Tuesday, 25th June, 2019

Printer Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, 25th June, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to present a statement on the 2019 Delimitation Exercise.


Sir, the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) in accordance with Article 58(5) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016 is mandated to conduct the delimitation of constituencies and wards. Section 21 of the Electoral Process Act No. 35 of 2016 further mandates the commission to conduct the delimitation of polling districts.


Mr Speaker, in view of the constitutional and statutory mandate, the commission has commenced the process of conducting the delimitation of constituencies, wards and polling districts. The delimitation exercise is a prerequisite for the registration of borders. The exercise is also important as it promotes effective representation of citizens and makes electoral services more essential to the people.


Sir, Parliament approved a total budget of K55 million for the 2019 Delimitation Exercise of constituencies, wards and polling districts. As of 11th June, 2019, the Ministry of Finance had released a total amount of K10 million to the commission for the said exercise. I wish to report that the exercise is on schedule and to date, the following activities have been undertaken:


Briefing of District Electoral Officers


Mr Speaker, the commission has briefed all district electoral officers, namely town clerks, council secretaries and district planning officers, from all the 116 districts on their roles in the delimitation process and on the factors and criteria that will be used to demarcate the electoral boundaries. These meetings were held in clusters on 20th, 22nd and 24th May, 2019.


Consultative Meetings


The commission convened the following consultative meetings:


  1. the commission has commenced consultative meetings with stakeholders and on 27th May, 2019, it held a meeting with Members of the House of Chiefs. The objective of the consultative meeting with the traditional leaders was to orient them on the delimitation process, share factors that will be considered when demarcating the electoral boundaries and discuss the role of traditional leaders during the delimitation process;


  1. the commission held a political parties liaison meeting on 20th June, 2019, to brief and engage political parties on the 2019 Delimitation Exercise;


  1. the commission held a consultative meeting with civil society organisations and faith-based organisations to brief and engage them on the 2019 Delimitation Exercise; and


  1. a similar consultative meeting for all hon. Members of Parliament has been scheduled for 26th June, 2019, and it is to be held at Parliament. Details pertaining to the delimitation process shall be availed to hon. Members of Parliament at this meeting and they shall be given an opportunity to engage with the commission on this exercise.


Mr Speaker, all things being equal, the commission is scheduled to commence the district delimitation sittings in all the districts from 6th July, 2019 to 28th September, 2019, while provincial delimitation sittings will commence on 13th October, 2019  to 29th November, 2019.


Sir, the commission intends to conclude the delimitation exercise by December 2019. I wish to mention that in the immediate future, the ECZ will publish a detailed schedule of the district sittings for use and planning purposes for hon. Members of Parliament and the general public.


Mr Speaker, I urge all citizens and stakeholders to participate in the delimitation exercise by making submissions during the district and provincial delimitation sittings when the commission will receive proposed submissions on how constituencies, wards and polling districts will be demarcated for all the 116 districts across the country. I appeal to all hon. Members of this august House to support this process at all levels to its conclusion. This is because all of us are interested parties in taking the electoral process and services closer to our people.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement given by Her Honour the Vice-President.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, I seek clarification on the issue of stakeholders. I agree that consultations with certain stakeholders like traditional leaders, the civil society and the rest have been going on very smoothly. However, we have a challenge because rural constituencies such as Milenge and Nalolo are vast and are about 300 km away from the Boma. The council officials have invited stakeholders who, in this regard, are ordinary people, to go and make submissions at the Boma. How can the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) or the councils help the people since they have been complaining that they do not have resources to bring the people together? This is posing a challenge to us, hon. Members of Parliament. How can we address that problem?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member of Parliament for Milenge’s concern. Unfortunately, the budget for the ECZ will not be adequate to provide transport for all stakeholders to enable them to make submissions at selected venues which the commission has identified. However, we hope hon. Members of Parliament will also help the people in their constituencies with transportation to enable them to attend the consultative meetings.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President whether as the people’s representatives, hon. Members of Parliament will be given an opportunity to make submissions. The delimitation exercise is critical to the people of Chama South where there are polling stations that are as far from people’s homes as 20 km to 30 km and where people walk a distance that long to go and vote. Will hon. Members be given an opportunity to make proposals to the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) so that after the field work, it can compare the submissions of the hon. Members of Parliament and those of the people on the ground?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the commission will hold a consultative meeting with hon. Members of Parliament tomorrow, and these are some of the issues they should highlight so that they can be responded adequately to by the ECZ.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Ng'onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, my question is based on some reports that are already in the public domain. The ECZ requested council officers to travel to Lusaka for the consultative meetings and, at some point, it indicated that the ECZ officials would travel to constituencies and districts. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President whether the number of constituencies to be added will be based on the information being obtained now or the 2008 reports and maps that the commission already has?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, detailed information was obtained in 2011, and the current delimitation exercise will be based on this information. These issues will be clarified tomorrow during the consultative meeting. The ECZ will have to make more clarifications because I know that hon. Members of Parliament have many questions to ask when they engage with the ECZ.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four questions from the hon. Members of Parliament for Mufulira, Kafue, Serenje and Zambezi East.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, what will be the final step considering the fact that the Zambian Government will spend a colossal sum of money for an exercise that should culminate into Parliament amending the Constitution? What is Her Honour the Vice-President’s comment in view of the stance of the biggest Opposition party that it will boycott the amendment of the Constitution?


Hon. UPND Members: Ah!


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, at the end of all the consultative meetings, the commission will come up with recommendations. The recommendations will be scrutinised to see whether or not they conform to the provisions of the Constitution. Thereafter, there will be other considerations. Presently, I cannot predict what the recommendations will be after all the meetings are held throughout the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, in the past, it was not possible to undertake the delimitation exercise of constituencies because of its financial implications. I am aware that Kafue is one of those constituencies that has been recommended for delimitation.  Since this time around the Government will embark on this exercise, I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President if the fiscal space is now permissive for it to go ahead and delimit the constituencies, especially those that will be recommended considering the background of austerity measures and the current status of our economy?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the delimitation of constituencies, wards and polling districts is a national event and the Government has made a provision for that. Parliament approved a sum of K55 million for this exercise and already, even in view of the austerity measures, the Ministry of Finance released K10 million to the ECZ which has started the process of meetings as outlined. So, the Government is committed to ensure that it secures resources for this exercise, which only happens once in ten years. So, it is a very important exercise that we are obliged to undertake.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, indeed, the delimitation of constituencies, wards and polling districts is a very important exercise. I note that certain areas are densely populated, whereas others are not, but require polling stations to be created because of the long distances that people have to cover in order to vote. Will they be considered during this exercise regardless of the population in those areas?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, I would like to refer the hon. Member of Parliament for Serenje to Article 59 of the Constitution of Zambia Act No. 2 of 2016, which states as follows:


“The Electoral Commission shall, in delimiting the boundaries of constituencies and wards –


  1. take into account the history, diversity and cohesiveness of the constituency or ward;


  1. have regard to population density, trends and projections;


  1. ensure that the number of inhabitants in each constituency or ward is reasonable, taking into account the means of communication and geographical features;


  1. ensure that constituencies and wards are wholly within districts; and


  1. seek to achieve an approximate equality of constituency and ward population, subject to the need to ensure adequate representation for urban and sparsely populated areas.”


Mr Speaker, all these factors are taken into consideration when delimiting constituencies and wards.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I am aware of the fact that submissions were made during the last delimitation exercise that was undertaken. In Zambezi District where I come from, submissions were made concerning the delimitation of Zambezi East Constituency into  north and south. Not long ago, one of the constituents called me to actually ask whether the submissions that were made at that time will be considered this time around, especially considering the fact that they were not implemented during the last delimitation process.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, all the submissions that were made previously will be considered together with the new ones and they will be validated. I do not think the hon. Member of Parliament for Zambezi East should worry about the fact that some submissions were not considered last time. I believe these are the issues that the ECZ officials will clarify tomorrow when they meet hon. Members.


I thank you, Sir.








413. Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central) asked the Vice-President:


  1. when the distribution of relief food in areas which recorded a poor harvest in the 2018/2019 Farming Season, will commence;


  1. which areas of Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency will require relief food;


  1. how many households in the constituency are affected; and


  1. how much food is earmarked for distribution in the constituency per month.


The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Ms Chalikosa): Mr Speaker, the normal practice is that the distribution of relief food commences during the lean period which starts in September for years when normal rains are received. However, this year’s relief food distribution exercise started in March 2019, due to the unusual dry spells which affected most parts of Central Province, the Eastern Province, Southern Province and Western Province.


Sir, the specific areas in Monze Central Constituency that will require relief food will be identified after the 2018/2019 Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Report, which is expected to be ready by early July 2019. As an interim measure, 100 metric tonnes of relief maize was distributed by World Vision Zambia in six wards Monze Central included. In addition, on 11th June, 2019, Monze District received a total of 4,480 x 12.5 kg bags of mealie-meal for distribution to vulnerable households. Further, a total of K200,000 was remitted to the Southern Province Provincial Administration on 19th June, 2019, to facilitate commencement of the distribution of mealie meal in districts, including Monze.


Mr Speaker, as stated earlier, the number of affected households in Monze Central Constituency will be established in totality once the report mentioned above is ready.


Sir, the amount of food earmarked for distribution per month in the constituency will also be determined by the caseloads, that is, the number of affected households which will come from the report cited earlier.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Monze Central may wish to know that the distribution of relief food is not a sustainable solution to addressing the issue of vulnerability of our people. Therefore, my office plans to work with partners to implement climate-smart solutions suitable for affected areas countrywide.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, in response to the question I posed, the hon. Minister has indicated that the Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Report (VNAR) has not been completed and that the amount of food required will only be determined after this particular exercise has been completed and that only then will a comprehensive distribution of relief food be commenced.


Sir, the people in the affected areas in the Western Province, Southern Province and Central Province as well as those in parts of Lusaka Province and the Eastern Province are starving and have no access to food whatsoever. I am aware that the Catholic Church, through Caritas Zambia, made an assessment and established that more than 419,000 households are affected. Whilst waiting for the VNAR, what immediate measures will the Government put in place to ensure that all the people in the affected areas are supplied with food, especially considering we know that all households are affected?


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, every year, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) undertakes an In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Exercise which follows the farming season. So, currently, we are working on the assessment that was made in 2018/2019. The current In-depth Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Exercise that is being undertaken is for 2019/2020 and sixty-six districts have been visited physically. We also depend on reports that we receive from the District Disaster Management Committees (DDMCs). So, we received the report the hon. Member for Monze Central is referring to. This report was made available by our implementing partners. In addition, we also received reports from the DDMCs, through the Provincial Administration and headquarters. So, we are responding according to the reports that are being submitted. This is an on-going process. We have not stopped dealing with the problem, but we are dealing with it case by case as it appears in our offices.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Mr Speaker, this year has been unique in that the distribution of relief food began in March 2019 instead of September as it is done regularly. The Government expects the Vulnerability and Needs Assessment Report (VNAR) to be ready in March/July 2019 which will take about four months, meanwhile people are starving. Does this not justify our argument that the hunger situation should have been declared a disaster early enough so that we pool resources, human and otherwise, and implement the measures at a faster rate than the current situation where the Government will have to wait for the third quarter of the year to put up measures?


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, if the hon. Member listened carefully, I said that this is an on-going exercise. I did not say that the Government is waiting for four months before it can embark on the distribution of food relief. We are responding as and when we receive reports of where we need to distribute food relief. So, we do not plan to declare the hunger situation a national disaster because we are aware of the challenges. The Government is aware of the drought in the southern part of the country and the excess water in the northern part of the country. So, the Government is not sitting idly waiting for the report. The only matter that will come out of the in-depth assessment report is the total number of households that are affected. Meanwhile, we have statistics from daily and weekly reports and are responding to all the reports we are receiving as and when the need arises.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, due to the hunger situation in Monze District and other parts of the Southern Province, people have resorted to going to places like Kabwe and Mukonchi to buy maize for their consumption. We have been receiving calls from people that Zambia National Service (ZNS) officers at Kafue Bridge are stopping people from taking maize across the bridge to the Southern Province. Considering that the Government has delayed the distribution of food relief, why are the ZNS officers stopping people from taking maize to the Southern Province which the people there need for consumption?


Mr Speaker: That is a very important question. It has a bearing generally on the subject under discussion, but it is a new question.


Mr Chikote (Luampa): Mr Speaker, the Government knows the fact that people are starving and it has started releasing relief food to the affected areas. Why is the Government setting aside 80 per cent of the relief maize as food for work when it knows that people are starving? Why is it not just giving the people who are starving the food unlike making them work for it?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, please, let us take note of what is at play. The hon. Member for Monze Central has asked a very specific and peculiar question. So, any questions to be pursued must be supplementary, and a supplementary question is, by definition, related to the main question. We are not dealing with food relief generally, in as much as it is important.




Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, my follow-up question concerns part (a) of the main question. When will the distribution of relief food in areas which recorded poor harvest in the 2018/2019 Farming Season commence? The people of Monze, Bweengwa and other places were affected by drought. Why is the Government, especially its people at ...


Hon. Members: Where?


Mr Michelo: ... Kafue Bridge stopping people from buying maize from the other side where food is available? Why are they stopping people from taking food to Monze, when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has failed to take food there? I need a serious answer.


Mr Speaker: I think I provided guidance thereon.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, my question also emanates from part (a) of the substantive question. What would embarrass the Government if it declared the situation a national disaster?


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, I would like to pose the same question.


Mr Speaker: To whom now?


Ms Chalikosa: Why do they want – to the same hon. Member.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, resume your seat. You are not in a position to ask a question. Just respond.


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, I have repeatedly said that the Government is in charge and that the distribution of food relief has commenced. There is no need to declare a national disaster.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last questions from the Leader of the Opposition and the hon. Member for Kanchibiya and the hon. Member Kalabo Central.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, when responding to my question, the hon. Minister in the Office of the Vice-President said that the Government is taking the issue of food relief normally and has not put any emergency measures in place. She went on to say that this is why it has decided to undertake a vulnerability assessment that will be ready in July 2019. In the meantime, people are starving and the question that begs to be answered is: What measures is the Government putting in place to ensure that the people who are starving in Monze Central and other areas in Zambia are provided with food?


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, as regards the immediate measures, we are responding based on the report that we receive from the DDMCs for the simple reason that we need to know who our targets are.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, the hunger situation as described in the Southern Province in general and Monze Central in particular, requires serious engagement. What advice does the hon. Minister in the Office of the Vice-President have for the United Party for National Development (UPND), which previously encouraged its members not to engage with the Executive, particularly on serious matters of the nation?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, I will not require the hon. Minister to answer that question.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, in response to the question raised by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, the hon. Minister indicated that 2019 seems to be a unique year. I am aware that the hon. Minister knows that this uniqueness has nothing to do with the abundance of food in the mentioned areas. The hon. Minister is aware that life is sorely dependent on food and nothing else. In areas where there is great starvation –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, get to the question.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, as the Government responds to the starvation reported in specific areas, will it send enough maize proportionate to the demand in the affected districts?


Ms Chalikosa: Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the House that the Government is responding to the hunger situation in the country. Where there is a shortage of food, the Government is responding by sending extra relief food to the districts that require it. So, in short, hon. Members must not mislead members of the public into believing that the Government has not paid attention to the food relief distribution exercise. It is paying attention to it and it believes that no one should die of hunger. So, anybody who wants to mislead the public into believing that the Government does not care is doing it purely out of malice.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Chisangano (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Gwembe, I said that was the last question and I am recognising that you asked Question No. 414.




414. Ms Chisangano asked the Minister of Information and Broadcasting:


  1. when equipment and a motor vehicle will be procured for the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) Department in Gwembe District to enhance its operations; and


  1. what has caused the delay in procuring equipment and a motor vehicle.


The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, there are ninety-nine districts in the country where the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) has its presence. The ministry is progressively addressing the issue of a lack of equipment and transport in ZANIS offices, and the pace of doing so is determined purely by the availability of resources.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, what immediate help can the ministry offer in terms of equipment so that officers do not just sit in the office, but go out to capture information?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, as we are implementing the Digital Migration Programme, we are hoping to make some savings from the programme so that we can attend particularly to the immediate need for transport in the various districts where ZANIS is present.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, what is the projected period in which equipment and motor vehicles will be procured for the affected areas?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, it is a bit difficult to project when we will procure equipment for every district where ZANIS has presence, but has no equipment at the moment. Under the Digital Migration Programme, we are building the provincial headquarters with new studios and this will come with equipment as well as transport. However, it is very difficult to project when we will procure equipment and vehicles for the ninety-nine districts as this will be undertaken when resources are available.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I would like to draw the hon. Minister’s attention to the important role that the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) plays, especially in disseminating information on Government programmes and the work that the Government is undertakes in various districts. ZANIS officers in Kantanshi face a similar problem of a lack of computers or vehicles, yet they are paid. The hon. Minister said these items can only be procured when resources are made available by the Ministry of Finance or through savings from the Digital Migration Programme. Are there any other financing models the ministry is considering? For example, under motor vehicle financing, various banks offer leases while other institutions donate computers and smart phones. Could the ministry consider this so that the work that is carried out by the Government in all districts is aired and people in different districts and provinces appreciate the Government’s work? Does the ministry have any other financing model in mind?


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, I appreciate that suggestion. Like I said, the first step that has been taken is to address this issue at provincial ZANIS and Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) offices. There has been quite a time-lag since equipment was procured for ZANIS. With ZANIS presence in ninety-nine districts, we have a lot of catching up to do. We are looking at issues within the ministry and how we can make equipment and transport available in all districts because, as the questioner rightly said, ZANIS plays a very critical role in informing all of us regarding what is happening in Zambia. In the past, we talked to well-wishers who donated items such as computers or provided transport. However, the Government went ahead and equipped ZANIS at provincial level through digital migration. In the next few months, we will see how much savings we have achieved from that project so that we can support other districts as well.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, considering the strategic position that ZANIS has as a disseminator of information for the Government, would the hon. Minister be gracious enough to provide us, hon. Members of Parliament, a list of priorities in how the ministry intends to tackle the problem of transport and shortage of equipment.


Ms Siliya: Mr Speaker, as we begin to prepare this year’s Budget, and appreciating the economic turbulence and austerity measures being implemented at the moment, we will share with the hon. Members as well as whoever wishes to support the ministry, one part of the cake of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




415. Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to rehabilitate the following schools in Ngabwe District:


  1. Luamala;
  2. Ngabwe;
  3. Mumba Chala;
  4. Mutenda;
  5. Lualaba;
  6. Iwonde; and
  7. Chisanga; and


(b)        if so, when the plans will be implemented.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to carry out infrastructure rehabilitation at the mentioned schools in Ngabwe District. However, these plans will be implemented once the current infrastructure projects whose works are above 80 per cent are completed.


Sir, as stated in part (a) of the response, the rehabilitation of schools in Ngabwe will only be carried out once the schools under construction are completed.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




416. Mr S. Tembo (Chadiza) asked the Minister of Energy:


  1. whether there are any plans to electrify the following day secondary schools in Chadiza District:


  1. Naviruli;
  2. Taferansoni;
  3. Chanjone; and
  4. Bwanunkha;


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


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


  1. if there are no such plans, why.


The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Mr Speaker, the Government, through the Rural Electrification Authority (REA), has plans to electrify the following day secondary schools in Chadiza District:


  1. Naviruli;


  1. Taferansoni;


  1. Chanjone; and


  1. Bwanunkha.


Mr Speaker, according to the Rural Electrification Master Plan (REMP), the above-mentioned schools in Chadiza District were earmarked for electrification in 2019. However, due to the 2019 Budget constraints, the schools may not be electrified. The actual electrification of the schools will be subject to the availability of funds.


Sir, the total estimated cost of implementing the project is K16,829,623.42.


Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to electrify the above-mentioned schools.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr S. Tembo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the Government has plans to electrify the said schools this year, but due to financial constraints, they may not be electrified. Is there no way that the ministry can do this project in a phased manner or mobilise resources so that, at least, one secondary school can be electrified this year?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, definitely, our job is to make sure that we electrify all the schools and other institutions such as hospitals. However, since the resources are not there, it is not possible to do that. I would have wanted to do that yesterday but, unfortunately, the resources are not there. When the resources are made available, we will make sure that the schools that are not electrified are attended to.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr A. C. Mumba: Mr Speaker, I am concerned about the hon. Minister of Energy’s response. The hon. Minister is fully aware that the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) is behind in terms of a number of projects. Our school curriculum has Information Communication Technology (ICT) examinations and I do not think the Government should have challenges raising the K16,829,623.42 he referred to. However, has the ministry thought of a cheaper way it can provide electricity such as using solar energy to cut costs so that the children in the mentioned schools can have access to power?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, like I said, if I had my way, and the money was available, this would have been done. Sixteen million, eight hundred twenty-nine thousand, six hundred and twenty-three Kwacha forty-two Ngwee (K16,829,623.42) is needed in each area and it would add up to about K100 million for all the areas. Simply put, funds are not available. However, when funds are made available, we will electrify the schools.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the hon. Member for Kantanshi’s question is on alternative energy, and specifically, solar energy.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, sorry about that oversight. Yes, alternative energy like solar energy also requires money and the lack of it is the reason we have not implemented the project. However, when we have a bit of money, we can consider that.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s answer about the lack of money cannot go unchallenged. We all know that money is there. If you look at the Auditor-General’s annual report and that of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), you will see that money is there. It is the act of not prudently managing it that is the problem. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister why he is insisting that money is not there when money is clearly there and I request this Government to, please, translate the FIC report in all local languages so that people can understand that money is there.


Mr Speaker: Hon Member for Mazabuka Central, you do not have that liberty and you know that very well. Your liberty is to simply ask a question. That is all. If you want to make that plea, you will have to find a suitable platform.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, my ministry applies for funds and when we come to this House, we appropriate the funds accordingly. If the hon. Minister of Finance has no money to give me, I do not know where else I can get it from. So, as far as I am concerned, the Ministry of Finance is the only source where we go to collect money from. If the Ministry of Finance does not have any, then, we take it there is no money.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lihefu: Mr Speaker, I am aware that the people of Chadiza urgently want electricity at the above-mentioned schools. Whenever such questions are asked, the hon. Minister always says that the project will be implemented when funds are made available. Is this a sign of the Government’s failure to deal with developmental issues in Chadiza District?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, REA has electrified many areas in all the provinces in Zambia. Whenever funds are available, we do and have done a lot of jobs. It is not failure. It is just that the funds are not available at the moment. When the funds are made available, we shall electrify the schools in question.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 17th June, 2019.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, the Committee undertook a study on the management of the forestry sector in Zambia, as its point of focus in order to appreciate the challenges and opportunities facing the sector.


Sir, based on its terms of reference, as set out in the National Assembly Standing Orders, the Committee invited various stakeholders who made both oral and written submissions that assisted the Committee in coming up with the observations and recommendations contained in the report. I, therefore, hope that hon. Members have taken time to read the Committee’s report and familiarise themselves with its contents.


Mr Speaker, the Committee believes that the forestry sector is a key economic sector which should be prioritised and well harnessed so that it can contribute meaningfully to the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and provide incomes for many households, especially those living within the vicinity of the forest areas. The sector also has the potential to create employment and earn the country the much needed foreign exchange. However, the Committee is disappointed to note that forest resources are not properly managed, and the relevant Government forestry agencies are grossly underfunded and understaffed. This has resulted in a wanton unsustainable exploitation of forestry resources in the country.


Sir, the Committee takes cognisance of the fact that forests play an important role in the mitigation of climate change by acting as carbon sinks. Therefore, the depletion of forests reduces the capacity of forests to act as carbon sinks and thus exacerbates the effects of climate change. In light of this, the Committee notes that the majority of households depend on charcoal and firewood as energy sources. These products are also a source of livelihood in most parts of Zambia, especially in light of the limited affordable alternative energy options, thereby creating pressure on the forest resources.


Mr Speaker, in light of the above, the Committee strongly urges the Government to urgently explore alternative energy sources such as solar energy and other viable alternative sources of livelihood such as beekeeping, sustainable smart agriculture, aquaculture, horticulture, and many others, for the people living near the forest area so as to avert the depletion of forest resources, which would consequently exacerbate climate change.


Mr Speaker, the Committee notes that despite having legislation to protect Zambia’s valuable forests in place, it is necessary for certain measures to be taken in order to achieve an effective and efficient policing system and enforcement of the legislation governing the utilisation and sustainable use of natural forest resources. Some of the measures that need to be put in place include increasing funding to the Forestry Department to enable it to procure motor vehicles, to recruit more forest officers to enhance forest management and to operationalise the provisions of the Forest Act No. 4 of 2015 by employing honorary forest guards.


Sir, there is also a need to ensure that local communities are involved in the management of the forest so that they own these resources. Communities will be more inclined to protect the forest resources once they appreciate that the forests belong to them. Without these measures in place, Zambia runs the risk of unsuitably exploiting her forests and suffering the attendant consequences.


 Mr Speaker, further, the Committee urges the Government to operationalise the Forest Development Fund as provided for in the Forest Act. This will help to provide resources to be used in the management of the forestry sector. The resources realised through the Forest Development Fund will enable the department to embark on tree planting and regeneration of degraded areas as well as promotion of research in the forestry sector.


Sir, as you may be aware, some of the forests in Zambia are home to water catchment areas and headwaters which need to be protected in order to preserve the biodiversity and genetic heritage of the areas and the whole country. The Committee notes that the failure to maintain the boundaries of these catchment areas has been a major contributing factor to the encroachment of these sensitive forest reserves. It is worrying to note that the failure to maintain the catchment areas could also lead to some of Zambia’s big rivers to dry up.


Mr Speaker, the Committee, therefore, strongly urges the Government to formulate a deliberate policy to protect water catchment areas from encroachment and ensure that human settlement in these sensitive national forest reserves are not entertained. The Committee further urges the Government to desist from de-gazetting these forests to accommodate the people who have encroached upon them. The Committee also urges the Government to ensure that additional forest areas in unexploited communities are identified and gazetted for protection to compensate for the forest areas which are threatened with human habitations.


Sir, finally, allow me to thank the stakeholders who made submissions before the Committee and the hon. Members of the Committee for their co-operation and dedication to duty throughout the session. The Committee also wishes to place on record its indebtedness to you, Mr Speaker, and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly and her staff for the guidance given to it during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Dr Imakando: Now, Sir.


Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion moved by our Chairperson, Hon. Maxas Ng’onga, that the House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 17th June, 2019.


Sir, I am confident that hon. Members have carefully listened to the presentation of the Committee’s report by our able Chairperson and agree that the forestry sector is a key economic sector which should be prioritised and, therefore, fully supported by not only the Executive, but indeed, also all of us. However, rampant charcoal burning threatens the sector. The charcoal levies collected by the Forestry Department somewhat legitimises even the illegal cutting of trees in protected forests.


Therefore, there is a need to control charcoal burning and one way of doing so is to designate areas for charcoal burning at a particular time. If this is done, it will allow for easy monitoring in areas where people cut trees for charcoal. More importantly, it will also allow for re-growth in areas that were once used for charcoal burning. It is important to put in place effective monitoring of charcoal burning. According to the United Nations (UN) and Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), the failure to curb charcoal burning is behind the rapid deforestation in Zambia. So, charcoal burning is responsible for deforestation and there is a need to curb it.


Mr Speaker, the depletion of our forests also diminishes our ability to produce organic honey. The House may wish to know that in 2018, the global trade of honey was about US$2.2 billion. Of this amount, Africa only accounted for 0.6 per cent, yet it boasts of large forests. There is potential to raise money from the trading of honey if we take care of our forests. However, it is sad to note that honey factories established by the Government are all idling. The visit to Mwekera Honey Factory was saddening as it is a sorry sight.


Sir, we need foreign exchange and to create jobs and our forests can, indeed, help to bring the foreign exchange and can create jobs for the young people. It is for these and other reasons that I strongly support the Committee’s call to strengthen measures aimed at achieving effective and efficient policing of our forest resources, especially the enforcement of legislation governing the sustainable utilisation of all our natural forest resources in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, in order to save our forestry resources, the Government needs to increase funding to the Forestry Department, procure patrol vehicles, recruit additional forestry officers, expedite the engagement of honorary forest guards and involve local communities in the management of forests. This is something that must be done immediately. I must emphasise that forestry research will be an important component of taking care of our forests but, unfortunately, it is nothing to talk about. It is centralised and there is no funding. If we are to protect our forests, it is important that we carefully look at forestry research so that it can inform our decision making processes.


Sir, we encountered the issue of the mukula tree everywhere we went. There are strong cries out there that the Government must consider lifting the ban on the cutting and exporting of the mukula logs. The main reason is that the efforts that the Government introduced to curb the cutting of the mukula tree are not working. People have continued to cut the mukula tree. It is, therefore, prudent for the Government to be transparent about the trading of the mukula logs and to allow many Zambians who invested heavily in the trading of the mukula logs to participate. This will allow for the replanting of the mukula tree and open up business opportunities in this country. Therefore, I urge the Government to rethink its ban on the export of mukula logs.


Mr Speaker, the funding of climate change activities by global entities is critical in assisting to manage our forests. Funding from entities like the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the Green Climate Fund should be directed towards well-developed and relevant projects in the forestry sector.


Sir, let me return to the issue of charcoal burning. We know that charcoal is the major source of energy for our people. The Government must consider giving incentives to the provision of alternative sources of energy, and I have in mind solar energy and wind power. Programmes that promote the use of solar and wind energy will reduce pressure on the burning of charcoal, and this will help us to manage our forests.


Mr Speaker, I commend the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) for the work it is doing. It is busy planting eucalyptus and pine trees in Luapula Province and the Northern Province. I must add that it is also planting cashew trees in the Western Province. In this regard, supporting ZAFFICO will go a long way in reducing pressure on our forest resources as we will be able to harvest pine and eucalyptus trees from its plantations and thus minimise pressure on our forests.


Sir, as I conclude, please, allow me to thank the able mover of the Motion, Hon. Ng’onga, and the hon. Members of the Committee, for presenting such a constructive report to this House. I urge this august House to adopt the report.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to make a few remarks in support of the Committee’s report. I would like to congratulate the Committee for the doing a good job in coming up with a report whose observations and recommendations I totally agree with.


Sir, in agreeing with the Committee’s report, I want to register my concern with regard to the lip service we give to important issues such as sustainable forestry management. I say so because as I skimmed through the report, whatever the Committee said did not seem new to me. When I was a student at the university more than twenty years ago, I studied forestry management in relation to tobacco production in Zambia. The challenges spelt out in the report are the same as the ones of that time, and likewise the recommendations of twenty years ago are the same recommendations the Committee has made. So, it appears that the crusade for sustainable forestry management is still far from being implemented and appreciated. We have all agreed that climate change is real and we have begun seeing the effects right before our eyes. However, we are not doing as much as we should in view of the efforts to curb some of the possible effects of climate change.


Mr Speaker, the aspect of charcoal burning has been talked about, but what has the Government done about it? The issue of charcoal burning has been a matter of concern for a very long time. However, what tangible efforts have been put in place to prevent people from utilising charcoal? Recently, the Committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism, which I am a member of, was discussing the rural electrification programme. If this programme was as well-supported as envisaged, it would have gone a long way in minimising the usage of forests for charcoal burning and cooking. However, the results of that programme up to this point are a sad story. I am sure you will hear more when the Committee presents its report.


Sir, when we talk about forestry management, we can talk about tourism as well. We know the impact that indiscriminate exploitation of forests has in relation to boosting our tourism sector. The natural habitat for animals is disturbed when forests are exploited, yet we seem to be doing very little to stop that. The efforts in reforestation do not match the rate at which the forests are being depleted in our country today.


Mr Speaker, the seconder of the Motion talked about the issue of the mukula tree, and he recommended that the Government should perhaps consider lifting the ban on the export of mukula logs, but I am yet to appreciate the detail that motivated that kind of recommendation. I am very sure that in the face of the ban, we have heard that some people are still able to exploit the mukula tree. Therefore, when the ban is lifted, it means that the issues we are worrying about will become bigger. Nevertheless, there is validity in being transparent in the way we regulate this issue because everything boils down to how we are going to regulate the exploitation of this resource. This is because we cannot completely stop harvesting and benefitting from this natural resource.


Sir, we are now in the era of load-shedding, and this is because of the low water levels in the Kariba Dam. A responsive Government should quickly have done practical things in order to resolve all the issues arising from the depletion of forests. In my constituency, there is Mpande Forest, which is a gazetted forest, but some people have settled in that forest. There has been an outcry for the Government to come in and help regularise that issue by de-gazetting part of that forest so that people can settle in that area.


If it is done in an orderly manner and the people are assisted to settle down, they will not go and indiscriminately exploit the forests. I am glad that the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources seems to be reacting and this is exactly the point that I am trying to make. There is interdependence between the forestry sector and other sectors. That is why people talk about multi-sectoral responses when looking for solutions because we are able to see how the issue of forests has a bearing on the issue of land.


Therefore, by delaying to pass the land policy, we know that we are partly causing a problem in the forestry sector. If the land is alienated and made the people’s responsibility, they take care of the pieces of land. Having studied tourism as a subject where it was established, I am aware that when Game Management Areas are given to people in concessions, they take care of them as well as the animals in these areas. So, there is regeneration of natural resources in view of not having a land policy as this will cause our forests to continue being indiscriminately exploited, resulting in the issues on which this able Committee has cautioned us.


Sir, with these few comments, I agree with the Committee and I urge the Government to move beyond lip service for once and begin to do what is right for the country. Sustainable development takes care of the needs of both the present and future generations. So, we should not only be concerned about what concerns us at the moment because our grandchildren and great-grandchildren would want to to live in a friendly environment.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Jamba (Mwembezhi): Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I would like to thank the Committee for the job it has done in studying this matter. Regarding the Committee’s report, there are a few points which specifically affect the people of Mwembezhi I wish to make.


Sir, the Committee talked about the management of forests. I note that the people who are supposed to man the forests are understaffed and, as stated by the Committee, the Forestry Department is underfunded. In some countries, the trees in forest reserves are numbered. These countries have systems that indicate which trees have been cut and which ones are still standing. The problem we have in Zambia is that we do not know how many trees are within our forest reserves. If we were to cut a quarter of the trees within a forest, we would not know how many trees that would be. I encourage the Government to consider staffing and funding the Forestry Department so that the staff can count the trees we have in the forest reserves.


Mr Speaker, the issue of energy and forest conservation was also highlighted in the report. Even though the Forestry Department is dependent on other departments, it is a department on its own. The people who cut trees in the bush for charcoal are villagers who do not really use charcoal. The people who use charcoal are in Lusaka and other urban areas. Therefore, in my opinion, the ideal situation would be to ban charcoal burning. If we put a law in place that bans charcoal burning, the people in urban areas who use it will find other sources of energy. Like I said, the people who make charcoal in the villages do not use it. They use firewood for cooking, but export the charcoal to urban areas where there are major consumers. If we ban charcoal making, we will conserve the trees and have a good number of trees and the effects of climate change will be mitigated. However, if we continue allowing charcoal burning, this problem will not be resolved.


Sir, as I stand here, I am crying because of the issue of de-gazetting land. In my constituency –


Mr Musonda: Are you crying?


Mr Jamba: Yes, I am crying in my heart because we are not allowed to cry out loud.


Mr Speaker, Kawena Forest in my constituency was de-gazetted, but the people of Mwembezhi have not benefitted. When Shibuyunji District was given the status of a district, it was purported that the people in Mwembezhi or Shibuyunji District would be relocated to Kawena Forest. Therefore, Kawena Forest was de-gazetted on the pretext that people would be relocated there. However, the people believed to be encroaching Kawena Forest are well-to-do people from Lusaka. They have actually put up a game fence wire as a way of protecting the land because they have the money. However, the poor people in Mwembezhi are languishing in deforested areas, and the district is allocating plots for houses. So, people are no longer farming there.


Sir, when the Government wants to de-gazette an area, it should take the target beneficiaries into consideration. This is because when an area is de-gazetted, it is usually people with money in high offices who benefit while the people at grassroots level get nothing. I am requesting the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to look into what is happening in Mwembezhi to ensure that the local people there also benefit.


Mr Speaker, lastly, I want to talk about the mukula tree. I wish to differ with the Committee which is of the view that the ban on exporting mukula logs should be lifted. I strongly feel it should not be lifted. If the ban is lifted, all the mukula trees in the forests will be cut down. Namibia, Angola and Mozambique have banned the cutting down of the mukula tree. Therefore, people who want the mukula tree will rush to Zambia, and it will be depleted. The Government should enhance security and ensure that no one harvests the mukula tree at any time, but the ban should continue. We cannot allow an illegality to continue or lift the ban because there is an illegality. That illegality must be fought head on. If anyone sees people harvesting mukula trees at night, he should report them to law enforcement agencies so that the mukula tree can be preserved.


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


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add two thoughts to this topic. To start with, I would like to thank the Committee for the job well done, like my colleagues who have spoken before me, have said.


Sir, in contributing to this debate, I have two items to emphasise and one of them is community involvement, which the Committee has pointed out. The Committee has spoken about the need to ensure that communities that are the frontline users of the forests are involved in management, especially that it notes that the department that is tasked with the service has not been funded adequately by the Government in order to manage the conservation we are so passionate about.


Mr Speaker, as I was growing up in my village, I learnt that the forest was not just about products, but that communities derive many services from it. I know that in many parts of Zambia, some traditional practices depend solely on our forests. For example, in the northern part of the country, they have Ichisungu and the Kaonde people in the North-Western Province have Kisungu as well as the Mukanda Ceremony. All these ceremonies are basically founded on the usage or the service of the forest. So, communities do not only use the forest for products such as caterpillars, masuku and other fruits but also use for many other services and there is a need for them to be given the frontline role.


Mr Speaker, in the 1990s, the concept of community-based natural resource management was very topical and it was given the frontline role and the priority it deserved. However, in the recent years, we have seen that community-based natural resource management has remained a just concept that is no longer practised. As part of my contribution, I urge the Government to rethink and ensure that communities are given this role in tandem with the Government department that takes care of this responsibility.


 Therefore, I call upon the ministry to ensure that we conceptualise the need to decentralise. Forestry should be part of decentralisation so that communities can have a bigger role to play in its management. When the forest is depleted, the first people who suffer are the children who live near or around the forests. I am, therefore, drawing the attention of the ministry to give due attention to the issue of community-based natural resource management.


Sir, the other point that was raised by the Committee regards the forest being a major foreign exchange earner and I note that timber is one such product. For example, the mukula tree, which everybody has talked about, is earning so much foreign exchange for this country, although most of it is externalised. I want to add on yet another concept that is being utilised in many other countries. The concept of carbon credit is applied in many jurisdictions, especially in industrialised countries where most of the forests are depleted and consumption patterns have gone way beyond forest conservation. Most industralised countries are now looking for places, especially in developing countries, where forests are preserved so that they can buy and exchange their footprint with money.


Mr Speaker, I, therefore, urge the ministry to look into my proposal even as we talk about the various investment expositions in the provinces. The concept of carbon credit needs to be presented for investment so that we are able to earn the much needed foreign exchange which can, indeed, support the Government to help recapitalise the Forestry Department much more than it is doing at the moment.


Sir, as we talk about the risks that the forests are likely to be at, I note that most of the speakers talked about charcoal burning as one of the major risks. However, I also want to point out the mushrooming timber factories as another area that we need to look at and ensure that what goes into those factories is licensed and not what is illegally extracted.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to make some remarks on the report that your Committee has presented. In the first instance, I would like to congratulate the Committee for choosing a topic that is very important to the development of our country.


Sir, I want to remind my colleagues that forests are like other natural resources with which we are endowed. Forests are like fish. To eat fish, you have to harvest it. Forests are like minerals such as copper. To benefit from copper, you must mine it. Similarly, for us to benefit from the forests, we must cut down the trees. If trees are not cut down, they will rot, become powder and will only be good for ants. So, trees must be harvested and cut down. The only thing is that trees are a renewable resource so, as you cut them down, you must plant some. I am actually surprised to hear my colleagues questioning why trees are being cut down. Of course, trees must be cut down because that is their use.


Mr Speaker, the forestry industry, as others have indicated, has the potential to contribute meaningfully to our economy. At the moment, we know that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) spends millions of dollars to import timber poles from South Africa and, maybe, Zimbabwe. If we had enough trees in our country, that money would not be taken out, but would instead be spent within Zambia and more people would be employed in the forestry industry. I know of some countries in this world that have made a lot of money from the forestry industry. The forestry industry was actually one of the biggest industries in Finland before it started manufacturing Nokia products. We know that the forestry industry in Canada is a huge industry that employs people directly in tree cutting, furniture and paper manufacturing, as trees are a very important raw material for the paper industry.


So, if we were to get organised properly, rather than importing timber or poles, we would be exporting them. These days, I see a lot of imported Chinese furniture in this country and rather than importing that furniture, we would be making it locally. Instead of importing paper, we would be making it locally and this would generate a lot of money and employment for our country.


Mr Speaker, if the forestry industry is to contribute to wealth creation in the country, what needs to be done? First of all, as I said, trees must be cut down so that we make furniture and export it to other countries. I am surprised to hear one of my colleagues encouraging the Government to ban charcoal burning. If the Government banned charcoal burning, what fuel will the people in places such as George and Matero Compounds use? Charcoal should not be banned. It should be promoted. The only thing that should be done is to improve the technology used to make charcoal. In other countries, branches of felled trees that get cut off are converted into charcoal. So for me, I strongly oppose the idea of banning charcoal burning because that would be retrogressive and harmful to the majority of people in our country.


Sir, I also feel that we are not doing enough to promote exotic timber. Under exotic timber, we have eucalyptus and pine trees, and these grow very quickly. Unfortunately, the trees that grow wildly take years and sometimes even centuries to reach the stage at which they can be harvested. So, why are we not diversifying into planting exotic trees, whereby in fifteen to twenty-five years, we would be harvesting them? I feel that this is something that needs to be taken seriously because if we were to grow exotic forests, we would be exporting poles to other countries as opposed to importing them from Zimbabwe and South Africa.


Mr Speaker, however, for us to have exotic forests, land needs to be made available. The Chichele Forest that we are so proud of is not enough. I have been to countries in the neighbourhood where I have seen big forests. Chichele Forest is only 5 per cent of the forests in Swaziland and South Africa. How can the deserts in South Africa and small mountainous countries such as Swaziland produce more exotic timber than Zambia? It means that in Zambia, we are not doing enough to plant exotic trees. So, we need to find land for this purpose.


Sir, I would say that most of the bushes that we have in this country are useless because they are of little economic value. We need to uproot them and create space. We can plant trees on 100,000 ha, if not millions of hectares. If we did that, we would be one of the biggest paper producers. So, we can uproot the useless bushes that we sometimes call forests and plant more useful trees. In those bushes, trees are about 30 m to 50 m apart and the space is wasted whereas if we planted exotic trees, for example, with a spacing of about a metre in between, we would harvest in bulk. I, therefore, urge the hon. Minister to clear the useless bushes so we can plant proper trees that can make money for this country.


Mr Speaker, the other problem that is hindering our forestry industry is the habit of imposing bans. This is destroying our economy. There are people who have invested millions of dollars in machines for harvesting and cutting the timber into pieces that are used when making furniture but, every so often, we see hon. Ministers and Permanent Secretaries effecting bans. We forget that when we stop people from harvesting trees, instead of just controlling the way they cut down trees, we actually leave thousands and thousands of people who are dependent on that industry in the cold. The people who cut trees down and have sawmills and tractors for hauling the logs are thrown out in the cold without any income and employment. I, therefore, urge the hon. Minister to stop this habit of imposing bans. I hope this will be the last time we are going to hear that the Government has effected a ban on harvesting trees because it is retrogressive.


 Similarly, I was surprised to hear some of my colleagues encouraging the Government to ban the harvest of the mukula tree. Why should we ban the harvesting of the mukula tree? Is it not a source of income? It is a source of money and we need to harvest it. After all, it is very valuable. We should, therefore, allow people to harvest trees. The only thing that people should do is ensure that the trees that are harvested reach maturity stage. The small ones should not be harvested because harvesting them is not wise. Furthermore, when the mukula tree is being harvested, there must be a programme to immediately replant trees. So, I strongly oppose the view of banning the harvest of the mukula tree. It is like telling people to throw the resources they have in the water or let them rot or be eaten by ants. Honestly, does that make economic sense? Therefore, I am strongly against the issue of banning the harvest of the mukula tree.


Mr Speaker, the Western Province is home to some of the best timber species in the country such as the rosewood tree, commonly known as muzauli, and the tick tree, known as mukusi. Which are the other ones?


Mr Mubika: Mulombe and mukwa!


Dr Musokotwane: There is also the mulombe and mukwa. We just see logs being loaded into trucks. Much as I support the idea of harvesting trees, there must be a possibility of encouraging the investment for the timber to be processed and manufactured into items within the Western Province. We know that there are a few employment opportunities in the Western Province. When people are looking for employment, they go to Nakambala Sugar Estates to cut sugarcane. So, why not create opportunities for value addition to take place in the Western Province so that people can benefit unlike the current situation?


Mr Speaker, finally, some of the forests in the Western Province such as the ones in Liuwa that have a lot of rosewood and mukwa trees are dying and I want to bring this to the attention of this House. Is it possible for the Government to quickly send officers to go and examine why these forests are dying? Could it be due to diseases, droughts or insects? It is important that the Government ensures that forests with valuable trees do not die.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Luangeni will be the last hon. Member to debate before the Executive comes in.


Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity you have given me to say just a few things on the report. I would like to commend both the mover and the seconder of the Motion, and the Committee for the job well done.


Sir, I would like to look at only four items. The first one is the issue of encroachments. Encroachments are a big problem in this country and people encroach in forest reserves because there are no boundaries. So, I urge the Government to come up with boundaries because there are situations where people settle in forest reserves and ten or twenty years later after they feel at home, they are told to move away and this brings problems.


Mr Speaker, as regards the issue of bush fires, we must control bush fires as forests are homes to snakes, frogs, grasshoppers and birds. The problem is that we wait until everything dries up, and then set the bushes on fire. Therefore, all the animals and insects that are inhabitants of the forests end up with no homes or die and get wiped out completely.


Sir, with regard to the issue of water resources, the source of the Zambezi River is supposed to be taken care of so that the Zambezi River does not dry up completely.


Mr Speaker, moving on to the issue of charcoal burning, I am failing to understand why Hon. Dr Musokotwane said that we must continue with charcoal burning. For me, we should not encourage this practice because we will end up wiping out all the trees. Indiscriminate charcoal burning should not be allowed. The charcoal found in Botswana and Zimbabwe is from Zambia. They do not burn charcoal in these countries. They use gas to power their stoves as an alternative source of energy. So, I think we should discourage charcoal burning as much as possible.


Sir, as you know, I am a man of few words. Therefore, with these few words, I thank you.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata): Mr Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the mover of the Motion, Hon. Ng’onga, the seconder, Hon. Dr Imakando as well as Hon. Chinyama, Hon. Jamba, Hon. Dr Musokotwane and Hon. C. M. Zulu, who debated this very important subject on natural resources. First of all, I will react to the report itself before I attend to a few individual concerns brought up by the hon. Members of Parliament.


Sir, I thank you for according me this opportunity to respond to some of the issues raised in the report and, indeed, those raised by the hon. Members who have just debated. The topical issues raised are:


Inadequate Funding for Effective Forest Management


Mr Speaker, the Government is aware of the low funding levels of the Forestry Department. In this regard, the ministry will continue lobbying for more funding from the Ministry of Finance for the Forestry Department. Further, the Government is exploring innovative interventions to ensure that our forests are conserved for the benefit of the current and future generations.


Sir, Statutory Instrument No. 11 of 2018, the Forests (Community Forest Management) Regulations, 2018, was issued to enhance sustainable forest management as well as increase the areas of forests under protection through the involvement of local communities. So, the issue that Hon. Chinyama raised has already been addressed. We started with the Eastern Province where we have partnered with the communities there. Therefore, it is important to note that sixty-seven honorary forest officers and seventy-nine forest guards were recruited, trained and deployed in all the provinces. This is an on-going process as more honorary forest officers will be appointed to beef up human resource for effective forest policing.


Limited Alternative and Affordable Energy Solutions to Livelihood Options


Mr Speaker, the ministry has embarked on the propagation of the Solid Bamboo Tree Project. This initiative is aimed at reducing deforestation by providing an alternative source of energy. I informed my colleagues in this House about the solid bamboo tree and I was wondering why some of them were condemning the Government for not doing anything about it. We have started planting the solid bamboo tree and, so far, trial plots have been established in the Eastern Province and Southern Province. This project will be extended to all provinces this rainy season. The reason we could not extend it to all the provinces last year was that the last rainy season was not as it should have been, and we feared that the tree could die.


Sir, in order to address the issue of alternative livelihood options, the Government has allocated resources in the 2019 Budget to revamp bee keeping. We intend to establish apiaries in provinces that provide an enabling environment for honey production. Further, I wish to inform this august House that I issued a directive that everyone living in and around forests should engage in bee keeping. The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, through the Forestry Department, is procuring twenty-two Land Cruisers for the Bee Keeping Project and we intend to send two Land Cruisers to each province and two will remain at the headquarters, here, in Lusaka to be used in monitoring the project. So, we are on course in terms of bee keeping.


Limited Support for Reforestation and Afforestation


Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that tree planting initiatives remain limited in the country due to inadequate funding. However, I wish to put it on record that the 2018 season tree planting strategy planned to have a million seedlings planted using a multi-sectoral integrated approach with learning institutions, the private sector and academia and research institutions. The target was to plant 1,000 ha and the House may wish to know that instead of 1,000 ha, 1,141.2 ha and so, the target of seedlings to be planted was met. The target was to grow one million seedlings, but I am pleased to inform this august House that we grew 1,536,683 seedlings, which translates into 154 per cent.


Inadequate Regulation of Mukula Trade


Mr Speaker, your Committee recommends that the Government should lift the ban on the export of mukula logs so as to encourage transparency. It further recommends that regulations on the harvest and export of mukula logs should be adequately enforced to avert overexploitation of the resource, and this has been noted. In order to lift the ban on the export of mukula logs, it is important to put in place proper mechanisms that will maximise revenue gains from the mukula tree and other high value species. I, therefore, wish to inform this august House that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is working with other line ministries and Government agencies to put in place appropriate measures to ensure the sustainable exploitation of high value timber species, including the mukula tree.


Sir, I would like to emphasise that the ban on the export of the mukula logs still stands until appropriate modalities are put in place. Even after that is done, the trading of the mukula tree will be Government-driven. The Government will start harvesting the mukula tree on behalf of Zambians because it is a natural resource. It is only Hon. Syakalima who knows the value of the tree and benefits from it. Meanwhile, it is a natural resource which is supposed to –


Mr Syakalima laughed.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 until 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was winding up item four and was about to move to item five which is:


Provision of Social Amenities to Settlers in Protected Forests and De-gazetion


Sir, the Government does not take pride in illegal settlements. It equally does not encourage de-gazetting of protected forest areas. In one breath, we are talking about afforestation and in another breath, about de-gazetting and that does not augur well for afforestation efforts. So, the Government is not for de-gazetting. However, excisions are necessitated as a result of an increase in economic activities and population growth. In order to strengthen forest protection and management, the ministry issued eviction notices to people who have encroached in forest reserves around the country. In light of the outcry from the affected people, the ministry is now considering the issue on a case by case basis. This is because there is some Government infrastructure such as schools and health facilities in some forest reserves.


Finalisation of the National Land Policy


Mr Speaker, the ministry anticipates finalising the National Land Policy in the third quarter of 2019. In order to achieve this, the ministry has developed the following roadmap:


  1. a technical committee was reconstituted in March 2019;


  1. in April 2019, a cordial hand-shaking meeting with the Chairperson of the House of Chiefs supported by five other chiefs took place;


  1. in May 2019, a technical committee met with a committee of Permanent Secretaries for guidance on issues chiefs raised at the fourth meeting, and continues to receive responses from multiple ministries;


  1. the ministry intends to meet with the full House of Chiefs during its sitting on 11thJuly 2019; and


  1. the ministry is hopeful that the validation of the National Land Policy will be held in November 2019.


Finalisation of the National Land Audit


Mr Speaker, the overall objective of the National Land Audit is to provide comprehensive, accurate and reliable information on land ownership and development, and utilisation patterns in Zambia, in order to enhance good governance, transparency and subsequently contribute to sustainable socio-economic development. The Land Audit Exercise is progressing well, and there is an on-going programme that was planned to be carried out from 2015 to 2022. So, we are still doing the National Land Audit.


Issuance of Certificates of Title to Government Institutions


Sir, the issuance of certificates of title to Government institutions is now mandatory. The Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, is working closely with all relevant Government institutions to ensure that this is achieved. It is important that all Government properties are protected through fencing and obtaining a certificate of title as security. It is my hope that the ministry will rise to the occasion to address the observations and recommendations raised by the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources in order to address the challenges of the forest and land sectors in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I would be failing in my duties if I did not respond to Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s input. In his debate, he mentioned that Finland survives on timber through value addition. The Government of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the President of the Republic of Zambia, is encouraging timber traders to add value to the timber. The Government has put in place measures to control the logging, transporting and exporting of timber. It wants investors to come to Zambia to add value to our timber so that factories can be opened and, consequently, jobs be created. So, what Hon. Dr Musokotwane said is right, and that is the way to go.


Sir, as regards the issue of providing land for planting trees, the Government, through the Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO), intends to have plantations in almost every province in Zambia. So far, ZAFFICO has started plantations in some provinces and exotic trees have been planted in Kawambwa, Luapula Province, and Chinsali, Muchinga Province. We hope to expand the plantations to other provinces. I am sure everybody is aware that people are encroaching into the forests on Copperbelt Province. People have moved into these forests because of urbanisation and that is why the Government has decided to plant trees in the outskirts of urban areas.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, my role is very simple. I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for responding to some of the recommendations. I would also like to thank all the hon. Members of Parliament who debated and those who supported the report even if they did not debate.


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


Question put and agreed to.




(Debate resumed)


Mr Speaker: When business was interrupted on Friday, 21st June, 2019, the House was considering the Motion moved by the hon. Member for Chirundu that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Transport, Works and Supply for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2019, and the hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs was debating, but I am informed that he is not available this afternoon. Therefore, any further debate?


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, I am the acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and I seek your indulgence to continue his debate.


Mr Speaker: My guidance is that if you may wish to debate as a Member of the Executive, you are at liberty to do so. However, there was a reservation for the substantive hon. Minister to continue with the debate. So, his debate will be deemed as having been concluded.


Hon. Government Members: Yes!


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to say a few words on the report. To begin with, I would like to thank the Committee for doing a very good job. Most often, our colleagues from the Executive complain that they do not receive appropriate advice from us, and this is normally echoed by their sympathisers. Their own people have submitted a good report and I am about to give some reflections thereon.


Sir, under normal circumstances, running a national airline is a very difficult and challenging task. It is very difficult to imagine that this country can run a national airline under the Patriotic Front (PF). Why do I say so? The three issues which make it very difficult for it to be in a position to run a national airline include the broader society in which the Zambian people find themselves in, the institutional arrangements in this country and the economic arrangements in the region in relation to nations or companies that are running airlines.


Mr Speaker, I will start with the broader society issues of Zambia. Everything has totally broken down in terms of systems and procedures. Previously, there were strong institutional arrangements and the country could run a national airline because people and systems were there to give checks and balances and make things work properly, but not at the moment. I take issue, for example, with what has been mentioned in the report that the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), as a key stakeholder, will run the airline on behalf of us, the Zambian people.


Sir, the IDC is a mirror image of the Zambia Industrial and Mining Corporation (ZIMCO), but within five years of its formation, it has found its way into the Auditor-General’s report. The President is the Chairperson of the IDC and is supported by three hon. Ministers, two people from the Cabinet and other people. However, as indicated in the Auditor-General’s report, for five years, this institution has failed to do a lot of things, including producing annual financial reports.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about the reason the IDC was established. The strategic objective of the corporation includes repositioning all State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) through improved management, financial viability and sustainability and making loss making entities profitable, among other things. This is the first task of the IDC, but at the time the Auditor-General’s Report was being prepared, we are told that the IDC had failed to produce annual reports from 2014 to 2017. If an institution of this nature can fail to produce annual reports and do a number of things wrongly, how do you expect it to front our interest to run a national airline? This is the major reason people say that the President should not be the Chairperson of this institution. How can the institution fail to produce a meaningful report within five years? Where are we supposed to go and complain about the issue in the Auditor-General’s Report? Is this then a company that you say should run an airline? It cannot.


Sir, the reason the country should walk away from this task is given at pages 30 to 41 of the Committee’s report. In this report, it is clearly indicated that the Action-Taken Report has stipulated that the Government has failed to do a number of things which it should be doing on account of money not being there. So, if for some reason the Government has US$16.5 million which it wants to invest in the airline, why does it not utilise it properly, for example, by investing it in hospitals and schools? I have said this because the expenditure in these two areas is one of the worst in the world at the moment. Why can it not spend that money to capacitate the local people?


Mr Speaker, we have a problem with the institutional arrangements because the Ministry of Finance is supposed to carry out the oversight function on the IDC. First of all, the IDC has no capacity at all to run the airline because whether by design or default, the people at the IDC are not among the best citizens of this country. They were given those jobs on the basis of patronage. The report also shows that key positions at the IDC have not been filled and that thirty-two positions which include investment, risk and treasury management were still vacant. If these positions which are supposed to provide the thinking capacity have not been filled, who is going to manage the issue of Zambia Airways, even if they were to go and look for money elsewhere? So, you can see that what has been proposed cannot work.


Sir, the Ministry of Finance which is supposed to provide guidance has a lot of problems and challenges, at the moment, that are made worse by the fact that some hon. Ministers are criticising the work being carried out in some of its departments. So, instead of the ministry focusing on issues it is supposed to focus on, it is now focusing on criticism from its counterparts, which should not be the case. One of the hon. Cabinet Ministers was rubbishing the Report of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC). Under a normal process –


Mr Speaker: The word ‘rubbishing’ is unparliamentary.


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, I withdraw it. Some hon. Ministers were casting aspersions or stating that the work was not up to the required standard. Cabinet has meetings every Monday. Why would a Cabinet Minister criticise the work of a fellow Cabinet Minister? The Cabinet Minister whose work is being criticised has never criticised the work of his fellow hon. Ministers. So, why should they feel compelled to do so?


Sir, the Ministry of Finance has no time to manage the process of establishing the national airline. It would have had the capacity if things were normal but, this time around, it has to manage the debt this country has found itself in. It is a full-time job and it is not a joke. So, it cannot provide a proper oversight role. The Ministry of Finance also has to grapple with the issue of Sales Tax. We have heard that it will not be able to implement the Sales Tax as was suggested. We told our colleagues, but they refused to withdraw it. However, the people who introduced the Value Added Tax (VAT) are still there at the Ministry of Finance and at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). So, why are we having difficulties now? We are now having difficulties because the hon. Ministers in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government or the Executive does not listen.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!ouse House


Mr Mbangweta: They set targets that are not supported by anything and that is why you see that whatever they try –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Nkeyema, try to construct your point differently. If I take you literally when you say they do not listen, it may not carry the message you are trying to convey. I am sure you understand. You may be thinking in another language, but in the Queen’s language, it will present a challenge. Would you want to rephrase that?


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, let me explain what I mean by this. First of all, a good number of people who were in the Ministry of Finance as well as those who transited to the ZRA and were in charge of implementing the Income Tax are still there. They introduced the VAT. It was not the Frontbench, so to speak, but those people and they are still there even now. During the last Meeting, I remember saying that there was no way the Sales Tax would be implemented on 1st July, 2019. The hon. Minister of Finance is on record as having said that the Government would do it. However, this morning, we have read that the Government has moved away from there.


 However, the point I am making is that the hon. Minister of Finance has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Therefore, if the Government re-establishes Zambia Airways, which she is supposed to supervise with her bureaucrats, it will not be possible for the IDC to supervise it properly because, first and foremost, the people at the IDC have shown incompetence. The Committee’s report has outlined their failures such as stores missing and that they paid themselves leave days benefits that were not supported.


Mr Speaker, running an airline means that people have to work to exact standards. However, if there are no right people at the IDC to ensure risk management, who is going to provide information or attend the discussions when they go to negotiations? Who is going to do that? Therefore, what I mean by saying that if they were listening – this report is one of the best because our colleagues have indicated that it is important to dream but, at the moment, we should temper down because we cannot have a national airline.


Sir, if they have US$16.5 million, why would they put gravel on Nkeyema Road instead of tarring it? Why would they do that? That is what I mean by saying that if they were listening, they would not do that. The people of Nkeyema and I pay tax and we do not feel good to move on a gravel road, yet my colleagues are thinking of establishing an airline. How does that work? The World Vision built a hospital in Nkeyema, but it has not been opened yet because we are not connected to the national grid, yet somebody has US$16.5 million to take elsewhere.


Mr Speaker, we have been talking about these issues and there is hunger in the country. Earlier on this afternoon, we talked about the hunger situation in the Western Province and Southern Province, but the Government does not seem to have paid attention. So, what is going to happen to those people? They need food and water including their animals. What are they doing about it? They take water, grass and other things to other countries within our region. So, what is wrong with us, as a people? That is why we are saying that even if we wish to run an airline, our colleagues are not in a position to run it at the moment because they have failed to support even their own institution, the IDC.


Like I said, the hon. Minister of Finance who is supposed to be the ultimate shareholder on behalf of all of us is burdened by a lot of issues. She is currently dealing with the issue of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) and is supposed to look at the issue of Zambia Airways as well as issues to do with hunger, which I have talked about, the national debt and clearing local debts for local contractors. There is also the issue of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The hon. Minister of Finance is supposed to handle all these issues and also find time to handle the airline. What sort of priorities are those? That is why I am saying that this is one of the best reports and if our colleagues wanted some advice, they have it from your Committee and there is no other way. If they want it otherwise, they will just kill people.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, there is definitely something amiss because in the report, there is the issue of a wet lease and a dry lease. The hon. Ministers who appeared before the Committee justified that they wanted a wet lease because it is easier to start, which is the correct position. However, the board that was appointed wants a dry lease. Where is it going to find the people? Does it have the capacity to interview those people when the people at the IDC have no capacity? So, one can see that there is already a problem. One of the measures the Government has taken to ensure that the airline is sustainable as stated on page 10 of the report is that there will be no political interference. What sort of statement is that when as demonstrated by the report, the President is the Chairperson of the IDC and he is supported by three hon. Ministers and somebody can say there will be no political interference? How can that work? It cannot work.


Sir, that is why there are two fundamental issues relating to the airline. The first issue regards the dry lease and the second one is whether it will be a low cost airline in the context of whether or not food will be provided. One group is of the view that when the airline is established, the local people will have to provide food. However, the decision makers in the Government want to have a low cost airline that will not provide food. So, who are we supposed to believe? Do we believe that the board of the IDC can overrule the shareholder? This then means that political interference comes in because what was presented to the Committee is not what will eventually work out. So, in effect, if the Government has money, let it be used in areas of need. We definitely need a national airline, but not at the moment. The situation is being made worse by the challenges of accepting or accommodating the national airline.


With those few words, Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you most sincerely for giving me this rare opportunity to add my voice to this important topic. I know that all your Committees’ reports are important but, this time around, I think this report is very important because the re-establishment of a national airline is a topical, critical and very important item.


Sir, it was befitting to follow the previous debater who was my chief human resource officer. We shared the same impression at Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) and during break, I was trying to convince my contemporary, Hon. Dr Imakando, of the importance of re-establishing the national airline.


Mr Speaker, as I was contemplating to debate, I tried to find a theme I could use on this topic. However, as I was coming from the Members’ Motel, I saw a billboard near the East Park Mall that reads: “Nothing beats experience”. Permit me to take this as the theme. Further, why should we throw the baby out with the bathwater? So, these two phrases fit into my debate.


Sir, I have read the report and the Committee supports the re-establishment of the national airline although with the reservation that it should be kept in abeyance. This is the part I do not agree with, but most of its submissions are correct. I believe that we can use experience in order to run the national airline profitably. The story of Zambia Airways is clear and it is known. We can use history to run the national airline because we know the history of parastatal bodies in the country.


Mr Speaker, on page 2, the report says:


“Zambia’s first national airline, Zambia Airways, was founded in 1964 as a subsidiary of the Central African Airways (CAA) and later, became an independent State-owned airline through the Zambia Airways Corporation Act No. 48 of 1967. It operated both domestically and internationally until December 1994 when it was liquidated due to its inability to meet its obligations. Overstaffing, soaring fuel prices, political interference and poor corporate governance, among others, were cited for the downfall of the airline. At the time of its closure, the airline had a total debt of US$29 million. Its liquidation resulted in the unemployment of about 2,000 staff and selling of its properties abroad and in towns it operated in locally.”


Sir, that is why I said that it was befitting to follow my counterpart, the hon. Member for Nkeyema’s debate. At the time the insurance market was liberalised, the Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) had 1,200 employees. Over the years, the number was still somewhere there. Later, other insurance companies like Madison Life Insurance Company came into being. Madison Life Insurance Company had only fifteen employees while Professional Insurance Company had twenty-five employees and one can compare twenty-five, fifteen and 1,200 employees.


Therefore, because of overstaffing, most parastatal companies broke down. Madison Life Insurance Company employed fifteen workers while Professional Insurance Company employed twenty-five people and one manager had only one person below him/her. However, parastatal bodies had eight to ten layers of people such that one would write “See me,” the other, “Bring the file” while another one would write, “Bill.” That went on for a long time, but our colleagues learnt from that mistake and did not employ people unnecessarily. I believe that if the airline is established today, we can learn from experience and not employ 2,000 workers as we did then.


Mr Speaker, further, we know how we abused parastatal companies. The House may wish to learn that my first accommodation in the late 1980s was in Kabwata. My neighbour used to work for Zambia Airways. All his children would board Zambia Airways without paying and  would go to West Africa to just buy shoes. So, we know where the break down came from and we should vow never to go that route again. We all know what we went through during that time. All the managers had motor vehicles and they would be given housing allowance, insurance, education allowance, holiday allowance, furniture allowance and other allowances. That is what brought down the good intentions of the national airline. I believe that we have learnt a lot from history and we should say, “Never again”.


Sir, yesterday, I went to the Research Department to ask for statistics of countries in Africa that do not have national airlines and those that have, and I was given the data. Out of fifty-four countries in Africa, thirty have national airlines.


In addition to the thirty, there are four countries that are about to launch their national airlines are Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Zambia. This means that there will be thirty-four countries with national airlines out of fifty-four countries. Fellow compatriots, how bad are we that we cannot be among the thirty-four countries?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I believe that this is the time to launch the national airline because we have learnt enough. We will never make the same mistakes again.


Sir, allow me to look at other factors. Between 1964 and 1967 when the airline was launched, the situation was different. We were flying high from nowhere, but today, we have stabilised because we have built enough infrastructure which we did not have then. We now have the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA), Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula Airport and Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe Airport in Ndola and all this infrastructure will enable us to compete at international level. We did not have that infrastructure then but, now, we have it. So, why should we shy away from creating a national airline? In the past, we went into the airline business as a country, but today, there is networking, and we can outsource services. Previously, Zambia Airways provided all the services, but today, we can outsource some services. That way, we can reduce on the cost aspect.


Mr Speaker, technology has advanced today and unlike in the past, we can use modern technology in order to save costs. Where are we and where should we go wrong? Besides that, what gives me confidence is that we have matured. Unlike in the past when there were few voices to provide checks and balances, today, civil society organisations are alert and would not allow the Government to mutilate anything. The civil society plays its key role and provides checks and balances. Today, Parliament’s oversight role is stronger than ever before and we can use that mechanism. In the past, the only voice that was heard was the trade union. Today, there are many alert Opposition political parties that do not give any space as they provide checks and balances. These political parties are active and provide checks and balances before the Government makes mistakes. If it does not heed the advice, it does that at its own peril.


Mr Kampyongo: Hear, hear! Ema debate aya! Not chilingalinga.


Mr Mbulakulima: Today, we have donors who are alert. They help us and do not sit idly by or sit back. When they do not support something, they let us know.


Sir, I do not want to talk about the advantages, but I presume we all know that some of the advantages are intangible. The national airline was a pride and others might say, “What is pride?” In those days, it was good to travel in the national colours as a politician, sportsman or anybody else. Can you imagine the Zambia National Football Team coming back home with a trophy using Zambia Airways? How fantastic would that be?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!  


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, can you imagine how good it will be coming from outside Zambia as a Parliamentarian using Zambia Airways? Today, we are definitely not happy when we are outside the country and do not see any of our national colours. A national airline will bring multiple benefits. Tourism will definitely flourish under our own national airline. Today, very few people from the United States of America, Europe and various countries come to Zambia because of connections. This has proved very difficult for the country. There are so many advantages of having a national airline, and one of them is that it can be a source of employment.


Sir, I believe that time has come for us to have a national airline. We are mature enough to take precautionary measures to ensure that it succeeds. I have read the report and it has talked about partnership in terms of contracts. Contracts should not skew towards a foreign airline like Ethiopian Airlines. We can revisit that. We should also look at the issue of the local human resource taking the centre stage. We should not depend on foreign human resource. The local human resource should take centre stage while we also partner with others.


Mr Speaker, I believe that the issue of consultation is critical, and I do not want to underplay it. However, suspending the launch of the national airline is not the answer. Consultations can be ongoing. Even as we launch the airline, we should continuously consult each other and monitor what will be happening, and that will definitely make Zambia Airways succeed.


Sir, I said that I was at pains to choose a theme for my debate between throwing the baby out with the bathwater and what was written on the billboard at East Park Mall that nothing beats experience. Considering the collective wisdom and experience we have attained as a country, we can say “never again” and I believe that way, the airline can succeed.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, it is very clear that there is a lot of interest in debating this report, and this is a carry-over debate from Friday last week. However, I intend to conclude this debate this evening. If I allow all the hon. Members who have indicated to debate for twenty minutes each, it will not be possible to conclude it tonight, but I intend to conclude it tonight. So, inevitably, some hon. Members will not debate, although they have indicated. We will measure our time.


Please, if you can, try to abbreviate your debate so that as many people as possible can debate. I will not curtail your debate. I am only urging you to exercise self-restraint so that you allow many people to debate. I will not curtail any debate, but measure the debates against the available time.


Mr Jere (Livingstone):  Mr Speaker, I would like to thank your Committee for the job well done.


Sir, running an airline is a business, and any business’ objective is to make profit. Starting an airline is not an easy business. It is difficult and because of that, there are rules that must be followed. No step must be omitted. The Committee did a very good job by going to different parts of this country on a fact-finding mission as indicated in the report. One of the steps that must be taken when establishing an airline business is market analysis.


However, is there traffic growth in the region? The answer is yes and no. Nowadays, people are struggling to find money to travel by bus so very few people would manage to travel by air. Furthermore, what is prevailing in the region? Most airlines in the region are struggling. We talked about Malawi, Zimbabwe and South Africa. All the airlines in these countries had challenges recently, and that is the reason we are saying that an airline might not work well in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the Committee should have been given an opportunity to travel to Dubai to find out how Emirates was established in 1985. This airline started with three aeroplanes, but at present, it can boast of having over 240 Airbus and Boeing 777 aeroplanes. The airline now connects to more than 100 destinations in the world with more than 40 million passengers per annum. In the beginning, it only had three aeroplanes, but within thirty-four years, it has been able to grow because of good management.


Mr Speaker, looking at the operating environment in Zambia, we cannot compete properly. In order to have an airline that will provide effective and efficient services to the people, we need to adhere to many laws and rules. Many times, there is political interference and this may pose challenges for the airline business. In view of this, I totally agree with the Committee that we may not manage to operate the airline.


Sir, the issue of where to source an aeroplane is very cardinal. We need to look at how to start the airline. We can consider purchasing new aeroplanes or used ones, or leasing or leasing with the intention of buying them. The Committee stated that the Government intends to lease aeroplanes from Ethiopian Airlines, but we may be given aeroplanes that are ‘tired’ and the maintenance costs may be high. Therefore, we may spend a lot of money maintaining aeroplanes that are already too tired for us to run the airline.


Mr Speaker, as regards the management, for example, there was an example of fire tenders that were bought at US$1 million each, but were insured at a fee of US$250,000 each. What then will happen with these aeroplanes? How sure are we that things will run transparently? In the past, we have learnt that when disadvantages outweigh advantages, it is suicidal to tread that path. Therefore, I urge the Government to adhere to the Committee’s report.


Sir, my colleague on your right talked about the issue of infrastructure. At the moment, we are struggling. The runway at Kasama Airport is still gravel so many years after Independence and most of the roads in this country are still impassable. Why should we go in the air when we have not done well on the ground?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. Government Members: Question! What kind of reasoning is that?


Ms Mulenga: Ulindoshi?


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of the road between Sesheke and Livingstone has been a song on the Floor of this House. To date, a distance that is supposed to take an hour takes three hours on that road, yet it is an economical road that connects this country to the port of Walvis Bay in Namibia. The road between Chama and Lundazi is in a deplorable state. It is terrible. It is as if you are not going to a district. Therefore, before the Government works on the roads that connect to districts, it should not embark on the failed project, the national airline, it is proposing.


Sir, let me talk about the issue of political interference. Zambia Airways failed because of over-employment. Indeed, the moment the airline is introduced, many people will be employed, but who are they? In this case, the report says that the Ethiopians will have a lion’s share. Are we creating jobs for foreigners? Just like we have given so many jobs to the Chinese, we want to give jobs to the foreigners who, in this case, are Ethiopians.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government claims to be a listening Government. It should, for once, listen and adhere to the Committee’s recommendation.


 I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the Report of the Committee on Transport, Works and Supply. I will be brief. I would like to start by saying that when you, as a people, decide to place a caveat on your prospects, you end up with debates such as the ones we heard from those on the left on Friday last week and today.


Sir, the issue of air transport has not come from nowhere. As a country, we have agreed that if we explore tourism properly, it will provide an economic alternative for a source of revenue for the country and create much needed jobs for our jobless youths. If we cannot start dealing with things that will enable tourism to flourish and contribute to the economic growth of the nation, then, our debate will be misplaced.


Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. Member for Livingstone, where we have to do a lot to promote tourism and maximise the potential of the area and its surrounding areas, is the first one to doubt the issue of air services. Even as an individual, when you are building a house, you provide a car park. You do not do that hoping that your neighbour or visitors will come and park in that car park.


Sir, the Government has embarked on infrastructure development in order to ensure that it unlocks the potential that lies in tourism so that Zambia can be turned into an aviation hub as stated in the report. South Africa is a hub on the southern part of the continent and in East Africa, it is Kenya. We need to move fast in the central part of Africa and trail behind. Therefore, it is important that the journey we have started of investing in air service infrastructure is complemented by the introduction of a flag carrier. In the north, there is Ethiopian Airways which has grown. All these airlines were trailing Zambia Airways which was known as QZ. QZ was way ahead of all the airlines that are there which are now prominent on the continent. We had hubs in Addis Ababa, Morocco and Egypt and these people have invested. You have to invest in order to make money. You cannot be scared and place a caveat on your prospects. You have to be ambitious. As a country, we need to make sure that we collapse the box and start looking forward.


Sir, as I listened to my colleagues on your left, I wondered what kind of Zambia we want for our future generations. One hon. Member was wondering why so many roads have been opened up. I was at the Ministry of Local Government when an analysis on the flow of vehicles was made. We may be having challenges, but people’s lives have improved. Driving a vehicle is no longer a luxury as everyone is now able to drive. The same applies to air travel. We should stop portraying air travel as something for the privileged.


Mr Speaker, when we go to continental engagements, we discuss opening up the airspace and our borders as a continent so that we can grow our continental economy. We cannot sit back while our colleagues in the north grow. Bilateral air service agreements are supposed to be signed at continental level and sub-regional level. How do you sign agreements with people who are ahead because we want to think until – it can never work like that.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, governance must be appreciated because it involves making difficult and important decisions on behalf of the people. We want the tourism industry in Zambia to grow so that people can fly in directly from Cairo to Lusaka. On a reciprocal basis, we want the money to remain here. When we buy tickets from Emirates or Ethiopian Airlines, the dollars or money does not remain here.


Dr Malama: Correct!


Mr Kampyongo: How else are we going to create jobs? With the airline in place, we will have auxiliary services. Ground staff and renowned pilots who still work all over the world with clean records were trained at the Zambia Air Services Training Institute (ZASTI).We need to claim that pride back. How do we claim that pride with this kind of leadership? Let us collapse the box.


Sir, I heard an hon. Member talking about the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) being chaired by the President. The President is the Chief Executive of the State and other than him, there cannot be a better person to represent the people and their interests. The airline will have a board and it has been spelled out how it is going to be and how its management is going to be structured. That is corporate management. One cannot look at past failures and use that as a benchmark on how to proceed.


Mr Speaker, the Government means business. Some people would say they cannot eat roads, but today, they are driving nicely in the whole of Lusaka. We will do the same regarding the airline because we know people shall appreciate when they sit on aeroplanes and go to Livingstone as tourists. Tourism should not just be about those who come from outside the country but also for the local people. Those of us who go by road and drive 800 km to go to our constituencies envy our colleagues from the Copperbelt. Hon. Pavyuma Kalobo just jumps on an aeroplane and gets to Kitwe to do his work and comes back in time. That is how we should be thinking.


Sir, my colleague talked about the state of the runway in Kasama. Do we want to continue with that status quo? We know that there is Chishimba Falls in Kasama. The hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting is doing very well because Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) television shows our natural resources, with a leaning on tourist attractions that people can come and view. However, who would want to come to Zambia, land in Ndola and drive 700 km to Kasama? Whom are you going to attract in that manner?


Mr Speaker, the Government has invested in airports on the Copperbelt and in Lusaka in order for this country to return its pride in civil aviation services and we are determined to make it. We, therefore, expected hon. Members to give us some options. That way, they would offer effective oversight unlike shooting down the proposals and telling the Patriotic Front (PF) Government that it will fail. This is collective responsibility because everyone is part of the Government. When something as important as this is on the table, our colleagues on the left should not just come and say that “twa baambila ba Government”.




Mr Speaker: Meaning?


Mr Kampyongo: That means that we told the Government that it will fail. We should stop such kind of politics. The airline will not be for the PF, but for Zambians. This means all of us here and the people we represent. That is how we should be thinking. To think that if the Government fails, you will not be part of the failure is incorrect. We should collectively find solutions that are progressive instead of just saying that it should be deferred. Defer it to when? We need to be accountable.  We must leave legacies behind.


Mr Speaker, I know the former hon. Minister of Finance and his team started the Formula One Road Project a bit late, but we carried that vision in order to unlock the nation. That is why we called it the Link Zambia 8,000 Km Road Project. For example, one can move from the airport and get to Chilanga without passing through the Central Business District (CBD). That is how you plan. I actually wonder what you are going to do because you should learn from what we are doing in order for you to come and –




Mr Kampyongo: God forbid!


Mr Speaker, I want to say that the Government must be encouraged to realise this dream because it will mean a lot to the nation. We can also generate the foreign exchange that we give away and the much-talked-about jobs will be created if we start training people at ZASTI. That way, our children will be able get jobs. I believe that even when they are lamenting – politicking is permissible, sometimes, they should be futuristic and nationalistic when dealing with such matters.


Sir, on page 33 of the report, your Committee talked about inefficiencies at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) and immigration counters at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA). The issue of queuing up at clearing counters, customs and immigration counters is the same all over the world. If you go to Dubai, O. R. Tambo International Airport or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, you will still queue up. However, what is important is the rate at which clients are cleared.


Mr Speaker, we must actually be commended because we have now automated the operations of the Immigration Department. Our airport was meant for a small population. We all know how it feels when you are coming from bigger airports and you land at the old airport. You feel as though you have arrived at a village. We are all proud of the infrastructure at KKIA as well as Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampyongo: ... and Ndola International Airports. Let us just commend without reservations because this infrastructure is for all of us.


Mr Speaker, as regards the issue of counters, we cannot do much because the space that we have can only accommodate so much. Nevertheless, we are doing far much better in terms of automating and ensuring that the arrivals are cleared efficiently. We use the same systems as the ones used world over. We are not lagging behind. We take all the details and sieve the people who come into the country and ensure that we only admit visitors or people with a desirable nature.


Sir, an hon. Member alluded to the attitude of our security officers. I may not know what this meant, but we have to understand that those people are trained to be security officers. Their work may demand that they do not smile all the time because they have to be on the lookout for undesirable elements, keeping in mind that people who are criminal in nature move in different shapes. So, we do not expect them to operate like public relations officers. Security officers are our first line of defence and we expect them to do their work as security personnel. It is actually the same the world over. One cannot go to the counter and expect smiles from security personnel. A person should just present his/her credentials and documentations properly and get cleared. That is how it works with security personnel.


Mr Speaker, the Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs can attest to the fact that the Government is doing everything possible. It must be commended because in terms of immigration, all the airports operate using electronic-platforms (e-platforms). As people land, they are cleared in the system and are able to pay for their visas from wherever they are coming from. All they do is present their credentials and the system identifies them and that is it.


Sir, we are doing our best and even when stories about corruption are concocted, we do not mind. The Government is committed and determined to give the people the best it can. On the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC), just acknowledge that the Government is performing well and when you come on board, it does not mean that you should just criticise everything. It will not help you because the people of Zambia are able to see what the Government is doing.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I wish to take cognisance of the submissions made by the Committee, but I know that it could have done better to offer optional solutions for the concerns raised other than stopping at condemnation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to make a few comments on the re-establishment of Zambia Airways, a national airline. I would like to take this opportunity, like others have done, to commend your Committee.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was commending your Committee for the job well done. I think it did quite a good job in terms of its analysis and it concluded that this enterprise be postponed or put in abeyance until such a time that our economy improves and is able to take on the magnitude of investment that is being suggested by our colleagues on your right.


Sir, first and foremost, we know that this is not a new concept because we have tried it before. In 1964, Zambia Airways was launched. Thirty years later, that is, in 1994, it folded. Why did it fold? It folded due to political interference, inefficiency and market problems, meaning there was not enough market. So, we should take a leaf out of that and learn from what happened when Zambia Airways was launched.


However, nothing has changed. Knowing our colleagues in the Government, political interference will continue to be there. Inefficiency will be there, knowing how we have run our parastatal bodies in this country. Forty-two parastatal entities are operating currently and the idea is to make profit, but only about seven of them are making profit. That is an indication that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government will not be able to run this enterprise in a profitable manner. Therefore, we should take a step back and be mature enough to recognise that there are problems in this industry and because of the magnitude of this enterprise, we are not up to it at the moment.


Mr Speaker, in fact, I would even go further to say that we should not even put this idea in abeyance, but forget about it until such a time that our economic situation improves. Why am I saying that? We know that at the moment, the debt burden is the biggest hindrance we have with regard to the growth of this economy. Until this problem is sorted out, we cannot, in all fairness to the citizens of this country, take on new projects that we do not even have an idea about ...


Mr Kafwaya: Question!


Mr Lufuma: … because if we do so, we are going to put the people of Zambia in more problems. Look at what is happening in Zambia. Presently, people are struggling to put food on the table or to take their children to school. Health services are in shambles. Everything that one would care to mention is in shambles. So, it is time we took a step back and said no. We should look at the opportunity cost. Is there any other way we can invest this money so that it benefits the Zambian people?


Ms Kapata: Which money?


Mr Lufuma: The answer is yes. We cannot continue borrowing money and sinking it into ventures that are meaningless and do not bring the necessary benefits to the people of Zambia. We cannot go on that way. There has been a mention of US$30 million that is supposed to be used in re-launching Zambia Airways. I suggest we share this money equally so that we can use it in a more meaningful manner. We can invest it in agriculture and get our returns in a year. This is better than waiting for returns for about ten years from Zambia Airways. Why can we not invest it in the manufacturing sector? This money could be made available to small-scale industrial entrepreneurs so that they can start making use of it immediately. That is the best way to make use of this money. We cannot borrow money and sink it into a venture that will not bring any benefits at all. Can we not use this money for tourism? I heard somebody saying that we need to promote tourism. Who says you can only promote tourism when you establish a national airline?




Mr Lufuma: You do not need a national airline to promote tourism. You can promote tourism without a national airline. Currently, we do not have a national airline, but we have been able to promote tourism, although it is not to the extent that we expect it to be. Indeed, what can we expect from the Patriotic Front (PF) which cannot even promote agriculture? How can it manage to promote the manufacturing and tourism industries? It is not possible. However, I am giving them an option that they can take. They can utilise that money by putting it in the manufacturing and tourism industries, and we shall get returns from those investments.


Mr Kafwaya: Which money?


Mr Lufuma: Which money? Do you think you are going to establish an airline without money? So, this US$30 million is an opportunity cost. It actually translates into K300 million. In this country, we have 156 constituencies and this money will translate into K2.5 million per constituency. The hon. Minister of Finance is failing to give us the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). We can use this money as CDF.


Mr Kafwaya: Question!


Mr Lufuma: The CDF has a direct impact on the people. We can use that money, for example, to sink 10,000 boreholes throughout the country and to construct 1,560 …


Mrs Mwanakatwe: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lufuma: …1 x 3 classroom blocks.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabompo and the Hon. Minister of Finance, resume your seats.


Hon. Minister of Finance, if you would like to object to any of the points being raised in the debate, please, I will give you an opportunity. I always discourage points of order during debates of this sort because of the disorder that can ensue. This is a classical debate where there is polarisation and that is why it has taken long. If I am not strict about the timing, we may continue this debate tomorrow, especially looking at the number of people who want to debate. Certainly, we cannot finish tonight. It is not possible, but I will manage it.




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


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, what I am saying is that there are alternative uses for this money, and the Government should seriously consider them so that it benefits the Zambian people, as opposed to investing it in a bottomless pit and getting nothing from that investment.


Sir, re-launching Zambia Airways is a bad investment decision, and I will explain why. Let us do an industry scan of this sector. Somebody said that out of the fifty-four countries in Africa, thirty have airlines and I should add that of those thirty, only one or two are profitable. That is the scenario. We are no different from those countries that have established airlines. For example, in 2017, Standard Chartered Bank assisted South African Airways with an amount of US$176 million to keep it afloat. We are talking about South Africa where systems are more established and where there is efficiency unlike here in Zambia where there are no established systems. If we invest such monies in an airline, what are we going to do with the current inefficiencies as exemplified through the parastatal bodies in this country that are not making profit?


Sir, Britain and France have difficulties running British Airways and Air France International, but they have economies of scale. If we are to have five aeroplanes, how are we going to manage to make profits? According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) projections, all airlines in Africa made a loss of a total of US$100 million in 2018. If we re-launch the airline, we will have no chance of surviving from that scam. Someone talked about the market analysis and it is very bleak regionally, locally as well as internationally. So, if it is bleak, where are we going to get the customers in order for us to keep the airline afloat? We have to re-think this whole basis of re-launching the airline.


Mr Speaker, the other reason it is a bad idea to launch Zambia Airways is the current state of the economy. The current state of the economy is very bad, to say the least. The Government is failing to pay salaries in good time.


Hon. Government Members: Ah, question!


Mr Lufuma: The people know.


Hon. Government Members: Question! We have to look for the money.


Ms Mulenga: Namwina nokwina.




Mr Lufuma: You have problems and issues with your parastatal bodies. For example, the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST)–


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kabompo, you are addressing me.




Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, there are many issues in our local economy that need your attention. Do not escape and go to something else since you say you want to leave a legacy behind. What legacy do you want to leave behind when the project that you want to establish is going to sink Zambia? You want to establish an airline for the mere name that the PF established one, …


Dr Chilufya: What is wrong with that?


Mr Lufuma: … yet the people are suffering. No. We do not want that and we are saying no to it. The people are saying, “No” …


Hon. Government Members: Which people?


Mr Lufuma: … and you should hear them out. Somebody said ichipale chapa musebo. You want to look nice outside, but you are finished inside.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat.


If your attention is going to be drawn there, you will just defeat the purpose of your debate.


Ms Mulenga: Elo ni long weekend muye nakuma constituencies.


Mr Speaker: You are just defeating yourself. Focus on your debate. You are trying to engage and even incorporate comments in your debate and answer to the running commentaries, which are not permitted, as it were, but have become the subject of your debate. I have a sense that you are winding down your debate.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I will do my best to ignore running commentaries and thank you for your counsel.


Mr Mulenga: In conclusion.


Mr Lufuma: Yes, indeed. In conclusion, at the moment, the public debt burden is at 70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Please, let us use the little 30 per cent that we have wisely. Let us put it into education, hospitals, rural roads, water and social and economic infrastructure, which is starved of money currently. We ask the Government many questions on when it will establish or complete all sorts of projects and the answer we get is that it has no money. So, where is it going to get money to re-launch the airline if it cannot put money into social and economic infrastructure? I am reminded of a peasant farmer who borrowed money to buy a Rolls Royce. It is completely out of contest because he will not sustain the Rolls Royce, and this is exactly what the PF is trying to do. It is trying to do something that it cannot sustain. It is high time it started being more realistic and used money efficiently.


Mr Speaker, it cost US$360 million to build Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA). Is that structure worth that much? It is not. Other people have put US$360 million to good effect. What is happening there is that there is a leakage of money. That amount of money is only on paper. The actual money that has been used is probably US$100 million and the rest has been leaked out. This is the same leakage it wants in re-launching Zambia Airways, and we are saying no.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, …


Mr Mulenga: How many conclusions?


Mr Lufuma: … I agree with the Committee that the airline should not be re-launched until such a time that the economy improves, but there is no chance whatsoever of its improvement under their reign. It is not possible …


Hon. Government Member: Question!


Mr Lufuma: … and there are indications to that effect. So, it means that this Administration  is not going to re-establish Zambia Airways because, firstly, it has no capacity to improve the economy. Secondly, this endeavour is politically motivated. As we heard, the Government wants to leave a legacy at the expense of the citizens who are suffering. We do not want legacies. Thirdly, as espoused by various speakers, it is economically and financially unsound. Fourthly, it is a matter of misplaced priorities, which is normal for the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. It continues prioritising things which should not be a priority. That is its legacy. Its priorities are corruption, misappropriation and embezzlement of money.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Higher Education (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, I want to spend a few minutes reflecting on the topic at hand regarding the establishment of the airline. As the Government, we have been very clear on our diversification agenda and on the need to move away from mining by including agriculture, tourism and moving on the path of industrialisation. This requires a lot of strategic thinking. We also need to look and learn from the past failures, and build on the growth path.


Sir, many economists and investors in business will tell you that some of the most successful investors and business people failed at some point, but they learnt lessons from their failures. There is a famous book on failure and how you can move on after learning from past mistakes. That is the path the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has decided to take by re-launching Zambia Airways.


Mr Speaker, countries that are doing well have invested in critical thinking and analysis, and using the analysis, they have then moved forward to design their investment model, and that helps them to grow. Many times in this august House, I have heard that the Zambian economy had recorded some growth and that Zambia had attained a single digit inflation. Even if you have a single digit inflation rate which excites you, but you have no ways of moving goods and services within the country, that single digit inflation in economics is a futile exercise. It is a very romantic phrase that has been referred to by previous hon. Ministers of Finance, until we had a revolution in this country under the PF Government.


Sir, the second important issue to note when doing economic modelling is to ensure that the money remains within the economy. Currently, we are travelling using foreign airlines. Some of the money remains within the country because tickets could have been paid for using plastic money. We need to have our own airline so that not only the money that we use to buy tickets is left in Zambia, but also that used by those who live in Zambia. That is how an economy is built. You do not build an economy by singing about the single digit inflation.


Mr Speaker, considering that we have taken the path of diversification in tourism, agriculture, industrialisation and mining, it means we have to move goods and services not only within Zambia but also outside Zambia. When Zambia Airways was operating, I recall that the rose flowers business in this country was booming. We used to transport roses to Holland every day. The moment Zambia Airways collapsed, this business collapsed. You cannot talk about economic development without strategic thinking.


Sir, some countries in this world have built their economies based on transportation. Atlanta, Georgia is based on transport and it has invested in the road network, and that is what the PF Government has done. We have opened up this country and this was not done before the PF came into power. We have also invested in revitalising our railway sector. In fact, I am a proud Minister of Higher Education, because for the first time, we started a programme of training railway engineers. This is because we want our own engineers to work in our transport sector. The icing on the cake is the airline that will not only enable us to move goods and services on the ground but also airlift them to different countries. The economy of Atlanta, Georgia, is booming and it is purely built on transportation.


Mr Speaker, it is very interesting to listen to the people in this august House. We are supposed to advise and make sure that we think strategically on how we can actually deal with our economic agenda. However, some people are saying that we should not invest in the airline, because if we do so, we are going to lose it. We have not even taken the risk, yet business is about risk taking. Some of the most successful business people took risks.


Therefore, I would like to say that opposition is not just about opposing any ideas. I had an opportunity to spend about two weeks in the British Parliament. It is interesting to see how our colleagues commend the Government for doing something good on the Floor of the House and actually say, “Well done” unlike in this Parliament where everything is about condemnation. Those who want to remain behind will do so and those of us who want to advance will advance. Some of us who have not sat in an economics class, but are self-taught economists know that we have taken the correct path.


Mr Speaker, as Africans, we should be ashamed of ourselves for not having airlines in Africa. It is so difficult to travel on this continent and nobody will come from outside to solve our problems. We, as Africans, have to solve our own problems. We, as Zambians, must solve our own problems. People enjoy connecting from Chipata to Isoka and so, we need to do better and ensure that those who can afford to fly do so. This tendency of thinking that as the one who owns the house, you know all the corners, but want to get somebody to sweep it is not going to help us. So, we have identified a problem and there is a need to improve our transportation, especially as it affects tourism because only then will our people be able to enjoy the wonders of the world.


Mr Speaker, this is the only country that has the cascading falls that are in Mbala and Mpulungu. So, if we do not invest in an airline, how will people go and see the cascading falls? This is the only country that is associated with the evolution of man. The Kalambo Falls is associated with the evolution of man and when the National Heritage Conservation Commission puts up excavation trails, it will be a very popular tourist attraction. How shall we get there if we do not have airlines? This is the only country that has the seventh wonder of the world.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: If we do not improve our transportation, how will people see it? There are over thirty waterfalls in the northern part of Zambia. If we do not invest in transport, how will people go and view those natural wonders? How do we think the economy of this country is going to improve if we do not take the correct risks? If we do not think strategically and critically, it will not happen.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to call upon my colleagues to join the boat and ensure that they become part of this great movement …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: … of thinking strategically as this will ensure that the economy of this country grows. Let me conclude by saying that if anybody is looking for money to invest, he/she will never invest. One needs to, first of all, have a good concept. When one has a good concept and idea, then, he/she can share that idea with the people with money to help with the investment. If one does not have a good concept or idea, he/she will die until rain comes down.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity.


Sir, countries worth their salt have national airlines. Airlines carry sovereign capital. As you fly your national skies or into other skies, you carry sovereign capital. What is even more attractive is the economic imperative of an airline. We must note from the outset that we do not expect to make profit on the first day, but the domino effect on other companies that will be associated with the airline business is on the wall for all to see. If the domino effect is tracked particularly on car hire companies, hotels, other tourist attractions and medical tourism, you will see that the aggregate profit actually outweighs the losses that you expect to record at inception.


Mr Speaker, this is basic. We will not be swayed by political rhetoric over this subject and we will proceed with the airline. It is important to note that success begins with good ideas. Those airlines that we adore today started with patriotic citizens who had foresight and invested in ideas. They were critical thinkers and today, they are what they are. It is not born from without. So, we will not be swayed by political rhetoric neither will we be incarcerated in boxes. We will be transformational in our approach.


Sir, as I proceed to my next point, I want to emphasise that an airline is also a conduit for specialised skills. A network of services can be created and specialised personnel such as pilots, and engineers will be able to be trained. By doing so, you create employment, broaden the tax base for Pay As You Earn and revenue streams that were not there before.


Mr Speaker, the ease of travelling via flying in the country is critical to doing business. One can drive to Kabwe or Ndola, but driving over long distances such as to Mansa or Kasama takes many hours and has a lot of risks. There is value and benefit in being efficient in the way one travels when there is a national airline and this also eases the way one does business.


Sir, this can be extrapolated to many other ripple areas. Indeed, there is value in having a national airline, especially if local travel is strengthened. As a country, we enjoy democratic credentials in that we are peaceful, have not had a civil war and are centrally located, and this means that we can convene the whole of Africa beginning with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) into Zambia and see a ripple effect on many other social services. We must exploit that.


Mr Speaker, we are not going to be misled by the thinking that we will not make a profit in the first five years. We know that when we track the domino effect on many other aspects of the economy, we will make an aggregate profit that will outweigh the losses. I would like Parliamentarians to agree with me that having an airline carries sovereign capital and it is Zambian. Let us work together to have this airline and we will put Zambia in the skies and have many ripple effects in our economy.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, in beginning my debate, I would like to quote from the report. Your Committee says:


“We strongly recommend that in the best interest of the nation, the establishment of a national airline be deferred until all the concerns raised are adequately attended to.”


The Committee further recommends that:


“In the meantime, the country should focus on policies which will benefit the majority of its citizens by avoiding projects that may lead to the reduction of budgetary allocation to key sectors like health and education.”


Mr Speaker, the self-taught economist is interested in analysis. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) Economics Briefing No.10 states that:


“An analysis of investor returns within the airline industry and its supply chain revealed that air transport continues to create tremendous value for its users, passengers and shippers and others in the value chain, but destroys value for its airline equity investors.”


So, there is no value that returns to the investors. The report further states:


“Returns on invested capital have only improved from 3.8 per cent in the 1996 to 2004 cycle to 4.1 per cent in the 2004 to 2011 cycle.”


Mr Speaker, in other words, the returns you get when you invest in an airline will be up to about 4.1 per cent. If you run your airline well, you will only get about 4 per cent returns on investment.


Sir, let me remind the hon. Members of Parliament that we will pay about 8 to 9 per cent interest on the Eurobonds we took. So, you borrow at 8 to 9 per cent to invest in an airline that is going to give you 4 per cent returns and I am sure that the self-taught economist will agree with me that critical analysis suggests that this is not a good investment.


Mr Speaker, in defending the re-establishment of the airline before the Parliamentary Committee, the Minister of Transport and Communication, Hon. Dr Brian Mushimba, said:


“We are committed to re-launching Zambia Airways to take advantage of the airport infrastructure we have made in radars in air navigation systems, the best of its kind, in the southern region.”


 The hon. Minister was saying that we are re-launching the airline because we want to take advantage of our infrastructure, and he could have been referring to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) and the Ndola International Airport that are being built. The investments in these international airports were not motivated by economics. I dare say they were motivated by other factors. If you are going to make these investments, you will be interested in the volume of passengers, the business climate in the country and the users of the airline services such as the Zambia Export Growers Association (ZEGA), which the self-taught economist understood to have been there the time Zambia Airways was operational. I want to state that ZEGA was a thriving association that used to export flowers after Zambia Airways collapsed. It was KLM and Kenya Airways which used to fly our flowers to Amsterdam. So, to think that it was Zambia Airways that used to do so is not critical analysis.


Mr Speaker, let me now pick on a few issues that worry me. The Chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is the President, who is high up there. By virtue of his chairing the IDC, he swings “political influence” into the equation. Political influence has seen parastatal bodies collapse because nothing would stop our colleagues on the right from picking up the phone and saying, “My daughter has just graduated; is there room there?” Knowing very well that someone is in the Executive, ...




Dr Imakando: ... it becomes extremely difficult to deny him such a request. Political influence causes problems. We have seen the Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (ZAMTEL) struggle. I think the hon. Minister of Finance knows very well that ZAMTEL is struggling because of political influence. When it is time to pay employees at ZAMTEL, someone will say no and that being a Government department, the lines should be kept going. ZAMTEL needs the cash to meet its requirements, but because of political influence, it continues to offer services even when payments have not come through.


Sir, one of the reasons that have been given on page 10 of the report favouring the re-launching of the airline is that the Zambian economy is expected to grow. The growth of the Zambian economy has been downgraded from a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 4.6 per cent to that of 3.2 per cent. In other words, the growth that the Government thought it would have is not there. There will be no growth. Hon. Dr Musokotwane was taught at the university. He is not self-taught and he told us that from every kwacha that the Government collects in taxes, and Hon. Mwanakatwe will agree with that, 50 n goes to salaries and 37 n goes to debt servicing. The Constitutional payments that must be made take about 5 to 10 n. Hon. Members, what how much remains in the Budget? From every kwacha collected, 10 n is what remains for operations.


Mr Speaker, by asking the Government to defer this decision, we are simply asking it to allow the hon. Minister of Finance to operate with a bit of space.


Mr Kafwaya: Question!


Dr Imakando: You are the people who have been criticising the hon. Minister of Finance. Please, do not put pressure on her. For lack of a better word, this country is almost broke. When you fail or delay to pay salaries, you send a very big signal that things are not okay.


Mr Speaker, finally, I do not think that Zambians, and I dare say even parliamentarians, have incomes to enable them to fly around. When the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, the kwacha was about K5 to US$1.


Dr Musokotwane: It was at K4.8.


Dr Imakando: It was at K4.8 to US$1, as corrected by our famous economist. Today, the kwacha is trading at K13 per US$1. I know that airlines quote fees in dollars. At today’s dollar rate, my income, as an hon. Member of Parliament, has dropped by more that 50 per cent and I would not afford to fly. So, it is wishful thinking to believe that when the airline is established, suddenly, tourism will bloom and we will be exporting flowers to Holland. We need to do some critical thinking to which my colleague referred. Let us make social investments, protect our human capital and educate our people. With that, we will be able to grow the economy and, perhaps, enjoy slightly more expensive services. Flying is not cheap. It has never been cheap and will not be cheap just because you say so.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: The time is now 1918 hours. I have to factor in the Acting hon. Minister of Transport and Communication’s response, and the adoption process of this report, which might require time in itself.


The Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs (Mr Sichalwe) (on behalf of the Minister of Transport and Communication (Dr Mushimba)): Mr Speaker, I am grateful to your Committee for the report tabled before this House.


Sir, in response to the Committee’s recommendations, I wish to respond to the issue regarding the deferment of the re-establishment of the national airline. We take note of the Committee’s concerns with regard to the re-establishment of the national airline. The Committee may wish to note that the re-establishment of the national airline may not necessarily have a direct impact on the fiscal space given that the financing of the airline is being addressed fully by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). The financing model adopted is one that minimises the risk on the Treasury since it is being undertaken through a joint venture model with two shareholders, namely the IDC with 55 per cent and Ethiopian Airlines with 45 per cent. Further, the re-establishment of the national airline will spur growth in the tourism industry by providing affordable direct routes for both local and foreign tourists to major tourist destinations in Zambia. This will enhance safari and conference tourism.


Sir, I will not heed to the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central’s advice that I should advise His Excellency the President in Cabinet, against the joint venture model with Ethiopian Airlines. This is because it is not true that Ethiopian Airlines is loss-making. To the contrary, it is in a league of its own. The award winning Ethiopian Airlines currently holds the title as African’s only profitable airline for over fifteen years and its secret is that it invests in people. Although the airline is currently owned by the State, the non-interference policy in place allows it to operate as a business dealing only in the business of people and profit. Unlike other African airlines, the Ethiopian Government does not interfere in the management of the airline at all.


Mr Speaker, Ethiopian Airlines made a profit of US$232.8 million and total revenue of US$2.71 billion in the 2016/2017 fiscal year after carrying close to 9 million passengers and 350,000 tonnes of cargo. These are the kind of partners Zambia should continuously pursue and engage with. In the financial year prior, Ethiopian Airlines increased its profitability by 50 per cent. During the last few years, South African Airways and Kenya Airways have been recording losses.


Sir, I wish to re-affirm the hon. Minister of Home Affairs’ debate that Cabinet is committed to ensure that there is non-political interference in the operations of the national airline and that we continue to enhance the structures of the IDC and all the companies under its portfolio. We take note of the Committee’s recommendations that enhanced consultations should take place between Government entities.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the House may wish to note that the Government is committed to ensuring the effective implementation of the national airline for the greater benefit of the Zambian people, hence, partnering with Ethiopian Airlines that is a leading giant in the aviation industry in Africa.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for this opportunity to wind up debate.


Sir, I thank all hon. Members who have contributed to the debate. I realise that the report attracted a lot of debate, but no controversy. Having listened to everybody who debated, I wish to say that everything they said is contained in the report.


 I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Question that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Transport, Works and Supply for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 13th June, 2019, put and negatived


Mr Speaker: Order!




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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1927 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 26th June, 2019.









417. Mr Phiri (Mkaika) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. when the rehabilitation of the Mtetezi/Msoro Road in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency will commence;


  1. who the contractor for the project is;


  1. what the cost of the project is; and


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


The Minister of Local Government (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the rehabilitation of the Mtetezi-Msoro Road in Mkaika Parliamentary Constituency will commence as soon as procurement processes have been finalised and the Ministry of Finance grants authority to contract the works.


Sir, the contractor will only be known when the project has been awarded.


Mr Speaker, the cost of the project will only be known once the designs have been prepared.


Sir, the time frame for completion of the project will only be known once the designs have been completed.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.