Tuesday, 14th July, 2020

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Tuesday, 14th July, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]










Mr Speaker: I order you, Mr C. Mweetwa, MP, and Member of Parliament for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, to go and stand behind the Bar of the House. I also instruct the Serjeant-At-Arms to take the Speaker’s Mace and go and stand behind the hon. Member.


Mr Mweetwa, MP, was escorted to the Bar by the Serjeant-At-Arms.








Mr Speaker: Hon. Members will recall that on Friday, 28th February, 2020, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 208 and Mr K. C. Mwiinga, Member of Parliament for Chikankata Parliamentary Constituency was about to ask a follow-up question, Mr Y. Siwanzi, Member of Parliament for Nakonde Parliamentary Constituency, raised the following point of order:


“Sir, when the hon. Member for Choma Central was on the Floor of the House, you ordered him to resume his seat so that you could guide the hon. Members of the House. However, when normal Business resumed, the hon. Member could not finish asking his question, because he had decided to walk out of the House. Is he in order to have walked out of the House before he finished asking a very important question affecting the country, which citizens of this country were listening to and wanted to hear the conclusion? I seek your ruling.”


In my immediate response, I reserved my ruling.


Further, hon. Members will recall that on Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020, when the House was considering Question for Oral Answer No. 212 and Mr B. Kambita, Member of Parliament for Zambezi East Parliamentary Constituency was about to ask a follow-up question, Mr Mweetwa, Member of Parliament for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, raised a point of order in which he bemoaned the deteriorating decorum and dignity of the House, and called upon me to rule on whether or not the three named hon. Ministers, and the Deputy Government Chief Whip, who, according to him, were in order to demean the decorum and dignity of the House to the level that the public no longer viewed the House with esteem. The relevant excerpt of his point of order was in the following terms:


“Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order bordering on the decorum, decency and respectability of this august House. The point of order is on the following hon. Members of this House who I will name. Therefore, my point of order is on Hon. Joyce Nonde, Hon. Mulenga Kampamba, Hon. Tutwa Ngulube and Hon. Lusambo, for purposes of this point of order, but not exclusive to them.


Sir, are the hon. Members of Parliament that I have named, who just joined this House in 2016, in order to undermine the decorum of this House? These hon. Ministers are behaving not just like Backbenchers, but like children.


Are they in order to demean the decorum of this House to the levels where now when you go out there, members of the public look at this House with no esteem, all because of their misconduct? I need your serious ruling since the decorum of this House is what keeps it going.”


In my immediate response, I reminded Mr Mweetwa, MP, of the point of order raised against him by Mr Siwanzi, MP, pertaining to his conduct on the Floor of the House, whereby he refused to obey my directive to resume his seat and instead, walked out of the Chamber before he could conclude asking a follow-up question.  I then proceeded to refer Mr. Siwanzi’s point of order to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services. 


Hon. Members, the point of order raised by Mr. Y. Siwanzi, MP, raises the issue of a Member of Parliament showing intentional disrespect to the Speaker or Presiding Officer and to the proceedings of the House. The relevant authorities on the matter are set out below.


The dignity of the House and the Office of Speaker are protected by the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia. In this regard, Section 19 (d) and (e) is stated in the following terms:


“19. Any person shall be guilty of an offence who –


  1. shows disrespect in speech or manner towards the Speaker; or


  1. commits any other act of intentional disrespect to or with reference to the           proceedings of the Assembly or to any person presiding at such proceedings.”


Further, renowned authors on parliamentary practice and procedure, Audrey O’Brien and Marc Bosc, in their book entitled House of Commons Procedure and Practice, Second Edition, at pages 308-309 state as follows:


“As the arbiter of House proceedings, the Speaker’s duty is to preserve order and decorum in the House and to decide on matters of procedure that may arise. This duty carries with it a wide-ranging authority extending to matters as diverse as the behavior and attire of Members, the conduct of proceedings, the rules of debate and disruptions on the Floor of the Chamber and in the galleries.”


Furthermore, M. N. Kaul and S. L. Shakdher, in their book entitled Practice and Procedure of Parliament, state at page 131 as follows:


“A member who protests against the ruling of the Speaker commits contempt of the House and the Speaker.”


This House also had occasion to consider a similar matter in the case of Vernon Johnson Mwaanga and Major Robbie Chizhyuka (National Assembly Parliamentary Debates, 16th January, 2009 – 27th March 2009, at pages 3446-3451).


In that case, Major Robbie Chizhyuka, then Member of Parliament for Namwala Parliamentary Constituency, was ordered to withdraw from the House for conducting himself in a disorderly manner, and making loud interjections in the House while seated.  Major Robbie Chizhyuka walked out of the Chamber shouting continuously whilst looking at the Chair.


The matter was referred to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for consideration. The Committee found that Major Chizhyuka, then MP had breached the rules of parliamentary etiquette.  The Committee further found Major Chizhyuka, then MP guilty of disorderly conduct and showing disrespect to the Speaker and recommended his suspension from the service of the National Assembly for sixty days.  The House, by resolution, upheld the decision of the Committee, and the hon. Member was accordingly suspended.


Additionally, I had the occasion to rule on a similar matter in the case of Hon. S. Kampyongo, Minister of Home Affairs vs Mr G. G. Nkombo, Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central Parliamentary Constituency (National Assembly Parliamentary Debates, 28th March, 2017).  In that case, I requested Mr G. G. Nkombo, MP, to withdraw an inappropriate statement he had uttered and immediately following my directive, he stormed out of the House.  Some members of the United Party for National Development (UPND) followed him. As a result, a point of order was raised by Hon. S. Kampyongo, against Hon. G. G. Nkombo, in the following terms:


“Mr Speaker, thank you for according me the opportunity to raise a procedural point of order.  Sir, the rules of this House are well-known, as prescribed in the Standing Orders. The decorum of this House is of paramount importance, and we would not want to see this House degenerate into the mayhem that we have witnessed in other jurisdictions.


Mr Speaker, we know that losing an election is bitter. But democracy demands that those that lose live for another day.


Mr Speaker, our rules stipulate that no Hon. Member should storm out of the Assembly Chamber after a ruling of the Speaker. Is the hon. Member of Parliament for Mazabuka Central Parliamentary Constituency in order to storm out of the Chamber in defiance of your ruling? I seek your serious ruling on this matter.”


In rendering the ensuing ruling, I said, in part, as follows at page 3 of the ruling:


“Hon. Members, it will be noted that Mr Nkombo, MP, was reluctant when asked to withdraw the statement. In addition, his leaving the Chamber with other members of the UPND immediately after my ruling may be properly construed as a protest against my ruling. This conduct was disrespectful not only to me, but also to the House at large. Mr. Nkombo, MP, and other Members of Parliament from the UPND were, therefore, out of order to storm out of the House immediately after my ruling as this signaled a protest against my ruling.” 


Hon. Members, as stated earlier, in the current case, I referred the matter to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for consideration. The Committee met to hear and determine the matter, and received submissions from Hon. Siwanzi and Hon. Mweetwa.


In his submission, Hon. Y. Siwanzi re-stated his point of order. He added that he had not, during his time as an hon. Member of Parliament, seen an hon. Member walk out of the House, while on the Floor and in the middle of asking a question. Therefore, he informed the Committee that he was very shocked at Hon. C. Mweetwa’s conduct, and this prompted him to raise the point of order.


When asked to exculpate himself, Hon. Mweetwa asserted that he was unaware of any law, procedure or tradition precluding an hon. Member of Parliament from lapsing his/her follow-up question. He further indicated that the point of order was not about the walk-out or disorder. He further submitted that asking questions in the House was not just a mandate of one person, but every other hon. Member in the House, and that no one should be punished for lapsing their own question.


Further, when asked whether he could not have waited for the Speaker’s guidance to the House and then conclude his question, or to have excused himself before leaving the House as a matter of courtesy, Hon. Mweetwa submitted that in the substantive point of order raised against him, there was no complaint about his behavior towards the Speaker, and thus he did not see it prudent to discuss the Speaker before the Committee. He further indicated that if there was need, another point of order could be raised against him concerning his conduct towards the Speaker.


The Committee enquired from Hon. Mweetwa whether he was remorseful for having walked out in the manner he did. In his response, Hon. Mweetwa reiterated that the point of order was about him lapsing the question, and it had nothing to do with the walking-out. In addition, he indicated that there was no way he could be remorseful over something that he did not do, and that was not before the Committee. The Committee made the following observations:


  1. that Hon. Mweetwa, MP, was unco-operative, because he took a legalistic approach, instead of simply responding to the questions posed to him; and
  2. that Hon. Mweetwa, MP, saw nothing wrong with his conduct and was not remorseful for walking out of the House, while he was on the Floor and when the Speaker had requested him to resume his seat, as he sought to restore the House to order.


In view of the foregoing, the Committee unanimously resolved that Hon. Mweetwa’s conduct of walking out of the House before he concluded his follow-up question, and before Mr Speaker concluded restoring the House to order, amounted to a breach of the decorum and dignity of the House, as well as intentional disrespect to the Speaker and to the House as a whole. This was because the established practice of the House is that an hon. Member should not leave the House immediately after his/her debate. Further, as a matter of decorum, an hon. Member who asks a question has to resume his/her seat, and is only permitted to leave after his/her question is responded to. As regards the punishment to be meted out, the Committee recommended that in keeping with the precedent set in the case of Hon. G. G. Nkombo, Hon. Mweetwa, should be issued a formal warning.


Hon. Members, I have carefully considered the point of order and the recommendation of the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services. I am in agreement with the findings of the Committee that Hon. Mweetwa’s conduct breached the decorum and dignity of this House, and that he showed intentional disrespect to my office and to the House as a whole. However, I am not in agreement with the Committee on the recommendation that Hon. C. Mweetwa, should be formally warned. Instead, I am of the considered view that Hon. C. Mweetwa deserves a stiffer penalty for the following reasons:


  1. Hon. C. Mweetwa is not a first offender; and
  2. Hon. C. Mweetwa was not remorseful about his conduct.


In view of the foregoing, I am of the considered view that the punishment recommended by the Committee; namely a formal warning, is not commensurate with Hon. Mweetwa’s breach. Therefore, I have instead, decided to reprimand Hon. Mweetwa, MP, in accordance with Section 28(1)(c) and 28A (2) of National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act. I now proceed to reprimand him.




Mr Speaker: I order Mr C. Mweetwa, hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central, to go and stand behind the Bar of the House. I also instruct the Sergeant-At-Arms to take the Speaker’s Mace and to go and stand behind the hon. Member.


Mr C. Mweetwa, MP, was escorted to the Bar by the Serjeant-At-Arms.


Mr Speaker: Mr Mweetwa, MP, your conduct of walking out of the House, while you were on the Floor, and I was addressing the House with the view to restoring order, amounted to intentional disrespect of my office and to the House as a whole. The House is extremely displeased with your conduct. I note with concern that even when the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services offered you an opportunity to apologise for your misconduct, you opted not to apologise, and, instead, sought to justify your misconduct. I must warn you that a repetition of such misconduct in future will attract an even stiffer penalty.


Hon. Members, I wish to state here, that I will not tolerate gross indiscipline and misconduct from any hon. Member of this House. The honour, decorum and dignity of the House must be protected and preserved at all times. Mr C. Mweetwa, MP, you may now proceed to tender your apology to the House.

Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, I, Cornelius Mweetwa, in my personal capacity and in my capacity as Member of Parliament for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, do unreservedly apologise to this august House and to you, Mr Speaker, for walking out of the House while I was on the Floor and while you were addressing the House with a view of restoring order to enable me ask a question. This conduct was in contravention of the rules of this House.


Sir, having reflected on my conduct, which amounts to a breach of parliamentary privileges and contempt of the House, I wish to assure you and this august House that from now on, I shall desist –




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, continue. You are on the Floor.


Mr Mweetwa: Sir, I wish to assure you and this august House that from now on, I shall desist from such misconduct.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: You may resume your seat.


Mr Mweetwa left the Assembly Chamber




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you will recall that on Friday 10thJuly, 2020, I delivered a ruling on a point of order raised by Hon. J. Kapata, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, against Mr C. Mweetwa, hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central Parliamentary Constituency, for allegedly attacking Her Honour the Vice-President, Mrs I. Wina, MP, on the ‘Costa Programme’ aired on Diamond Television, based on a statement she made on the Floor of the House.


After I had admonished Hon. C. Mweetwa, I, in accordance with parliamentary practices and procedures, directed him to render his apology to the House. Hon. C. Mweetwa, however, refused to render an apology.


Hon. Members, on the same day, Dr J. K. Chanda, hon. Member of Parliament for Bwana Mkubwa Parliamentary Constituency, raised a point of order concerning Hon. C. Mweetwa’s decision to defy my order. In my brief ruling on Hon. Dr J. K. Chanda’s, point of order, I stated that what the hon. Member had witnessed was not the end of the matter.


Hon. Members, I now wish to inform the House that the conduct by Hon. C. Mweetwa, raises a prima facie case of breach of privileges and contempt of the House. In view of this, I am referring this matter to the Committee on Privileges, Absences and Support Services for its consideration.


I thank you.




Mr Speaker: Hon Members, you will again recall that on Friday, 10th July, 2020, when the House was considering the Committee Stage of the National Planning and Budgeting Bill, 2019, and Hon. A. Chiteme, Minister of National Development and Planning, was on the Floor, Mr J. J. Mwiimbu, hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency and Leader of the Opposition, raised a point of order.


The gist of the point of order was whether the Executive was in order to flout the Public Health (Infected Areas) (Coronavirus Disease 2019) Regulations, 2020, by continuously holding public meetings.


In his point of order, Hon. J. J. Mwiimbu made reference to three large gatherings which had allegedly taken place at the behest of the Ruling Party, the Patriotic Front (PF). First, the alleged receipt by the PF in the North-Western Province of over 1,000 defectors from the United Party for National Development (UPND); second, a meeting of PF cadres in Lusaka; and third, the alleged congregation of hundreds of supporters of the hon. Minister of Health, senior PF supporters and Cabinet hon. Ministers at the magistrates’ court despite instructions to the court to restrict numbers.


In her immediate response, the Hon. First Deputy Speaker, Hon. Namugala, reserved her ruling to study the matter. I have since studied the matter and now direct that the hon. Minister of Health should render a ministerial statement on this matter to this House by Friday, 17th July, 2020.


I thank you.








The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity to brief the House on the performance of the economy amidst the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the number of measures implemented to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic. The measures implemented are intended to support businesses as they transition through this very difficult period.


Sir, the unprecedented outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic has reversed the fortunes of many economies around the world. As a result, experts have lowered the economic growth prospects of the global economy in 2020. For instance, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that the world will record the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression of the 1930s. This fallout is also expected to be much worse than the 2007/2008 financial crisis.


Mr Speaker, accordingly, the IMF revised its 2020 global economic growth forecast to -4.9 per cent on account of foreseen economic disruptions around the world. These disruptions are expected to affect, among others, the tourism and travel industry, manufacturing output, trade activities as well as dampen global demand for goods in general. The effects of the COVID-19 have, indeed, filtered through most economies by way of health shocks, domestic economic lockdowns, reduced exports, capital flow reversals and lower commodity prices.


Sir, on the domestic front, the ministry has continued to review the performance and projected growth of the economy amidst this pandemic. The analysis conducted indicates that the COVID-19 Pandemic will have an adverse impact on the economy. Consequently, the projected growth in Zambia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has been revised downwards from an initial positive growth of, at least, 3 per cent to a new forecast indicating negative growth of around -4.2 per cent. Primary and secondary sectors such as mining, energy, construction and manufacturing are all expected to record poor performance. Service sectors including wholesale and retail trade, tourism, transport and professional services are equally expected to underperform.


Mr Speaker, the impact of the outbreak has also resulted in the dampening of commodity prices such as copper and depreciation of the Kwacha against major trading currencies. The price of copper declined to US$ 5,179 in April 2020, from the US$ 6,156 recorded in December, 2019.


Sir, I am happy to report that the price of copper has slowly begun to pick up. The exchange rate of the Kwacha against the US Dollar depreciated by 26 per cent from K14.38 per US Dollar in December 2019 to K18.09 per US Dollar on 13th July, 2020. The pass-through effect of the Kwacha’s depreciation has further led to an increase in inflation to 16.6 per cent and 15.9 per cent in May and June 2020, respectively. This is compared to 11.7 per cent recorded in December, 2019. In addition, the outbreak has also led to the disruption of supply chains and the creation of uncertainties within the market place.


Mr Speaker, this notwithstanding, some sectors such as agriculture, information and communication have shown resilience and are expected to record strong growth. The agricultural sector has recovered from the poor performance in the previous season and should record very strong growth on account of favourable rainfall patterns and effective Government interventions. Maize production in 2020 increased by 69 per cent to 3.4 million metric tonnes from 2 million metric tonnes recorded in 2019. A strong performance was also announced for many other crops.


Sir, as for the information and communication sector, strong performance will be on account of the sector benefiting from the greater use of virtual communications as more and more businesses and personal meetings are held remotely.


Mr Speaker, on the fiscal side, prior to the onset of COVID-19, the overall budget performance, as measured at the end of December 2019, remained relatively fair despite the fiscal challenges. Total revenues and grants were above target by 5.7 per cent. The economic adjustment due to COVID-19, however, has severely impacted our fiscal space. Tax relief measures that have been instituted and the scaling down of economic activity across all economic sectors have basically translated into a reduction in tax and non-tax revenues. Among them are Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Value Added Tax (VAT), Customs Duty, Excise Duty, Fuel Levy, Export Duty, road user charges, fees and fines.


Sir, on the revenue side, it is estimated that the budgeted 2020 resource envelop will fall short of its target by approximately K17.2 billion of the approved 2020 Budget. The budgetary shortfall will be on account of the following:


  1. revenue reduction of K12.2 billion rising mainly from the loss of exceptional revenue, which was anticipated,
  2. COVID-19 related tax relief measures and the general reduction in economic activity; and
  3. external financing of K4.3 billion no longer expected to materialise.


In this regard, domestic revenues in 2020 are projected to be 17.8 per cent below the Budget target.


Sir, on the expenditure side, Government spending in 2020 is expected to increase by an estimated K9.7 billion. This is due to increased Government spending on COVID-19 related interventions and increased external debt payments and other foreign currency denominated expenditures affected by the depreciation of the Kwacha. External debt service is expected to increase by K2.2 billion.


Mr Speaker, the decline in revenues and the increase in expenditure is expected to create a financing gap of K26.9 billion due to:


  1. loss of resources amounting K17.2 billion; and
  2. an increase in expenditure amounting to K9.7 billion.


To close the financing gap, expenditure cuts will have to be introduced because raising financing from the domestic securities’ market will be constrained by the economic environment. Borrowing from external sources is not sustainable as it poses further foreign exchange risks on our future earnings.


Sir, the prudent management of our financing has even become more important in view of the resource requirements to fight the COVID-19 Pandemic. We need to give priority to the effective management of our resources to meet our urgent health risks. To this end, the Government has engaged the services of an internationally renowned financial institution to provide financial advisory services to the Government in relation to liability management of its debt portfolio. Once completed, this exercise should result in an amicable agreement with creditors and bondholders on the level of debt service payments in the medium-term to provide the Government with the necessary relief to address the immediate risks and challenges.


Mr Speaker, in view of the fact that revenue has declined while expenditures have increased, we are in the process of revising the 2020 Budget, for which I will be seeking approval from this House within the current meeting.


Sir, I will now turn to measures taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, as I indicated earlier, the COVID-19 Pandemic is both a health catastrophe and an economic crisis. As guided by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, my ministry prioritised the saving of lives by providing resources to the Ministry of Health and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) to face the pandemic head-on. Understanding the economic challenges being faced by businesses, my ministry also instituted measures intended to mitigate the negative impact of the pandemic and help businesses transition through this very difficult period.


Sir, I now wish to update this House on some of the measures instituted since March, 2020, in terms of funding towards the COVID-19 response.


Mr Speaker, as an initial response to the impending onslaught of the pandemic as it spreads across the world, the Ministry of Finance implemented a number of first line measures which include:


  1. allocating K57 million to the Epidemic Preparedness Fund under the Ministry of Health; and
  2. allocating K659 million to support the Cabinet approved COVID-19 Contingency and Response Plan under the DMMU.


Sir, in order to expedite the provision of medical-related devices needed to support the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government extended the list of medical supplies that are not subject to import duty and VAT for an initial period of six months. The list comprises individual items such as testing equipment, protective garments, thermometers, disinfectants, sterilisation products and medical equipment such as ventilators and patient monitoring devices.


Mr Speaker, to provide broader relief to businesses, the Government implemented the following measures:


  1. suspended excise duty on ethanol for use in alcohol-based sanitizers and other medical-related commodities;
  2. removed the provision of Statutory Instrument No. 90 relating to the claim of VAT on imported spare parts, lubricants and stationery to ease pressure on companies;
  3. suspended export duties on the export of concentrates in the mining sector to ease pressure on the sector; and
  4. suspended export duty on precious metals and crocodile skin.


Mr Speaker, to assist companies and businesses manage their cash flows during this period when they are faced with reduced revenues, the Government further waived tax penalties and interest on outstanding tax liabilities resulting from the impact of COVID-19.


Easing of Liquidity


To alleviate the economic pressures associated with the COVID-19 induced liquidity challenges, His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, in his address to the nation, announced the availability of K2.5 billion in financial relief for businesses. In this regard, the Government released K500 million to the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF) to pay over 1,500 retirees or their beneficiaries. Secondly, K170 million was released to banks to clear the third party arrears. Thirdly, K140 million was released to various road contractors. Fourthly, K950 million has been paid to institutions to clear outstanding bills to suppliers of goods and services.


COVID-19 Bond


Mr Speaker, I wish to report that the ministry has progressed with the modalities of setting up the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Fund, which is as directed by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. The funds to be used will be allocated from the COVID-19 Mitigation Bond. The bond is targeted to raise up to K8 billion in tranches from the banking sector and pension funds.


Sir, I wish to report that so far, the Government has managed to raise K6.8 billion. The bond proceeds will solely target to finance domestic expenditure as it is supposed to be applied to boost the domestic economy. No foreign related expenditures will be covered as this will defeat the objective of improving liquidity in the market and negatively impacting the exchange of the Kwacha against major tradable currencies.


Mr Speaker, the bond proceeds will be allocated as follows:


  1. the Presidential COVID-19 Economic Recovery Fund, which is made of K3.185 billion will be used as follows:


  1. to dismantle some of the outstanding payments owed to suppliers of goods and services;


  1. to make VAT refunds to SMEs that are still owed monies in the form of VAT refunds by the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA);


  1. allocate to NATSAVE an equity injection to enable it to lend to SMEs; and


  1. to provide for entrepreneurship opportunities and income to improve the living standards of the youths.


  1. the second category will be the payment to the microfinance institutions. An amount of K1.315 billion has been allocated to be used to dismantle outstanding third party obligations to micro-finance institutions;
  2. The third is for drugs, debts and equipment procurement to which K1 billion has been allocated and it is earmarked for expenditure in the health sector to combat COVID-19 through the purchase of equipment and target local suppliers of drugs, which are owed funds by the Ministry of Heath to avoid exchange rate movements in the short run;
  3. K1.7 billion earmarked for grain purchases for the nation’s food reserve. Lastly, the other application amounting to K800 billion is earmarked for the Constituency  Development Fund (CDF) as a way of ensuring community projects are implemented and for settling arrear payments under the Local Authority Superannuation Fund (LASF) and to cater for gratuities, compensations and salary arrears.


Bank of Zambia’s K10 Billion Medium-Term Refinancing Facility


Sir, I would like now to turn to the K10 billion Medium-Term Refinancing Facility of the Bank of Zambia (BOZ). The financial sector’s liquidity challenges will further be eased through the BOZ K10 billion Medium-Term Refinancing Facility. This facility is available to eligible commercial banks and non-banks financial institutions to access in order to restructure, refinance and extend credit to businesses and households impacted by COVID-19 in more favourable terms.


Sir, I wish to report that the uptake of the facility commenced with applications from the banking sector and non-banking finance institution sector being processed and approved by BOZ. As at 13th July, 2020, we have eleven banks and twelve non-bank financial institutions submitting applications for financing worth a total of K4,821,000 out of which K3,879,000 has been approved. This represents 80 per cent approval of the total financing requested under which 23 per cent has already been disbursed to 9,762 beneficiaries.


Sir, I should emphasise that these funds are meant for relief on the part of businesses and are offered at relatively low interest rates. It is expected that financial service providers will pass this benefit to their customers.


Other Measures to Support Economic Recovery


Mr Speaker, other measures to support the economic currency from the impact of COVID-19 will require the concerted effort over the medium-term. To deal with the new normal of COVID-19 and help businesses recover, the Government is intensively reviewing policies to come up with additional measures which will support business over the medium-term.


Issuance of the Employment Code (Exemptions) Regulations, 2020


Sir, allow me now to address the issuance of the Employment Code Exemptions Regulation of 2020. To ensure supportive labour market relationships in the wake of the COVID-19, the Government issued exemptions to the Employment Code Act, 2019, as follows:


  1. Government to exempt all employers and employees from provisions of Section 36 which deals with annual leave as this does not take into account the alternative of carrying forward leave days;
  2. Government to exempt all employees and employers from the provision of Section 37, which deals with the calculation of annual leave benefits; and
  3. lastly, Government to exempt an employer from the provisions of Section 48, where an employer is financially incapacitated once approved by the Labour Commissioner.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to state that the economic situation continues to be challenging and the fiscal situation is extremely constrained. The Treasury will strive to mobilise more resources to respond to the various competing developmental needs of the country, including responding to the unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic. This notwithstanding, we will continue to constrain public debt accumulation and strive to effectively implement public finance management regulation at all times. The ministry will also continuously review the package of measures in place to stimulate the economy and ensure that in the medium-term to long-term, the negative impact of COVID-19 is moderated. We will further continue to engage externally to get relief on the fiscal front in terms of debt service payments and external financing.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


 Mr Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given my hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, indeed, every sector of the economy has been affected by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19). I would like to commend the Government for coming up with the stimulus packages vis-à-vis the K10 billion which was recently introduced by the Government.


Sir, in the last address to the nation by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, some sectors of the economy which were initially locked were relaxed.  However, one sector, which is the alcohol sector and other liquor sectors have been affected to this end. I would like to know what the Government is doing to relax the rigidity of the banks in giving out the K10 billion which commercial banks and some financial lending institution are giving out so that the affected people can access the loans. Secondly, the most affected people are the owners of bars which are not registered. As a result, such bars cannot even access loans from the banks. What is the Government doing to ensure that the small bars in Bauleni, Chasefu and Nakonde can access these loans?     


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, furthermore, on this side of the House, we have constantly said that the issue of by-elections has a lot to do with the Constitution of Zambia. If we amended the Constitution, we could have a totally different arrangement in future whereby, if somebody resigned, you do not necessary have to hold a by-election. So, hon. Members on your left cannot blame the PF for that.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the issue raised by the hon. Member for Liuwa, raises an issue of corruption, which is not part of the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about the stimulus package that is being given out to small-scale businesses in Zambia through banking institutions. I hope that the hon. Minister is aware that the majority of those who have been severely affected are those running bars and restaurants in this country. Bars and restaurants were closed for a long time. However, despite restaurants having been allowed to open, bars are still closed. Does the hon. Minister think that it is prudent on the part of the Government to request the owners of closed bars to borrow money from banks at a high interest rate? How does the Government expect them to pay back this money when their businesses are closed? Why does the Government not follow the good example of other countries that have been paying workers of institutions that have been closed?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I do understand the issue of interest rates. Thus, one of the things that we have attempted to do, is to deal with that challenge. The rates that will obtain under the Bank of Zambia (BOZ) medium-term facility are derived from the rate at which the commercial banks themselves will borrow from the Central Bank. That is one percentage point above the policy rate, which, in this case, is about 10.5 per cent. So, if you add that, the cost of funds to the lenders will be exactly 11.5 per cent, in which case they can put a small margin on top.


Sir, we do realise the need to address the issue of putting in place the market rates which the markets can respond to. However, it is important to understand that given the fiscal challenge we have, which the hon. Members on your left recognise, we cannot go on to distribute money. That is not possible. All we can do is to offer a facility that various small business people can respond to and, hopefully, help them while we transition through this very difficult period that we are all going through.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, the reality is that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a pandemic that has hit the world, including financial institutions and big financially stable countries in the world. I am alive to the fact that there have been a number of countries and institutions that have given waivers to countries that owe them money. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister of Finance whether or not we have benefited in any way possible from any waivers on external debt. I would also like to know whether COVID-19 has also changed the country’s relationship with the International Monetary Fund (IMF)?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the issue of waivers from various lenders to us is a developing one. I did report before that we have engaged various creditors, both concessional lenders as well as commercial lenders. On the side of concessional lenders, a framework has already been agreed to under the G20 which basically gives a moratorium of up to the end of the year. However, what we are looking for in our case is a two year moratorium and have requested a number of specific lenders to respond to that particular request. I think we will be able to get firm responses from all such institutions perhaps within the next one month or so.


Mr Speaker, as regards the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, I need to indicate that we concluded discussions with the IMF last week on Friday. At the moment, we are going through the process of coming up with a mutually agreed statement to issue. At that point, we will be able to disclose exactly what support will come from the IMF, needless to say that all the different creditors have indicated the willingness to work with us as we try to address the issue of debt, given the very serious challenges that have been posed by the pandemic.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, Her Honour the Vice-President recently directed that the disbursement of all Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) donations be audited in real time. What measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that the COVID-19 Bond disbursement that the hon. Minister has just talked about is also audited in real time to be in line with the directive of Her Honour the Vice-President?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the directive of Her Honour the Vice-President has been followed. The Secretary to the Treasury, working together with the Director of Internal Audit, has been carrying periodic audits of all the resources that have been received whether in monetary terms or in kind. These reports are published from time to time. In fact, we do now publish reports on a monthly basis in the newspapers. If the hon. Member takes time to read the newspapers, he will find this information which is given on a monthly basis. We will continue to do that, but what I would like to do is to make a full assurance to this House that we will account for everything that we receive. Nothing will go unaccounted for. That is the commitment that the Secretary to the Treasury, all my staff in the ministry and I are willing to make to this House.


I thank you.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate the introduction of incentives to business houses, but I have not heard anything as regards taxpayers who had outstanding tax obligations at the beginning of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. Is the Government going to waive the outstanding tax obligations or freeze the recovery period in which they are supposed to be settled?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, what we did appreciate was the fact that there would be certain challenges on various business people to meet their tax obligations given the fact that a lot of them had reduced income, if not no income at all. We responded to that by allowing companies a certain amount of breathing space so that they do not need to immediately pay the taxes so long as they were in consultation with the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA). Relief could be given to them so that they meet their obligations in future as opposed to now.


Mr Speaker, the long and short answer is that there has been recognition that this is a difficult time. This is a time during which you cannot compel companies to pay resources which they do not have. So, we are very mindful of that and we will continue to exercise a certain amount of forbearance as far as this issue is concerned.


I thank you, Sir.


    Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, let me first clarify that the K10 billion stimulus facility, which is accessed through the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), is initially accessed through commercial banks and later approved by BoZ. For that purpose, it is available to small and medium scale enterprises. The position we have taken now is that we will use the National Servings and Credit Bank (NSCB), which I mentioned in my presentation has been given resources, to be able to address the needs of small and medium scale enterprises from the K8 billion stimulus facility. In this respect, the small scale bar owners the hon. Member has talked about fit pretty much in the definition of small and medium scale enterprises. Therefore, one would expect that they will benefit from that facility.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you –


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to rise on a point of order regarding a very serious security issue. I am raising this point of order on the hon. Minister of Home Affairs.


Mr Speaker, on several occasions, hon. Members of Parliament on your left have lamented on the behaviour of Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. We started raising this issue a long time ago and warned our colleagues that they would reap the whirlwind if they did not take appropriate action, and this is exactly what is happening.


Sir, they started off by beating up a Cabinet Minister who was visiting his constituency. As if that was not enough, we saw them attack journalists at radio stations. They have attacked more than fifteen radio stations in this country.

Mr Speaker, further, the most unfortunate incident happened last Saturday at the Lusaka Central Police Station where the PF cadres went and clobbered senior police officers. They got money from the police and nothing has been done.


Mr Speaker, these instances are raising fear in the minds of ordinary Zambians. They now believe that the PF cadres are above the law and that there is no way you can appeal to the police for protection. If the PF cadres can be clobbering very senior police officers, where do members of the public go for protection? Should we not think that now, the police will fear taking action against any party carder, especially the PF cadres, for fear of being clobbered? We have been raising these issues on the Floor of this House and outside.


Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to remain mute and not take appropriate action against known unruly PF cadres? These PF cadres who were involved at the Lusaka Central Police Station hold senior positions in the PF party.


 Sir, is the hon. Minister in order to remain mute and not allay the fears of the public that there is something that is being done by the Ministry of Home Affairs pertaining to violence? We have heard even the President lamenting. Is he in order?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I think you have made your point. You are now repeating yourself. I will allow the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to come to the House with a statement on Tuesday next week.


The hon. Member for Bweengwa may continue.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) is real in this country and must not be underplayed, especially by our colleagues in the Patriotic Front (PF).


Mr Speaker, I thought that the money allocated and donated towards the fight against COVID-19 would save the lives of the citizens of this country. To my surprise, I heard that the money meant for the fight against COVID-19 was diverted towards the construction of roads in the Western Province. I have never heard of any road suffering from COVID-19 in the Western Province.




Mr Michelo: Why is the Government prioritising the funding of road projects using COVID-19 money instead of using it to save the lives of the Zambian people?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, just for your guidance, I want to make progress, and therefore, will not any points of order anymore.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I think we need to differentiate some issues here. This specific K8 billion stimulus fund which I was talking about is intended to stimulate activity in this economy. One way of achieving this objective is to dismantle outstanding arrears. Some of these arrears that are outstanding are owed to contractors in the road sector. By paying them, we free them to now begin to undertake the projects that have been idle. I know that the hon. Members of this House have been vigorously talking about us working on completing a number of roads. So, by paying local contractors or giving them this money, the Government is giving them the capacity to continue working on their projects. I think that this is part of stimulating the economy.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that clear statement. The resources have shrunk because the hon. Minister’s Budget has now lost a quarter of the original resource envelop that he had envisaged last year. So, a quarter of the resources has gone away for various reasons including COVID-19, and, of course, I sympathise a lot with that.


Mr Speaker, one would have expected that his Government would now be very judicious in the manner in which money would be spent in the county. However, we see party cadres or party officials continuously bribing councillors in the United Party for National Development (UPND) areas so that they resign and, thereby, cause by-elections which are very expensive, especially at a time like this. Being a professional with a PhD, an international civil servant and a central banker that the hon. Minister is, does he believe that these by-elections, instigated by his party, are a judicious way of spending public money at a time like this?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the answer to the question is in two parts. First is that, of course, by-elections are not a judicious way of spending money. Second is that the assumption that by-elections are instigated by the Patriotic Front (PF) has really no basis in fact. I do not know whether or not people who are resigning are resigning because they are finding something unsatisfactory about the party to which they currently belong and choose to move.   


   Mr Chisopa (Mkushi South): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated in his statement that there has been a decline in revenue due to the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. In terms of statistics, is the hon. Minister able to share with this House, which sectors have been highly affected?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the fact of the matter is that virtually, each and every sector has suffered a reduction in tax to be paid to the Government, some to a greater percentage and others to a lesser percentage. At this point, I do not have the numbers here with me and I do not wish to mislead this House by guessing the reduction in the Value Added Tax (VAT), in mining revenue, reduction in income tax, and so on and so forth. The fact is that the line of revenue, whether tax revenue or non-tax revenue, has gone down, but if the hon. Member would like to have the figures, I can present them to him quite easily.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, among the sectors that have been impacted by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) is the education sector, particularly, the private schools. In Government schools, teachers are still on the payroll and are being paid. Many private schools are unable to pay their teachers because schools are closed. What special measures has the Government put in place to ensure that these teachers who are serving in our private schools also access this COVID-19 stimulus package?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I did mention earlier on that what we have is a composite approach to all small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In this case, owners of schools are considered as being part of the SMEs sector. If the situation is such that they do not quite fit into that, I also did mention that we are continuing to examine the set of measures that we have implemented. If we think that there is a special case for this sector, we may want to look at it and see if we can come up with something that is separate and different from what we are offering to the other SMEs.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): (Inaudible) … that are very sensitive and also –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Livingstone, could you please start again.


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, the tourism industry is not only sensitive, but also competitive in nature. Apart from the measures that the hon. Minister has outlined, I would like to find out what fiscal incentives the hon. Minister has given to this industry so as to revamp it bearing in mind that airports have been opened. We all know that the sector has been terribly hit by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts has been working with the tourism community to come up with a set of proposals that can be implemented. This process is under way. In fact, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Tourism and Arts will be meeting this evening to examine the proposals which have been made in terms of specific fiscal measures that can be applied to the tourism industry. I take the point that is being made by the hon. Member of Parliament for Livingstone that this is probably among the industries that have been worst hit. Therefore, it does require some special treatment and attention, perhaps, much more than from other sectors. So, we will be announcing the measures that we will be agreed to this evening with the Ministry of Tourism and Arts and hope that we can implement them.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, on 3rd July, 2020, I asked Her Honour the Vice-President a question as to which law firm based in the United States of America (USA) had been contracted to restructure the debt of this country. I also asked about the amount of money involved in the exercise. In her response, she had indicated that the hon. Minister of Finance was going to give more details pertaining to that issue on the Floor of this House. I want to find out from hon. Minister of Finance what the name of the law firm that is based in the USA is and also, the amount that is involved in the debt restructuring exercise of this nation.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I did indicate that I will be presenting a full statement to the House on the engagement of the debt liability management managers. The name of the firm is Lazard Frères, who will be the financial advisers and Messrs White & Case, who will be the legal advisers. I think it is public domain that the exercise will cost something in the magnitude of US$5 million. This is a thirty-six month assignment and the legal firm services will probably cost in the range of US$300,000 for the same period of thirty-six months. I have a full statement that I would like to render to the House at an appropriate time.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, indeed, the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic’s effect on the national economy and people’s livelihoods cannot be overemphasised. In his statement, the hon. Minister did refer to the relief measures which have been put in place. Among them is the fund for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). What specific measures have been put in place to ensure that Zambian entrepreneurs in the rural areas such as Kasenengwa benefit from this fund? 


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, one of the measures we have taken is to capacitate the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE) in this respect. The reason for this is that NATSAVE has presence right across the country and is in the rural areas, mostly in areas where there are no other banks. We believe that through the measures and the product offering that NATSAVE will put on the table, we should be able to cover a substantial part of the rural community. If that is not sufficient, we will again revise what we have in place. I think it is important to understand that the only way we can help is by providing credit. It is not possible to provide free money or to go around dishing out money because it is not there. What we can do is to create a basis whereby money can be lent out and then it is paid back, then we create a revolving fund which will continue even beyond the pandemic. I think we will help the business going forward in a more specific way.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister mention the eleven banks that have been given money. Out of those eleven banks, an indigenous bank, the Zambia Industrial Commercial Bank has not been included on the list. I believe that this Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) has moved to other areas such as Lusangazi.  There are three cases in my part of my constituency called Lobeka Musangazi where the nearest bank that is available is the National Savings and Credit Bank (NATSAVE). What is the hon. Minister, being the shareholder of the indigenous bank, doing to ensure that most of this money is given to the  indigenous banks?


Mr Speaker: Have you got the question, hon. Minister of Finance?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I struggled to understand the English of Hon. Daka.




Dr Ng’andu: I would beg that he repeats the question and make it a little more precise because I just could not get the question that was being asked.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Msanzala, can you be precise in your question.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, what I am trying to find out from the hon. Minister of Finance who is a shareholder of indigenous banks in Zambia is how much money has been allocated to these banks which are covering rural areas like Musangazi in Msanzala Constituency where COVID-19 has touched areas like Mwanika?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, have you got it now.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I hope I have.


Sir, if the question is about how much money we have allocated to NATSAVE, my answer is that it has been allocated K900 million which will save two purposes. One, it will make it compliant in terms of capital requirements and also give it the capacity to go out and lend in the rural areas. I do not know whether the question was that there is no NATSAVE in Msanzala. If that is the question, I am not sure if that is the case. The fact of the matter is that it is not possible at this point in time to respond to each and every constituency across the country. There are clearly constituencies where we do not have banks or other financial institutions. At some point, we will have to find a solution to deal with this situation, whether it is through the provision of mobile banks, or from the nearest point like Katete whereby people will have to go to Musangazi to do their work and come back. However, that is something that we are going to examine. We are trying to deal with the issue of rural areas by capacitating NATSAVE.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, if I attempt to exhaust the list of those that are seeking clarifications, that will be the only business we will deal with this afternoon. It is a long list and it is growing every minute.








250. Mr A Mumba (Kantanshi) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:


  1. what measures the Government is taking to prevent Mopani Copper Mines (Plc) from stopping operations and placing the mine on care and maintenance on 31st July, 2020;
  2. if none, what urgent measures the Government is taking to mitigate the loss of business by contractors and suppliers to the mine; and
  3. how many employees will lose employment following the decision to stop operations.


The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, the Government through the Director of Mines rejected Mopani Copper Mine’s decision to place its operations on care and maintenance based on the findings of the Inter-Institutional Technical Committee that was constituted by the Zambian Government. You may wish to know that Mopani Copper Mines issued a notice to the Director of Mines on 1st May, 2020 in which the company declared its intention to place the mine under care and maintenance pursuant to Section 37 (2) of the Mines and Minerals Development Act No. 11 of 2015 citing the following reasons:


  1. that its high cost of operations cannot be sustained as a result reduced productivity  and this prevented them from implementing development plans as occasioned by the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic;
  2. that COVID-19 has severely disrupted supply chains making it difficult to source critical inputs used in their business operations;
  3. that the reduction in global industrial activity has seen a significant drop in global demand for copper and consequently resulted in a fall in copper prices to about US$4,800 during the first part of the year; and
  4. that the high cost of production of around US$8,000 per tonne was uneconomical.


Arising from the notice issued to Mopani Copper Mines, the Director of Mines instituted investigations in accordance with Section 37 (3) (a) of the Mines and Minerals Development Act. The matter was investigated and the findings were as follows:


  1. the impact of COVID-19 has not affected the operations as most of its operations are mechanised and only require one or two operators thus, social distancing is maintained. Furthermore, Mopani Copper Mines can increase the number of shifts to reduce the size of work gangs per shift to maintain productivity;
  2. regarding the importation of inputs into the country, Mopani Copper Mines did not provide any evidence that supports the claim. It suffices to mention that the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry has been issuing support letters to companies that intend to import products/inputs that transit within countries that have imposed lockdowns due to COVID-19. This is supported by Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocols;
  3. interactions with management suggests that through the restructuring of mining operations, Mopani Copper Mines is able to achieve a cost of production that is below US$5,000 per tonne. It must also be emphasised that the cyclical nature of copper prices means that the mines can ride out the current slump in prices. Furthermore, copper prices of about US$4,800 per tonne during the first part of the year have recently started ticking upwards and have reached, as we speak, in excess of US$6,433 per tonne as at 13th July, 2020. The cost of production for Mopani Copper Mines can further be reduced by ramping up production and ensuring that effective cost measures are put in place including contracting local contractors who are able to do the same job that most foreign contractors do at three or four times the price;
  4. on the issue of Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has indicated that what Mopani Copper Mines owes the Government other taxes which are higher than the VAT refund claim. So, this reason is not competent;
  5. the high cost of production of around US$8,000 per tonne cited by Mopani Copper Mines resulted from engaging foreign contractors at above market prices compared to what local contractors would be paid for the same services. This has inadvertently driven up the operating costs for the mine. As such, the future operations of the mine should be anchored around a cost saving model that maximises the use of local contractors.


Mr Speaker, the Government is currently engaging with Glencore and other shareholders of Mopani Copper Mines to ensure that the operations at Mopani Copper Mines are sustained beyond 31st July, 2020.


Sir, with the ongoing negotiations involving Government, Glencore and other shareholders, we envisage that the matter of job losses can be avoided.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr A. C. Mumba: Mr Speaker, before I ask a question, I would also like to condemn the violence that took place in Kantanshi Constituency which –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Kantanshi, I have only given you an opportunity to ask a follow-up question.


Mr A. C. Mumba: Mr Speaker, having interacted with the union and Mopani Copper Mines, I would say that some of the things which the hon. Minister has highlighted came up as a result of the visits that he and the hon. Minister of Finance, who was appointed to lead the delegation by President Edgar Lungu, made. The findings such as the over pricing of production costs have not yet been communicated to Mopani Copper Mines, and seventeen days are remaining in view of its application as far as requesting the Government to put the mine under care and maintenance by law. When does the Government intend to share a formal report with the mine so it can go through it and respond to it so that it creates a win-win situation and we do not have job losses on 31st July?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development and in particular the Director of Mines, who is empowered by law to communicate with the mines, has already communicated the findings of the investigation to Mopani Copper Mines in writing and we have responded to all the issues that were raised. It would be folly for the Government to undertake an investigation process and not communicate the findings to its partners. Mopani Copper Mines and Glencore are our partners. The investigation was in fact conducted with experts from Mopani Copper Mines. When we finished the investigation, formal documents were given to Mopani Copper Mines, which I can avail to the hon. Member of Parliament for his perusal.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.








Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House adopts the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly laid on the Table of the House on Friday, 19th June, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr Kabamba (Kafulafuta): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to present this report on behalf of my colleagues in the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Sir, this report is highly abridged in line with the new normal and I only hope that hon. Members read the main report. So, this summary only considers mainly two aspects of the report, which is the medical evacuations abroad, which was the topical issue, and the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme. However, my report is mainly on the medical evacuations abroad for medical treatment.


Mr Speaker, I will highlight a few findings from the Committee’s engagement on the assumptions that its members made.


Sir, the Committee learnt that the issue of specialised medical treatment abroad is governed by the Government Circular No. 1 of 2003, which has now been in place for seventeen years. The Committee observed that the provisions of the circular are outdated and, therefore, cannot address the current emerging health issues, including the growing demand for specialised treatment abroad. In this regard, the Committee recommends that a more robust framework that is transparent be developed to streamline the management and administration of specialised treatment abroad. This is especially important because Zambian citizens might, for a very long time to come, continue to require specialised treatment abroad. This is part of the normal medical practice because referrals are an essential component of medical practice.


Mr Speaker, with regard to why Zambians seek specialised treatment abroad, the Committee was informed that there are two categories that propel this medical tourism, if you like. Firstly, it is the push and pull factors. The push factors come from the lack of the advanced medical technology locally, or expertise. Secondly, the quality of services locally and the legal, moral or religious and ethical issues, particularly in cases of reproductive tourism. The pull factors on the other hand are based on the patients’ decisions themselves, which is based on the assessment of the overall places where they want to go and seek treatment, and this is sometimes basically their choice. As such, the patients look at the environment, economy, the country’s image, the state of health care industry, including the costs associated with such care, and the quality of the facilities that are available and the equipment. So, all these are factors that may propel people to seek services abroad including their perception of the standard of services.


Sir, the Committee is of the view that of the two categories of the factors, the push factors seem to be the major cause of medical tourism out of Zambia. The Committee was informed that many Zambians had lost confidence in the local health care system, arising from inadequate or lack of certain specialised services in the country, as I have already said, particularly when dealing with renal, cardiac or neural surgical operations. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the Government should obviously prioritise investment in developing both human and infrastructure capacity in the specialised service areas.


Mr Speaker, pertaining to the criterion used to select patients to seek specialised treatment abroad, the Committee was informed that treatment abroad, under the sponsorship of the Government of the Republic of Zambia, through the Ministry of Health, is only applicable for cases that were beyond the expertise of the Zambian health system and were life threatening. The Committee further learnt that only cases recommended by the Ad hoc Committee on Medical Treatment Abroad were considered. In other words, there is an ad hoc committee that recommends who should be treated abroad. However, some stakeholders contended that the guidelines were not easily accessible and this had made it difficult for the general public to hold the Government to account in the manner in which the facility was operated. This had in turn given rise to a notion among the general public that only people of influence or who were represented by individuals holding influential positions could access this service. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the selection criterion as well as the guidelines should be widely publicised to avoid mistrust and suspicions by the general public that this facility is only for the privileged few.


Sir, with those remarks, I thank you.


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


Mr Kabamba: Now, Sir.


Mr Speaker, let start by thanking the mover for having moved the Motion successfully.


As I second the Motion, I will highlight a few things that have not been covered by the mover.


Sir, the mode of financing specialised treatment abroad has largely been done by the Treasury, although I appreciate the fact that there are instances when the private sector, donor community, individuals and families have come on board to facilitate this service. However, by and large, the major source of funding for specialised treatment abroad has been the Treasury and this has put a lot of strain on the Government. So, as a Committee, our recommendation is that the Government should expedite the operationalisation of the National Health Insurance Scheme so that the funds realised from the scheme can reduce the pressure on our Treasury in funding specialised treatment both locally as well as abroad.


Mr Speaker, the other thing I would like to talk about is the inadequate specialist personnel. Whilst the Committee appreciates the fact that the Government is putting in place many strategies to reduce the demand for specialist treatment abroad, it concluded that the rate at which the country is training specialist medical personnel is not commensurate with the level of demand for specialised treatment abroad. Of course, that could be due to the fact that there is an increase in our population. Not only that, the disease burden keeps changing and is quite dynamic.


Sir, today, most of the cases that attract treatment abroad involve the heart. So we need many cardiologists and these are doctors who are specialised in heart diseases. The other cases have to do with renal or kidney issues. So, we need many urologists. Today, we are talking about the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), meaning that we need doctors specialised in viruses or virologists. So, there is a need to train as many specialist doctors as possible. However, let me give a classic example. Out of the targeted 500 specialists, only 240 were trained by the end of 2019. So, the Committee recommends that the Government expedites the training of specialist medical personnel concurrently with infrastructure development.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about the Public Welfare Assistance Scheme and women empowerment programmes. The Committee appreciates the fact that these programmes are backed by the Constitution as well as other policies. However, the cardinal issue, which is the acquisition of land by the women, has not been addressed by those policies. It is undisputable that most of the women are illiterate and vulnerable, but viable. They live in rural areas, meaning that their livelihoods depend on land. Therefore, the land tenure process should be simplified to an extent whereby every woman can access land. So, the Committee recommends that the Government should create deliberate policies to remove all the obstacles that prevent women from acquiring land.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, I thank the mover and the seconder of this Motion.


Mr Speaker, I agree with the Committee that a number of people have lost confidence in our health system in Zambia. Before I talk about why people opt to go out of the country for treatment, I want to say that it is true that many people have lost confidence in our health care system. For example, in 2011, the late President Michael Chilufya Sata said that 650 clinics would be built across this country. However, to date, in Dundumwezi, not even a single clinic has been built.


Sir, some of the cases are allowed to go bad before a decision is made, and the reason is that there is no infrastructure to help people when they are unwell. It takes too long before a decision is made. That is why some of the people who made submissions indicated that patients decide to go out of the country because they have lost confidence in the health system in the country. One example I would like to cite here is that were it not for you, Mr Speaker, one of my friends could have died. He was in hospital for two months. The man was not walking and he was feeling too bad and it took you, Mr Speaker, to engage the health personnel. I was surprised that when he went to India, in just a week, he was able to walk. What is it that this country failed to do? For two months, the person was not walking. So, confidence has been lost.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Health went to Dundumwezi and gave the people of Dundumwezi a mini hospital, but since then, nothing has happened. That is why people decide to go out of the country. They feel that here, the health personnel take too long to make decisions, as I indicated earlier.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to add my voice to this very important Motion.


Sir, I would like to talk about the health aspect in this report. I think our health system needs to be revamped because I have seen the concentration of attention along the line of rail or the peri-urban areas and not places like Chienge. The health sector in Chienge, for example, hardly has transport. There are no ambulances to cater for all the clinics that we have, like Chipungu, Lupiya and Lambwe Chomba. The people are being deprived of what they deserve to get from the Government in terms of quality health services. On top of that, we do not have personnel in those areas. It is like most of the personnel are concentrated in urban areas.


Mr Speaker, the upcoming National Health Insurance Scheme is a very good idea, but it has not been explained in detail as to how it is going to help the people of Chienge, for example. I do not think even the people in Mtendere understand how they are going to benefit from the scheme. In Chienge, people have resorted to going to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to seek medical attention as they believe there are better doctors there than in Zambia. This is quite worrying because the people of Chienge deserve to benefit from the taxpayers’ money so that they can access quality health care.


Mr Speaker, I would like to also talk about the new health posts that have been constructed in Chienge, and for which I must thank the Government. I expected these health posts to have been operational by yesterday, for instance. However, up to now, these health posts are not yet operational. So, you find that women are still walking long distances to go for antenatal or to deliver babies.


Sir, my appeal to the Government is that since Chienge is a vast area, we also need a hospital in Mununga area. We have heard of groundbreaking ceremonies for hospitals in Lupiya and Lambwe Chomba, but there is nothing. We only have one hospital in Chienge, which is quite far for people in places like Lambwe Chomba to access the services of the hospital. It takes them about 65 km because the road is impassable. So, it is very important that the Government puts more funding in the area of health care.


Mr Speaker, not to take up much time of the House, I just want to say that I support this Motion.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to this very important subject on why Zambian people actually prefer having specialised treatment abroad.


Sir, one thing that has clearly been brought out by your Committee is that the ad-hoc committee at the Ministry of Health only sits once a month to consider those to be evacuated for treatment abroad, no matter the situation. Therefore, whoever needs treatment abroad has to remain in hospital in order to wait for the committee to sit once a month. This means that people who should not die end up dying because the ad-hoc committee will only sit once in a month to consider individual cases.


Mr Speaker, another area which has caught my attention is the one to do with the Health Insurance Scheme, which is a very good idea. However, we have to take note of the fact that we have two groups of people in this country. One group is made up of people in formal employment. These are the people who actually have an advantage because, according to your Committee’s report, an individual in formal employment will contribute 1 per cent and their employer will also contribute 1 per cent of their income towards the Health Insurance Scheme, which is good. However, it means the poor farmer or marketeer in Mapatizya and elsewhere across rural Zambia who has no association under the informal employment sector will completely be left out of this insurance scheme. You may be interested to note that according to your Committee’s report, the ministry hopes to capture over 700,000 people who are in formal employment, leaving out the other people who are not under formal employment.


Sir, the other thing is that as we move in the rural constituencies, people are asking us what this animal called Health Insurance Scheme is. They are saying, “Do you want to get our money for nothing?” This is because they do not understand it. I, therefore, appeal to the Ministry of Health to move in the direction of sensitising our people so that they can be on the same page with those who are in formal employment.

Mr Speaker, the other issue which your Committee has brought out is the K1.2 billion debt which the Ministry of Health owes suppliers of drugs. I think we are now starting to understand why at times we do not have drugs in our clinics and hospitals. It is all because businesses that supply drugs to the ministry are owed K1.2 billion. Therefore, I ask myself on behalf of Zambians: Who in their right mind would honestly keep on supplying drugs to a ministry that has no capacity to pay for the commodity? While we are a country that is known to have a very bad repayment culture, it is important that that this behaviour does not reach such important ministries.


Sir, the Ministry of Health is not well funded. My appeal, on behalf of Zambians, is that the Ministry of Finance increases the budgetary allocation to this sector to 15 per cent of the total Budget which will be in line with the Abuja Declaration.


Mr Speaker, another reason I think people would prefer to go abroad for treatment is the lack of equipment like the Computerized Tomography (CT) scans. The machine in Livingstone has been down for about half a year. Anyone requiring a CT scan has to travel to Lusaka. As poor as our people are, it is important for the ministry to ensure it takes care of such machines and equipment by keeping them in order.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, your time is up.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I am a little disturbed by the things I am hearing. I pray they are not true.


Sir, the subject at hand is medical evacuation. This country has learnt the hard way having lost two Presidents who died abroad. Unfortunately, President Levy Mwanawasa, may his soul rest in peace, got an attack outside of this land, but even when the attack happened he had to be taken to France to try and resuscitate him. President Sata, may his soul rest in peace, the story is the same.


Mr Speaker, we have human resource in this country that is able to treat ailments when they manifest. I have examples of colleagues and contemporaries like Dr Sichizya, one of the most celebrated surgeons we have in this country, who has conducted operations even on siamese twins here in Lusaka. Therefore, what is lacking or missing?


Sir, we have spent colossal amounts of money via the approvals by this group of people who sit once a month to determine who qualifies to go for treatment through the Government Treasury. If you go back and do your computation, you will realise that even the lamentations of the mover of the Motion were that there is lack of technology.  Technology is just machinery.


Mr Speaker, we have sufficient know-how. We have doctors who could have served humankind that have been laid-off in national interest. Under the Patriotic Front (PF), we have seen the discrimination of medical staff. We have human beings who have been discharged from their duties in national interest by the PF. It is absurd. People have lost jobs in the medical circles on account of ethnicity.


Mr Speaker, if we survive this Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which we hear is now at our doorstep, and the United Party for National Development (UPND) forms Government, we shall not lament about medical evacuations. Look at the situation as it stands today. There has been a total lockdown in most countries. There are no air ambulances flying back and forth to get people treated. How are we surviving? It is by the power of he who makes the sunlight turn into dark and the dark into sunlight. The giver of life determines how long one survives. However, we should not sit and just depend on the giver of life. We must bring everything here in Zambia, even if it means that we bring the expertise here. For instance, I know that there are good specialists in India. We are better off bringing ten or fifteen specialists with their technology to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) where they can conduct operations on people who find themselves ailing.


So, it is totally unwarranted that we should continue with the business as usual approach because the truth of the matter is that out of the 17 million Zambians, some do not even know that there is a board at the Ministry of Health which determines when one requires evacuation. They do not know, but enjoy the same rights of citizenship as those who do. So, should it be the preserve of just those who are connected? The answer is no.


Clearly, what we know now, after being hit by COVID-19 is that we only have a limited number of ventilators because of Government inertia. There is too much theft and corruption in the Government. All the money that is being pilfered by the Patriotic Front (PF) would have gone to improving medical services so that there is nothing like evacuating only the chosen few, who are the lucky and anointed ones.


Sir, I have said this before and I will say it again: When a Government fails, the people must take it out.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Mr Speaker, the last nine years of the PF Government has seen more progress in the health sector than the twenty-seven years of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) in Government and the more than twenty years of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) in Government, where the hon. Chairperson of the Committee was privileged to be hon. Deputy Minister.


Mr Speaker, health system strengthening has been the agenda in pursuit of universal health coverage and this has been modelled on nine fundamental pillars. One is service delivery for all, health for all and universal health coverage, which means health for everyone and everywhere. We have been systematic as we have been pursuing this agenda. We have looked at human capital for health and targeted to recruit 30,000 health workers between 2017 and 2021. So, far, we have recruited 25,000 personnel. That is not a mean feat which had never been seen in previous Governments.


Mr Speaker, when we talk of expanding infrastructure for health, we have built fifty hospitals just in a few years. These hospitals are spread countrywide. We have a new hospital in Nalolo which was beamed on television two days ago. We have a new hospital in Mulobezi, Kalomo and Kazungula.


Sir, we have new hospitals in Milenge, Mwense and Mansa. There are new hospitals countrywide. We have new hospitals in Mafinga and Muyombe. These are state-of-the-art hospitals. Again, this is part of the expansion of infrastructure in pursuit of universal health coverage.


Sir, when we talk of the supply chain for medicines countrywide, we have medical stores hubs.  We have now collapsed the distances our districts have to send their vehicles to collect medicines. Therefore, access to essential medicines has been eased and this is no mean feat.


 Mr Speaker, in ensuring that we reduce the cost of providing health services to our people, we have introduced an innovative way of financing the health sector by introducing the National Health Insurance Scheme. Before this programme was introduced, only 4 per cent of Zambians had access to any form of health insurance or had any health insurance cover. Today, as we speak, just a few months of the National Health Insurance Scheme being put in place, we have 30 per cent coverage and we know that we will reach 100 per cent within the next two years. Indeed, that is being firmly on track to attain universal health coverage.               


Mr Speaker, we have seen health security measures put in place. The Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) is part of the universal health coverage agenda. When we are talking about universal health coverage, we are talking about health for all. That is those who we can treat using the facilities that we have within the country and those who may require treatment outside the country.


Sir, treatment abroad has been a problem for many years. Before this Government, we saw Zambia send every patient that required dialysis outside the country. Before this Government, every patient that required open and closed heart surgery needed to go for treatment abroad. Before this Government, every Zambian who had a mass in the head or a neurosurgical problem needed to go abroad. Before this Government, every patient with a cancer needed to go abroad. Any conjoined twins had to be sent abroad before this Government. As we speak, we have progressed in modernising our facilities and, today, we have equipment in our hospitals that has reduced the need for treatment abroad.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about the progress. In neurosurgery, we have a team of expert neurosurgeons that do all the basic neurosurgical procedures in the country today and have reduced the cost of sending patients abroad. If that report was balanced, this should have been highlighted.


Mr Speaker, it is under this Government that the first renal transplant was done. If that report was balanced, this should have been highlighted. In the past, all renal transplants had to be done abroad, but today, our country is medical tourism site. There are neighbouring countries that send patients to Zambia for dialysis. If that report was not politically biased, this should have been highlighted.  Talk of open and closed heart surgery, we are able to place heart pacemakers within the country today. Many lives have been saved because we are able to do open and closed heart surgery.


Mr Speaker, we have some of the best trained cardiologists and cardiac surgeons in this country. If that report was not politically biased, this should have been highlighted.

Mr Speaker, the cancer treatment hospital that we have in this country is a centre of excellence in Africa. We attract students from all over Africa for training and provide health services at that cancer treatment centre. All this has reduced our cost for treatment abroad.


Mr Speaker, as regards human capital for health, I heard in the report that only 240 out of 500 required specialists have been trained. That is not the right context. It should have said that the legacy goal that this Government has set between 2017 and 2021 is to train 500 new specialists. When we formed Government, we had less than sixty specialists in the country. Now, we set a legacy goal to train 500 new specialists between 2017 and 2021. If in 2019 we had managed 240, the report should have said that there is significant progress and that the Government is firmly on track to attain this legacy goal that is the agenda of universal health coverage that this Government of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has embarked on.


Mr Speaker, while I agree with the Committee that we could do with more funding, it needs to acknowledge that the innovative measures that the Government has put in place to introduce health insurance which has brought in extra resources and that the progress we have seen in infrastructure, human capital and equipment has reduced the cost of doing business as we refer fewer patients outside the country.


Mr Speaker, for us in the health sector, in the PF Government, under His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, we will remain fixed on the legacy goal of universal health coverage and continue posting progress.


Mr Speaker, I thank the Committee for the work it did.


Mr Speaker, I thank you. 


 Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, I thank you and the hon. Members who contributed to this subject which is non-political and was devoid of any political bias or intonations as suggested by our former parliamentary candidate in the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD), in Mansa Central and –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, you have now also gone political.




Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, the Committee obviously has no issue with the momentous strides that have been made. The Committee basically brought out two points, namely transparency and of course, the ad hoc committee’s deficiencies, and also the manner in which the never ending questions are currently handled. Basically, the Committee hopes that our hon. Colleagues, particularly my hon. Colleague on your right, will take note of what is in the report, which I assume he must have read. The ultimate aim of the Committee, which is obvious, is to see an improved outcome for the health of our people.


Mr Speaker, once again, I thank everyone who has contributed to the debate. The fact that the debate of the report was seconded by a member of the Patriotic Front (PF) means that it could never be political.


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to.




Ms Chisangano (Gwembe): I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, on the Consideration of the Proposal to Ratify the Protocol for Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on 3rd July, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion Seconded?


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, pursuant to Article 63 of the Constitution of Zambia Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia, as amended by Act, 2016 and Section 5 of the Ratification of International Agreement Act, 2016, the National Assembly is vested with the powers to oversee the performance of the Executive functions, by among other things, approving international agreements and treats before they are acceded to or ratified. In this regard, the Committee was mandated to consider and make recommendation to the House on the Executive’s proposals to ratify the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation.


Mr Speaker, the protocol came into operation on 26th January, 1973. The objective of the protocol is to make additional provisions to the principal convention and the two shall be read as one. Zambia became a state party to the principal convention on 3rd March, 1987. However, to date, Zambia is not a state party to the protocol.


Mr Speaker, your Committee notes that there is no law in Zambia that specifically and adequately addresses the suppression of unlawful acts of violence, dangerous or damaging acts at airports serving international civil aviation and that the Penal Code, Cap 87 of the Laws of Zambia, the Civil Aviation Act, 2016 and the Anti-terrorism and Non-proliferation Act, 2018 only take into account acts of violence leading to injury or death, but do not cover the broader scope provided in the protocol.


Mr Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)



The House adjourned at 1655 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 15th July, 2020.