mr Speaker, we want to see how we can document all the former Vice-Presidents, leaders, and freedom fighters vis-à-vis the role they played in liberating this country. That information can be utilised for research purposes as people can access these records at a minimum fee. I commend His Royal Highness Mwine-Lubemba Chief of the Bemba, whom I found visiting the department not once but twice. This shows that some people, regardless of their status, appreciate the services of the department.


Going forward, we want to see how we can make this exhibition can get the attention of the public. Apart from research, it can be used as an attraction for visitors. I have visited some exhibition centres in South Africa and the people who died fighting against apartheid are listed. Everybody can go and learn about them. However, I would like to encourage other traditional leaders to find time to visit the exhibition centre because there is rich information there and they can trace their roots. This can be helpful in the way they manage their chiefdoms and they can know how they were managed in the past. 


Mr Speaker, hon. Members can also visit the department to know how their constituencies have been run from Independence. They can know who the past office bearers were and from what period. For instance, Hon. Given Lubinda has lined up people who have been hon. Members of Parliament since Independence in his office. We can also do that and then deposit that information at the National Archives of Zambia for people to learn about their leaders.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the ministry will spread this activity to provincial headquarters. In this internet era, does the Government have plans to digitise the information so that there is easy access to this kind of information?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we are modernising the department by publishing its services on electronic-platforms (e-platforms). Most of the documents in the department are old and they date as far back as the 1950s and beyond. Therefore, it needs to use modern ways of preserving and resuscitating some of those documents. However, we are modernising the department by introducing e-platforms so that record keeping can be done in a modern way. The department has done quite a lot at its headquarters. I am inviting hon. Members of Parliament to go and acquaint themselves with this important Government department. We are also going to ensure that the provincial record centres are automated for easy access of information as well as its preservation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister for such a great exhibition of Her Honour the Vice-President’s life. We are very proud of her. What measures has the Government put in place to motivate writers to document the history of great people like Her Honour the Vice-President so that school-going children can learn and read about our history? I have noticed that we have no culture of writing. What measures has the Government put in place to motivate writers?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am aware that there are a good number of Zambian writers whose works have been deposited at the National Archives of Zambia. In this vein, I encourage more writers to come on board. As the hon. Member for Chilanga has rightly said, the history of our country can best be told by us Zambians. It is only Zambian writers who can publish authentic and thorough publications about eminent people like Her Honour the Vice-President because they can understand certain things better.


Sir, when I served as Deputy Minister and went to the constituency where she comes from, I was personally amazed to learn about Her Honour the Vice-President. It was amazing and very interesting to see the distances she would cover to go to school and how, as a girl, she would paddle from her home to school. When one interacts with the locals or the old people who are still alive, one is told various stories about this amazing lady. Therefore, Zambian writers can go and interact with the people there and translate some of the information. This information can be quite useful and encouraging to a girl child as she can understand that she should not place caveats on her prospects regardless of where she is.


However, we are modernising the department so that researchers who are currently using the latest equipment can easily do their work in collaboration with the department in a much easier way. The new laws that will be enacted such as the Access to Information Bill will come at the right time because the department will be a reservoir of important information regarding the nation. Therefore, I encourage writers to interact with the department and see how we can support their work.


I thank you, Sir.








469.  Mr Lufuma (Kabompo) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. when the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) will pay farmers for the maize supplied during the 2017/2018 Marketing Season countrywide;


  1. how much money the FRA owes the farmers, province by province; and


  1. what has caused the delay in paying the farmers.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) has already paid all the farmers who supplied maize during the 2017/2018 Season.


Sir, as I have stated above, the FRA has paid all farmers and it does not owe any farmers for the maize supplied.


Mr Speaker, the delays in paying farmers were caused by the Treasury’s challenges in mobilising resources.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, it seems I have been an enemy of myself.




Mr Lufuma: Unfortunately, it seems we are our own enemies. I am sorry because the hon. Minister made a statement and this question came after that statement. Therefore, I appreciate the answer.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, are the transporters who supplied maize to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) during the last farming season owned any outstanding amount? Is the hon. Minister able to shed light on whether the FRA cleared their debts?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, all transporters who were contracted by the FRA were paid through a debt swap or a tripartite arrangement which was recommended by the Ministry of Finance. Therefore, all transporters were paid in full.


I thank you, Sir.




470.  Mr Zimba (Chasefu) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the tarring of the Lundazi/Chama Road will commence;


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


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


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


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, the project to upgrade the Chama/Lundazi Road to bituminous standard will commence once funds are secured for the project.


Sir, the commencement of the project has been delayed due to financial constraints. Two contracts with Messrs China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation for Lot IV and Messrs Sable Transport Limited for Lot V were signed in February 2016. However, works have not yet commenced due to a lack of funds.


Mr Speaker, for Lot IV, the total cost of the project is K585,556,977.51. This covers an 80 km stretch of the Lundazi/Chama Road starting at the junction of RD600 to Chama. For Lot V, the cost is K417,108,471.29. This lot covers 40 km of the Lundazi/Chama Road, including 15 km of the Lundazi Boma to the Malawi Border Road.

Sir, the time frame for the completion of the project is thirty-six months from the date of the commencement of works.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, one of the pronouncements that the hon. Minister of Finance made was that one of the projects the Government was going to embark on was the Chama/Mutambo and the Lundazi/Chama road projects. Since he made that pronouncement, should we envisage seeing some funds being released since the cause of the delay was the lack of funds?


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, that was the intention of the hon. Minister of Finance, but due to financial constraints, we have resolved to make the road motorable. Therefore, it is among the roads that will be worked on under the All-Weather Gravel Programme as this will give people a better road network to use, until such a time that the Government can secure enough funding to upgrade it to bituminous standard.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




471. Mr Siwale (Mafinga) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the tarring of the Isoka/Mafinga Road will resume;


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


  1.  who the contractor for the project is;


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


  1.  what the time frame for the completion of the outstanding works is.


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, the works for upgrading the Isoka/Mafinga Road will resume once funds for the remaining works are secured.


Sir, the cause of the delay in resuming the works is the delayed payments for certified works.


Mr Speaker, the Contractor is Messrs. China Engineering Construction Corporation Zambia Limited.


Sir, the total cost of the project is K369,383,470.02.


Mr Speaker, the time frame for the completion of the remaining works is twenty-four months, from the time the works will resume.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Siwale: Mr Speaker, in 2017 and 2018, the hon. Minister assured this House that works on the Isoka/Mafinga Road would resume. At least, today, the hon. Minister is honest enough to mention that the Government has no funds to complete the road. In 2017 and 2018, I assured the people that the works would resume, but today, I know what I will tell them. Could the Minister indicate when funds will be sourced or should we forget about this road being worked on?




Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, I do not want the good people of Mafinga to forget about it and make them think that their Government will not do the work. The Government will eventually upgrade this road to bituminous standard. As an interim measure, we have captured this road under the feeder road project so that we can open it up. This road passes through a mountainous area and the contractor left heaps of gravel on it. We cannot leave it in that state because our people have to use it. We will, therefore, embark on the All-Weather Gravel Programme. However, we will continue engaging our counterparts at the Ministry of Finance to liquidate the outstanding payment so that the contractor can move back on site and continue with the works. For now, we are working on ensuring that the road is included among the roads that will be opened up for use under the All-Weather Gravel Programme.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, the contractor started working on this particular road and he left heaps of gravel on the road, as rightly indicated by the hon. Minister. This means that these are some of the materials that were meant for the tarring of the road. However, since the contractor has demobilised, how much loss will the Government incur? I am assuming that when the contractor resumes the works, some works will have to be redone.


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, there may not necessarily be losses because we have agreed to implement the feeder road project so that the road can be opened up for use. The contract sum still stands and we have engaged the same contractors to re-scope the works. Instead of implementing the tarring programme, we will undertake the All-Whether Gravel Programme that will be at a lower cost. This way, the road can be opened up and people can use it. This programme will benefit a number of roads connecting Mafinga to Isoka. Therefore, we are dealing with this matter, but I do not want to go into deep water because it may attract a number of questions.


However, I would like to assure the people of Mafinga that we have not left them out. They are captured under the feeder road project that will be implemented. Phase I of this project will include many places. It will not be limited to the roads that we have picked in Muchinga Province as it also includes the Eastern Province, Luapula Province, the North-Western Province, parts of the Central Province, Copperbelt Province and the Western Province. Other provinces have been captured by the World Bank, but I can confirm that this road will be opened up under the feeder road programme.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, most infrastructure projects have slowed down. This means that when the money is available, contracts will most likely have to be revalidated and at the same time, works will have to be re-scoped, as rightly indicated by the hon. Minister. How is the ministry preparing itself to ensure that we get value for money regarding infrastructure projects that have stalled?


Mr Chitotela: Mr Speaker, we are very prepared because we have competent staff. At the moment, we are engaging contractors to re-scope the works. Many contractors have agreed to do so because we gave them the correct picture. We need to tell the Zambians the reality and this is what is being done. Every part of Zambia needs tarred roads so that we can connect to other areas, but we can only construct as many roads as we can manage. People have to understand that the Government embarked on a beautiful and ambitious programme, but it cannot be undertaken in a day. We are now revising the technical specifications for the roads. We engaged the contractors and they agreed. We captured a number of roads after consulting various provincial administrations and some hon. Members of Parliament.


Sir, I can actually confirm that a total review has been done and all the processes that we went through have been approved. All things being equal, we will have a new way of implementing the project. I believe by tomorrow, the Road Development Agency (RDA), working in collaboration with all local authorities in Zambia, will sign a contract where we will embark on the rehabilitation of 7,500 km of feeder roads. So, we are ready to implement this project and we are working together with local authorities. We have enough engineers in Zambia. The contractors will implement a revised reschedule of the All-Weather Gravel Programme, not the tarring programme, which will enable people to get connected from one district to another.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, before I deliver my speech, allow me to congratulate Dr Bwalya Ng’andu on his appointment as Minister of Finance. He has known me from the time I was a young man, that is, in the days he worked with my elder brother at Barclays Bank. So, I would like to congratulate and welcome him.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Local Government Accounts on Outstanding Issues arising from the Report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the Reports of the Auditor-General on the Management of Constituency Development Funds and Grants to Local Authorities for the Financial Years Ended 31st December, 2011 and 2012, for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 11th July, 2019.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, during the period under review, the Committee considered the outstanding issues arising from the Report of PAC on the Reports of the Auditor-General on the Management of Constituency Development Funds and Grants to Local Authorities for the Financial Years Ended 31st December, 2011 and 2012.


Sir, from the outset, the Committee wishes to place on record its disappointment at the number of issues that have remained outstanding for a period of about eight years. It is the strong view of the Committee that the effectiveness of its oversight role is dependent on the implementation of its recommendations. In this vein, the Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that the implementation of the recommendations that it made is expeditiously undertaken.


Mr Speaker, despite the enactment of the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018, the issues raised by the Auditor-General have remained outstanding because the progressive provisions of this Act do not apply retrospectively. Therefore, it cannot be relied on to prosecute offences committed before its enactment. As such, the matters have remained outstanding. In light of this, the Committee recommends that the Government should ensure that all cases pending investigations must immediately be pursued and expeditiously concluded in line with the financial regulations.


Sir, in addition, the Committee observes with serious concern the apparent reluctance by controlling officers to report cases of fraud to relevant law enforcement agencies as recommended by the Committee. The Committee is also concerned that the few cases that were reported to law enforcement agencies have taken too long to be concluded. Suffice to say that the failure to report these cases to investigative wings increases the volume of outstanding issues and, ultimately, makes the findings of the Office of the Auditor-General and the recommendations made by the Committee irrelevant.


Mr Speaker, in view of this, the Committee recommends that the Government should, as a matter of urgency, ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is taken against controlling officers who fail to report cases to investigative wings as it recommended. In considering the outstanding issues, the Committee also observes, with concern, the high number of cases pending disciplinary action against erring officers. The Committee is particularly concerned over the failure by controlling officers to charge erring officers, as it recommended.


Sir, discipline is indispensable in public institutions as it ensures that standards are set. It also communicates to all employees that the mismanagement of public funds will not be tolerated in any form. In this vein, the Committee implores the Executive to take its recommendations seriously and institute the necessary disciplinary action against erring officers, as this will serve as a deterrent to would-be offenders.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is seriously concerned about the inadequate funding to the Office of the Auditor-General, especially with regard to the auditing of local authorities. As this august House is aware, the audit process is an important tool which the Government should use to verify that public resources have been utilised properly and in accordance with relevant legislation and guidelines.


Thus, the failure to adequately fund the Office of the Auditor-General to carry out such an important activity is a recipe for abuse of resources and it also compromises the mandate of the Office of the Auditor-General. In this regard, the Committee strongly recommends that the Government should prioritise the mandate of the Office of the Auditor-General by ensuring that it is adequately funded in order to effectively carry out audits in all local authorities in line with Article 250 (a) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016.


Sir, finally, the Committee observes that most of the recommendations made by the previous Committee on weakness in international controls such as misapplication of funds and wasteful expenditure have not been adequately addressed by the Government. It is the expectation of the Committee that the newly created Directorate of the Local Government Finance under the Controller of Internal Audits will effectively deal with challenges of this nature.


Mr Speaker, let me also take this opportunity to convey my appreciation to all hon. Members of the Committee for their commitment and co-operation exhibited during the session. Your Committee also wishes to express its gratitude to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services rendered to it. Finally, I wish, on behalf of the Committee, to express our gratitude to you, Mr Speaker, for rendering guidance throughout its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move. 


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


Mr Sampa: Now, Sir.


Mr Speaker, in seconding the Motion, I wish to highlight some of the common outstanding issues in the report, such as projects running for more than one year. Your Committee found most of the reasons given by local authorities unacceptable.


Sir, local authorities gave various reasons regarding uncompleted works. The Committee discovered that local authorities used the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) for most previous projects, and this is quite sad. Further, this is not a popular decision in most local authorities as it denies the community the opportunity to implement projects that have current demand. The Committee, therefore, recommends that local authorities must ensure that projects are completed within planned periods unlike the current trend.


Mr Speaker, as regards undelivered building materials, the Committee found this to be a serious concern. The failure by councils to procure materials and deliver them on time led to some of the materials being outdated. Materials such as cement hardened because of the delay in procuring other materials. Your Committee recommended that local authorities should take the recommendations presented to them by the previous Committee seriously. Further, the Committee recommended that most of the queries that were presented over this issue should not be handled in the manner in which they were handled.


 Mr Speaker, in view of these reasons highlighted in the report, I second the Motion.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, in supporting this Motion, I would like to mention that our people, particularly those in the rural parts of our country, expect much from local authorities. It is a pity that the report indicates that no disciplinary action is taken on controlling officers. I call on the ministry and the commission responsible to ensure that some controlling officers are not given the latitude they appear to enjoy.


Sir, one notes that they are quick to go and play football for pleasure instead of providing services to the people they are called to serve. It is because they know that in the areas they operate in, no one superintends them. Sometimes, they even delay to call for council meetings. When a controlling officer such as a council secretary fails to take appropriate action against the officers he superintends, one wonders if he is not colluding with them. It is, therefore, important for controlling officers to be in line with the work.


Mr Speaker, the Committee on Local Government Accounts referred to the case of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in the Auditor-General’s Report, and the seconder brought out the issue of delayed implementation of projects. Local authorities deliberately do this because they know that by the time the report is presented and debated in Parliament, the implementation time will have elapsed. Probably, some officers would have retired or they would have been transferred to other areas. Therefore, they are delaying development in our areas.


Sir, why would the councils want to be a burden to the Central Government and the taxpayer? They fail to build markets, libraries, bus stops and playgrounds for children, but the money for investment is readily available. Most of the council officers attend functions, outside their provinces, which do not concern them. I am glad that the hon. Minister decided to censure them because they even attend traditional ceremonies in other provinces. That was a good job. I am not calling for micromanaging of controlling officers, but in this case, the hon. Minister really needs to look at what is happening in the councils.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I will deal with one item in the report. This regards the procurement of materials of projects under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which seems to appear nearly on every page of the report.


Sir, at this moment, I am concerned about the procurement of borehole drillers. In this House, we argued with the then hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, Hon. Kaziya, about borehole drillers over and over again. We argued that there was a need to break the cartel formed by Government workers and borehole drillers, and this we have said time and time again. There is now another Minister in that ministry.


Today, I am a sad person because the hon. Minister of Local Government wrote a letter to the council in my constituency to authorise it to go ahead and utilise the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), despite my having issues regarding all council officers. When getting quotations for sinking two boreholes, councils inflate the price. They connive with the drillers and double the price. I wrote a letter to the hon. Minister regarding this and, fortunately, his Permanent Secretary responded. I informed him that I would ask the Chairperson of the CDF Committee not to sign a single cheque for a water project until we had regularised the affair of inflated prices. There is a Government price and a normal price.


Mr Speaker, in our tour of duty, sometimes, when we have a little change, we sink boreholes in our constituencies. When one negotiates, he can have a borehole sunk with a hand pump for as little as K15,000. That is a fact one cannot dispute. So, why do boreholes sunk by councils cost K45,000? The Permanent Secretary wrote to me informing me that the Ministry had written to the Ministry of Local Government in Choma so that it could advise on the actual pricing because sometimes, it is dependent on the terrain.


Sir, the Ministry of Local Government in Choma came up with a matrix explaining that in view of the drought, it needed to dig deeper when sinking the borehole and that there is a new law concerning this. It came up with all that jargon, but the bottom line is that prices are inflated. The earlier the hon. Minister addresses this issue, the better, as more people will have access to water. The councils claim that the law now indicates that the borehole should be cased up to 100 m or 70 m. Given all that, a borehole can still not cost more than K23,000 even if one wants to be luxurious.


Mr Speaker, as the hon. Minister responds – I must not be the hon. Member of Parliament who will be said to have failed to utilise the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I have stopped the Chairperson of the CDF Committee and other signatories from signing anything to do with water projects until this matter is regularised. Where two boreholes can be sunk, the council wants to sink one. For instance, there is a low water table in Mazabuka, and we did a demonstration to that effect. The Chairperson for the CDF Committee, who comes from the Islamic Society, was very upset with the council officers. He even wanted to tender his resignation. He said that he could not continue working in that manner because that amounts to stealing from the people. I massaged him a bit and showed him the letter I had written to the hon. Minister concerning this matter.


However, the hon. Minister responded and said that he had asked somebody to contact us. When that person contacted us, he said a hydrologist would come and survey the area, and that the possibility of finding water was 95 per cent and that an extra cost would be incurred. When we computed all the costs, including the Value Added Tax (VAT), it came to K23,000 instead of the K15,000 that we know. To date, the officer in Choma has not officialised the works because we talked on the phone. This really amounts to interfering with somebody’s job, but I did it anyway. I asked him to write that in Mazabuka, we can get water for K23,000 and he can share the K7,000 if that is the whole idea. We then undertook an exercise to find water because the chairperson was upset. He hired a driller called Nova Drilling and paid K14,000. Within 40 m, we hit the water table. He gave me a receipt from the driller which I forwarded through WhatsApp to the hon. Minister of Local Government. Therefore, it is possible to sink a borehole for K14,000. A hand pump costs K3,500 and then, we have water for everybody to drink.  


Sir, the Committee’s report is not inspiring. For as long as no one does anything about this, especially from the Government, the situation will not change. The hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, the name is a tongue twister anyway, should regularise the price of boreholes. Our people drink water from wells with frogs inside because we procure one borehole for the cost of two.


Mr Speaker, that is my simple contribution for today and I will not waste time. Water is a huge necessity. The hon. Minister of Local Government and the hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection must tell the people who authorise the drilling of boreholes that they cannot continue extorting money out of public coffers by inflating prices for things that can be undertaken easily. In any case, in arid areas where drillers do not hit the water table, drillers charge a standard amount for the work they would have carried out and it is not too much.


 Sir, the Government and, we, in this House, must work together because this is an apolitical issue. It is for the benefit of all of us and we should hold hands. The drillers must make a profit, but not super normal profit. By the way, the Government has a driller in the Southern Province. I asked the council workers how much it would cost to sink a borehole if we used a Government driller and they said they were technocrats. I then reminded them that they were youngsters and that having gone to the university years ago, I am also a technocrat. I have a bachelor’s degree so they cannot tell me that they are technocrats and that they have to hedge against this and that. In the meantime, they are building houses from the money which is supposed to supply water for our people, and that we cannot allow that.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Local Government should tell his colleagues in Cabinet about this matter. Let us address this simple matter. We know the cost of drilling a borehole. So, let the market be the one to determine the cost. It should not be determined by people seated in closed doors working out how much they would make from the sinking of a borehole. I know life is difficult, but that should not be permitted. This is a straightforward matter.


Mr Mwale indicated assent.


Mr Nkombo: I am glad that the hon. Minister is nodding his head and so, we should shake hands. He should tell the drillers that we know the cost of drilling boreholes. They should compete and not form cartels. Start knocking them out of business, and they will bring the prices down. For example, it happened with Chilanga Cement. When Chilanga Cement was a monopoly, the cost of cement skyrocketed up to about K100 per bag until Aliko Dangote and Sinoma came on the scene. Last week, the price of cement was at its all time low, at a cost of K50 per bag. Why can we not let the market dictate the cost of these commodities? Thereafter, I can praise Hon. Mwale and Hon. Dr Dennis Wanchinga. It has been a long time since I praised anyone in the Government because they do not listen.




Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, they should let this be a window for them to earn some praise so that the people, whose interests and aspirations we jointly represent, can smile one day and …


Mr Mwale: Waononga manje nama politics.


Mr Nkombo: … can drink and bath with clean water.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, indeed, this is a straightforward matter. However, let me say that I was getting concerned about the manner in which we were debating because this report is on outstanding matters and the current report is yet to be presented. The one under consideration is on outstanding issues arising from the Report of the Auditor-General for 2011 and 2012. So, these matters were raised by the Auditor-General and were already debated in here, although action has not been taken on these issues yet. So, I was getting concerned because these are not current issues.


Mr Speaker, this report concerns outstanding matters as presented by the Chairperson of the Committee, and I will respond from that angle. The Ministry of Local Government has constituted a team that will look at the outstanding matters that have not been dealt with before we talk about the current report which is yet to be tabled on the current accounts. It is a source of concern and we are not happy that the outstanding matters have not been resolved. However, a team comprising the Permanent Secretary and the Chairperson of the Local Government Service Commission has been constituted. This will ensure that it deals with the people who were cited in the report then because, maybe, action was not taken.


However, it is true that some of them may have even moved from one council to another while others still hold their positions, but no action was taken. I promise that the Government will ensure that action is taken against them. The sad thing is that it is not us Ministers who take action in such cases. We only provide leadership. It is the controlling officers who have to ensure that the outstanding matters that have been raised are dealt with. However, the Permanent Secretary and the Local Government Service Commission have formed a team to ensure that they deal with the outstanding matters.


Mr Speaker, current issues have been raised and I do not want them to remain hanging. Therefore, as regards boreholes in Mazabuka, which is not an outstanding matter, we are waiting for the Ministry of Finance which promised to come up with a guide on how procurement, generally, will be handled in this country. The Ministry of Local Government cannot handle procurement within the ministry using its own standards. The Ministry of General Education, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection, the Ministry of Arts and Tourism and the Ministry of Defence or different ministries cannot have their own standards on procurement.


We will rely on the Ministry of Finance to set benchmarks on whether or not we must allow companies to supply to the Government more than 10 per cent the normal pricing or it should be 20 or 30 per cent. The Ministry of Finance decides on matters of procurement for all the ministries. I know that the hon. Minister of Finance is listening, although Hon. Tutwa Ngulube has engaged him in a conversation. Therefore, the hon. Minister of Finance comes up with regulations and benchmarks on how procurement can be handled for all ministries, and so, other ministries should not worry. However, we would encompass regulations that will guide us. We may talk about a borehole worth K45,000 whilst another person may talk about one worth K98,000. So, there are no standards. I am glad that the Ministry of Finance has promised to deal with the matter and I know that this working Government will handle it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Hon. Dr Malama, the Member for Kanchibiya, Hon. Gary Nkombo and the hon. Minister who has clarified the matter. The people are waiting for the matter to be resolved so that we can move forward. However, I support the report. 


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to.










The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Sir, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Speaker, I thank you for granting me the opportunity to present a policy statement to this august House on the Food Safety Bill, 2019.


Sir, allow me to share some of the key highlights on food safety. Food safety is essential in protecting the public against health hazards and fraud in the production, manufacture, sale and use of food. By producing safe food, illnesses and fatalities can easily be prevented. Safe food begins at production and continues through the preparation process up to consumption.


Mr Speaker, food-borne diseases are a threat to the socio-economic growth of the country, and if left unaddressed, can strain health care systems and harm the national economy. Equally, this is likely to result in decreased consumer confidence in the food supply chain with economic impacts on the food industry. Further, the ability to effectively manage food safety is a key step in safeguarding the health and wellbeing of people and gaining access to domestic, regional and international markets. An effective national food control system is essential in protecting public health and promoting international trade as a key component of food security and economic development.


Sir, I wish to state that the attainment of Zambia’s aspiration of being a prosperous and middle-income country by 2030, as stipulated in the Vision 2030, is dependent, among others, a healthy and productive population. To contribute to this assertion, the Government of the Republic of Zambia under the stewardship of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has prioritised the production and sale of food which is safe for human consumption.  However, this affirmation can only be solidified with the existence of a strong legal framework which promotes food safety.


Mr Speaker, the Food and Drugs Act Chapter 303 of the Laws of Zambia was enacted in 1972 and has not been revised over the years. However, there have been some revisions to the regulations with the last being in 2001. The drugs, cosmetics and medical devices provisions together with the regulations were removed from the Food and Drugs Act and taken to the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013. This means, therefore, that the Food and Drugs Act Cap 303 currently only has provisions and regulations that pertain to food. In this regard, there is a need to repeal the Food and Drugs Act and replace it with the Food Safety Act. Further, repealing and replacing the Food and Drugs Act will facilitate the inclusion of emerging issues in the food industry. It will also reinforce collaboration among the players involved in ensuring food safety.


Sir, the process of consultation to repeal and replace the Food and Drugs Act Chapter 303 of the Laws of Zambia started in 2012. After extensive consultations with the stakeholders, it was agreed that the current Food and Drugs Act be repealed and replaced with the proposed Food Safety Bill, 2019. It is in this respect that the Government, through the Ministry of Health working closely with the stakeholders, developed the Food Safety Bill, 2019, which would be imperative in promoting public health, preventing fraud and deception, evading food adulteration and in facilitating trade. The Bill also outlines an enforcement control mechanism for carrying out its objects.


Mr Speaker, some of the highlights of the Bill include:


  1. strengthening food safety control systems in the country in order to protect the public against health hazards and fraud in the production, sale and use of food;


  1. providing for a streamlined process for regulatory health clearance and regulatory health requirements for food premises;


  1. providing for the establishment of the Food Safety Co-ordinating Committee that will galvanise efforts by the key players and provide for its functions and powers;


  1. providing for appointment of authorised officers from various Government departments to carry out health inspections throughout the country and facilitate the issuance of health inspection reports and report notices; and


  1. establishing the National Food Laboratory which will be responsible for examining, analysing and conducting research to determine the quality, efficacy and safety of food. The National Food Laboratory shall also strengthen analytical services to ensure risk-based surveillance for an integrated national system for food safety in order to enhance public health security in the country.


Sir, allow me to state that the repeal of the Food and Drugs Act of 1972 and the replacement with the Food Safety Bill before this august House provides a significant moment in our transformation agenda of providing universal health coverage without leaving anyone behind. This effort also reinforces the United Nations (UN) General Assembly’s goal to strengthen food safety measures globally.


Mr Speaker, the Bill before this august House seeks to promote food safety, which is essential in protecting the public against health hazards and fraud. As the House may be aware, food safety begins at production and continues through preparation up to consumption. The Bill is a product of extensive consultations with stakeholders. It is progressive and non-controversial. I, therefore, wish to urge hon. Members of Parliament to support the Bill.


Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, on behalf of my colleagues in the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, I wish to thank you most sincerely for this opportunity to say one or two things with regard to the Bill which was referred to the Committee and is undergoing the Second Reading stage today. This is a very important Bill and the Committee fully supports it. Hon. Members may wish to know that most of the stakeholders who appeared before this Committee supported the Bill.


Sir, however, because of the requirement to read the speech, I will do so. Just to refresh the memory of hon. Members who may not have had time to read the report, the objects of the Bill are as follows:


  1. provide for the protection of the public against health hazards and fraud in the manufacture, sale  and use of food;


  1. provide for a streamlined process for regulatory clearances for regulatory health requirements for food premises;


  1. establish the Food Safety Co-ordinating Committee, as the hon. Minister has highlighted, and provide for its functions and powers;


  1. provide for health inspection reports and report notices;


  1. establish the National Food Laboratory;


  1. repeal the Food and Drugs Act of 1972, as the hon. Minister has said.


This Act is very old having been initially enacted in 1972 and many developments have taken place in the food industry; and


  1. provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.


Mr Speaker, as I have indicated, the House may be interested to note that all the stakeholders who appeared before this Committee generally supported the Bill, but raised some concerns, which this report has highlighted.




Mr Speaker: Order on the left and right!


Dr Kalila: Sir, in supporting the Bill, the stakeholders noted that unlike the Food and Drugs Act, the Food Safety Bill No. 9 of 2019, will help to enhance food safety regulation in the country and thus, contribute to the protection of the public from being subjected to food that is unfit for human consumption.


Mr Speaker, as I have said, the Committee agrees with the stakeholders and commends the Government for the step it has taken to bring this particular Bill to Parliament. The Committee is confident that this law will respond to the developments that have taken place in the food industry given that keeping food safe is a complex process that starts on the farm and ends with the consumer at the dining table. While supporting the Bill, the Committee wishes to make the following observations and recommendations.


Sir, the Committee is concerned that the Food and Safety Co-ordinating Committee which will be established under Clause 3 may not be an appropriate vehicle for implementing this very important Act. In view of the seriousness of the threat that unsafe food poses to the public, the Committee is of the view that a Committee is an unsuitable body to deal with such serious issues, especially that the proposed members of the Committee will be full-time employees of other ministries and organisations and would, therefore, not be able to fully dedicate their time towards the objectives and goals of the Act.


Mr Speaker, the Committee, therefore, feels that the implementation of the provisions of the Bill is likely to be challenging if this issue is not addressed appropriately and fully. In this regard, the Committee strongly recommends to the Government that a statutory body which is permanent and qualified in food should be the one to be put in place to oversee and regulate all issues pertaining to food safety in the country. This is as a result of the fact that food safety equals to the health of citizens and cannot be trivialised.


Sir, the House may wish to note that some stakeholders held the view that setting up a Committee as opposed to a statutory body would be cost effective. However, the Committee contends that food safety has become a major issue of concern in Zambia. Therefore, there is a need to attach a high premium to it. As all may be aware, recent public food safety concerns have been prevalent in this country and have included the closure of our food retail outlets on allegations of using expired ingredients. We have had cholera outbreaks which have bordered on the health of our citizens, including loss of lives as well as some negative connotations to the tourism industry. Further, as the hon. Minister has indicated, this has, to some extent, affected our international trade efforts in exporting some of our food products, including meat, because of safety concerns of our food. Therefore, it follows that the statutory body is appropriate.


Mr Speaker, hon. Members will recall that a named energy drink was recently reported to contain sildenafil. As hon. Members may know, sildenafil is an active ingredient that may cause prolonged erections in men and this was a matter of great concern. In addition, the country has also unfortunately seen a series of outbreaks of diseases related to food safety such as cholera, as I have indicated. In light of the foregoing, again, the setting up of a statutory body would bolster food safety in the country. This is cardinal and the Committee finds it justifiable.


Sir, further, another issue that the Committee is concerned about is that the proposed Bill has mainly focused on the importation, manufacture, distribution and sale of food while the production side of food has generally been glossed over. For instance, the word ‘produce’ with reference to food production is missing under Clause 7(1) and (2) and Clauses 8 and 9 in Part III of the Bill. These are cardinal issues that should not be left out in such an important piece of legislation.


Mr Speaker, the Committee takes cognisance of the fact that food production may encompass unsafe methods of growing and post harvest handling of crops, …




Mr Speaker: Order on the left!


Dr Kalila: … vegetables and fruits as well as the raising of livestock and fish production. The Committee notes that there may be instances where chemicals have been inappropriately applied in the production of food at farm level or the food is being grown in unsanitary conditions such as using sewer water or, indeed, in bathrooms as we have seen lately in some of the videos that have been going round. This could lead to contamination and poses a serious threat to human health. For this reason, the Committee strongly recommends that all aspects of the food chain, including food production, should be fully incorporated in the Bill.


Sir, another issue of concern for the Committee is that there is no mention in the Bill of the regulation of artificial synthetic food. Synthetic foods are manufactured in laboratories such as artificial eggs, including meat stuffs which are being manufactured nowadays by those who have the technology to manufacture products such as plastic rice. So, synthetic foods are an important aspect which the Committee feels should have been incorporated in the Bill. 


Mr Speaker, another issue of concern for the Committee is that there is a need for the Bill to be forward thinking and to put in place necessary provisions to ensure that the country is not exposed to unnecessary risks from artificial foods, which may have negative effects in the future, as I have indicated. Further, closely connected to this, the Committee is concerned that there is no provision in the Bill to address functional foods containing health-giving additives such as foods fortified with vitamins, some herbs and nutraceuticals. The only exception is the little bit that is mentioned in Clause 4 of Part III of the Bill. This little bit has to do with the advertising of any food as treatment, prevention or curative. Additionally, there is no provision in the Bill for genetically modified foods and other novel foods.


Sir, all these are very important aspects of food production and the value chain, which the Committee feels should have been taken care of, hence the advocacy for a statutory body. There is no cost to health and life. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Bill be amended to incorporate the processing and sale of functional genetically modified foods and other novel foods. The Committee also expressed concern that the Bill does not address the important issue of food that is traded on the streets, including markets, in its definition, and how to regulate such foods from a safety point of view. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Bill explicitly makes provisions for dealing with and regulating street food vendors.


Mr Speaker, lastly, the Committee observes that whereas the Bill seeks to promote food safety, it is also important that requisite services that would ensure an enabling environment for water and sanitation, especially in trading places such as public markets, be instituted. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the Government should provide an enabling environment for the informal sector to ensure that food that is traded or sold therein is safe.


Sir, in conclusion, allow me to express my gratitude to you for the opportunity given to the Committee to scrutinise this Bill. Gratitude is also extended to stakeholders who gave both written and oral submissions which greatly assisted the Committee in its work.


Last but not least, as always, we extend our gratitude to the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the services that they rendered to this Committee throughout its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank all hon. Members of Parliament for supporting this Bill in their silence. Let me also thank the Chairperson and the Committee for doing a great job in scrutinising the Bill and for bringing up valid points. They brought up critical issues that will inform the amendments to the Bill. We will, therefore, take them on board.


Sir, food-borne diseases are not strange to us, and we have seen lives lost in various jurisdictions due to food-borne diseases. Listeriosis claimed lives in South Africa. There were infections in new born babies after their mothers consumed contaminated food in Asia thereby claiming thousands of new-born babies. So, we are not strangers to the advent of food-borne diseases. In this regard, this Bill is progressive. The Committee has brought out valid points to strengthen this legislative process, and I thank it most sincerely.


Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.


Committee to a Committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Thursday, 25th July, 2019. 








(Debate resumed)


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, in supporting this Motion, I would like to mention that many times, I have traversed Kanchibiya Constituency, and the cry of the children, teachers and parents relates to the unavailability of computers in schools. Whilst I appreciate what the ministry has done by introducing the teaching of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in schools, the lack of computers has somehow not supported this good intention. Peter Drucker, and not this Peter Daka from the Eastern Province, ...




Dr Malama: ... had four important questions. The first question is: What is the mission? Having had time to be in the service, I think that is a very important question. The teaching of ICT has been accepted well, but what is its intention, especially for a Third World country such as Zambia? I think the intention or the mission is very important, and it is to ensure that there is creativity and innovation. In 1980 or 1990, some people were poor and probably not in school, but because they embraced ICT, today, they are ranked among the richest people in the world. Some countries had high levels of illiteracy, but because they embraced ICT, the illiteracy levels are now almost 100 per cent. As a result of embracing ICT, they have grabbed opportunities in international markets and call centres have been established in those countries. 


However, there is no secondary school in Senior Chief Kopa’s area, Chief Kabinga’s area, Chief Chundaponde’s area and Chief Mpepo’s area for the youths in Kanchibiya. Therefore, they are calling on the leadership to provide a secondary school so that they can learn ICT. The hon. Minister of General Education’s predecessor talked about the provision of ICT education many times. This programme should be driven with force so that it can yield positive results and this calls for honesty at policy making and implementation stage. As a country, are we honestly committed to what we have promised to do for our children? This calls for leadership, but not the type of leadership that is pretentious like that shown by some of those on your left.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat.


Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, I do not think it is appropriate for you to debate in that fashion for a number of reasons. First and foremost, we do not debate ourselves, but more significantly, there is no need to launch these attacks. You started well by referring to a management consultant named Peter Drucker, and I thought you would continue on those lines. I will certainly not sit back and allow you to drag your colleagues into your debate and schedule them for attack. Just withdraw that reference to your dear colleagues.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I always appreciate your guidance even when it involves my dear colleagues who yesterday were lamenting the good roads being built in Kabwata and other townships in Lusaka. What sort of leadership is that? You have advised that I withdraw the statement, and I will gladly do so. However, I was had just mentioned that this is not the sort of leadership we should employ. We should be honest in our leadership and not be complainants with bold letters as they are becoming nowadays. Nonetheless, I withdraw that statement and call for leadership –


Mr Speaker: For avoidance of doubt, I also want to be clear. You can talk about leadership, and that is why you referred to that guru on management. It is perfectly in order for you to talk about leadership issues, but I do not think it is fair for you to physically single out a particular group and question its leadership qualities as a whole. I have dealt with leaders on both sides and I do not think we can make such a generic statement fairly. You can talk about leadership and I will not forestall you. However, do not ascribe that negativity to a particular grouping, whether on the left or right. I will be mindful of that. I may have overlooked that on one occasion, but let us avoid debating ourselves generally.


You may continue with your debate.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, your guidance is on point.


Sir, the other issue is flexibility. We need to be flexible and embrace not only our children in town but also those in rural areas. It is important that we avail ICT facilities to children in our rural areas and this calls for creativity. The management team in the ministry should have a focused team to assess the baseline and where we are going. The route must be tangible. We must set objectives and ensure that they are met because ICT will provide employment for our people.


Mr Speaker, in reference to Peter Drucker, who the Speaker alluded to, the other question he asked is: Who is our customer? Many times, when one has a business, he strives to ensure that he satisfies the customer. In this case, the customers are our children, who are seeking knowledge. We need to invest in the young people of our country.


Sir, Scotland has a very good motto which is “Investing in our citizens”, and at the time of Independence, the Scottish helped us quite a lot. Even David Livingstone came from Livingstone. Therefore, we can learn from the motto of the Scottish. Let us invest in our citizens. Our strength should be in ensuring that we invest well in the young people in our country so that they are prepared for the future in a very structured manner. Children continue to be our customers regarding ICT. Therefore, even those who have dropped out of school can learn ICT.


Mr Speaker, some people in the West are believed to have dropped out of school, but today, they are very rich. Some children dropped out of school for one reason or another, but we should continue to reach out to them and help them develop skills. How do we do that? The other question that Peter Drucker then asks is: What do these customers value? Most of our young people seek knowledge, pleasure, recreation, communication and work, and this is what they value. Even as we teach them, we should ensure that we provide what they need and show them what ICT can do for them. Therefore, this calls for a tangible plan that we should follow. We need to follow a robust action plan so that the youth in Zambia are number one when it comes to ICT matters in the world.


Sir, I would like to thank the Committee on Education, Science and Technology for its recommendations, and I urge the Ministry of General Education to ensure that it implements the thoughts that have been brought out in this report. The implementation of these thoughts requires that we provide the human resources, financial resources and technical resources needed to ensure that our children access the tools for learning ICT. Our children should be examined properly in this course so that they can implement what they learn and conquer the current and future challenges.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for according me this opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House, on the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology.


Sir, to begin with, I wish to state a well-known fact which we all agree with considering that education is a fundamental human right which should be accorded to everyone willing to take it up and any able citizen, without any discrimination. My debate will be anchored on two areas of the Committee’s report. Firstly, it will be anchored on the standard of education in institutions of higher learning, especially universities and, secondly, on the operation of the policy on the learning of Information Communication and Technology (ICT) in schools.


Mr Speaker, no loving and decent government delights in detracting the education programme or schedules of its citizens, particularly the young ones. In talking about the quality of education in institutions of higher learning, I will zero in on public universities, where we seem to have a bigger problem. Legislation thereon has been passed in this Parliament. Previously, we used to have legislation that did not regulate the private sector institutions of higher learning, but we currently have regulations and legislation that regulate both public and private sector institutions of higher learning.


Sir, our laws prescribe how public universities should be managed, and I recall the fact that previously, the Republican President was the chancellor of public universities. However, the law was changed for the good reason that chancellors now come from the private sector. The same laws also prescribe how these institutions must be managed, and therein are university boards which act as policy makers for the institutions and their composition. I will particularly single out the board of the Copperbelt University (CBU). In this time and era, why would a single  Minister decide to close a university ...


Mr Lusambo: Question!


Mr Kambita: ... without consulting the university board? She even went to the extent of abrogating the provisions in the law by trying to stop union activities in public institutions of higher learning which the law provides for. For the information of the House and the general public or the citizens of this nation, the law provides that the board of a university must have representation from the students, following an electoral process. Therefore, this makes me understand that the hon. Minister has no right to stop union activities at a public university, which she is attempting to do.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, I have been following your debate very carefully. You can debate the law relating to the subject under discussion and everything else, but I do not think I will permit you to make insinuations. Just discuss the law and policy issues. Do not seize this opportunity to insinuate and make innuendos. I do not think it is fair. Discuss the law and practices. I can see you are masking your debate and you have a specific target in your mind, but you are disguising it under your debate. I do not think I will permit that.


You may continue.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, thank you so much for that wise counsel. Indeed, I will watch my debate and bring it in line with what I really want to deliver. Let me dwell on points that relate to the quality of education in institutions of higher learning, especially public universities.


Mr Speaker, I would like this House and the nation at large to understand that students at public institutions and, in particular, the CBU, an institution that the Government closes day in and day out for whatever reason, are supposed to be the political and business leaders to support the economy of this nation. It is very unfortunate that we seem to drift away from that focus by the decisions we make that eventually injure the economy in the long run.


Mr Speaker, I notice that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is actually killing the future of our young generation by closing institutions of higher learning such as the CBU. The CBU has a total of nine schools or faculties which include the School of Business, School of Mathematics, School of Natural Sciences, School of Built Environment and the two directorates which include the Directorate of Distance and Open Learning and the Dag Hammarskjold Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution.


In essence, these faculties have, for so many years, produced graduates of whom I am an example. I am a graduate of the CBU and today, I am a lawmaker. Before I became a lawmaker, something helped me to economically stand my way to a greater stamina and compete to become a lawmaker. Due to the quality of education I got from the CBU, I have had high profile jobs, earned a high salary and improved my personal economic standing, and was able to compete and come to Parliament. Therefore, we are talking of a serious situation where we are denying the young people an opportunity to become better citizens. Today, I am able to contribute to the economy in this manner because of having acquired quality education.


Mr Speaker, to improve the quality of higher education, we need to take that into consideration and I appeal to the Executive to reopen the CBU as soon as possible. We ought to review the causes of the situation that led to the closure of the CBU. I believe there is a way to reach a consensus in which –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was debating the institutions of higher learning and the quality of education, with particular emphasis on public universities. I gave an example of the CBU, a university that is so dear to my heart, but was closed, indefinitely, in April this year.


Madam Speaker, I wish to state, once again, that the indefinite closure of the university is actually against the law. The law provides that once a learning institution is closed either by a disturbance caused by the students or any health related reasons, a time for its reopening should be specified so that the university management and every stakeholder knows when the institution will be reopened. In this case, the CBU is still closed. The hon. Minister of Higher Education presented a ministerial statement in this House and we were hopeful that she would announce the date the university would be re-opened, but to date, we do not know when it will be reopened.  I earlier explained the fact that we are denying the young people an opportunity to get quality education in order for them to contribute to the economic growth of this nation. When we look at the causes of the closure of that university with a microscopic eye, it boils down to the Executive not having done something.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the situation of lecturers and non-academic staff. The closure of the university was actually motivated by a stand-off that came from lecturers, but at the end of the day, the university suffered financially. Parliament appropriates money for universities and the law provides that public universities must be funded according to what is appropriated by Parliament. In this House, we appropriate funds to public universities, but the disbursement of these funds is erratic. Therefore, we have such situations. Without the Executive considering its failure to finance public institutions, it rushed to close the university because it was the easiest thing to do. I, therefore, wish to speak for the students and parents who send their children to public institutions. We want the students to contribute to the growth of this economy. So, the CBU should be opened without any further delay.


Madam Speaker, having extensively debated about the quality of education, I wish to move to my second line of discussion and this regards the introduction of the learning of ICT in schools. My colleague, the hon. Member for Kanchibiya, talked about one management guru known as Peter Drucker, and I will refer to another management guru called Charles Handy. Charles Handy mentioned the fact that change is the only constant thing that can happen in this world. We understand the changes that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has been instituting in the education system. In trying to catch up with what the world has now become, it has come up with policies to teach ICT at all levels of the education system. However, the issue is the implementation of this change. 


Madam Speaker, ICT equipment requires high maintenance and it is expensive to acquire. The Government cannot just dream and come up with a policy to make the learning of ICT in schools compulsory. How will a school in Katontu, Zambezi East, which has no power and proper classroom blocks, implement this? Therefore, how can the Government make ICT a compulsory subject? I agree with your Committee in terms of what it actually found on the ground. Considering the fact that I understand the challenges of ICT, I would like to make a suggestion to the PF Government in terms of implementing the policy on the learning of ICT in schools, and I will give an illustration. One does not need to own a cow in order for him to have milk. He can actually buy milk from a farmer who owns cows. Therefore, it is possible for the Ministry of General Education to consider leasing ICT equipment if it is to implement the learning of ICT in schools.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of General Education has capacity to actually acquire ICT equipment. In fact, there are companies that lease ICT equipment. I was privileged to run an ICT company that leases ICT equipment to the corporate world. In my immediate past job, I was Country Director of Q-rent Zambia, which leases out ICT equipment to institutions of learning. Today, most private schools that own ICT equipment actually used the lease model. Owning ICT equipment goes with a lot of costs. Firstly, we do not have technocrats who can maintain the ICT equipment in the education sector even if we had a fully-fledged computer laboratory at any given primary school or other institution. Secondly, software and hardware require maintenance. Further, ICT equipment quickly depreciates. Within three years, the equipment would no longer be as it was at inception. So, these assets cannot be owned in the same way we own vehicles or buildings because they quickly depreciate.


Therefore, before coming up with the policy to implement the learning of ICT in schools, the Government should have considered the leasing model. A policy may actually give the Government the audacity to own ICT equipment, but even if it owned the equipment, it would not work forever. What it needs is the milk and not the actual cow. Therefore, if the Government wants to fully implement the learning of ICT in schools, it should consider the leasing option. Schools do not need to own all the computers because after three years, they will become obsolete. I wish to make that suggestion and I feel the Government should go further in probing this policy to see how it can implement it in a more organised manner to achieve its intended purpose.


Madam Speaker, with these few remarks, cautions and suggestions, please, reopen the CBU.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Let me urge the hon. Members indicating to debate to be brief because as you will note, we still have another outstanding Motion which we must conclude today. If each hon. Member indicating exhausts the twenty minutes, I am afraid we will not finish the business that we have on the Order Paper.


I will start with the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i. Do you think you can be brief?


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, I will be very brief.


 Madam Speaker, thank you very much for according me this opportunity to add my voice to this important subject on the Floor of the House.


Madam Speaker, quality education is key. If this country invests in education, poverty will be a bygone. However, in Zambia, we have taken a business as usual approach to education. I wish the hon. Minister of Higher Education was here. We do not want to achieve quality education. Mothers who bear children understand how to raise a child. So, similarly, a lecturer, having passed through a university, should understand the character of students at universities.


Madam Speaker, most people, especially in the region, were proud of the University of Zambia (UNZA), but it is sad to hear that it was downgraded. The Government has distanced itself from quality education and I support what the report has revealed. The Government should be very close to universities just like a mother is to her baby. When a baby is born, the mother and the baby are inseparable. This is what should happen between the Government and universities, especially the public ones. We should not look at the financing of universities because it is the responsibility of the Government to provide services and goods to its citizens. However, today, one would not like UNZA and one would not want to study there.


Madam Speaker, we should give kudos to the University of Lusaka (UNILUS), a private university, because it is doing very well as it is performing better than public universities like UNZA. There is no motivation for lecturers at UNZA. They are not well paid, and their salaries are delayed. Therefore, how do we expect them to deliver quality education to the students? One would be sad to see the furniture in the classrooms. I was once at that university so I know what I am talking about. It is horrifying. However, some of our colleagues have been to Oxford University and Cambridge University. I was reading the background of certain people in here and I was proud. Even when they debate, they deliver, and this is because of the universities they went to. What the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, has achieved, has earned him respect and that is the type of education that we need in our universities.


Madam Speaker, we need to motivate the staff at universities. Let us not fear. If we educate many Zambians, a lot of foreigners will not come to be expatriates here. The Government should have a deliberate policy of sending people, including lecturers from universities, to China, so that they can go and learn modern techniques. There are no computers at some public universities. A university must have updated information, but the materials at UNZA library are ancient. One would not even want to look at the shelves. How do we expect quality education from a school with such facilities? Students are struggling. Therefore, we need to have a deliberate policy to put education first. Let us remove politics from universities. We should remove the invisible hand that we talk about. We do not want it because universities are our future. Every day we sleep and wake up, we are growing old. Our children need to take care of us. We are taking care of our parents simply because we have an education and can manage our affairs.


Madam Speaker, quality education will allow this country to export human resource. Many young men and women desire to be educated. However, look at the way the Government has modelled the bursaries and loan schemes. A student needs to bribe somebody to be given a loan and that should not be the case. Brilliant students should be given bursaries or sponsored because they are the future leaders. If we have not been able to get educated, at least, let us educate our people. The hon. Minister of Finance is well educated, having worked for the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). For a change, he should spend money on public universities. Since he is educated, he should also educate the people from the villages. We want UNZA to improve and it is sad to find potholes at the institution. Meanwhile, the Government is upgrading Nangwenya Road. Let it also upgrade UNZA because there are potholes there. In view of the strikes and closures, there is something sticky there. The Government has distanced itself from the universities when it should be part and parcel of them.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Did you say stinky or sticky?


Mr Muchima: I beg your pardon, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: What word did you use?


Mr Muchima: I said – What word did you say?




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw it, hon. Member.


Mr Muchima:  Which one?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Did you say stinky or sticky? That was my question.


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, I said sticky.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Alright. You can continue.


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, considering our background, we have come out of the cocoon. Let us leave a legacy of improved infrastructure for future generations. Let us not do it for political gain. Our future lies in education. Do not be segregative because somebody’s name is Hamambala. You do not even want to look at his papers, yet he may be the one who might serve you tomorrow. Remove politics in issues of education as education is an investment. I am proud of my colleague, Hon. Dr Kopulande. There is no barrier between us because he understands politics better, and I enjoy his debates.


Madam Speaker, let us buy books and computers and, for a change, have a common understanding between the Opposition and the Government by looking at the quality of education for our future. I am very proud of the hon. Minister of Higher Education, Hon. Dr Kopulande, Hon. Dr Bwalya Ng’andu and Hon. Dr Hamukale from the Southern Province. We have doctors because of quality education. Therefore, I am encouraging more people to undertake research to see how we can improve the quality of education.


Madam Speaker, the Government is building two universities in Muchinga Province. However, it is failing to manage the CBU and UNZA. Therefore, how will it provide good services in the other universities it is constructing? We should thank the United National Independence Party (UNIP) leadership because it did its best considering the quality of buildings it built, such as UNZA, and the CBU, which used to be called the Zambia Institute of Technology (ZIT). The people in the UNIP Government had humble education, but they produced future leaders who include Hon. Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, Hon. Dr Kopulande and Hon. Muchima.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, you are now debating yourself.


Mr Muchima: Madam Speaker, I am referring to education. They produced future leaders who include Hon. Siliya, and she was being announced the other day at a university. That is the quality of education we are talking about. We should not be shy to talk about it. I am not talking about them in relation to Parliament but education. That is the quality of education we desire to have. As an academician and having done his level best to achieve what he has achieved, Hon. Dr Bwalya Ng’andu should invest in universities and support the Ministry of General Education because charity begins at home. If the Ministry of General Education has a better foundation, its achievements will have an effect on the Ministry of Higher Education.


Dr Hamukale: Be brief!


Mr Muchima: I am being very brief. I am talking about education, which is close to my heart. The hon. Minister of Finance should leave a good legacy behind by enabling our people to compete favourably when they are sent abroad. When you say you are from Zambia, they will first look at your credentials and that is the first indicator. Therefore, I urge the Government to review the issue of education.


Madam Speaker, with these few words, I would like the Government to be very responsible and address the issue of bursaries by putting more money in the education sector. However, I thank you for according me this opportunity.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Madam Speaker, as I begin my debate, allow me to congratulate and welcome the new hon. Minister of Finance to the House. In contributing to the Motion, I will make a few comments on the two topics the Committee studied.


Madam Speaker, as regards the provision of high quality education in Zambia, the Committee observed that students from private universities pay a fee when they go for attachments at public health institutions. However, the Committee recommended that this should come to an end and that students should be given that rebate. I agree with the Committee’s recommendation because parents already pay fees when they send their children to private universities. Parents would like to send their children to public universities, but there is not enough infrastructure or capacity for many students, hence they are forced to send them to private universities. I understand every student pays as high as K500 when he/she goes for attachment at a public health institution. That money can go a long way in helping parents deal with other expenses. At the moment, parents are trying to cope with load-shedding that lasts four hours every day and that K500 can be used to buy petrol or diesel to power a generator to solve load-shedding.


Madam Speaker, the Committee also recommended that the Government extends the loan scholarship scheme to private universities. This is a very good recommendation and the people of Chimwemwe fully agree with it for one simple reason. When the Ministry of Higher Education withdrew the payment of bursaries, we were told that the savings would fund students at universities, including private universities. We are aware that countries that have excelled invested heavily in their students. So, Zambia should not be left behind.


Madam Speaker, the Committee recommended that the Government reduces internet charges in institutions of higher learning as this will incite research amongst students, and I agree with this recommendation. In addition, the Committee recommends that the Government sets aside funds for competition in research work. In view of this recommendation, I would like to add that the Government goes a step further and guarantees job opportunities for best students in research work. This will incite activity at universities and end speculations that there is a lot of idling at universities because students will be busy studying.


Madam Speaker, last evening, the Budget Committee informed this House that there was a need to diversify power generation in addition to hydro power. This can be achieved by funding our research work. We are aware that countries such as Iran, North Korea, China and Russia have invested in the enriching of uranium in the generation of electricity. In Zambia, we have high grade uranium and there are high grade students studying chemical engineering at the CBU. Why do we not pick the best students and attach them to appropriate universities in these countries so that they can establish and operate our own uranium enrichment plants? When that is done, we will stop talking about load-shedding because therein lies the answer. 


Madam Speaker, in that line, the hon. Minister of Higher Education should reconsider her position and reopen the CBU so that we can start benefitting from that institution. If the university is closed for one year, it simply means that our children who would want to go to that university will be delayed by one year. I, therefore, implore the hon. Minister of Higher Education to be fair in the running of institutions of higher learning and not be too heavy-handed.


Madam Speaker, on one hand, we are being told that we need to implement austerity measures so that we can make savings and invest that money in research work and funding universities. On the other hand, not too long ago, we were told on the Floor of this House that the Ministry of Youth, Sport and Child Development will pay the Zambia National Soccer Team Coach a salary of US$25,000 per month. At today’s rate, that amount is about K320,000 per month and that excludes accommodation, training allowances, winning bonuses, a vehicle and free fuel. That is just a basic salary and this means that the coach’s two month pay will be equivalent to hon. Members of Parliament mid-term gratuity, which is paid after having worked for three years. Are we ready for that? The answer is no.


Therefore, any saving that is made, including the coach’s salary can be used to fund research work at UNZA or the CBU, as recommended by the Committee. The people of Chimwemwe are not ready to part away with this money because it is too much. Let us use it to fund projects that can benefit the country.


Madam Speaker, the Committee also recommended that there is a need to have only one regulatory agency, unlike the current situation where we have the Health Professionals Council of Zambia (HPCZ), the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZQA) and the Higher Education Authority (HEA). Private universities are complaining that these regulatory agencies leave them with bills when they visit them, and it is like a money-making venture so that they can give themselves allowances. So, I agree with the Committee’s recommendation that there is a need to have only one regulatory agency.


Madam Speaker, the bills that these regulatory agencies leave with private universities are ultimately transferred to students, who do not pay for themselves, but get money from their parents who are in our constituencies and are already overtaxed. Any extra bill that these regulatory agencies give to private universities will just be a tax on the heavily taxed parents. This is a double tax as we heard on the sales tax arrangement. I agree with the Committee’s recommendation that this should not be the case. I, therefore, urge the ministry to be firm and not to be heavy handed in the way it administers affairs in public universities.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the teaching of computer studies in Zambian schools. I am aware that, through the Zambia Education Curriculum Framework of 2013, the teaching of computer studies was made compulsory. The Government came up with interventions such as the transformation of the Copperbelt Secondary Teachers College of Education (COSETCO) into Mukuba University. This university has been assigned the mandate to train teachers in Information Communication and Technology (ICT) and other courses. Mukuba University is in Chimwemwe Constituency and we are happy that Phase I of construction works at this university came to an end last year. Three months ago, the President of the Republic of Zambia commissioned the Phase I of the completed works in my constituency.


However, there is a danger that the completion of the university may not be realised because the site for Phase II and III is a forest reserve. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is yet to conclude this matter with the Ministry of Higher Education and the people of Chimwemwe have been crying about this. Mukuba University is being constructed in Chimwemwe in Kitwe, but works have stalled. When is the ministry going to sort out this simple problem so that Phase II and III of the works can commence and Mukuba University can be fully fledged to sort out the problem of computer studies as recommended by the Committee?


Madam Speaker, I agree with the Committee’s recommendation that the Government should focus on solar-powered computer laboratories in rural areas. However, this should not only be done in rural areas because load-shedding is not only affecting rural areas, but urban areas as well. So, it is a very good recommendation.


Madam Speaker, the report indicates that in 2017, the University of Zambia (UNZA) and the Zambia Information and Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA) implemented a fast track in-service programme to train teachers in Bachelor of Science in ICT. Thus, 3,000 teachers were trained and this programme was on a 50/50 cost sharing mechanism. The fast track in-service programme was okay, but I have a problem with the 50/50 cost sharing mechanism. It should have been free or the Government should have funded it 100 per cent for the simple reason that the teachers, who benefitted from this programme, got loans from banks to pay the 50 per cent. Considering the current interest rate, they are still getting negative salaries because of the money that they borrowed.


Therefore, in future, the fast track in-service programme should be free so that teachers do not languish for three to four years after graduating because of high interest rates. In addition, they pay member fees to the Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ), the Basic Education Teachers’ Union of Zambia (BETUZ), the Secondary School Teachers Union of Zambia (SESTUZ) and the Zambia National Union of Teachers (ZNUT). They pay many fees and so, the Government should ensure that the next time it implements the fast track in-service programme for teachers, it should be free.


Madam Speaker, with these few remarks, I support the Committee’s report.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Madam Speaker, I promise that I will be very brief, and I would like to thank you for the opportunity to add the voice of the people of Kaputa on the debate on this important report produced by the Committee on Education, Science and Technology.


Madam Speaker, I will first discuss the issue of teaching computer studies in Zambia. As we all know, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has definitely revolutionalised the way the world currently looks at life. However, it is unfortunate because those of us who represent the rural communities seem to be left behind. In Zambia, we all need to move in one direction regardless of whether we are in urban or rural areas. However, as regards the teaching of computer lessons or computer science, I feel the children in my constituency, Kaputa, are being left behind. Further, what is disheartening is the fact that nowadays, when responding to job advertisements, those who are qualified send online applications. As long as the children in rural areas are not exposed to computers, they cannot get the same jobs that their colleagues in urban centres get.


Therefore, my appeal to both the hon. Minister of General Education and hon. Minister of Higher Education is that whether the policy is in its draft form or is yet to be implemented, this particular programme is very important for both urban and rural places. I urge the hon. Ministers to ensure that resources are mobilised so that children in rural places can access computers. This should be done because we cannot afford to have a generation that will be left behind for many years to come. If the children or learners in rural places do not move at the same pace as those in urban centres, we are disfranchising them.


Madam Speaker, the report has highlighted the lack of qualified teachers, computers and electricity in schools. However, these challenges are not insurmountable and so, we need to put our heads together because we know that education is the only great equaliser. A number of us, including me, did not even know if we would know Lusaka. Had it not been for education, e would not have seen Lusaka. I did not know anyone and did not even have a relative working in Lusaka, but I am here representing the people of Kaputa and contributing to the nation because of education. Therefore, I urge the hon. Minister to find resources and direct them towards the learning of computer studies so that our children can be at the same level, and whatever it takes, I support this report.


Madam Speaker, one of the concerns being raised in terms of the quality of higher education is the proliferation of universities in our country. It is good to have many universities so that everybody can access higher education, but private universities must provide quality education so that there is not much difference between students from these universities and those from the University of Zambia (UNZA).


However, the report indicates that by 2017, there were about sixty universities, and this is quite a big number. Therefore, the Government has to put measures in place to ensure that it regulates the quality of education our children get. It is alright for children to attain university education, but at the end of the day, they should be able to show the quality of the education they obtain. I, therefore, encourage the hon. Minister of Higher Education to ensure that the Government puts regulations in place and that the supervision of universities becomes paramount.


Madam Speaker, the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology is very good and I hope that those for whom it is targeted will focus their time and derive a lot of benefits from it.


Madam Speaker, with these few words, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: That is a very good example.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Madam Speaker, already, I am being hustled by my neighbour. However, I will be very happy if he can allow me to debate.




Mr Simbao: Madam Speaker, let me start by commending the Government. It is a very serious Government considering how it has handled the infrastructure programme. It implemented this programme with a lot of commitment. I, therefore, commend it for that. If it showed the same commitment towards education, this country would be very different.


Therefore, having made a lot of progress in infrastructure, I believe the next step the Government should take five years after 2021 would be probably to electrify this country 100 per cent. At the moment, it is 33 per cent and this is too low for us to roll out education as we want to. For example, out of the fifty-five schools in Senga Hill Constituency, only seven have electricity. So, we are talking about Information and Communication Technology (ICT), yet out of fifty-five schools, only seven schools are electrified. Everyone knows that computers need electric power to run. However, computers should not only be in schools but also in homes. Thus, we need electricity in homes where students come from because many parents would like to provide computers for their children even though there are no computers at schools. If there was power in their homes, they would have computers at home. Therefore, the Government should consider electrifying houses in Zambia by 100 per cent. Then, we will be sure of taking off.


Madam Speaker, having said that, I would like to state that one problem we have had in the country in the area of education is the concentration on social sciences. Unfortunately, social sciences have gained a lot of leverage because there is an addition of sciences. So, it looks like they are actual sciences, yet they are not. Actual sciences are termed ‘STEM’ which means ‘Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Unfortunately, we have not concentrated on that line of studies, but on social sciences.


Madam Speaker, when students are graduating at some universities, it takes two days for students in the School of Social Sciences to graduate because it has thousands of students. However, it only takes a day for students in schools that teach STEM such as the School of Mining, School of Engineering, the School of Chemistry and the School of Mathematics to graduate, but we will not go anywhere with this trend. Countries that have developed are the ones with this kind of latitude. They can do these kinds of things because they already have the required number.


Madam Speaker, for any country to develop, areas of mathematics, science and physics must be highly prioritised. For instance, the Large Hadron Collider located in Switzerland churns out a lot of data and high level mathematicians are needed to come up with such data. However, why is that important? When one reaches such a level, the trail behind him/her leads to development in all other areas of life. What is important is not just the top part, but what it leaves behind. Some people go to the moon because they know that the spin-offs will be many such as the country going forward. So, they do not just go to the moon for fun.


Madam Speaker, I was reading about the F-35 aeroplanes. Apparently, Turkey produces some parts which the Americans use, but since there is a problem between the United States of America (USA) and Turkey, they do not know where they will get those parts from. Therefore, when a country has high level products, there will be many other spin-offs to take it forward. We talk about physics and mathematics because it is going to pull up everyone. However, some individuals concentrate on social sciences so that they can speak very well, and I know I do not speak very well.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: I have not complained.




Mr Simbao: Therefore, we need to be very serious about issues of this nature when we talk about education.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the future. The future is artificial intelligence. Maybe, some people have heard about it, but it is actually very frightening. A company in the USA has come up with a chip which has a provision for interface. It can look at you from the time Parliament opens until adjournment and it becomes autonomous. It is like a robot in the form of a human being. It can conduct the business of Parliament without any problems at all. What does that mean? It means that the normal knowledge we are proud of such as a good memory or the ability to solve mathematics, will be of no use to a human being. The job for human beings will be to find what they can do with such king of robots around. So, the kind of education we are talking about will not be necessary. So, the only employment will be for people who will know how to use the kind of robots which will be there then.


However, artificial intelligence started in 1940 although people were not sure what it would be. Currently, people are thinking of creating vehicles which can move by themselves, houses that can speak and trains which can move on their own. Basically, everything will be done by robots and that is what artificial intelligence means. However, in the manner that Zambia is progressing, it is far from achieving that, yet Rwanda is developing. Why is this so? It took the risk of buying computers for every pupil in primary and secondary schools because it is preparing for the future. In 1959, not a single Zambian was able to drive a car, and we blamed the whites. It is true that the whites did not want us to drive cars because they thought we would take their jobs. Today, we are the ones running this country. So, who are we going to blame? Our own children will be so disappointed with us because we have neglected education badly.


Madam Speaker, I donated two computers to one school in my constituency, but how do you expect pupils from Grade I to 7 to learn using those two computers? It is not possible. I took those computers there to show that I, as their Member of Parliament, care for them. However, I know that pupils are not able to learn much because the computers are few, yet ICT is the future. This is a very serious issue. In future, many jobs may not be carried out by human beings because of ICT. So, what are the people who are going to be replaced going to do? Therefore, we should upgrade our education system in Zambia.


I thank you, Madam Speaker. 


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity. For me, the Committee’s report does not address the real problem. Quite alright, it identified the problem and its specific objectives was to determine the role of the Higher Education Authority (HEA) in ensuring quality in higher education in Zambia and to establish how much progress has been made in implementing the policy of compulsory education in computer studies.


Madam Speaker, I would like to adopt the few words of Hon. Simbao as my own, except for the first part where he praised the Government for having embarked on infrastructure development. This report was not about infrastructure development although I know that computers are infrastructure. It was specifically about the progress that has made in education vis-à-vis computer studies. On page 5 of the report, the Committee gives us saddening statistics as regards the distribution of computers countrywide. It states that:


“The Committee heard that over the years, the Government had adopted a phased approach in the Procurement and delivery of a number of computers to schools across the country. The donations had been done either directly through the Ministry of General Education (MOGE) or through statutory institutions such as the Zambia Information Communication Technology Authority (ZICTA), The Bank of Zambia (BoZ) and other cooperating partners. According to the Ministry of General Education, in its publication report for 2017, the Government, through its co-operating partners, had distributed about 14,000 computers to primary schools and 20,872 computers to secondary schools countrywide.”


 Madam Speaker, if I was a lecturer, and I had to give a mark to this, I would take the ratio of pupils in the country against this figure. This figure is minute. There is no progress, and let us not pretend as if there is any progress. Among the 14,000 computers for primary schools and 20,872 computers for secondary schools, some of them are second hand.


Madam Speaker, countries have developed because of innovation, and I think this subject requires us to go deep into what has happened elsewhere. As regards the policy pertaining to computer studies in Mr Paul Kagame’s country, it is clear that the Government of that country put money in that area. However, the Government of Zambia bought 14,000 computers and says it has invested in education. In Rwanda, the Government bought computers for every pupil. Of course, this cost money, but just that should tell us that the country was ready to open its gates to the world.


Madam Speaker, my cellular phone is a computer. Whilst seated here, I can talk to Mark Zuckerberg on Facebook. This is how the world is opened up to me. I can talk to the late Steve Jobs’ partner, the inventor of Apple, and Bill Gates. The innovations of these people are a conduit for people to gain knowledge. One can even get a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) while seated at home because he/she can have research material through his/her cell phone.


Madam Speaker, my brother and friend, Hon. Simbao, pointed out the lack of electric power distribution countrywide, and I agree with him. This is the reason the Committee was challenged regarding what it was comparing. In a fairly industrialised place like Mazabuka, there is a general provision of electricity, but 50 per cent of that constituency still has blackouts. How can the Government make progress like this? It believes it should not leave certain people behind, but it has not provided electricity in some areas. However, we can do something to solve this because we have enough sunlight. The Government should invest in solar power because it is cheaper. In order to achieve equity, it should invest in wind energy in rural areas because it is cheaper than hydro power.


Madam Speaker, Bill Gates was once a baby and he used to call his parents mummy and daddy. There are no super human beings. However, the point I am driving at is that some children have never seen a classroom, but they have grey matter that is incredible, and once it is instigated, they can make this country proud. They are relegated into oblivion and are unsung heroes simply because we have not done the right thing.


Madam Speaker, the report indicates that one of the setbacks regarding the teaching of computer studies was the lack of teachers, but it further states that 1,000 teachers were taken for in-service training as if we are still using Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). We have now moved to another level and we are no longer dealing with MS-DOS. We are dealing with more complicated stuff. Taking a teacher who is probably handling a computer for the first time to a classroom and telling him to teach computer studies is not right. What will he teach? 


Madam Speaker, if I had to ask a question, how many of us policy makers have invested in a computer to enable us to surf and find the information that we would be looking for. So, there are many limits. The policy of making the teaching of computer studies a compulsory subject in this country requires us to put in place the necessary infrastructure, which includes flash disks, external drives, printers and scanners. All those things come as a package. One does not just donate a computer at a primary school and think he/she is a star. The children would look at that gadget and the moment it powers on, they will step back a bit because they would be scared as they would not understand it. Therefore, the Government ought to invest a little more in this subject so that, maybe, five or ten years later, we can say that it put its money where its mouth was.


Madam Speaker, let me give an example. About fifteen years ago, Nigeria allocated money towards art and entertainment in its budget. Today, if one went to Times Square in New York, he/she would find people dancing to Davido’s music, a new kid on the block from Nigeria. Artists like Davido were produced because the country invested in the art industry. Nigeria put money in the film industry known as Nollywood and today, it has one of the biggest film industries. However, education is also an industry. A country needs to put money in it for it to get something out of it. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) invested in music. People in that country can play guitars, piano, vilimba, and they have excelled in that area.


Madam Speaker, what are we known for in this country? What is it that we have done for ourselves? What can we say we have excelled at? The Government of the day is gerrymandering on policy, doing things halfway and backtracking. We cannot make progress like this. The Government should embark on something and stop filibustering about policy. If it decided that this is how things were going to be in 2013, things would be different. Look at this report (lifting the Report of the Committee on Local Government Accounts), there is so much pilferage of Government money. Why is there too much stealing? It is because there are no penalties that accrue –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, you can use a more appropriate word.


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, there has been embezzlement of public funds and corruption. The money is there. If you assign me to make the additions of irregular payments under one Vote, for example, on questionable procurement, I can assure you that the total amount would buy more that 14,000 brand new computers and not second hand donated computers that are obsolete in the First World. Money is here (lifting the Report of the Committee on Local Government Accounts). The Ministry of Local Government is just one department. In the Auditor-General’s Report, there is money that is needed to buy an iPad for each child.


Madam Speaker, let me depart from the issue of computers and talk about higher education. A lot has been said, but I will just anchor my debate on one point. In this country, one can say that the Government has invested in higher education, but it has not done so. I have not been to Paul Mushindo University, and I am not sure what it was before. However, I want to illustrate that apart from the University of Zambia (UNZA), which Dr Kaunda established a long time ago, all successive Governments have not done much in ensuring that they provide school spaces for our children in this country.


Madam Speaker, the Copperbelt University (CBU) was called the Zambia Institute of Technology (ZIT), but someone in his own wisdom, changed it. Mulakupikwa Police Training College is now called Robert Kapasa Makasa University, yet someone must say he invested money in building universities. Palabana was a dairy farm, but the Government just added a surname to it and it is now Palabana University. There is also Paul Mushindo University, ZIT is now the CBU and Mulungushi University was the Presidents Citizenship College (PCC), yet they are now complaining that there is a proliferation of universities. Charity begins at home.


Madam Speaker, some people have seen the opportunity to make money by creating universities in their backyard and I can also do the same and create a Gary Nkombo University. I can work my way through the authority, get a licence and then, later, say I produced a schooled person. The standards have dropped far too low because of not paying attention to detail. To use Hon. Simbao’s words, the system has neglected universities.


Madam Speaker, our forefathers built UNZA and, over the years, they did not put anything on some of the land. There used to be a swamp when I was at UNZA around the East Park Mall and MUVI TV area. We used to walk to Kalingalinga Compound for socialisation.


Dr Malama: To do what?




Mr Nkombo: That land was specifically left to grow that university, but the Government decided to give it to a company to build East Park Mall using the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) Model for fifty years. Who, among us, will be here in fifty years? In the meantime, we are grappling with the issue of bed space for students at the university. Read my lips, the Government made an error. It gave people plots to build mansions, and the land for the university has now been suffocated. The university is run by the Government, and it sanctioned the BOT contract. In the beginning, the contract was supposed to be for the construction of hostels.




Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, there is a youngster who is repeating what I am saying.




Mr Sikazwe: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, here we are –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: To me, the hon. Members on my right do not appear to be youngsters. None of them is, ...




Madam First Deputy Speaker: ... but continue. I will look out for the person who is disturbing your debate.


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, I take that as a light moment, but these are serious matters. Many years ago, I was at UNZA. I went there in 1983, and the few faces that I would see there include Hon. Siliya. There was abundant land because there was foresight to build hostels. Even the first engagement, with whoever the investor was, was on the understanding that they would build hostels using the BOT Model and after a certain period, hand them back to the university so that students could stop living in boarding houses, where they engage in illicit activities. What kind of country are we building?


Madam Speaker, for me to be convinced that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government means well, it should start a project from a brownfield or from zero. It should put a stone, break ground and build a university. Even if it takes it ten or twenty years, the Government that will come after it, as the signs of the time are already showing, will complete it. At least, someone will be able to point at what the PF began. If that is done, the PF will be said to have foresight just like Dr Kaunda who left all the land which the Government has given away. The Government has created jobs for South Africans because when people buy things from Woolworths and Food Lovers Market, they are buying South African goods. These things have long-term effects. It has deprived the country of its own potential. This is an apolitical matter and we can sit together and discuss what we intend to do.


Madam Speaker, in the first place, we were convinced because I belonged to a Committee that was overseeing what was supposed to be built at the space where East Park Mall is located. Suddenly, a person changed the contract from a twenty-five-year lease to fifty years. Whose interest did he represent? Indeed, the future generations will laugh at us. They will ask what kind of people were in leadership. The earlier we address some of these issues and ensure that they are corrected, the better.


Madam Speaker, in conclusion, let me say that if the situation was as normal as it ought to be, even these one-year closures of universities should have not been an issue. I would like to take this opportunity to appeal to my colleagues on your right hand side that as they sit in Government, they should overrule the hon. Minister of Higher Education and open those universities. The opportunity cost that we suffer as a result of the decisions that they make are so high and too detrimental to even contemplate. Let us make priorities of what ought to be.


Madam Speaker, at one time, I went to an hon. Minister’s Office at 0830 hours, and I found them in devotion. They were praying from 08 –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was winding up and was saying that one day, I went to visit an hon. Minister at 0830 hours. However, there was no one in the secretary’s office, except for a police officer who was stationed near the elevator. The officer told me to wait for, at least, thirty minutes because there was a prayer session in the hon. Minister’s Office. I know that Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, the one who established Facebook, also pray.


However, we cannot improve ourselves educationally by incense and anointing oil, which seems to have come at the centre stage of our development. Some people call it hypocrisy and others call it blinding people. We need God’s intervention, and we should spend five to ten minutes praying for him to open our minds and not spend half of the morning anointing ourselves with oil.


Madam Speaker, it is only under the Patriotic Front (PF) where we saw the Ministry of Finance being exorcised. I hope Hon. Dr Ng’andu will not do what his predecessors did. One hon. Minister asked a bishop to exorcise the Ministry of Finance. Those things do not work. One need only apply himself/herself by setting his/her priorities right and putting money where it should be for our education system shall improve.


I thank you, Madam.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee and all my colleagues who have debated the Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology.


Madam Speaker, I take note of Hon. Prof. Lungwangwa’s debate, whose focus was largely on the many regulatory institutions for higher education. Hon. Dr Malama encouraged us to implement the recommendations that have been provided in the report. Hon. Kambita emphasised on the reopening of the Copperbelt University (CBU). Hon Muchima urged the Government to be closer to the management of universities and talked about the administration of the loan disbursement that it gives to our universities. Hon. Mwila talked about broadening the scope for our loan disbursement. Hon. Ng’onga does not want the people from rural areas to remain behind. Hon. Simbao spoke about STEM, which is Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and artificial intelligence. Hon. Nkombo lamented the fact that we have not been able to invest in the expansion of our universities.


Madam Speaker, I will briefly comment on the issue of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). Since the hon. Minister of Higher Education is not around, I will delve into the matter of the quality of education in institutions of higher learning. However, I totally agree with the many recommendations that have been provided in the report, but in summary, I would like to say that the Government is committed to ensure that they are implemented.


Madam Speaker, like Hon. Ng’onga said, the Ministry of General Education did not want to create a generation or a two-tier system whereby school-going children in urban areas were far ahead of those in rural areas and that is why ICT was introduced as a compulsory subject. However, we recognised that we did not have many ICT tools and, in 2014, we guided that it was not mandatory for pupils to write computer studies examinations. In its report, the Committee referred to the crisis that we had in 2015/2016. Due to excitement, some school authorities wanted to subject all the pupils to examinations.


Madam Speaker, going forward, in order to address this issue and as the report indicates, – and I do not agree with my colleague who talked about the in-service programme – 1,000 teachers pursued a fast track degree programme, both in software and hardware, at the Zambia ICT College. I encourage the Committee on Education, Science and Technology to tour the Zambia ICT College to see the backbone infrastructure the Government has put in place. We are talking about the implementation of ICT in our schools. Therefore, there should be backbone infrastructure that includes the optic fibre being laid by either the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) or the Zambia Telecommunication Company Limited (ZAMTEL). Further, the Government working together with Huawei Corporation has provided the much-needed backbone infrastructure at the Zambia ICT College in Ndola.


Madam Speaker, as a result of the infrastructure that has been provided in Ndola, a lecturer at a university can teach students without being physically present in a lecture room. Therefore, the Government is prioritising the setting up of backbone infrastructure, and this is being done, by providing ICT infrastructure and powering schools through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA). This investment is a gradual journey because we cannot do everything in one year.


Madam Speaker, as regards the issue of teachers, 1,000 teachers pursued a fast track degree programme for three years. If money was available, we would have provided them with a 100 per cent bursary, but because of limited resources, it was a cost-sharing programme. The teachers paid 50 per cent and the Smart Zambia Institute paid the other 50 per cent. In view of that, one can see the Government’s demonstration and commitment.


 Madam Speaker, going forward, we will provide computers, and to that effect, we are undertaking one pilot project in Nyimba. The Committee on Education, Science and Technology should go to Nyimba to see the pop-up school that has been set up. This programme is being driven by the private sector as part of a broader programme, once the agreement of providing computers is reached. The pop-up school in Nyimba comes with forty-five tablets and a solar system because in places where there is no electricity, the pop-up school has to be provided with solar power. My colleagues would be excited to see that pilot project as this demonstrates the Government’s commitment in ICT development, although we have not yet implemented it because we are still discussing modalities with the private sector. Therefore, a lot is going on.


Furthermore, the Smart Zambia Institute, Huawei Corporation and the Ministry of General Education are working on a programme to supply computers to schools. However, in my considered view, we need to redesign that particular programme so that the tablets which should be given to pupils could probably be given to teachers as a teaching resource. Therefore, in terms of the ICT programme, these are the little things that I can talk about to demonstrate our commitment. Notwithstanding the challenges indicated in the report, the Government is putting in place many interventions to address the concerns that our colleagues raised.


Madam Speaker, in terms of the quality of education, as our colleagues may note, when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, it put in place a number of regulatory institutions such as the Zambia Higher Education Authority (ZHEA), the Zambia Qualifications Authority (ZQA) and the Technical Education, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA). that was established. This is simply because we recognised that in order to have quality education in our country, we need to have regulatory institutions.


However, in its report, the Committee referred to the fact that there are too many regulatory bodies, and I agree with it. I would like to comfort my colleagues that the Ministry of Higher Education is already working on a proposal that will be submitted to Cabinet to try to incorporate the regulatory bodies under one roof so that some of them can just become departments. This will be done in order to address the concern raised by our colleagues as regards the many regulatory institutions, and universities that have been created.


Madam Speaker, it is true that the Higher Education Act, which was promulgated not too long ago, did not address the issue of accreditation? The accreditation of programmes can be provided, but we need to deal with the proliferation of the private sector entities that are setting up the universities. Therefore, some of the concerns of our colleagues regarding the proliferation of universities will be dealt with when amending the University Act. The development of universities is supposed to be gradual. A learning institution can begin as a college and after it meets certain benchmarks or standards, then, it can qualify to be called a university, but that is not what has been happening. However, when the University Act is repealed, such measures will be provided for as part of our regulatory framework.


Madam Speaker, as regards the issue of bursaries in relation to the administration of the loans, the Government wanted to be as transparent as it could be. In the past, we never used to have the Loans and Scholarship Board, but when the Loans and Scholarship Board Act of 2016 was enacted, the board was created to enable students to apply for money to cater for their higher education expenses. However, my best friend, Hon. Muchima, said that there is no transparency in the way the loans are administered, but I believe that the creation of that board was meant to address the issue of transparency and accountability. Since the Government will recoup the funds given to the students in the form of loans, this will be a more sustainable way of financing universities unlike previously, when the money was not recovered.


Madam Speaker, the other issue that was raised concerns the taxing of education materials. Going forward, we will engage the hon. Minister of Finance so that there is a tax waiver on education materials brought into the country by universities and other co-operating partners. The Ministry of General Education and the Ministry of Higher Education are actually working together.


However, I do not agree with Hon. Nkombo’s sentiments. The PF Government has, in the recent past, invested in infrastructure, and nobody would argue about that. Recently, I was in Namibia and when I told my friends that 200 secondary schools and eight universities are being built, they could not believe it. So, the Government is committed to improve the education system. However, Hon. Nkombo said that we are just upgrading the existing infrastructure, and I do not agree with him.


Madam Speaker, in order to increase access to higher education, the strategic options that the Government has taken on board include upgrading existing institutions such as the Kwame Nkrumah University and the Copperbelt Secondary Education Teachers College (COSETCO). For the hon. Member’s information, the Robert Kapasa Makasa University in Muchinga is a brand new university. We are not using the building of the police college because it is not up to standard. The Frederick Chiluba University that will be constructed in Luapula, the university that will be constructed in Kasama, the King Lewanika University and the Paul Mushindo University are brand new. So, this demonstrates that the Government, through the able leadership of President Lungu, will continue investing in infrastructure.


However, going forward, we will continue focusing on strengthening quality assurance agencies. Therefore, Hon. Prof. Luo wants to ensure that all the regulatory bodies that have been created are under one roof. Some colleges of education are under the Ministry of General Education. In this regard, we are strengthening the Teaching Council of Zambia (TCZ) mandate so that it is broadened to ensure that all the institutions that are being set up comply with the set standards before they are called a college of education or a university.


Madam Speaker, in short, we accept the proposals that have been provided in the report and the Government will act on them. Lastly, I would like to thank my colleagues who have debated.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mwamba (Lubansenshi): Madam Speaker, it is gratifying to note that a number of hon. Members of this House have debated. This actually shows that they have been touched by the report. I, therefore, would like to thank them. Let me also thank those who did not rise to debate because I know that they debated whilst seated.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.




(Debate resumed)


Mrs Mulyata (Rufunsa): Long live, Madam Speaker.




Mrs Mulyata: Madam Speaker, before we adjourned yesterday, I was actually on the last point regarding the underperformance of Government grants.


Madam Speaker, some stakeholders were also concerned that grants underperformed by 70.0 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 on account of non-remittance of grants by donors due to poor management of donor funds. They were of the view that the Government should be transparent in the management of donor funds and that it should strive to access the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme. In view of this, the Committee recommends that there should be transparency in the management of donor funds. Further, the Government should ensure that stiffer disciplinary action is taken against officers who abuse these funds.


Madam Speaker, donor funds go missing in Government institutions and no firm disciplinary action is taken. This time around, there will be no sacred cows and firm action should be taken. There should be order in Government institutions. We all know what happened at the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare, and the Ministry of General Education, yet the women in villages and places such as Sioma and Dehehe are suffering and want their money.  As I said earlier, there will be no sacred cows and firm action must be taken.


Madam Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to thank you for having accorded us this opportunity to review the first quarter performance of the 2019 Budget for Selected Ministries and Provinces.


Madam Speaker, with these few words, I second the Motion.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Madam Speaker, I hear some dissension. What have I done?




Mrs Chinyama: Hammer, hammer!


Mr Mbangweta: Madam Speaker, I will just give a few reflections on this report.


Mrs Chinyama: No. Give as much as you want.


Mr Mbangweta: First of all, as usual, I would like to appreciate the Chairperson of the Committee and his team because they always make difficult subjects easy to follow even for us the unlearned.


Madam Speaker, according to the report, service delivery in the Government and in society is suffering. We have been talking about issues in abstract and the Committee has put a finger on these issues. For example, it referred to the fact that we do not get the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) on time. In the past, we complained about the Government instigating by-elections and I want to quote what the Committee said on page 13. Previously, we would talk about certain issues in an abstract manner, but this time, the Committee brought these issues closer for us to appreciate them. On page 13, the report states that:


“The Committee was informed that the use of goods and services was also below target by 38.0 per cent. It was noted that most of the expenditure items were below target in the first quarter of 2019 apart from expenditure towards the conducting of by-elections.”


Madam Speaker, in this House, we stated that instigated by-elections do not add value to the people of Zambia; they just waste everyone’s resources, including time. According to the report, a lot of time is spent conducting by-elections and canvassing, yet they do not add value. Even some of our colleagues who try to pep up this issue ought to now appreciate that the folly of trying to buy councillors and other politicians does not add value. This is a fact because it is stated in the report.


Madam Speaker, according to page 2 of the report, it is very clear that our colleagues in the Executive have not been supporting the previous hon. Ministers of Finance who have had difficulties because they were left to their own devices. They make policies, but they are the first ones to break those policies. Yesterday, during a press conference at Pamodzi Hotel, the new hon. Minister of Finance, in a simple manner, explained why fiscal fitness is a requirement of this country. Previously, we have talked about fiscal fitness, but people will now appreciate its importance. He also explained why it is important for this country to have the International Monetary Fund (IMF) bail out. This is a matter we have been discussing since I came to Parliament, but it has failed. Along the way, some politicians from the other side passed uncomplimentary statements against the IMF and we are where we are because of those statements.


Madam Speaker, I will read a quotation which the Executive ought to pay attention to because it demonstrates the importance of fiscal fitness and why we must come out of the situation which we have found ourselves in. However, they must support the new hon. Minister of Finance and not make him fail by undermining him by not following him and not playing by the rules they have set. Yesterday, the hon. Minister said that the outcome of the IMF Programme was important in order to restore the economy to fiscal fitness. It would be a good start if we enabled fiscal fitness in the economy. Either way, our measures to provide results will all be able to close the gap, and hopefully, have a programme. The IMF Programme sends a positive message to the world and it affects the decision that investors make. Yesterday, the hon. Minister said that when we have an IMF Programme, investors think the economy is being properly managed and they find it easy to come to our country. However, when our colleagues want to mislead people, they say the negative sentiments by the Opposition are the ones making investors fail to come to this country. Therefore, they ought to pay attention to the report because it puts everything in a proper perspective in a simple manner.


Madam Speaker, let me now talk about the targets. The Government set seven performance targets for the year and the implementer or its representative is the hon. Minister of Finance. If the Government was playing by the rules, it would have achieved the targets. However, so far, out of the seven targets set for the first quarter, it has failed lamentably to meet them because it has not achieved even five of them.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Mbangweta: As regards two targets, it has just achieved a little, and if it misbehaves in the coming quarter, it will not fully reach them. This means if it was an examination, its score would be zero. The Government’s first target was to achieve an annual Growth Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate of, at least, 4 per cent. However, when the IMF came here, it downgraded it to 2.3 per cent, which is a fail grade. It also set the target to sustain the inflation rate within the range of 6 to 8 per cent. It almost reached the target in the first quarter, but it will tilt to the other side if it does not play by the rules. The Government also set the target to raise the international reserves to, at least, three months of import cover. At the moment, the import cover stands at 1.6 months, and this is a total failure …


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Mbangweta: … caused by the declining reserves owing to debt servicing. However, when asked about this matter, the Government says it does not have problems with debt. The report shows that the reserves are at an all-time low since inception at Independence. We are not in a war situation, and apart from the drought, there is nothing else which would necessitate this. However, the Government has been saying that debt servicing is not a problem. Yesterday, I said that debt servicing is a problem because we have been enjoined to do something which we are being forced to pay for.


Madam Speaker, the other target the Government had was to increase domestic revenue to not lower than 18 per cent of the GDP. Again, the Government failed to achieve this because the GDP growth rate has dropped to 2.3 per cent, yet it was envisaged to be at 4 per cent.


Madam Speaker, the Government also intends to reduce the fiscal deficit to 6.5 per cent of the GDP. It is almost achieving this, but if it continues on the current trajectory, it may fail to achieve this. The Government also prioritised the dismantling of debt and the curtailing of the accumulation of arrears, but it has failed in many ways in this regard. As at March 2019, the arrears that were supposed to be paid to contractors and suppliers increased in the first quarter from K15.6 billion to K16.7 billion. So, the trend is negative. There is no improvement. We are going backwards and this means that the performance is zero.  


Madam Speaker, with regard to the external debt, during the same press conference, the hon. Minister of Finance said that our external debt is currently US$10.23 billion, and this is the highest of all time. The people on the streets talk about debt while our colleagues say that there is nothing, yet the figure is there. If we are sharing knowledge, not ignorance, all we need to do is compare the level of debt we had in 1964 and the current one, and this will give us the answer. If it is true, we have a debt problem. Our colleagues need to perform better and address the issue instead of telling stories. Therefore, as regards all these issues, the Government should mark itself.


Madam Speaker, according to the Report on Cabinet Affairs, the Government is using the performance management system to assess the performance of senior bureaucrats and other people. If it is using a performance management system for the purpose of attaining macroeconomic objectives, the person managing this process would get zero marks. In other words, he would not get an increment if it is based on performance because the Government has not reached the target. Out of the seven objectives or targets it set, it has failed to reach five while it managed to reach two. So, what is the totality of this performance? It is a lack of service delivery and that is why some schools have no requisites.


Madam Speaker, yesterday, I watched on television children at a certain school seated on the ground. This is 2019, but the Government says it is performing highly. It is creating new districts, but it cannot finish the buildings in those places. It can no longer pay its own employees, thereby breaking the contract of employment with those people. There is a problem and that is why I am saying if it does not change, not too long from now, it will not be able to pay for anything.


Quite clearly, in his maiden speech, Hon. Kufakwandi, who used to sit near me, may his soul rest in peace, talked about the IMF package. He said it was a requirement for this country because if it had the package, other donors would have confidence in the country, as this meant that its systems were working well. It also meant that the country was transparent and open to receive assistance. However, we have been resisting the package. I am wondering why somebody would resist assistance.




Mr Mbangweta: They should be able to answer.


Madam Speaker, that is the incompetence we talk about. Therefore, I request the Government to support the new hon. Minister of Finance because he cannot fail if he is supported. He has carried out such work most of his life.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to debate the Motion on the Floor of the House on the Report of the Budget Committee on the Review of the First Quarter Performance of the 2019 Budget for Selected Ministries and Provinces.


Madam Speaker, from the outset, I would like hon. Members of this House and in particular, the hon. Minister of Finance, to seriously reflect on what is being debated on the Floor of the House regarding the performance of our Budget.


Madam Speaker, fiscal fitness without fiscal discipline is an exercise in futility. The serious question we need to ask ourselves is: Are we being prudent in managing the resources that come into our Treasury through taxation or borrowing? Are we managing our resources prudently and in a manner that befits the people who are focused on improving the economy?


Madam Speaker, I will dwell so much on how we are performing in terms of the decisions that we make. Hon. Members in this House are wearing gloomy faces, and I need not elaborate that.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I do not think so.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Maybe, you should speak for yourself.


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, if you were very observant, as I stood to debate this Motion, some hon. Members murmured. They wished that I had not risen to debate ...


Hon. Members: Question!


Mr Kambita: ... and there is a reason for that.


Madam Speaker, we have –


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


Mrs Chinyama: Iwe, Chabi, naiwe!


Mr Chabi: Madam Speaker, I am equally disturbed by the insinuations being made by the hon. Member who was debating. Is he in order to insinuate that we murmured when he stood to debate because we want to knock off early, when in actual fact, we are seated quietly? If he wants, he can debate for twenty minutes and we will wait until you, Madam Speaker, decides to adjourn the House.


Madam Speaker, I seek your serious ruling.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: In fact, judging from the attention on the part of the hon. Members, they can go beyond 2000 hours, if allowed.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: So, he is certainly out of order.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Zambezi East, you may continue.


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, sometimes, some latent situations are better said even when they are challenged because it creates a light moment and livens up the debate.


Madam Speaker, I have noticed quite significant variances between what this House appropriates in the Budget and the actual disbursement of funds required to implement activities that are budgeted for. The Committee’s report speaks volumes as regards the challenges the Treasury faces in releasing finances for the planned activities. This boils down to what I mentioned earlier, fiscal discipline. Our fiscal discipline is highly challenged. I am glad the new hon. Minister of Finance is here in this House while we are debating this Motion, and he is listening very attentively.


Madam Speaker, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Finance to check this very closely. In organised economies or countries that have prospered, before one accepts the position of Minister of Finance, especially relating to the current situation, he gives the appointing authority a condition. Most times, the condition he gives is that he should be given the freedom or leeway to make serious decisions that will help improve an economy like ours. I am optimistic and I believe the new hon. Minister of Finance undertook such a process to ensure that he has the liberty to foster his intended objectives without political interference.


Madam Speaker, we are where we are because of decisions with serious implications that have been made arbitrarily. We have had situations where one just comes up with an idea and makes it a pronouncement. For instance, when the President of the State makes a pronouncement, it becomes a policy. Even when it is not part of what was appropriated in this House, it ends up getting financing as a priority, and this has been largely the reason we are where we are. At the end of the day, we hide in a very nicely carved term of austerity measures.


Madam Speaker, I do not buy into this idea of austerity measures. Austerity measures can only be implemented where there is prudence in terms of management of resources from the word go. We are initiating capital projects arbitrarily in the name of an ambitious infrastructure improvement programme. However, we all understand that the appetite for this trajectory is the benefit some individuals are getting out of that, and this is where the problem lies. Therefore, we need to be categorical so that when instituting austerity measures, we, especially the Executive, are disciplined enough. Whatever they discuss in Cabinet should benefit an ordinary Zambian. If what they approve disadvantages or does not benefit an ordinary Zambian living in Nyapulenga in Zambezi East, then, that effort does not bring equity. Budgets must be made in such a way that every citizen in this country benefits from the finances that are disbursed and from the activities budgeted for.


Madam Speaker, we have a financial management framework in place. So, my question is: How much effort has the Executive made to actually implement this financial management framework and stop a situation where a junior officer in a line ministry is capable of pilfering finances and building himself more than fifty houses? One wonders where the financial management systems that could have arrested this kind of pilferage before it could happen were. These are serious questions that we need to ask ourselves. If a junior officer could go that far in mismanaging our finances, what more those who have authority and are seated with us in this House?


Madam Speaker, fiscal and budget deficits have now become a habit and a song. Year in and year out, there are deficits, and we see the hon. Ministers of Finance, in succession, bringing supplementary budgets in order to try to get authority from this august House to appropriate monies for places where they have not done well. This actually clearly shows how badly the National Budget is performing in terms of implementation. It has become almost an academic exercise to appropriate finances in this House. Details of activities and figures are put in the Yellow Book, yet the implementation does not follow the sequence in that book. This is done during the long Meeting, which takes place from September to December. This is when we approve every budget line. It is so unfortunate that we keep talking about the same issues, yet we have the power to regulate and help ourselves. We have failed to realise that the challenges that we have in managing our own Budget are affecting us, and that is the reason we are where we are today.


Madam Speaker, earlier, I stated that hon. Members are wearing gloomy faces and I would like to move away from that fact. However, this is because we are under austerity measures and this is our own making. We do not just have enough money to finance activities appropriately and a very good example is our own Committees. If my memory serves me right, Committees used to travel for fourteen days. They would go for local and international tours in the first quarter of the year. The other question I would ask is: How much of the work that this august House is supposed to undertake has been undertaken? We are discussing reports, but they have been made just because we had to produce reports.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Kambita: If we were to operate at the optimum level, Committees would have undertaken tours for fourteen days. They should have undertaken –


Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Madam.


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


Mr Ngulube: Madam Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to rise on a very serious point of order. The hon. Member for Zambezi East is struggling to bring out the relevant material of his debate. Is he in order to insinuate that the reports that we are considering here in this House are of no value and are just manufactured for the purpose of merely producing them? He is trying to embarrass this House at a time it is considering very serious business. Is he in order to attack this House when he is actually one of us?


I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that it is, indeed, unprocedural for the hon. Member to comment on the report of the Hon. Mr Speaker’s Committee in a disparaging manner. For that reason, he is certainly out of order and he will take that into account.


Hon. Member for Zambezi East, you may continue, and I think you had indicated that you were winding down.


Mr Kambita: Madam Speaker, I really thank you for your guidance regarding my line of debate. In the next few minutes, I will, of course, wind up. However, I would like to ask another question. I have tough questions to ask the Executive on the right hand side. We are all aware that fiscal fitness comes from fiscal discipline, but the tough question I would like to ask the Executive is: Who is responsible for the fiscal discipline? If that question was well answered, we would definitely realise that we are where we are because of the men and women on the right hand side.


Madam Speaker, the Committee has clearly indicated the challenges regarding the performance of the National Budget. These challenges are as a result of the men and women on the right hand side who make decisions and are running the affairs of the Government at the moment. That is the reason the United Party for National Development (UPND) is offering an alternative Government.


Mr Mwale: Question!


Mr Kambita: On several occasions, we have suggested the best way to manage the limited resources in the Treasury, but because of the arrogance from the hon. Members on the right hand side, we have hit a snag. We are where we are because of the Patriotic Front (PF).


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Madam Speaker, let me begin by thanking the Committee for the diligent work of reviewing the first quarter performance of the 2019 Budget for the Selected Ministries and Provinces. I also wish to thank the Chairperson of the Committee and the seconder for the ably delivered remarks, and the hon. Members for their valid views on the Committee’s report.


Madam Speaker, I would like to specifically address Hon. Kambita. When His Excellency the President was swearing me in, he indicated that my mandate was to ensure that micro stability is achieved in the economy. It goes without saying that the instruction entails that one cannot achieve stability of the economy with recklessness. So, clearly, His Excellency the President’s instruction speaks for itself. We also need to understand that we do not speak of fiscal indiscipline in absolutes. It is always the matter of degree that one can always improve on the level of the discipline he exhibits.


Therefore, my mandate is to improve on the level of fiscal discipline, and the Government has taken measures to do that. Amongst the measures that have already been implemented is the Financial Management Act of 2018 which spells out the measures that the Government will take against those who flout regulations. Already, a number of civil servants have been dismissed and those who will be found to have broken the law will actually be prosecuted. Thus, we are responding to the need to deal with any challenges that we face in terms of undermining the discipline that is required for us to run an economy.


Madam Speaker, allow me to give the Executive’s view as regards the Committee’s observations and recommendations as well as those made by the hon. Members. I would like to start by addressing the issue of reduced growth prospects. I covered this area in my speech yesterday. Therefore, I will not go into more details other than to state that to enhance growth, we must be mindful of the effects of climate change. Over the past year, we have observed how poor rainfall patterns have affected agricultural and energy sectors.


Moving forward, we must scale up the use of the climate smart agriculture practices and technology such as conservation farming. We must also continue with various energy projects, which are currently underway, while sourcing more investments. In other words, we have to look at our energy mix and move away or reduce our dependence on hydro-power. It is seen that hydro generation is not going to be the future of power generation because one suspects that droughts will probably be more frequent and severe in the future. Therefore, we need to now address solar energy and other forms of power generation. In this regard, I will work closely with my colleagues in the relevant ministries to ensure that we provide the necessary support.


Madam Speaker, hon. Members may be interested to learn that in the preparatory 2020 Budget discussions, the use of climate smart technology and practices has been one of the key discussion points during the National Development Co-ordination Committee chaired by the Acting Secretary to the Cabinet. Further, with the support of our co-operating partners, a number of irrigation schemes will come on stream in the medium term. In the energy sector, we should finalise a number of projects within the medium term. These are projects such as the 750 MW Kafue Lower Gorge Project that is in addition to a number of small hydro generations and solar projects.   


Madam Speaker, let me also address the unstable foreign exchange rate. The exchange rate of the kwacha against major tradable currencies during the first quarter was relatively stable. Against the United States (US) Dollar, the kwacha traded at an average of K11.96 from an average of K11.89 per dollar. This represents a deprecation of 0.6 per cent. The pressure against the kwacha was more pronounced in the second quarter of 2019, when it depreciated by 7.6 per cent against the dollar, trading at an average of K12.83 per dollar. The kwacha is currently trading at K12.06 per dollar.


Madam Speaker, we welcome the Committee’s recommendation to avoid volatility in the exchange rate. Addressing adverse market sentiments, which is an important source of volatility, is an area that the Government has actively been pursuing. This is related to the work the Government is doing in terms of trying to consolidate the fiscal space.


Madam Speaker, hon. Members may wish to note that just a few days upon being nominated Member of Parliament and Minister of Finance, I commenced engagement with various stakeholders by having a second quarter economic briefing with key stakeholders. We are also going to walk the talk regarding implementing the measures the Government has pronounced as this will bring about increased confidence among stakeholders. His Excellency the President’s instructions are clear. Let us stabilise the economy. The surest way this can be done is to religiously implement the various measures which everyone agrees are the panacea.


Madam Speaker, I also want to talk about the dismantling of domestic arrears. Let me say something about the Government’s intention with regard to the clearing of domestic arrears. In view of the magnitude of the amount of around K16.4 billion as at the end of March 2019, the arrears can only be dismantled in the medium term. Depending on the amounts involved, some of the arrears will be quickly paid off, with the focus on local suppliers. This is intended to reduce high non-performing loans and improve liquidity for our suppliers, thereby inducing economy activity. Let me conclude this matter by indicating that the Government has a medium-term arrears dismantling strategy. As we continue with the preparation of the 2020 Budget, this will be updated to reflect the current position and define the way forward regarding the clearance plan for the domestic arrears.


Madam Speaker, another important issue that has been discussed is the credibility of our Budget and the need to restore its credibility. Restoring Budget credibility requires that our estimates of revenue and expenditure are realistic as we prepare the 2020 Budget. This will be a key guiding principle and will assist in curbing Budget deviation so that we can stay within the prescribed fiscal deficit and borrowing limits.


Madam Speaker, however, allow me to indicate that we have made progress in some areas that are critical to Budget credibility as outlined in the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme. This is with respect to automation of various processes, through the Integrated Financial Management Information System (IFMIS) and Treasury Single Account, as we gradually enhance commitment and control systems to avoid deviations from the Budget. We have also undertaken reforms in some of the pressure points for the Government such as the gradual disengagement from the sourcing of farming inputs and reorientation of the role of the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) to that of only procuring and holding strategic food reserves.


Lastly, let me comment on the maximisation of revenue from mining companies. The 2019 Budget contained a number of measures that were aimed at maximising the revenue collected from the mining sector. As minerals are a depleting resource, it is only fair that Zambians benefit from the mineral wealth the country is endowed with. At the same time, it is also imperative that mining companies earn a return on their investments.  


We intent to be consistent with respect to the mining and overall tax regime, as we continue with the 2020 Budget process, I invite mining companies for further discussions on the regime. This is with an understanding that the right balance has to be struck between their earning a return on their investment and the people of this country getting an appropriate share, through revenue collection, because these minerals are our resource.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Simfukwe: Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the seconder, Hon. Mulyata, the hon. Member of Parliament for Rufunsa, for a very eloquent debate. I would also like to thank the hon. Member for Nkeyema and the hon. Member for Zambezi East. Last but not least, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the responses.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Long live Chair!


Question put and agreed to.




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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1932 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 19th July, 2019.














472. Mr Kabanda (Serenje) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to procure desks for schools in Serenje Parliamentary Constituency;


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


  1. how many desks will be procured; and


  1. what the total cost of the exercise is.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government has plans to procure desks for schools countrywide, including the schools in Serenje Parliamentary Constituency.


Sir, the plans will be implemented when funds are available.


Mr Speaker, the number of desks to be procured will only be known once funds are available. However, the House may wish to note that Serenje District has a deficit of 12,139 desks.


Sir, the total cost will be determined by the amount of funds that will be released for this exercise.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.