Wednesday, 19th June, 2019

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Wednesday, 19th June, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have received communication to the effect that in the absence of Her Honour the Vice-President, the Chief Whip, Hon. Steven Chungu, has been appointed Acting Leader of Government Business in the House from today, Wednesday, 19th June, 2019, until further notice.


I thank you.








388. Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to upgrade Zamtan Health Centre in Kamfinsa Parliamentary Constituency to a first-level hospital;


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


  1. if there are no such plans, why.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, Zamtan Health Centre is being upgraded to mini hospital status. The plan is to implement the project in the third quarter of this year.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Musonda: Sir, I do not have a question. I just want to thank the hon. Minister for his answer.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kamfinsa, I am sorry, but I have to ask you to resume your seat. You can thank the hon. Minister over a cup of tea, not on the Floor of the House.




389. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Health:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to construct a district hospital in Katete;


  1. if so, when construction works will commence;


  1. what the cost of the project is; and


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


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, the Government plans to build a hospital in Katete District in the fourth quarter of the year. The mini hospital is of the 108 the Government is building.


Sir, as for the cost of the project, we are not able to state it at the moment because there are certain variables that we are still quantifying.


Sir, the time frame for the project is twenty weeks.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is talking about the construction of the hospital starting in the fourth quarter, but the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has frozen all new projects. Can the hon. Minister assure the people of Katete that the project will take off even if President Lungu has said his Government will not start any new project until the country is safe in terms of its liquidity.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, even in the context of fiscal consolidation, the Government will continue to invest in the health of its citizens, and that will include creating access to health services, procurement of medicines and recruitment of staff. We will not neglect the health of our people. Implementing austerity measures does not entail stalling expenditure in key social services like health sector.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Sir, I know that before construction, there will be a ground breaking ceremony. How long does it take before construction starts after the ground breaking ceremony?


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, it depends on the agreement between the contractor and the ministry. There are many sites where various contractors are committed to start construction, and they give schedules. Like I said, a schedule will be released. So, the time frames will vary.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




390. Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda) asked the Minister of Tourism and Arts:


  1. whether the Government has applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the recognition of the Kuomboka Ceremony as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity;


  1. if so, what the status of the application is; and


  1. if an application has not been made, why.


The Minister of Gender (Ms Phiri) (on behalf of the Minister of Tourism and Arts (Dr Banda)): Mr Speaker, the Government has not applied to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) for the recognition of the Kuomboka Ceremony as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.


Sir, I would like to take this opportunity to inform this House that the procedure for nominating an element to UNESCO begins with the community concerned making a request to the Department of Arts and Culture to nominate the intangible cultural heritage element to the Representative List of UNESCO.


Sir, the Kuomboka Ceremony has a number of elements that may be considered for nomination, including:


  1. the procession of Kuomboka;


  1. the dances;


  1. the traditional food; and


  1. the important rituals attached to the ceremony.


Sir, that said, the ministry is always open to respective communities’ proposals for preparation of nomination files to UNESCO.


Mr Speaker, the Government plans, in the near future, to apply to UNESCO for the nomination of the Kuomboka Ceremony or elements of it to the Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The Government intends to have, at least, one element from each province nominated. In 2018, the Moba Dance of the Lenje people was registered on the list, and the process is ongoing. The nomination of the Moba Dance was initiated by the Lenje community.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Prof. Lungwangwa: Mr Speaker, if I got the hon. Minister clearly, she said the Government has plans to apply to UNESCO for the Kuomboka Ceremony to be recognised. Could she clarify when the Government intends to make the application.


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I believe that my response was adequate. It all depends on the community submitting information to the Department of Arts and Culture. The moment the community does as I have guided, the Government will be in position to apply.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, in the quest to market tourism, and considering the Kuomboka is one of the best ceremonies in the country, what would be wrong for the Government to persuade the owners of particular ceremonies other than the Kuomboka that their ceremonies can be marketed at that level? Would there be anything wrong if the Government took the lead by going to various parts of the country where the ceremonies are held and showed the people that they can register their ceremonies with international organisations so that the whole world can appreciate them.


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I insist that our colleagues should be knocking on the doors of the offices from which they need information, since they represent the public. If they do not look for information, they will not be doing justice to the communities they represent. Therefore, they should come to the Ministry of Tourism and Arts and get the information so that they can share it with the people who sent them to this House.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, clearly, the hon. Minister can see that the topic under discussion is important. Indeed, if we are to promote tourism, there is so much in the ten provinces of the country that needs to be made available for tourists to come and see. Are there any eligibility criteria various communities can use to apply? If so, when will the Government make it available to hon. Members?


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, the Government implements a wide range of activities in the country, and it is not easy to bring every activity to Parliament. This is the reason the people elected us to represent them and we become conveyor belts between the Government and them. So, it is up to the representatives of the people to go to the offices and get the information for their people. They are the ones depriving their people of the information.


I thank you, Sir.




Mr S. Tembo (Chadiza) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. when the tarring of township roads in Chadiza, which stalled in 2016, will resume;


  1. why the works stalled;


  1. what the total cost of the project is;


  1. how much money had been paid to the contractor, as of December, 2018; and


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


The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the tarring of township roads in Chadiza will resume once the contractor is paid the outstanding amount.


Sir, the works have stalled due to non-payment of the contractor.


The cost of the project is K118,370,863.31.


Sir, as of February 2019, K34,705,394.87 had been paid to the contractor.


The time frame for the completion of the remaining works is twelve months from the time the contractor will resume work.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr S. Tembo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s response.


Sir, Chadiza Constituency and Chadiza Boma, as a whole, have had a problem of road works not being done for the past three years. As the hon. Minister has rightly said, K118,370,863.31 is the amount of money that is supposed to be paid to the contractor, but only K34,705,394.87 has been paid. When, precisely, will the contractor be paid some money so that the stalled works can resume?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, like I stated yesterday and at other times, we are currently concentrating on projects that are at or above 80 per cent. The project in question is at 60 per cent. So, we will come down to projects below that threshold, including the one in question, when we have completed those in the 80 per cent or above bracket.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Sir, is the hon. Minister in a position to provide a comprehensive list of projects at or above 80 per cent countrywide to hon. Members of Parliament?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, after a similar request was made yesterday, the ministry is compiling a list of not only projects at or above 80 per cent, but also all township road projects in the country, their status and everything to do with them. The list will be provided to hon. Members.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune: Sir, President Hakainde Hichilema is very concerned about the project in question.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Katombola, resume your seat.


Let us be earnest in our business. There are many platforms you can use for that kind of politicking but not this one.




Mr Livune: Sir, the longer a project takes, the more expensive it becomes. What arrangements have been put in place to ensure that the project, which has been frozen, but is at below 60 per cent, does not accrue exorbitant charges for the Government in the form of overruns the contractor might charge? When will the Government find the money and who will take care of the overruns?


Mr Mwale: Sir, this Government, led by President Edger Chagwa Lungu, is very –


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Mwale: Those issues were taken into consideration when President Lungu issued the directive that we concentrate on projects at or above 80 per cent. We negotiated with the contractors for projects below that threshold to not charge us liquidated damages on projects taking longer to complete. Owing to the fact that this country is led by a good President, we have managed that issue.


I thank you, Mr Speaker. 


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Sir, the people of Chadiza see the machines, as the contractor is on site and fully mobilised yet, if you go to Chadiza today, you will find the roads in a deplorable state. What measures is the hon. Minister taking to comfort the people of Chadiza as they wait for the Government to start working on projects at 60 per cent complete?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the only comfort we can give is that we will get back to Chadiza as soon as we have completed the projects at or above 80 per cent complete. In fact, we have done very well on projects at or above 80 per cent complete, as the Ministry of Finance realises funds on a regular basis. A week ago, it released more than K120 million, which was paid to contractors. We understand that it will release another K120 million next week. As money is collected from tollgates, it is passed on to the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) to pay contractors. We are ensuring that we can quickly go down to the lower bracket. If we did any minor works on the roads, they may just be costly for nothing. We need to tar the roads.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, our Government has spent colossal sums of money on the project. Are the interim payment certificates (IPCs) that have been presented to the ministry equivalent to the 60 per cent or lower level of the project?


 Mr Mwale: Sir, the certified works are more than the amounts paid, and we owe the contractors. We paid only K34 million when the amount due is more than that. We have to pay the contractors some money before they can resume works on the 40 per cent outstanding works.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.




392. Mrs L. Phiri (Chilanga) - asked the Minister of Justice:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to construct a local court building in Chilanga Parliamentary Constituency; and


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


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, this is a replica of the question I answered yesterday, except for the difference in name of the constituency. Whereas it was Chimbamilonga yesterday, it is now Chilanga, but the answer is exactly the same.


Sir, for the sake of clarity, my answer to Hon. L. Phiri is that the Government of President Edger Chagwa Lungu is committed to constructing a local court building in Chilanga Constituency, and the project is part of the Judiciary Strategic Plan. The project will be considered for implementation in the 2020 Budget because presently, the Government’s policy direction is to concentrate on the completion of project at or above 80 per cent complete.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Justice able to share with the House the strategic plan for the Ministry of justice?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, yes.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng'onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, now that Chilanga Constituency is a district, how do the people there, especially the underprivileged, access the justice system?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the Judiciary and the ministry are concerned, especially with the provision of the construction of Magistrate’s Courts in the new districts. With regard to the local courts, like I did yesterday, I appeal to hon. Members of Parliament to consider investing the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in their construction. I have been discussing this matter with the hon. Member for Chilanga, and she appreciates the fact that if she used part of her CDF to build a local court, she would make it possible for the Government to invest in the construction of a Magistrate’s Court. So, I appeal to all hon. Members whose constituencies do not have local courts to consider doing that so that the Judiciary can invest in the more costly construction of Magistrates Courts.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister kindly obliged to provide this august House the strategic plan for the Ministry of Justice so that we know the various facilities that will be constructed under the Judiciary.


Mr Lubinda interjected.


Mr Lufuma: That is what you said.


Mr Speaker: Continue, with your question, hon. Member.


Mr Lufuma: When will the hon. Minister share the strategic plan?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, the question asked by the hon. Member for Katombola is on whether I was able to share the plan, and the response was that I was able to do so. However, I did not say that I would do so. All I said was that I was able to do so. Now that Hon. Lufuma has specifically requested for it, I will make the strategic plan available to all hon. Members in due course.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs L. Phiri: Mr Speaker, the people of Chilanga have taken note of the promise that come 2020, a local court will be constructed in Chilanga.


Sir, the hon. Minister has talked about the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), which is used for many other projects, but is not enough to build a local court.


Thank you very much.




Hon. Member: What is the question?


Mrs L. Phiri: My question is: Please, consider us in 2020, as you have pledged on the Floor of the House.




Chabi: Quality!


Mr Speaker: You have not asked a question to which the hon. Minister can respond.










Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 14th June, 2019.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, as guided by the terms of reference set out in the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, in addition to considering the Action-Taken Report, the Committee studied two topical issues, namely “Service Delivery in Public Health Institutions in Zambia” and “The Welfare of Older Persons in Zambia”. Further, to augment its findings, the Committee undertook a local tour of Lusaka Province and Luapula Province.


Sir, it is my assumption that hon. Members have read the report of the Committee. Therefore, I will merely highlight the few issues that came up during the Committee’s deliberations, beginning with the first topical issue.


Mr Speaker, from the outset, allow me to state that the Committee notes the Government’s efforts to improve health services in the country, especially in the area of infrastructure and human resources. This notwithstanding, the Committee notes that the quality of service remains unsatisfactory due to the several factors that have been highlighted in this report, some of which I will now comment on.


Sir, the Committee observes that the budgetary allocations to the health sector in the recent past have been below the Abuja Declaration levels. The Abuja Declaration requires member countries to allocate, at least, 15 per cent of their National Budget to the health sector. However, in the 2019 Budget, the allocation to the health sector is at 9.3 per cent of the National Budget, which is far below the Abuja benchmark. This has impacted negatively on service delivery in our health institutions because public health facilities have been receiving inadequate and erratic funding for their operations. For example, Chipata Level One Hospital only received its K20,000 monthly grant in May, this year, after having operated without it for eight or nine months. Given the hospital’s huge catchment area, this erratic funding made operations difficult and, needless to say, compromised the quality of service provided.


Sir, in addition, the Committee notes with concern that inadequate funding to the health sector has led to overdependence on donor funding in some facilities. A case in point is Mansa Central Urban Clinic in Mansa District, Luapula Province, which got most of its funding for operations from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and the Results Based Financing Project, which is supported by the World Bank. The Committee is of the view that the overdependence on external financing puts health care provision at risk in case of suspension or termination of such funding by donors. The Committee, therefore, strongly urges the Government to increase funding to the health sector by allocating, at least, 15 per cent, as required by the Abuja Declaration. The Committee also calls for reduced dependence on external financing to enhance the sustainability of funding and enable public health institutions to discharge their mandates effectively.


Sir, another issue of concern is the reduction in the allocation for drugs from K1.2 billion in 2018 to K900 million in 2019. The Committee is of the view that this year’s allocation is inadequate to fund the national drug requirements, especially in view of the increasing disease burden in the country. Additionally, the Committee is aware that the Ministry of Health has accumulated a substantial amount of debt to drug suppliers. In light of this, the Committee strongly recommends that the amounts appropriated to this Vote be increased. Further, in the interim, the Government must make a supplementary provision to cover the deficit and avoid disruption in drug supply. The Committee further urges the ministry to urgently liaise with the Treasury to find ways of offsetting the ministry’s huge debt to drug suppliers.


Mr Speaker, most public health facilities have either obsolete equipment or do not have the equipment necessary for the delivery of quality health services. For example, the cobalt machine at the Cancer Diseases Hospital that is used in radiotherapy is outdated, and the Committee was informed that it cannot be repaired because the required spare parts are no longer being produced. There is, therefore, an urgent need to replace the machine with a modern one capable of facilitating advanced radiotherapy. The estimated cost for the machine is only US$7 million.


Mr Speaker, on the welfare of the aged, the Committee resolved to undertake a study of this topic because it considers the plight of older persons important.


Sir, the Committee is saddened to note that Zambia does not have specific legislation that addresses the unique needs of older persons. Further, it is concerned with the fragmented legal framework governing the welfare of the aged, which is implemented by different institutions in the country. This makes it difficult for the needs of older persons to be adequately addressed. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Government urgently commits resources to reviewing and strengthening the legal framework governing the welfare of older persons in Zambia. In particular, the Government should enact a law to specifically address the plight of older citizens.


Sir, your Committee is further concerned that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, which implements social protection programmes, has continued to receive low levels of funding from the Treasury, making it difficult for the ministry to effectively implement programmes targeted at older persons. The Committee, in this regard, appeals to the Government to prioritise funding to the ministry so that effective services can be rendered to vulnerable persons, including the aged.


Mr Speaker, may I conclude by thanking you for the guidance provided to the Committee during its session. May I also pay tribute to all the stakeholders who appeared before the Committee to make both oral and written submissions in spite of the limited time in which the two important topical subjects were interrogated. I also thank the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services rendered to the Committee.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Ms Kasune: Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, in seconding the Motion, I will highlight a few issues contained in the report of your Committee. I will start with the welfare of elderly people in Zambia, which is another area that our Committee looks at. Your Committee stresses that the Committee has not been funded since last year in the Social Cash Transfer Programme under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. The Committee feels that if we were serious about empowering the elderly in our society, we would ensure that the funding to the ministry is done on a yearly basis and that it reaches its intended beneficiaries. It is in this vein that the Committee encourages the Government to continue funding the ministry.


Mr Speaker, the other issue that came out, especially when the Committee visited Matero After Care Centre, were the dilapidated buildings in which the elderly live and the fact that most are housed together with those who have mental illnesses. Your Committee is concerned that the mixing of elderly persons with those who are mentally challenged is not good for our country and, therefore, asks the Government to ensure that the two categories are separated. Further, the Committee noticed that the building was either built before Independence or just after, and is not conducive for the elderly who live there.


Mr Speaker, yet another issue that came out of the visit is that some of the people housed at the centre are from neighbouring countries, and the Committee noted that there was a need to expedite the process of returning them to their countries so that they can be taken care of by their different countries.


Mr Speaker, your Committee also noted that every elderly person is considered incapable of looking after him/herself, but it is of the view that some of them, if empowered by being given hands up instead handouts, could run business. Not every elderly person should be given handouts or confined to homes for the elderly. The Committee thought it important that the ministry looks at this and actually takes care of ‒


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I know where it is leading.


Continue, hon. Member.


Ms Kasune: I thank you, Sir.


The other issue we looked at is that of policy, and your Committee noted that there is a discrepancy in some of the regulations in the country –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Keembe, you have your script, I suppose.


Ms Kasune: Sorry.


Mr Speaker: Do you have your script?


Ms Kasune: It is just notes because we are told that we should not read, but speak off-the-cuff when seconding.


Mr Speaker: Very well. Proceed.


Ms Kasune: Thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker, there is a discrepancy in some policies of our country regarding elderly persons. It is the request of the Committee, therefore, that the Government ensures that all the policies with a bearing on elderly persons are in tandem. For example, the retirement age is sixty-five but, sometimes, that does not match with the age at which people are supposed to benefit from services provided to elderly persons.


Sir, on health care, it is sad to note that the Ministry of Health continues to lag behind in terms of funding to main institutions. For example, when your Committee visited the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), it was informed that grants are not disbursed on time, with the last K20,000 grant they got having been in November, last year. If the biggest institution in Zambia does not receive its grant on time, how can we expect to reach the universal access to health that we have committed ourselves to attaining for every Zambian to have better health care. Your Committee did not see this discrepancy at the UTH alone but also at Chipata Level One Hospital, where your Committee was informed that about K1,500 was given to the facility as a grant. Further, the Committee learnt that the grant was given neither on time nor regularly. It was given whenever the ministry thought that the money was needed. We also visited places in the rural areas of Luapula Province, such as Mutwewankonko and Kasoma Bangweulu, and found the same problem.


Mr Speaker, the Committee was also made privy to the information that there is a lack of adequate staff in our health facilities. At the UTH, for example, some staff were working as nurses  and some in the Radiology Department but on voluntary basis. How can we allow such a situation? This is why your Committee is asking the Government to expedite funding to the Ministry of Health so that it can sort out such issues. The Government should also ensure that funds allocated for staff emoluments are used for their intended purpose. Your Committee was also informed that some staff who were promoted to different positions were still paid as per their former positions. In short, they are given more responsibilities but less pay.


Mr Speaker, your Committee also visited Medical Stores Limited (MSL) and urges the Government to ensure that the statutory instrument (SI) that mandates the MSL to buy drugs, which was signed, is implemented. To date, drugs are still bought by the Ministry of Health, and your Committee disagrees with that. I, therefore, urge the Ministry of Health to allow the MSL to purchase drugs and make some money. Zambia is very strategically positioned to manufacture drugs and export them to her neighbouring countries, and that can generate revenue for this country. Your Committee also urges the Government to roll out the MSL hubs that have been talked about to regions where they are needed.


Sir, your Committee also looked at the issue of health infrastructure. In some cases, for example, in Mutwewankoko in Luapula Province, your Committee found that some structures do not justify the amount of money spent on them by the Government. Some facilities that cost K350,000 to build were already falling apart before they had even been operationalised. So, your Committee is asking the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure to ensure that when money is given, it is used for its intended purpose and that the works executed meet acceptable standards.


Sir, in most of the places we visited, especially in Luapula Province, the people complained about a lack of ambulances, with the few available ambulances being used to only transport expecting women. Therefore, the male folk wondered whether their lives were not a priority in this country. It is for this reason that your Committee urges the Ministry of Health to provide ambulances in the whole country so that we attain the adequate service delivery that we talk about.


Mr Speaker, there are also issues around water reticulation as well as electricity supply. We found that mothers still gave birth in places where there was no running water not only in Luapula Province but also in many other places in our constituencies. It is for this reason that your Committee continues to urge the Ministry of Health to ensure that water reticulation and electricity supply, especially in the maternity wards, are prioritised so that we attain universal health care service in the whole country.


Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me and the people of Kaputa the opportunity to add our voice to the debate on this very important Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly.


Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the Committee, through its Chairperson who has moved this Motion, for choosing to consider the two topical issues for us to debate. I will limit myself to debating service delivery in public health institutions in Zambia.


Sir, the preamble of your report on page 5 states as follows:


“Various stakeholders expressed concern over the quality of health service delivery in public health institutions. While noting that the Government had initiated health reforms as espoused in the Zambia National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021 and the Seventh National Development Plan, the quality of health care by health providers had allegedly been affected by irregular and erratic funding to health facilities.”


Mr Speaker, when you read this report, you will find that there are many issues your Committee studied, in looking at health service delivery in the public sector.


Sir, one of the issues I identified is that of human resource in the health sector. From the time the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, we have seen quite a number of positive developments in terms of increasing the human resource in the health sector, including in the rural areas. I can attest that even in Kaputa, that is the case. I remember in 2011 when I came to this House, in some health posts, guards or cleaners would attend to patients, and we called them doctors. I can now report that the health posts have well-trained nurses manning them. Probably, that is the situation in most other areas. However, it is critical to note that we are still very far below the required levels of human resources in institutions at all levels of the health sector. Therefore, the Government must train more human resource. My proposal is that instead of training our human resource only in the urban centres, it is high time we decentralised the training institutions. We know that most training institutions are in the urban centres, such as Lusaka, the Copperbelt and the line of rail. I can only imagine what would happen if there was a training school for nurses or clinical officers in Kaputa. Most of our children have completed Grade 12 and obtained very good results. So, they would take advantage of the training institutions.


Sir, if the youths in Kaputa were employed in the rural areas, they would be very good employees because they would work where they have been living. So, they would provide good health services to our people in the rural areas. Sometimes, it is very difficult for rural areas to retain the children raised in the urban centres. When such people go to places like Kaputa, they start coming up with stories about being sick or wanting to go back to school. Therefore, we fail to retain them. It is pleasing that there is a nursing training school on Chilubi Island in the Northern Province. I think that is a positive development that must be supported. However, we need more training schools.


Mr Speaker, the other area I want to look at is that of drugs and medical equipment supplies, which is addressed by your report. Yes, some positive strides have been made in this, but more effort could still be made in the procurement of drugs. The report indicates that drugs are centrally procured by the Ministry of Health. However, this mandate must go back to the institution that was established to not only store drugs and other supplies but also procure them because it has the human resource and specialisation for the task.


Mr Speaker, transportation of drugs can be a challenge if, for example, the drugs are being taken from Lusaka to Kaputa. There are many challenges in the transport system. Yes, there has been an improvement in transportation, but putting up medical hubs in provincial centres like Mpika does not resolve the problems for those of us in far-flung areas because the distances remain long. The distance between Kaputa and Mpika is still over 700 km. So, the desire of many of us in rural places is that we get medical storage facilities closer to our areas. For example, Mporokoso can cover Kaputa while Kawambwa can cover Chienge, Nchelenge and Kaputa. Many positive developments have been made, such as putting up medical storage hubs in the provincial centres. However, that is not enough. We want the hon. Minister to go further and put up these facilities in the districts that are closer to where the people are.


Mr Speaker, as regards equipment, your report indicates that in a number of medical facilities, including new ones like the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), specialised equipment is obsolete or non-functional. If that is the situation at the UTHs and Chainama, then, the stories should be worse for Kasama and Mbala. I will come back to this issue before I conclude.


Mr Speaker, on budgeting for the health sector, yes, the Abuja Declaration recommends that a minimum of 15 per cent of national budgets be allocated to the heath sector. However, I think we can do much better than that in Zambia if we start looking outside the box and come up with another way of financing the health sector. Currently, we depend on donors for 70 per cent to 80 per cent of the funding. However, we must own our health sector. So, we must start looking outside the box and find innovative ways of mobilising resources to finance the health sector 100 per cent. Imagine for a moment that the developed countries like America stopped funding us. Many people suffering from serious illnesses like Human Immuno deficiency Virus/Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (HIV-AIDS), tuberculosis (TB) and malaria would perish in no time because we do not own the financing system. We can only say that we are independent when we can finance our health services.


Mr Speaker, allow me to agree with the observations and recommendations on Page 29 of your report. It reads:


“The Committee observes with concern that the Government has taken long to present the Health Services Bill, resulting in health services provision continuously being guided by various pieces of legislation, some of which are still under review.”


Mr Speaker, this is within our purview. Can we ensure that the Health Services Bill is presented to the House quickly so that we can give our professionals the law that they can work under.


Sir, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to make some remarks on the report that has just been presented by your Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Mr Speaker, from the outset, I want to congratulate the Committee on a report well written and delivered.  Congratulations, Hon. Dr Kalila and Hon. Kasune.


Mr Speaker, this report came about because the Committee felt that there are serious problems in the health sector. If you look at Page 5 of the report, it reads:


“Erratic funding to health facilities, obviously resulting in inadequate infrastructure; outdated, broken-down or a lack of modern equipment; inadequate ambulance services; and also, very importantly, negative attitudes to clients; long queues; and general dissatisfaction by the public.”


These are the problems our health sector is facing. This is a general report, but let me augment it by adding what I see on the ground, for example, at Kalabo General Hospital that I am familiar with.


Mr Speaker, at Kalabo Hospital, the number of doctors is not adequate. So, the pressure of work is so high that the doctors and other medical staff cannot cope. This means that, sometimes, the people of Liuwa walk for five days to reach the Boma and go to the hospital just to be told that they can only see the doctor in five days. Further, most of the time, patients, some of whom are so poor that they cannot produce a K20, are given prescriptions and told to buy the medicines from the market because the hospital has no drugs. So, sometimes, when they have a little money, they only buy half or a quarter of the dosage hoping that they will get better even if they take only two or three tablets instead of the twelve prescribed. Additionally, the patients are fed only once per day. So, while they are ill, what actually kills them is hunger because the hospital is unable to feed them. That is what is happening in our hospitals.


Sir, let me now talk about Liuwa, because in Liuwa there is no hospital. The people go to Kalabo. It is important for me to acknowledge that we have made some progress on some of the infrastructure in Liuwa. However, on the delivery of services, some basic things that are required in the clinics are not there. For many of the babies born in those clinics, the first thing they experience on this earth is smoke in their eyes and nostrils because there is no electricity for lighting. The health assistants just get some grass and light a fire inside the clinic to provide light while delivering the baby. No wonder, some of the children end up becoming chain smokers.




Dr Musokotwane: Hon. Minister of Health, liaise with your colleague next to you (referring to the hon. Minister of Local Government) and make him aware that clinics are not just constructed but also have to have clean water. Otherwise, your health service delivery will be inadequate.


Sir, the other aspect that is lacking is the issue of communications. In Liuwa, there are few towers. So, how do the staff at the clinics communicate with the central hospital in Kalabo when there is an emergency evacuation? Some clinics have radio messaging, but the majority of them do not. That equipment might seem very simple but, as a well-trained medical personnel, the hon. Minister knows that when they are not available, health services delivery begins to suffer.


Mr Speaker, why are we talking about broken down equipment and absence of water in health facilities? The problem is well-known, and it is that the Government has no money because it spends most of the money on debt servicing. These things are absent in our health facilities and schools, and the Government is failing to feed the people affected by the drought in Liuwa because most of the money is spent on paying back debts or funding the by-elections that the Ruling Party creates. We spend a minimum of US$1 million on every by-election. So, our colleagues prefer councillors resigning from their parties to join the Patriotic Front (PF), thereby causing by-elections, to buying medicines.


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


Dr Musokotwane: Hon Minister, you are a good man. Please, sit down.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Liuwa, please, focus on the report.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I am focusing on the report. The problem is that the Government cannot buy medicines or repair equipment because it spends most of its money on by-elections and debt servicing. To elaborate this, in the 2019 Budget, debt servicing and salaries add up to 87 ngwee of every kwacha revenue collected, leaving only 13 ngwee. How, then, can we be surprised that we are failing to buy medicines, repair equipment and hire adequate personnel? What can be done with the 13 ngwee that remains after paying debts and salaries?


Mr Speaker, for a long time, the Ministry of Health budget took up between 12 per cent and 15 per cent of the National Budget. Currently, it stands at 9.3 per cent. How can we blame the hon. Minister of Health if he is not given enough money?


Mr Speaker, the 2019 budgets of the two critical sectors of health and education combined are smaller than the budget for debt servicing. The conclusion one draws from all these facts is that the Government does not consider issues of health and education a priority. Otherwise, the two important ministries would get more money than they get today. In fact, the Government is lucky that the donors step in to help with funding various programmes and activities. If they left today, there would be a disaster for the Ministry of Health. The two ministries are important for social service delivery but, unfortunately, the Government’s priority seems to be elsewhere.


Sir, on the issue of by-elections that I talked about, if you look at infrastructure in the country, here, in Lusaka, you will see so many roads that you can even get confused because we are constructing the roads to make us feel like we are in a developed country when staff in the health sector are suffering and there are no medicines in the hospitals. This reminds me of a story we used to hear when we were young about people you see in big cities who wear expensive suits, ties and shirts but, when put under an X-ray, their inner clothing looks like fishing nets.




Dr Musokotwane: There is no point in trying to make Lusaka look like London when we are failing to give the people who sent us here, our brothers, sisters and cousins, adequate medical services. Due to inadequate medical services, some children will be stunted, no, mentally retarded. I am sure the hon. Minister will tell us that, yet they are the ones we expect to lead this country in ten to twenty years. What country are we building? Hon. Minister of Health, we are there to campaign for your ministry and the Ministry of General Education to get adequate funding so that we have capable human capital in future.


Mr Speaker, my last point is, yes, I know money is in short supply, but I think the ministry is responsible for its internal governance issues and how it looks after the few resources it receives. Does it look after the money properly? Unfortunately, the ministry has a long history of abuse of financial resources. I am sure the hon. Minister remembers that Permanent Secretaries (PSs) have been arrested and questioned over money that went to the ministry and tended to be abused.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Sir, I am grateful for the opportunity to comment on the report.


Mr Speaker, it is clear that the problems in the health sector arise from poor funding because the Government does not release enough money and on a regular basis, thereby making planning extremely difficult.


Sir, the mover of this Motion admits that service delivery is unsatisfactory. In other words, our people continue to suffer because they have to wait a very long time to see a doctor and, very often, there are no drugs in hospitals and clinics. So, they are given prescriptions to buy medicine. Imagine the challenge our people in rural areas face when they have to travel long distances to receive medical care and, that is, if they have the money to do so.


Sir, the health facilities in this country lack equipment, yet health care delivery is a very important service that must be prioritised. From what we have heard, we depend on donors to run the health sector. For how long can we depend on donors for essential services? If relationships with our donors go sour, the health service delivery will collapse.


Mr Speaker, this Patriotic Front (PF) Government came up with the so-called National Health Insurance Scheme to address challenges of funding. I am surprised that the scheme is still not operational. We debated the scheme here and suggested that we needed to refine it, but the Government was in a hurry to get the scheme going. Given that there is no money, and Hon. Dr Musokotwane has told us that the reasons there is no money are debt servicing and by-elections, I challenge this Government to operationalise the National Health Insurance Scheme. Our colleagues told us that they had the answer to the challenges in health delivery.


Mr Speaker, a healthy nation is a productive and wealthy nation. However, looking at this report that has been ably presented to this House, it is clear that funding is at the core of the challenges we face.


Mr Speaker, issues of funding cannot be separated from the story of corruption. Several months ago, there was a discussion in this House on ambulances this Government was buying. However, to date, we have not received those ambulances or heard anything more about them, yet our people continue to suffer.


Mr Speaker, it is important that health care delivery gets its due attention, but that will only happen if those charged with the responsibility of procuring ambulances, medicines and equipment do so speedily, correctly and efficiently. For as long as we will not pay attention to the usage of national resources, our people will continue to suffer.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I thank the Committee for highlighting the issues affecting service delivery. It is my hope that the Government will pay attention to these issues and address the shortcomings to ensure that our people receive the much-needed services.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on this very important report.


Mr Speaker, let me begin by thanking your Committee for giving us a well-structured report.


Mr Speaker, sometimes, when I move around in this nation, I begin to wonder what is going on because most of the questions we hear asked and answered here are about people craving for infrastructure development in their constituencies. People have been asking the Ministry of Health when they will be given health infrastructure in their areas. However, when some people talk about borrowing, they make it look like the borrowed money is not being used for its intended purposes.


Sir, I thank the hon. Minister of Health for being very hardworking, and His Excellency the President of Zambia, Mr Chagwa Lungu, for the policies that he has put in place in the ministry. Today, there is the policy that every district must have a district hospital.


Mr Mutale: Mr Speaker, it is this Government that decided to construct 650 health posts. However, you will hear a certain sector of our society always paint the Patriotic Front (PF) Government black over borrowing, forgetting that it is denting Zambia’s image to the outside world by making it look like it does not utilise its money prudently.


Sir, it is a fact that the health standards in this country have improved wherever you go and, time and again, we see the hon. Minister of Health on television telling this nation about some equipment procured by the ministry. If you go to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) today, you will find that Zambia offers one of the best cancer services in Africa. The only problem I want to add to the report of your Committee is that we do not help the ministry to deliver the much-needed services by sensitising the communities in which we live. The ministry has tried very hard to provide health services and the personnel needed in the rural areas and countrywide but, in some communities, people still practise witchcraft, leading to health workers running away from those communities. In some instances, workers who worship on Saturday do not work on that day. So, they close the clinic, and no one wants to help the hon. Minister by simply reprimanding such officers, a role which I believe is part of our duties as Members of Parliament.


Sir, much as the Government may put money in the ministry, if we do not also address the attitude of some of the health personnel, the money will go to waste. In some health centres, you will find a health worker drunk as early as 0800 hours. The officer goes to work when he wants, but no one reminds him that he is there to offer services to the people. All we do is blame the hon. Minister who is already working hard to improve the health sector and has transformed the health sector in this nation. Just two weeks ago, we saw him handing over ambulances. Unfortunately, it worries me the most that whenever we take development to the people, some people say we did it because there is a by-election in that area. Should the Government stop working when there is a by-election in an area when people do not stop getting sick even during a by-election? It is for the people who require the services that the ministry has continued to deliver them.


Mr Speaker, it is a fact that we need to help the ministry by increasing the budgetary allocation to it, and I urge all the Members of this House to support the report of your Committee.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, I think it is always good to be truthful whenever we give a report. A report must have facts, not stories that are not true, especially with regard to the people who are victims of what we are talking about.


Sir, I do not know how I can thank a person who is running an institution he is failing to fund, and where there is erratic funding, inadequate infrastructure, outdated and broken-down tools, a lack of modern equipment, and almost everything is lacking. What is the difference with somebody who will provide adequate funding, modern equipment and all that we need? I think you can only thank somebody who has done very well, not somebody who is performing below par. That is not right and it is not fair. Our colleagues are now saying those who are telling the truth are painting a bad picture of the country. Who has the brush? If there is corruption and they are doing nothing to stop it. Should we not talk for fear of painting the country bad? Stating the truth is not being unpatriotic. It is actually being patriotic because it leads to improvement. We have many problems here but, when you mention them, somebody says that is painting the country bad. That is not true because the one not telling the truth is the one who actually paints the country bad.


Mr Speaker, the purpose of getting into government is to exploit the natural resources, make profits and, using the profits, deliver services to the people, offer good health services and education. This is one of the duties of a government. It is not to give excuses and do wrong things. We have read on page 5 that funding to health facilities is irregular and erratic and that the infrastructure is inadequate. The question is: Why? The former Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr Musokotwane, said it is because of debt servicing and I agree. The other Doctor said it is because of poor planning and I agree with him too. Yet another hon. Member said it is because of unnecessary by-elections and I agree with him too but, above all, it is because of corruption and mismanagement. We are losing too much money through corruption. This year alone, we have lost K6.1 billion while last year, we lost K4.1 billion, yet our colleagues expect us not to talk about this and are instead labelling us very negative and unpatriotic when we do, but they forget to stop those who are doing things that are bringing suffering to the majority of Zambians. We cannot have services because of the K6.1 billion we lost last year. We could also have provided adequate funding to the Ministry of Health if we had the K4.1 billion that only a few selected people shared.


Sir, the situation in the country is not good. People have suffered for too long, yet they elect us hoping that we can improve their lives, not make them worse. Erratic funding to health facilities is a very serious problem. As I speak, for instance, Kalomo Central Hospital does not have an X-ray machine. We could have purchased something from the K6.1 billion to buy the machine. The district hospital does not even have a mortuary. So, when somebody dies, it takes about five hours to take the body to a mortuary that is 5 km away. Further, there is only one ambulance for a big district like Kalomo. As a result, some people give birth on ox-carts while others die because there are no readily available ambulances to take them to the hospital. Were money not wasted through corruption, mismanagement or misappropriation, excellent services would be provided to the people, which is the reason people pay tax. The money collected at tollgates is supposed to be used for such services.


Sir, there are about fifteen clinics in my constituency whose boreholes have dried up. The streams and dams where the people used to get water have also dried up because of the drought. Surely, how could a clinic run without basic ingredients like water? If the money being misappropriated or used to buy luxury jets with bars and beds was made available, good services would be provided to our people. Our problems are caused by a lack of planning because wrong things are prioritised over serving the people of Zambia who put us in these positions. The Government cannot tell us that we are paying tax to enable its officers to repay the loans that were senselessly contracted and used on projects whose costs were so exaggerated that we have found ourselves in the current situation.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, I may have got you wrong. Did you use the word ‘senseless’?


Mr Kamboni: We were quoted here …


Mr Speaker: No, I am asking you a question. Did you use the word ‘senseless’?


Mr Kamboni: Yes, that is the word I used.


Mr Speaker: I think find a more parliamentary word to use.


Mr Kamboni: Thank you very much, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Withdraw the word.


Mr Kamboni: I withdraw it and substitute it with ‘over borrowing’ or ‘unnecessary borrowing’.


Sir, somebody said that hospitals have improved a lot and cited the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH). However, some of my students work there. I would like to state that the condition at that hospital is terrible. I have lost many friends because, sometimes, the equipment does not work. People have died during chemotherapy because of malfunctioning equipment. We have also lost many people in Kalomo whose lives we could have saved if the equipment was working well. I lost big and progressive farmers in Kalomo who could not be treated because the equipment at the CDH is obsolete, yet some people are saying the hospital is operating very well. To which cancer hospital are they referring? I hope it is not the one in Lusaka whose equipment is obsolete, and I wonder why it cannot be repaired or replaced and my mind comes back to the same issue: the lack of funding caused by mismanagement, corruption and a lack of vision and planning.


Sir, our colleagues come here and wonder why health workers do not treat patients well. The reason is that good doctors who knew their work were fired on flimsy reasons. We know their names. They were fired on the basis of tribalism or regionalism leaving unqualified personnel.




Mr Kamboni: Yes! We have to talk about it.


Sir, the Government has employed unqualified people when there are many competent people in the country and when those employed provide a poor service, our colleagues start complaining and wondering why. If you asked about the qualifications of the President of the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA), you would discover that he has low qualifications, yet there are more qualified people in the country. So, as long as we take politics to such institutions, we should not expect good service from them. We need to be professional in handling such issues. There are complaints at the CDH that the Director cannot even pronounce Panadol and runs away from meetings. Doctors go to him, but he does not know anything.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kalomo Central, resume your seat.


I think you have been here long enough to know that we do not debate people who are not here, especially not in a disparaging manner. These proceedings are immunised, but we should not use them to abuse others because of the immunity. I do not think it is fair. You can criticise the services and the rest because that is within your rights, but do not launch personal attacks and innuendos on defenceless people. They will not be heard at all! It is not fair. In addition, please, calibrate the emotion.


You may continue.


Mr Kamboni: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.


Sir, on the shortage of drugs, I believe that the ministry is run by trained professionals who know what they are doing. So, how do they spend a lot of money ordering expired drugs? Apart from that, there have been situations in which the wrong type of drugs were procured and had to be withdrawn. As far as I am concerned, that is negligence of duty and somebody somewhere is supposed to be fired when such things happen because they contribute to the shortage of drugs in hospitals. So, I appeal to managements to improve in terms of ordering the correct drugs at the right time so that we can reduce the shortage of stocks needed by the poor people in the country.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare.


Hon. Government Members: How?


Mr Kamboni: The report is combined.


Hon. Opposition Members: Simunabelenge!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, continue. Who are you addressing now?




Mr Kamboni: Sir, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare can do a lot more to serve the community, especially now that some parts of the country are experiencing drought. I had hoped to see a lot done. I know that most of the funding came from donors who started by funding the Ministry of General Education. However, because there were many cases of corruption at the ministry, they were shifted to the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. Again, corruption was reported there, and I do not know where they now stand.


Sir, when we go to our constituencies, the people who are supposed to be beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer (SCT) Scheme ask when they will receive the money, but we do not have answers to that question. Is the scheme still there or is it dead? What surprises me is that when there is a by-election, the scheme wakes up from the dead and a table is arranged and money is given to the beneficiaries. In Kalomo District, people have not seen anything of that nature. There is no SCT, yet the Government announced that the scheme had been rolled out to all parts of the country. About 700,000 were earmarked to benefit therefrom, but we are not told why there is no money or when the scheme will resume. It is important that the beneficiaries are communicated to. If the programme has failed, please, let the people know so that they know how to get on with their lives. It is bad that they were expected to live on it but, because of corruption and mismanagement, the scheme has died, yet those who are supposed to protect the country’s resources from corruption are defending the vice. This surprises me because if there was no corruption, the SCT Programme would have continued.


Sir, I had also requested that we do not politicise the programmes in this ministry. However, the situation is now even getting worse because even District Commissioners (DCs) are getting involved. Surely, how can we make progress in the ministry? When the hon. Minister comes to wind up debate, I would like her to tell us when the programme will resume and what has caused the delay in resuming it. However, I want to believe that it has been put on hold because there is no money and that corruption is a contributing factor. In short, a programme that used to serve the masses is no longer in place.


Sir, for us to progress in this country, we must address the issue of corruption because it has hit the country hard. When information about corruption comes up, it is regarded as raw data. Surely, how can one individual receive US$3 million when my hospital needs an X-ray machine and a mortuary and there are sixty-six schools without water in my constituency and when I go to the hon. Minister responsible, he tells me that he does not have the money and that he has to ask from somewhere? How can they have US$6 million in their bank accounts and that is considered so normal that those who mention it are told they are making a mistake?


Mr Speaker, we need to address corruption and mismanagement, and stop by-elections because they do not augur well for the country. We need every coin to solve Zambia’s problems. The by-elections do not add any value to Zambia’s development. That we spend so much money on by-elections when we cannot provide services to our people just shows how unworthy of their positions some leaders are.


Mr Speaker, lastly, I hope the country has learnt the lesson that if you over-borrow, you will reach a level where you will fail to provide social services. If you are a Government that cannot provide social services, you are supposed to step down. So, the time for the PF is gone and, come 2021, it will not be there.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to add my voice to the debate on the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Sir, the problem with our friends on your left is that everything is on 2021 –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, when you adopt that line of debate, my anxiety is that we will start debating ourselves. What I propose you do is debate the policies, the issues and programmes without singling out any grouping. Our conventions do not allow us to debate ourselves.




Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, your guidance is always appreciated. I hope our colleagues on your left will also appreciate it.


Mr Speaker, we should be able to appreciate what is happening in the health sector. I was in medical school and saw first-hand what was obtaining in the sector in the 1980s and 1990s. In the past, under some good professors, cancer cases were managed from a cubical but, today, when you go to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), what you will see there is a marvel we should commend. The hon. Member for Liuwa acknowledged that today, Lusaka looks like London, which is good. We can all see the infrastructure development spreading out. I just urge the Government that as it spreads out infrastructure development ‒ look at the hospitals expanding massively, such as the UTH, Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and the clinics in Kabwata and Matero, which are now hospitals, and that is good ‒ we should do the same for our people in the rural areas. I come from Kanchibiya, a constituency so vast that it has been compared to the State of Israel in size, and areas like that feel left out when they do not have a single hospital. Therefore, I urge the Government, which is responding very well, to remember rural areas like Kanchibiya and Sioma.


Mr Speaker, I commend the Government for the initiative of constructing 650 health centres, most of which have been completed. However, I wish to remind the hon. Minister of Health that the people of Munkunta, Muwere and Mulonga are still anxiously waiting by the road to see when the contractor will be on site to construct the health centres in their areas. The people of Mulonga, Muwere, Mwelushi in Chundaponde, Kabinga and Munkunta always call me to ask when the construction will begin, as they see the Head of State, our able hon. Minister of Health or other delegated officers on television (TV) opening rural health centres all over the country. It is important that the rural parts of our country are not left behind.


Mr Speaker, I commend the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for ensuring that there is constant recruitment of health works, especially given that our population is growing and there is a greater demand for well-staffed health centres. I just urge that the rural parts of our country not be left behind. Their facilities should also be adequately staffed so that our people do not think about migrating from the rural areas into urban areas. We should avoid that because the riches of our nation that will propel our country to more prosperity are in the rural areas. Agriculture, mining, manufacturing and different other spheres can add to the wellbeing of our country. However, when the health centres are far from their clients, the people will migrate to urban centres. Firstly, they will send the patient, then the mother or children and, eventually, everyone.


 Mr Speaker, as regards appropriate transport, there should be water transport for those who live near water bodies. We need both land and water ambulances in the rural areas. The land-based ambulances should be adaptable to the terrain in rural areas.


Sir, Chief Mpepo always asks when an ambulance will be sent to his area, which is over 100 km from the hospital in Mpika, especially after the hon. Minister’s assurance. So, waiting for an ambulance from Mpika to go to Mpepo is like someone near Kabwe waiting for an ambulance from Lusaka. Imagine the distance from the UTH to just near Kabwe and, then, from there back to the UTH.


Sir, the people of Kabinga are grateful for the officers the hon. Minister sent to assist us in combating the measles that broke out there although we are still mourning three young lives whom we lost during the outbreak. Had we proper communication facilities and ambulances in Senior Chief Kopa, Chief Kabinga and Chief Luchembe’s areas, the response to such medical emergencies and other medical cases would be more effective.


Sir, I do not want to take too much time of the House. So, let me end by thanking you for giving me the opportunity to debate and remind our colleagues on the left to always give credit where it is due and as it is due. I also want to remind the hon. Minister that while we appreciate what he is doing, he should not leave anyone behind like the people of Kanchibiya feel today.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate. I thank Hon. Dr Kalila and the entire Committee for coming up with a report that explains the situation in the health sector in this country. I know the Committee could not go to all the constituencies of this country. So, I want to add to their report the situation in Kalomo District and Dundumwezi Constituency, in particular.


Mr Speaker, before I talk about my district, I want to state that the situation at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is very pathetic. The car park which, if I am not mistaken, was started by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), has since been abandoned. People who go to visit their relatives can hardly see them because there is no parking space. The parking area has been enclosed and abandoned by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. I encourage the hon. Minister to look for resources to complete the car park. Further, if you go to the UTHs, you will discover that the place where people are supposed to park, which faces the main entrance, has been closed. That is why we hear of the PF cadres charging motorists who visit their relatives. I do not think that paints a good picture of the ministry.


Sir, Kalomo District and Dundumwezi Constituency have not received any of the 650 health posts the Government is building. I acknowledge the ambulance we received last year, but that is not enough. We needed the four health posts to help reduce the movement of people from the constituency to Kalomo, which is almost 100 km away. The four projects have taken off. At the Kalemu site, only a borehole was drilled while nothing has been done at the other sites, including Nabulangu.


Mr Speaker, I remember that last year, the hon. Minister indicated that by October 2018, we would see the contractors move in to complete the projects in most constituencies. My request is that as he considers other areas. The hon. Minister includes Dundumwezi because we need those health posts constructed so that people can access health services.


Sir, I visited the health post at Kasukwe on Sunday and found that it did not have even Panadol. Surely, even if there was an ambulance, I do not think it would be able to ferry people from all corners of the constituency to Kalomo General Hospital or Macha General Hospital. Therefore, we need the basic and essential drugs to be taken to remote areas like Dundumwezi.


Mr Speaker, I heard Hon. Dr Malama talk about Chundaponde. I want to inform him that what is happening there is exactly what is happening in Dundumwezi. I thought some of the 650 health posts had been constructed in his area but, now, I hear that there is none in his area either. This means that the ministry is operating below par.


Sir, we have seen the hon. Minister on television (TV) breaking the ground for projects, including in the Chikanta area of Kalomo, but we have not seen anything happen since. I remember that during the by-election in Sesheke, there was a ground-breaking ceremony for a training school, but nothing has been done. We do not want to see the hon. Minister at ground-breaking ceremonies only where there are by-elections. We want him to address the serious challenges that Zambians are facing.


Mr Speaker, on several occasions, we have heard hon. Ministers ask us to use part of our Constituency Development Fund (CDF) allocations to respond to some of the challenges. In Mikata, we built a health post and a staff house, but we have not received any health personal to assist the people of that community for over a year. We are asking that health personnel be sent to areas where we have used the CDF to put up infrastructure without delay.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare (Mrs Mwansa): Mr Speaker, I thank the Chairperson and members of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for a job well done. I also thank them for the great and detailed report they produced on welfare support of older persons in Zambia.


Sir, allow me to react to the report by stating that the wellbeing of older persons in the country is the responsibility of all of us. We all need to care for our senior citizens because they are men and women who have already contributed to the development of the nation. Further, they hold a lot of wisdom and knowledge, and deserve the best just like any citizen of the great nation of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, my ministry has put in place policies and programmes aimed at uplifting the welfare of older persons in the country, two of which are the National Aging Policy and the National Social Protection Policy. The policies are aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of vulnerable people to enable them to lead productive, fulfilled and dignified lives.


Sir, in terms of programmes, the ministry is running the Matero After Care Centre, which is a place of safety that offers shelter, meals, counselling, clothing and other basic needs to the vulnerable, including older persons. The ministry aims to reunite older persons with their families and assists vulnerable households through programmes like Social Cash Transfer (SCT) in order to reduce the burden of support on their relatives. In addition, the ministry runs two older persons’ homes in Maramba, Livingstone –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1630 hours until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mrs Mwansa: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the ministry also runs two old people’s homes, namely Maramba in Livingstone and Chibolya in Mufulira.


Mr Speaker, like any other institution, we have had challenges in providing adequately for older persons in our country. For example, the Matero After Care Centre was set up to cater  for mental health users in need of medical reviews but, due to a lack of a place of safety, it is now providing shelter, care and support to vulnerable members of the public to prevent destitution.


Mr Speaker, the ministry has not stopped the Social Cash Transfer Programme and is also still negotiating with our co-operating partners for their continued support to the programme. Currently, the programme funds are being disbursed here, in Lusaka, and, by next week, we will move to the Copperbelt, as we go from one province to another because, currently, it is only the 75 per cent Government support that is being disbursed. I, therefore, assure the hon. Members that the programme is here to stay because our President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, does not want to leave anyone behind.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me state that, generally, there is a lack of commitment in most members of the public to taking care of older persons in the community. Otherwise, we have taken note of the recommendations of the Committee and the comments of hon. Members. We shall, therefore, take keen interest in them and incorporate the recommendations in our programming.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for according me this opportunity to comment on behalf of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, led by His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, on the report of your Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Sir, from the outset, I want to thank the Committee for its report. That done, I will now respond to some of the issues raised in the report and in the comments of my colleagues on the Floor of the House.


Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is pursuing a transformational agenda in health, and we are focusing on universal health coverage by building health systems that are resilient, robust and anchored on primary health care. That is well enshrined in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and the 2017-2021 National Health Strategic Plan (NHSP). So, I want to allay the fear that we have no plan. We do have a solid plan to address the health of our people.


Mr Speaker, in creating health systems robust enough to assure health for all, we have invested in infrastructure for health, human capital, health care financing mechanisms, stronger supply chain systems, research and health security. Our health systems are basically getting better every day.


Mr Speaker, I advise my colleagues that health is bipartisan and whenever we hear the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services present a report, let it be an opportunity for us to engage meaningfully on the health of our people. Let us avoid the temptation to politick on an apolitical subject like health. The health of the people of this country is critical to the aspirations of the Vision 2030. So, regardless of which political party is in power, the health of the people of this country remains supreme, as we must be a productive nation. We will only be prosperous if we have a healthy and productive citizenry. So, I am dismayed that we have missed the opportunity to meaningfully engage on how to strengthen health systems in the country by opting to politick.


Mr Speaker, we have the numbers. We know the number of health facilities that were there in 2011. How many are there today? We also know the number of health workers the country had in 2011 and the recruiting levels for health staff. What are the current recruitment levels?


Sir, decency demands that we acknowledge the progress that this Government has made in strengthening health systems in the country. Were we apolitical and honest in our debate, we would acknowledge the truth even before we begin debating. The ministry has made tremendous progress in strengthening health systems in the PF Government, led by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, whose political will in this regard is unprecedented.


Sir, in responding to issues regarding service delivery, infrastructure development, human resources, drugs and equipment, I will begin with the NHSP. In our quest to attain universal health coverage, we are strengthening health systems. The mode of health systems we are pursuing sits on eight fundamental pillars, whose core is service delivery. Service delivery can only improve if we address its fundamentals.


Sir, service delivery refers to health promotion, disease prevention, and curative, rehabilitative and palliative services. The Committee has raised issues on quality of services, and I want to focus on service delivery.


Mr Speaker, for us to address issues of service delivery, we have addressed in a very systematic manner issues of access to health services. To create access to health services, we need to create infrastructure, and this Government is not only building the 650 health posts but also 180 mini hospitals and forty-five district hospitals. These figures were unheard of in the past. Ninety-nine health posts are in the Southern Province while sixty-four are in the Western Province. Out of the sixty-four earmarked for the Western Province, sixty-one have been completed, with the three remaining being those at Lupui, Washishi and Chinonu. The rest of the province is covered with health posts, and I expect people to be decent enough to appreciate this Government for enhancing access to health services for the people of the Western Province. The mini hospitals in Lealui and Sioma are nearing completion. So, we are addressing issues of quality of health services by enhancing access to health services.


Mr Speaker, as we talk about equitable distribution of infrastructure, Kalomo is the biggest beneficiary of investment from this Government and it has a state-of-the-art hospital. We will commission the hospital in the next thirty days.


Mr Speaker, Kalomo has the latest communication equipment, and we are working with the Ministry of Transport and Communication to ensure that communication among health facilities is strengthened. Kalomo was also given ambulances. Further, we have electrified even rural health centres like Chikanta to strengthen health services because we knew that women need to deliver safely.


Mr Speaker, let us be magnanimous and agree to work together to address the health of the people of this country. When I talk of forty-five district hospitals, I need to bring it closer to home. District hospitals have been completed in Kalomo, Namwala, Gwembe and Kazungula. Those are latest hospitals. There are also latest facilities in Nalolo, Mulobezi and Lukulu yet, when people listen to our debates on Parliament Radio, they will think that the health sector is on fire. The only heat that the people must know about is that being felt by my colleagues on the left because of the progress the PF Government is making in the health sector. We will not allow them to translate this into negative political mileage. We will be relentless in expanding access to health services for the people of this country. In this regard, a school of nursing will open in Lukulu next month, July 2019, while Sesheke has a school of nursing and students are learning there presently. Kaoma and Senanga also have schools of nursing, and schools will soon open in Lumezi and Chilubi Island. Further, the Levy Mwanawasa Medical University is recruiting more than 5,000 students and they will start in July 2019. We have also reduced the fees for nursing from K18,000 to K8,500.


Mr Speaker, let us not create the impression that there is fire in the health sector. The only heat that is there is the one that my fellow politicians are feeling out of the progress President Lungu is scoring in the health sector.


Mr Speaker, let me remind the House that before 2011, we were recruiting, at the most, 300 health workers per year. We may wish to remember that the then Minister of Finance was Hon. Dr Musokotwane. When the Government changed, during the first recruitment in 2016, we recruited 10,000. We increased the recruitment levels from 500 per year to 10,000 per year. Fixing human capital is important to strengthening the health system, but we should be magnanimous enough to recognise the progress being scored.


Mr Speaker, in 2011, there were 21,000 health workers in the country against an establishment of 62,000. In 2016, we increased the establishment to 120,000 and, as I speak today, there are more than 70,000 health workers. We set a target in the NHSP to recruit 30,000 health workers between 2017 and 2021. In the second year, we have already recruited 20,000 health workers.


Mr Speaker, as District Director of Health in Namwala, of …




Mr Speaker: Order on the right!


Dr Chilufya: … the thirty health centres I had, 70 per cent were run by classified daily employees (CDEs). Countrywide, more than 40 per cent of health centres were run by CDEs. Today, you have to search hard to find any health centre run by a CDE because of the aggressive human capital recruitment that is taking place.


Sir, this report should acknowledge that we have built forty-five hospitals, 650 health posts nearing completion and 180 mini hospitals, and recruited 20,000 health workers in a very short period. The 20,000 health workers we recruited are equal to the number of health workers in the country in 2011. So, let us be appreciative of one another’s efforts.


Sir, as we talk about the quality of health services, which is very significant in the report, it is important to recognise that the quality of health services will only improve if access to health centres and human resources are sorted out, and I have already talked about the progress we have made. Next, the supply chain will be sorted out.


Mr Speaker, we have decentralised Medical Stores Limited (MSL). In the past, there was only one hub in Lusaka and every district had to send staff to Lusaka to get drugs. However, just in the last three to four years, there are MSL hubs in all the provinces. Districts like Mpika, Choma, Solwezi, Mongu, Mansa, Ndola and Luanshya also have hubs and we are introducing another hub in Kasama. The first hub was in Choma while the second was in Mongu. The hub in Kasama will be the eleventh. We are addressing the inequitable and inadequate infrastructure for the supply chain in a very systematic manner and, because of that, we have collapsed the distances between the districts in the movement of drugs. This has reduced drug stock-outs. I want the House to know that today, there is a commodity security for anti-retroviral, tuberculosis (TB) and anti-malarial drugs for two years. Further, we have enough essential drugs for the next three months. If we talk of any procurement today, it is in relation to months beyond the next three.


Mr Speaker, we have procured ambulances like we do every year. Today, we sent thirty-three vehicles to the Western Province and thirty-one to the Eastern Province and Southern Province combined.  This weekend, we will send to Muchinga Province and the Northern Province.


 Mr Speaker, we are addressing the issue of transportation, and it is important to acknowledge that in the last one year, more than 100 vehicles, both utility and ambulances, have been deployed in the health sector. This is commendable.


Mr Speaker, I am shocked to hear someone say that the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is dilapidated and that it has no modern equipment. If one goes there without a partisan or polarised attitude, one will recognise that it has a Cardiac Catheterisation Machine. If a person went there with a heart attack, we will fix him or her; if one needs a kidney transplant, we will do it; if one has Siamese twin babies, we will separate them; and if one has a tumour in the head, we will remove it, and there is evidence for all this. This was not possible just a few years ago, but we are doing it, and it is important to recognise the progress that has been made at the UTH. The hospital does not only have a Catheterisation Laboratory Machine, but it also has a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Machine, a Computed Tomography (CT) Scan and modern radiological equipment for therapeutic and diagnostic services. Let us go to the UTH with open minds. We are also setting up a state-of-the-art Adult Medical Emergency Unit at the UTH, and it is nearing completion.  Today, at the Casualty Department, there is no congestion and there is very modern infrastructure and many health workers.


Mr Speaker, we are firmly on track in delivering universal health coverage. Yes, we are addressing issues of quality but, first, we are prioritising access. On quality of health services, before 2011, we referred everything. Today, we do not refer everything. Today, we are able to conduct open and closed heart surgery at the UTH. So, as I talk about the UTH infrastructure and latest equipment, I also want to commend the human resource. We have the finest brains at the hospital and the best doctors in the region. Further, the Cancer Diseases Hospital (CDH) is training health workers from the whole of Africa. If you go there today, you will find people from Mozambique, Eritrea and Ethiopia training in cancer management using our hospital, training facilities and equipment. We are servicing the equipment that is there and buying new ones. So, it is extremely unfortunate that we want to demonise a transformational agenda that is posting key milestones. However, if we just looked at the whole scenario with neutral eyes, we would be able to tell the people of Zambia the truth.


Mr Speaker, for the benefit of the hon. Member for Kalomo Central, the Director of the CDH, whom he says cannot read the word ‘Panadol’, did seven years of medical training and four years of postgraduate studies in internal medicine at the UTH. He also studied Nuclear Medicine in Oncology in South Africa for another four years. Further, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of Oncologists. I am, therefore, shocked that the hon. Member, for whom I had a lot of respect, can come here and attempt to mislead the nation that the man cannot read the word ‘Panadol’ when we are talking of a man with more than fifteen years of postgraduate training. So, let us not misuse the immunity on the Floor of this House. This is an abuse of privilege. The man in question is highly educated.


Mr Speaker, we were also told that the man who is running Kitwe Central Hospital (KCH) knows nothing. Dr Abidan Chansa has had seven years of basic training, four years of postgraduate training and two years of specialist training in palliative care. He is a top-notch universally recognised specialist, yet we want to use this platform to demonise people who are flying the Zambian flag high and are respected internationally in the world of academia. This is shameful.


Mr Speaker, I advise that as we debate the health of the people of this country, we put aside our insatiable appetite for taking over power and focus on the health of the people. Let us be decent enough to appreciate progress. The President of the Zambia Medical Association (ZMA), Dr Abidan Chansa, is a highly qualified specialist, and I will defend him since he has no privilege to be here.


Mr Speaker, as we talk about the health of our people, let us face the challenges as a collective front. We have had fiscal challenges. As I said, even as we embark on austerity measures for fiscal consolidation, we will spare the health sector. We will continue to create access and buy drugs. We will continue to invest in the health of our people.


Mr Speaker, let me address my colleagues on the procurement of drugs at MSL. Procurement of drugs is done in the Ministry of Health. It does not matter whether it is by MSL, the headquarters (HQ), the UTH or Kitwe Central Hospital because all these structures fall under the ministry. The MSL is just one of the statutory bodies under the ministry. For your information, the UTH, CDH, MSL and the HQ all procure drugs. We are reviewing the legal framework for the MSL to strengthen the supply chain.


Mr Speaker, the PF Government has adopted an innovative and sustainable way to finance health care. It is for this reason that we introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme. For the benefit of Hon. Dr Imakando, the House and the rest of the nation, the National Health Insurance Scheme is operational. The Director was appointed and the team is up and running. At the moment, the scheme is setting up in all hospitals and the basic operations have already begun. So, it will be good for hon. Members to pay a visit to the institution one of these days to appreciate what has been done so far. I must mention that the scheme requires four months to build up the fund.


Mr Speaker, the level of politicking when it comes to issues of health is alarming. I heard a colleague blame the PF Government for not having water in the clinics, which resulted from a drought. What do we have to do when there is a drought? It is climate change at work. Let us be decent. We have to talk about adaptation. We drilled the boreholes that provided water, which people were accessing. Now, there is climate change and there is a drought. Must that be politicised? Honestly, this level of desperation is alarming and dangerous.


Sir, we agree that the budgetary allocation to the health sector should be 15 per cent, but health is not about injections, drugs and hospitals only but also about wellness in general and social determiners of health. So, when you invest in water and sanitation, education and some types of infrastructure, you are investing in health. Further, by addressing inequalities and introducing the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, you are addressing social determinants of health. So, the argument that our allocation to health is below 15 per cent can be challenged because the ministry and other institutions co-ordinate to address social determinants of health and the combined investments amount to much more than 15 per cent of the Budget. In other jurisdictions, the ministry responsible for health is also responsible for social services. This means it also administers community development. In yet other jurisdictions, the ministry also administers nutrition and agriculture.


Sir, we are making efforts to increase investment in not only the core health interventions but also the social determinants. In addressing the quality of health services, we are firmly on course because we have not seen such strong political will to invest in strong health systems before. The effort is led by the President of the country in order to make the system robust enough to assure health for all. We have not seen a Head of State put himself so much at the front line in providing leadership in fighting malaria, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like we see today. Today, the Demographic Health Survey (DHS) shows that Zambia is firmly on track to attaining epidemic control. On the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) 90-90-90 targets, we are at 89, 93, 86, and we are among the first five countries in the world that will attain epidemic control of HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). We are also on course to eliminating malaria.


Sir, the DHS shows that maternal mortality reduced in the last three years from 378/100,000 to 278/100,000 while child mortality reduced from 75/1,000 live births to 61/1,000 live births. These indicators do not lie because figures do not lie. Instead, they show progress in the quest to attain what targets. So, let us confess that this Government led by the President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is leading a transformational agenda that is setting Zambia firmly on track to being a prosperous and middle income country by having a healthy and productive citizenry. We are addressing all the health system components.


Sir, I thank all my colleagues who debated. I also invite them to interact with us so that we can address that issue I fear, of people either not being aware of, or deliberately ignoring, what is going on. We should all be at the same level in knowledge of the progress that the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and his Government are making in the health sector.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I thank all the hon. Members who have made their feelings known regarding this important subject of service delivery in our health sector, including the two hon. Ministers who have given insights from the Executive perspective. I believe that the sum of all this discourse is a strengthened health system.


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to.




Mr A. Malama (Nchelenge): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2019.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Ms Kasanda (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr A. Malama: Mr Speaker, during the year under review, the Committee considered seventy statutory instruments (SIs) issued by different Government ministries and agencies. I will highlight only a few of them, with the understanding that the hon. Members of this august House have acquainted themselves with the contents of the report.


Sir, I draw the attention of the House to SI No. 13 of 2018, the Civil Aviation (Designated Provincial and Strategic Airports) Regulations, 2018. This SI was issued to promote a sustainable, efficient, safe and integrated transport system aimed at transforming Zambia into a regional air transport and logistics hub. To transform the country into an aviation hub, the Government has embarked on the construction and upgrading or modernisation of aviation infrastructure of provincial and strategic airports. In order to appreciate the extent to which the SI was being implemented, the Committee visited Kasama, Mansa and Mbala airports.


Sir, the Committee’s visit to the three airports revealed that there had been progress in the upgrading and modernisation of the airports. The Committee, however, noted that progress had stalled largely due to a lack of funding for the works. For instance, the contractor engaged to upgrade the runway at Kasama Airport had abandoned works due to non-payment of outstanding bills by the Government. Similarly, works on the second phase of the upgrading and remodelling of Mbala Airport had not commenced because funding had not yet been secured. The Committee is concerned over the slow pace at which the SI is being implemented. While progress has been made on the legislative front through the designation of the facilities as provincial and strategic airports, there has been a lag in infrastructure development at the airports. The Committee, therefore, urges the Government to step up its efforts in upgrading the airports. Short of that, the vision of transforming Zambia into an aviation hub might not be realised.


Sir, the Committee also learnt that the airports listed in the SI were under the control and management of the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) by virtue of Sections 16 and 17 of the Civil Aviation Act, No.5 of 2016. Further, according to Section 23 of the said Act, all persons who were in the service of the Government at the designated airports were deemed to have voluntarily transferred to the ZACL. This provision has created some uncertainty among the former Government workers who have now been transferred to the corporation in that they are not clear about the implications of the transfer on their employment status, conditions of service and terminal benefits. The Committee is also concerned about the possible violation of the freedom of contract of the employees. This state of affairs might seem remote to the implementation of the SI. However, it could have serious repercussions in the sense that the affected workers could decide to down their tools or sue the Government, thereby grinding operations at the airports to a halt and causing the Government loss of huge amounts of income. In this light, the Committee urges the Government to urgently address this situation so as to smoothen the enforcement of the SI.


Mr Speaker, the other SI the Committee followed up during its local tours is SI No.7 of 2018, the Railways (Transportation of Heavy Goods) Regulations, 2018. These regulations were issued mainly to sanction the shift of 30 per cent of heavy and bulk cargo from road to rail. The Committee visited Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL) Headquarters in order to appreciate the implementation of the SI. The findings of the Committee are that the ZRL did not have the capacity to efficiently move 30 per cent of bulk and heavy cargo. The railway infrastructure and network is in such a poor state that the company has no capacity to satisfy market demand. The Committee also learnt that the locomotives the company was using were hired from South Africa at a huge cost. In addition, due to the poor state of the rail track, the locomotives could not move faster than 50 km per hour. So, the company is in dire need of a huge capital injection to improve and expand the rail network as well as to purchase modern locomotives. Once this is done, the operations of the company will become more efficient and attractive to commerce and trade. The Committee, therefore, urges the Government to prioritise the recapitalisation of the company so that the objectives set by the SI can be achieved.


Mr Speaker, the other important SIs the Committee considered were under the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and related to the upward adjustments in the minimum wages of different categories of workers. In particular, the Committee made the follow-up on the implementation of the SI relating to shop workers by visiting Mansa and Kasama Shoprite Stores, and the Committee was pleased to note that Shoprite was paying its workers above the prescribed minimum wages. Of concern, however, was the discovery that the Department of Labour was unable to undertake labour inspections and check on the implementation of the minimum wages due to inadequate funding. This state of affairs, if allowed to continue, will lead to improper or non-implementation of the SI, thereby disadvantaging the different categories of workers whose benefit the regulations were issued.


Sir, I wish to state that most of the SI that were considered by the Committee were noted to have been issued in accordance with the enabling legislation. The Committee is, however, concerned that most of them are not being enforced, thereby negating the purposes for which they were issued. I, therefore, appeal to the Executive to ensure that all the regulations in the SIs are fully implemented so that the target beneficiaries can derive full benefits from them.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, may I, on behalf of the Committee, express my profound gratitude to you for your guidance throughout this session. I also thank the various Government ministries and agencies that availed explanatory memoranda on the SIs considered by the Committee and also for their technical and professional support during the local tours. Lastly but not least, I sincerely thank the Clerk of the National Assembly and her officials for being on hand to support the Committee as it executed its duties.


Mr Speaker with those few words, I beg to move.


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


Ms Kasanda: Now, Sir.


Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2019. I have a few recommendations to make in addition to what the Chairperson of the Committee has said.


Mr Speaker, there is a need to ensure that statutory instruments (SIs) passed by the House are enforced on the ground by the issuing ministry or agency. It came to our attention during our tour that the laws are there, but they are not being enforced on the ground. Let me give the example of Shoprite. When your Committee toured the stores, it was informed that the workers there did not have any idea of the minimum wage that had been put in place. Therefore, there is a need to enhance sensitisation on the contents of SI, especially those that extend benefits to the citizens. It is of great concern that most people do not know about the SIs and the regulations therein while the few who do, do not understand them. Therefore, I think it is important that the concerned ministries get on the ground and directly sensitise the people.


Mr Speaker, the other issue that came up was that the Executive, through the Secretary to the Cabinet, should ensure that explanatory memoranda are forwarded to Parliament as soon as the SI is issued. This was a concern to the Committee because we noted that most SIs are implemented before they are presented to the Committee. We do not understand why an SI is presented to the Committee when it has already been enforced. So, whenever it is practicable, the Committee should be engaged by the issuing authority before an SI is issued. 


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I beg to second.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Thank you, Sir, for giving the voice of Nakonde an opportunity to debate the Motion moved by the hon. Member for Nchelenge and ably seconded by the hon. Member for Chisamba. In debating this Motion, I will comment on a few issues concerning Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 7 of 2018.


Sir, I truly feel that SI No. 7 of 2018 should have been enforced to save our roads. As a resident of Nakonde, it really saddens me when I see the trucks that cross the border. For instance, if 100 trucks cross the border, probably, ninety-nine will be Tanzanian, and they come into our country loaded, some of them overloaded. That is destroying the beautiful and marvellous road infrastructure between Nakonde and Mbala, which was constructed at US$180 million, at a very fast rate.


Mr Speaker, apart from just reducing the tonnage to be carried by roads, I feel that the road toll levied on foreign trucks, which move around Zambia, damaging our roads, is too little. Looking at how much we spend on repairing our roads, it is surprising that we charge them US$300 when we charge our transporters almost the same amount. So, I appeal to the Government to quickly look into that. It is also worrying that some of the trucks have started deviating from the high ways they are supposed to use, especially when they come to Lusaka to offload. I see them on our township roads with their cargo, which is damaging our roads. Why have we failed to fully implement this SI so that we save the money we lose every day? We, Zambians, pay road tolls to maintain the roads, but it seems that we do it for foreign trucks. Therefore, the Government should look into this issue urgently because we get very little from the foreign truckers who transit through our country. We must increase the road toll on foreign trucks because, in my view, US$300 is too little for a truck to go across the country. For instance, if they enter at Nakonde, transit into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and return to Tanzania on the same route.


Sir, I thank the hon. Member for Nchelenge and the Committee for noticing that the SI should have been implemented to save us much of the money this country spends on repairing roads.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Mr Speaker, I commend the mover of this Motion, as the report has been well presented to the House, and I would like to add the voice of the lovely people of Kasama to the debate.


Mr Speaker, Kasama Airport has been a thorny issue because had it been completed speedily, it could have been improved on quite a number of issues. The airport will not only improve air traffic but will also improve other offshoots, such as indirect and direct benefits for the people of Kasama. The upgrading of the airport, especially the runway, has impacted on a number of issues. For example, the airport has suspended flights between Lusaka and Kasama. Had the runway been completed on time, it would have been helpful not only to me, the area Member of Parliament, as I spend so many hours on the road between Lusaka and Kasama, but many other people as well.


Mr Speaker, the stalling of the project cannot go without mention, especially to the Executive. The people of Kasama need the runway and the airport to be completed.


Sir, I also want to touch a little on the issue of traffic, especially of the trucks that move on our roads. While we appreciate the effort of our Government to collect revenue through the construction of tollgates, we also know that our neighbouring country, the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC), charges each truck US$1,800 as road toll to get in and out of that country. In our country, trucks are charged only US$250 at the port of entry. If we are to get compensation for the damage to our roads, I think there is a need to review the charges.


Sir, I thank the Committee for presenting an elaborate report.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Gender (Ms Phiri): Mr Speaker, I thank your Committee for the wonderful report it has presented to the House.


Sir, the Government has seen what the Committee says about gender-based violence (GBV) in the report and, led by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, will see to it that the scourge is brought to an end because this evil has disturbed many families. Every person should passionately fight against the scourge. The Government has put in place a number of interventions, such as the Victim Support Unit (VSU) and the One-Step Centre (OSC) in hospitals. In addition, the Government is working with its co-operating partners to see to it that justice that ‒


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, we are dealing with the Committee on Delegated Legislation. Unless you can point to some delegated legislation dealing with gender-based violence (GBV), it is not appropriate for you to proceed on those lines. Please, focus on statutory instruments (SIs).


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I was coming to that, but just wanted to inform the House that we appreciate that GBV is a problem that needs all of us to be involved in fighting it.


Sir, very soon, through the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act No. 8 of 2016, the Ministry of Gender will come to this House with proposals on how to improve on some of the issues raised in the report. Further, the ministry intends to review the punishment meted on perpetrators of this vice. Currently, GBV is a bailable offence, but my ministry, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Home Affairs are working as a consortium and in clusters to stiffen the punishment part of the Act. So, the ministry feels that there is a need to review the Act.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Sichalwe): Mr Speaker, firstly, I thank your Committee for the report on delegated legislation, and wish to respond to some of the concerns raised in it.


Sir, we have taken note of the Committee’s recommendation on Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 13 of 2018. The delayed progress on works at Kasama Airport has been due to the slow release of funds. However, it is among the projects above 80 per cent complete whose funding we have prioritised. The House may wish to know that the Government paid more than K22 million in 2018 for interim payment certificates (IPCs) under the airport. So, we have not been sitting idly regarding that project. The delayed works on Phase II of the Mbala Airport Project will commence as soon as funds are made available. The Government is mobilising funds for that project, which is also above 80 per cent to completion. In addition, during the 2018, the Government paid more than K15 million on various IPCs related to the rehabilitation of the airport.


Sir, on the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL), most of the concerns raised revolved around staff employment status, conditions of service and terminal benefits. To address the concerns, the Government has taken the following actions:


  1. The Ministry of Transport and Communication and the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) conducted sensitisation meetings for the employees in the designated airports. The meetings revealed that most employees would prefer to work under the ZACL. Currently, the employees are still on the payroll of the ministry and only report to the ZACL for administrative purposes; and


  1. resolved to pay all pensions and allowances owed to the employees without any losses once all administrative procedures are completed.


On Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 7 (The Railways Transport and Heavy Goods Regulation), 2018, the Government acknowledges the recommendations of the Committee and has prioritised the recapitalisation of the Zambian Railways Limited (ZRL).


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, I join my colleagues in commending your Committee for its well-written report. In so doing, I would just like to take a little bit of time to look at the functions of the Committee, as provided for on page 1 of the report, and  it reads:


“The Committee was guided in all its deliberations by Standing Order No. 154, which sets its functions as follows:


‘The Committee shall scrutinise and report to the House, through Mr Speaker, whether the powers to make orders, regulations, rules, sub-rules and by-laws delegated by Parliament are being properly exercised by any person or authority within such delegation. As the machinery of delegated legislation is dealt with under the heading “statutory Instruments”, these instruments must:


  1. be in accordance with the Constitution or statute under which they are made;


  1. not trespass unduly on personal rights and liberties;


  1. not make the rights and liberties of citizens depend upon administrative decisions; and


  1. be concerned only with administrative detail and not amount to substantive legislation, which is a matter for Parliamentary enactment.’”


Sir, the reason I quoted that excerpt is to indicate that the role of the Committee is important in ensuring that the Government ministries and spending agencies with the mandate to issue statutory instruments (SIs) do so in accordance with the law. Having said that, I would like to indicate that it is not “most” of the SIs considered that met the provisions of the law but ‘all’ seventy of them. Further, I would like to say with a lot of pride that since I took over the ministry in 2017, all SIs have been issued in accordance with the law, and I would like to thank ‒


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from1810 hours until 1830 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was concluding. In doing so, I was about to commend the hon. Ministers of the thirteen ministries whose SIs were reviewed by your Committee and confirmed to have been passed in conformity with the requirement of the law. I also appeal to your Committee to continue scrutinising Government SIs in the same manner as they did with these so that we can show the people of Zambia that this Government always issues SIs and regulations in conformity with the law and in the interest of the citizens of Zambia.


Sir, let me just briefly comment on a greatly important matter raised on page 34 of your report that the hon. Minister of Gender spoke about and that is the request by your Committee to be updated on the suggested amendments to the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act, No. 8 of 2016 and the Criminal Procedure Code, Chapter 88 of the Laws of Zambia. I would like to confirm to your Committee and the House that the Zambia Law Development Commission (ZLDC), the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Gender and the Judiciary are reviewing the provisions of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Penal Code. The ministry decided to not only look at gender-based violence (GBV), but also at the whole Penal Code to harmonise the provisions of the Penal Code with the provisions in all supporting pieces of legislation. Unfortunately, at this stage, I am afraid I cannot say exactly when this process will conclude because it is very consultative. When we are ready, we shall inform Parliament on the proposed amendments.


Sir, the seconder of the Motion suggested that SIs be brought to Committees of Parliament before they are issued. Let me just say that would make the whole exercise futile. The reason Article 67 of the Constitution provides for Parliament to delegate the authority to issue SIs to institutions is that the SIs deal with administrative issues of an urgent nature which, if brought to Parliament, would make administration very difficult. I hope that the hon. Member will reflect on this. If she reads Article 67 and the Standing Orders, she will find that the Zambian Constitution provides for hon. Members of Parliament to challenge SIs whose constitutionality they question even before the SIs are enforced. So, we must not create too many bottlenecks in the administration of the Government.


Mr Speaker, once again, I thank my thirteen colleagues and your Committee for this very elaborate report.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr A. Malama: Mr Speaker, I thank all the hon. Members for the overwhelming support they have given to your Committee. Your Committee is grateful.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Question put and agreed to.




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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1838 hours until 1430 hours on Thursday, 20th June, 2019.