Tuesday, 6th October, 2020

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Tuesday, 6th October, 2020


House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]














Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to inform you that in accordance with the provisions of Article 80 of the Constitution of Zambia, Chapter 1 of the Laws of Zambia and Standing Order No. 135(11) of the National Assembly of Zambia Standing Orders, the Standing Orders Committee has made changes to the composition of the Committees as follows:




Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technologies (1)


Mr G. Chisanga, MP, has been appointed to fill a vacancy


Committee on Cabinet Affairs (1)


Mr K. Kampampi, MP, has been appointed to fill a vacancy.


I thank you.








The Minister of National Guidance and Religious Affairs (Rev. Sumaili): Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity to make a statement on the preparations for this year’s National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation which falls on Sunday, 18th October, 2020.


Mr Speaker, since the declaration of Zambia as a Christian Nation in 1991 by the late Republican President, Dr Fredrick Titus Jacob Chiluba, a number of steps have been taken to actualise the declaration by making Christianity the cornerstone of our Republic. Thus, the National Values and Principles enshrined in Part II, Article 8 of the Constitution of Zambia are in alignment with the Christian faith and they are the foundation of our national development.


Sir, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, reaffirmed this aspiration to see the transformation of the Republic as a Christian nation by, among other things, declaring 18th October a National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation according to Statutory Instrument No.78 of 2015, and Gazette Notice of 23rd October, 2015. Therefore, as a Christian nation that acknowledges the supremacy of God Almighty in all its affairs, the 18th Day of October is set apart to seek the face of God, give thanks, reflect, repent, and reconcile for continued peace, prosperity, and unity. Praying with fasting opens the heaven’s gate for God’s blessings to flood our nation.


Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House and the nation at large that preparations for this year’s commemoration are at an advanced stage at national, provincial and district levels. Some chiefdoms are also preparing for these prayers.


Mr Speaker, the theme for this year’s National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation is: “Zambia Seeks God’s Intervention for Sustained National Unity, Peace and Prosperity.” The theme is founded on the Word of God from Isaiah 43:2-3; John 3:2, 2 Chronicles 7:14. The scriptures on which the theme is anchored speak of the power of prayer with fasting and God’s will to heal and prosper the land. Nothing is impossible with God. All we need to do is humble ourselves and repent, then, God will hear us and heal the land.  


Mr Speaker, this year’s prayer and fasting convocation will take place at a time of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the resultant socio-economic challenges. It will also take place at a time when the country is preparing for the 2021 General Elections. It is, therefore, critical for us to pray earnestly and fervently for the recovery of our socio-economic systems and the sustenance of our peace and unity in the nation.


Mr Speaker, the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation is being organised by the clergy from various denominations working hand in hand with the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs, Provincial Administration offices and the Districts Commissioners’ (DCs) offices. The arrangements for this year’s commemorations will be different from the previous years. The event will be conducted under strict adherence to the public health guidelines given by the Ministry of Health. Attendance to this years’ commemoration will be by invitation only. Proceedings will be aired on both national television and radio including community radio stations.


Mr Speaker, since 18th October, 2020, is falling on a Sunday, we expect churches to observe this important day with its theme, and to pray accordingly. Our Zambian missions abroad are expected to observe this day and participate in praying with fasting.


Mr Speaker, the venue for the main national event in Lusaka will be the Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) and it will be graced by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. Her Honour the Vice-President, Mrs Inonge Mutukwa Wina (MP), will grace the commemoration that will be held in Chipata, Eastern Province. The Provincial Ministers will grace the commemoration events that will be held in their respective provinces. The DCs will be expected to grace the commemoration events that will be held at designated places in their respective districts. These inter-denominational gatherings in all provinces and districts will be held in their designated convenient places and the COVID-19 health guidelines will be strictly followed. The dress code will be formal, that is, a lounge suit, church uniforms, chitenge outfits, and outfits in Zambian colours.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to reiterate that a nation that trusts and exalts the Lord is blessed. Let us come together on 18th October, 2020, in unity regardless of our differences in our political affiliation and denomination. Let us seek the face of God in our diversity. Let me take this opportunity to encourage hon. Members of this august House to pray on this day with the people they represent. We are a spiritual people of hope and a nation of faith and we shall continue to face the future with confidence in the promises and faithfulness of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


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


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I agree that Zambia has been declared a Christian Nation. After that declaration, we expected the general populace, particularly the leadership of this country, to follow the Christian values. The hon. Minister’s Office has been so ‘loud’ in its silence on condemning the unChristian conduct of certain leaders in this country. Her office has noticed that there has been so much violence and hate speech in this country, but it has been quiet on this matter. What difference is the hon. Minister looking forward to seeing on the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation, when immediately after these prayers, we have seen mayhem where members of the public have been beaten up just because they belong to a certain political party, yet her office, which is supposed to bring peace, has been quite? What do you think will happen?


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, peace is supposed to be promoted by everybody. Zambia is a peaceful nation and all of us are supposed to conduct ourselves peacefully. The people of Zambia, in their wisdom, felt that they needed to be guided and that they needed something on which to anchor their day-to-day lives. That is why they came up with National Values and Principles. These national values are supposed to speak to how the Constitution is interpreted, to the way we enact laws, and to every Government programme and policy.


Sir, I would like to put it on record that the Ministry of National Guidance and Religious Affairs has been there to speak to issues concerning some of our political parties or members of certain political parties who conduct themselves in a way that is not promoting peace. We speak about those things. Moreover, we talk to constituencies like the Church, which is a very important part of our society. It has a voice concerning these issues and it speaks about them just like political parties also condemn certain issues. However, I am also aware that there are some leaders of political parties who never condemn violence. In fact, what they say is, “an eye for an eye,” which is very retrogressive. All of us are responsible for maintaining peace in our nation.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Just a reminder hon. Members. The hon. Minister has issued a statement. So, procedurally we should be asking questions clarifying that statement. If the statement is crystal clear, we move on. This is not a general debate on how well or otherwise we are doing in adhering to the values that we professed to believe in.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, may the hon. Minister tell us why the event of the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation is being shunned by many Zambians. Is it because they are the ones who perpetuate violence and arrest innocent people? As a result, people have now seen that what they are doing does not qualify to be among the principles of Christianity.


Mr Speaker: It looks like my counsel has not been heeded.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, I appreciate that Zambia is a Christian nation. However, there are some Zambian missions in countries which do not believe in Christianity. I have in mind, the Middle East. The people there do not believe in Christianity. I also have in mind, your very good friends in the People’s Republic of China. How will people in our missions abroad in such countries, where there are people who do not believe in what we believe in as Christians, conduct themselves on 18th October, 2020?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, I believe that our missions abroad are in the Zambian territory. I am sure that people can meet there and worship their God.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, before the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation was declared in this country, there was less violence in this country and even the corruption under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) regime was not as pronounced as it is this time around. Does the hon. Minister think that the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation has brought any meaningful behaviour in the people of Zambia? Do they now behave better than when we did not have the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, as I mentioned in my statement, there is power in prayer. Prayer changes things. In the past, we gathered to pray for certain issues. For instance, there was a time when we had a drought in Southern Africa and Zambians came together to pray for God’s intervention to open the heavens for the rains to come. We saw the hand of God upon the nation of Zambia and in the region. Zambia had a bumper harvest and we even supported our neighbours. We also had the issue of gassing in the nation. As people who believe in the power of God, again, we came together to pray, and we saw God’s hand against those who were involved in gassing. We are grateful for God’s intervention. However, we should not take for granted the way God has helped us, as a nation, during the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. People have been praying and they have committed this nation to God. We have seen that God is intervening for us during this pandemic. Further, we should not take for granted, the peace that we continue enjoying as a nation. We will continue to gather and pray so that God continues to grant us peace, prosperity and unity.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I have noted that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has made the whole world realise that it needs God more now than ever before, yet this country realised this a long time ago. What wisdom moved the President and the hon. Minister to come up with this day?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that very profound question. When Zambia was declared a Christian nation, it entered into a covenant with God Almighty. There is special grace upon the nation of Zambia and the leadership of this nation. God has promised us that He will guide us in the way this nation should be governed. I thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for being sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit, Who talked to him. Thereafter the President decided to come up with a day when the people of Zambia, who belong to God, would gather to thank their maker and bring their supplications before him. So, the wisdom came from God, and it is all because we have a President who is attuned to the Spirit of God.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Katuta (Chienge): Mr Speaker, in view of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, I heard that the commemoration of the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation will be held at Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC). However, MICC is not an open area. So, what measures is the Government going to take to protect those who will attend this event because they will be in an enclosed room and are likely to contract the disease?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, this Government is very serious in ensuring that people are protected from COVID-19. I mentioned in the statement that all prayer meetings on 18th October, 2020, will be held with strict adherence to the health regulations that we have been given. The gatherings will be by invitation so that the numbers are controlled. We will also air the prayers on television and radio, including community radio stations. Concerning Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC), we are working very closely with the Ministry of Health. Ministry of Health officials were at MICC to calculate how many people would be allowed to sit there. We are going to maintain social distancing and everybody will put on masks in that arena. We will also make sure that there is water for people to wash their and to sanitise them. This will happen wherever these meetings will be held.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I will take the last four questions from the hon. Member for Kabompo, the hon. Member for Mkushi North, the hon. Member for Chikankata and the last intervention will be from the hon. Member for Gwembe.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that ministerial statement on the ‘National Day of Mourning and Reconciliation’. Sorry, it is not mourning. It is supposed to be prayer. I confuse the two because Zambia is in a mourning state. So, that is why I am confusing the two.


Sir, reconciliation entails that, at least, two or more parties are brought together and that they sit down to iron out certain differences so that we move forward in harmony, peace and tranquility. As a ministry that advocates for this day, what efforts have been made to reconcile the two Party Presidents by the name of Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu and Mr Hakainde Hichilema because there have been cries that we should dialogue and reconcile?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, firstly, I just would like to cancel and nullify the spirit of death. There is no mourning in this nation and we are not going to mourn, in the Name of Jesus.


Sir, reconciliation should start with an individual. As individuals, we need to reconcile with our fellow man and God Almighty. Further, there are some families and communities as well as the nation and political parties that need the spirit of reconciliation. However, I want to say that the Patriotic Front (PF) and the United Party for National Development (UPND) are not the only political parties in this country. There are many political parties and what we should talk about is how to ensure that the leaders of various political parties work together. This has been our aspiration as a nation that when we talk of national unity and patriotism and we should also talk about our leaders working together harmoniously. However, when we make efforts to reconcile parties, we do not go on an anthill and announce that we are now trying to bring the President Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and the President of UPND together. So, many efforts have been made in the past, but I think that we also have to be genuine with that reconciliation. The people who are involved should themselves be willing to reconcile.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Mwape (Mkushi North): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that wonderful statement. The hon. Minister has indicated in her statement that the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation has been organised by men of God from different churches. This is the time we should pray for God’s peace to reign over the nation and for peaceful campaigns ahead of the 2021 General Elections. I believe this day must be inclusive and attract people from different political parties so that the peace we want should come from this togetherness. However, some political parties do not participate in this important event. What message does the hon. Minister have for those political parties that politicise this very important day?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, the issue of inclusiveness is paramount. We do not want anybody to be left behind as we pray. Therefore, we are praying for all Zambians so that God can touch this nation. For that reason, I encourage all of us to be partakers of this blessing because we believe in the power of God. We are a Christian nation.


Sir, there is a statement that a leader or political party leader makes when he/she does not want to pray or be with other people and pray. We are a Christian nation and we believe in the rulership of God Almighty over the nation of Zambia. So, I encourage all political parties to participate in this event. Invitations have been sent to all political parties and leaders and we pray that they will be in attendance.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, from the time the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power, we have seen an escalation of violence and disorderliness in this country. How often does the hon. Minister advise the Patriotic Front (PF) Government?


Ms Kasanda (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, it seems that the commemoration of the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation will be different this year in view of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic that we have in the country. What criterion is being used to invite those who will attend this event?


Rev. Sumaili: Mr Speaker, as I said, prayers are being organised by the clergy everywhere in the country but, of course, they are working closely with the ministry. The criterion being used is to obviously ensure that we invite leaders from various sectors or walks of life such as traditional and political leaders and senior clergy. As I said, 18th October will, this year, fall on a Sunday and, therefore, prayers will also take place in various churches and in chiefdoms because some chiefs have indicated that they will hold prayers. So, there will be prayers in those places and the process is very inclusive.


I thank you, Sir.






42. Mr Chali (Nchanga) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development:

  1. what the status of the liquidation process of Konkola Copper Mines was, as of July, 2020;
  2. whether there is any arbitration process between Vedanta Resources and ZCCM-IH going on in South Africa;
  3. if so, what effect, if any, the outcome of the arbitration will have on the liquidation process in the Zambian courts of law; and
  4. when the liquidation process is expected to be concluded.


The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, the Government will present a comprehensive statement over the liquidation of Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) at an appropriate time at the instance of the Hon. Mr Speaker’s authority.


Sir, for now, in August 2019, Vedanta Resources appealed against the High Court’s decision to dismiss the application to stay the winding up proceedings and refer the matter to arbitration. Consequently, the proceedings were stayed pending determination of the appeal. Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines – IH (ZCCM-IH) also appealed against the court’s decision to stay the proceedings. As at August 2020, the said appeal was heard and we await the decisions of the court of appeal.


Mr Speaker, indeed, the arbitration process between Vedanta Resources and ZCCM-IH commenced in July 2019, and it is still going on in the South African courts. The parties agreed on a sole arbitrator to hear and determine the proceedings.


Sir, the outcome is dependent on the court and, therefore, we are not able to indicate the effect, if any, before the courts make a decision.


Sir, as the liquidation process is a court-driven matter, only the court can determine when it will be concluded.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that the process of liquidating Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) has stalled as a result of the court process and the arbitration that is taking place in South Africa.


Sir, having taken note of the hon. Minister’s explanation, and knowing that liquidation entails that the liquidator, who has formally been appointed, is supposed to sell the company’s assets and pay off its debts as provided by the law, what is the current liquidator of KCM, Mr Milingo, doing there presently?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, as I have indicated, we will come with a comprehensive statement at the instance of the Hon. Mr Speaker. However, what the current liquidator is doing at KCM is consistent with the provisions of the law.


Sir, as you know, this liquidation is at the instance of a minority shareholder who expressed misgivings about how the large shareholder was running and managing the company. The operations at KCM are ongoing as we wait for the court processes to be expedited and concluded. The liquidator is managing KCM through paying off debt both to old and current suppliers and contractors. The operation is being sustained.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, there is human capital in the midst of these arbitration processes which is likely to be affected in the event that the decision works against the Government. What is the exit strategy that has been put in place to psyche the workers who are likely to be affected in the event that the court passes a decision which will not be in the Government’s favour?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, we started the liquidation process because we were confident that we have a solid case against Vedanta Resources. We are quite confident that following the rules of natural justice, the people of Zambia and the workers of Nchanga, Konkola, Nampundwe and Kitwe have a stronger case. In an event that this matter does not go in their favour, the Government of the Republic of Zambia reserves the right to appeal using the courts.


Sir, as you know, we are a Government of laws, and we will ensure that we fight this process anchored on the strength of the law. We are confident that we have a strong case that can succeed in a court of law.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) is one of the biggest mining companies in Zambia which is operating mines in different towns like Nampundwe, Kitwe, Chingola and Chililabombwe and employing thousands of people. The Government chose a method to deal with the problems at KCM that has protracted and, in the process, put so many people at risk because they do not know what is happening. The investment itself is also at risk because no one knows what the future holds. Could the Government not have chosen a better method that would have avoided all these complications and given hope to the people in the mining towns?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, as you know, issues of law have various interpretations and guidance from various platforms. That is why even accused people get to tell their side of the story from a legal mind.


Sir, in this instance, the option which the Zambian Government took at that particular time was considered to be the best. If Hon. Dr Musokotwane believes that there are other options, we can always look at them but, for now, this is in the best interest of the concerned parties.


Mr Speaker, I agree with Hon. Dr Musokotwane that we have been frustrated by the inertia and actions of the court processes. We hope that they will move quickly in the interest of the thousands of workers and the investment portfolio.

I thank you, Sir.

Mr Speaker: The last intervention is from the hon. Member for Kabompo.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, in the event that the Government wins this litigation, has it thought of someone it can partner with in order to run Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) or is the Government going to go into the business of running the mine?

Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, I would like thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Kabompo for that question and his positive stance. As the Government, together with the people of Zambia, we are optimistic that we will win this case. Once this case is quickly concluded, the Government will ensure that it deals with the issues relating to the welfare of the workers. His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia has guided that among the Government priorities is to ensure that it safeguards the welfare of the workers. Save for this process, the Government has a number of investors who have been lined up and are interested in partnering with the ZCCM-IH, to run and operate this mine. The Government is not in the business of running the mine. We would like to concentrate on policy direction and do politics while business entities engage in the running of the operation.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chali: Mr Speaker, we are very thankful to the President for allowing Vedanta Resources Limited to go. However, amongst the issues that led to the departure or the divorce with Vedanta Resources Limited is the failure to pay contractors and suppliers and a lack of providing corporate social responsibility to the community. Therefore, are the miners going to be paid their accrued benefits up to the time of liquidation? If yes, when are they going to be paid? Furthermore, has the debt portfolio reduced or it has gone up since the commencement of the liquidation process?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, the Bembas always say, uusendele umuchele eumfwa ukufina. This means that the person affected by the challenge is the one who understands the issues surrounding a matter better. Hon. Chali Chilombo understands that very well. He understands the challenges that the Government had with Vedanta Resources Limited in respect to Nchanga, Chililabombwe, Kitwe and Nampundwe.


Mr Speaker, I would like to emphasise and state very clearly that His Excellency the President has guided that one of the paramount issues that the Government has to deal with is the welfare of the people, the workers. The Government is determined to ensure that the workers’ benefits and conditions of service under which they served the previous agreement are paid before it can move to another platform. This is one of the critical issues that the Government has put among its negotiating tools for the new investor.


Mr Speaker, this can only be undertaken after the winding up order has been issued by the court of law. However, as regards the debts, which is one of the issues that led to this process, I would like to inform the House that the liquidator is committed to ensuring that all the historical debt is slowly being dismantled while ensuring that the debt that accrued from the time the liquidator took over are paid as and when it falls due.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, my question is on the morale of the workers. As you know, court cases can bring a lot of anxieties and stress. This case has been going on for some time now. How would you describe the morale of the workers before and after the liquidation pronouncement?


Mr Musukwa: Mr Speaker, indeed, court processes bring a lot of anxiety and this is the case at KCM. I would like to state that first and foremost, the workers have been elated and encouraged with the liquidation process because of the kind of situation they were in previously. It was a situation where operations in all the key mines virtually came to a standstill. However, with the liquidation process in place, the workers have seen a ray of hope in terms of ensuring that the operations are ongoing and sustained, with equipment and spares being made available.


Mr Speaker, on the other hand, the workers would like to see this process come to an end as soon as yesterday. That is why the Government is pushing, and with the easing up of the lockdown, we hope that these processes will move with speed so that the morale of workers is restored.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.










The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Speaker, the Government’s desire is to create a robust local construction sector. For this reason, I am moving this Bill in order to strengthen growth and sustainability for our local construction sector player.


Mr Speaker, my submission to this House is divided into three parts as follows:


  1. purpose of the Bill,
  2. background; and
  3. highlights on the following:


  1. the National Council for Construction;
  2. regulation of contractors and construction industry;
  3. procurement management system and interventions ; and
  4. complaints and appeals processes.



The Purpose of the Bill


Mr Speaker, the objects of the Bill are:


  1. to provide promotion, development and regulation of the construction industry so as to promote economic growth and competitiveness and create sustainable employment;
  2. continue the existence of the National Council for Construction and provide for its functions;
  3. enhance public procurement management system relating to procurement of construction works;
  4. promote gender equality and equity in the construction industry;
  5. affiliate professional bodies engaged in actives in the construction industry;
  6. continue with the existence of construction school and rename it as the national council for construction school;
  7. provide for a complaint and appeals procedure;
  8. repeal the National Council for Construction Act, 2003; and
  9. provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.


Mr Speaker, as the House may be aware, Zambia, under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, has experienced an unprecedented growth in the construction sector. The ambitious agenda of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to expand infrastructure across the country has been at the core of the desire to increase access to public services and facilitate economic activities and enhance the living standards of the people.


Mr Speaker, it has always been the desire of this Government to ensure that local participation in the construction sector is strengthened in order to build capacity in our local contractors, reduce foreign exchange flight from our country and build a sustainable construction industry.


Mr Speaker, the Government, through this Bill, aims to address the critical gap in the legal framework to support the implementation of the 20 per cent subcontracting policy directive issued by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


The National Council for Construction


Mr Speaker, the Bill has provided for continuation of the National Council for Construction. The Bill further provides for enhanced functions of the council in strengthening adherence to standards and monitoring thereof by all players in the industry. This is aimed at ensuring that our construction industry meets international standards of best practice and supports the Government in the attainment for value for money in all its infrastructure projects.


Regulation of Contractors and Construction Industry


Mr Speaker, the Bill has provided for the regulation of contractors with the aim of encouraging growth in the sector while adhering to standards and the international best practices.


Mr Speaker, the Bill aims to ensure that all contractors practicing in Zambia are duly registered by the National Council for Construction (NCC) and adequately classified in the different categories of international classification to support monitoring of the sector and intervention by the Government, targeted at different level of contractors.


Sir, the Bill provides for a prescribed renewal process that is transparent and is supportive of the growth of the industry. The Bill has provided for the registration of manufacturers and suppliers of construction materials because of the critical role they play in the growth and sustainability of the industry. The Bill further provides for the registration of all construction projects in order to support the assessment of the performance of the industry over time.


Procurement Systems and Interventions


Mr Speaker, the Bill has provided for strengthened procurement processes in line with the Government policy of subcontracting.


Complaints and Appeals


Mr Speaker, the Bill has also provided for a process of dealing with complaints and appeals that is transparent and in support of fair play and social justice in resolving matters and disputes in the industry.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


Mr Syakalima (Chirundu): Mr Speaker, allow me to express my gratitude for the opportunity to acquaint the House with the key issues deliberated on by the Committee during the scrutiny of the National Council for Construction Bill, 2020, referred to it by the House on Wednesday, 1st July, 2020.


Sir, in scrutinising the Bill, the Committee interacted with various stakeholders who gave both oral and written submissions. Notably, all the stakeholders who appeared before the Committee were in support of the Bill, albeit with some concerns. In view of this, the Committee makes the following observations and recommendations, among others.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is concerned that under Clause 7, a representative of a public university has been removed from the composition of the board of the council. The National Council for Construction Act No.13 of 2003, currently provides for a representative of a public university to sit on the board. The Committee is of the view that the removal of such a representative will deny public universities a voice in the council. This voice is necessary, given the critical role that institutions of higher learning play in research and development.


Mr Speaker, in the same breath, the Committee also observes that the Ministry of Local Government has been removed from the board despite the many construction projects that it supervises in all the 116 local authorities.


Mr Speaker, considering that Clause 55 of the Bill provides for the NCC to collaborate with other stakeholders in research and development, the Committee recommends that a representative of a public university which has a faculty related to construction should be included in the composition of the board of the council.


Sir, in the same vein, the Committee recommends that the Ministry of Local Government, being a critical stakeholder and partner of the NCC in many construction projects in districts, be retained on the board of the council.


Mr Speaker, under Clause 44, the Committee notes that the 20 per cent subcontracting of local contractors by foreign contractors, which has been a policy pronouncement for a long time, has proved difficult to implement, especially that it was not clearly provided for in the law. In this vein, the Committee recommends that the Act should explicitly state the 20 per cent as a minimum of the contract value to be subcontracted to local contractors. 


Mr Speaker, additionally, the Act should empower the hon. Minister to adjust the ratios based on the subcontractors’ capacity, and that the requirement to subcontract should not be limited to foreign contractors alone, but also be extended to local contractors who have the capacity to do so.


Mr Speaker, further, the Committee strongly recommends that to realise the intention of this Bill, the regulations as provided under Clause 63, should take into account the following:


  1. the main contractor to avail the biding documents to subcontractors so as to foster transparency and accountability. Further, the regulation should provide for a percentage of every interim payment to be allocated to the subcontractor; and
  2. the engagement of subcontractors should be by the procuring agents and not the main contractors as the practice is currently.


Mr Speaker, another matter of concern to the Committee is that whereas gender equity and equality has been outlined in the objects of the Bill, no specific provisions have been made in actualising the objects. The Committee, therefore, recommends that there should be gender inclusiveness when appointing members of the board of the council of the NCC.


Sir, in conclusion, the Committee is indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it for the necessary memoranda and briefs. Allow me also to thank you, Mr Speaker, and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and services rendered throughout the Committee’s deliberations.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to add very few words to the debate on this Motion.


Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Committee for a job well done. Indeed, for many years now, we have been crying about how our local contractors are mistreated by foreign contractors. The mandate of the National Council for Construction (NCC) is to promote and develop the construction industry in this country. However, we have seen that no local contractor has graduated due to a lack of capacity building from the school that we have at the NCC.


Sir, you would agree with me that in this technological era, even the ability to bid has a lot to do with one’s knowledge of the use of technology. However, our local contractors are unable to compete with foreign contractors because of their limited knowledge of the use of technology.


Mr Speaker, as regards registration fees, I must state that they are too exorbitant for beginners who wish to register with the NCC. So, I urge the hon. Minister to also consider revising registration fees and period for renewal. It is very difficult for local contractors to renew annually, bearing in mind that local contractors may stay for two to three years without a contract. This means that it is very difficult for them to have money and renew the registration on an annual basis. So, if this renewal could be done, probably, after every three years, it would be helpful for local contractors.


Mr Speaker, on joint ventures, countries like Botswana have made it mandatory for anyone who wants to tender for any contract in the country to partner with a local contractor. That is probably the first thing that must be done using this Bill which will be law in a few days. The law should state that whichever volume of work a foreign contractor may want to undertake must be in partnership with local contractors. The percentage that must go to the local Zambian contractor must be clearly spelt out in the contract. By so doing, we will retain the much-needed resources in this country rather than externalising them.


Mr Speaker, the other issue regards the Committee’s position on sub contracting. Indeed, I totally agree with the Committee that 20 per cent should be given to local contractors. Additionally, they should be availed bidding documents unlike a situation where someone chooses what to give them and, at the end of the day, give them a lot of work for less money.


Mr Speaker, I support the Bill and urge the hon. Minister to take into consideration, the Committee’s recommendations.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this rare opportunity to participate in the debate. I totally support the Bill because it is well-intended. I am also mindful of the fact that it will be supported by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority Act as regards the 20 per cent sub contracting.


Mr Speaker, there are two or three issues that I would like to mention. There is a need for us to pay critical attention to the payment of sub contractors. We have often left this to the whims of the main contractors. Many sub contractors have complained and they have gone for months without payment despite the main contractors having been paid by the Government. I hope that the introduction of this Bill will make this issue a thing of the past. 


Sir, while this is a good law, I still think there are some administrative issues that we must attend to, such as the selection method of sub contractors. In this country, I think we are all aware that there are a lot of good programmes, especially for youth empowerment which have yielded very little success because we have left out people in rural areas and concentrated on those in urban areas who have no interest whatsoever. So, if we go that same way in the selection method, we shall achieve nothing at the end of everything. The intention of having the 20 per cent sub contracting is for us to have skills transfer. This is why I believe that we should not be stagnant at 20 per cent for a long time. We must introduce this law with a view to having Zambians taking over.


Mr Speaker, our eyes should be on the ball, which is: to focus on how these foreign companies are helping the Zambian companies to take over. It is almost fifty-six years since Zambia’s Independence and it shall be sixty years very soon. Should we really depend on foreign companies? No. I think that the time has come for us to give ourselves a time frame within which we should be able to take over fully.


With these few words, I support the Bill.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for the opportunity to contribute briefly on the topic at hand. To start with, I definitely support the report that is before us. However, I would like to add one or two issues that might improve what we are talking about today.


Sir, the National Council for Construction (NCC) is an institution which is supposed to facilitate the participation of Zambian contractors in the construction industry. I am not only thinking about Zambian contractors who are based in Lusaka and the Copperbelt but also the small and medium-scale contractors in rural areas. At the moment, this category of contractors is having a challenge. To start with, contractors in this category have to travel all the way to urban areas in order to register with the NCC. This is despite the fact that registration fees are quite astronomical and not affordable to most of these people. I think we could do better than that. I would rather there was decentralisation of offices to the district level. If we cannot manage to decentralise to the district level, we could, at least, do it at provincial level. I insist that the most preferable level would be the district one. Rules and regulations are there to facilitate and ensure that there is participation, not exclusion.


Sir, the other item I would like to contribute on is the so-called 20 per cent sub contracts to local contractors. Yes, the 20 per cent must be the minimum. We have been at 20 per cent for too long. This has to be improved because the more the local participation we have in the economy, the better for the economy because we retain liquidity in the economy instead of repatriating it to other countries. So, I suggest that the 20 per cent be the minimum, but that it should be increased to 35 per cent, based on the type of firm that is bidding so that there is a bigger share of participation. The bigger the share of participation, the bigger the revenue that is due to the Small to medium sized businesses (SMS) contractors that might be available.


Mr Speaker, the other item I would to address is the mode of payment. Most small-scale entrepreneurs who are involved with international organisations get the short end of the stick in terms of payment. Usually, they might have finished the works, but it takes very long before they are paid. I suggest that the payment be made directly by the client. So, it should be divided. If it is 70 per cent that goes to the international company it should be paid to it. The claim by the SMS should be certified by the international organisation or the main contractor and should be claimable directly from the client.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three debates from the hon. Member for Liuwa, the hon. Member for Senga Hill and the last intervention will be from the hon. Member for Chifunabuli.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to start by saying that I also support the efforts of this Bill because they are necessary and timely. I just have two concerns which I wish to express.


Mr Speaker, the first one hinges on the point raised by Hon. Lufuma. We should take account of the fact that contractors are of different sizes and also operate from different places in Zambia. Most of us who have to deal with small-scale contractors, as we engage them through the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) process, see the amount of suffering that they go through. We really put them under pressure for things that they are not capable of doing. So, maybe, through a Statutory Instrument (SI), we could sit down and see how we could specifically make life easier for contractors at that level. Related to that, is what has been proposed in the Bill that contractors must renew their registration annually. It is a headache for people to register and renew licences on an annual basis. 


Mr Speaker, I have never understood why it must be compulsory that registration must take place every year because it is an unnecessary cost. Why is it not possible to have a slightly longer period of time, for example, two or three years or even what happens in some other countries where the registration remains valid except the holder of that registration commits an offence where the registration is reversed or cancelled? That way, we will make life much easier for our people.


Sir, on the issue of sub contracting, again, I think this makes sense because for every project, there must be local Zambian sub contractors. We notice that as a country, we have regressed. Most of the big projects that are going on in this country at the moment, such as buildings or roads, are being executed by foreigners. In the past, these were things that were done by Zambian companies which are run by Zambian engineers and managers.


Sir, what does that mean? Local capacities have gone backwards, from what it was in the 1970s and the 1980s, and this is a big pity. However, the way we are doing it now is a problem. Firstly, there are too many politics in the sub contracting aspect of construction. You hear of people who are well-connected who are being sub contracted. They only do that, not because they will carry out the work themselves, but sell the contract to the Chinese. They get the money, but obviously this does nothing to improve the capacity of the local Zambians for jobs like that.


Sir, I hope that this is something that can look into their prerequisite as to why many of these sub contractors are failing to deliver on their responsibilities. That is something that is genuine and sometimes, sub contractors are rejected by the main contractors because of incompetence. So, how do we tackle that? Are there training opportunities? Are there apprenticeships? These things should be done. Let us not just force people. If there is no proper training or preparation, of course, even I would refuse and say that I do not want this. So, please, take that into account.


I thank you, Sir.   


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I also would like to commend the Committee on this report. I wish to state that construction is a jugular vein of any nation or the economy. In most cases, whichever country you go to, the first thing that hits you is the infrastructure and this is as a result of construction. It makes you realise what kind of country it is. If you go to Japan, you will see imitation concrete.


Mr Speaker, when we are talking about construction, we are actually looking at a very big picture. The objects of the Bill are, firstly, to promote, develop and have a regulation so as to grow the economy, which is very good. I also would like to talk about the third object which talks about the public procurement management system, and that is where I want to base my discussion. My concern has been that, maybe, we have to strengthen the Act a bit more.


Sir, when a foreign contractor gets the job, he/she brings with him/her all the materials, including those materials which are manufactured in the country. I am talking about materials like cement, cables, steel that are found in the country. However, when you query, you are told that the contract provided for the contractor to bring these things with him, yet we have very good items that are made within.


Sir, I feel that this is a weakness in the country or the law which we must seriously address. We cannot continue like this because, at the moment, many contractors are foreigners. Most of our manufacturers in the country are not able to sell the products to these contractors because the contracts provide for them to bring these materials in the country. I feel that this must be addressed in this particular Bill that we are tackling this time.


Sir, the second concern I have is the small manufacturers that we have who construct items such as windows, door frames and all sorts of things on the streets. They are found in Kalingalinga, Misisi, and all compounds. To help them improve the quality of their products, I suggest that we find a way to have them registered. Many of us buy their products which are not qualified by the National Council for Construction (NCC) standard. I think it is dangerous, especially that these people construct up stair buildings.  I am not sure if what they are putting up is safe because they are using most of the items which are made by manufacturers who are not qualified by NCC standard. This has become very big business. So, we can no longer continue ignoring them. I think that the NCC must move in and have them registered and ensure that their products are of quality standard.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I have two quick interventions. The first one is on chairpersonship of the board and the second is on 20 per cent sub contracting policy.


Sir, I am aware that the process of identifying board members is a very long process because it requires a lot of consultation. The hon. Minister has to do due diligence so that he understands the members who will constitute that board. In so doing, he will actually understand the strengths and weaknesses of each and every potential candidate for board membership. This is where I have a different perspective from what has been suggested by the Committee where they would like the board Chairperson to be elected by fellow members. The justification is that there is a good governance practice.


Sir, I am wondering what would be a good governance practice; the long consultative process that the hon. Minister undergoes, or subjecting the members who may just know one another for one day to an election. Who would have done better due diligence? This is where I have a challenge. I believe the appointment of the chairperson by the hon. Minister is a noble thing to do as long as due diligence is done. Every Minister would want that chairperson to adhere to the overall policies of the ministry and also to be loyal to the governance system of the day. So that is a suggestion I want to give, but I have a different perspective. I believe that the hon. Minister can do a better job of appointing the board chairperson instead of leaving it to the members themselves because by the time they are electing the members to hold positions, they are not well-acquainted with one another.


Mr Speaker, secondly, it is the sub contracting policy which the Government has come up with. It is a good policy to give a threshold of a minimum of 20 per cent sub contracting as a way of capacity building the small contractors. I think we have challenges because the propensity by big contractors to make high profits is very high. That is why they are not transparent in assigning the 20 per works to small contractors. The big contractors do not even share the Bill of Quantity (BoQ) with the sub contractor. The reason is simple. They want the sub contractor not to make sufficient profit so that they are discouraged and then give away works so that the big contractors continue to do the work alone. This is very unfortunate because the objective is to try to build the capacity of those small contractors so that they also grow their businesses and capacity.


Mr Speaker, in this respect, I recommend that whilst we appreciate the enactment of such laws like the one we are considering today, the National Council for Construction (NCC) Bill, it is also important that we come up with a robust implementation plan which will ensure that we make a follow-up on the capacity building process that we engage in. We have to ensure that those deliverables of capacity building are met. So, that is the recommendation that I would like to give but, often times, you will find that we normally just focus on the Bill. The Bill is nothing in itself. The details are in the implementation plan. If you want to actually see the key deliverables at the end of the day, the implementation plan will reveal that. If you have a better follow-up plan, you would do a better job in that respect.


Mr Speaker, I urge the hon. Minister to ensure that the implementation plan for this Bill, which is going to be enacted, is expedited and that he should acquaint the stakeholders with it so that they are aware of how we can follow up on the capacity building of small contractors.


Mr Speaker, I support the Report of the Committee and I thank you.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to wind up debate on this very important matter.


Mr Speaker, we have had about six hon. Members debate this issue and the Chairperson of the Committee being the seventh one. I would like to thank them for the support they have rendered to this Bill. They have all agreed that this is a progressive Bill and that we require this Bill and that it will improve affairs in the construction industry. Hon. Members have raised a number of issues which have also been raised by the Committee.


Mr Speaker, I agree with a lot of issues that have been raised by the Committee. In fact, we wish to see how we can incorporate them in the Bill as we go along to the end of the process. I see that they have an issue on the 20 per cent sub contracting. That is the only issue that I think I have a disagreement with. The 20 per cent sub contracting threshold should be enacted in this Bill. Our wish is that the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development be given leeway to issue further regulations where he can stipulate what percentage should be implemented. Enacting the 20 per cent sub contracting in the Bill is sort of capping it. When it says minimum, it means that this in the Bill and next time one wants to make any changes or do something, one will have to go back to the Act and make amendments. For example, this Bill speaks to the Public Procurement Bill which is being enacted by the Ministry of Finance and if they were to make adjustments regarding percentages in procurement, it means we would have to go back to this Bill and adjust it as well. That is why we thought it wise that we embedded this in sub regulations which the hon. Minister can issue. We agree in principle that yes, there must be a threshold or minimum requirement that must be put across by the Government and in the law except that it should not be in the Act, but in further regulations that the hon. Minister can issue.


Mr Speaker, the Committee says that there should be consultation when bringing a Bill to Parliament, next time. I think the Committee is very loud on this in the Report. I want to say that every Bill that comes to Parliament from the Government has to meet a certain minimum requirement or standard of consultation. We did follow that except that, of course, when the Bill is going through Parliament, you get many more people involved than at the initial stage. However, we tried our best to consult a number of stakeholders.


Mr Speaker, we agree with a lot of things that have been raised by the Committee and intend to move some amendments to make sure that they are incorporated in the Bill. We thank all the hon. Members that debated and supported the Committee’s Report and the Bill.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Question put and agreed to and the Bill was read a second time.


Committed to a committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Tuesday, 20th October, 2020.




The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time. The objectives of the Bill are to:


  1. revise the law relating to procurement so as to enhance transparency, efficiency, effectiveness, economy, value for money, competition and accountability in public procurement;
  2. regulate and control practices relating to public procurement in order to promote the integrity of, fairness and public confidence in, the procurement process;
  3. promote the participation of citizens in public procurement;
  4. continue the existence of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority;
  5. repeal and replace the Public Procurement Act, 2008; and
  6. provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.


Mr Speaker, public procurement in the public sector accounts for a significant portion of the nation’s economy. This includes procurement of goods, works and services. It is, therefore, imperative that value for money is attained and wastage of scarce public resources through, among others, sub standard work and over pricing that have been observed as weaknesses in the current Act are curbed. As a result of these inherent weaknesses, the current Public Procurement Act has been proposed and The Public Procurement Bill further intends to harmonise conflicts with other Acts.


Mr Speaker, the key features of this Bill include the following:


Introduction of Price Benchmarking On Standard Market Prices (Section 12)


Mr Speaker, the Bill under Section 12 introduces price benchmarking which aims at ensuring that prices paid by the Government are market based and achieve the principle of value for money. It is evident that prices that Government Departments and agencies are charged for various goods and services vary and are normally much higher than what would be charged to private entities. Price benchmarking will, therefore, be introduced and attained through the Zambia Public Procurement Agency (ZPPA) producing a Quarterly Market Price Index that procuring entities will be required to adhere to.


Sir, in instances where items to be procured are not covered in the Quarterly Market Price Index, a procuring entity will be required to undertake a price reasonableness analysis as prescribed in the regulations to be developed.


Restrictions to office holders (Section 15)


Mr Speaker, the Bill under Section 15 has restricted the participation in the procurement process for officer holders and their relatives. This will avoid conflict of interest on the part of officer holders that may lead to mispricing or tender manipulation, if allowed.


Mandatory Use of Information and Communication Technologies (Section 16)


Sir, this feature of the Bill is intended to make the use of Electronic Government Procurement System mandatory for all procurement entities when engaging bidders or suppliers in the acquisition of goods, works, consulting and non-consulting services. This measure will increase transparency and reduce the time taken in the bidding process. The Bill provides for a transition period of three years for those procuring entities that will be assessed not to be ready to use the Electronic Government Procurement System


National Competitive Bidding (Section 39) – Zambia Centric Provisions


Sir, the Bill under Section 39(2) provides for national competitive bidding gives priority to Zambian citizens. It is also intended to encourage Zambian bidders to bid in partnership with other Zambians where individually they may have insufficient skills or capacity to successfully bid for a given tender. Where a partnership of Zambians is still in need of additional capacity for which a foreign entity may be required, the Zambian partnership will subcontract the foreigner. This will be to bring an end to the unnecessary sub contracting by Zambians by foreigners.


Mr Speaker, in other words, we want a system where Zambians sub contract foreigners rather than the current practice where foreigners sub contract Zambians even when it is not necessary.


Prohibition of Fronting or Assigning of Contracts


Sir, the Bill prohibits a supplier from fronting on behalf of another. Further, it prohibits one whom a contract has been awarded to, to assign the contract to a third party as has been the case in the past. A supplier who contravenes this section commits an offence and is liable to a fine or prosecution.


Curbing Huge Variations in Contracts


Mr Speaker, the Bill proposes to prohibit any amendments or variations to contracts beyond 25 per cent of the original contract price. Variations beyond 25 per cent of the original contract price will require a new tender to be undertaken. This provision is intended to prevent abuse of the tender process through underbidding to win tenders followed by price escalations and contract variations that result in the abuse of public resources.


Mandatory Sub-contracting Policy for International Bidders


Sir, the Bill under Section 93, makes it mandatory for procuring entities that embark on international bidding to sub contract citizens. The provision will require that a foreign bidder or supplier should, by law, sub contract a percentage of the total value of the procurement in accordance with the prescribed threshold to citizens, bidders and suppliers. The percentage threshold to be sub contracted will be prescribed in the regulations.


Enhanced Sanctions for Breach of the Public Procurement Act


Mr Speaker, the Bill has introduced sanctions for offences to safeguard public resources. These offences include the certification of substandard goods or works, certifying incomplete works and certifying a non-existing supplier or whose quality is below the specifications contained in the contract. Other offences include conspiracy to raise prices, gaining advantage by using one’s position and tempering with the bid, including any document or items submitted in the bid.


Sir, in conclusion, this Bill is long overdue. I call upon the House to support the Bill as it will start the process of recreating wealth among our people by empowering local citizens in public procurement and building capacity among citizens in undertaking huge public works. The Bill also aims at strengthening the existing regulatory and enforcement mechanisms required to promote transparency, accountability and efficiency in our public procurement system. It will be a deterrent to procurement fraud and will save the Government of the much-needed resources for interventions in important areas such as education and health.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to report to this august House on matters pertaining to the Public Procurement Bill No. 8 of 2020, which was referred to the Public Accounts Committee for scrutiny on 16th September, 2020.


Sir, in scrutinising the Bill, the Committee consulted various stakeholders, including professional bodies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). All the stakeholders consulted are in support of the Bill, despite raising some concerns which are highlighted in the Committee’s report. Just like the stakeholders, the Committee supports the Bill and in doing so, it has made some observations and recommendations in its report. I trust that hon. Members will find the report useful as they debate the Bill.


Mr Speaker, before I highlight the Committee’s recommendations, allow me to upprise the House on the notable progressive provisions in the Bill. The Bill introduces procurement pricing and makes it mandatory for procurement entities to procure standard goods, services and works in accordance with the quarterly market price index, which shall be issued by the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA). This is very progressive and commendable. It is hoped that this provision will stop the tendency to inflate prices in public procurements and will prevent procurement entities from procuring goods and services at exorbitant prices. Further, this will ensure that the Government obtains value for money in public procurement.


Sir, enforcing the Government’s policy on the sub contracting requirement for foreign bidders has been a challenge for the Government. However, this Bill provides for foreign bidders and suppliers to sub contract a percentage of the total value of procurement exceeding thresholds to be prescribed in the regulations. This is also progressive and commendable.


Mr Speaker, let me now turn to the Committee’s observations and recommendations on the Bill.


Sir, the Bill under Clause 6(1) designates the ZPPA as an independent regulatory body in public procurement However, the Committee is concerned that the Bill does not address the administrative gap that results from the lack of a specific office to superintend over heads of procurement in the procurement entities. The Committee recommends that the Bill should provide for a specific office to be called the Office of the Procurement-General. This should be at the level of Permanent Secretary and he/she should oversee public procurement.


Mr Speaker, Clause 7(2) provides that the hon. Minister shall appoint the Chairperson and the Vice-Chairperson of the Board of the ZPPA from among the members of the board. The Committee does not agree with the provision. It recommends that board members should be given latitude to elect the Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson to ensure that the board operates without any political interference from the hon. Minister or perceptions thereof.


Sir, one on the reasons for engaging in direct bidding, as provided for under Clause 46, is the existence of an emergency. This provision is progressive. However, the Bill does not define what constitutes an emergency. The Committee contends that if the word ‘emergency’ is left undefined, the provision could potentially be abused by procuring entities. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the word ‘emergency’ be clearly defined.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I wish to pay tribute to all the witnesses who interacted with the Committee. I further wish to thank you for according the Committee an opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. I also commend the members of the Committee for their dedication to the work of the Committee. The Committee also appreciates the services rendered by the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to speak on this very important Bill.


Sir, first and foremost, this is a progressive Bill in the sense that it will cut out the fly by night companies. Fly by night companies are companies that bid for work below the standard price, then when they get the contract, they inflate the price in order to stay in the bidding process. They enforce what we call an escalation clause, and pegging the escalation clause above 25 per cent is illegal. Therefore, this Bill will cure lacunas that existed in the past, where people used to have no idea what they were bidding for. They would use other people’s documents or they would have documents needed for the bid, but would not have the ability to execute a contract, yet they will have continued enjoying being contractors or suppliers.


Mr Speaker, in the past, the Government lost so much money in cases where somebody would bid for works and then decide to abandon them. So much time would have been lost by the time the procurement authority retendered the works. Works were supposed to be done before the rains started, but by the time the procurement authority would discover that a contractor failed to do the works, the rains would have started. Who would have lost? It is the Government and the people of Zambia. We are the ones who would lose time on projects that would not be executed. Therefore, I thank the Committee and the hon. Minister of Finance for coming up with measures to ensure that proper Zambians participate in the procurement process. In the past, Zambians bid for contracts, but contracts would be given to foreign companies. As a result of this, the lives of our people have remained stagnant. They have not progressed and we are not helping them. We are not practicing nepotism. We are being negative by not looking at the processes of giving contracts to Zambians.


Mr Speaker, Zambians need to be empowered. Certain countries have deliberately outlined certain things that should be done by their local companies. Why can we not do the same? I can see that we are moving in that direction. When we move in that direction, we will stop working for people. It is very disheartening that we always want to be employed instead of being employers. This Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu can be assisted by honest people who want to do the job diligently instead of people who are masquerading as contractors or suppliers when they do not have the ability to deliver. That is how we will stop corruption. Some people have invoices which we call balloon invoices. When they have not even supplied goods to the Government, they want to claim payment because they believe that it has a bottomless pit of money.


Sir, in conclusion, I thank the Committee for doing a commendable job that will empower Zambians. In other countries, there is what they call citizen-empowered projects. So, there are certain jobs we should not allow foreigners to do. However, I am elated to debate this powerful Bill.


Mr Speaker, procurement is a complex profession, and I am glad to hear that there will be a procurement officer whose position will be at the level of a Permanent Secretary. Therefore, he/she will make decisions based on his/her power and understanding.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this very rare opportunity to add the voice of the people of Kamfinsa on the debate on this very important Bill.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance stated that the Act that this Bill seeks to repeal amounts to more than or close to 70 per cent on expending Government revenue. Therefore, we have taken with both hands the opportunity to come up with a new law that will address some of the shortcomings that have been experienced regarding the Act that we are trying to repeal, which is the Public Procurement Act No.12 of 2008.


Mr Speaker, I thank the ministry and the Committee for all the efforts they have made in coming up with the provisions that are going to improve, among other things, value for money. Whether we talk about anything else or not, value for money is embedded in the price. For as long as the law that we come up with does not make procurement entities procure goods and services at the right price, we are going to miss getting goods, services and works which correspond with the money that we spend on them.


Sir, having spoken about value for money, I would like to raise a few concerns, especially regarding Part III of the Bill, which is on general principles of public procurement. I commend the hon. Minister for coming up with the concept of price reasonableness and introducing price indexing in the procurement system and I quickly want to say that I strongly feel that price indexing will work very well when procuring goods. However, when it comes to the procurement of works and services, this might pose a challenge because of the complex nature of how prices of works and services are arrived at. In this regard, I appeal to the hon. Minister to take a second look and see how we can polish the price indexing system regarding the procurement of works and services.


Mr Speaker, I would like to see a situation where the Public Procurement Bill should work hand in hand with the National Council for Construction Bill, especially that 20 per cent procurement is reserved for local contractors. For as long as we do not have a provision in our Constitution, especially in the Public Procurement Bill, that protects a local contractor regarding the 20 per cent procurement, the major contractors will keep getting away with it.


Mr Speaker, last but not least, we would have liked to see a situation whereby private procuring in this country is also captured in the regulations. We are talking about a multi-million dollar business that goes without any regulations at all and that is why I am saying that I would have liked to see private procurement captured in the procurement regulations in the country.


Mr Speaker, with these few words, I support the Bill.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, to start with, let me recognise that this Bill is progressive. The idea is good. However, I also would like to say that this is work in progress. I say so because obviously, there is some more thinking that is still required on this Bill. It can go through now, but I think some of the issues that I am mentioning now will, pretty soon, become obvious and that is why I am saying this is work in progress.


Sir, for example, the Bill proposes that there will be price indices to guide on how prices will be structured. The question now is: Who is going to produce those indices? I hear the hon. Minister saying that it is the procuring agency. However, my argument with that is that it is the same procuring agencies that have led to certain prices being distorted in the Government. For instance, we can talk about the price structures in the road sector. We know that the procuring agencies are part of the procurement process. They have allowed the price structure in the road sector in this country to be distorted. It is actually out of line with the rest of the price structures in the region.


Therefore, Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister says that the procuring agencies are the ones that are going to be collecting or compiling the price indices, does he not see the danger with the fact that the same thing that happened in the past will repeat itself? The price structures will just be sugarcoated with all sorts of nice-looking data but, in actual fact, the agencies will still be facilitating for the Government to be overcharged.


So, I would say that we should think very carefully about who is going to produce the price indices. Personally, I would be very hesitant to take it to the same place because the result is obvious in terms of what is going to happen.


Sir, the second issue that I want to tackle is, again, meant to emphasise my point that this Bill is work in progress. It is being proposed that price escalation will not be permitted beyond 25 per cent of the original price. For the hon. Minister’s information, the success or failure of this proposal will depend on him as the hon. Minister of Finance now. This is because if inflation rises, as the situation is now, obviously, it will mean that this 25 per cent rise in prices may not happen within a quarter of the year, as he envisages, but may be in a month. So, what is he going to do under those circumstances? In theory, it sounds good, but it all depends on how the Government is going to maintain price stability through the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Zambia (BoZ). If price stability is not maintained, I am afraid this will end up being an academic exercise.


Mr Speaker, my last point is on the provision that sub contracting must be mandatory. So basically, what this Bill is saying is that any foreigner who is bidding for a certain sum must be in partnership with a Zambian. It sounds good, but remember that this may also lead to a situation where the Government pays higher prices because you are now loading the contract with foreign investors and Zambians. This will cause a rise in bureaucracy and an increased number of claimants to profit, thereby, increasing prices.


Sir, it is up to us, as Zambians, to see how much we can tolerate paying more because we are involved.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two interventions, starting with the hon. Member for Serenje and I will end with the hon. Member for Wusakile.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing the people of Serenje to debate this particular Motion. My heart is with the people of Serenje who have had the roof of their market blown off this afternoon due to heavy rainfall.


Sir, the Bill before this House is quite progressive. I hope that it is going to seal some loopholes, especially where corrupt practices have been rampant. The Government has been losing colossal sums of money because of corruption in this particular field and the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) has not been able to address this issue adequately.


Mr Speaker, Zambian contractors have also been a source of concern. They have actually been letting us down. The Government’s intention is good in that it wants these people to participate in the construction industry and the procurement of goods and services. However, our Zambian contractors have been selling contracts to foreign nationals instead of working together with them. This has been a source of worry.


Sir, with regard to the reduction in the time and cost of doing business for both suppliers and procuring entities, it is envisaged that the time spent executing public works should be reduced to lower the cost of doing business for both suppliers and procurement entities. Contracts that run for many years cause the Government to spend a lot of money. At the end of the day, the costs will continue escalating due to pressure on the Kwacha, which is exacerbated by the powerful dollar which has continued to gain. This has put us at a disadvantage and most contracts have remained on ice due to insufficient funds. We hope this issue will be addressed seriously.


Sir, on the use of electronic Government procurement platform, if we use the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) system, the issue of looking at the face of the contractor and how much he has will be a thing of the past. Let the systems gauge the best bidder rather than what has been happening in the conventional system where you look at the appearance of the people who are submitting bids.


Mr Speaker, the Bill should have included the establishment of an independent body to serve as an appeals board for complaints coming from bidders. This would allow for appeals from the people who are lodging complaints to the ZPPA and allow for them to be heard if they feel disadvantaged.


Sir, the other issue that public procurement faces is the challenge of poor record keeping at the ZPPA. If we can enhance record keeping, these issues and complaints of loss of documents and so on will be a thing of the past.


Mr Speaker, further, despite the recent reform agenda, the Government procurement system is often very bureaucratic. Approval or review of bids takes very long that by the time it is done, prices of goods and services would have escalated. Therefore, it is better that the time within which contracts are offered is reduced. Sometimes, the Government publishes a job, but it takes a year before it can offer a contract. This is long after the bidder had lodged in his/her bid. So, you can see that the escalating cost of procuring goods and services disadvantages the bidder and, at the end of the day, he/she will not get the value for money.


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Kalobo (Wusakile): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity that you have given to the people of Wusakile to comment on the Public Procurement Bill, 2020.  


Mr Speaker, if I was to grade it, I would say that it is very good. However, the good people of Wusakile want it to be excellent. For it to be excellent, I am going to comment on the following:


  1. the sub contracting issue;
  2. the Procurement-General;
  3. stores;
  4. Appeals Board ; and
  5. capacity building.


Mr Speaker, in brief, the hon. Minister ably explained the issue of sub contracting. However, what the good people of Wusakile are demanding or asking for is that the 20 per cent threshold or whatever threshold that the Government is looking for should be clearly outlined in the Act.


Mr Speaker, on the Procurement-General, in the Private Member’s Motion which was moved, there was a proposal that the Act should create the position of Procurement-General. I have not heard the hon. Minister talking about this issue. We want a person who is going to be accountable. We saw what happened over the issue of fire tenders. Nobody was accountable and there was no one to respond to issues that were raised. I will not belabour the point, but I want the hon. Minister to take that issue into account.


Mr Speaker, the good people of Wusakile propose that stores be merged with procurement. International best practices of procurement dictate that stores and procurement go together. The Government plays a dual role in the economy. Firstly, it plays the role of entrepreneur manager and, secondly, conflict manager. There are a lot of conflicts that will be resolved when stores sits in procurement.


Mr Speaker, people in finance are not experts in stores. Among conflicts that the Government will resolve when stores sit in procurement is career progression. As things stand, if one is employed in stores, it means that he/she is under finance. This spells the end of that individual because his/her career will never progress. However, when he/she sits under procurement, the person can be elevated to the position of head of procurement or any other position higher than just a storekeeper.


Mr Speaker, another conflict that the Government may resolve is the conflict in the regulation of the professions. A member of staff in stores is regulated by the Zambia Institute of Purchase and Supply (ZIPS), but our colleagues in finance are regulated by the Zambia Institute of Certified Accounts (ZICA). So, there will be clarity in that role. Again, in the Auditor-General’s Report, we have always had very bad reports on stores. This is because finance has a hand on stores. People in finance are not experts in stores. They only have some know-how and that is why there are always bad reports on stores in the Auditor-General’s Report. 


Mr Speaker, as regards the Appeals Board, I have gone through the Bill and seen that there is an attempt to remove it. The status quo is that when one is not happy with the way a contract is awarded, he/she can complain to the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA). If one is not happy with the decision of the ZPPA, the Appeals Board can review the decision of the ZPPA. From the ZPPA, we have arbitration and, after that, litigation.


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I would like to first thank the Committee for its very decisive observations and comments. I also thank each and every hon. Member of this House who has debated this submission to the House.


Mr Speaker, perhaps, what I need to say here is that there was a deliberate attempt to make this Bill transformative and Zambian-centric. It is deliberately meant to be Zambian-centric. In the process of making it Zambian-centric, it means that we can now begin to build capacity among our own people to carry out works for us. We cannot be a people who forever rely on others to build roads, bridges and everything for them.


Mr Speaker, this is an opportunity for us to build capacity, and we think that one of the things that will help is to get Zambians to begin to work together. If, for instance, I have skills in a particular field and my friend has another skill in another area, we can come together and strengthen our pool of skills to be able to tender for a job. However, if our combined skills are still inadequate, we should always be free to sub contract foreigners. That is the basic intention in the Bill. A number of issues that have been mentioned will be subject to regulation because we cannot put each and every aspect into this Bill. So, there will be a lot of regulation to support the major areas that are in the Bill.


Sir, let me just say something about the issue of price escalation, which I think is extremely important and through which we, as a Government, have lost a lot of money. When tendering, people go for the lowest price and once they have won the tender, they begin to gradually ask for escalations and changes in the price. That is something that we want to stop and if we manage, it will give us the reprieve that we need.


Mr Speaker, the other very important aspect of this is the price reasonableness concept. What we have noticed is that prices for the same job done in different parts of the country end up being priced very differently. A school of the same size built in the Northern Province will probably cost three times more than a school built in Luapula Province. There is absolutely no reason for that disparity. So, there will be an independent body that will be tasked with the job of determining the movement in prices and also getting a fair view of what the pricing is in the market and compiling data from time to time which can then be used to help us determine whether a particular job is out of range with the normal pricing or it is still within the range.


Mr Speaker, we will pay attention to the queries and comments that have been made by various speakers and will try to address them as we polish up the Bill.


I thank you, Sir.


Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.


Committed to a committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Tuesday, 13th October, 2020.




The Food and Nutrition Bill, 2020


Report adopted.


Third Reading on Wednesday, 7th October, 2020.     








(Debate resumed)


Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving the people of Kaputa an opportunity to add a word on the debate on the 2021 Budget Motion that was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, to this House on 25th September, 2020. To start with, I wish to congratulate and pat the hon. Minister of Finance on the back for having presented a good Budget to this House at a time like this.


Sir, in this Budget, the hon. Minister and his team had considered even the many challenges and difficulties that we have had as a nation. During the past two to three years, we have undergone very unprecedented droughts. Last year, we had floods. In 2020, we have had the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, not only ravaging the lives of people in the entire globe but also the Zambian economy. In the midst of all this, the hon. Minister came up with a Budget which could stimulate the economic recovery, build resilience and also, safeguard the livelihoods of our people.


Mr Speaker, I will immediately get to appreciate the hon. Minister’s value that he has added, especially to the Budget on the agriculture sector. As we all know, the agriculture sector is a very important economic pillar and we all know that if we focus our attention on it, it will develop us and move this country to higher heights. The potential which the agriculture sector has is unprecedented. However, the figures that have been allocated, although they are below the 10 per cent that has been agreed upon on the international forum, they are good enough to ensure that we stand on our own if we all worked together. The figures allocated to the Fertiliser Input Support Programme (FISP) and the Food Reserve Agency (FRA) in the 2021 Budget do indicate that, again, the Zambian people must have hope that the 1 million farmers that the Government has continued to support will still be supported despite the challenges and difficulties that we are going through.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has also addressed the area of Social Cash Transfer Programme where we see the number of beneficiaries increasing from 700,000 to over 900,000. The programme will safeguard the livelihoods of our people who still remain very important despite the effects of the economy.


Mr Speaker: Order!


(Debate Adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1656 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 7th October, 2020.