Thursday, 25th July, 2019

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Thursday, 25th July, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours














Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, as you are already aware, the National Assembly of Zambia has embarked on a process to revise the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, 2016. The main purpose of the revision is to enhance the smooth conduct of Business in the House.


In this regard, the Standing Orders Committee, at its eighth meeting held on Wednesday, 24th July, 2019, directed the Clerk of the National Assembly to circulate the said Draft Standing Orders to all hon. Members of Parliament. Copies of the National Assembly of Zambia Draft Standing Orders, 2019, have since been deposited into the hon. Members’ pigeonholes. I, therefore, wish to urge all hon. Members to study the Draft Standing Orders and make comments and observations, where necessary, on this very important document. The comments and observations should be submitted to the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly not later than Tuesday, 30th July, 2019.


I thank you.








491.  Dr Chibanda (Mufulira) asked the Minister of Works and Supply:


  1. when the Government Printing Department will be recapitalised;


  1.  what the cost of recapitalising the department is;


  1. whether the department will be ready to print the ballot papers for the 2021 General Elections;


  1.  if the department will not be ready, why; and


  1. what the benefits of utilising the Government Printing Department, as opposed to private printers, are.


The Minister of Works and Supply (Ms Chalikosa): Madam Speaker, the recapitalisation of the Government Printing Department will be completed by January 2020, subject to the availability of funds. The cost of recapitalising the Government Printing Department is estimated at €17 million translating to about K258,059,167.10, approximately. This will be financed partly by the Government and an investment partner. So far, the Government has invested K14 million in the recapitalisation programme.

Madam Speaker, the Government Printing Department, upon completion of recapitalization, will be ready to print ballot papers and other election materials for the 2021 General Elections. The benefits of printing ballot papers in Zambia as opposed to having them printed abroad include the following:


  1. reduction in costs associated with printing abroad as follows:


  1. freight costs;


  1. travel costs for members of political parties and other stakeholders to witness the printing of ballot papers; and


  1. other administrative costs for the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ); and


  1. reduction in the cost of importing printed products for the Government;


  1. reduction in the amount of foreign exchange needed to print ballot papers and other election materials;


  1. enhanced competition in the printing industry that may cause a reduction in printing costs to the benefit of the Government  and the general public;


  1. internal capacity will be built thus attracting clients from neighboring countries and beyond;


  1. employment creation through the empowerment of other business entities that supply input materials, such as tonners and stationery, among others; and


  1. sustainability of existing jobs.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, it is disappointing to note that in one of the answers, hon. Minister indicated that the recapitalisation of the Government Printing Department will commerce in January 2020. That clearly states that this will only take place a year before the 2021 General Elections. His Excellency the President of this country, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has been visiting the Government Printing Department occasionally and he has been on record as having lamented why the Government cannot print its own ballot papers within. What does the hon. Minister think is causing the Government to take this long to recapitalise an important institution like the Government Printing Department? What really is the biggest problem that the Government has in making it this a priority and avoid spending colossal sums of money that go into the printing of ballot papers from 2016 to date?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, indeed, His Excellency the President gave a directive to the Ministry of Works and Supply that the Government Printing Department should print election materials, including ballot papers, for the next General Elections in 2021. In my answer, I made reference to the availability of funds and what I can inform the House is what has been done so far since the transformation process stated in 2014. The transformation process gained momentum when His Excellency the President visited the Government Printers on 22nd March, 2017, and gave the said directives. What has been done so far includes:


  1. procured the new web press which is currently being installed;


  1. training of staff in the operation of the new web press;


  1. power upgrade to three-phase in order to facilitate commissioning of the web press;


  1. commenced installation of the new security system, a closed-circuit television (CCTV) and other physical features, is at an advanced stage;


  1. completed the design for upgrading the infrastructure;


  1. developed a business plan to print various Government products, for instance, passports, examination papers, national identity cards, including election materials such as ballot papers;


  1. identified a strategic partner in the transformation of the Government Printers; and


  1. established a steering committee to co-ordinate the transformation process.


Madam Speaker, all these things have commenced and they are progressing well. It is not just a question of putting in money but also of looking at other functions that will assist with the smooth operation of the Government Printers that are being looked at.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Evg. Shabula (Itezhi-tezhi): Madam Speaker, –


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


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


Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to raise a point of order. An assault on one of us, hon. Members of Parliament in this House, is an assault on this House. I wonder where we are going, if an hon. Minister of Justice can be lynched in his own constituency –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Please, withdraw the word, ‘lynched’.


Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, if he can be beaten up, …


Hon. Opposition Members: Clobbered!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Mr Jamba: … at the high level of Justice Minister in his own constituency, what more a mere Member of Parliament who is Backbencher like me? Am I safe in Mwembezhi? To compound it all, the day before yesterday, I saw cadres belonging to political parties such as the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) in Katuba, for lack of a better word, ‘lynching’ a woman.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


 I just advised you not to use that word.




Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, I am saying that they clobbered a woman in Katuba. You see, Madam Speaker, we cannot continue like this and be silent on it. Two weeks have passed ever since the hon. Minister of Justice was clobbered, but the hon. Minister of Home Affairs is silent on this matter. If the hon. Minister of Home Affairs can be silent on an issue concerning the hon. Minister of Justice, what about an ordinary Member of Parliament like me?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


What is your point of order, hon. Member?


Mr Jamba: Is he in order to remain silent instead of informing this House and the nation whether or not it is true that man was actually clobbered and, if so, who clobbered him? We also want to know who clobbered the woman in Katuba.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


I am going to ask you to withdraw the word, ‘clobbered’.




Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the word, ‘clobbered.’


Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to sit in this House and remain silent when people are being beaten up and clobbered?




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Do you want my ruling?


Mr Jamba: Madam Speaker, I seek your serious ruling because our safety is not in good hands. Is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to be silent on this matter?




Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Home Affairs should come to the House next week and provide a statement regarding that matter concerning the hon. Minister of Justice.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Evg. Shabula: Madam Speaker, in the recent past, we have seen Grade 7, 9 and 12 examination papers leaked to pupils and common citizens. What assurance is the hon. Minister giving to Zambians that by printing these ballot papers in this country, those papers will not find themselves in the pockets of citizens or other parties?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, as I was outlining what has been done so far. I did make reference to the installation of a security system. This security system will ensure that everything that is happening in the premises of the Government Printers is being monitored. Currently, most of these examination papers are imported, but when they are printed from the Government Printers, we will be able to monitor the movement, that is from the printing and production, from our own surveillance system.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that the Government has spent an amount of K14 million in the upgrading of the Government Printers. Is she able to breakdown from the time the pronouncement was made as to how much was spent year in year out on bringing this institution to where it is today?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I am not able to attach figures in terms of breaking down the K14 million, but I can safely state that this K14 million has gone to expenses on procurement of the web press itself, procurement and installation of the CCTV and power upgrade to three-phase.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Madam Speaker, first and foremost, let me appreciate the tour of duty that the hon. Minister had in the Office of the Vice-President in support of the people in disaster-prone areas.


Madam Speaker, His Excellency the President was with us in this House on 15th March, 2019 and gave a state of the nation address on the application of national values and principles, in which he stated the need to stimulate the industry so that it creates employment. In her response today, the hon. Minister talked about employment creation. Once the Government Printers is recapitalised, will she be able to tell us how many jobs will be created directly even without mentioning the indirect ones?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I am not able to give exact figures. However, the creation of jobs will be in the area of input materials that the Government Printing Department will be using, things like supply of paper, toners and other productions materials. So, it will impart positively on the people who will give the support services.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that the Government Printing Department will be recapitalised by the Government the Republic of Zambia as well as an investor. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister how much money the Government will contribute towards the recapitalisation of this department.


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, currently, the Government is studying a proposal from one of investment partners and the details as to who-will-spend-what will come at a point of agreement. At the moment, the Government is just studying the proposal.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Speaker, in view of the fact that the Government has taken long to recapitalise the Government Printing Department, and realising that the University of Zambia (UNZA) has sourced ultra modern printing equipment, is the ministry in a position to outsource this kind of equipment towards the year 2021 General Elections?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, depending on what needs to be done, and if the Government Printing Department in its current form is not able to manage the printing, outsourcing can be considered. However, it is preferred that all Government documents are produced by the institution which was established for that purpose.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Speaker, I have no problem with having the ballot papers printed in Zambia. However, I want to be assured of the security around this because people in this country are saying that if the Government Printing Department is allowed to print ballot papers, the ballot papers will be tampered with by those in power. What assurance is the Government giving the nation that ballot papers will not be tampered with? That is more worrying than what you have explained.


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I will take the House back to the issue of security which I made reference to already. In addition to that, the procedure for monitoring ballot papers will be the same as the one that is followed now. All the participating political parties will be party to witnessing how the ballot papers will be printed from start to finish. This will be done in collaboration with the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ), and as we go along, we will put all the safety and security measures that need to be observed in place.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Madam Speaker, it is gratifying to note that the Government has prioritised the recapitalisation of the Government Printing Department. The hon. Minister has highlighted the milestone activities that have been set up. Is she able to share with us the end timeline of all these activities?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, in terms of the time frame, with funds available, ideally, this transformation process would be completed by the year 2020. Also, if the Government will be able to come up with counterpart funding once the agreement is reached, this process will end by the year 2020. Beyond the year 2021, it is hoped that the Government Printing Department will become self-sustaining in raising revenue by engaging in printing other products like passports, licences, vehicle insurance cards and national registration cards, working together with the Ministry of Home Affairs and other departments that may need Government documents to be produced by them. We should be done with the transformation process by the first quarter of the year 2020.


 I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow questions from the hon. Member for Senanga Central and the hon. Member for Chimwemwe.


Mr Mukumbuta (Senanga Central): Madam Speaker, I went to the Government Printing Department to familiarise myself with the department and to support it by buying two important documents, which are the Local Government Act of 2019 and the Constituency Development Fund Act of 2018. When I checked the records, I discovered that the Government Printing Department last printed ballot papers in 2001. I am sure everyone is aware that the 2001 elections went very well. In 2006, 2008, 2011, 2015 and 2016, the ballot papers were printed by private entities. The information I got from the Government Printing Department is that the machines that printed the 2001 ballot papers are still there. It is the same model of machines which were used by the contracted companies in the countries where the printing of ballot papers for the previous elections took place. What went wrong after 2001 when the Government Printing Department managed to print our ballot papers?


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, what has happened since the year 2001 is that most of the equipment has become obsolete, and there is a need for the machinery to be replaced to enable it to bulk print documents in large quantities and in a short space of time. The problem that the Government Printing Department is facing, and which has necessitated the transformation, is that most of its machines are obsolete and there are no spares. Therefore, there is a need to modernise the institution.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Madam Speaker, I would like to know if the Government has any plans of publicly inviting bids for the recapitalisation of the Government Printing Department and partnership or will it restrict itself to the unsolicited bidders.


 Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, I did not get the question.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Can you repeat your question, hon. Member for Chimwemwe?


Mr Mwila: Madam Speaker, I would like to know whether the Government will publicly invite bids for recapitalisation of the Government Printing Department or it will restrict itself to getting unsolicited bidders.


Ms Chalikosa: Madam Speaker, currently, the Government is studying the proposal that has been presented to it by a company that has been single-sourced and is already present in Zambia. It is a Germany company, and it is already doing works for other ministries and departments. It is best suited to meet the needs of the functions the Government Printing Department. It is a company that works in producing Government documents worldwide. So, an investment partner has already been identified and, currently, we are just studying the proposal.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Extension Services for the period January 2013 to December 2016 for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Tuesday 23rd July, 2019.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


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


Mr Ng’onga: Madam Speaker, based on its terms of reference set out under Standing Order No. 157(2), the Committee considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Extension Services to farmers for the period January 2013 to December 2016.


Madam Speaker, in considering the audit report, the Committee invited various stakeholders to present oral and written submissions. I would like to believe that hon. Members have had an opportunity to read the report. I will, therefore, only highlight a few of the issues contained therein.


Madam Speaker, as you may be aware, agriculture plays a key role in the Zambian economy and could be a major driver of economic growth and poverty reduction. It currently contributes about 22 per cent of Gross Domestic product (GDP) and provides a source of livelihood for more than 50 per cent of the Zambian population. The crop subsector is critical to the provision of national food and nutrition security as well as the generation of household and national income.


Madam Speaker, it is a well-known fact that small-scale farmers who have been instrumental in contributing to the country’s food basket are heavily dependent on public extension services for technical advice. As you may note, the purpose of extension services is to assist the small-scale farmers to develop their own technical, organisational and management skills and practices. However, having a large rural farming population has made the provision of extension services rather difficult. Most rural farmers lack the skills to exploit to their advantage the prevailing market conditions in the liberalised market situation.


Madam Speaker, key among several challenges faced by farmers are poor farming practices such as a lack of crop diversification and markets for their produce; inadequate infrastructure such as roads for easy access to markets; low investment in crops due to a lack of access to finance, inadequate agricultural inputs; delayed delivery of agricultural inputs and failure to mitigate the risks of climate change, among others. All these ultimately lead to low crop production and productivity.


Madam Speaker, public extension service delivery by the Ministry of Agriculture accounts for the largest coverage of small-scale farmers. The ministry thus facilitates for small-scale farmers access to knowledge, information and technologies through its extension services. However, the Auditor-General’s Report revealed that there is limited contact between extension officers and farmers, with a low extension officer to farmer ratio that currently stands at one extension officer to 1,200 farmers.


Madam Speaker, the Committee observed that despite the recruitment of additional extension officers by the Ministry of Agriculture, the extension officer to farmer ratio still remains considerably low and, therefore, not adequate to make any meaningful impact on the ground.


Madam Speaker, the existence of an effective and efficient extension and information system is essential in influencing the development of agriculture in the country. It is, therefore, imperative to improve the quality of extension services and expand coverage among small-scale farmers.


Madam Speaker, the audit report revealed that provision of extension services is closely linked to the amount of funding allocated and the timely release of such funding. As the House may be aware, most of the activities under the agriculture sector are time-sensitive. Sadly, the report revealed that funds for extension service provision were not released in line with the agriculture extension calendar. The report revealed that funding was usually disbursed long after the time allocated for the scheduled activities. This meant that extension activities that were critical to improving productivity were not undertaken on time.


Madam Speaker, the audit report also revealed that in most cases, release of funds was erratic, and that this had an adverse effect on the delivery of extension services. For instance, in 2014, the approved annual budget by Parliament for support to agricultural camps was K14,280,487 and what was actually received was K5,151,409. This represents 36 per cent of the allocation, leaving a budget variance of K9,129,078. Similarly, in 2015, the approved annual budget by Parliament for support to agricultural camps was K13,154,822, but the releases only amounted to K4,267,916. This represents 32 per cent of the funding, leaving a variance of K8,886,906. In 2016, the situation was even worse. Parliament approved an amount of K21,682,244 for the support to camps. However, only K1,205,618 was released, representing 6 per cent of the allocation, leaving a variance of K20,467,626. As can be seen from these figures, the amounts disbursed have been reducing every year, with the worst case being in 2016 with only 6 per cent of the allocated amount being released.


Madam Speaker, in a nutshell, the Committee noted with concern that the performance of the agriculture sector has declined due to poor budgetary allocations, untimely release of funds and poor extension service delivery. The Committee further observed that budgetary allocations to the Ministry of Agriculture are mostly consumed by recurrent costs, the procurement of strategic national food reserves by the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) to the detriment of the key drivers of the agriculture industry or sector.


Madam, in this regard, the Committee strongly recommends that the policy regarding the implementation of FISP and the mandate of the FRA should be reviewed. The Committee further recommends that since most activities under the agriculture sector are time-sensitive, the Government should prioritise and ring-fence the budgetary allocations to the sector in order to ensure enhanced agriculture productivity, national food security, poverty reduction and general uplifting of the socio-economic welfare of the rural communities.


Madam Speaker, finally, the Committee wishes to record its indebtedness to you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance given during the deliberations. The Committee also commends the Office of the Auditor-General for having undertaken this very important audit on the provision of extension services to farmers in the country.


I beg to move, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Does the seconder wish to speak now or later?


Dr Imakando: Now, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker, I rise to second the Motion moved by the Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Maxas Ng’onga, that the House do adopt the Committee’s report on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Extension Services to farmers for the period January, 2013 to December, 2016, for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 23rd July, 2019.


Madam Speaker, I am persuaded that hon. Members carefully listened and have followed the Motion encouraging them to adopt the report. In urging them to adopt the report, I will highlight some important factors for consideration.


Madam Speaker, we have heard that the Committee sought the views of important stakeholders. The stakeholders included the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Agriculture, University of Zambia (UNZA) School of Agriculture, Natural Resources Development College (NRDC), Indaba Agriculture Policy Research Institute (IAPRI), Zambia College of Agriculture (ZCA), Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre and Zambia National Farmers Unions (ZNFU). All these agreed with the Auditor-General’s Report. You will agree with me that if these key stakeholders agree, we should also agree that the Auditor-General’s Report gave a correct statement on the performance of agriculture and that we should trust this report.


Let me just back-pedal a little and highlight what motivated the performance audit. The performance audit was motivated by the fact that the productivity by the small-scale farmers, who are about 2 million in Zambia, was low. Since the production was low, agriculture was failing to uplift people from poverty. This meant that food insecurity was on the rise. This is what motivated the audit report.


Therefore, the Auditor-General was determined to find out whether or not the Government had put measures for timely and quality extension service provision in place. The audit wanted to find out whether the extension workers were able to assist the farmers in accessing important information, skill and tools which they needed in order to farm sustainably.


Madam Speaker, allow me to briefly look at some of the parameters that the Auditor-General examined to determine the performance of our extension staff. The first one was to find out the extent of contact between extension workers and farmers. It was discovered that there was limited or very little contact. This is because one extension worker was servicing 1,200 farmers. The recommended ratio is one extension worker to about 450 farmers. However, our situation is that one extension worker services 1,200 farmers.


The Auditor-General’s Report also looked at coverage of extension service workers in terms of the area. It was discovered that extension workers have to travel about 70 km in order to visit the farmers without suitable transport. Therefore, it is clear that our extension staff cannot travel 70 km on foot to go and assist farmers and travel another 70 km back. It is not possible.


Madam Speaker, the other factor that the Auditor-General’s Report looked at was technology transfer. In order to show the challenge that the farmers face with technology transfer, it looked at the delivery of inputs. Conservation farming requires that inputs arrive on time and that planting is done just before the rains or after the first rainfall. It was discovered that almost all the time, inputs were delivered late. This meant that the technologies that were being promoted could not be implemented because inputs were delivered very late.


Madam Speaker, regarding the provision of farmer training programmes, an analysis of records revealed that very few farmer training activities were undertaken during the period under review. The failure to undertake frequent training was attributed to non-availability of resources such as funding, human resources and training aids. So, there was no meaningful training going on.


Madam Speaker, as regards the provision of motorcycles, I have talked about this wide coverage of about 70 km. So, the extension staff need suitable transport to visit the farmers but, at the moment, the Ministry of Agriculture relies on motorcycles. In 2012, the total number of running motorcycles, countrywide, was 1,062. In 2015, the number reduced to 640. In 2017, it slightly increased to 785. At the time of the audit, there were only 785 running motorcycles against 1,631 extension workers. Therefore, almost half of the extension workers did not have motorcycles.


Madam Speaker, another challenge is that in most of these rural areas, fuel and oil is lacking. So, having a motorcycle is one thing and being able to put fuel and oil in it is another. Therefore, when all is said and done, most of the farmers cannot get visits from our extension workers because of a lack of transport.


Madam Speaker, with regard to the provision of in-service training or refresher courses to extension officers, the audit reviewed that there were no regular training programmes for the extension staff. In other words, the extension staff is not receiving updates with regard to technological advancements. They are still relying on whatever they learned when they were being trained at the beginning because the Government is unable to fund the in-service training.


Madam Speaker, as regards the release of budgetary allocations, the mover of the Motion clearly showed that out of what was budgeted for, only about 36 per cent was released. Therefore, for every K100 which is supposed to go towards the extension services, only K36 is released. In fact, the mover of the Motion mentioned that in 2017, the budget was about K20 million for camp activities, out of which a paltry K1,200,000 was released.


Madam, only 6 per cent of the budget of K20 million that this House approved for camp activities was released. So, only K1 million was released. With regard to the release of funds, I can simply say it is a disaster.


Madam Speaker, regarding the timing of funding disbursements, this is another disaster because the money was released very late. Therefore, the time-bound activities of agriculture were not implemented. These facts confirm clearly that crop production and productivity was low among the 2 million small-scale farmers. It is clear that with poor funding and late release of funds, farmers cannot be expected to perform magic.


Madam, these facts confirm what the Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have been saying that the extension service programme is weak in this country. Your Committee noted with concern, the poor performance of the agriculture sector. This decline in performance is undoubtedly due to poor budgetary allocations, untimely release of funds and poor extension service delivery. The Committee observed that budgetary allocations are stifled by allocations to the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP).


Madam Speaker, 50 to 90 per cent of the agriculture budget, depending on how we are looking at it, goes to the FRA and FISP. Therefore, we could almost say agriculture in Zambia is the FRA and FISP, period. We have listened to the issue of poor funding. It is for this reason that many stakeholders are calling for a policy review to ensure that the FRA and FISP do not gobble all the money in the agriculture sector. 


Madam, given the low funding levels towards agriculture, the famous phrase that “Agriculture will be the mainstay of the economy” said in many political speeches by the Executive is just a mere rhetoric. Equally, the promises by the Executive that it will prioritise agriculture will just remain a pipe dream. That is all it will be if we do not consider funding the agriculture sector properly. The funding trajectory, which the Chairperson of this Committee mentioned, clearly shows that agriculture is not a priority.


Madam Speaker, Southern Africa is experiencing climate change. Therefore, countries in this region are getting the harder side of the effects of climate change. For instance, countries like South Africa, Botswana and Namibia will not be able to produce as much food as they would have done without the negative effects of climate change. Zambia, especially the northern part of the country, is experiencing climate change moderately. Therefore, production can be increased. Zambia could be the breadbasket of Southern Africa if only we could invest meaningfully in the agriculture sector.


Madam, in the wake of climate change, Zambia could take advantage of it’s proximity to growing countries like South Africa, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola to make the agriculture sector grow based on exports to these countries. It is important that this Government takes agriculture seriously because our hope to produce jobs lies in agriculture. Our hope to increase non-traditional exports lies in agriculture. Further, we boast of having a lot of water. It is a shame that with all these advantages, our agriculture sector is underperforming.


Madam Speaker, as I conclude, let me thank the mover of the Motion and hon. Members of the Committee for bringing to this House a report which is factual and useful. I, therefore, urge this august House to adopt it.


I thank you, Madam. 


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee, the mover of this Motion as well as the seconder.


Madam, I am privileged to be the first one to debate this report, and I would like to state that I adopt the submission of both the mover and the seconder as my own. I recognise that there is a problem because this study was motivated by the fact that there have been growing sound bites from civil society organisations about the weak linkages in the extension services in the agriculture sector in our country as well as food insecurity, the cost of food and everything that comes with it.


Madam Speaker, the challenges that are being faced in the agriculture sector form part of a vicious cycle which as I have already said includes the current situation. Considering the problems which the Committee has identified in the audit report, it is no wonder the staple food cost has escalated to exponential levels. As a matter of fact, the cost of mealie meal has reached an all-time high since I became a living human being. The imbalance between the demand and supply is as a result of the problems that the Committee has shared with the House today. Every player in the value chain in the production of food must take an equal and proportional share of blame, and they must act on it in order to control the cascading effect of the hunger situation. It is in free fall.


Madam Speaker, it is in this House where hon. Members have been agitating and trying to convince the Executive to declare a disaster because of a lack of food. It all emanates from here. The Committee picked extension servicers as one component, but this component cannot stand on its own. Every step of the way must be complementary to these extension services because it cannot function if other components are dislocated. The process starts from here because this House appropriates money to all sectors, including social and economic sectors. I want to put it to you that the agriculture sector is not a social sector only.  It does provide food on the table, but it is also a very active economic sector. This is why successful Governments, to use the seconder’s own words, have come here with the rhetoric that they would like to make agriculture the mainstay of this country’s economy.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is not as hard-hit in terms of drought as Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. I know that South Africa has mechanised its agriculture sector and there is a lot of irrigation that goes on there, but it comes with a cost. Irrigation cannot actually be implemented here. We tried it under the late President Levy Mwanawasa, may his soul rest in peace, but no sooner than we had started, we realised that the cost of electricity to keep the centre pivots running to grow winter maize was not sustainable.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Finance is a key player in this sector. Both the mover and the seconder indicated that there is poor budgetary allocation to the agriculture sector. From where I stand, I refuse to agree with that assertion. The figures we have been given indicate that in 2015, this House allocated K13 million for agriculture camp activities, but only K4 million was released. In 2016, K21 million was allocated, but only K1.2 million was realised. Herein lies the problem. I would not agree that the allocation is insufficient, but that there is an issue with the priority set by the person or the Government entity which is holding the country’s purse, the Ministry of Finance, in the release of money for extension services. It is not enough to mourn and groan about how motorcycles were only 785 as at 2017, when there are 1,631 extension officers, representing below 50 per cent or somewhere thereabouts. 


Madam Speaker, when I was growing up, I was a small village boy and my father was the headmaster. The extension officers used to drive a Land Rover 109, not these motorbikes which you are talking about in this House. They used to drive a Land Rover 109, which was cranked from the front. There can be no pride in talking about motorcycles. A Government worth its salt cannot fail to buy motorcycles. There is something wrong if it fails to do so. The function of an extension officer is sometimes much more than that of directors in some of these ministries. Here we are, groaning about failing to deal with issues of extension services, yet the Government of the day is advocating for deputy ministers. Where will the money come from if the Government cannot even buy a motorcycle? Someone must answer this question. You cannot buy a motorcycle, but you want to have a deputy minister who is going to drive a Toyota V8 GX. Where are your priorities? Somebody, answer me. You are mourning and groaning over simple matters. I disagree with the seconder that the people have been agitating for a policy change. No! It is the Government we need to change.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, we have been hearing this story about policy change from 2011. Every year, the President and the hon. Minister of Finance come to this House to employ rhetoric. I disagree that we need to change the policy. There is nothing wrong with the policy. You allocate K20 million and then, you release K1 million, then, you say that it is the policy that needs to be changed. No. It is the implementation that is wrong. Who is the implementer? It is the Government, and this Government needs to leave the office for people who are more capable to run the affairs of the country and bring prosperity to this country.


Madam Speaker, we all know that we have been hard-hit by climate change, a matter that we cannot control. So, we need to double our efforts in making sure that extension services are offered to our farmers. We should not have a ratio of one extension officer to 1,200 farmers. For you to understand what I am talking about, you ought to have a shamba, which is a garden behind your yard. This way you will understand that crops require extensive care.


Madam Speaker, the seconder spoke about the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) vis-à-vis the Electronic Voucher System (e-Voucher System) gobbling all the money we allocate in this House to the agriculture sector. For how long have we been talking about this? Go back to the time when the FRA was established. It was supposed to be a self-propelled organisation. It exports maize year in, year out when the Government allows it to do so. Where does its money go? The money does not grow. No wonder there are scandals at the FRA. Many people are hypertensive because they are scandal-ridden. Today, under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, there are a lot of scandals in the FRA. The FISP vis-à-vis the e- Voucher System is dislocated. No matter how good an extension officer tries to discharge his functions, for as long as a farmer who contributes K400 to FISP is not given his inputs, it is an exercise. Can I see somebody who can challenge this scenario. A farmer pays a contribution of K400 and is given an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) card to take to the agro dealer. However, the dealer says, “Akuna mali,” which means, “there is no money in your card” because the Government has not done its part. This means that a farmer is dislocated. Can you then say that the problem is with extension officers.


Madam Speaker, it is no wonder that today, institutions like the Zambia College of Agriculture, the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC) and all those colleges that are affiliated to the agriculture sector are performing poorly. There is no motivation for children to go and study agronomy.


Ms Kapata: Question!


Mr Nkombo: This is supposed to be the hub of our survival as a country.


Madam, I put it to you that there is only one solution to this fiasco, and this is to change the Government.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Nkombo: The earlier the Government is changed, the sooner these problems will be addressed. This is not a secret.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, the hon. Member for Kaputa needed to amplify the fact that most extension officers do not have decent shelter. They live in thatched houses. Where does this sit in the report? The Committee has downplayed the extent of the problem.


Madam, late delivery of inputs by the Government of the day, the PF in this circumstance, is also another challenge which no extension officer, no matter where they studied, can resolve. Farming becomes a circus if inputs are delayed beyond 15th December and delivered at the end of January. The Government is not about Pinocchio or the Circus. It is a serious business. It is supposed to be a timely business. This is July, and if we had a serious Government in place, by now, trucks of fertiliser would have been moving to destinations where they are required. Trucks of seed should have been moving now, not in November. Something is inherently wrong with the way the affairs of this country are run in this area.


Madam Speaker, just now, the hon. Minister of Agriculture was asked a question which lapsed. The hon. Member wanted to find out when the transporters of maize and agricultural commodities were going to be paid. Fortunately, they were paid, and I congratulate the hon. Minister for clearing the backlog, but this has been a problem under the PF. We are told that for the transporters to be paid, they have to first go and plead with the paying officer to engage debt collectors. In a straightforward society, why would one need a debt collector? This is called value addition. I hope the new hon. Minister of Finance is going to curtail these people called debt collectors because they just add to the agony and pain of those who deserve money for the work that they have done. Transporters are told that they can only be paid if they get a debt collector as only then can they be added to the priority list of people who should be paid and then the officers get a kickback. I am not giving a blanket statement, but is it any wonder that most Government officers have mansions everywhere in Lusaka when the farmer who is tilling the countryside is not being paid? In America, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will require a person like me to show them tax returns for the property I own so that it can see how I earn my money. That is the normal practice, but it does not exist here.


Mr Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: We requested Her Honour the Vice-President to give a statement on the position of the Government on a lifestyle audit because all things are connected.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Nkombo: They are connected, and you are going to pay the price one day when you leave office because we are going to conduct a lifestyle audit.




Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) must play its role in finding out why only civil servants have big mansions. How can one civil servant build forty-six flats in a record time of one year under the nose of the hon. Minister and the Permanent Secretary (PS)? There is something wrong with the Government, and that is why we have to change it.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mrs Simukoko: Nibani ishina?


Mr Nkombo: It is not a complicated statement. The Government definitely has to change, from where I stand. There is too much corruption.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, let me put it in plain terms. Even in this agriculture sector, a lack of money is depriving an extension officer of driving a Land Rover 110. At least, they could have graduated them from a Land Rover 109 to a Land Rover 110 or a Discovery so that they can do their business to help the Government get some accolades. Bumper harvests do not just come like that. They need planning. Everything must be synchronised for you to have a bumper harvest. To put it in simple terms, once you miss the timing, you have missed it. Those of you who have done a bit of animal husbandry know that if you are going to prime a female animal for artificial insemination, you have to be in sync with that activity. If you miss that insemination, you miss the pregnancy of the cow and the cows will not multiply. It is exactly the same thing with agriculture. It is about time management.


Madam Speaker, for the next two years that the Government is in power, it should show some goodwill and consult. I know, for instance, that the Government motor vehicle fleets have a book value. At least, when the vehicles are five years old, they should be pooled for extension officers. Give them the old cars to use instead of amassing the vehicles. Go to these mansions I have been talking about and you will find piles of brand new cars such as Porsche, BMW, Range Rover Autobiography, Bentley and Lamborghini, in a poor country. The day of reckoning is going to come when they will account for their lifestyles.




Mr Nkombo: This applies to all those who are murmuring now –


Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


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


Ms Kapata: Is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to insinuate that most hon. Ministers drive Range Rovers when he, himself, drives a Range Rover? Is he in order to point a finger at people here when he also drives the same vehicle?


Mrs Simukoko: Are you corrupt?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I did not hear the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central saying that hon. Ministers were driving such vehicles.


Mr Mwiimbu: He did not. He was talking about civil servants.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: He has generally mentioned civil servants.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I am listening to his debate, and I know that he did not mention that hon. Ministers are driving the said motor vehicles.


You may continue, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central.


Mr Nkombo: Madam, in conclusion, this report does not provide hope for this country. This report requires to be interrogated further. It would not be fair to those people whose interests and aspirations we represent here if this Assembly simply adopted this report and let it gather dust on the shelves. It will not be fair to those people whose interests and aspirations we represent in this House. I am, therefore, urging the Government, through Her Honour the Vice-President and Leader of Government Business in the House, to take a look at it and act on each and every one of these concerns, including the one I have mentioned that extension officers be mobile. Get vehicles for them. The world would be a better place to live in if we could just answer to some of these concerns.


Madam, I thank the mover, seconder and also the Committee and yourself for allowing me to participate in a matter that is so dear to my heart. I live on a farm and I urge everyone to move from this concrete jungle and do some farming so that they understand what our farmers are going through.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to debate on the Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources that has been ably moved by the hon. Member of Parliament for Kaputa and duly seconded by the hon. Member for Mongu Central.


Madam, I would like to applaud the report that has been submitted before this House. As I applaud this particular report, I would also like to state that I am extremely disappointed. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government is on record as informing this House and the nation that it was going to prioritise agriculture. When I talk of agriculture, it does not only mean crops, but also livestock and fisheries.


Madam, we are all aware that Zambia has been afflicted by an unprecedented drought this year. As a result of the drought that has afflicted our people, we have a catastrophe that has hit the country as a whole. The effects of the drought situation which we are facing would have been mitigated if my hon. Colleagues on your right were doing the right things in agriculture.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I am aware that for the last ten years or so, we have had assurances on the Floor of this House. We have repeatedly been informed by our hon. Colleagues on your right that they were going to ensure that irrigation schemes are enhanced in drought-prone areas. Alas, nothing has been done about. We have been informed by the Government that there is money readily available for irrigation and construction of dams in drought-prone provinces. The money is there and the funding was made available by the World Bank. However, farmers who are supposed to benefit from that funding from the World Bank have had no access to this fund. As a result, in areas like the Western Province, Southern Province, Central Province, and parts of the Eastern Province, people and their livestock are facing a disaster.


Madam Speaker, in case our colleagues are not aware, as a result of the drought that has afflicted these four provinces, this year, we are going to experience a catastrophic situation in terms of livestock loss. Places like the Western Province and Southern Province have no water and pasture for the animals. It, therefore, follows that the many animals that we are proud of, the ones that the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock boasts over as being the highest head of cattle in the Southern Africa region, will be wiped out. Mark my words, come September this year, all the animals will start dying and the poverty levels in these areas will be exacerbated.


Madam, our hon. Colleagues on your right do not care. We have been lamenting here that we have to provide measures to harvest rain water, but this has not been done. Animals have started dying in areas of the Gwembe Valley, which are drought prone, because there is no water and pasture. However, we have not heard anything from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock pertaining to measures being taken to address these issues. We are aware that in the Southern Province, Namwala in particular, where we have so many head of cattle, cattle will be dying, yet they do not care.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Hon. Opposition Members: No, they do not care!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I do understand …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Just focus on your debate.


Mr Mwiimbu: … that in certain areas, they do not care about what happens in other places. That is why people can say, “Question” when very pertinent issues that affect the lives of our people in this country are being raised. If we have people who can say such things on the Floor of this House, then I agree with what Hon. Nkombo said that we need a regime change so that the lives of our people can improve.


Madam Speaker, I would like to appeal to the two ministries involved, and Her Honour the Vice-President in particular, to take the issues we are raising as very important. We are aware that the Government does not even have money to feed people in areas that are affected by hunger. People in these areas are wallowing in poverty and are hungry because they have no food. We can only mitigate the suffering of the people in these areas by ensuring that, at least, they have water.


Madam, it is now that the Government must declare the drought situation a national disaster so that other co-operating partners can assist us. Yesterday, I was reading a report by the United Nations (UN) and Southern African Development Community (SADC). The report says that the hunger situation in Zambia is the worst in the SADC region …


Hon. Government Members: Aah! Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: That is what is in the report. I know that some people read newspapers and documents upside down and they do not know how to read –


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Madam.


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


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, thank you so much. I rise on a very serious point of order. With due respect, the hon. Member on the Floor has been here for almost twenty years, I think. This message of regime change has been in his debate the entire twenty years …




Mr Kampyongo: … but we are still in the Executive and others have remained the other side.


Mr Ngulube: They are still counting.


 Mr Kampyongo: Is he in order to cite a report by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which he cannot even lay on the Table? He knows very well that just last week, as Chair of the Troika Organ of SADC on Politics, Defense and Security, Zambia hosted a meeting at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) where we discussed matters of food security and other issues. Therefore, which report is he citing as having been read which has pointed to the fact that Zambia is the worst hit in terms of the hunger situation? As a nation, we are part of the SADC family and when we are discussing these matters of national interest, including food security, which Her Honour the Vice-President is adequately addressing, …


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Mr Kampyongo: …Madam Speaker, we must put off –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister of Home Affairs, what is your point of order?


Mr Kampyongo: Madam Speaker, the issue of hunger affects both the hon. Members on the left and right sides of the House collectively. Is the hon. Member in order to cite a report from SADC that has pointed to the fact that Zambia is the worst hit in terms of hunger, which he cannot lay on the Table of the House?


Madam Speaker, I seek your serious ruling because this has a bearing not only on the international community, but also on SADC …


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order! Are you done with your point of order?


Mr Kampyongo: … as a very important family.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that to the extent that the hon. Leader of the Opposition is unable to state the exact report that he is referring to, he is out of order.


Prof. Luo: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: In that regard, I urge the hon. Leader of the Opposition to state the exact report that he is making reference to. If not, he should veer off from that debate and focus on the report on the Floor of the House.


The hon. Leader of the Opposition may continue, please.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, in my debate, I did not quote or refer to any particular report. I said, according to the UN and SADC. That is what I said and I would want to –




Mr Mwiimbu: I am still speaking.




Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order in the House!


Resume your seats, Leader of the Opposition and Deputy Chief Whip!


I have already ruled on the point of order. I do not expect debate on it. I have further guided that the debate must focus on the report that is before us.


The hon. Leader of the Opposition, heed my guidance and continue with your debate.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, according to me, Zambia is the hungriest country …




Mr Mwiimbu: …in the SADC region because I am aware that our people are wallowing in poverty and that they have no food.


Dr Chilufya: On a point of order, Madam.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, according to me, those hon. Colleagues on your right have failed to produce anything to provide food to our people.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Resume your seat. A point of order is raised.


Dr Chilufya: Madam Speaker, this is an august House and debate must be premised on facts. This debate is being broadcast countrywide and it is important that when we debate, we are factual. Zambia is not the hungriest nation on earth. We should not abuse our privileges on the Floor of this House by making statements that are not factual and that paint the image of the Government and the entire country black. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central and Leader of the Opposition in order to utter falsehoods on the Floor of this House and make statements that he cannot support with any evidence?


 I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


My ruling is that as this is a very important report, I expect the Executive to respond and, in so doing, clarify the issues that are being raised by the hon. Members in their debates. There is enough time to allow as many hon. Members of the Executive as possible to clarify the issues because, remember, you have stated yourselves that agriculture is going to be the mainstay of the economy.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: For that reason, I will allow hon. Members of the Executive to debate this Motion.


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, continue with your debate.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, according to me, …


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: … and the information I have, in my constituency, the people are not being given the requisite relief food. As of this morning, more than 2,000 people were queuing up, wanting to buy maize at the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) Depot in Monze, but the response was that the agency can only sell 200 bags of maize per day. The people are crying out to us who are leaders who care for the people of this country.


Madam Speaker, I am aware that in Gwembe, this Government provided relief food in February 2019 and then in June 2019.


Ms Chisangano: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: My hon. Colleagues think that a family of twelve can feed on a 12.5 kg of mealie meal for four months. That is what they think.




Mr Mwiimbu: Do not close the rivers also –




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, there is no need for that. Focus on your debate.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, the issues we are raising here are important and we expect our hon. Colleagues to respond.


Madam, we are talking about the suffering of the people in the constituencies we represent. That is why we are here. We are debating agriculture, taking into account that we were assured that agriculture will be a priority on the part of the PF Government and we are telling our hon. Colleagues that they have not done that. They have said that in the areas which are drought-prone such as the Western Province, parts of the Eastern Province, Central Province and the Southern Province, there is no water. We are appealing to the Government to ensure that this year, it creates and constructs dams in order to harvest water.


Madam Speaker, Zimbabwe is not heavily afflicted with this drought because the leadership made sure there were enough dams to harvest the water. Even if they have a drought for three years, our hon. Colleagues in Zimbabwe will be in a better position. So, we are telling our colleagues on your right to emulate what the Government of Zimbabwe has done for its people. We are not politicking. We are appealing to them to provide for the requisite needs of our people. That is all we are saying.


Madam Speaker, my hon. Colleagues have been talking about the plight of extension officers. In most of the camps, the houses are no longer habitable. The workers have moved out of those houses because they are collapsing. How do they expect a worker to put in his/her best in providing extension services if their conditions are deplorable? They have to improve their conditions of service if we have to improve in agriculture, and that is what we are asking for.


Madam Speaker, in terms of fish farming, we have been talking about improving fish farming in this country, but nothing much has been done about it. Even in areas where there is a lot of water such as Luapula Province, the fishing stocks have been depleted. There are no adequate measures put in place to ensure that we restock the lakes and rivers in Luapula Province, the Northern Province and the Western Province. As a result, we are now importing tilapia from countries as far as China, when we are supposed to be one of the major suppliers of fish in this region. We are failing to do that. All I am saying is that the Government should do the needful.


Madam Speaker, on the issue of the electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) system, I recall that the hon. Minister made a policy statement on the Floor of this House where he said that the drought-prone areas would access inputs through the e-Voucher system, while areas where there is adequate rainfall would receive inputs directly. I take it that it was not his intention to make that statement because that statement is discriminatory. We are aware that when you use the e-Voucher system, financing is a problem. Most of the people who have been using the e-Voucher system have problems accessing inputs because the Government has no money. What will happen is that those farmers in areas where the Government will give fertiliser and seed directly to the farmers will have an advantage over those farmers using the e-Vouchers because there will be no money on the vouchers. That is what will happen. I have no doubt in my mind that, come next year, the financing aspect for this programme will be dire because this Government will have no money. This July –


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: This August, the repayments for most of the loans will be due, but the money will not be available. So, there will be no money for those who will be using the e-Voucher system.


Prof. Luo: Are you God?


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, the river god should not talk like that.




Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I am worried, this Government should not put policies that will lead to the closure of rivers and lakes and stopping people from fishing because the hunger situation will become worse. Therefore, I call upon Her Honour the Vice-President to advise somebody not to close things that affect the people of this country.


Prof. Luo: Ah!




Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, my earnest appeal to the hon. Minister of Agriculture is that he should revisit his pronouncements. The e-Voucher system will affect us, who are from the drought-prone areas, because there will be no money whereas our colleagues will get the actual inputs. This way, they will alleviate hunger and poverty in their areas, but the poverty levels in other areas like the Western Province will be worsened. That is the issue. As the situation is, some of our people who contributed K400 towards the e-Voucher system cannot access the inputs up to now. What measures is the ministry going to put in place to ensure that the disadvantaged people in these drought-prone areas have the inputs they require, despite the Government not having the money? The issue is that there is no money. We need equity.


Ms Kapata interjected.


Mr Mwiimbu: I will insult you.




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


Madam First Deputy Speaker: There is no need for that point of order. The Leader of the Opposition will withdraw that.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw that statement that you have just made.




Mrs Simukoko: Leadership is about tomorrow!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw that.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the statement and substitute it with “rebuke.”


Prof. Luo: A leader does not get annoyed.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, we are discussing a very sensitive issue here and our people are listening. I am aware that in parts of Mandevu, there are people who engage in agriculture.


Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised. Has the hon. Minister given up on raising her point order?


Ms Kapata: No, Madam Speaker.


 Madam Speaker, is the Leader of the Opposition in order to bring Mandevu in to his debate, when this area has no agricultural activities?


I need your serious ruling.




Ms Kapata: We do not farm.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Perhaps the hon. Leader of the Opposition is aware of areas in Mandevu where there are agricultural activities.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member may continue with his debate.


Mr Mwiimbu: I would like to represent the farmers in Kabanana Extension where there are people living on smallholdings and these people are not able to access fertiliser. I know that there are farmers there, …


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: … it is a fact. Since I am a national leader, I speak for the whole country.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I do not just speak for my constituency.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I would like to earnestly appeal to my hon. Colleagues to listen to the issues we are raising on agriculture. We should also realise that a hungry man is an angry man.


Mrs Chinyama: Yes!


Mr Mwiimbu: We should not take our people for granted. The people are hungry, and because of the failure of the agricultural policies, the price of mealie meal has escalated. The people in the townships are crying out to us to provide a solution. The onus of providing a solution after our advice is on those on your right.


Madam, with these few remarks, I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity.


I thank you, Madam.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Madam Speaker, listening to some of these debates on the Floor of this House, I wonder whether or not we were all reading the same report. This report on the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources on the report of the Auditor-General, which was done in the form of a study, was focused so much on the extension services. However, listening to some hon. Members debate, one wonders what they are reading. Anyway, it is so easy to criticise. I do not know if my hon. Colleagues in the United Party for National Development (UPND) have a manifesto on agriculture or an agriculture policy. If they have it, we want to know what it says. After they have made all the noise and criticised our policies, they should tell us what their agriculture policy is.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


 Let me guide the House. The hon. Members on my left have not been making noise. They have been debating just like you are about to begin debating.


You may continue, hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa.


Dr Chanda: Madam Speaker, I replace “noise” with “lamentations and politicking.” We are using a Westminster model of democracy here in Zambia. Just yesterday on television, we saw, in the UK,  a change of Prime Minister and many other changes in Cabinet. Therefore, when one is in the Opposition, he/she is in a shadow government, that is if, maybe, they can form Government in 1,000 years time. That is the whole purpose of a shadow government. Further, they should engage us on policy issues such as the Patriotic Front (PF) policy on agriculture versus their policy based on this report that has been presented. So, anyway, I forgive –




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Members on my left, you have been allowed to debate, and I expect you to give an opportunity –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seats, both of you.


I expect you to allow those on my right who wish to debate to also do so. I will be very reluctant to allow points of order. I will allow the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central but, thereafter, I would like us to listen to those who wish to debate.


Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, in my stay in the House, I have read the Standing Orders and rules of debate, over and over again. I heard the hon. Member of Parliament for Bwana Mkubwa asking us on the Backbench to engage him in a manner that he pleases, as though he is in the Executive. Maybe, I was asleep and I do not remember seeing him being sworn in as a Minister.




Mr Nkombo: As far as I know, he is a Backbencher. Is he in order to debate as though he is a Minister with a portfolio, …




Mr Nkombo: … and to say things that are clearly not in the Standing Orders? ‘Hon. Minister of Bwana Mkubwa’.




Mrs Simukoko: Eh! He is a Minister.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa is, of course, not a Minister. The appropriate hon. Ministers will respond to the issues that have been raised.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Therefore, his debate is not in response to the issues that have been raised, but as a member of a political party in the Government. To that extent, he is …


Mrs Simukoko: Is that difficult to understand?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: ... entitled to debate not as a Minister, but as a member of the political party that is currently governing.


May the hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa continue with his debate.


Dr Chanda: Madam Speaker, thank you so much for that ruling. We are the Ruling Party. We are the PF Government.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda: We were elected by Zambians on the basis of the policies that we sold to the people, and agriculture is one of them. Every sector, whether health, mines or any other sector has nothing to do with who is in Cabinet or who is not, it has to do with the party. Between a chicken and an egg, which one comes first? No wonder our hon. Colleagues on your left may not form Government in 1,000 years.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Chanda: You should know who lays eggs. The PF party has guiding principles which inform the Executive on the implementation of the policies. That is what I was trying to say.


Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Committee for doing great work on the subject of extension services. If we had all read the report, I think we would have given tangible solutions to the Ministry of Agriculture. That is what we are here for. I do not know why we forget that we are legislators. We are the ones who approve the Budget and allocate resources. The Budget is about to be presented, yet if we lose sight of that, we may just end up politicking very serious issues. The smallness of our politics must match the bigness of our challenges. If there is a mismatch, we will be back to the same debate over again.


Madam Speaker, the small-scale farmers in rural areas obviously have challenges. Zambia is the 39th largest country in the world by land mass. It is a huge country and so, we know that some of these challenges which could be logistical or geographical are big. It is easy to connect areas in countries such as Eswatini, Lesotho or Switzerland because they are small countries. They are even smaller than Lusaka Province. It is easier to interconnect them whether by road, rail or other services. We know that we have unique challenges because of the size of our country.


Madam Speaker, the Committee has ably brought out the challenges that our farmers are facing. That should be the focus of our debate. How do we address these challenges? For example, some of the key challenges concerning the poor farming practices are a lack of crop diversification, a lack of access to markets, reduced budgets and late or delayed input supply. To me, one of the critical challenges that this Committee has brought out is the shortfall on extension workers. At the moment, we have a shortfall of 1,800 agriculture extension officers. We must, therefore, urge the hon. Minister of Agriculture and the hon. Minister of Finance to prioritise the hiring of 1,800 extension officers. If possible, we may have to freeze recruitment in other sectors. This does not mean that these other sectors are not important, but that as the PF Government, we have said that agriculture is the core of our economic diversification agenda. Therefore, when the Budget is presented, I expect that more resources should be allocated to extension services instead of 6 per cent. If small-scale farmers were equipped with management and organisational skills, it would be good for the country. When farmers have adequate infrastructure, in terms of feeder roads which will make it easier for them to sell their products, the country will benefit.


Madam Speaker, in agreement with the Committee, I am urging the hon. Minister of Finance to allocate more resources to extension services under the budget for agriculture. As reported, there are two big problems in agriculture. Someone said agriculture is equal to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) plus the Food Reserve Agency (FRA). That is the simple equation which we have to solve. It means that 70 per cent or 80 per cent of the budget for agriculture is going to the FRA and FISP at the expense of other important programmes in agriculture such as extension services. I urge the Government to re-allocate resources from these two big programmes. The FRA should be a strategic buyer. It is not a socialist group which has to buy tens of thousands or hundreds of thousand tonnes of maize. It should buy food for strategic reserves so that the huge resources which the Government is spending on the FRA and FISP can be channelled to extension services.


Madam Speaker, I heard some hon. Members talking about livestock and fisheries. Some of that money can be re-allocated to these areas. I, therefore, urge the Government to re-allocate a huge part of the budget for agriculture towards other programmes. I say so because FISP has been in existence for many years anyway. It was initially envisaged to be a three-year programme which farmers were supposed to graduate from. However, we know that no one has graduated from it, and it will grow bigger. I urge the hon. Minister of Agriculture and the hon. Minister of Finance to take bold steps by making sure that people are weaned off from FISP so that funds are directed towards extension services which will benefit the small-scale farmers in other productive sectors.


Madam Speaker, the PF Government has made agriculture the core of the diversification agenda. The Committee has said that agriculture is the major driver of our economy, and that 50 per cent of the people’s livelihoods depend on agriculture while 22 per cent of Gross Domestic product (GDP) is from agriculture. We know that we can do even much better in that sector.


Madam Speaker, I will quote the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria. He said:


“By 2030, the size of the food and agriculture business in Africa will reach US$1 trillion. So, if you are thinking of how to make money, that is the sector to be in.”


Therefore, we will do well to heed that statement and realise that the area which promises us more money as a country or a continent is agriculture. That is the reason we need to support even the smallest of the farmers.


Madam Speaker, look at how agriculture transforms economies all over the world. A good example can be derived from the economic history of all countries which show that all countries started as agricultural societies before industrialisation. Europe was an agricultural society before it was industrialised. America was an agricultural society. Slave trade was difficult to end because those people had to come to Africa and get labourers to work in their tobacco farms and plantations. Agriculture was the mainstay of the economy. China, Russia and Japan are all developed countries that once depended on agriculture. They allocated more resources to agriculture and emphasised value addition. This made the sector export-driven which, in turn, transformed these countries into the big economies that they are today.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is a blessed country. It is richly endowed with resources. We know that almost 50 per cent of all water in Southern Africa is in this country. South Africa is a dry country. The rivers in Botswana and Namibia are dry. Technically, we do not even have a drought because our rivers do not dry up. Therefore, we can just call for investment of more resources towards irrigation farming, extension services, value addition and industrialisation powered by agriculture. That is what I am urging the hon. Minister of Finance and the hon. Minister of Agriculture to do.


Madam Speaker, in conclusion, currently, Africa in general and Zambia in particular, is spending billions of dollars on importing the food that we are able to grow. I was just looking at the statistics of the size of arable land in Africa, Europe and everywhere. Africa has half of arable land in the world which means Africa and Zambia should feed all the other continents. If we work together and allocate more resources to agriculture, we can make agriculture the mainstay of our economy and power industries and become an export-driven economy.


Madam Speaker, with those few words, I wish to thank your Committee for doing a tremendous job.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the Chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources. I would also like to thank the seconder of the Motion.


Madam, this report is about extension services vis-à-vis agriculture production. From the first page, the report talks about the motivation for the audit that caused this research activity. What engineered the audit? The Auditor-General, on page 3 of the report, stated that the audit was motivated by three factors, as follows:


“(i)       Crop production and productivity were low, especially among the small-scale farmers, leading to high levels of poverty, and food insecurity in most parts of the rural areas –


Mr Miyutu drank some water.




Mr Miyutu: Madam Speaker, the original faith, biblically, shows that the first thing that the Maker of Life did was create a field of food and not a field of medicine, roads or clothes. After creating the field of food, he created a human being to exist and prevail over the field. Therefore, what I have learnt and from my understanding, up to this age, there is nothing that replaces food. The low production of food is like a spear thrown swiftly at a human being. One would need a shield to save the life of this human being.


What is the result of low productivity? People just talk and hear about hunger but, maybe, they do not know what it is nor have they experienced it. They just read or hear about it in tales. When we were young, we used to hear different types of stories. Maybe, some people think that hunger is a tale. It is not a tale; it is real. A hungry person who is on medication cannot survive. There is no magic other than food that can cure hunger. In the biggest hospital like the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), doctors will always advise that patients must be given food because a drug alone cannot cure a patient.


Madam Speaker, human nature bestows power on some individuals. First of all, it is normal for any community to have leaders. Leadership has always been there and it will go on. Even in the other world, there will be leadership and so, even now, there must be leadership. This leadership must focus on what is important for the people. Therefore, I do not want anyone to disregard the life of the people in Kalabo. I want a Government that is going to look into food production, especially in Kalabo.


Hon UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: Madam Speaker, I am ready to take any one arguing about the hunger situation to Kalabo. I am ready to take any member of the Executive at my own cost.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: Immediately I finish debating, I am ready to take him/her to Kalabo. I will feed that person and transport him/her to Kalabo and back, and even pay the sitting allowance that he/she endeavours to get from here if he or she wants.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Miyutu: Madam Speaker, from Kalabo Boma to Miti Ward, there is 125 km of sand terrain. If you went to Kalabo now, you would find people who have forgotten that there is nshima. Those who are in the Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Finance should look into this issue. There is a ministry I am questioning, and this is the Ministry of National Development and Planning. There is the word ‘co-ordination’ in that ministry which is also important in this matter.


Madam Speaker, what are the extension services for? What do we want extension services for? We want extension services for three things, namely fisheries, animal production and crop production. All these three sectors in the outlying rural areas need extensive extension services. This is a department that has been there ever since the Ministry of Agriculture was created. It was there even in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government.


Madam, extension means to radiate knowledge and, therefore, resources must reach some points. This is the extension which we are talking about here. There is a critical shortage of extension officers. I have just made some consultations with my place, Kalabo, and I have been told that there are nineteen camps. Out of the nineteen camps, we –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to mention the understaffing of extension officers in the Ministry of Agriculture. For instance, Kalabo has nineteen camps, but only thirteen extension officers are servicing them. This means that only thirteen camps have an extension officer. However, the extension officers cover long distances without any means of transport. For the Government to improve and increase food productivity, there is a need for it to employ more extension officers to enable them to transmit information and knowledge to farmers. The farmers we are talking about are those in rural areas. Further, most of them cannot read or write English. This means that whatever knowledge is written cannot be received without extension officers.


Mr Speaker, another example is a programme which is taking place in the Western Province called the Cashew Nut Programme. When the programme started, the Government promised that it would employ extra staff to work with the farmers in growing and maintaining cashew nuts. However, up to now, the extension officers who are supposed to work with the farmers to guide and give them relevant information on how they can improve on the production of the crop have not yet been employed. I am sure the Government knows the importance of cashew nuts. It also knows where the cashew nuts can prosper well. Therefore, there is a need to put in resources in order to increase the number of extension officers.


Sir, the livelihood of many human beings in the Southern Province and Western Province is dependent on animal production. Therefore, if there are less staff to work with the farmers, many animals will be lost. Again, if there are no animals, the livelihood of the people will be affected. Although there is a drought, there are water bodies in Kalabo. These water bodies could contain fish. Therefore, as regards the promotion of fisheries, this is the right time to make use of the water pools to grow fish. Natural waters do not have fish anymore yet the demand for fish has increased. Consequently, the Government must ensure that it utilises the available water resources in the provinces where there is enough water to grow fish. If we embark on fish production, a lot of people will eat fish and there will be provision of protein in their bodies and income generation for the people will be boosted. That is how these things should work.


Mr Speaker, at the beginning of my debate, I talked about leadership. Our hon. Colleagues on your right might think that we are blaming them. We are not blaming them, instead we want them to work and seriously look into these issues so that they are able to deliver. They should know that the livelihoods of all Zambians are in their hands. Therefore, when things do not work out, there is nowhere we can go to cry apart from them. I know that options can be there, but it is up to them to implement them.


Mr Speaker, for instance, the information given by the seconder of the Motion is that out of the K14 million which was allocated by this House for extension services, only K5 million was released. What can the K5 million do? The Government has sufficient knowledge on all the things we are talking about. Therefore, it needs to have the desire to do things properly because there is no way the country can develop without food.


Sir, when hon. Members read the report, they might think they are reading other reports related to and showing the importance of agriculture in any community. The report talked about 50 per cent to 60 per cent of the population depending on agricultural operations for their livelihood. The report also talked about 22 per cent contribution sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by the agriculture sector. Therefore, this report is not the only one which talks about the importance of agriculture, but also all reports refer to this sector. This means that the agriculture sector should take a centre stage. How do we expect extension officers to work when only K1 million was released out of the allocated K21 million?


Sir, even in areas where there are hard grounds like the Eastern Province, they will still need fuel and money to service their vehicles. They will need money to pay the officers as they carry out their duties. So, out of this money, it means that –




Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, I do not know how the hon. Members on your right are going to feel with what I am going to say.


Mr Sing’ombe: Just say it!


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, when I look at the values, as far as I am concerned, they show that the Government does not care.


Mr Kafwaya: Question!


Mr Miyutu: I am saying that this is how I look at the whole state of affairs. I live in a rural area. So, if there are no resources allocated, it means no resources will be released. It is important to allocate enough resources so that they are used for production of goods and services. If resources are not released, what else does it mean? It means that there is no care. If the Government does not care, how will the people survive? It is high time the Government took this particular report seriously. Whatever observations have been made should be put into practice to enable us to increase productivity.


Mr Speaker, once productivity is increased, poverty levels will also go down because people will have the means to take their children to school, build houses and access all kinds of services.


Sir, in terms of infrastructure, the Government should know that certain areas are difficult to reach. For instance, Hon. Nkombo said if a motorcycle is given to a camp officer in Kalabo, whose terrain is that of sand without stones, what do you expect of this motorcycle? How long can it last? How far can this extension worker go? When I was young, I used to see extension officers driving vehicles in Kalabo. My home is in Liumba, which is 20 km away from the Boma. There used to be an extension officer who would visit schools and local farmers. Therefore, I urge the Executive to implement these measures. We want to see things improve.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I am ready to take those who are still disputing that there is no hunger to Kalabo, and we shall reach Mitwi Ward.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: I will take two more contributions from hon. Members from the Backbench, Hon. Nakacinda and the hon. Member for Chienge. Then I will move to the Executive. I hope they can still share the time which is remaining. The list is long, but we have to take into consideration that we have a lot of work at hand.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated):  Mr Speaker, allow me to thank and commend the mover and seconder of this Motion and the entire Committee for a well-researched report that is under consideration on the Floor of this House.


Sir, the report is very informative. It has very progressive observations and recommendations which I support from the outset. I would like to urge the Government to address and implement all the observations, concerns and recommendations that have been identified in the report so that the country can finally realise the concept of diversification where agriculture has been identified as a key sector to achieve that economic move.


Mr Speaker, one of the easiest responsibilities that anybody can give himself/herself is to be an armchair critic or to be disruptive because it is not easy to build; it requires superior logic. It is very easy to destroy. Obviously, this august House must remain a House where when such an important report is presented, we apply ourselves to the debate and advise where possible, and challenge where possible or, indeed, at the end of the day, make recommendations that the Government can undertake to implement what will benefit the people we represent. If we are tempted to trade emotions in this august House and end up degenerating to wanting to insult, it will be a challenge because we will not be able to provide the answers that the people of Zambia expect from this august House. I must state that insults, as it has been proven in times past, have never changed any situation. Insults have never put food on the table of the people. However, if one applies himself/herself, he/she will be able to change any circumstance.


Mr Speaker, it is an agreed position that we have a backlog of extension services to our farmers. However, it is important for me to give a background to why we have ended up where we are. In the early 1990s, as a people, we chose to take the route of liberalisation. It began to inculcate an entrepreneurial mind which was applied to every sector of our society or economy, including the agriculture sector. To that effect, farmers were encouraged to look at their activity as a business which introduced the need for market forces that were at play. So, the extension services that were provided under the United National Independence Party (UNIP) regime before the 1990s, eventually began to suffer because all of a sudden, the agriculture sector was deemed to be private sector driven as farmers started to undertake farming as a business. However, along the way, all of us have realised that while that principle of our farmers taking farming as a business is appreciated, there is an aspect of the Government playing a role in what I would consider or term as a public good. This means extension services should not be private sector driven. I think there has been an attempt by the Government to start facilitating and funding extension services meant for the farmers.


Mr Speaker, I would like to state that for these extension services to benefit the country overall, it must be appreciated that transformation of any society or any nation is a function of information. Therefore, extension services are basically, a channel through which information is passed on. Our agriculture sector can be transformed and begin to contribute meaningfully to the development of our country and to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


Mr Speaker, yes, we are gripped with climate challenges, but I can tell you that the answer to navigate through these challenges lies in farming knowledge. I have heard hon. Colleagues lament that the Southern Province was hit with drought and that there is devastating hunger, a situation that some people are zealously suggesting we should declare a national disaster. However, that is basically unnecessary. However, we should consider applying ourselves to finding the necessary farming knowledge that will help us to navigate that situation.          


Mr Speaker, in Monze, Choma and Kalomo in the Southern Province, there are farmers who have very good yields even when they were subjected to the same weather patterns. With further interrogation, you will discover that the answer lies in the knowledge that they had over those who suffered at the hands of the weather patterns in the Southern Province. There are farmers in Monze, Choma and Kalomo who harvested good yields. The difference was in the knowledge they had. The Government must consider capacitating extension officers with the necessary knowledge which they can pass on to our farmers to help them mitigate these circumstances, some of which we have no control over.


Sir, I want to believe that the varying knowledge on the type of maize seed to plant should be passed on to the farmers. We should not only depend on the traditional knowledge that we have been using over time even when the climate has not been as it used to be in the past. For example, there is knowledge on crop protection to maintain soil fertility and the general land tilling methods we are applying, some of which are traditional, which can be taught to farmers. Is there a way in which we can explore other tilling methods to help mitigate the climate change issues that we are faced with?


Mr Speaker, on fertiliser application, most of our farmers only know that they have to wait for D Compound and Urea to apply to their crops. They only use the traditional way of applying fertiliser that they used in the past when the circumstances have changed and may require them to acquire more knowledge on the application of fertiliser to enable them to achieve high yields even under difficult circumstances.


Sir, there is also the issue of timing when planting. When you interrogate the farmers who had good yields, they will tell you that one of the factors that they considered to end up with the yields they got was the timing of planting. Our farmers lack this knowledge as we do not have effective extension services. The Food Reserve Agency (FRA) and the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) are reported to be gobbling the highest percentage of the Ministry of Agriculture’s budget. Therefore, the ministry cannot provide extension services to farmers who are not knowledgeable. You will give these farmers resources, inputs and even provide a favourable marketing strategy, but the vicious cycle will continue if they are not able to produce.


Mr Speaker, since we are a small and growing economy that cannot employ extension officers in numbers that can satisfactorily meet the demands of farmers, I suggest that the Government should consider intensifying the training of farmers in groups, although some training is already being conducted. When our children close schools around August, we can use the school facilities dotted around the country to train our farmers with the aim of producing trainers of trainers. We could possibly use that strategy to generate data for the Ministry of Agriculture where farmers are certified. Through the process of certification, we will know the total number of productive farmers and those who possess the necessary knowledge which will help them to be productive. To that effect, we can strategically invest in farmers knowing that the vessels we are investing in will produce a good yield because they possess the required knowledge. The Committee has ably touched every facet of the agriculture sector, but what has been lamented is the effectiveness of extension services. The only thing we can do, through the Ministry of Agriculture, is ensure that provision of extension services is seen as key to the transformation of not only the agriculture sector, but also the economy, as we diversify and particularly focus on agriculture.


Sir, I was wondering the logic behind the suggestion by one hon. Member that we buy Land Rovers, not motorbikes, for extension officers. I cannot over-emphasise the need to be prudent with our resources if we are to ensure that we have enough extension officers to reach our people. The money you require to buy a vehicle could possibly buy between ten to twelve motorbikes, and motorbikes are versatile. However, I do appreciate that there are parts of our country such as Kalabo where the terrain may not be favourable to the use of motorbikes.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture should not relent. I advise that we use the meagre resources we have prudently. Let us get our people on the ground to pass on the information and knowledge that the farmers need so that we can begin to see more productivity in all facets of the agriculture sector and take advantage of the markets around us that are yawning. In this way, we will be able to generate the necessary revenue to develop our country.


Mr Speaker, without belabouring the point, it is important to avoid the temptation of politicking when we are debating serious Motions of this nature. We should instead apply ourselves objectively and encourage that development is undertaken by implementing the document that we are debating today and many other good documents that have been developed over time.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, I apologise. When I came in, I did not see that you are the one who was presiding over the sitting. I thought it was still Madam First Deputy Speaker.


Sir, I thank you for allowing me to debate on this very important Motion which is dear to my heart. I have always wanted to see something which I say on the Floor of this House regarding this ministry being implemented. I know that the report has emphasised the issue of extension officers. However, in my language we say, “Pakwakana ubunga tapaba insoni.”


Mrs Simukoko: Hear, hear! Tell them!


Ms Katuta: This means that if one is to share a bag of mealie meal which he/she depends on for survival, he/she should not be shy to say the quantity that he/she wants. I am saying so because we acknowledge that the money in the Treasury is not enough to do what we are suggesting it should do. For example, there were suggestions that the Government should build houses and provide certain incentives for extension officers. In the first place, no government generates enough money and profits to do such miracles.


Sir, I am saying this because countries that are doing well economically, at the moment, like Great Britain, were once in the same economic state in which we are as a country. Almost forty years ago, China was also in the same predicament we are in as a country today and the same goes for South Korea. The British, for example, had to embark on a revolution called the Agrarian Revolution to increase crop productivity after realising that without food, they could not move forward as a country.


Sir, as much as we want to talk about employing more agriculture extension officers, the Government and policy makers should be first advised on how to make money because officers cannot be employed if money is not available. For us to realise that fact, we need to look at agriculture serious. The Government needs to take a very strict stance on agriculture and use the Zambia National Service (ZNS) for the purpose it was created by His Excellency the First President of Zambia, Dr Kenneth Kaunda.


The ZNS needs to start getting farmland of about 50,000 ha and above. That activity will also contribute to the employment of our children. For example, we have youths who are energetic who are just being used in political violence and other things. Such youths can be recruited by the ZNS to work on big farms belonging to the Government. Once we start producing en masse, I can assure you that we will start exporting crops, and that would even lead to the introduction of growing new crops. However, if we just want to demand for an increase of extension officers, of about 100, for example, where is the Government going to get salaries to give them?


Mr Speaker, we have to learn from countries that are doing well. For example, South Korea undertook the farming of rice for export on a large scale. That is how their economy has improved.


Sir, even China where we always want to run to has taken agriculture as a way of improving its economy. The Chinese agriculture sector promotes the growing of bamboo trees. When harvesting bamboo, you need not wait for a long time for them to grow again as you keep on harvesting. Bamboo trees are different from pine trees. Once pine trees are cut or harvested, there is a need to wait for many years for other trees to grow. These are the things that the Government should look at. The Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation (ZAFFICO) does not plant pine trees every year like it used to do.


Sir, we should begin to look at ways to make money without spending much money or borrowing. The best way is to improve the agriculture sector which will enable us to export the excess food to other countries. For example, presently, China is in dire need of millions of tonnes of soya beans. If the ZNS was to be given a chance to grow tonnes of soya beans, the money realised from there would contribute to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).


Mr Speaker, further, instead of asking for money, we can ask for the techniques. For us to improve the economy, we need new techniques. However, it seems we just want to concentrate on failures. The truth of the matter is that there is no money, but we can create this money using our own hands and what we have at the moment.


Sir, we need to learn from other countries like China on how to manage drought-prone areas like the Southern Province and Western Province. I say so because I have learnt so much from China. The sewer water can be refined and used. Professors in the universities can come together and look at what can be done with the sewer water so that it can be used for irrigation, instead of waiting for rains. If it does not rain, the crops will not grow and there is no government which can create water. We need to start thinking of what we can do with the available resources so that we depend on what can bring us money. We should not talk about things that we do not have.


Sir, the copper that we rely on is going to get depleted, but agriculture will enable us to grow different kinds of crops, depending on the export demand by countries with a large population. The problem we have is that when anyone opens their mouth to talk about agriculture, it is always about maize, but this country can make money from other crops which can be exported. If we cannot get the money, then let us import the techniques that others have so that we can see ourselves moving from an agricultural revolution into an industrial revolution. If this has happened in other countries, it can also happen in this country. What we do not need is finger- pointing.


Sir, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Agriculture to recommend to the Executive and emphasise the proposal to link ZNS to the Ministry of Agriculture. The thousands of acres of land we have should begin to produce crops en masse. I would rather the Government borrows money for farming instead of other programmes. I can assure you that we will not have the street boys that we have in the streets because each district or province will have massive land. It is possible to absorb the unemployed youths into agriculture, thus having more children interested in studying agriculture or engineering in agriculture.


Mr Speaker, the establishment at the ZNS has different personnel ranging from engineers and other different fields. We can, therefore, encourage children in these universities to study these fields so that they can be used by the ZNS. The Government will then be the largest employer. There will not be such debates on motorcycles for extension workers if we produce enough crops because buying a motorcycle is something that we would not even talk about.


Sir, the ZNS has equipment to work on roads leading to these farms. I can only urge the House to adopt the Agrarian Revolution idea because we need it. Without that, we will do nothing, but come here every year to debate on the same issues.


Sir, I hope and trust that the Executive have taken note of the points which I have brought out. When we travel outside the country to attend conferences, we do not go for shopping, but to learn how our colleagues are doing things in their countries. Personally, I have learnt a lot from attending conferences.


Mr Speaker, I hope the hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection listened to my debate when I said that the sewer water can be refined and used. We would not then debate these matters over again. We have plenty of sewer water which is not being put to any use. For example, in Chamba Valley, there are sewer ponds and the water in those ponds is just being wasted. The water just goes to contaminate other water bodies that are fresh, but when it is refined, it can be used like the way the Chinese do it. The Chinese use the sewer water for canals and aqua-farming. It is simple. There are a lot of educated people in our country who are able to do the same in this country. Once this is done, the country will produce crops in-excess for export, especially to densely populated countries because the market is about where there is high population. The Government does not need to keep on asking for loans year in and year out.


We can export to China, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and West Africa. I can assure you, we would not even concentrate on copper because the country would have been industrialised because value would be added to the crops.


Sir, with these few words, I believe and hope that the Executive has listened and will act on the issue of the ZNS and ensure that it is planted in provinces and districts and have the youths employed en masse. We must go back to the land and produce food for ourselves and for export.


Mr Speaker, I support this Motion.


I thank you.


The Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Dr Wanchinga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to respond as well as to comment on the Motion concerning the Report of your Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources. My response is clustered around three issues. Firstly, …




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order on my right!


Dr Wanchinga: … I will provide a general outlook of what the ministry is doing in the water sector in relation to the comments that have been made by the hon. Members of the House. Secondly, I would like to cast your Committee’s report on extension services in the context of the water sector as it relates to agriculture. Thirdly, I would like to comment on the predicament of the extension service in relation to the current socio-economic conditions of the country, again, as it relates to the issues of agriculture.


Mr Speaker, I would like to inform my hon. Colleagues, who have made various references to the issue of water and drought challenges in the country, that my ministry is fully aware of these challenges. On Tuesday next week, I will issue a ministerial statement on the impact of climate change on water bodies in this country. I would also like to mention that in recognition of the emerging water crisis in the country, we have actually finalised a master plan as a response to these challenges of water in the country. In the master plan, we envisage provision of 5,000 water schemes throughout the country, drilling about 4,500 boreholes and also rehabilitating about 1,500 boreholes as a measure to respond to the current challenges.


Mr Speaker, I would also like to mention that as a response to this emerging water crisis, we are finalising a programme for what we are calling the Inter-basin Water Movement Project. The idea is to link the Congo River into the Zambezi River right at the source. We are also planning, in the same vein, to move water from Luapula into the Southern part of the country. Therefore, we have tabled these ideas to our co-operating partners. Our colleagues think it is feasible and so, we are now moving into the next stage of ground proofing. This is where we can plan and see how we can move water from Luapula Province to Central Province, for instance. In this way, we will be able to know what should be done along the way in terms of utilisation of that water.


Sir, the House may also wish to know that we are currently implementing what we call the National Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Programme, where we are doing our best to provide a number of water schemes throughout the country. We are also implementing what we are calling the National Urban and Peri-Urban Water Schemes.


Mr Speaker, the issue of water harvesting was mentioned. This is, indeed, a very important theme in our ministry. I would like to inform the House that the ministry has been constructing dams throughout the country. For instance, the latest sets of dams to be constructed are those which were supported by the World Bank. Currently, as many hon. Members of the House may be aware, we are in the process of constructing a very big multi-purpose dam in Kafulafuta area, which is going to be a real game changer in terms of water supply and tourism in that particular area.


Mr Speaker, as part of the promotion of water conservation and water harvesting, we are also promoting the protection of river courses and also, the issue of recycling water to which the hon. Member for Chienge has just made reference. These are programmes that we are putting in place.


Mr Speaker, I would like to also make reference, like I said, to the context of extension services as they relate to the water sector and, in turn, to agriculture. The extension services in the water sector are highly technical. In fact, for a person to be a good extension worker in the water sector, he/she needs to be well-grounded in the area of water management. That individual must have some minimum expertise in dam construction, ground water reservoir assessments and water harvesting techniques.


The problem lies in the number of people with such expertise. So, if one took a survey to understand how many extension workers are really well-grounded in the techniques I have just made reference to, you would find that they are very few. Really, to be a good extension worker in the water sector, a person must have a minimum of a diploma in water engineering. This skill, currently, is only accessed at the National Resources Development College (NRDC). Some of the engineers we are using in the ministry initially obtained the qualification from NRDC and were able to upgrade to a Bachelor of Science (BSc) and Master’s degree levels. So, it is a very specialised area.


Mr Speaker, in terms of extension services, the Ministry of Agriculture is, indeed, handicapped because it is not possible to have a wide range of expertise in the water sector. I do recall that in the 1990s, there was a programme called the Land and Water Management that covered all the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries and was managed by Lesotho. This programme tried to build some minimum skills in water and land management for our people in the SADC region, recognising the fact that this exercise involves a very specialised field, which was lacking in the extension services of our country.


Therefore, the other compounding factor in terms of extension services as it relates to the water sector is that the knowledge of our farmers, particularly the peasant farmers, is very low in terms of the technologies required for water harvesting, construction of dams and their maintenance, for instance.


Mr Speaker, secondly, the kind of investment that is required by a peasant farmer to build a dam is very high. Actually, they are not in a position to really absorb, so to speak, the kind of technology that is required for them to operate or maintain a dam at personal level. For this reason, you will notice that the construction and maintenance of dams has actually become a preserve of the commercial farmers who, in many cases, disadvantage even the peasant farmers because they are able to dam rivers. This is causing an outcry from peasant farmers who cannot do what the foreign farmers are doing on our rivers.


Mr Speaker, the other issue that poses challenges in terms of extension services in the water sector is water rights. We are addressing this area. Our people are not very familiar with this issue. The extension services are not well-grounded in this issue. The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) that is under my ministry is responsible for this issue. However, this has become a preserve of outsiders who are the commercial farmers. They aggravate this problem or come together in terms of the water usage to the disadvantage of our local people.


Mr Speaker, I said that I would briefly refer to the predicament of the extension service in this country in the context of the water sector. One matter that is quite clear is that we do not have adequate training facilities at local level. I mentioned, for instance, that at diploma level, there is the Natural Resources Development College (NRDC). At degree level, one can go to the University of Zambia (UNZA) to study civil engineering and these are the engineers the ministry is using. Teachers at the farming training centres do not have the necessary expertise to impart skills required in water harvesting techniques, dam construction and so on. This is an area the Government has recognised, and I know my hon. Colleague in the Ministry of Agriculture may be addressing this issue.


Sir, lastly, regarding the predicament of extension services, I want to draw your attention to the issue of the competition that exists in the agriculture sector in relation to the careers in agriculture. To be an extension officer, one has to live in a farming block, camp or district. This is the attractiveness of this career compared to the attractiveness of careers in other sectors. Further, when you look at the situation, we have over fifty institutions calling themselves universities which are offering liberal studies. So, it becomes very difficult for young people to choose agriculture studies, let alone choose to become an extension worker and live in rural areas. I think these are some of the challenges that we have. In the past, it was easier to take up a course in agriculture.


Sir, in the past, the extension service was mostly driven by external donor support. I recall that in the 1980s, 1990s and so forth, there were very robust programmes in the training of extension workers. However, these programmes have faded away and, as a result, we are seeing minimal investment in this area. I am sure my hon. Colleague in the Ministry of Agriculture has spoken adequately on these issues. We need to have our own investment that is driven by us to ensure that we revamp the training of extension workers for our country.


Mr Speaker, I thought I should comment and respond to what my hon. Colleagues in the House have said. Thank you for very much for giving me the opportunity to debate. I would like to once again thank the mover as well as the seconder of the Motion on the Report on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the mover of this Motion for the very important recommendations he has made regarding the report which was laid on the Table of the House vis-à-vis extension workers.


Mr Speaker, most of the issues that have been raised in the report are well known to us. We have identified the issue of not having adequate extension officers, logistics and so on. The Government is not sitting idly, but it is addressing all the issues that have been raised.


Mr Speaker, personally, I believe that there is merit in saying “thank you,” when people are doing a common good. Particularly, let me make refer to some of the issues that were raised by my hon. Colleagues on the left. They lamented and, in their submissions, made the situation look like they are the ones who care about these issues while the Executive does not. One of the issues I would like to raise is that I do not think it is the desire of the Government to have a situation where we do not have enough rains. This is a historic problem. When we tell people to safeguard or protect the environment and they do not heed to this advice, we end up with the kind of situation that we have. Climate change is real, and if we do not put our heads together and start looking at how best we can protect this country, we are going to have problems. In certain parts of this country, we have no water because people have been stumping trees and now that part of the country is literally a desert.


Mr Speaker, my hon. Colleague, the hon. Member for Kalabo, informed this House that he would like to sponsor the hon. Members of the Executive to go to his constituency so that he can show us the problems in his constituency. If, indeed, my hon. Colleague cares for his people, I would like to suggest that he takes the money and buys bags of mealie meal for the people of Kalabo. I think that way, he would be doing a better service.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, let me say why I am saying this. The launch of the vaccine against foot and mouth disease and contagious bovine pleuropneumonia (CBPP) was done in Kalabo. As a Government, we expected the hon. Member to be present at the launch so that he could start appreciating some programmes the Government is implementing. However, he chose to stay away and so, he does not know about the programme and what was said at the launch. Then, he comes back to this House and says that the Government does not care. I was there, and I care. He should use the money he offered to take the Executive to Kalabo to support the people of Kalabo so that they do not stay hungry.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, let me comment further that my hon. Colleague, the hon. Minister of Agriculture, has gone to the remotest part of Kalabo and found the people there engaging in meaningful agriculture.  It is actually an insult to the people of Kalabo for their hon. Member of Parliament to come to this House and say that there is nothing happening in Kalabo when they are working so hard to put food on the table.




Prof. Luo: I would like to suggest that we should be factual when debating in this House, instead of peddling statements just because you want to play to the gallery of the radio and television. We should come to this House and talk about things that will help move this country forward.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Muchima: Forward?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, we do have resources under the African Development Bank (AfDB) for aquaculture. One of the places which can benefit from these funds, in a big way, in fish farming is Kalabo. In fish farming, one is able to undertake several activities. He/she can fish farm in cages, tubes and/or in ponds. If the hon. Member of Parliament really cares for his people, he should engage me as the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock.  


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Simukoko: Tell them!


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, on a lighter note, I will put Close Circuit Television (CCTV) to ensure that hon. Members of Parliament are doing the work in their constituencies ...


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: ... so that they promote these activities.




Mrs Simukoko: Well done.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, currently, K12 million is available for the ministry to engage in aquaculture. When I reported to Parliament today, an hon. Member of Parliament who is proactive saw an opportunity, came and sat beside me, and told me that he wants to have this programme in his constituency.


Mr Muchima: I was just supervising you!




Prof. Luo: That is a proactive hon. Member of Parliament, not an hon. Member of Parliament who wants to peddle stories that are not correct. A good hon. Member of Parliament does not only look at challenges or negative issues, but he/she also looks for opportunities …


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: … and takes advantage of these opportunities.


Mr Speaker, I would like to talk about the comments that were made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central regarding the fish ban. Everywhere in the world, when the fish or livestock are depleted, it is time to allow for breeding. At the moment, we all know that we are coming from a backdrop of very poor fishing activities where people were even using mosquito nets to fish. Therefore, even the small fish that were born –


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


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister, kindly resume your seat. Hon. Nkombo, resume your seat as well.


Before I assumed the Chair, the previous presiding officer had indicated that she would be very reluctant to allow points of order so that we can concentrate on the business at hand. We are still discussing the first report and we still have a lot of work to do. Let us try, by all means, to go straight to the point. This report is important. Therefore, I still maintain that there shall be no points of order. I advise the hon. Minister to focus on the points she wants to bring up so that we can move on.


May the hon. Minister continue, please.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, everywhere in the world, when you see that the numbers of livestock are threatened, it is always time to allow for breeding. Therefore, on the advice of our experts, the fish bans will be done periodically to ensure that breeding takes place. I would like to share with you this afternoon that as Zambia, we want to be the net exporter of fish in the world. Further, we want to be the biggest exporter of goats. We already have a ready market where these animals can be exported so that we increase our fiscal space in the country.


Mr Speaker, regarding the recruitment of more extension officers, we have engaged the Treasury so that they can give an allowance to recruit more extension officers because we recognise that we do not have enough extension officers. We are also starting programmes to grow varieties of grass so that when we are threatened with drought like now, animals in areas where there was no rain can graze on the different varieties of grass which we shall start growing.


Mr Speaker, because of the size of our country, we know that it is not easy for our extension officers to move. Therefore, as we engage the Treasury, we hope to improve the transport facilities so that extension officers are able to move around, as much as possible, to supervise farmers and ensure that they are doing the right thing. We want the farmers to improve the number and the breed of livestock. I shall be coming back to this House to talk about how we are going to focus on improving the different breeds of animals in this country so that we are in tandem with the international society.


Mr Speaker, this is a very exciting time in Zambia because we have taken agriculture as a business so that farmers can get rich. I think all of us, both in the Opposition and the Executive, need to make Zambia a better country to stay in, and not continue to bemoan and lament over areas over which we should not lament.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to debate on this Report of the Auditor-General on the Provision of Extension Services. I wish to acknowledge the work of the Committee, through the Chairperson and the seconder, and the Office of the Auditor-General.


Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank the various hon. Members of Parliament for their debate on this very important Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources. The Government is cognisant of the various challenges faced in the provision of public agriculture extension services to the farmers. The Government is making efforts to address the challenges faced in the delivery of extension services.


Mr Speaker, allow me to address the specific issues raised in the report. The Government is aware of the high farmer to extension worker ratio. In this regard, the ministry has continued to recruit extension workers. For instance, in 2018, the ministry recruited 661 extension officers across the country. The ministry is also in constant talks with the Ministry of Finance to ensure that some frozen positions of extension officers are unfrozen and funded and thereby recruit more extension officers.


Mr Speaker, we recognise that this may not meet the current demands for the extension services. However, the measures will help us move towards the recommended ratio of one extension officer per 400 farmers. Of course, we know the challenges that the report has highlighted, which is one extension officer to about 1,140 to 1,200 farmers. As I have said, we are engaging the Ministry of Finance for Treasury authority to give us more funding to recruit more extension workers to meet the demand. Information dissemination to our farmers is key. Farmers need to be imparted with skills and good agricultural technologies by the extension services staff.


Mr Speaker, the Government also undertakes extension services using the participatory extension approach which uses the contact lead farmer approach. The use of this cascading model of extension delivery helps extend the reach of the public extension services. Despite the ratio, from our records, 77 per cent of farmers had contact with an extension officer, at least, once in 2017. The ministry remains committed to ensuring that we cover all the farmers.


Mr Speaker, –


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended at 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, we were dealing with the issue of transport and accommodation. The ministry is cognisant of the critical transport challenges and state of accommodation for the extension officers. In order to alleviate transport challenges, in the past two years, the ministry procured 621 motorcycles for extension officers across the country.


In the report, it was highlighted that the extension officers cover over 70 km in far-flung areas. We should be aware that in these areas, there are no accessible roads or a good road network. This is why the ministry has found that the solution is to provide extension officers with motorcycles that can enable them to reach out to the farmers in these far-flung areas to disseminate information and assist them.


Sir, with regard to agriculture camp housing for our extension officers, the ministry has been making efforts to rehabilitate camp houses in various parts of the country. This is an ongoing exercise and the ministry is taking the exercise seriously.


 Mr Speaker, I have heard the concerns raised by the Committee and other hon. Members of Parliament. It is on top of the Ministry of Agriculture’s agenda to see that the extension officers are given an environment that is conducive live in. Furthermore, the farmer training centres are very important because they impart the farmers with the new skills and information on various challenges on food security and on why it is important to adapt to farming methods that will prevent a negative impact on crops. It is from the training centres where farmers are taught a lot of skills such as soil testing. Soil testing enables farmers to know the composition of the soil and what type of fertiliser to apply in each particular area. This is why I urge hon. Members of Parliament to take time to visit these training centres and appreciate their role.


Mr Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition raised the issue of the electronic-Voucher (e-Voucher) System and said that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, which is pro-poor and caring, has turned the e-Voucher System into a political tool. We are trying to find a solution for the many areas where we have been hit with climate change, drought spells and wilting of crops. It is important that our farmers use the e-Voucher System to select and choose a wide range of inputs, as per recommendation by our extension service officers, and engage in good agricultural practices. If we send fertiliser and other seed varieties which are not recommended for these regions, then, we will not enhance production and productivity in these areas. So, it is important that this solution is implemented in these regions which have been hit by the effects of climate change.


Mr Speaker, the Government has also been rehabilitating farmer training centres across the country. I am happy to report that we have managed to carry out the rehabilitation of five farmer training centres, specifically in Samfya, Mbala, Namushakendi in Kalabo and Nangweshi. In addition, we have completed the construction of the Nyimba Farmer Training Centre, which will be commissioned very soon.


Mr Speaker, it has been noted that the problems faced by the ministry in the delivery of the agriculture services are mainly as a result of inadequate funding. As a ministry, we are engaging the Ministry of Finance to consider alternative models of financing agriculture extension services. My ministry is open to suggestions on how best we can develop alternative financing methods for extension service delivery.


I wish to assure the nation that we are developing packages to ensure that the extension service provides cover for the entire value chain from production to marketing. Currently, we are in the process of developing the farmer business schools that will cover both production and marketing of crops.


The hon. Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central raised the issue of the Cashew Nut Project in the Western Province. The project targets 60,000 beneficiaries, broken down as 30,000 women, 20,000 youths and 10,000 men in ten districts of the Western Province. The ministry, through the Zambia Agriculture Research Institute (ZARI), has sent an epidemiologist and agronomist, who are experts in this field, to add to the knowledge of the extension service so that our farmers or the cashew growers in the province can manage diseases and pests that are ravaging or attacking the big cashew trees. We are also working with the African Development Bank (AfDB), as highlighted by the hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Mwiimbu, the Member for Monze Central and Leader of the Opposition has raised the issue that over ten years, Zambia has not developed irrigation schemes in many parts of our country. However, the President just commissioned the Momboshi Irrigation Scheme in Chisamba a few months ago. This scheme will harvest about 65,000,000 cubic litres of water. Farmers will be able to engage in all-year-round farming activities in categories such as small-scale farmers, emerging farmers or big commercial farmers. There is another dam in Musakashi in Mufulira and one in Lusitu, among others, as highlighted by my brother and hon. Colleague the hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection.


Mr Speaker, the issue of relief food was ably tackled by the hon. Minister in the Office of the Vice-President. In the Ministry of Agriculture under the Food Reserve Agency (FRA), we are allowing community sales as recommended by the District Commissioners (DCs) in particular districts. People who want to purchase maize from the strategic reserves in these localities are able to buy the maize at K111 per 50 kg bag, which is a very reasonable price.


 Mr Speaker, we should not portray Zambia as a country that is now faced with hunger, like the Leader of the Opposition did, because the Office of the Vice-President is distributing relief food in the regions that have been hit by the effects of climate change.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to state that it is important to mention that farmers should seek the extension services and not wait for officers to go to them. The Ministry of Agriculture is making efforts to address the challenges within the current financing arrangements. Further, significant progress has been made in assuring that agriculture extension services are delivered.


Sir, we are also reviewing the Food Reserve Agency Act. It has been highlighted that the FRA and Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) are a big load on the Treasury. So, once we review the Food Reserve Agency Act and the Bill is presented to the House, I would like to urge all hon. Members to support the Bill so that the FRA can be a stand-alone entity.


Mr Speaker, I also wish to thank all Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and private companies that are assisting our farmers in the provision of extension services through their operations.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, on behalf of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources, allow me to show our indebtedness and encouragement from over seven hon. Members of Parliament and hon. Ministers who debated on the Motion. Had it not been for time, about fourteen hon. Members, including hon. Ministers, who indicated that they wanted to debate on the report, would have done so.


Mr Speaker, with these few words, I would like to thank everybody for their support.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Question put and agreed to.




Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Parastatal Bodies on Outstanding Issues Arising from the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Years ended 31st December, 2012, 2013 and 2015, for the Third Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 11th July, 2019.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


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


Mr Chiyalika: Mr Speaker, allow me to preface my remarks by stating that the Committee on Parastatal Bodies is comparatively a new Committee charged with various responsibilities as set out in Standing Order No. 157 of the National Assembly Standing Orders. These responsibilities include, but are not limited to, considering the reports of the Auditor-General on parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions and reviewing, in the context of the autonomy and efficiency, the operations of parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions. Further, it is the duty of the Committee, as provided for by Standing Order No. 152(2)(iv) of 2016, to establish whether the affairs of parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions are being managed in accordance with the relevant regulations, rules and general orders, sound business principles and prudent commercial practice.


Sir, this august House may wish to note that upon its creation, the Committee took over a backlog of outstanding issues relating to the audit queries cited in the Reports of the Auditor-General for the Financial Years ended 31st December, 2012, 2013 and 2015. In its quest to clear this backlog, the Committee sought to ensure that it consider current audit reports for parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions.


Mr Speaker, it its scrutiny of the Treasury minutes arising from the Report of the Public Accounts Committee, the Committee noted with concern that certain financial irregularities have become perennial in nature. Allow me now to highlight some of the areas of concern.


Sir, the Committee finds it unacceptable that sixty-eight institutions were unable to prepare audited financial statements for the financial years ended 31st December, 2012, 2013 and 2015, contrary to Section 265 of the Companies Act No. 10 of 2017, which provides that directors of a company are expected to prepare audited financial statements within three months after the end of each financial year of the company.


Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that financial statements are an important financial tool in the management of an institution as they help management to have a snapshot of their financial position. Further, financial statements are important decision-making tools that show the business trends such as the rate at which a company is collecting receivables, the rate at which a company is paying off its creditors and any cash flow problems that a company may be facing.


In this regard, the Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that controlling officers abide by the provisions of Section 70(4) of the Public Financial Management Act No. 1 of 2018. Further, the Committee recommends that in an effort to arrest the situation, the Treasury should only release funding to institutions that would have submitted audited financial statements for the preceding years.


Mr Speaker, the Committee observes with grave concern that internal controls in most of the parastatal bodies are very weak. Further, the Committee also notes that most often, the guidance given by the internal audit units in most of the parastatal entities is not adhered to by respective managements as these units are usually not part of management and officers from the internal audit departments are junior officers whose guidance is easily disregarded. This failure to heed to internal audit guidance has resulted in numerous financial irregularities that have cost the Government millions of Kwacha.


Sir, as a result of the weak internal controls, most controlling officers abrogated the laid-down financial regulations. Prominent among these were the failure to retire imprest, contrary to Financial Regulation No. 96, missing payment vouchers, contrary to Financial Regulation No. 65, unaccounted for stores and irregular payment of allowances.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Committee strongly urges the Government to consider elevating the Office of the Internal Auditor to a directorate as this will enable the unit to have influence at management level. Further, the Committee recommends that punitive measures be meted not only to erring officers, but controlling officers who fail to institute disciplinary action timely, especially against officers who are repeatedly involved in financial irregularities.


Mr Speaker, the Committee also took note of the poor general performance of most statutory and parastatal bodies. It is worth noting that the cause of this poor performance is mainly weak administrative practices, including financial indiscipline, poor work culture and, to some extent, political interference. In this regard, the Committee urges the IDC to enhance its supervision of all parastatal bodies and to continue with its reward system for exemplary performance. In fact, the Committee strongly recommends that as part of the reward system, the IDC should limit non-essential expenditure for the entities that do not perform as expected, as the Zambian people are expectant not only to receive a service from these parastatal bodies but also to create wealth for the country.


Mr Speaker, let me conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance rendered to the Committee during the session. The deliberation of the Committee could not have been ably concluded without the assistance of the Office of the Auditor-General and the Secretary to the Treasury.


Mr Speaker, lastly, let me place on record my gratitude to the hon. Members of the Committee for the professionalism and the tenacity displayed in carrying out their duties, their interrogation of the outstanding issues contained in the Treasury minutes arising from the Report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions which resulted in the recommendations being presented to this House today.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Ms Kasune: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me this great opportunity to second this Motion on the report of the Committee on the Auditor’s-General report on parastatal bodies that is on the Floor.


Sir, the outstanding issues have already been deliberated by the able hon. Member of Parliament for Lufubu, Mr Chiyalika. He already touched on the most salient issues and highlighted their importance. However, I will touch on three key issues only in order to give more time to the hon. Members of Parliament who have interrogated the report so that it can be debated wholesomely.


Mr Speaker, the first point I would like to talk about, as I second the Motion, is the poor performance of the water and sanitation sector. The Committee did an amazing job in highlighting some of the issues in the water sector in the country. It was noted that the water and sanitation sector in Zambia is performing below par. This sector is given benchmarks by the regulatory authority, the National Water Supply and Sanitation Council (NWASCO) on how the sector should operate. The Committee noted, through the Auditor-General’s Report, that the water and sanitation sector is not reaching the benchmarks it has been given. Some issues that were noticed are the high level of non-revenue water and the high cost of water distribution. This was creating a problem in terms of meeting the benchmarks on service delivery and efficiency in water supply.


Mr Speaker, the third issue was sanitation coverage. We have sanitation coverage, especially in urban areas, but the Committee bemoaned that sanitation coverage is still a big challenge in most areas of our country. These are some of the few points the Committee noticed, and it is urging the Government to work on them.


Mr Speaker, the Committee strongly recommends that the Government should ensure that parastatal bodies in the water and sanitation sector should expedite the rehabilitation of infrastructure in this sector. Infrastructure in the water and sanitation sector is not just about buildings. It includes things like pipes. For instance, it was noticed that from the source of the water to the houses where it is delivered, there could be many leakages along the way and so, a lot of water is wasted. This means that the cost of distributing water becomes high. That cost is mostly passed on to the customers who feel they do not get the proper service, but are asked to pay through their nose. It is for this reason that the Committee recommends that the water and sanitation sector should take the issue of rehabilitating infrastructure seriously so that water is not just accessible to many but is also distributed at a more efficient cost. On that point, the Committee also recommended that the water and sanitation sector roll out the model of prepaid meters used by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) in order to achieve what they are supposed to achieve.


Mr Speaker, poor management of the contracts is another point. The Committee observed that there was not only poor management of contracts, but poor monitoring and evaluation. The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Peter Daka, the hon. Member for Msanzala, likes to say that because of poor management of contracts, “the soup is costing more than the meat.” What he means is that when a contract of, for example, K500 is awarded, by the time the variations are done, it comes to K1 million, yet it is these parastatal bodies that pay out this money. The question is: Do we have the right people drawing up the valuation of contracts? If so, why do we always have irregularities when it comes to contract evaluations?


Sir, there is also the issue of failure to deliver projects on time, which is costing the country a lot of money. When a project that is supposed to be completed in one or two years takes four years, the cost of the project is doubled. We all know very well the story of inflation in this country. It costs the Government more money. Contractors also have a poor workmanship and, therefore, sometimes, before a project is handed over, it already requires rehabilitation. The Committee saw this, especially in the judicial sector where many local court buildings are being constructed in places like Lufwanyama, Ndola and Kitwe. These local court buildings should have been handed over already, but because contractors have not been paid, they are still not being utilised. The Committee recommends that the Government should ensure that it does not start too many projects at once. This means that it is biting off more than it can chew and in the end, it is failing to pay the contractors on time. Therefore, the blame comes back to the Government and sometimes, the contractors are left to go scot-free.           


In this regard, the recommendation of the Committee is that the Government should take up sizeable projects that it can deliver at the amounts available so that the resources of this nation can be used in other places. Another recommendation is that contractors who fail to do their work should be brought to book. On a sad note, the Committee noted that contractors who may have failed to deliver on a project in one area are still awarded contracts elsewhere. The Committee recommends that when such contractors have been identified, they should either be blacklisted or penalised so that we increase efficiency and put the resources of this nation to good use.


Mr Speaker, the last point is the issue of poor infrastructure management, which is similar to poor management of contracts. We also noted that the controlling officers had a responsibility in many of these areas. Regarding the local courts I mentioned earlier, the people are begging for these facilities to be opened as some of these buildings are between 80 per cent and 90 per cent complete. There was even one which was almost 95 per cent complete. However, because of the way the contracts are structured, and the policies of this country which stipulate that one can only hand over a project once it is 100 per cent complete, these structures are getting dilapidated while others are being vandalised. In the end, a contract which should cost K500,000 may cost K1 million. This is a lot of money that this country cannot afford to lose. There is a lot of wastage which is going on. The Committee recommends that there should be policy changes to look into what can be done if a project reaches 90 per cent to 95 per cent complete. Such projects should, perhaps, be handed over and utilised so that there is no vandalism and so that the cost of these projects does not increase.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the Committee recommends that the Government should expedite the process of re-evaluating all assets in parastatal bodies. These parastatal bodies can excel, but there are many gaps, especially as it relates to managing of infrastructure, which is lacking in our country. As a result, the people in different constituencies and in different jurisdictions are suffering. When we went to Lufwanyama as a Committee, for example, the people there were expectant that we would open the local court. We also saw a good example of a contractor who was doing a good job and needs to be commended. However, those who are not doing a good job should be blacklisted so that, at least, they can take it as a warning.


Mr Speaker, what is the capacity of the people who are supposed to monitor these projects? Do they have the capacity to monitor these projects? We were saddened that the person who was charged to oversee that infrastructure project was not conversant with what he was doing, and that the guard on site did not even recognise him, yet he claimed to have been on site.


Sir, there are many issues articulated in the report, and I believe that your hon. Members have read the report and will make fruitful additions to it.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, allow me to tender an earnest apology for the things I am about to say about this report. Ahead of the comments that I have, I sincerely apologise to those who may feel offended by them, but I will be as civil as possible.


Sir, this report, once again, does not give hope to this country. I refer those of you who have the report to page 257 which has a table of the nineteen parastatal bodies whose issues were under consideration and are outstanding. There were 399 outstanding issues at the time this report was generated. I have chosen to just take a handful of them, namely Zambia Railways, which is No. 14 on the schedule, the three water utilities, which are the Eastern Water and Sewerage Company, Lukanga Water and Sewerage Company and the Southern Water and Sewerage Company, Indeni Petroleum Refinery and the Citizenship Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC).


Mr Speaker, allow me to start my debate by making a quotation on the same page. In the last paragraph, the Committee stated as follows:


“The Committee strongly urges the Secretary to the Treasury to expeditiously capacitate the Office of the Auditor-General to enable the office to undertake prompt audits as opposed to yearly and rotational audits. The Committee is of the view that this will help to salvage and curtail the pilfering of the mega resources.”


Sir, I think they meant to say meagre resources, but they said mega resources. Mega and meagre have two opposite meanings. Mega means a lot, Committee Chairperson. This should have been “meagre” because the resources are meagre, but let us assume they are mega.




Mr Nkombo: The Committee has talked about pilferage. Pilferage is defined as the act of stealing small things of little value. An example of pilferage would be shoplifting or petty thieving in Shoprite, for instance. These things add up, eventually. If we get into the meat of this report, the story is devastating. The CEEC is a financial institution that is responsible for dishing out loans. Is it not surprising that a financial institution has 44 per cent of issues outstanding? Imagine a bank failing to close an audit. There are also unexplained payments from the CEEC.


Mr Speaker, I heard the Chairperson of the Committee talking about political interference. There is only one political party which can interfere with the running of the operations of parastatal bodies and, in this case, it is the Patriotic Front (PF).


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Nkombo: Simply put, for some of us who are politicians, that institution is out of bounds, unless we want to go there and look for loans. Otherwise, I would find myself at a police station as the case is with one former political party leader who went to the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC), a Government organisation. He has been jailed for criminal trespass and is now appealing the case. This is because of the PF. That comment by the Chairperson points only at the PF. It is the party that is interfering with these parastatal bodies. I would like one of them to stand up, as they respond, and say that the Committee is not telling the truth. They should prove to me that one of us in the Opposition can also be cited for interfering with the operations of these parastatal bodies. It is a huge indictment of the CEEC, a company that draws money which is appropriated by this House, year in and year out, to be the first one to abrogate audits. There are outstanding issues.


Mr Speaker, this report is about closing issues that are pending final reports from investigative officers on erring officials who make payments that are not supposed to be made. The seconder spoke about contract challenges, whereby you contract somebody and the contract sum is an X amount, but what is paid is a Y amount. Earlier on, I informed the House on how civil servants are building mansions. The money which is made from pilferage and petty thieving is what goes into building these mansions that I am talking about. If you ask the operatives who run these parastatal bodies about what business enterprise they conduct, you will get nothing. Other than waking up on a daily basis to go and report at work from 0800 hours to 1700 hours to pilfer money from these parastatal bodies, there is no business enterprise which they conduct for them to put up mansions. The report is here and it is as big as a Bible.


Mr Speaker, let me shift your attention to the issue on the Zambia Railways Limited (ZRL), which is even more astonishing. First of all, when the PF came in power, the Government acquired the Eurobond, which the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) had contracted. The bond was up scaled from US$500 million to US$750 million. The US$120 million was meant for revamping of the ZRL. This loan will be due in 2021/2022 and it is us who are going to pay it. Somebody should tell me how the PF Government managed this loan. Has anyone recorded any improvements in the operations of the ZRL? The 2012 and 2015 report is telling us astonishing stories. How can a locomotive engine go missing? Imagine how a locomotive engine can go missing from here …


Dr Imakando: As big as it is!


Mr Nkombo: … to the exit of this Parliament. Wagons have are also gone.


Hon. UPND Members: How!


Mr Nkombo: Ah! aba bantu! These people!


It is written in this report. This is why I think that the mover of this particular Motion should have probably requested to lift the Standing Orders so that this matter is debated down to the wire and deal with all these nineteen parastatal bodies because none of them is making a profit. Why is this so?


Mr Speaker, the report is telling me that part of the interference that the PF Government has subjected these parastatal entities to is its failure to institute boards. Corporate governance dictates that an institution should have a board in place. Under our laws, it is the hon. Ministers who are supposed to appoint boards. However, it appears that these hon. Ministers are deliberately not appointing boards in order to circumvent corporate governance.


In this report, every parastatal is found wanting on statutory contributions. They do not remit contributions to the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), yet the Government went, at a dynamic speed, to close struggling companies like The Post Newspaper for failing on statutory contributions. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. Someone is going to answer for all these pilferages, mark my words.


Mr Speaker, the seconder, who is my little sister, said that we need a policy change.


Mr Kampyongo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Minister!


Mr Nkombo: Again, I say there is no policy change required. The change that is needed is to change the Government.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member! Just a minute! Resume your seat. I just want to guide the House.


Hon. Minister, I had indicated that there would be no points of order, going forward. I am also following steadily and listening. So far, so good, and if I were on the right, I would have allowed the hon. Member of Parliament to debate and …


Mr Muchima: Ema Speaker aya.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: …  then respond to the issues, squarely.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Therefore, just take note of what he says, and if he raises issues, you will have ample time to respond and even explain more about the boards.


Let us allow the hon. Member to continue.


Hon. UNPD Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: 1-0!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I heard the seconder speaking about …


Ms Kapata: Imwe mulya ama zero lyonse, twalishiba.




Mr Nkombo: … a change of policy. The Americans say that, “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” The policies are fine. It is the people managing these policies that need to go as soon as possible.


Mr Mukosa: Question!


Mr Nkombo: It is written on page 45 of the report that a wagon went missing and all railway sidings were uprooted.


Dr Imakando: Gone!


Mr Nkombo: The amount of US$120 million, not Kwacha, that the PF Government subjected this country to by putting it in the ZRL has been left unattended and whatever it was expended on has been vandalised. Heavy duty equipment and railway crossings have also been vandalised, railway sidings have been uprooted and there has been irregular hire of locomotives. The story is endless. To add salt to injury, the US$120 million that was sunk into the ZRL should have seen the locomotion of the engines speed up to, at least, 60 km/h, but the goods and passenger trains have always been derailing.


Mr Speaker, the whole objective of revamping the ZRL was to remove stress from the Chinese roads that the PF Government is building and to make an impression to people that it is doing something. People will rise up one day and the PF will pay the price. They will realise that this thin layered tarmac with a lifespan of less than one year which is being done like putting foundation powder on the face …


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Nkombo: … is getting potholes. The purpose of this US$120 million was to relieve the stress from the highways and other roads. The T1 road is stressed. I went to Kabwe not too long ago for a funeral and found that the road between Chisamba and Kabwe is turbulent. To add “chili” to injury, the same Government wants to build a road worth US$4.3 billion with restaurants and other social amenities. What kind of luxury is this? Whom do they want to impress?


Hon. PF Member: The Zambians!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I have debated about Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company many times before. I want to put it to you that according to this report, the existence of the Indeni Petroleum Refinery is only protecting 300 jobs for people who are just pilfering and it has cost this country expensive petroleum products.


Sir, I have argued here before that we should liberalise the importation of petroleum products, liquefied petroleum gas, diesel and Jet A1 fuel. Let it be competitive and allow anybody who wants to bring in these products to do so. We should close the Indeni Petroleum Refinery because it is not needed. For those who do not know, Indeni is not even a refinery but a separator. It does not refine oil. It just separates commingled feedstock from Tanzania. We have argued before that if Indeni is to be meaningful, an apparatus has to be bought. We can use the monies that are being pilfered to buy an apparatus that is going to break down crude oil and not to separate commingled feedstock. We can transport crude oil from Tanzania through the pipelines and then, refine it from here, instead of separating paraffin and petrol from commingled feedstock. That is why we have this situation, to now add more ‘chili’ to injury.


Mr Speaker, this House decided to exempt Indeni Petroleum Refinery from acting on court orders, just like it did to councils.  We know that very well. An entity can get an action against Indeni Petroleum Refinery for not paying it, yet the entity cannot put it into action. It is not actionable. We set this very bad precedent of not encouraging people to follow corporate governance. They know that even if one gets a judgment against them, it will not be enforceable. They will continue pilfering.


Mr Speaker, when the PF came into power in 2011, they boasted that they would revamp the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ).


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: Intentionally, that was a good thing, but they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater. They have abandoned the NCZ. Instead, they have gone back to the old ways of supporting Kynoch Fertiliser and Omnia Fertiliser, leaving their baby, including the jobs, to suffer. The NCZ is also cited in the appending reports. What do we need to do? Let us have a conversation here.


Mr Speaker, again, this report should not just be allowed to accumulate dust. This Government should show leadership. Some of the people who are cited in this report were sacrificed. We know that they are your friends. I moved a Motion in this House that the Government should stop victimising people who may not share its dream. These people are Zambians. So, it is in the PF Manifesto that everyone who has a job and who works in a parastatal body must be a member of the PF. Now, here we are.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


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


Mr Nkombo: The PF is responsible for the suffering that has been caused by these officers who are pilfering.


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


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order Hon. Minister!


Mr Kampyongo:  The point of order is contemporaneous, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: I do understand, but the good thing is that he who speaks last in court always brings out the real issues. Therefore, the hon. Members on my right still have an advantage because they will speak after everyone has spoken. My plea is that you should take down notes. Each hon. Minister responsible for some of these parastatal entitiess should ensure that he/she takes down notes. Otherwise, these are good issues to respond to.


Looking at the time, I will ask the hon. Member to conclude his debate.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, there is absolutely no advantage in speaking last when the facts are in your Committee’s report. The only way –


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member of Parliament, I brought up that idea because I wanted to pave way for you who is on the Floor. So, –


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am versatile. I have already found the way.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, let us work together, otherwise –




Mr Nkombo: Take it as a light moment, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Please, continue.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I am very versatile. The only way that the PF will come out of this quagmire they have found themselves in is to vote against this report and say that what your Committee put in here is not correct. There is no science that they can use. This, as a matter of fact, is a campaign tool against them. The only way that these brothers and sisters or hon. Members can exit Government is to vote against this report. I will wait and see whether they are in support this report or not. The moment an hon. Member will utter the words “I support,” it means he/she will be agreeing with what the Committee is saying. That will be an indictment on the people whose names are not in the report, but there are officers who have been abusing the parastatal bodies. We cannot go on like this. These things must come to a stop at one point. The Government should show us that it is superintending these parastatal bodies.


Sir, regarding the water utility companies, the hon. Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection was in the House when an hon. Member mentioned that there is victimisation of the utility heads. Sometime back, when I was an hon. Member of the Committee on Privileges Absences and Support Services, we dealt with an issue of three officers who were victimised by a Permanent Secretary (PS) who fired them. They went to court and we sat as a Committee and reversed the dismissal. The moment they went back to their offices, they were fired again. Your days are numbered!


Mr Ngulube: Boza iyo!


Mr Nkombo: This is not a private company; this is Zambia. It is not a private company where you can just fire people at your whim. This is what you get when you do that. This report is a clear definition of the bad Government of the Patriotic Front (PF). 


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Nkombo: There are no policy changes needed, I insist.


Mr Ngulube: Good Government!


Mr Nkombo: One fundamental change is all we need. We need to change the Government. We need to give it a vote of no confidence.


Ms Kapata: Patali! Question!


Mr Nkombo: Physics tells me that whatever goes up must come down and so the day of reckoning is surely coming, and it is coming very soon.


Ms Kapata: Chikonko mwikate!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Munkonge (Lukashya): Mr Speaker, the challenges that the Government is facing will be the challenges that the governments will face in years to come. The solution to these challenges does not lie in any single Government’s term, whether it is twenty years or not. We have to understand how each one of us can lay a foundation for the solutions. Moreover, the Government needs the support of everyone to resolve these challenges.


Mr Speaker, one issue that has come out a bit strong in this report is the inability of these institutions to prepare audited accounts. Is it because of poor staffing or poorly qualified staff? For example, the water utility company in Kasama has struggled to implement its Information and Communications Technology (ICT) systems because, as fate would have it, the company has departments that have poorly qualified staff or less staff. The affected departments are Accounts and ICT. The best ICT minds cannot work for the water utility company in Kasama. Therefore, the ICT Department is unable to produce accurate statements. This is a challenge for us in rural areas.


Sir, regardless of which Government is in power, challenges will always be there. My understanding is that we should find ways of finding the solutions for these challenges. I am sure if we put our heads together, we could have a chance of finding those solutions. This report talks about outstanding issues from 2012 to 2015, and we are in 2019. This means that even the rate at which we are offloading these outstanding issues is slow. There are many factors that slow down the process. The disciplinary action in the Government takes a long time and that is the design of the system. The investigating wings and the judicial system take control of the disciplinary action, but they take time to resolve issues. Meanwhile, there are individuals involved in these activities.


Mr Speaker, I would not subscribe to the generalisation that the Civil Service is corrupt or bad. We have bad elements in the Civil Service, but I would be hesitant to declare that the entire Civil Service is bad. It is like saying all Africans are lazy. Yes, we have our fair share of lazy Africans, but I want to believe that they are outnumbered by the Africans who are willing to work hard and make a living.


Mr Speaker, we cannot confront issues and act decisively. Once we identify the people involved in these activities, we need to act. We have contractors who continuously do not finish projects, but somehow manage to get new projects. There is a contractor I will not mention. We were unhappy with his works even before he finished one road, but we gave him a contract to work on another road. These are the sort of things we need to work against. This involves blacklisting such contractors and dealing with the directors of the company. We need to identify these bad characters. It does not matter if they come under different names such as “BY Enterprises” one day and “XY Engineering” another day. If the names of the managing director or shareholder are the same for both companies, that company should not be given a contract because its director is still the same person. Data on these contractors is always needed.


Mr Speaker, institutions like the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) will always face the challenge of reporting because the activities in which they participate in or are mandated to carry out have a social component. I have observed that when social components are involved in a certain discipline, activities like accounting suffer. However, this does not take away the fact that there are some unscrupulous people who take advantage of this social component. Generally, in the administration of this social component, the challenge becomes even worse when one talks about fellow Zambians. When they are given them money and they are asked to give it back or account for it, their attitude becomes bad. We have had a case where under the Youth Empowerment Scheme, a father told a youth to get some money and the father used the money. When we tried to reclaim the money, the son said his father is the one who used the money. These are the practical challenges obtaining on the ground. We are obligated to find solutions to such practical challenges that will not go away regardless of which party is in power.


Sir, I think weak foundations have brought the issue of outstanding matters to the fore. These are the challenges for which I feel we need to find solutions and it does not matter whether you are wearing a red jersey like mine. I am a Liverpool supporter and one may be a Manchester City supporter, but if the referee of the game is bad, we will both suffer from his bad decisions. I think we should address the outstanding matters and not be confused with partisan positions.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to comment on this very important report.


Sir, in commenting on this report, I wish to remind the House that parastatal companies are owned by the State and, therefore, they are linked to the State. I dare say that the performance of the Government can be measured by the performance of parastatal companies. If parastatal companies are doing very badly, it means that the Government is under-performing because it is the owner of these companies. These companies exist because the Government has chosen to have them.


Mr Speaker, parastatal companies enjoy political authority of some kind. The reason that countries have parastatal companies is that they want to control the provision of some services and products. They want to do so, perhaps, to pursue a policy that allows them to reduce prices. Parastatal companies are established to offer cheaper services and provide employment. These companies are supposed to generate income and reduce the tax burden. That is why governments come up with parastatal companies. They invest in parastatal companies because they want to reduce the tax burden by making people pay less tax.


Since they belong to the Government, parastatal companies are generally very big. They can use public money so that they can enjoy what we may call, economies of scale. So, these companies must provide strategic services. They must provide employment and somewhat reduce the prices. However, our parastatal companies, for example, the Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC), Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) and Times Printpak Zambia Limited, had a lot of audit queries. The ECZ had fourteen audit queries and ten are still outstanding because they cannot be resolved.  The Times Printpak Zambia Limited had fourteen audit queries and ten are still unresolved. Furthermore, ZSIC had about sixteen audit queries and ten are still outstanding.


Mr Speaker, it would appear to me that these companies are not doing well. That is why they have challenges with audit issues. When one checks almost all of them, one will find that they operate below full capacity and many of them are actually limping. So, they are not providing the employment that they should. Others have heavy debts and so they are still drawing from the National Treasury instead of generating income to reduce the tax burden. Many of them are undercapitalised. They cannot run at full scale. As a result, they tend to produce poor quality services and products, and cannot compete.


Mr Speaker, these companies are expensive to run because they are not efficient. These companies limp because of political interference. Remember, I said that these are companies that are owned by the State. The hon. Ministers appoint the boards and, unfortunately, most of them are either appointed late or they not appointed at all. When they are appointed, they are used to reward those who do not get jobs as ministers, but support the Ruling Party. Therefore, they are appointed as board members as a way of reward and, in turn, they employ unqualified people, in most cases. So, one will find that the human resource which run these companies is probably not the right one.


Mr Speaker, political influence or interference is at the centre of inefficiency. A few weeks ago, I said that the Board Chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) is His Excellency the President. This speaks volumes about how these companies are run. His Excellency the President is the head of the board. Therefore, all the companies which are limping and failing are doing so because of the one who is at the top.


Mr Mung’andu: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: That is what it means!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, that is what it means. The buck stops with His Excellency the President because he is at the helm of power.


Hon. Mwiimbu: Hear, hear!


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, I have insisted that the parastatal bodies are not operating well because of issues of corporate governance, employment and the people who are employed or put on the boards as a form of reward. Since it is a reward, they tend to be wasteful and lack restraint in spending public funds. Some of the board members are given vehicles and hefty or huge sitting allowances so that the reward can make sense. As a result, the money which is supposed to go towards service delivery or production of goods is claimed as allowances.


Sir, the issues that have been raised by the auditors concerning ZSIC include delayed project implementation. How can a company delay the implementation of a project instead of competing out there? There is wasteful expenditure at ZSIC because it is being used. The people who are on the board were put there so that they can be rewarded for what they did.


Mr Speaker, there is Government indebtedness at ZISC because the Government does not pay it. Instead, it says that it owns the company and so, it does not need to pay the company for any services, but ZSIC should keep on providing services. The company cannot flex its muscles because the one who owes it money is the owner. Now, ZSIC has no money and the services have gone down.


Mr Speaker, at ZISC, there is a problem of irregular investment in companies which were not really checked or appraised. There must have been a phone call from some top official somewhere saying, “Get into this deal with these people, I will back you up.” This is why there are a lot of outstanding issues that are not resolved because management must have been receiving some backing from some high hon. Minister somewhere.


Sir, investment in non-performing projects is another issue. Zambia needs to review its policies on parastatal companies. Our hon. Colleagues on the right are even thinking of reintroducing Zambia Airways. Let us be serious. All the parastatal companies are limping and they are not raising money, but they want to create even a more complicated company. We are here to serve the people of Zambia. So, as we serve them, let us show restraint in the political manipulation of parastatal companies. I have seen parastatal companies being used to campaign or forced to make donations for campaigns. When my hon. Colleagues appoint people to sit on boards, they choose people who will accept their instructions without asking questions. As a result, parastatal resources find their way into some political parties. This inefficiency in parastatal companies will continue to drain our National Treasury. It is important that we reconsider our policies in as far as running parastatal companies is concerned. If we are to provide employment through these companies, generate revenue from them and provide meaningful services, we need to review the policy on parastatal companies.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, may say I truly stand in support of this report, and our hon. Colleagues in power will do well to revisit the way they are running these companies.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate this Motion which is on the Floor. Looking at the time, I will be very brief.


Sir, I will begin by talking about the failure of some parastatal companies to prepare financial statements. It is very sad to learn that there are some parastatal companies that failed to prepare financial statements because these statements are very important for any institution. This is because the financial statements show shareholders how the company performed. Shareholders are able to see if a company made profits by looking at the statement of comprehensive income. They are also able to see how the company is performing by looking at the statement of the financial position of a company such as the cash flow statement. Failure by an institution to produce these statements means that the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and the finance director and his team are not doing very well. I think the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) needs to meting out very strong punishment to officers in any parastatal company that fails to prepare financial statements because they are failing the IDC and us. The best thing to do is fire such CEOs and finance directors.


Mr Speaker, one of the biggest weaknesses is in the system of internal controls. If the management of the parastatal companies is adhering to the laid-down systems of internal controls, some of these weaknesses that have been highlighted by this report would not be there. The fact that the internal control system that is designed is not properly supported by a proper audit team means that it is providing a weak internal control environment.      


Sir, that is why I strongly recommend that the internal audit function of parastatal companies should be strengthened. I support the recommendation that has been made by the Committee and the mover of the Motion regarding the importance of creating a Directorate of Internal Audit for these parastatal bodies. This is because if the person in charge of finance is at director level and the person in charge of audit is at a lower level such as that of officer, the people who are at the of finance director, which is a higher level, will disregard what the internal audit officers are telling them regardless of whether the auditors have identified something that has been done wrong. However, if they are at the same level, the finance director cannot intimidate the internal auditor. This means that if the finance personnel disregard what the internal auditor is doing, he can easily go to the chief executive and explain the problems that have been identified. To strengthen the internal audit function, auditors should have representation at board level so that they can take some of the problems that are being encountered in the Audit Section and explain them to the members of the board.


Mr Speaker, I have noticed that most debaters focused on political interference which was highlighted in the report. However, I do not think political interference is the only reason some of these parastatal companies have performed poorly. The main issue is weak internal controls. There may be political interference, but with a good internal control system, political interference can be prevented.


Sir, the IDC needs to encourage parastatal bodies to adopt modern performance evaluation tools such as the balanced scorecard where parastatal bodies evaluate their performance. The balanced scorecard enables an institution to evaluate its performance by looking at four perspectives, namely the internal control perspective, the profitability perspective, the customer perspective and the learning and innovation perspective.


Mr Speaker, parastatal bodies have the potential to contribute to the national resource envelope if they are operated well. For example, we have interest repayments on debt to meet at the moment. The Government has to pay back US$750 million as the first part of the Eurobond in 2021 or 2022. If parastatal bodies operate effectively, they have the potential to help it meet some of these obligations.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I support this report.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mundubile (Mporokoso): Mr Speaker, the work of the Committee on the accounts of parastatal bodies demonstrated through this report is judicious and commendable.


Sir, this report has revealed several issues regarding enhancing transparency and accountability in the operations of parastatal bodies and other statutory bodies. I wish to extend my appreciation to the Auditor-General for his efforts in reporting on the weaknesses observed in the operations of parastatal institutions and other statutory bodies. I also thank all hon. Members of Parliament for debating this Motion in an objective manner. Indeed, this is laudable.


Sir, in an effort to strengthen public financial management systems in parastatal bodies and other statutory bodies, the Treasury has embarked on a vigorous sensitisation programme on the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018. It is envisaged that through this sensitisation, –


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1955 hours until 0900 hours on Friday 26th July, 2019.