Tuesday, 13th October, 2020

Printer Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, 13th October, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












46. Mr S. Tembo (Chadiza) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. how much money was spent on the construction of day secondary schools, under the World Bank-funded Zambia Education Enhancement Project, at the following places in Chadiza District as of December, 2019:


  1. Kalemba; and
  2. Chanida;


        b. when the funding for Phase II of the project at Chanida will be disbursed; and

        c. what the time frame for the completion of each project at (a) is.


The Minister of General Education (Dr Wanchinga): Mr Speaker, Kalemba and Chanida Day Secondary Schools are among the eighty-two low-cost day secondary schools which are being constructed by the Ministry of General Education with a loan facility from the World Bank.


Sir, the total cost of each of these schools was estimated at K3,500,000. The work content for each of these projects at each of these schools includes the construction of a 1x2 classroom block, one home economics and science block, one boys’ toilet block, a 1x3 classroom block, an administration block, a girls’ toilet block, two blocks of semi-detached teachers’ flats, furniture, a water reticulation system and water supply.


Mr Speaker, according to the project design, the construction and installation of water and power facilities was planned to commence in January, 2018, and end by December 2020. However, the works commenced in September 2018, and they were designed to be undertaken in two phases. The first phase involved the construction of a 1x2 classroom block, a home economics and science block, a boys’ toilet block, a science laboratory, and the supply of school furniture for the classrooms, as well as the drilling and equipping of a borehole. Phase II involved the construction of a 1x3 classroom block, an administration block, a girls’ toilet block, two blocks of semi-detached teachers’ flats, the supply of furniture for the three classrooms, the installation of a piped water supply system and power supply.


Sir, as of December, 2019, the total amount that was spent on Kalemba Day Secondary School to meet the targets that were outlined for Phase I was K818,400.75. At Chanida Day Secondary School, K880,213.42 was disbursed to meet the target set for Phase I. However, this did not include the supply of furniture. The funds for the school furniture were disbursed to the Zambia Education Project Implementation Unit, which is a special unit under the Ministry of General Education that was engaged to manufacture and deliver the furniture to the schools.


Mr Speaker, as regards the second part of the question, funds to each school project are disbursed through two main tranches. The first tranche of funding is for works from sub-structure level to gable level while the second tranche is for works from gable level to completion stage. Therefore, the first tranche of funding amounting to K993,561.49 was disbursed as part of Phase II for works at Chanida. This amount was disbursed on 26th June, 2020. The funds were meant to complete the construction of a 1 x 3 classroom block, and up to gable level for the rest of the Phase II targets.


Sir, this funding was in addition to the K50,000 which was sent earlier for the purpose of initiating the installation of the water reticulation system at the school. Since the question was targeting Chanida Day Secondary School, I would also like to mention that Kalemba Day Secondary School also received similar amounts, but it received its share much earlier than Chanida Day Secondary School on 30th December, 2019.


Mr Speaker, lastly, the project period was expected to last three years from January 2018 to December 2020. However, due to the late commencement of Phase I works, the two schools that the hon. Member asked about are expected to be fully completed with all the piped water and power supply systems in place by the end of March 2021.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, the people of Kabinga in Kanchibiya Constituency and Chiundaponde who are listening in truly appreciate this good effort by the Patriotic front (PF) Government in collaboration with its partners. Is the Government intending to implement Phase II of this project? The hon. Minister mentioned that eighty-two schools are being built so that no one is left behind, including the people of Kabinga whom I always talk about.


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, I am not sure whether by referring to Phase II of the project, the hon. Member means an extension of the project beyond the eighty-two schools or within the eighty-two schools. As I indicated, each of these eighty-two schools is being built under a phased approach. There is Phase I and Phase II. So, all of them will be implemented in two phases, but if by Phase II, the hon. Member means an extension of this project, yes the Government is negotiating with the World Bank for an extension. In fact, the World Bank has already agreed, but we are just waiting for the Government to agree to build an additional 120 secondary schools of a similar nature. It may interest the people of Kanchibiya to hear that the Government will extend this project to cater for other areas.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, our co-operating partners are working in many constituencies like Chadiza. In some places, some infrastructure is complete, but not in use. In a scenario where we have this problem of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), our children need space to operate from. Will the Government allow the pupils to use the infrastructure which is not fully complete in Chanida area as they wait for the completion of other projects?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, when His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, recently visited schools under construction in Luapula, he guided that schools that are 80 per cent complete should not be left to rot. So, the Ministry of General Education decided that all school infrastructure that is reasonably complete should be put to good use instead of keeping the pupils away and creating a possibility of deteriorating and vandalising infrastructure that has been built because of not being put to good use. Once it reaches reasonable levels, we will allow the schools to open so that the pupils can use this infrastructure, and we recently made this decision for a number of schools.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr S. Tembo: Mr Speaker, what mechanisms has the ministry put in place to make sure that funds are released on time after the contractor asks for those funds? I am asking because there has been a delay in releasing the funds. Therefore, what mechanisms has the ministry put in place for funds to be released as early as possible?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, during the implementation of these projects, there are two rate determining steps. Firstly, the pace at which funds are released from the ministry and, secondly, the pace at which funds are released once they are sent to the provinces. We use a labour-based approach where we send money to the provinces. When the contractors access this money, they employ local people to build the schools. So, we have recognised this problem. However, this was only a major issue in the initial stages of the project, like I said, in response to the initial question. When putting things in place, sometimes, there are delays. However, we have now recognised this and we are trying hard to ensure that there are no further delays in the disbursement of funds for projects.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, out of the eighty-two schools that are under the World Bank program, how many of those are still under Phase I, and how many are now in Phase II?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, that is a good question, but I will need to do a head count. The situation is that at the commencement of Phase I some schools received funding earlier than others while others lagged behind. However, I have visited the majority of schools around the country and nearly all of them are in Phase II. There could be some whose residual works under Phase I are just about to be finished off. So, I will need to do a head count to be able to determine the exact number of schools that are still carrying out residual works for Phase I before they fully enter into Phase II. Otherwise, the majority of them are in Phase II.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has rightly pointed out that there are over 500 secondary schools that are earmarked for completion. Further, he has said that the Government intends to build another 120 secondary schools to augment the existing ones that are incomplete. Taking into account the inflationary trends that we are experiencing at the moment, is there a strategic plan that would address these issues? I ask because the construction of some of these secondary schools commenced many years ago without being completed. How does the hon. Minister hope to address this issue?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member may wish to know that the Ministry of General Education has been constructing 115 secondary schools throughout the country using Government resources. Over half of these have been completed and we are still working hard to ensure that the others are also completed. However, these are at various stages of development. Some are at 90 per cent while others are at 80 per cent completion. There are also some that are 30 per cent or 40 per cent complete.


Sir, the schools upon which the initial question was anchored are being built using the World Bank facility. That is where we are building the eighty-two secondary schools. We also intend to use the same facility to build an additional 120 secondary schools. These are not affected by challenges of inflation because the funds are actually available.


Mr Speaker, we have realised that the labour based approach which we are following in building these schools is a very good model. If we had used this model before, we could have completed even the other 115 secondary schools a long time ago. This is because it is labour-based, cheap and the pattern of construction is very simple. That is why we call them low cost secondary schools. It is a very good learning curve for us in the construction of school infrastructure.


Mr Speaker, as regards how we handle the escalation of costs on the other 115 schools, some of which started being built a long time ago, we have made a decision to engage the contractors of these various schools to cancel the contracts. At whatever stage that school is, whether it is 20 per cent, 70 per cent or 80 per cent, or 90 per cent complete, we have made a decision to cancel those contracts so that there is no escalation of costs in terms of interest. That way, we can pay the contractors what we owe them. However, the rest of the completion of that infrastructure will be done by the ministry slowly without incurring additional costs and avoiding the escalation of interest.


Mr Speaker, we brought this to the attention of the hon. Minister of Finance and he was very happy with the decision we made of trying to put a ceiling on the escalation of costs through interest and other costs. That is how we are handling these issues of costs concerning the schools that we are building.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, since the Government is building –


Dr Banda: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Hon. Minister of Local Government, is this inadvertent or otherwise? It is showing a point of order, but it has disappeared.




Mr Speaker: May the hon. Member for Mongu Central, continue.


Dr Imakando: Mr Speaker, since the Government is building low cost schools, I would like to know how these low cost schools look compared to what you might wish to call high cost schools. Do the beneficiaries appreciate the way they look?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, when you compare the schools that we are calling low cost secondary schools to those that we have been building in the past, you will find that the standards are very comparable. Really, the most important issue here is that these other schools are being built more cheaply compared to the way we built the other school infrastructure, especially, in the use of big contractors with big overhead costs. That is where the money went. However, under this mode, we are engaging villagers directly. We are looking for skills in the villages. We are looking for carpenters, builders, electricians and plumbers from the locals. These are the ones we are engaging. We just send money to the headmaster, and that has turned out to be a very cheap approach to the building of schools. So, the standards are generally the same because we are using similar plans for the construction of this infrastructure.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, looking at how the Kwacha has depreciated against the US Dollar, building materials have become almost twice as expensive from 2018 to date. Will the total investment cost of the project remain the same?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, if the funding of the project was entirely in Kwacha, it would be a good source of worry in terms of price escalation of the building materials. The project is funded in dollars and this means that even when you factor in the dollar/Kwacha rate, it actually turns out to be cheaper in terms of the construction of these schools.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, clearly, it has been established that there is a derailment in making payments using the system whereby the head office has to fund the province, and the province has to send the subversions to the district. How difficult is it to get rid of this provincial route so that money can be moved directly from the national level to the district level where the school is located?


Sir, there is a school called Kasesa Secondary School in my constituency that is being built like the schools at Chanida that is under the World Bank-funded project. The involvement of the provincial accounting system is causing derailment and pain to the people who are implementing it, that is, those who are contracted by the committees. Is it possible to get rid of the province so that the money can go directly from the national to the district level where the school is?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, that is an interesting thought. I think the hon. Member is concerned about the routing of finances which, perhaps, could lead to delays in the implementation of the project. Yes, that is a good thought which we can study. I will engage my colleagues to see whether it is possible to bypass the provincial office and deal with the district directly in this situation that seems to be a big problem.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mrs Chinyama (Kafue): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just alluded to the good lessons that the Government has learnt from carrying out these constructions under what he termed as labour-based contracts. How different is this model from what used to be called construction under the community mode. This is the method that was used before the ministry started using the current system of construction using contractors that was employed for the 115 secondary schools that he talked about. I am trying to find out the difference, and at which point the ministry realised that it was much better to use the labour-based model, which has caused the ministry to depart from the community mode of construction and embark on the construction by contractors that has proved to be expensive and unsustainable.


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, actually, the mode which the hon. Member is referring to as a community mode is more or less the same as the one we are using because we are engaging the community. We have more or less the same structure and approach. So, it is basically an extension of the same community mode. The only difference here is that in the past, we associated the use of community mode with Government financing. We are using a major funding facility to build schools using the community and our co-operating partners have also found that this is a useful approach. So, the value addition here is that while we still use the same mode, we have extended the construction of these facilities, not only through the Government resources but also resources from our co-operating partners.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four interventions as follows: the hon. Member for Chimwemwe, the hon. Member for Senga Hill, the hon. Member for Kasempa and the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, around two years ago, the State media reported serious investigations at the Ministry of General Education headquarters involving a combined team of security agencies and relating to the misapplication of these World Bank loan funds. This is where even some senior accountants at the ministry were either demoted, transferred or dismissed. Are the funds allocated to the two schools in Chadiza not among those funds that were allegedly misapplied by the identified members of staff at the ministry headquarters?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the incident that the hon. Member is referring to, where directors and other senior members of staff at the ministry were found wanting concerning the use of funds happened before the commencement of the current projects that we are implementing. That incident happened in 2015, 2017 and just a little bit of 2018. The Zambia Education Enhancement Project (ZEEP) that we are talking about, which is also covering the schools the other hon. Member asked about, is being implemented by transferring funding. It has not been affected by the problems that the hon. Member referred to. We have put in place very stringent measures to ensure that we do not have a recurrence of the situation to which the hon. Member referred. We will ensure that before any funds are disbursed to a school, there is good accounting for the previous resources were disbursed to that particular district. So, the situation is now under control, and I assure the hon. Member that the ministry will not go back to those problems again.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, Senga Hill, like Chadiza, has benefitted from this project by the World Bank. I only have two simple questions for the hon. Minister. Since the money is available, when is the ministry expecting the schools that are earmarked for construction under Phase II of the project to be completed? I ask this to make sure that the people are made aware. How ready is the ministry to populate these schools with teachers?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the project that is taking place in Senga Hill is expected to be completed next year, together with other components. In my response to the initial question, I said that we had expected the construction of many of these schools, including those in Senga Hill, to be completed by the end of December 2020. However, we had a challenge with the release of funds in the first phase. Therefore, we had to extend the date for the completion of the construction of schools to 2021.


Sir, the issue of when we will be able to populate these schools with teachers is one which we are looking into seriously. Taking into consideration the schools that we are constructing and those that already exist, our headcount has indicated that we have a short fall of about 45,000 teachers.


Mr Speaker, the House may recall that the Ministry of Finance recently announced that the Government’s fiscal space will only allow recruitment of 4,000 personnel for the entire Civil Service. So, we have engaged our colleagues in the Public Service Management Division (PSMD) in the Ministry of Finance to see what portion of the 4,000 Civil Service recruits can be given to the Ministry of General Education so that we are able to recruit teachers. Once that facility is given to us, we will populate schools like those in Senga Hill that are being constructed.


Sir, there is a facility which we call “Teacher Interns” under this World Bank project that I am talking about. If it comes through, we should be able to recruit a good number of teachers. These will be deployed to populate schools like those that we are constructing in Senga Hill as well as some of the schools that are already existent.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has just spoken and given us hope that he is going to mop up all the outstanding school construction projects by the termination of the current contracts across the country, just like in Chadiza, in order to create room for progress.


Mr Speaker, the construction of the Kelongwamako Secondary School has been outstanding for a long time and its progress has been at a snail’s pace since 2013 or thereabouts. In the interest of prudent public finance management, has the ministry put in place a rolling plan with clear dates of when it will mop up, refinance  and complete this project so that the Government can demonstrate enhanced service delivery without leaving anyone behind, especially the people of Mako and Kelongwa? Is there a plan in place to ensure that these projects are completed within a year? 


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member’s question was really a mouthful, but I will try to understand what she was asking.


Mr Speaker, I said that one of the measures to prevent the escalation of the costs of constructing these schools is the decision to cancel contracts so that the Government can take over and complete them. I am referring to the 115 secondary schools and I assume she is also referring to the same.


Our plan is to ensure that our annual budget slowly liquidates outstanding Interim Certificates of Payment (ICP) for contractors who have completed various components of the schools that we are constructing.


Sir, we have been talking to the hon. Minister of Finance and he has welcomed this measure that we have taken. He has also indicated to us that the fiscal space allowing, he will give us specific amounts from time to time, which will go towards the liquidation of outstanding debts so that, eventually, we can liquidate all the debts that we are owing contractors, be it in Kasempa or elsewhere. I think that is my response to the hon. Member’s question.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister’s view to terminate contracts in order to allow the Government to complete the construction of schools such as those in Chadiza.


I would like the hon. Minister to clarify this. The ministry owes the contractor for Ikeleng’i Boarding School, that is situated in the constituency where I come from, about K52 million. The contractor is not even on site. Could this be one of those contracts that the hon. Minister hopes to terminate in order for the Government to get on site and complete the construction of the school that has been outstanding for a long time?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, since we are talking about a large number of schools, I cannot confirm whether or not the K52 million that the hon. Member referred to is, indeed, the amount involved. However, I will take his word for it. 


Sir, indeed, the idea, like I said, is that various contractors are owed different amounts of money. For some contracts, depending on the amount, interest has been escalating. We are determined to liquidate the debt, including the one existing at Ikeleng’i Boarding School. It may not be all at once, but I think that with the ceiling that we have put on further escalation of costs, especially in the form of interest, we should be able to solve all the problems that are outstanding concerning these schools.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will allow the hon. Member for Dundumwezi Constituency.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that there are about eighty-two secondary schools that are being constructed by the World Bank. How many of the eighty-two are boarding schools and how many are day schools?


 Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, are you able to provide an answer?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, I will not be able to provide an answer fully because I had just left the ministry after my first stint at the time that this project was being initiated. Before I left, we had agreed on the number of boarding and day schools, but those were revised. So, I will need to get back to the hon. Member to confirm the actual figures as they stand now.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Very well.








The following Bill was read a third time and passed:


The Banking and Financial Services (Amendment) Bill, 2020






(Debate resumed)


Mr Speaker: As I pointed out last Friday, our focus now will be on the Executive.


The Minister of Tourism and Arts (Mr Chitotela): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to add a word to the Motion on the debate on the wonderful Budget Speech and the proposal for 2021 as presented to Parliament by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker, when one has done a good thing, it becomes very difficult even for his/her critics to critique him/her. However, they will find a way of watering down the best of the intentions that this Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency President Lungu, has shown for the people of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, last week, some debaters argued that we have gone the way of economic rebooting instead of choosing the way of continuous restrictions on expenditure. I say so because there are a lot of stimulus packages that have been in the Budget. Speaking for the Ministry of Tourism and Arts, tour operators are calling it the 'Tourism Budget for 2021'.


Mr Speaker, no sector has ever been given so many incentives in the hope that it can recover from the effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). We want to thank His Excellency the President and the hon. Minister of Finance for listening to the cries of tour operators.


In addition, the provision of a stimulus package for artists has never happened before in Zambia. President Lungu is the first sitting President to think about artists in the informal sector and provide them with a K30 million stimulus package so that our people who are involved in the arts can also participate in economic activities.


Sir, I want to encourage the hon. Minister and assure him that he is on the right path to recovering the economy of Zambia from the effects of COVID-19. Further, I want to encourage His Excellency the President by telling him that he has done a good job.


Mr Speaker, I have been in Parliament for a long time. This is the tenth Budget I am witnessing. I have seen Budgets and heard debates. I have heard people that debate their last. In 2015, we used to sit on your left and our friends would say that we would come and start asking them questions the next year. We assured them that we would be on the right side of Mr Speaker in 2015. True to that word, we were on the right side. In 2016, we came back to the right side of the House. I want to encourage the hon. Minister and say that with this Budget presentation and proposal, come 2021, we will still be on the right side because the people of Zambia are looking for stimulus packages. The people of Zambia are looking for a Government that is listening to their cry.


Mr Speaker, it is the first time in the history of Zambia that we have a reduction in Corporate Tax in the tourism sector from 35 to 15 per cent. We need to applaud the hon. Minister for a job well done.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Chitotela: We need to thank the President for the package that has been given to tour operators and the people who want to engage in the business of safari viewing vehicles, luxury coaches and buses. An incentive of this nature was last given in 1992 by the late President, Dr Fredrick Titus Jacob Chiluba, when he realised and saw the need in the public sector. In 2021, we have seen the need in the tourism sector. That is why tour operators are calling the 2021 Budget a 'Tourism Budget'. They have been given the rebate to bring in safari viewing vehicles and luxury coaches without paying duty. Obviously, tour operators would not wish to risk changing a Government that is working for them.


Mr Speaker, with these few words, I want to commend the hon. Minister and His Excellency the President for a job well done. Zambians out there, including artists, have sent me to assure the President that come 2021, they will retain him so that he can continue giving them the incentives that they require.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Mr Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the debate on the Motion for the 2021 Budget proposal. I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister and my colleagues on your right for the Budget considering the type of year we have had in 2020. The Government and the people of Zambia are still standing strong to provide hope to our nation.


Mr Speaker, a budget is anchored on two variables, revenue generation and expenditure. These two variables are also anchored on the economic health and size of the nation. However, we know that economics is not an absolute science and that much of the health of the economy is anchored on perception, that is, the way the people of Zambia view themselves and how they think other people view them. That is why it is very important that we continue to provide positive energy and hope, not just to our people, but much more to a very important aspect of economic health, the perception that other people have about us.


Mr Speaker, considering that this country has gone through a lot of challenges in the last five years, the 2021 Budget is about resilience to many of us. We had copper prices collapse in 2014. We had the power crisis in 2015 and we saw a most extraordinary drought due to climate change in 2019/2020, which resulted in our having to feed 2 million people in the country. However, we are still able to provide hope for growth in the 2021 Budget. The Government has committed to supporting entrepreneurship and understanding that extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. The Government has responded by making sure that it supports entrepreneurship. The fruits of this entrepreneurship will be seen, especially with support in 2020 through incentives such as what my colleague, the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts, has just been referring to.


Mr Speaker, we are happy to see increased support to food security in the 2021 Budget. That is the basis for all economic growth in the country. Support to the agriculture sector, especially the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP), which is a social programme, is extremely critical for the country to maintain a healthy economy.


Mr Speaker, the 2021 Budget was presented at an appropriate time. Once again, we are saying that extraordinary times, call for extraordinary measures. I heard people debate that it is very important to have micro economists to make things work very well. However, I believe that the combination of the new Bank of Zambia Governor and the Ministry of Finance, will see us through the challenges because we have to do things differently in 2021 for our people to be able to benefit.


Mr Speaker, as far as communication is concerned, the survivors, post the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), in terms of business and economies will be those that will put communication ahead. We are happy to also note that there are incentives in the communication sector. All economies and businesses can, now, not afford to put communication at the bottom except at the top of the agenda for corporate branding, national branding, crisis management and reputation managing, which is the perception I talked about. Moreover, this has provided an opportunity for many of our young people, who are digital savvy, and can take advantage of these opportunities in the country.


Mr Speaker, once again, I believe that the Budget for 2021 is for the young people as it has directly responded to the call of the young people in this country to do well in their own country. I think that the best our colleagues on your left side can do, for a change, is to admit that under extremely difficult circumstances, not just in Zambia, but the world over, we have been able to cut the cloth according to means to provide a Budget that is really based on resilience, growth, food security and most all, based on hope to the young people of Zambia.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development (Mr Mulenga): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on the Motion for the 2021 Estimates of Expenditure that was presented to this House by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker, allow me to commend the hon. Minister of Finance for a well-articulated Budget Speech. The Budget outlined priority sectors and programmes in line with the Patriotic Front (PF) Manifesto and the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). The Budget is also inspirational and has brought hope to many youths and Zambians.


Mr Speaker, the theme of the Budget Address is: “Stimulate Economic Recovery and Build Resilience to Safeguard Livelihoods and Protect the Vulnerable.” This is timely, looking at the challenges that the nation is currently experiencing, especially in the wake of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The hon. Minister proposed bold and sound decisions that have been made for the nation to get back on the path of positive growth despite the economic challenges. The PF Government remains committed to its pro-poor policies. This has been demonstrated by the increase in the allocation to the protection programmes by 167 per cent, thereby prioritising youth empowerment. For this, the hon. Minister of Finance must be commended.


Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance for providing adequate resources for the growth sector of our economy such as agriculture. We all know that agriculture is the largest employer in this country and that 62 per cent of those in agriculture are in rural areas. That is why the hon. Minister of Finance allocated K6.27 billion to this sector. Further, to enhance household food security, the hon. Minister of Finance increased the allocation towards the food security pack programme (FSP) from K1 million to K1.1 billion.


Mr Speaker, under these two categories, more than 50 per cent of the beneficiaries are youths and this simply means that levels of unemployment among the youths is going to be reduced drastically. I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for promoting the livestock sub sector. This is a positive move in reducing vulnerability among households. The Government will continue with the livestock and restocking programme of which the majority of the beneficiaries, again, are youths.


Mr Speaker, the PF Government acknowledges the fact that human capital development is key to sustainable development of the country. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance also allocated adequate funds amounting to K3.96 billion for education and skills development. This will carter for the children and youth, thereby improving their well-being. This demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to ensure a productive population equipped with relevant skills in order to enhance their participation in economic activities, thus contributing effectively to economic development.


Mr Speaker, the Minister of Finance also alluded to the issue of economic empowerment. In this regard, the hon. Minister allocated K266 million to empowerment funds, specifically. The hon. Minister of Finance allocated K155 million, towards the Youth Empowerment Fund. These funds will go a long way in supporting the empowerment of Zambians, especially the youth, with affordable start-up capital to enable them engage in various entrepreneurial activities.


Mr Speaker, let me, once again, thank the hon. Minister for a well-stipulated and inspiring Budget. I also wish to appeal to all well-meaning Zambians to support the 2021 Budget, as presented by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Sir, as I conclude, I am convinced that the successful implementation of the 2021 Budget will effectively contribute to the re-balancing of the economic and financial position of our country, thus setting conditions for sustainable economic development of this great nation, Zambia


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister for Eastern Province (Mr M. K. Zulu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to register our thanks and sentiments in relation to the 2021 Budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. The Budget speaks to the very needs of the people of Zambia. It responds to the needs of the Eastern Province in that, it has dealt with all the five pillars that we look at in terms of national development. Looking at the five pillars, we know that when it comes to job creation, in spite of the economic situation, the hon. Minister have made provisions for agriculture, mining, tourism, and industrialisation. Furthermore, being a province that is very dependant of agriculture, we appreciate the allocation that has been made towards the Farmer Input Support Program (FISP). We know that the hon. Minister is not incentivising consumption but production. With this, he has not left it there but also provided for industrialisation. The announcement that he will be setting up a food processing plant, as well as a tomato processing plant, really speaks to the aspirations of the people of the Eastern Province. That goes to show that, indeed, the Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is really committed to creating jobs for our people and improving on the crops that we grow. That speaks to value addition. I have said, from time to time, that the future of the Eastern Province is in value addition, in view of the massive production that we experienced in the province.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance, not only dealt with issues to do with diversification in terms of mining but tourism as well. As regards tourism, I am a witness to the fact that many people have suffered because of the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) in this sector. In my constituency, at least, 2,000 people wake up every morning saying that they are going to work in the tourism sector. Each of these 2,000 people takes care of, at least, five people. That means that there are, at least, 12,000 people who are benefitting from the tourism industry. This industry has been limping over the last one year or thereabouts. With the incentives that the hon. Minister has provided for the tourism industry, in the Eastern Province, jobs will be saved and people will be able to put food on the table. With the provision of those incentives, the people know that they have a caring Government as theses incentives will be helpful. They also know that there are 12,000 beneficiaries across the country and that this will, at least, lead to a million beneficiaries from the incentives that have been provided in the tourism industry.


Mr Speaker, in terms of poverty and vulnerability reduction, the Budget has increased resources for the Social Cash Transfer Scheme so as to increase the number of beneficiaries from 700,000 to 994,000 people. This shows how caring our Government is.


Sir, I heard debaters from the other side say that the Budget has only concentrated on roads, and that people will not feed on roads. If you go to the Eastern Province and say that you do not care about the road network, you will come back crying because the people there want the road network to be improved. They want to have access to markets. In terms of reduction of vulnerability, we appreciate the Government’s programme of building, at least, 501 km of rural roads and making provision for this. This is going to help the third pillar of reducing inequalities that may exist. We will continue supporting the hon. Minister in his endeavours to ensure that the assumptions he has made come to fruition. We have a better Zambia led by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who is responding to the needs of the people.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for a Budget that is very precise and to the point.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Gender (Ms Phiri): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Motion on the Budget Address. I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for presenting a pro-poor Budget. I also thank His Excellency the President for driving Zambia under very difficult conditions with many shocks.


Sir, this is the only Government that has been tested and proven to be strong. When we came into power, it was not easy for us. We experienced a drought, but this Government proved that it could withstand the shock. Apart from the drought, the country also faced cholera, particularly in Kanyama Constituency. Through the Office of Her Honour the Vice-President, we came out of that shock strong. We also had a period when gassing incidents happened. We now have the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 


Mr Speaker, this Budget has given Zambians hope that in 2021, all the stimulus packages that have been given to different sectors by this Government will produce results. People know that this Government means well.


Mr Speaker, women and the girl child have been given a fair share in this Budget. For the first time, the Budget has given the Ministry of Gender a fair share of resources for its economic empowerment programmes. Currently, the Girls' Education, Women Empowerment and Livelihoods (GEWEL) Project is benefitting twenty-five districts. This Budget has made provision for twenty more districts to benefit. Further, the beneficiaries under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme will be increased. You can tell that this Government means well.


Sir, there are critics of this Budget, but they have no solutions. Anybody who criticises this Budget must provide a solution. Many people criticise without providing solutions. This Government is a pro-poor Government. It is the first time that the Government has thought of giving different sectors stimulus packages. With this Budget, all Zambians will have a taste of the national cake in 2021.


Mr Speaker, as women, we are looking forward to this Budget working for us. I am always with the people. Nobody with a sound mind can criticise this Budget or agree with what critics are saying. I know it has not been –


Mr Nkombo: On a point of Order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Before I address the point of order, resume your seat, hon. Minister.


Hon. Minister, just bear in mind your expression, ‘person with a sound mind’. In a democracy, there are divergent views. You do not have to agree, especially in a parliamentary democracy, because there will be competing views. So, if you suggest that anybody who has a different opinion from yours is of unsound mind, you will be making insinuations of insanity, which would not be permitted by the etiquette of the House. So, I urge you to withdraw that aspect of your debate. 


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I withdraw the words, ‘sound mind.’


Mr Speaker, I want to –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mazabuka Central, did you want to say anything else that I may not have addressed?


Mr Nkombo: No.


Mr Speaker: You may conclude your debate, hon. Minister. 


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, this Budget will support women by increasing the funds for women empowerment programmes and co-operatives. This will –


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Minister’s time expired.


The Minister for North-Western Province (Mr Mubukwanu): Mr Speaker, I thank you very much for this opportunity to comment on the Motion for the Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance, which he ably delivered to this House.


Sir, since we are in a parliamentary democracy, allow me to take note of the debates by the Opposition that I have listened to since the Budget was presented. Their debates failed to appreciate and counter the policy measures that the hon. Minister of Finance proposed in the 2021 National Budget. The hon. Minister of Finance should not even worry about the negative comments that have been made, thus far, by the Opposition, in the sense that the whole essence of the debate was to hear alternative ideas and ways of how this Budget should be approached.


Mr Speaker, we, in the North-Western Province, feel this Budget is very progressive in more ways than one. I would like to acknowledge the fact that the North-Western Province is a predominantly mining area. As such, in the past, there has been a lot of emphasis on exploiting the mining opportunities that are obtaining in the province. However, the 2021 Budget offers a great opportunity or fresh start for the agriculture sector to thrive in the North-Western Province, considering the fact that in the province, there are basic fundamentals to enable us contribute significantly to the agriculture sector in place.


Sir, I am not only going to speak about crop agriculture, but I would also like to take advantage of the major pronouncements that the hon. Minister made of increasing the import duty on beef and beef products from 25 per cent to 40 per cent. This is an enabling measure of which I believe Zambians, wherever they are, should take full advantage. The undue disadvantage which they had of competing with foreign products has been inhibited in one way or the other through this pronouncement. So, it is incumbent upon our farmers, young people and women to form co-operatives and venture into livestock rearing, which will also create value addition. I believe this is going to create a lot of job opportunities for our people and, in turn, help reduce poverty levels among our households. We cannot continue relying on the formal sector and, at the same time, fail to use the opportunities that are being placed before us.


Mr Speaker, the tourism sector has also received very generous incentives of which tourism promoters within the Republic of Zambia are going to take full advantage. The tourism sector in the Republic of Zambia shall not be the same again because these measures will enable them to explore all the opportunities and grow the sector by mostly promoting local tourism in the Republic of Zambia.


Sir, I commend the hon. Minister of Finance, and this is the way to go. We know and are aware of the challenges that world economies are faced with and we believe that Zambia, not being an exception, will continue on the same trajectory.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Minister of Defence (Mr Chama): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the Motion ably moved by the hon. Minister of Finance on 25th September, 2020, or about two weeks ago.


Sir, from the time the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power in 2011, it has been on a journey to transform this country. All Budgets that have been presented have answered the call of transformation and laid the foundation for better things to come and those that are already taking place in our nation.


Mr Speaker, I heard debates from those on the left side that this is the last Budget for the PF Government, but I want to put it on record that come September next year, the hon. Minister of Finance, under the PF Government, will present another Budget.


Sir, I also heard debates equating us to some countries in Africa. I do not mean to belittle our sister Republic on the continent of Africa, but Rwanda was specifically cited as an example. However, Zambia is a very big country. Zambia is 752,618 km2, while Rwanda is 26,338 km2. When you do your mathematics, you find that Zambia is 28.5 times bigger than Rwanda. If you compare Zambia to most countries, you will discover that it is more developed. Some of us and a number of our hon. Colleagues have had an opportunity to travel to different countries. Zambia is developed from Livingstone to Nakonde. In some countries, only the capital city and, maybe, two towns are developed, but in Zambia, all the 116 districts are well-developed.


Mr Speaker, I have also heard that the Government has just been concentrating on roads. This Government has, over the years, been laying a firm foundation so that this country can take off in terms of development. The Chinese have a saying that “roads are like veins of the body of a human being.” The veins of the body of a human being transport the vital nutrients to the organs of the body. Equally, roads are vital for the transformation and development of the country. This is why the PF Government has been putting emphasis on the development of roads so that the economy of this country can start to function.


Sir, over the years, we have been laying the foundation so that this country can grow from greatness to greatness. The hon. Minister of Finance who ably presented this Budget indicated that we are now moving towards opening companies that have been closed for a number of years to ensure that this country becomes productive. However, whatever Budget will be presented in future, I appeal to the people of Zambia to heed the call of hard work and productivity because if individuals will not be involved in the production aspect of this country, it will not develop. That is why His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has been saying that this country has been innovative and resilient and will continue being resilient because we have undergone a number of shocks during this journey of our transformation.


Mr Speaker, let me assure the people of Zambia that the leadership they have, through the President and PF Government, is resilient, innovative and prepared to take this country to greater heights. Come next year, the President and his leadership will come back into power and continue transforming this country for the betterment of our children and their children.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, when the hon. Minister of Finance was appointed, I stood on this platform to congratulate him. I told him that I thought he was extremely patriotic because he had embarked on a task that had just undergone a path of destruction charted by his friends whom he joined.


Sir, in the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance lamented the underperformance of this year’s Budget, low revenue collection, the depreciation of the kwacha, their debt contraction and inflation. The activity of revenue collection and planned expenditure is how people see what you stand for.


Mr Speaker, I will concentrate on the Government’s proposed expenditure. Last year, the President and the hon. Minister came here and lamented that climate change had ravaged the economy. We gave that to them, but they are now boasting of having a bumper harvest. Was this as a result of the economic spiritual healing that their friends who are calling us to pray for the economy are talking about? No. The bumper harvest was as a result of the hard work of the people of Zambia.


Sir, when the hon. Minister of Finance brought a Supplementary Budget here, I lamented the loftiness of the allocation to public order and defence. Today, I am shocked that the Budget is only K119 billion. It has actually diminished because of inflation, the exchange rate and all the economic fundamentals that we have had. However, the Executive is now telling us that it is due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It should not hide behind COVID 19. These allocations define who they are. To me, the Budget does not address the hardships of the people of this country and I will explain why I say so.


Mr Speaker, equating the public order and defence budget to the health budget in the midst of their saying that they are challenged with COVID-19, a health problem is inconceivable. The Government should explain to me how it could present this to us and equate the budget of public order and defence to that of health. That is what they did. The budget for public order and defence is K8.6 billion, that for health is K9.6 billion and social protection is K4.8 billion. However, the problem the Government presented to us last year of environmental protection vis-à-vis climate change has been allocated 0.8 per cent of the Budget. So, who is fooling who?


Sir, I encourage the hon. Minister, with a lot of affinity, to go to Soweto to see how people in this country are suffering and how this Budget is not going to have any positive impact on them. I will not even delve into what they have been saying that come next year, the PF will be on the right side as if it is their vote alone that forms Government. The people are listening and they are the ones who form a Government.


I can assure you that every effort you have been clumsily trying to make to stimulate the economy like giving musicians money, will not redeem you. As a party in Government, you are beyond redemption. Maybe, what the hon. Minister forgot to do, as he was concluding his speech, was to bid farewell, the way President Lungu bade farewell during his last Speech. Come next year, you will see for yourselves that this allocation to public order does not help because people are being killed every day for wearing a red t-shirt. Where are the policemen?


Mr Speaker, there is too much to say, but I realise my time is up.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you, and I also thank the hon. Minister of Finance for presenting the Budget. I recognise that it was a hard one, partly due to the reality of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), but mainly because this Government has borrowed too much money. It has left nothing in the country because the money is going outside the country, thereby creating suffering in this country.


Sir, that Friday when the Budget was being presented, there was a lot of applauding here. However, my colleague spoke about Soweto Market and the people everywhere who are complaining bitterly about the state of the economy. So, there is a disconnection. Some of my colleagues here said the economy is doing well, but the people are complaining bitterly because the cost of living has increased. So, what is this Budget doing to address the massive suffering that is going on in this country?


Mr Speaker, I agree with the statement that the President made in this House that there is a need for change of mindset. However, I want to add that my colleagues in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government are the ones who need to change their mindset more than anybody else in this country. I have said so because, firstly, they must recognise the reality of the suffering of the people in this country. They should change their mindset so that they know that while the people in the PF feel alright, the majority of the people, including some PF members, are suffering. Secondly, they need to be truthful.


Sir, we are being told that the biggest problems are COVID-19 and climate change. However, these factors that are being peddled are adding to something that was already sinking. Perhaps what is even more shocking is the story that we often hear these days that Zambians are suffering because of privatisation. My goodness! How can you link privatisation with the economic suffering that is taking place? There is no linkage. If anything, immediately after privatisation, the economy grew by about 7 per cent under President Mwanawasa, SC. and the exchange rate went down to about K3 to US$1. Under President Rupiah Banda, the economy also did very well. So, how then can this Government come, 30 years later, and say we are suffering because of privatisation when their colleagues did very well in the midst of privatisation? There is no truth in that. It is totally false. This is just another way of trying to confuse the people and look for excuses.


Mr Speaker, the source of this suffering that we are seeing today is the result of too much money having been borrowed by our colleagues. This is what has led to the increase in exchange rate from K5 to US$1 to K20 to US$1. Dollars come from those who buy copper, but they do not stay in the economy. The hon. Minister of General Education complained about the lack of teachers. However, this situation has arisen because the Government has borrowed too much money and, therefore, there is no money to hire teachers. The biggest problem this economy is facing is too much borrowing. So, what is the Budget doing about too much borrowing? Unfortunately, rather than reducing this problem of borrowing, the Budget has even proposed the highest level of borrowing that we have ever seen in this country, the external debt stock increased by 4.3 per cent. Therefore, as long as this issue of excess borrowing is not tackled, we are going nowhere.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mulusa (Solwezi Central): Mr Speaker, I really appreciate you for allowing me to debate on the Motion on the Floor. As you are aware, I come from a mining town, and having perused the Budget, I feel for our youths. I will concentrate my debate on the mining sector.


Mr Speaker, there is nothing much to be happy about because this Budget does not encourage investment in the mining sector. It does not promote job creation for the youths because the mines, like in my constituency, are the major employers. Therefore, if the Government does not tackle the issue of mining taxes, there will be no investment in the mines. Consequently, if there is no investment in the mines, many young men and women on the Copperbelt Province and in the North-Western Province must forget about job creation.


Mr Speaker, when you look at the non-detectability of mineral royalties versus corporate tax, you will realise that the miners are considering this as a double taxation, and it is not encouraging. I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance will sit with the mine owners so that they are also given something because at the end of the day, they also have to invest in order to create more jobs for our people. If the mines increase production, the Government will also benefit in terms of royalties. This is how it is supposed to be.


Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government must seriously look into the issue of mining investment because that is the major employer, especially on the Copperbelt. People are, therefore, wondering why miners on the Copperbelt are being shoved out. It is because of the Government not sitting down to settle the issue of taxes. I want to categorically state that with this Budget, I am sure that even the people on the Copperbelt know that there will be no job-creation, and we expect more people to be declared redundant by the mines. Many people will lose employment, but I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance will look into this issue.


Mr Speaker, let me now talk about agriculture. We appreciate that the Government has decided to waive Value Added Tax (VAT) on agro equipment. However, who is going to buy the agro equipment because Zambians are now broke? By making Zambians broke and then bringing in these incentives, the Government is just saying that the incentives are for those with money and we know the people with money are the ones that are going to enjoy. I do not think ordinary citizens, especially those from the North-Western Province, are going to invest in agriculture because they do not have money. Instead of putting money in people’s pockets, the PF Government has removed money from the pockets of many citizens. So, the incentive that has been brought to the agriculture sector is too late because people are broke and, because of that, they will not have money to invest in the sector.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Let me remind the hon. Members on my right that today and tomorrow is dedicated to them, even permitting the hon. Members on my left to debate at this juncture is more the exception than the rule. These two days have been reserved for the hon. Members on my right.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice, on behalf of the people of Keembe and, indeed, the Zambian people, to the debate on the Motion for the Budget.


Mr Speaker, it is amazing to see how those in the Patriotic Front (PF) party, especially the Government, think the economy is okay. It is like we live in two different worlds. Zambians are suffering. This was the case even before the outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The PF Government has failed to look into the plight of the Zambian people.


Sir, when the United Party for National Development (UPND) asked the PF to justify the acquisition of a fire tender at the amount it did, it refused to do so. I have seen the prices for the fire tenders in the United States of America (USA), and it is not US$1 million. The PF Government refused to answer the Zambians and now, everything is catching up with it. Who buys an ambulance at US$250,000 when many of our clinics do not even have an ambulance? I am talking about places like Ipongo, Mundu and Chitanda. There are no ambulances there, but this PF Government was able to justify the buying of an ambulance for US$250,000. This can only be sold to those who have never been to the USA or do not know the place. However, that is not the correct price.


Mr Speaker, there is too much corruption. Nonetheless, the hon. Minister of Finance is doing his best. Literally, he is caught between a rock and a hard place. The PF Government has failed the Zambian people. We raised these issues of debt. You cannot live on debt and claim that even the Western world lives on debt. No, it is not true. The reality is what type of debt you. Much of the PF debt is liability.


Mr Speaker, the PF continues to boast about having developed the road network. Works on the Landless Corner/Mumbwa Road, which is only 30 km, have stalled for ten years. His Excellency the President, Mr Lungu, came to Keembe Constituency and assured the people that the road works on the Landless Corner/Mumbwa Road that had stalled for ten years would be completed within the 2016/2017 period. However, that has not happened, and so, which development is the PF talking about?


Mr Speaker, if it is talking of one-sided development, then yes, we agree. The people who are celebrating in this Government, in this economy, are only those who are either in the PF Government or are aligned to it. Remember that democracy is about the people, the 17 million plus Zambians who have seen the prices of mealie meal escalate. The Zambian people whose cooking oil, saladi yatanta mutengo. What are we doing? Meaning cooking oil prices have gone up. Sugar bo yakwamba ayi abike mu tea muntu, yatanta mutengo. What I want to say is that this economy is doing –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Keembe, it would be easier if you spoke the official language so that you can communicate as expected.


Ms Kasune: Mr Speaker, what I mean is that a packet of sugar which was costing K20 is now double the price. Tell me, who is celebrating in this economy? The PF wants to stand on this platform and say that this Budget has met the expectations of the Zambian people. Come 2021, you will find out the truth because the ordinary people are suffering.


Mr Speaker, this Budget is just on paper. The PF Government has failed to actualise it by allocating the funds it claims to allocate and ensuring that the funds go to the intended people.


Mr Speaker, we found this country called Zambia and many of us are going to leave it. The Patriotic Front (PF) will do well to listen to the people who have realised that its tag of putting money in the pockets of Zambians was just a tag line and a sham. True to its Dununa Reverse song, the people of Zambia, have realised that the PF has been dununad in reverse, and that it has no vision to govern, let alone, run the economy of this country.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Foreign Affairs (Mr Malanji): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to air the views of the people of Kwacha Constituency and Zambia.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, has actually displayed his prowess, considering his background. It is a different thing to come to this House and in one breath, throw tantrums by saying that this Government is borrowing and in another breath question why a road is not constructed in one's constituency.


Mr Speaker, when the population is growing, it has automatic dictates of demand infrastructure. Twenty-five years ago, we were a different population, and this population now demands that we improve the infrastructure.


Mr Speaker, the people have been crying and asking why we have power outages. The hydro-power stations that we have were built in the Kaunda era. How do people want the Government to build hydro-power stations? Presently, the Government is fulfilling the promises that were made. In the implementation, you can see that we have the Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station (KGLP) Project.


Mr Speaker, at the moment, if one gets the right picture of Lusaka alone, he/she will see that rentals on most properties have gone down. That is because of the road infrastructure that is in place now. Before that, people were restricted to live closer to the roads which they could easily access. However, now, because of the road infrastructure which is everywhere, even Hon. Lubinda, who lives in Lilayi can go home for lunch and come back in time because he can do that within 15 minutes.


Mr Speaker, it is on that premise that I commend the hon. Minister of Finance on the macroeconomic objectives and policy strategies for 2021 and beyond. When you look at what the Government is putting in, you will see that it is a lot. Others are telling people that; “when we come in, we are going to sell Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited, and other properties.”


Mr Speaker, under macroeconomics, the Government has to look at what it is doing that will give it income. Look at the period in which we are. Of course, somebody alleged that we cried about the drought that had hit this country. No one should even talk about that. Everyone knows that it was a force majeure. However, look at what the Government is doing to make sure that the social welfare of our people is looked into. Currently, the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) threshold of K4,000 entails that those that are getting K4,000 automatically have a K1,000 to spare as opposed to the way it was previously. That is more money in people’s pockets. For instance, if somebody was getting a K4,000, which was being taxed, now, it cannot be taxed, and 25 per cent of that translates into a K1,000, and that means that he/she will have a K1,000 to spare, from which one can even rent a House.


Mr Speaker, outside that, the projection and the objectives of this Budget indicate that the Government is looking at working with a smaller Budget in trying to be pragmatic in the implementation of what has been promised in the coming year, 2021. Look at the income that we are getting from the taxes. Everyone knows that we had a power problem last year, and that is not a blame that can be associated to the Government.


Sir, as we came into 2020, we were hit by the unprecedented Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Government still has to find a way of getting out of this quagmire. However, people will still come to this House and condemn the Government that it is just borrowing.


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Minister’s time expired.


The Minister for Luapula Province (Mr Chilangwa): Mr Speaker, allow me to, first and foremost, congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance for a well-thought-out Budget. I want to congratulate him for a number of reasons. Top of the agenda is that we are in a situation which is globally appreciated and accepted, which is the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) era. As a result, things are not the way they used to be. That is why some people have coined a phrase, “doing things under the new normal,” instead of just saying we are doing things abnormally.


Mr Speaker, it was not easy for the hon. Minister of Finance to come up with a well-thought-out Budget to balance the prevailing conditions as well as the resource envelope. Obviously, it is common knowledge that the main reason we are sitting in the fashion that we are and using the hybrid system of conducting business is the fact that COVID-19 is with us. For people to bury their heads in the sand and believe that things must be done normally is totally unacceptable.


Mr Speaker, as for me, I want to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and tell him that he has our full support. I also want to say that the hon. Minister outlined a couple of critical issues in the Budget. He spoke to issues that we have been debating in the recent past at various fora. All these are aimed at ensuring that we broaden our income as a country so that we have a balanced Budget. Besides, we have done tremendously well under the new normal in that the hon. Minister of Finance has managed to ensure that resources are raised to deal with issues of the Budget.


Mr Speaker, most importantly, I have noticed that the hon. Minister of Finance has brought in very good tourism incentives for bringing in safari vehicles. As part of my submission, I urge the hon. Minister of Finance to include other tourism facilities or vehicles such as sunset cruises. Sunset cruises are a very big activity in Luapula Province because we do not have safari vehicles, but we can do with water vessels. If such can be included, it would help us to ensure that we talk and pull in the same direction.


Mr Speaker, the other issue which has come out very prominently are some of the pro-poor policies such as the Pay-as-You-Earn (PAYE) threshold, which is very good. Raising the PAYE threshold from K3,000 to K4,000 is very good. Some people may not believe, but I would like to believe that every penny or Kwacha counts. If you do not have a K100, it means that you do not have it. If you have an extra K200, it means that you have extra money and that is very good.


Mr Speaker, as Luapula Province, we support ethanol production. What this means is that it will enhance productivity. It is also talking to our policies which we started when we held the Luapula Expo in ensuring that we increase productivity in the province. Once productivity goes up, many people are going have opportunities. If people have opportunities, they are going to have expendable income and by so doing, we shall continue reducing poverty. Unfortunately, Rome was not built in a day and a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.


So, the policies that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has put in place will ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are taken care of. In the 2021 Budget, we are talking to the issues that the PF, as a party, has been propagating from 2011 of more money in people’s pockets.


The hon. Minister also spoke to employment opportunities and provided an allowance of how many can be admitted into the Civil Service. This is a starting point and we are very grateful for that. So, for me, I want to stand here and say that I fully support the Budget. I would also like to say well done to the hon. Minister of Finance. We shall walk this hard, but attainable journey together.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this very important debate on the Motion which is discussing the Budget Speech that was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance. I wish to add my voice to that of the speakers before me who commended the hon. Minister for delivering a Budget that has taken into consideration the critical challenges our country is facing.


Mr Speaker, the theme of the 2021 Budget states:


“Stimulate Economic Recovery and Build Resilience to Safeguard Livelihoods and Protect the Vulnerable.”


Sir, this is clearly in line with the pro-poor manifesto that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is pushing. The year 2020, indeed, has been a year of challenges and the lives of our people have been impacted as a result of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) as well as the many other challenges that they have faced. It is, therefore, timely and well focused for the hon. Minister of Finance to prepare a Budget aimed at helping the country and our people recover from the impact of COVID-19.


Sir, the 2021 Budget has focused on building resilience and safeguarding the livelihoods of our people, especially the vulnerable. This is the reason the PF Government was voted into office in the year 2011 and 2016 and will, again, retain power next year. I can confirm this.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, as a caring and pro-poor Government, the poor are at the centre of our policies and interventions.


Dr Malama: Correct!


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, by focusing on safeguarding and protecting the livelihoods of our people while supporting recovery of our economy, the hon. Minister of Finance and the 2021 Budget deserve the support of all hon. Members of this august House and the people of Zambia at large. The hon. Minister of Finance has, indeed, scored an ‘A’ plus.


Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development is in full support of the measures aimed at attaining the objectives of the 2021 Budget. The objective of restoring fiscal fitness and debt sustainability has the full support of the ministry and measures have, so far, been initiated to re-scope many projects in support of this important objective.


Sir, I wish to take advantage of this space to explain to the people of Zambian that the aim of this Government was to provide road networks and upgrade our roads to bituminous standard throughout the country. This was started as a programme by the PF Government in the year 2011. However, in view of the challenges that we are faced with, we actually seek that Zambians understand that we may not be able to achieve that during this period. Yes, we will raise some roads to bituminous standard, but people will have to understand that some of them have been re-scoped and will be made motorable for the time being. When the economy recovers and we find money, we will be able to upgrade these roads to bituminous standard. This is affecting almost all provinces and it is not selective. As we select which roads to re-scope, we are not taking into consideration anything except the fact that there are no resources that will enable us to complete these projects now. This has also affected infrastructure development in some districts where we will now have to be able to complete some of these projects in a phased approach. Even for the secondary schools that were under discussion earlier on this morning, we will have to ensure that we open two to three classes or offices. We will, again, need to find money and open two to three more classes until we finalise all the projects that we have.


We will have to phase the construction and completion of most of the projects that we have in the country. We expect that the people of Zambia will understand because the economy, at the moment, is facing turbulence. However, it is turbulence which we will be able to take care of and complete all projects with able leadership.


Sir, there is no better Government that anybody can ever trust in this country than the Government led by the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, when it comes to infrastructure development. We have a robust programme and we will make sure that we achieve it when everything gets back to normal as our trajectory is pointing to normalcy very soon.


Mr Speaker, we can believe in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government and it will deliver.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Senga Hill.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I do not know how my name appeared on your list. It is a mistake. I am sorry.


Mr Speaker: It was an accident.


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, yes.


Mr Speaker: Order!




The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1636 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 14th October, 2020.