Thursday, 25th June, 2020

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Thursday, 25th June, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this rare opportunity to present the first ministerial statement under the new Covid-19 parliamentary environment.


Sir, let me now join Her Honour the Vice-President in welcoming all of us back to Parliament after the abrupt, but most necessary adjournment of the meeting on 18th March, 2020. The adjournment was necessary and very timely because it came in the wake of the incidents of Covid-19 that were reported in our country. At that time, many hon. Members of Parliament were particularly alarmed and gripped with fear because of the uncertainties surrounding how the Covid-19 would evolve in the country, in general, and in Parliament, in particular.


Sir, we are all back in Parliament, still with uncertainties, albeit less than we had in March. At least, we now know that the pandemic will be with us into the unforetold future. This realisation has led the world to adopt the new normal of masking, sanitising, social distancing and utilisation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) platforms for transacting business. Indeed, life will continue and must continue to go on under the new normal.


 Mr Speaker, your administration has not been left behind in this realisation. You recalled us so that the Business of Parliament proceeds under the new normal. You have put in place numerous measures to ensure that hon. Members and all those associated with the Business of Parliament are protected from Covid-19 during the transaction of Parliament Business. The measures have included Temporary Standing Orders, 2020, the separation of hon. Members of Parliament during the sittings of Parliament to ensure that there are no more than fifty people in any one designated sitting room and the utilisation of the ICT platforms.


Sir, over the last two weeks we have been conducting training under the new normal Parliament environment. During this training period, a number of us have registered the usual discomfort that is associated with being introduced to new environments. As is always expected, it takes time before people acclimatise to new systems, processes, acquaintances and, indeed, new environments.


Mr Speaker, at the time of the abrupt adjournment on 18th March, 2020, the House was considering the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 of which I am the sponsor on behalf of the Government. In accordance with Standing Orders, the Bill was, therefore, to be tabled at the recommencement of sittings.


Mr Speaker, the House and the nation at large will benefit to know that as the sponsor of the Bill which was to be on the order paper of this current Meeting, I was reliably informed that the uncertainty with regard to the new Parliament environment was also expressed in a meeting of an important Committee of Parliament.


The House Business Committee convened a meeting on Monday, 22nd June, 2020, and was attended by the following:

          a. the hon. Mr Speaker;

          b. the two hon. Deputy Speakers;

          c. Her Honour the Vice-President;

          d. the Chief Whip, Hon. Brian Mundubile;

          e. the Leader of Opposition, Hon. Jack Mwiimbu;

          f. the UPND Whip, Hon. Dr Situmbeko Musokotwane;

         g. Hon. Maxas Bweupe Ng’onga;

         h. Hon. Boyd Hamusonde; and

        i. Hon. Prof. Geoffrey Lungwangwa.


Mr Speaker, in this meeting, the hon. Leader of the Opposition, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, raised a concern about the new environment. I am informed that he used words close to…


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


Mr Lubinda: …“Why do we not hive-off this item?” referring to the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019...


Mr Mwiimbu: On a procedural point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lubinda: … from the Order Paper until –




Mr Speaker: Order!


May the hon. Leader of the Opposition resume his seat, please.




Mr Mwiimbu: He cannot do that!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, please, resume your seat. Let us have some order.


Hon. Minister of Justice, please proceed bearing in mind the core of your statement.


Mr Lubinda: Obliged, Mr Speaker.


When this concern which was raised in that Committee meeting was brought to my attention, I enquired among a number of colleagues in Parliament, many of whom agreed with the concerns expressed by the Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Speaker, I wish to state that a number of my fellow hon. Ministers were not …


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Lubinda: … in support of this position.




Mr Speaker: Order hon. Minister of Justice!


May the Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, resume his seat, please.


Mr Nkombo resumed his seat.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Justice, if you just got to the crux of the matter, we would avoid all these interventions. I believe there is some massage you would like to deliver to the House and the nation at large.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, I wish to state that a number of my colleagues were not in support of this position. Their view was that we proceed with the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


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


Mr Speaker: Order!


 Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, I have guided the hon. Minister of Justice and he will get to the subject.


May the hon. Minister of Justice, please proceed.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, I was saying that a number of my colleagues, hon. Ministers, were of the view that we should proceed with the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 and bring it to its finality as it had raised much unnecessary debate.


Mr Speaker, in deciding on how to proceed, given the two divergent views expressed, I recalled the following:


(a)        when I announced that people should submit their views on the Constitution to the Ministry of Justice and gave them one full year to do so, some people who did not submit later claimed that they were not given a chance to do so;


(b)        after the Zambia Centre for Inter-party Dialogue (ZCID) National Democracy Stakeholders Symposium (NDSS) held in May 2018 in Lusaka resolved that political parties supported the idea of the church chairing the summit of party presidents, some of the participants of the NDSS claimed they were not part and parcel of the resolutions;


(c)        when Parliament passed the National Dialogue Forum (NDF) Act which stipulated participants at the NDF, some of those named participants who chose not to participate later claimed that they were not consulted;


(d)        when I presented the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 for Second Reading, on 17th March, 2020, and in an unprecedented manner, indicated that the Government would move amendments to give effect to the committee’s recommendations, what did they say? They said that the Government was simply hoodwinking Parliament and the people; and


(e)        when the Government gazetted the intended amendments to illustrate its sincerity, they turned around and said it was unprocedural.


Mr Speaker, there are many other manoeuvres that have been employed by those who are opposed to the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 to try and stop it. Save for time, I will limit myself to the ones I have enunciated.


Sir, from this background, I was persuaded not to give anyone any reason for them to claim that the environment was not conducive to express themselves. I, therefore, decided to request His Excellency the President, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, my colleagues in Cabinet and, indeed, fellow Patriotic Front (PF) Members of Parliament to allow me to concede to the suggestion that we should wait until the environment is understood by all.


Mr Speaker, this is another demonstration of how we, in the Government, are willing to bend backwards to accommodate our colleagues in the governance, in general, and in the legislative programme, in particular.


Mr Speaker, this is what led me to seek leave of the House to adjourn consideration of this important Bill to a later date albeit during this very meeting of the House.


Sir, it is the wish of the Government that all of us hon. Members of Parliament acclimatise ourselves to the new normal Parliament environment before we engage in debating the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


Mr Speaker, we wish to avoid any room for any speculation or suspicion arising from the handling of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019. We also wish to avoid a situation where people claim that they did not understand what was happening when they were debating or voting on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. Sir, remember the claim by some people that they voted for the Constitution Amendment Bill in 2016 because they had taken two shots of whiskey because of sitting late in the night.




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


Mr Lubinda: Remember also that some claimed that they were not concentrating on the debate because it was late in the night.


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


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, resume your seat before I comment.


Mr Nkombo: This one is being mischievous.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Nkombo, withdraw that statement.


Mr Nkombo: He is mischievous!


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, withdraw that statement.


Mr Nkombo: You want me to throw this pen at you?


Hon. Government Members: Aah!


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Mazabuka Central!


Mr Nkombo: I withdraw, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Very well. Let us progress.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, we want to avoid such occurrences as much as possible. This is especially so because some of the hon. Members, like I said, have already registered apprehensions about this new normal; the new sitting arrangements and the new Information Communication Technology (ICT) programmes that we are using which some may not be familiar with.


Mr Speaker, yesterday’s unanimous approval of my request for leave to adjourn debate on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 is testimony to the fact that all of us gathered here in Parliament are of one accord on this matter, namely, to debate the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 in a familiar Parliament environment.


Sir, for the avoidance of doubt, allow me to emphasise that because of the decision of the House, the Second Reading Stage of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 shall commence here in Parliament and very soon.


Mr Speaker, let me now end by thanking the House for the unanimous support that was rendered for leave that I sought yesterday to ensure that we acclimatise ourselves to the new sitting and new debate environment before we commence debate on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


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


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to seek a clarification from the hon. Minister of Justice on the question of consensus among the people of Zambia. Could the hon. Minister be very categorical and indicate whether or not this Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 has garnered sufficient consensus that is required by the people, going by the statement that he has given.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, history will record the fact that there has never been in the history of Zambia, as much time spent on the refinement of the Constitution as has been, currently. This process has taken forty-two long months. Unlike previous processes where Cabinet would come up with a white paper, this Cabinet of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu chose not to come up with a white paper. All the submissions made by the numerous people, including political parties who gathered in Siavonga and came up with their Siavonga communiqué and the submission at the NDSS were all sympathised at the NDF.


Sir, I stated when I was presenting the Bill for seconding reading, how grateful the Government was to your administration for having allowed a Committee of Parliament to take an unprecedented long period to receive submissions from the Zambia people. We had twenty-six meetings which stretched over seven weeks with more than 100 people and 100 institutions who made submissions for us to arrive where we are today. We have been listening to all the views and as Government, we are confident that we have listened and there is consensus for us to proceed with the Constitutional of Zambia (Amendment) Bill 10 of 2019. This House has the constitutional mandate to amend the Constitution and it will do just that. It will look at the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 and decide on how to proceed with the recommendations that were made by numerous citizens who are equal in stature, legal standing, and in intelligence.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker what has happened this afternoon is highly unprocedural. You do recall that yesterday, despite what is obtaining, you gave authority to the hon. Minister to defer the debate on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019. However, today he has come to this House to justify why you allowed him to defer the Bill. Is he now questioning you for having given him authority to defer the bill? Would it be also in order for us, now, to start questioning you as to why you allowed him to defer it? This is unprocedural. If a Bill has been deferred it ends there until you allow it to be brought, if it will ever be brought. Why should the hon. Minister now come to justify why you gave him authority to defer? This is highly unprocedural. Is the hon. Minister in order to come back to this House to speak on your behalf and justify why the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019 was deferred yesterday?


Mr Speaker: I will begin by addressing your last point. Certainly he is not saying anything on my behalf. It is not possible for any Member for that matter to say anything on my behalf. Indeed yesterday, there was a request which he made. He made the request to defer. However, I also recall that it ended at a mere request. If you have heard his statement, the hon. Minister has provided a preface to events leading to his request and this is a statement which he wanted to update the House on, as circumstances leading to his request.


I agree with you hon. Member for Monze Central that this matter, so far as the deferment is concerned, is a concluded matter. However, I find it entirely innocuous. I must state, by the way, that there is just something very unusual about the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 that has confounded us, as a nation, and I hope that sooner than later, somehow, we will put this matter to a final rest.


Ms Lubezhi interjected.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, you do not have that liberty.


Yesterday, I did indicate, in my response to the request that, in its current form, that was the last opportunity I gave the promoters to complete business surrounding the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019 in this last meeting of the Forth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly. I truly hope that we will bring this matter to a close.


Hon. Member: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I have just finished rendering a ruling on a point of order and then there is another point of order; I am now left to wonder on what.




Mr Speaker: It has been cleared, fortunately.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I want to begin by thanking and appreciating the people of the Republic of Malawi for the action they took yesterday of changing the Government. When a Government proves to be bad,




Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker –




Mr Speaker: Order!


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Justice was in the borders of divulging the proceedings of the meeting for the Business of the House that was conducted yesterday, but I am grateful to you that you managed to guide him not to do so. Regarding this obnoxious Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 that has taken forty-two months to either be put to life or in as far as some of us believe, died on 4th June, 2020, I would like to find out from Hon. Given Lubinda whether he is aware that, ultimately, this legislative process will end up here, where no new Members of Parliament are going to be born between now and the time he decides to bring this obnoxious Bill on the Floor of this House because we are at daggers drawn. Would it not be wise for Hon. Lubinda to own up to the Zambian people that his – I do not want to use the word stubbornness – insistence on imposing this obnoxious Bill that has taken forty-two months, on the Zambian people, will yield no different results as it would have yielded the first day he brought it here for debate and we walked out? The second day that he came here to ask for an extension revival, we walked out. With the unprecedented time of three days in a row that they spent debating among themselves, would he not ask the Speaker to just put the question so that this matter is rested once and for all? If they have the numbers, they will take the day, and if they do not have the numbers, the Zambian people will take the day.


Mr Lubinda: Sir, when I was presenting my statement, I carefully chose incidents where people were wavering. When they sat in Parliament, they agreed that we should come up with the NDF Act, and it passed. When we say that we should now implement what we agreed as Parliament, they walk away.


Sir, it is that very reason that I agree with those saying that this Bill has something around it. This Bill has something which is created by people who think that they can just supplant what happens in Kenya or Malawi and bring it to Zambia. No! The issue is that if indeed this Bill does not have the support that I believe it has, why do we not agree that we debate it here on the Floor of the House?


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear.


Mr Lubinda: If there is merit in those who are opposing it, why do they not point at particular clauses –




Mr Speaker: Order!


Give me a minute. Hon. Member for Namwala, surely, you are talking and I can hear. If you would like to say something, just indicate. I will not stop you.


Hon. Minister, you may continue, please.


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, why is it that we do not want to allow the provisions of the Constitution to be implemented or to debate the Bill in the House? Why are we choosing to go and debate this Bill outside? Why is it that at every turn, when any person on the right side stands to talk about the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, we are crowded by interjections and points of order? Why? If indeed people have merit in their arguments, like I do, why do they not stand up and use the Floor? Why is it that they keep murmuring …




Mr Lubinda: Listen to the murmuring, Sir. 




Mr Lubinda: … yet they are free to debate?


Sir, as far as I am concerned, those who have the opportunity to debate in the House and are not doing so it is because they have nothing to say about it. They are being driven by other motives and not the Bill. I would like to say that for us on the right side, it is not the numbers that we are looking for. It is the moral argument that we want. We want to hear anybody who will come to argue based on the provisions of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019 and not on innuendo, suspicion and speculation.


Sir, I did mention here that when I asked to defer the Bill, these colleagues of mine said that we should debate it now. However, I also listened to the others who refused because the environment was not right. Some people sit in various meetings, and I have been told what some people have been saying. I have said that let us not give them another opportunity to say, “They did not listen to us”. This is the reason we are doing this. To call this obnoxious – I will leave it to the Zambian people to judge. 


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I know that the list is growing, and I am also noting the tenor of the clarifications. I would not even call them clarifications, because most of the questions or issues that are being raised now really have nothing to do with the statement. They have everything to do, of course, with the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, but this is not the occasion to debate the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 in the manner it is sought. All I expected is that hon. Members would clarify issues from the statement, and it is a very narrow campus. I think I have been in this seat long enough to know that if I am liberal with these interventions, there will certainly be no end. We have barely two and a half hours in any session, I believe. For that reason, I am using my discretion: We are moving on. That is the end.








246. Mr Michelo (Bweengwa) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to construct a milk processing plant in Monze District;
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented; and
  3. if there are no such plans, why.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, through many interactions with key players in the dairy industry, the Government has appreciated that there is an urgent need to revamp the dairy industry. To this effect, the Government has embarked on a programme to construct 200 milk collection centres throughout the country out of which eighty-six have been constructed under this initiative. This august House may wish to note that formal milk production had improved from 215 million litres in 2005 to 617 million litres in 2018. Sadly, due to climate change, in the 2018/2019 season, formal milk production reduced to 501 million litres, representing a drop of 19 per cent.


Sir, the Government appreciates that just collecting milk is not enough and, therefore, there is need for value addition. To this effect, the Government wishes to partner with strategic partners to establish processing plants in various strategic locations across the country. However, the choice of location will depend on the volumes of milk collected in a particular region. Furthermore, the choice of Monze Milk Collection Centre being transformed into a processing centre may be considered depending on the volumes of milk collected, and if the players in the market decide to establish a processing plant in Monze.


Mr Speaker, this august House may wish to note that the Government is already supporting milk processing initiatives being carried out in Choma, which is just next to Monze in the Southern Province. Furthermore, I wish to inform this august House that the hon. Member of Parliament, Hon. Kasauta Michelo, was in fact a manager at Monze Milk Collection Centre and was taken all over the country to learn about how to improve processing.


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, resume your seat.


I know that we have not yet adopted the new Standing Orders. Although elsewhere it states that you can raise a point of order at any stage of the proceedings, the settled practice has been that when an hon. Minister is on the Floor, you permit him/her to complete the statement, and that is the way we will proceed. 


Hon. Minister, please, continue and focus on your statement. When you refer to individuals who are not in the House, it becomes problematic. As much as your information may be accurate, avoid bringing in names of other persons outside, especially when it is not necessary anyway. If you are able to answer a question without referring to anybody, I encourage you to do so.


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, the Government appreciates the suggestion and it has the mandate to create a conducive business and investment climate for the private sector. Therefore, it is up to the private sector to take up the initiative.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, before I pose my question, may you allow me this rare opportunity to congratulate the hon. Minister of Justice. I am aware that in 2011, the hon. Minister of Justice at the time laid –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


Mr Mwiimbu: I want to congratulate him.


Mr Speaker: No, just wait. Resume your seat.


May I allow you to congratulate him after 1700 hours? That is my direction. You can congratulate him after 1700 hours. I will give you that liberty.


Mr Mwiimbu: Thank you, Mr Speaker.


Sir, as I pose this question, let me say that hon. Members of the Patriotic Front (PF) Party were consistently boycotting the constitution-making processes on the Floor of this House –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Leader of the Opposition!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I am aware that in 2011, milk processing plants were proposed as one of the measures to empower Zambians through the National Constitution Conference (NCC), which our hon. Colleagues boycotted. Is it possible that they have now changed their minds to ensure that –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Sir, I get the feeling that the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock and the one who spoke before her are mistaking your kindness for a weakness. There is a rule that we are all familiar with, that is we should not at any time refer to an hon. Member’s past occupation. In light of the fact that the hon. Member of Parliament for Bweengwa is the person who asked this question that we are dealing with right now, is it in order for Prof. Luo to tell the whole country through that podium that the person who asked this question, as a matter of fact, was a manager at the Monze Dairy Processing Plant? Is she in order to violate our own regulations since we know that some people here used to make jam in factories and we cannot mention their names and they are now high profile people?




Mr Nkombo: Is she in order to continue mentioning the hon. Member whom I feel is being abused by saying he was a manager at a processing factory?




Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Members, we have very limited time because of this situation of the Corona Virus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) that we are in.




Mr Speaker: Order!


We were supposed to have commenced business on 9th June, 2020, and today is 25th June, 2020. Of course, we had to put logistics in place, but the point is we must be conscious of time and each sitting has limited time. I think we have something like twenty-four reports to go through. So, we cannot continue at this rate by bringing in extraneous matters, trying to settle scores, denigrating each other and the people of Zambia are watching their representatives.


I have already counseled the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock on that point of order. I, truly hope that we will be earnest, especially us in this Chamber. I am not experiencing this problem, maybe for technological reasons, in the other designated rooms. That notwithstanding, there is no justification for us to use the precious time in the manner we are doing.


May the hon. Member for Monze Central, continue, please.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I was asking the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock as to whether there is now a change of mindset, considering that in 2011, the PF boycotted the NCC and walked out of the constitution-making process which had endeavoured to empower youths in this country. If our hon. Colleagues have changed their mindset, what measures is the Government putting in place in Monze to ensure that the milk processing plant is established to create employment?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I took the liberty to give some background to this answer and I said that the establishment of a processing centre depends on volumes of milk and the constant supply of milk. I also took the liberty to say that there is currently a processing centre that is taking shape in Choma, which is about an hour’s drive from Monze. This is because I wanted us to appreciate that we cannot set up two processing centres when our milk volumes are going down.


Since we had better rain, we expect to maybe have an improvement in the milk production. Otherwise, what we may have is a white elephant. When I travelled around the country, some of these institutions I found are white elephants because the people around there cannot supply as much milk as is required for the operation of those centres. Furthermore, this is why the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is not resting. If hon. Members have been following my movements, I have been all over the country distributing animals so that we can have a big number of animals in our country that can start increasing, not only the production of beef, but of milk. So, there has been no change of mind. If anything, we want to see even better production.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Bwalya: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Bwalya: Mr Speaker, my point of order is on the hon. Leader of Government Business. When he was on the Floor of the House, I was getting concerned about the manner in which he was trying to sneak in issues to do with the National Constitution Conference (NCC), which happened a long time ago –


Mr Speaker: Order, Hon. Member for Lupososhi!


Hon. Member: Hon. Leader of Government Business?


Mr Bwalya: Sorry, the hon. Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Speaker, when he was on the Floor of the House, he started by cleverly bringing in the issue of the NCC in trying to talk about the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 and the Constitution, yet you had already stated in your ruling that the statement that the hon. Minister of Justice had delivered on the Floor of the House was already done away with. Was he in order to try and draw the House backwards by way of bringing in things that were done a long time ago, which are even buried as a result of the enactment of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, when we are supposed to try and transact the business of the day? I need your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: My short ruling is that certainly that subject was not part of the question and should not have been addressed and raised altogether. That is my ruling.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, before I pose my question, I am wondering if the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock is aware that Monze District and Mazabuka District are the highest producers of milk in the Southern Province. The hon. Minister said that there is a milk processing plant in Choma, but I think that she is not telling the country the truth because what is there –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Bweengwa, this is not an opportunity for you to debate. Just pose your question straight away and come to the point.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock aware that Monze District is centrally located and milk from Choma and Mazabuka can be easily taken there, and that is the reason we are suggesting that the milk processing plant should be established in Monze District?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I did belabour the fact that the choice of where a milk processing centre will be established is based on the decision by the players in the dairy industry. However, I also went further to say that we already have a milk processing centre in Choma. I have been there and I bought some yoghurt and other things that are being processed. So, it is really up to the players as to whether they want to open another one in Monze. However, at the moment, the Government wants the Choma Milk Processing Centre to grow because it has already started. In life, we have to be strategic and make sure that we spend money where we can see results. As far as I am concerned, the players in Choma have come up with this initiative and as Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, I support it. So, if there is a need for a processing plant to be established in Monze, I said that I have taken note of that suggestion.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I will use my discretion and move to the next question. We have to move on because of limited time.




247. Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli) asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. whether there are any irrigation schemes that are non-operational, countrywide;
  2. if so, how many are non-operational;
  3. why they are non-operational;
  4. what measures the Government is taking to revamp the non-operational schemes; and
  5. whether the Government has any plans to establish irrigation schemes in Chifunabuli Parliamentary Constituency by 2021.


Mr Speaker: Order!


While we are waiting for the hon. Minister of Agriculture, I will not take any points of order until tomorrow.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, there are some small holder irrigation schemes that are non-operational in the country.


Sir, there are thirty non-operational irrigation schemes out of a total of sixty-five small-holder irrigation schemes across the country.


Mr Speaker, these schemes are non-operational due to a number of reasons. Some of the reasons include the following:


  1. water challenges in some schemes;
  2. some dams silting up;
  3. disorganised farmers in some schemes; and
  4. lack of access to modern irrigation schemes.


Sir, the Government in partnership with co-operating partners is revamping and developing new irrigation schemes, countrywide. Some of the co-operating partners include the World Bank, the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA), Africa Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).


Mr Speaker, currently, there are no plans to construct an irrigation scheme in Chifunabuli Parliamentary Constituency by 2021. The Government has plans to introduce irrigation schemes throughout the country. However, the implementation of those plans is dependent on the availability of financial resources.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will only take two questions from the hon. Member for Chifunabuli and the hon. Member for Kaputa.


Mr Mecha: Mr Speaker, Chifunabuli District is one of the areas in Zambia with a huge expanse of surface and underground water. The people of Chifunabuli are wondering why the ministry has not included the district in the new plan to develop new irrigation schemes.


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, like I said, the consideration of Chifunabuli Parliamentary Constituency is dependent on the availability of financial resources. So, once the ministry is funded or if we get funding from our co-operating partners, we will consider constructing irrigation schemes in many parts of our country. Irrigation schemes are a key benefit to the agricultural production of high value crops throughout the year, and these schemes complement rainfall during the dry spells that we are experiencing due to the adverse effects of the weather. So, we will consider Chifunabuli once financial resources are available.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa) Mr Speaker, irrigation is a critical requirement in order for this country to have an all-year supply of food and other nutritional products. The hon. Minister said that lack of access to modern equipment was one of the challenges which are being faced by the farmers. What is the Government doing to ensure that these small holder farmers have access to modern irrigation equipment to enable them to grow crops all-year round?


Mr Katambo: Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture through the District Coordinating Agriculture Officers (DACOs) is engaging and linking the small-scale farmers to financial institutions to enable them to access small mechanised equipment. It may be some drip irrigation equipment or sprinklers that the small-scale framers could be able to access and use. Therefore, there is a linkage between the Ministry of Agriculture and the small-scale farmers through the various DACOs. The small-scale farmers would be able to request the Agriculture Coordination Offices to be linked to these financial institutions. 


Mr Speaker, I thank you.   








Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Parastatal Bodies on the Report of the Auditor General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2017, laid on the Table of the House on Thursday, 11th June, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


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


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, pursuant to its terms of reference as set out under Standing Order No. 157(2), the Committee considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Year Ended 31st December, 2017.


The Committee also considered the report on outstanding issues on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of the Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the Financial Years Ended 31st December, 2012 to 2016. The Committee is honoured to present the report on its work to the House.


Mr Speaker, the House may wish to note that sixteen parastatal bodies and other statutory institutions were captured in the Auditor-General’s Report which was considered by the Committee.


Mr Speaker, allow me from the outset to remind this August House that State-owned enterprises (SOEs) form a significant proportion of the economy in many countries across Africa and around the world. The Report of the Auditor-General on the Account of Parastatal Bodies and other Statutory Institutions for the financial year ended 31st December, 2017, highlighted a number of accounts irregularities. I will now highlight a few issues that are contained in the Committee’s Report.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is concerned that a number of cases that were referred to various investigative wings and law enforcement agencies have remained unresolved. Furthermore, the Committee sadly notes that the culprits who should be investigated expeditiously have in most cases gone scot-free without facing the long arm of the law, due to prolonged investigations and queries becoming statutes barred. In this regard, the Committee strongly recommends that enforcement agencies should be appearing before the Committee as and when the Committee deems it necessary, to give periodic reports on the cases that would have been referred for further investigation, without necessary jeopardising and compromising the investigations.


  Mr Speaker the Committee is cognisant of the fact that the fiscal space of the country is limited. However, the Committee was perturbed with the high wastage of resources particularly with respect to abandoned project works. The Committee noted that most projects that were embarked upon as far back as 2010 were incomplete at the time of the audit due to many underlying factors such as failure to pay contractors for certified works, failure to provide necessary documentation such as security bonds among others. Consequently, the contracts have expired due to time lapse and will have to be re-tendered. This means that the Government will pay double the initial cost of the construction works.


Mr Speaker, in this regard, the Committee urges the Government to only embark on projects when there is certainty on the availability of funds. Further, the technocrats should take the lead in advising the Government on the practicability of undertaking construction works to avoid the wastage of resources through double expenditure.


Mr Speaker, the Committee observed that in most entities, resolutions of the respective boards of directors were either not adhered to or not implemented to the letter. Further, the Committee was disheartened to note that in most cases, management of the public entities had to request for retrospective authority from their respective boards of directors on decisions already implemented.


Mr Speaker, the Committee contends that this is contrary to good corporate governance as boards of directors become rubber stumps. In view of the foregoing, the Committee strongly urges the Government to ensure that corporate governance tenets are upheld. Further, the Committee noted that in most cases controlling officers and management of the various public entities appear before the Committee in the absence of their respective boards of directors who, in essence, provide the strategic directions of the public entities. In this regard, the Committee resolved that going forward, controlling officers and management should not appear alone, but should instead be accompanied by their respective boards of directors as and when the Committee deems it necessary. The Committee is confident that this will help curtail the propensity of respective managements from passing the blame to the board of directors for their failure.


Mr Speaker, the Committee was also confronted with an issue of defaulting loans. The Committee observed with concern that loans amounting to a tune of K428 million acquired from the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) by Zambians were considered as uncollectable and non-performing at the time of the audit. In view of the foregoing, the Committee urges the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that firstly, these loans are repaid by using all the available legal means with impartiality. Secondly, DBZ should be restructured expeditiously to ensure that it achieves the mandate for which it was established. Further, the Committee recommends that the board at DBZ should ensure that remunerations and conditions of service are commensurate with the performance of the institution. The Committee also urges the Government to conduct a performance audit of the DBZ senior management staff.


Sir, it is disheartening to note that there is a growing trend of borrowing colossal sums of money from Government institutions that operate in the financial market on the pretext that the borrowers will invest the funds into the economy.




Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, may I ask your indulgence; The two hon. Ministers here are disrupting me.




Mr Speaker: The hon. Ministers, please, do not disrupt.


Please, continue, hon. Member.


Mr Daka: However, it is unfortunate that most borrowers tend to be tricksters who fail to honour their loan obligations. Consequently, their collateral is often inadequate to cover their loan liabilities.


Sir, the Committee strongly urges the Secretary to the Treasury and the Bank of Zambia (BOZ), to ensure that players in the financial market and those who are entrusted to superintend over public entities put in measures to dissuade people from using public institutions as conduits for defrauding the people of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, as you may already be aware, the Auditor-General only audits public entities as opposed to auditing all the State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) and statutory institutions annually due to limited resources. This entails that on average, a public entity is audited after a three-year period.


Sir, in view of the foregoing, and be that as it may, the Committee strongly urges the Government to capacitate the office of the Auditor-General to enable him to undertake more audits in a timely manner. The Committee is confident that this will help stop the haemorrhage in most institutions with respect to the mismanagement and misappropriation of resources, where culprits would have left before an entity is audited.


Additionally, this would salvage resources as opposed to auditing firms when the looting would have already occurred. The ideal situation is where the Auditor-General audits institutions that deal in financial matters such as the Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO), Indo Zambia Bank, Zambia National Building Society (ZNBS) and Investrust Bank on a yearly basis as opposed to a three-year period.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, let me thank you most sincerely for the guidance you rendered to the Committee during the session. I also wish to thank the Secretary to the Treasury, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and all the controlling officers who appeared before the Committee for their co-operation. The deliberations of the Committee could not have been successfully concluded without the assistance of the office of the Auditor-General.


Sir, allow me to also express my appreciation to the hon. Members of the Committee for their commitment and hard work during the session. Lastly, but not the least, may I also extend the Committee’s appreciation to the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia and her staff for their professionalism and the tenacity they displayed in carrying out their duties without which the Committee’s work would not have resulted in the report I present today.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, in seconding the Motion that has been ably moved by the Chairperson of the Committee, I will only comment on a few issues which were not covered in his speech.


Mr Speaker, what the Committee noticed is that there is a lot of non-remittance of statutory obligations by a lot of parastatal bodies here in Zambia. For example, by 31st December, 2017, parastatal bodies had not remitted over K1.7 billion. That is very worrisome, not only to the Committee but, indeed, to the country because we are losing a lot of resources that could help the country.


Sir, to put that into context, in the last four years, between 2013 and 2016, only K665 million was not remitted. Therefore, this clearly shows that there are challenges in remitting statutory contributions because there is a lot of laxity.


Mr Speaker, the other challenge is that the Government owes a lot of parastatal bodies hence crippling them from not only contributing to the necessary bodies which they need to contribute to, but also disadvantaging them from making profits, and that is a big challenge.


Sir, secondly, the National Pensions Scheme Authority (NAPSA)’s rules are so punitive that even when parastatal bodies are struggling, it continues to slap them with lots of penalties which end up affecting them. Therefore, your Committee realises the challenge that is there, not only on the parastatal bodies but the Government itself because it is not doing them any favour. Thus, it is critical that this is looked into so that parastatal bodies can thrive because right now there are a lot of challenges in that area.


Mr Speaker, further, your Committee noticed that there is wastage of expenditure in terms of what the Chairperson of the Committee had alluded to. Sometimes, a contractor is given a contract, but without being paid on time, and in the end retendering takes place. At the end of the day, the Government is losing a lot of resources. In many cases, you will find that the Government ends up paying twice or three times the original price. So, it is the concern of the Committee that the Government should only take up projects that it is capable of completing, unlike the current situation where the Government is trying to bite more than it can chew. In the end, it is the Zambians who are being affected because the Government continues losing money in that way.


Mr Speaker, the other issue, which is very critical, is the inadequacies of supporting documents.  When an auditor goes to audit parastatal bodies, some officers are not able to produce documents to support some purchases that were made. The Committee hopes that the introduction of the Public Finance Management Act of 2018 will alleviate some of these challenges.


Sir, the Committee also felt that it is so critical that when a controlling officer is found wanting, it should not take another three years before another audit is carried out. Apart from that, you will note that there are only few parastatal bodies that are audited by the Auditor-General in each year, leaving the culprits scot-free and the country continues to lose a lot of resources. So, your Committee is recommending that whenever there is lack of documentation the controlling officer should refund the resources he/she cannot account for. That way, those who are being mischievous can be brought to book.


Mr Speaker, lastly, the issue of not processing cases on time is very critical, but I know that the Chairperson of the Committee ably moved this Motion, and I hope that the hon. Members will look at the viability of parastatal bodies in this country.


Mr Speaker, on behalf of my hon. Colleagues who are members of your Committee, I thank you.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, I want to thank your Committee for the wonderful work it has done in this report.


Mr Speaker, I also want to take this opportunity to commend the Office of the Auditor-General for bringing out the critical information that assisted your Committee to undertake the production of its report. One of the issues that is key is the exposure of the poor operations of these parastatal organisations.


 Mr Speaker, this report clearly shows that a lot of money that is meant to contribute to the development of this country has actually gone unremitted. You would see from the report that so much money is not remitted to statutory institutions. Most of these companies are not able to remit their tax obligations and pension contributions. This tells you that these organisations or institutions are not making any positive contribution to this nation.


Mr Speaker, one of the things that makes me very happy is that the Office of the Auditor-General, which is operating under the delegated authority of His Excellency the President, has been allowed to expose the poor performance of these nineteen companies. Indeed, this shows that in Zambia we have a President who is not hiding anything under the table. He is a President who wants to ensure that Zambians benefit from their investment.


Mr Speaker, I want to mention that some of these organisations, if possible, should be wound up in order to stop the wastage of resources which are meant for the Zambian people.


Mr Speaker, if all these companies contributed to the development of this nation, they could have impacted positively on the rate of unemployment among the youth. I am saying so because, at some stage, the Government will be forced to source for funds to pay for these obligations. As you can tell from the report, the Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (Zamtel) alone in the years under review posted a negative performance of about K206 million. The Times Printpak Zambia Limited also posted about K500 million negative performance. This pains me as the hon. Member of Parliament for Chifubu because some of those funds could have been invested in youth empowerment programmes and we could have seen positive contribution towards the empowerment of the youth. 


Mr Speaker, it worries me because when I come to this House, I see ourselves debating on political lines which, in most cases, do not make any significant contribution to the provision of food on people’s tables. I have heard a lot of negative propaganda coming from the Opposition and those who are not supporting the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, you are now debating colleagues and the practice of this House is not to debate ourselves.


Mr Ng’ambi: Mr Speaker, I am not debating any specific individual, but basically saying that we are spending a lot of time on political issues other than looking at issues that will bring development to the Zambian people.


Mr Speaker, it is very critical that we spend time on issues such as these because a lot of money is being wasted. If that money was invested in empowering our youth, Zambia could be at a different level. However, my argument still remains that there has been too much politics. We are politicking on the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 instead of looking at issues that will change the lives of our people. It is, therefore, imperative that all of us create time to see that such funds are not wasted anymore. It is my sincere hope that with this report, those charged with the responsibility of monitoring what these companies were designed for begin to bring the intended results to the Zambian people.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, are you able to get me?


Mr Speaker: Very well.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, you know that technology is not a problem for us from Luapula Province.




Mr Mbulakulima: All we need to do is just press and we get going.




Mr Speaker: We are impressed.




Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to make some comments on this report. First of all, I want to thank the Chairperson and, indeed, the entire Committee for the job-well-done. The report is quite detailed and gives an insight into what is happening in our parastatals. Parastatals, generally, were meant to be catalysts for development in our country, but unfortunately, what we have seen is that they have continued to be burdens on the Government coffers which is not supposed to be the case.


Mr Speaker, my starting point is what the hon. Minister of Home Affairs said yesterday with regard to the Smart Zambia Institute. He said that when the President came to address Parliament a few years ago, very few people knew the significance of the Smart Zambia Institute. It is gratifying to see that the Government ministries and departments are moving in line with this institution which, indeed, is making a change. As you can see today, even we in Parliament are able to make a difference.


Sir, it is, however, saddening to notice that parastatals are not catching up with this trend of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use. Reading the Report of the Committee on Parastatal Bodies on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Parastatal Bodies and other Institutions for the Financial Year ended 31st December, 2017 and the Report of the Committee on Local Government Accounts on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Local Authorities for the Financial Years ended 31st December, 2015, 2016 and 2017, you see one common trend. ICT is not receiving the attention that it deserves.


Mr Speaker, reading through this report, I am disappointed to note that even the Copperbelt University (CBU), for example, has nothing to write home about as regards ICT. One would have expected that institutions of that nature would be shining examples. They should not only be places of research, but of excellence where people should be able to learn from and yet they are grappling with this kind of problem. One wonders why that is so. For example, I read in the report that over 200 students were not captured. So, I wonder how they were marking and moderating their results. All these things are lacking, if you read the report from our colleagues.


Mr Speaker, these are centres of excellence and their focus should have been on ICT, but they are far from it. This is a source of worry. I see this as a conduit for not only corruption, but other things as well because the ICT system at the CBU is not working. This is a conduit for confusion because it can lead to under-grading and failing of students. It can also lead to loss of revenue, which the university should cherish so much. It is my sincere hope that the people responsible will be able to correct this situation.


Mr Speaker, another thing that I would like to talk about is the failure by parastatals to produce annual reports. Again, this is another basic item which we should not be grappling with in this modern time because one would think that the cream of human capital was in the parastatals. Now, why should we, year in, year out, fail to produce annual reports? Where are we going wrong?


For me, the answer is poor supervision. It is the fault of the supervisors, in this regard, the controlling officers. The question is, what are they doing? Being a member of the Public Accounts Committee, I have seen often times that controlling officers only get busy and serious when they are coming to appear before your Committees such as the Committee on Parastatal Bodies, the Public Accounts Committee, the Committee on Local Government Accounts and the Committee on National Economy, Trade and Labour Matters. Those are the times when they show seriousness. Otherwise, how do they fail to control these kinds of things? Most of the times, they are only reactive and not proactive. As a result, as long as they do not change their attitudes, –


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time has elapsed.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three hon. Members as follows: the hon. Member for Chimwemwe, the hon. Member for Chembe and, lastly, the hon. Member for Chifunabuli. 


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, due to the limitation of time, I will try to limit my contribution to operations at the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ). Firstly, allow me to commend the Ministry of Finance for the new look board that has been put in place at the DBZ.


Sir, the people of Chimwemwe do not agree with the recommendation by the Committee to the effect that the Secretary to the Cabinet should cause the Government to put more money into the DBZ for the reasons I will state.


Mr Speaker, it is evidently clear in this report that in the period under review, it was discovered that there was no recovery plan at the DBZ for loans to be advanced to people. That was on 31st December, 2017. At the time, the recovery ratio was 77 per cent. This year, the report is indicating that as at 31st January, 2020, the recovery ratio has worsened to 89.4 per cent implying that the DBZ is operating at about 10 per cent. For the people of Chimwemwe and I, this means that if the DBZ was a private company or bank, it would have gone down because it is technically insolvent. The question is, why should the Government put in money into an institution where there has been no recovery plan from 2017 to date? Why should public resources again be put into the DBZ when the recovery ratio is decreasing?


Mr Speaker, we are saying that the Government should hold on. Even with the new board in place, there should be a serious change of management because we cannot afford to risk resources which are actually taxpayers’.


Sir, again, the report indicates that the DBZ has failed to recover money lent, mostly to prominent persons. We would like to find out why this is the case and who these prominent people are. Why does the bank give money only to prominent persons leaving out the youth and women who are not prominent, but would equally deserve the funds from a Government bank?


Mr Speaker, funding to the DBZ should be delayed until the bank starts lending money to ordinary people. We agree with the report of the Committee that DBZ should be audited intermittently and not like the current situation where auditing only takes place after three years.


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, the people of Chimwemwe agree to most of the recommendations of your Committee, except for the one which states that the Secretary to the Cabinet should be caused to force the Government to put money into the DBZ until some of these changes noted are addressed.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to comment on the report so competently drawn and delivered by your Committee on the Floor of this House.


Sir, allow me to agree with my neighbour, the hon. Member of Parliament who said that we in Luapula Province have no problem with technology because we sleep on waters in a small canoe doing what we do best hence a top level type of technology.


Mr Speaker, having said that, let me remind this House that some time back, in 1990, this economy was run or controlled 80 per cent by parastatals and 20 per cent by the private sector. Today, the distribution is different. It is 80 per cent private sector and 20 per cent parastatal sector led.


Sir, it was not necessary to get rid of parastatals because they were key players and still continue to be important players because they have the capacity to be a path finder investor particularly in rural areas where there is no infrastructure good enough for the private sector, investor to enter, and I speak as an hon. Member of Parliament for a rural constituency.


Sir, this is a period of the Covid-19 and one of its major impacts is what I call de-globalisation. De-globalisation has now led to what I will call economic nationalism. Economic nationalism means that each country must now have the capacity to consume what it produces and a key producer is the parastatal sector. The parastatal sector must continue receiving sufficient support from the State so that it can play its role, especially, in the industrialisation of rural areas.


Mr Speaker, Chembe had a Multi-Facility Economic Zone (MFEZ) approved a long time ago, but there is no investment to date. We expect the parastatal sector, through our Industrial Development Cooperation (IDC), to lead investment in that area.


Mr Speaker, economic nationalism requires that we have internal capacity. We have failed to build a robust private sector in this country and this is a fact. Until we can deal with that issue, the challenge of industrialisation will always remain. We shall always continue to be exporters of commodities, sending out raw materials like copper to Japan and the rest of the world.


Mr Speaker, one sector that can help our country to achieve economic nationalism is the financial sector.


The Report of the Committee has demonstrated that the only development bank in this country is owed an amount to the tune of K428 million. This is sad because that makes this critical bank for the development of our economy be in a position where it is incapable of extending financial services to the local private investor who would want to engage in productive ventures. Hence, how are we going to build industrial capability using our own private sector?


Mr Speaker, I would like to call upon the hon. Minister of Finance to ensure that all those who owe the Development Bank of Zambia (DBZ) large sums of money are made to pay back because this is at the centre of the industrial growth of this country.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to this very important Motion on the Report which has been ably presented by Hon. Peter Daka and seconded by Hon. Kasune.


Mr Speaker, the parastatal investments are basically people’s money. Every Zambian has an interest and would like to see to it that these parastatals are run profitably and efficiently by competent people. So, it worries me when I hear from the proposer of this Motion that the investigative wings are still investigating matters that were recommended to them a long time ago.


Mr Speaker, often times, we have heard stories that investigations are taking too long because the people who are charged with the responsibility to investigate do not have sufficient funds to do that. This is a governance issue and if we are going to provide oversight over these parastatals, the Government needs to ensure that funding does not become an issue. I would like to urge the Government to see to it that funding is made available to the investigative wings of the Government so that people who are charged with the responsibility to run the affairs of parastatals and of the people of Zambia do not go on the loose. We need to bring the erring officers to book. It is very important. I again get concerned when I hear a report that there are many projects being run by parastatals that have stalled. Clearly, this is something we need to interrogate. In connecting the statement by the proposer of the Motion to that of the seconder, I have noticed that the Government owes parastatals a lot of money, and this could be one of the reasons parastatals are not doing well.


Mr Speaker, it is high time the Government prioritised redeeming their indebtedness to parastatals so that they are back on track. It is very important. It may not only be that the Government is not paying the parastatals money, that is why they are not being run properly but sometimes it could be a case of trying to create loopholes by management so that there is pilferage of people’s funds through double expenditure. You cannot start up something, stop, and then start all over again because you did not pay the initial contractor. This is very sad. I think it is an issue that we need to deal with, with dispatch.


Mr Speaker, the habit by various managements of parastatals to seek authority for funds already spent is retrospective and is a very serious indictment on the boards that are running parastatals. It is a serious indication that these parastatals are very weak and compromised. I want to commend the hon. Ministers who have embarked on the route to actually replace weak parastatal boards. We cannot achieve anything as a nation with such boards. They simply have to be removed. As we appoint new members of boards, we need to do proper due diligence. Not every Jim and Jack should be appointed to the boards. We need people who can actually help us to make parastatals viable. It is very sad to learn that a number of African Development Bank (AfDB) loans have been classified as non-performing. This is very sad ...


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, your time is up.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity. To start with I want to congratulate Hon. Daka and his team on this very good report.


Sir, I will pick one item that he talked about and this is on the number of projects that are left hanging out there under parastatals because there is inadequate funding for them. Surely, a number of examples come to my mind. The specific example that I have is the Kafue Hook Bridge on the Kafue River on the Mongu/Lusaka Road. That project was started maybe five years ago or something like that, but to date, even after the initial work, it is still in limbo, uncompleted. I am sure there are other examples that are scattered all over the country.


As Mr Daka says, this is obviously very expensive to the country. Firstly, in most of these contracts which tend to be, of course in foreign currency, the delay by the giver of the contract, in this particular case, the parastatal or government, lead to huge penalties for delaying. This is what they call idle time. This means that the Government and all of us are going to lose a lot of money because of what has happened. However, this is also a very big cost to the economy because when you have half and quarter projects scattered all over the country, it is like what I see sometimes when I drive around. You find that somebody has attempted to build maybe ten flats, but all of them are left hanging at window level. This means that he/she has spent so much money, but none of those flats can actually give him/her a return. However, if a person had been modest and realistic enough by starting with one flat, he would have probably completed it and would be earning something out of it. So, it is the same thing with the incomplete infrastructure under parastatals which are dotted all over the country and we are unable, as a country, to earn anything out of them.


Mr Speaker, I also want to say that what is being reported under parastatals is perhaps not surprising. Perhaps even as we blame them, we should also point fingers at ourselves as Government because in some sense, what is happening in the parastatals is a wide reflection of what is happening in the Government at large.


Sir, the Government’s budget is thrown all over the place. Many schools, office buildings and many projects of one type or another are left hanging because the Government is tempted to do too many things at one goal. Therefore, the chaos that is reigning in the parastatals is the same chaos that is reigning in the Government at large. That being the case, I am not sure whether the same Government that has caused this, which keeps on doing the same thing, is capable of correcting the situation. That is very doubtful.


Mr Speaker, let me conclude by saying what somebody said. He/she said that we should not politick when many of these problems that we are experiencing today are as a result of politics. For example, Zambia Telecommunications Company Limited (Zamtel) was restructured under the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD) Government. It stopped making loses and in any case, if those losses were to continue, it could be none of the business of the Government. However, politics came in and somebody said that he/she loved parastatal organisations and requested that Zamtel be brought back. Today, you are complaining about Zamtel losing money. I am also very shocked that in the light of all these stories about parastatal organisations, this Government can even dare to create another parastatal institution in the name of Zambia Airways.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to say a word or two on the very good and comprehensive report produced by the Committee led by Hon. Peter Daka. The Committee has identified a number of general areas where there are weaknesses within the parastatal sector. These areas relate, probably, to the work that the members of the board of directors or these parastatal bodies are doing in terms of providing oversight on the management. What it is saying is that we need to do a lot more work in terms of identifying the right individuals with the right skills –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister of Finance, you are hardly audible; you may want to bring the tablet closer to your face or alternatively, increase the volume.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker, let me ask the experts to come and help me with this network. I am not from Luapula so my ability –




Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, can I be heard now.


Mr Speaker: You can be heard, and I hope you get more continued assistance.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, as I was saying, the broad areas of concern for us in terms of dealing with some of the challenges that have been pointed out by the Committee relates to the board and the work of the board of directors. That is one area we will need to pay attention to in terms of identifying individuals who sit on this board.


Mr Speaker, the second aspect relates to the managers themselves, that is the ability and the capacity of the managers. Again, this points to the need to recruit people with the right levels of expertise and competence to be able to carry out the work. Clearly the challenges that we see in these two areas have resulted in huge loss of revenue leading to drain of resources as well as becoming a burden on the fiscus. Consequently, it has also affected the capital levels of these companies because constant loses that are experienced are eroding the value of money in this organisation.


Sir, I have listened very carefully and I know that the report is quite elaborate. However, my staff and I would like to spend time to do an in-depth analysis of the recommendations that have been made by your Committee so that we can come with specific interventions that will help us improve the performance of the parastatal state. Clearly what we are looking at is a very unviable arrangement. Parastatal bodies are not doing what they were intended to do and that cannot continue. All I can say, at this point, is that we will carefully study the report and hope to come back to this House with clear recommendations of how we think we can seek some of the weaknesses that have been identified in the report.


I thank you Sir.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the seconder of the Motion and many other speakers who contributed to this debate. These are Hon. Ng’ambi for Chifubu, hon. Member for Milenge, hon. Member for Chimwemwe, hon. Member for Chembe, Hon. Mecha from Chifunabuli, and Hon. Dr Musokotwane.


Mr Speaker, mostly and lastly, I would like to thank the hon. Minister of Finance. I believe that this is a listening Government and with the help of the President who is the Chairperson of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), the hon. Ministers who are here will take measures that will correct the issues that have been raised in the Auditor General’s Report.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Question put and agreed to.




Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Local Government Accounts on the Report of the Auditor General on the Accounts of Local Authorities for the Financial Years Ended 31st December, 2015, 2016 and 2017, for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on 19th June, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion Seconded?


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


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, in line with its terms of reference as specified in the Standing Orders, the Committee considered the Report of the Auditor-General on the Accounts of Local Authorities for the Financial Years Ended 31st December, 2015, 2016 and 2017.


Sir, local authorities are public institutions established by an Act of Parliament under Section 3 of the Local Government Act, Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia. The main objective of establishing local authorities is for them to provide services to residents within their areas of jurisdiction. These services include, among others, usage of public roads, disposal and management of solid waste, burial of destitute people and provision of cemeteries.


Mr Speaker, the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, devolves powers to local authorities in the quest to decentralise the operations of the Government. All Government departments and institutions are to be managed at local authority level.


Sir, this House will agree with me that it goes without mention that there should be greater accountability on the part of local authorities as they are responsible for a lot of Government resources for onward service delivery to the general citizenry. In the same vein, Article 250(1) of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act No. 2 of 2016, mandates the Office of the Auditor-General to audit the accounts of all local authorities. On this score, I wish to inform this august House that this report the Committee considered is the third report produced by the Auditor-General under this new mandate.


Mr Speaker, the Auditor-General’s Report contains thirty-two councils, each appearing on a separate paragraph. The Committee interacted with thirty-two councils. I wish to highlight only a few issues which came before the Committee. I am confident that hon. Members have already acquainted themselves with the contents of the Committee’s full report.


Sir, one of the key problems observed by the Committee was the failure by the councils to produce audited financial statements. In accordance with Section 43(1) of the Local Government Act Cap 281 of the Laws of Zambia, it is mandatory that councils should compile and balance accounts for each financial year. The Committee was shocked to learn that almost all the local authorities had not produced audited financial statements for the financial years ended 31st December, 2015, 2016 and 2017. It is a known fact that the non-production of audited financial statements by an institution is not only contravention of the various enabling legislation governing it, but also a contradiction to tenets of good corporate governance. This problem was also compounded by the usage of an inappropriate accounting framework.


Mr Speaker, while it is appreciated that the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury has come up with a standard financial reporting system, the Committee strongly urges his office to ensure that penalties are stiffened for non-adherence to public financial and local government regulations, especially on preparation of financial statements. It is also strongly recommended that all local authorities must, without any further delay, procure the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) in order to standardise their reporting and accounting framework. The Secretary to the Treasury is urged to ensure that this is done without further delay, as it is within his interest to ensure that standards are upheld in these local authorities.


Sir, it appears that the current Local Government Service Commission is facing the same challenges that its predecessors faced. Allow me to stress that the inadequacy of its mandate, the policy framework, and its capacity with only seven members to cover staff from 116 councils countrywide and the indiscriminate transfer of staff at will, has brought to the fore major setbacks.


Mr Speaker, the Committee notes with concern that some of these weaknesses are as a result of the commission being centrally constituted and operating like the Public Service Commission, which has since independence, failed to recruit sufficient staff to carry out Government projects. Let me also mention that the calibre of most of the staff recruited by the commission leaves much to be desired.


Sir, the Committee is happy to report that through its continual intervention on matters related to staff transfers and discipline, the Local Government Service Commission submitted a report that during the period under review, twenty principal officers were charged with offences of negligence of duty and the failure to comply with established procedure in accordance with their terms and conditions of service. This is what we want to see, unlike transferring erring officers to other councils and perpetuating the vices in other jurisdictions.


Mr Speaker, another issue which the Committee observed is the failure by the councils to secure their properties with title deeds. The Lands Act No. 29 of 1995 requires that institutions or individuals owning land should possess title deeds as proof of ownership. It is of great concern that all council properties in the period under review had no title deeds. The Committee is concerned that this serious omission may result in losing properties and, therefore, urges the controlling officers to ensure that all councils resolve the matter without any further delay.


Sir, another matter which caught the attention of the Committee was poor financial performance in local authorities. It is sad to note that the financial performance in most of these institutions is very poor and alarming. The Committee is worried that most local authorities are failing to meet their statutory obligations and other staff related costs as a result of their poor financial performance. The Committee observes that all councils fail to utilise their full potential in the generation of the much needed revenue and hence the financial state of affairs in these councils is poor. The Lusaka City Council (LCC) is one major culprit in this area.


Mr Speaker, the Committee attributes the above situation to poor management as it is not clear why a council such as LCC with many options for revenue generation would be struggling with liquidity problems. The Committee is of the view that the councils’ poor financial position and performance needs to be addressed as it poses a great risk of possible loss of public funds in litigation which may arise from the non-payment of retirees’ terminal benefits and other statutory obligations.


Sir, the controlling officer is particularly urged to ensure that he impresses upon management of all councils in the country to explore more revenue collection options to improve the status quo. One can agree with me that looking at the rate at which local authorities are performing and also judging from the audit reports and submissions made by the principal officers, it is evident that there is a need for a complete overhaul of the system and a paradigm shift in the strategies being employed.


Mr Speaker, lastly, the Committee wishes to appreciate the intervention by the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury for having facilitated the follow-ups on outstanding issues on the previous reports of the Committee. This august House may wish to know that the recent intervention by the Office of the Secretary to the Treasury has resulted in the closure of 343 out of a backlog of 527 matters, representing a reduction of 65 per cent of the total outstanding issues. The Committee, however, encourages his office to ensure that this trend is improved upon and that other initiatives are explored and operationalised to ensure improved compliance and ultimately reduce the volume of audit queries in local authorities.


Sir, I wish to thank the Secretary to the Treasury, controlling officer at the Ministry of Local Government and all principal officers from the local authorities that were audited for their cooperation. I also wish to acknowledge and show appreciation for the advice that was rendered to the Committee by officers from the Office of the Auditor-General and the Ministry of Local Government. Allow me to now conclude by thanking you and the Office of the Clerk for the guidance and support you rendered to the committee during its deliberations.


Sir, I beg to move.


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


Mr Sampa: Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I totally agree with the mover of the Motion when he says there is need for a complete overhaul of the system and a paradigm shift in the strategies being employed by the council.


Mr Speaker, your Committee felt it necessary to recommend the introduction of performance contracts for council employees as this has never been done. This was discovered through the audit report that was presented. Failure by councils to collect revenue is a very serious matter. Your Committee felt that the Report of the Auditor-General has exposed incompetence in the financial management of councils from 2015, 2016 and 2017. The financial indiscipline has raised a lot of concerns, especially in cases where officers failed to support payments totalling to K27 million, failed to account for stores amounting to K23 million, lost payment vouchers totalling K14 million, misapplied funds totalling K13 million and made irregular payments of allowances to themselves totalling K3 million.


Sir, I am going to summarise my secondment because of time.


Mr Speaker, your Committee felt that it was also necessary for the councils, the Local Government Service Commission and the ministry to harmonise the disciplining of erring officers because this has posed a great challenge in taking action by the controlling officer.


Sir, allow me, in conclusion, to join the mover of the Motion of the Committee in thanking you for according us the opportunity to serve on this important Committee. I also wish to thank the hon. Members of your Committee for according me this opportunity to second the Motion.


Mr Speaker, I beg to second.


Dr Chanda (Bwana Mkubwa): Mr Speaker, I should first thank the Committee for the great work they have done. However, I should also mention that having been in Parliament for almost four years now, I note that the report sounds the same every year. It is only the years and the players that are different, but the issues are the same. For example, if you look at the issue of failure by the councils to produce audited financial statements, you will see that these are perennial and chronic issues. They are not acute problems such as maintenance of public roads and failure to collect solid waste in markets.


Mr Speaker, I have a problem in Ndola, and so, I am actually reminding the Ndola City Council that cemeteries, markets and the grading of township roads are their responsibilities. Sometimes I wonder if the councils really understand their mandate. That is what I think is the issue. We have talked enough, and there are so many reports highlighting the same issues. This is 2020 and if you look at the reports for 2016, 2017, and so on, you will see that they are basically almost the same. So, the issue is: why are we not acting and where is the action being taken? What brings change is not the production of reports and talking about them, but action. We need to implement recommendations of the Committees.


Mr Speaker, there is a very serious issue that actually gets worse every year. This issue is land management by the councils. Councils have a land agency from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. However, if you go to the councils, and the reports have shown that, it is very difficult for the councils to even account for the money they make from selling plots because there are so many players in land management. Even area Members of Parliament are drawn into managing these problems caused by the councils’ failure to manage land.


Mr Speaker, councils also have perennial problems such as lack of equipment. Sometimes, I wonder how councils provide services when they have no equipment. I have been dealing with the Ndola City Council for four years and it has no equipment, and I am sure the hon. Minister is aware of this fact. How then do you expect the council to function? The Department of Engineering has zero equipment. Similarly, the Department of Public Health has broken down equipment and yet these departments are supposed to service a city. So, why can we not prioritise the Local Government Equalisation Fund so that we can purchase the needed equipment? I say so because without equipment, there will be no service delivery and everyone will blame the Central Government. In areas where there is no information, the area Member of Parliament is blamed for failure by the council to collect garbage at a market, maintain a cemetery and a gravel road. When we listen to talk shows on radio, those are the things people talk about.


Mr Speaker, I, therefore, would like to agree with the Committee’s recommendations that we need to move into action. We have talked about performance contracts. Why is it so hard to have performance contracts for Town Clerks and directors since these are the front line workers? In this regard, hon. Minister, we need performance contracts where there is service delivery. How else will decentralisation be achieved if there are no performance contracts? Who is going to hold another accountable? Naturally, human beings only work when they are held accountable. It will be very easy when people’s contracts are terminated because no one will cry and claim that they are being victimised due to their tribe, religion and political affiliation. It will be purely based on performance.  So, as a matter of urgency, let us implement that.


Mr Speaker, domestic revenue mobilisation is a well sounding word that we have used, but who is holding who accountable? It is only a performance contract that will hold these controlling officers and the directors accountable. If councils are not collecting revenue, they have to justify their failure to do so. Otherwise, controlling officers and the directors should be removed.


Mr Speaker, the issue of the Local Government Service Commission is of great concern and I am even wondering whether it is necessary for Zambia. I understand why, in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10, the Government wants to do away with a lot of commissions because that has created a layer of bureaucracy. I will give an example of Bwana Mkubwa, where we are building a police station. Yesterday, I was informed that the engineer in charge had been transferred to Kasempa. The new one who will come will have no idea of what we are doing and the ministry and the council are not aware. So, why are we still acting like that? So, if we do not need the Local Government Service Commission, let it go away so that we focus on service delivery and performance contracts.


Mr Speaker, lastly, I would like to urge that the land management issue is looked at tightly. Look at the informal settlements or what we commonly refer to as Komboni. In these areas, people have no title deeds for their properties and yet year in, year out, we talk about them having title deeds. Any investor will come and chase them away because they have no legal document. Therefore, could the councils prioritise legalisation so that people can have title deeds for land on which they have stayed for many years.


With those few words, I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to comment on your wonderful report. I have to mention that this is a very good report. I have particularly read issues to do with Chama District.


Sir, I was really disturbed to read the responses that the Chama District Council Secretary gave to your Committee. It is clear that money in excess of K646,000 went unaccounted for according to page 25 of your report. For a district like Chama, K600,000 is a lot of money. If the council had put that money to good use, the people of Chama would not only be appreciating the council, but the Government. So, for the Chama District Council Secretary to indicate that they could not find receipts or invoices for such an amount of money is a clear indication that a lot has to be done in supervising officers that are mismanaging public funds. They need to be surcharged.


Sir, regarding the issue of the lack of revenue or the inability by our councils to collect revenue, it is very disappointing. For example, the Lusaka City Council (LCC) was very adamant about empowering its Valuation Department with an amount of only less than K2 million. It managed to release about K1.2 million or K1.6 million for the Valuation Department to undertake a continuous re-valuation exercise, including updating the Valuation Roll. When it did that, its income increased to K17 million per month. Imagine K17 million added to the council’s revenue. That is the reason the LCC continues encouraging the Valuation Department to carry out valuations.


Mr Speaker, how many properties are being built not only in Lusaka, but also on the Copperbelt and other towns? If you were to go to Kasama, Chama or Monze, you would find houses being built there every day. The houses being built in those towns are a source of revenue for as long as councils empower their Valuation Departments so that they add these properties that are being built onto the Valuation Roll.


Mr Speaker, more disappointing was the indication by your report that the Chama District Council had a number of receipts amounting to more than K200,000 missing. The recommendation in the report is that the officers who were involved should be surcharged, but nothing has happened. Instead, what we see is the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC) transferring the erring officers. If anything, there is even a tendency where the LGSC will never make an officer stay for more than a year at one station. It is rare to find an officer who has moved, for example, from Chongwe to Kafue stay for more than a year. They are kept moving.  Therefore, I am requesting, through the hon. Minister, that officers who abuse public funds in local councils are brought to book. We do not need erring officers to be moved from one council to another. That way, the commission is simply moving problems. People need to be prosecuted, especially where they have failed. In another response, the Chama District Council Secretary indicated that the receipts had been found. Where did the receipts come from? My understanding is that they sit down and try to manufacture the receipts. If we were to go back and do forensic audits of those receipts that were produced, we would find that they were manufactured receipts and, therefore, another case of forgery can follow them.


Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister get to these offices and ensure that these people who are, to some extent, making our Government unpopular are sorted out. People out there look at us politicians as the ones doing wrong things and yet it is the technocrats on the ground, especially some council officials.


Mr Speaker, due to time, I wish to support your report.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this rare opportunity to debate the report of your Committee which is on the Floor of the House. I will not take much of the House’s time, but I wish to comment on, especially, salient issues –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1656 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 26th June, 2020.