Thursday, 15th October, 2020

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Thursday, 15th October, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng'andu): Mr Speaker, allow me to start by thanking you for giving me an opportunity to apprise hon. Members of this House and the nation at large, on the steps that the Government continues to undertake in order to address the vulnerabilities emanating from our public debt situation and the measures taken in light of the negative impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


Mr Speaker, Zambia is currently in the process of implementing a liability management exercise aimed at restoring debt sustainability. As part of this process, the Government has been engaging its creditors to seek their approval for the suspension of debt service payment for a period of six months in accordance with the terms of the G20 and the Paris Club Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).


Sir, the DSSI initiative is a co-ordinated approach led by G20 and Paris Club creditors which provides for the suspension of debt service payments for a period of six months for poor countries that request forbearance with the aim of supporting these countries in overcoming the intertwined health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mr Speaker, the request for a six months standstill is part of our debt strategy development process. The standstill will give immediate relief on the Budget and, most importantly, give the Government time to finalise its debt sustainability analysis that will provide details of the broad asset liability management measures that are required to be implemented to deliver debt sustainability over the medium term. The debt sustainability analysis will provide the details that are required for informed engagement with different creditors, including Euro Bond holders on the adjustment in order to attain debt sustainability over the medium to long term. This will be done with the full support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Mr Speaker, although we have obtained some relief under the DSSI window, particularly from official creditors, engagements with commercial creditors have not yet yielded expected results. This is because these creditors were concerned that we were not treating all creditors equally. We seem to be discriminatory in the treatment of our creditors as we are servicing certain categories of our debt while not servicing others. Specifically, concern was raised that the Euro Bond debt was not included in the DSSI request and that Zambia had continued to service all Euro Bond payments when they fell due while allowing the accumulation of arrears on other portfolios. The exclusion of Euro Bond payments from the DSSI request also made some creditors reluctant to grant the DSSI as they were concerned that the debt relief they would provide would be used to pay debt service to other creditors and not be channelled towards the COVID-19 related expenditures as intended.


Sir, in order to make progress on these engagements and get the full benefits of addressing the impact of COVID-19 through the DSSI, it became necessary to request Euro Bond holders for a six months suspension of debt service so that all categories of creditors receive similar treatment.


Issuance of a Consent Solicitation Memorandum


Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, working with its financial and legal advisors, Lazard Frères and White and Case, respectively, initiated the bondholder engagement process through the issuance of a Consent Solicitation Memorandum on 22nd September, 2020. A consent solicitation is a formal process for seeking approval from bondholders to amend the terms of the bonds either by way of written resolution or bondholder meeting. The Consent Solicitation Memorandum requested that a standstill on coupon payments for a period of six months from 14th October, 2020, to 14th April, 2021, be granted.


Objectives of the Consent Memorandum


Sir, the objectives of the Consent Solicitation Memorandum which we have requested the bondholders to consent to are:


  1. to suspend any interest payment due in respect of each series of notes for six months from 14th October, 2020, to 14th April, 2021. This is what we are referring to as the standstill period.
  2. to get an irrevocable and unconditional waiver of any breach on any obligation in respect of the bonds that may arise in connection with, or as a result of the deferral of interest in (a) above;
  3. to get an irrevocable and unconditional waiver of any breach or alleged breach or any obligation under or   in respect of the bonds which may have occurred prior to the standstill period such as cross default;
  4. to amend and modify the conditions, the deed of covenant and the agency agreement as unnecessary to effect the deferral of interest and the amendments, waivers and authorisations set out in paragraphs (a), (b) and (c) above.


Engagement with Bondholders


Mr Speaker, following the issuance of the Consent Solicitation Memorandum, I made a presentation to investors on 29th September, 2020, highlighting the rationale for our request for a standstill. In the investor presentation, I highlighted the current macroeconomic and fiscal situation in our country, including our current debt position and how it will be difficult to sustain external debt service, going forward, if nothing is done to address the situation. I, therefore, called upon the bondholders to support the Government’s effort by granting our request for a standstill for six months. The standstill will give us space to develop a long-term restructuring strategy.


Sir, I also emphasised the country’s strong desire to enter into a constructive, transparent and equitable dialogue with all our creditors as we undertake the debt restructuring process aimed at restoring debt sustainability. Since then, we have had engagements with an Ad hoc Bondholder Committee, through our advisers, and we are currently responding to the questions that are being raised from the presentation.


Next Steps Regarding External Debt Service


Mr Speaker, the debt payments to bondholders, including the payment which fell due on 14th October, 2020 to 14th April, 2021, have been included in our debt service deferment request. The bondholders are, to this effect, expected to cast a vote on Zambia’s request for a debt standstill after which meetings for the three series of bonds will be held to pass the resolutions that will be made, as the ministry has stated before. Should Zambia fail to reach an agreement with its commercial creditors, including bondholders of its Eurobonds, on the terms of the appropriate standstill, as previously stated, the Republic with its limited fiscal space will be unable to make payments and, therefore, fail to forestall the accumulation of arrears.


Sir, the Government has requested all its external creditors to agree to debt service suspension on similar terms during the standstill period. The only foreign denominated debt that Zambia will continue paying on a current basis is debt from multi-lateral agencies and debt from few priority projects that have an immediate economic and social impact. These projects are in the health, education, water and sanitation and transport sectors.


Domestic Debt Management


Mr Speaker, in the area of domestic debt, the Government will focus on raising financing from Government securities as well as meeting the obligations which are falling due. The strategy on domestic debt management, as indicated in my 2021 Budget Address, will be to:


  1. keep the pace in terms of payment of debt service on domestic debt maturities;
  2. lengthen maturities as we issue new debt to achieve long-term maturity profiles;
  3. reduce areas, particularly to local businesses, to inject liquidity in the local economy;
  4. engage and broaden investor participation in the Government securities market.


Mr Speaker, the assurance, therefore, to the current investors and would-be investors on Government securities is that the Government is committed to developing the domestic market further as a foundation towards economic recovery.




Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I would like to reaffirm that our stock of external debt as at the end of 2019, was as I reported in my 2021 Budget Address, which is US$11.48 billion. As at the end of June 2020, this figure increased to US$11.97 billion and, when we add the guaranteed debt for State-owned enterprises, it comes to US$13.55 billion.


Sir, I have noted, regrettably, that some sections of the domestic and international society that may not have read the recently released 2020 International Debt Statistics Report by the World Bank are pegging the Government debt at US$27.34 billion as opposed to US$11.48 at the end of 2019. The amount stated in the World Bank Report refers to the total national debt that includes private sector external debt of US$15.57 billion. The private sector external debt is foreign denominated debt owed by all non-government entities in Zambia in all sectors, including mining, manufacturing, transport, energy, wholesale and trade, to mention a few.


Mr Speaker, I have here before me, an extract from the report, which covers a summary of the debt referred to, on Zambia and I will lay it on the Table.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I will end by reaffirming that we remain committed to equal treatment of all our creditors, and transparency in our engagements. We also note that this engagement is necessary and is in the best interest of the country.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Ng’andu laid the paper on the Table.


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


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on a job-well-done. That is the way it is supposed to be. Before I ask my question, I wish to request him to reconcile the figure that he gave and the one being speculated as the Government debt because the situation is creating a lot of doubt in people.


Sir, if the six month leave is granted, and Zambia fails to honour its pledge, what measures has the Government put in place to secure its space, especially that we are going towards elections?


Mr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, if the question that is being asked alludes to what happens if the bondholders do not approve of our consent solicitation for a standstill on the servicing of our debt, the Government will continue to engage bondholders in order to reach consensus on the standstill. My presentation, which I made to investors, including bondholders on 29th September, 2020, as part of a consultative engagement with all our creditors, was to help us reach consensus on the debt service suspension request. In the spirit of transparency, I also shared with our creditors, the challenging fiscal position that we are currently faced with which has been worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Mr Speaker, with the continuation of this engagement, we hope that we can reach a positive agreement. The idea of the solicitation was to begin the process of discussion and, through it, hopefully, be able to reach some formal agreement with them. So, I need to stress the point that the solicitation has started the process of engagement. We hope that we will, with the support and assistance of our own advisors, be able to reach some amicable position with the bondholders.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, what happened to the idea of the sinking fund which his predecessor used to pontificate on the Floor of this House?


Mr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, we have mentioned before in this House, the existence of the sinking fund and that resources continue to be added to the sinking fund. However, as already noted, the COVID-19 pandemic situation changed the matrix and required us to look for different solutions. So, while the sinking fund is there, we are looking out to a much more structured approach with our creditors which will involve, initially, agreeing to a standstill period. That will give us the opportunity to begin to work on a more structured form of debt restructuring, whether in the medium term, which will mean debt refinancing or debt postponement. We are here to see where it will take us. For that reason, the sinking fund still sits where it has been. We will continue, as I have said now, to approach the matter using the new route that we have taken.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I sympathise with the hon. Minister of Finance pertaining to the financial situation in the country. I take note of his submissions to this House on the debt situation in the country. However, as hon. Members of the Opposition, we have noted with concern the lack of prudence in financial management on their part as the Government. We are aware that the Government, through the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, is proposing to increase Cabinet positions.


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Deputy Chief Whip resume your seat. Let me just provide some guidance. Let the hon. Member for Monze Central complete the question. The hon. Minister of Finance is available to respond to the question.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, for clarity’s sake, in order for the hon. Minister of Finance to respond prudently, in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, there is a proposal that Provincial Ministers be equivalent to Cabinet Ministers –




Mr Mwiimbu: Then you do not read.


Sir, our colleagues on your right have been luring my fellow colleagues on your left, and proposing that they will create more constituencies so that there will be more hon. Members in this House. This means that the Government will incur more costs. Now, with those proposals in the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, does the hon. Minister not think that he will have difficulties convincing our lenders that there are fiscal problems in the country when this shows that the Government has a lot of money? 


Mr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for sympathising with me but I can assure him that I am perfectly fine.


Mr Speaker, the statement made by the hon. Member that the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, proposes to increase the number of ministers, points exactly to what the problem has been around the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019. It is criticised, not from the point of fact, but from the point of fiction. That is where the problem has been. Already Cabinet Ministers and Provincial Ministers are on the same salary and conditions of service. So, essentially nothing will change.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Let us have order.


Mr Ng’andu: In terms of the delimitation exercise, ultimately, the decision lies entirely –




Mr Ng’andu: It is true. I am the one who pays.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Minister of Finance, resume your seat.


Hon. Members, either we have this engagement or we do not. If we are going to have it, it must be orderly. If it is disorderly, I will terminate it and, then, we start looking at the Budget. You will have an opportunity to ask questions if you want to ask, but not whilst seated, of course.


Hon. Minister of Finance, you may continue.


Mr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, thank you.


Let me comment on the statement made by the Leader of the Opposition regarding the delimitation exercise. I think we all recall that a few days ago, the Secretary-General of his own party was advocating for the increase in the number of constituencies except that he wanted it to be done outside the context of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019.


Sir, I do not quite see where the argument is going. However, if the idea is that they want the delimitation to be done outside, as opposed to being done within the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No.10 of 2019, it still does not change the cost structure. So, whichever way it is done, the cost structure will remain pretty much the same. Unfortunately, democracy has its own cost and, if ultimately, it is in the interest of this country and the people that they are represented appropriately by increasing the number of constituencies, then let it be so.


Sir, one of the reasons our people in some constituencies are not being represented adequately is that hon. Members of Parliament find it very difficult to cover the huge geographical areas that their constituencies cover. For that reason, our people are not represented adequately. That, I think, is something that many rural hon. Members can relate to and if that is the case, what is wrong with us doing what is needed to give our people the level of representation that they require.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for the clarity on the national debt because it caused a great concern this morning when we read about the K27 billion.


Sir, however, what was the rationale –  


Mr Nkombo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity.


Sir, my point of order is procedural and anchored on precedents of this House.


Sir, my point of order is on the hon. Minister of Finance. In his question, the hon. Leader of Opposition, Mr Jack Mwiimbu, indicated that the Patriotic Front (PF) is advocating, through coercing hon. Members of this House, particularly from the Opposition where I belong, to vote for the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019, for the delimitation exercise to happen. In his response, the hon. Minister made reference to a stranger in this House.


Sir, you have always ruled that things that are said outside of this House have no bearing whatsoever on the Business of this House. The hon. Minister made reference to Hon. Stephen Katuka, the Secretary-General for the United Party for National Development (UPND) as having advocated for the increase of constituencies through delimitation. That being the case, could the hon. Minister of Finance be in order to marry a straight question on the Order Paper to pronouncements that are being made outside this House.


I seek your ruling, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I reserve my ruling and that is the last point of order I am allowing during this segment.


May the Hon. Member for Solwezi West continue, please.


Mr Kasonso: Mr Speaker, I was asking the hon. Minister of Finance what the reason was for certain debt to receive attention, but not others. Was there any special reason for that?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, if I understand the question correctly, he is asking why the Eurobond holders were treated differently from the other creditors. The position is that, firstly, the bondholders’ rights and obligations of the issuers of bonds are very clearly defined and enshrined in the capital market regulations. Therefore, to be able to deal with them, you have to respond adequately to the capital market regulations. However, one of the other complications about bondholders is that they are many. So, before you are able to engage them, you have to undertake a process of identifying who they are.


Mr Speaker, the unfortunate part is that when you issue a bond, initially, the list of subscribers at that time is not the same as the list of subscribers at a later point in time. So, we had to go through the process of identifying them and then issuing a consent solicitation as we have done, in compliance with the regulations. However, in the case of other commercial creditors like banks, it is easy for us to reach them individually and begin a process of discussion which is what we have already done. As I said earlier, the response from most of the other creditors was that they wanted fair treatment for all of them. They said that, if we are going to request for a standstill with them, the same should apply to the bondholders. By following the process, we have, in a sense, complied with what we are required to do.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, what is the ultimate destination in the event that the deferment fails? This means that we have to pay, but the Government is failing to honour its obligation. What would be the ultimate destination of this country owing to the lenders?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the Government is currently working on that issue. Riding under the umbrella of the DSSI, as I said earlier, this is a very co-ordinated approach which is led by the Group of Twenty (G20) and Paris Club creditors to create the fiscal space to better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. As I indicated in my statement, the Government will use this standstill period to also finalise the debt management strategy. We need to have a comprehensive debt management strategy that will inform the debt service profile beyond the standstill period. In other words, the profile that will come up will take care of what happens after the standstill period has expired. The Government will continue to service its debt after the standstill period but this will be based on the outcome of the management strategy and agreements that we will reach with the various creditors after the standstill period. So, all debt service payments are going to be absolved within the debt strategy that is being designed and will come into effect after we have completed the process of negotiations. Basically, we will continue to meet our obligations, based on the new terms that we would have negotiated during the standstill period.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister make a comment on the credibility of assertions made on the Floor of the House yesterday by the Opposition Chief Whip to the effect that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had reported that Zambia’s total debt was, in fact, in excess of US$28 billion, not the announced amount of less than US$20 billion.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Member for that question, except I want to make an amendment to his question that it was not the International Monetary Fund (IMF) but actually the World Bank that released the report. As I had mentioned in my earlier presentation to the House, the figure of US$27 billion includes a huge component of private sector debt. The debt that I have been reporting to this House is a sovereign debt. That is the debt that has been incurred by the State and people would have known this had they taken the trouble to read the report. Part of the problem is that we pronounce ourselves on things that we have not actually read, but picked somewhere, including social media. That can be misleading. The information which was brought to the House was obviously other than the truth. The truth is what I have reported before and that is what I have reiterated now. Therefore, I encourage people to actually read the World Bank Report.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Ng’andu: Please, read the report. It is better than reading about it on social media.


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Ng’andu: I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for that statement.


Dr Malama: Correct!


Dr Musokotwane: Hon. Minister, for many years, people all over the world have been warning Zambia and, perhaps, I should say that I sympathise with you because you did not create this problem. However, for many years, people were warning the Zambian Government that it is headed for a debt crisis. There were only two institutions in the world that did not seem to be aware of that. The first one is the Zambian Government and the second one was the Economics Association of Zambia. Now that the truth has come out like a hidden pregnancy …


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane: …that manifests itself in the growing stomach.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Liuwa, I would rather you withdraw that statement, which other quarters may rightfully object to, on the basis of ethos. Normally, such references are deprecated. A certain segment of society objects very strongly to using parallels of that sort.


Hon. Member for Liuwa, continue with your question.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I withdraw that statement.


Sir, the truth has suddenly come out, through the declaration of bankruptcy, which is the inability to pay. However, bankruptcy has consequences on the economy. It is not business as usual. What is the future of the Government’s Economic Recovery Programme, when everybody in the world, including investors, is now aware that this country is bankrupt?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, this country is not bankrupt. I mentioned very clearly that the reason we have asked for a debt service standstill from all creditors is to comply with the requirement that we treat all creditors equally based on the pari passu principle. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit us, major global financial institutions have responded. The G20 and the Paris Club DSSI that we are talking about is a response to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has created unbearable difficulties in countries. It is a situation where businesses and revenues have collapsed and the value and supply chains have all been disrupted. Given that situation, it has become necessary for us to deal with the matter differently from what we could have done before.


Sir, earlier on, I mentioned that we had started working on building a fund that will enable us to redeem part of this loan. That effort still continues in the background, but what we are doing at this moment does not exclude other efforts that we want to make to clear the debt. It is not exactly correct to say that this debt situation has suddenly hit us. This Government is on record as having acknowledged the fact that, maybe, the debt situation had reached a level where we needed to stop contracting loans. Last year, the Cabinet came out very clearly and issued directives that included stopping the contraction of further commercial loans, re-scoping and cancelling some projects. That decision was arrived at by the Government itself. So, it is not correct to say that we have suddenly woken up from a slumber and realised that we have to do something about this debt.


Mr Speaker, I agree that the debt is larger than we should have obtained, but we must see this against the background of some very ambitious projects that we have undertaken in the different sectors of the economy, whether it is road infrastructure, energy, schools, education or provision of water. We had to do all these things, and we could only achieve that using the debt. However, we are trying to manage this situation, and I think the measures we have introduced will help us navigate our way towards resolving the problem.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has asked for a standstill on debt servicing for six months simply because we are struggling to service our debt. Why is the hon. Minister planning to borrow, again, as this will make our position worse? One would have thought that he would have come up with another system that would have stopped us from borrowing. Does he not think that this borrowing in the overall Budget will make our position worse, if not impossible?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, we have asked for a standstill on debt servicing for six months precisely because that is the provision that has been given within the framework that we are working in, which is the G20 and Paris Club DSSI. I am fully aware that as the World Bank and the IMF meet for their annual meetings, there are possibilities of extending that period. There are discussions that they should maybe extend the period because the COVID-19 pandemic still continues disrupting operations of most sectors in the country.


Sir, the question as to why we continue borrowing, I assume, refers to what I submitted in my Budget Address. I indicated that the sources of financing for the expenditure side of the Budget require that I collect revenue in the form of taxable or non-taxable revenue. However, given a situation where there is a collapse in the revenue side of this description, it simply means that I should contract expenditure drastically to an extent where I actually cause harm to the health, education and road infrastructure systems, and everything that this country requires to continue running. For that reason, I, obviously, have to run a higher budget deficit than I would have wanted to. Incidentally, projections show that even at global level, we expect to see the global deficit rise to over 10 per cent. In my own assessment, I projected that the fiscal deficit is expected to rise to 11.7 per cent. So, it is pretty much within what is happening in other countries in the world.


Mr Speaker, let me now come to external debt. The figure of K27,745,178,541 shown in the Budget is straight from disbursements of existing loans. In my submission to this House, I mentioned that there are certain key critical projects that we will continue to implement. A good example I can give is the Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station Project. It is almost complete and its benefit to this economy is clear for all to see that if we get additional increase in the power in our national grid, it will deal with the challenges that we have had in the last few years where power outages have contributed to the disruption of the operations of various sectors of the economy. So, we will maintain such projects.


Sir, the other balance that is shown under external financing, is actually support in the form of Budget support from external entities. So, if the hon. Member’s concern is that I am borrowing, I accept to the extent that I have expanded the Budget deficit by increasing the level of domestic financing, but that will only be for a year. However, as the revenue side improves and companies come out of their slumber, we should be able to make an adjustment and see a reduction in the deficit as we rely more on tax revenue.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister’s presentation this afternoon has demonstrated that Zambia has been on an unsustainable debt path. This country is experiencing a negative trade balance in the face of declining foreign reserves. Could the hon. Minister tell us where he is drawing his confidence that he will find sufficient dollars to service the debt when it falls due even after the standstill, given that our foreign reserves are dwindling and we are facing a trade deficit?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I mentioned that part of the work that we are doing during the period of the debt service standstill is to come up with a more comprehensive restructuring of our debt. In all probability, that comprehensive restructuring could result in reaching a new agreement with regard to financing some of the existing debt. We could be given a longer period, for example, or some of our debt could be postponed. The effect of that would be a reduction in what is paid out in terms of debt servicing. So, that is part of what we are trying to achieve during this period.


Sir, with the work that we are doing, there is a likelihood that we will achieve that and I will give an example. If we manage to get a 1 per cent reduction in interest on a US$10 billion debt, we will probably save about US$10 million by way of interest service on an annual basis. So, these are some of the things that we hope will help us and are giving us the confidence that we have in terms of arriving at some reasonable resolution to the problem.


Mr Speaker, I also need to mention that we have continued increasing our reserves through the efforts of the Central Bank. Her Honour the Vice-President and I have explained before that mining companies have continued paying the Mineral Royalty Tax directly to the Central Bank in United States (US) Dollar terms and other taxes that come from mining companies have been added to that. From time to time, in a very optimistic way, when the Central Bank feels that it is possible for it to go onto the market and raise some foreign exchange, it does so. So, we will continue with the same effort. However, I hope that at the end of the day, the debt servicing burden will reduce as a result of the debt restructuring processes that we are working on.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is aware that different stakeholders advised the Patriotic Front (PF) Government concerning the contraction of these loans. However, the Government never took the advice. Going forward, is the Government going to take whatever advice the stakeholders give to it in terms of contracting loans? In this case, even Parliament was sidelined. The loans were contracted by the Government without engaging Parliament. This time around, is the Government going to engage stakeholders and take advice from them?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the fact that we have taken these measures speaks to the fact that we have been listening to what you have been saying. So, we have taken your advice. I am a little disturbed by what seems to be a confusing situation where we are trying to implement measures that will respond to the problem that we have and, in the process, we indicate that we have been listening to what you have been saying. You have said that the debt is unsustainable and we should do something about it. This is exactly what we are now doing. So, we have been listening. Thank you for the advice.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for clarifying the debt situation and the confusion that came about because of different figures. Zambia is obviously in a precarious situation vis-à-vis the debt and our creditors. The hon. Minister is suggesting a time-out in terms of payments that are due. He is also asking for a debt moratorium of six months. If the creditors refuse to grant this moratorium, what happens next? What is happening at the moment, as the hon. Minister rightly said, supply chains have collapsed and some revenue stream levels have dropped and payments are basically not coming in because of the recession and loss of confidence by investors. So, in the end, we have a contracted economy which has no capacity to produce the revenues that are necessary for the Government to honour the repayments even after six months. What happens next if this scenario happens?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, previously, I mentioned that there is a prospect that the bondholders might vote against this request and we have taken that into account. As I said earlier, if the answer is no, we will obviously continue discussing with all the other creditors. Remember that we do not just have the bondholders alone, but there are other creditors who have, so far, come to the table. We will continue having discussions with them and engaging them in a constructive way. I believe that all creditors would like us to come up with a solution that is helpful to everybody because there is absolutely no benefit for a creditor who hangs out and makes it impossible for us to resolve the problem. I have a good reason to believe that most of them will see the need for us to engage constructively so that we come up with a solution that meets everybody’s requirements. Obviously, on our side, what is important is to have the capacity to service the obligations as they fall due. On the side of the creditors, what is important is that we service our obligations. However, if it requires giving us more time to organise ourselves, to refinance the debt or to postpone the debt, that is the kind of conversation that is going on. It is a conversation around the solution. It is not about staying in a bank and saying, “I am holding my position here” because that is not helpful to anybody. I believe that most of the creditors are sensible and reasonable human beings and they would like us to work on a solution. All of us are approaching this problem as one that requires a solution and a solution can only come from what both parties bring to the table in a mutually helpful and constructive way.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I now sense that the hon. Minister has begun repeating himself. Let us not be mechanical in posing questions and ask for the sake of it, for instance, questions whose answers have already been supplied. You just want to go through the motion of asking a question. If this persists, we will move on to another segment. It is not productive for the hon. Minister to repeat himself. In any case, the compass of the subject is, indeed, very narrow.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, let me take the hon. Minister back a bit. In responding to the sympathy expressed by the Leader of the Opposition, the hon. Minister has responded by saying that he is perfectly fine and I agree he is, but the rest of the Zambians are not perfectly fine.


Sir, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has, indeed, hit most countries around the world. For Zambia in particular, the disease came around December, 2019, which is like ten to eleven months down the line. So, since many other countries have been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, which we are saying is the cause of our failure to repay our creditors, how many other countries are advancing the same request of a six month debt service standstill like Zambia?


Mr Speaker: Surely, how do you expect the hon. Minister to know that?


Mr Miyanda: He should.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, I got your advice that the hon. Minister is repeating himself because we are asking the same questions. The hon. Minister explained that he asked for the deferment of the Eurobond payments for six months. What about the other Eurobond which is about to mature? Has it been put on that moratorium?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the notes that are payable during the period we have asked for are three coupon payments on the three outstanding bonds. The first one was due to be paid yesterday. It was not paid and the reason is what I have explained before that this was done upon very strong advice from our advisers. They were of a strong view and opinion that if we had paid, we were going to create a very hostile environment within which to negotiate with other creditors because we would have departed from the principle of pari passu that I talked about. Based on that, we did not make the payment which was due yesterday.


Sir, it is not because we do not have the money to pay, but because the issue of treating all the creditors equitably is a very important part of the process that we are going through. There is a payment that is due in January and the last payment is due in March 2021. So, those are the three coupons that will be affected during the period of the six month standstill that we have asked for.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I am very thankful to the hon. Minister of Finance for the ministerial statement he has given to the nation owing to the debt situation and the time being asked for a debt service standstill due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which has hit the whole world. I would like the hon. Minister to specifically say something about the Chinese debt that we sit on as a country. I know that he has specifically emphasised on the Eurobonds and other debts that we owe, but on the Chinese debt, I would like him to speak about it and to also tell us the factors that were considered to ask for a service standstill of just six months, yet COVID-19 is still prevalent around the world and is still with us.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I mentioned that one of the reasons I issued a consent solicitation memorandum directed at the holders of our notes was precisely because other creditors, including the Chinese creditors, were concerned about what appeared to be unfair treatment, where you are servicing some obligations, but not servicing others. I think we are all aware that the Chinese have recently indicated a number of measures that they will take and we are still engaging with them to conclude the discussions around how the debt will be managed with them. As I said, we have engaged all other creditors, including the Chinese, on the issue of debt and we hope that with the stance that we have now taken that we are going to treat all the creditors equally, we should have hopefully created an environment that will be easier for us to negotiate with all the other outstanding creditors.


The question was: Why six months? I did indicate that the whole debt service standstill idea is a global initiative which was spearheaded initially by the G20 countries and the Paris Club members. It has the full endorsement of the World Bank and the IMF. Many other global institutions are part of this effort. Six months was agreed as the initial period, but as I said earlier on, as we go through annual meetings this month, there is a possibility that it could be extended.


So, Mr Speaker, six months is really just the initial period and, in our case, it is intended to give us that fiscal space that we need to reorganise ourselves so that we can engage more constructively with the creditors. However, if a decision is made later that the number of months should be increased, we shall, accordingly, also apply the same decisions that will be agreed to.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last interventions as follows: the hon. Member for Zambezi East, the hon. Member for Bweengwa, the hon. Member for Chembe, the hon. Member for Chifubu, the hon. Member for Gwembe, the hon. Member for Keembe and the hon. Member for Dundumwezi. So, there is no need to indicate, thereafter, unless you are rehearsing how to use a tablet.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I am aware that the President of this country at one time had made statements which, in my view, looked like he had told off the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that we may not have needed its support. Later on, we saw the hon. Minister coming to the House on several occasions to assure us on how the Government was engaging the IMF.


Sir, in today’s statement, the hon. Minister has equally mentioned that in the Government’s endeavours to restructure the debt servicing, it will actually involve the IMF. My substantive question is around the involvement of the IMF. Are we still seeing the same rhetorical statement that we have now become used to that is aimed at making us expect that the IMF is involved and is being engaged or that the Government is seriously engaging the IMF? Is this meant to make us, as citizens, expectant that the IMF will come to our aid through a reasonable bailout that will actually help us in restructuring this debt? Can I have a categorical answer which the people of Zambezi East are waiting for? 


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, let me reiterate what I said. The DSSI is a global initiative to which a lot of international organisations, including the IMF, subscribe. Our engagement with the IMF is something that has been reported to this House before. We have been engaged with them for the greater part of the last three months and we have presented them with all the information they have asked for. With respect to the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), we have more or less agreed with the information that the IMF has.


Sir, however, the discussion on which way it will go, whether by giving us a programme or a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), it is up to the IMF to determine, not me. It will inform us as and when it is ready with the decision. However, we have done what we need to do. All we can do is wait for the IMF to come. I do not run the IMF. I cannot tell you what the people there are thinking at this point in time. However, I have done my bit and I am waiting for them to tell us what next ought to be done.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Michelo (Bweengwa): Mr Speaker, principally speaking, the fuse is lit between the citizens of this country and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. The primary reason we are sympathising with the hon. Minister is that we believe he is a refined individual.


Sir, is the hon. Minister in a position to tell this nation this afternoon the increase in percentage terms and monetary form of the national debt from the time the PF Government took over power from the Movement for Multi-Party Democracy (MMD)?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I am not sure I understand the question. He is asking about the increase in what?


Mr Speaker: Could you repeat your question, hon. Member for Bweengwa.


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, what is the increase in percentage and monetary terms of the national debt from the time the PF took over power from the MMD Government?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I am always very careful in trying to extract numbers from my head. I have a general idea of the trends from year to year. However, if the hon. Member wants me to present accurate and specific information to this House regarding the evolution of debt, whether it is domestic or foreign, from whatever year to this year, I can quite easily provide do so. However, I do not want to guess at this point in time.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, I indicated to leave the Speaker’s list but, somehow, the system could not allow me to exit. I requested, through the system, that I be dropped off the list because my question has been overtaken by events.


Dr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, first of all, I commend the hon. Minister for being very bold in articulating Zambia’s debt position very well.


Sir, the hon. Minister indicated that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government borrowed and invested in fundamental economic stimulation variables such as road infrastructure, electricity generation, increased capacity and so on. He also indicated that come December this year, Zambia will have enough electricity to spur economic activity. Is this part of the strategy that the PF Government has put in place to support the debt repayment plan in the next six months?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I am slightly baffled by the question, but I will try to address it based on my understanding of it.


Sir, firstly, let me correct the issue of electricity. I did not say that come December, this year, we will have enough electricity. What I said is that come December, this year, we will have an addition of power to the grid. Based on the information that we have from Kafue Gorge Lower Power Station, we should be able to see something come through. Whether that will be enough or not depends upon other parameters like the rainfall pattern this coming season and what will happen at Kariba. However, it will definitely be a positive addition to the grid.


Mr Speaker, it is, indeed, part of our strategy. One of our strategies in borrowing was precisely to reduce the infrastructure deficit. As you know, infrastructure is the base on which economic development takes place. If the infrastructure is poor, it becomes difficult for you to develop your economy.


Sir, take tourism, for example, one of the reasons tourism is floundering is that we need to do a little more in terms of improving the tourism infrastructure. We have all these God-given features like the Victoria Falls and Kalambo Falls. Most of these falls, immaculate as they might be, cannot attract people because when you get there, you find that there is nothing and even getting there is a problem. The same applies to agriculture. We all know that agriculture is adversely affected during the rainy season, a time of the year when we need to transport inputs, if the roads are impassable because they have not been maintained. Therefore, infrastructure is the bloodline of development and it is for this reason that this Government took the challenge of improving infrastructure and borrowed to the extent that it has.


Mr Speaker, I do not think we have to apologise for that. All we need to do now is manage the debt situation, which is what we are beginning to do. I would like the support from both sides of this House because Zambia is for all of us. Let us work together and see how effectively we can deal with the debt challenge as we go forward and ensure that Zambia is the better place that we want it to be.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Chisangano (Gwembe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister told us that the debt stands at about US$27 billion. When does the hon. Minister expect to clear this huge debt?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I did not mention the US$27 billion. That figure was mentioned in this House yesterday and I belaboured the point that it does not reflect the sovereign debt of this country. The sovereign debt stock of this country is US$11.9 billion and that is what we are working on. The balance of that debt has everything to do with what the private sector has borrowed and it has its own obligations and responsibilities to deal with that debt.


Sir, the US$27 billion is not my responsibility to deal with because it is not in my books.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the statement by the hon. Minister on the standstill that he is seeking and wish him well. However, in his statement, he mentioned the fact that this request may not go through, given the geo-political differences in some of these nations that the Government is dealing with. How much is in the sinking fund? If this debt service standstill does not go through, is the sinking fund enough to provide a back-up plan and stop the haemorrhage of debt in our county?


 Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I am not exactly sure what the balance is in the sinking fund presently. So, I will not hazard a guess. However, I can make available more specific information later on. The point that I want to make is that we are looking at other options alongside the initiatives that we are taking under the DSSI. There are other solutions that can be looked at and we are looking at them. Some of them are solutions that you do not want to bring out into the public domain until you have advanced them to a certain stage because there is what is called sensitive market information. When you reveal sensitive market information at the wrong time, it works against you. Hence, all I can say is that we will be able to reveal, at the right time, other measures that we are taking alongside the ones that I have announced.


Mr Speaker, I thank you


Mr Speaker: I will take the last question from the hon. Member for Dundumwezi.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, can the hon. Minister assure me and the nation that Zambia will not lose some of its property such as the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) as a result of the failure by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to pay back loans, especially to the Chinese Government?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the story of Zambia having mortgaged its properties is tired. It is a long time story from two years back. There were speculations that some country had taken over the Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited. This is not true. The debt service arrangements that we are working on are within the perimeters that I have described before this House. I can assure this House and the Zambian people that there is no agreement that we have reached with any entity in the world which pledges our assets as collateral. That, I can say with all the confidence in the world.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.








49.    Dr M. Malama (Kanchibiya) asked the Vice-President:


  1. whether the Government is aware that the roofs of the following infrastructure in Kanchibiya Parliamentary Constituency were blown off by heavy rains on 8th and 9th October, 2020: 


  1. Mulonga Primary School in Chief Luchembe’s Chiefdom; and
  2. Chiunda Ponde Rural Health Centre in Chief Chiunda Ponde’s Chiefdom;


b. if so, what urgent measures are being taken to ensure that school programmes and health services are not       disrupted at the two institutions; and

b. when rehabilitation of the damaged infrastructure will commence.


The Minister in the Office of the Vice-President (Mrs Mwansa): Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the House that the Government is aware of the damage to infrastructure at Mulonga Primary School and Chiunda Ponde Rural Health Centre in Luchembe and Chiunda Ponde chiefdoms, respectively. The roofs at Mulonga Primary School where blown off by strong winds and rains between 1600 hours and 1700 hours on the 9th of October, 2020. On account of this disaster, two classrooms and the office of the head teacher were damaged.


Mr Speaker, the school administration is creating multiple sessions to ensure that the teaching and learning process continues amidst the challenge of classroom space. The school administration is currently liaising with church leaders with the view to using appropriate church buildings as temporary accommodation for learners.


Mr Speaker, the school administration is working with members of the public and community leaders to render support to the school in the quest to sustain the education programme. The Office of the District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) has generated a bill of quantities as the base for seeking financial assistance to rehabilitate the damaged infrastructure with the support of the District Disaster Management Committee (DDMC).


Mr Speaker, the school authority is currently working with the community to mobilise materials in order to commence rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure. However, as a matter of urgency, the cost and time for the completion of rehabilitation of the damaged infrastructure will depend on the recommendations of the District and the Provincial Disaster Management Committees and the availability of funds. In this regard, the House may wish to note that the District and the Provincial Disaster Management Committees will soon submit detailed reports for the Government to undertake appropriate intervention in the two chiefdoms.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I am only taking four interventions, as indicated. Thereafter, we will move on. I will take questions from the hon. Leader of the Opposition, hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, hon. Member for Kanchibiya and the last intervention from the hon. Member for Sioma, then, no more.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central) Mr Speaker, the organisation called the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), itself, is a disaster. Is the hon. Minister not aware that the DMMU is always available to provide requisite materials to rehabilitate schools and to also provide food where there are by-elections? In so many other areas, however, where there are no by-elections, it fails to do what is required of it. Is it because there is no by-election in Kanchibiya that these schools are not being worked on? Would the hon. Minister, therefore, advise the hon. Member to resign so that his school is rehabilitated?


Mrs Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I was in Chipangali yesterday because of a similar problem. What we are waiting for, as I mentioned, is the DEBS to give us a bill of quantities because we cannot guess that they need 100 roofing sheets or so. We have to wait for advice from the DEBS and the committee under Disaster Management.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, my question is similar to Hon. Mwiimbu’s. Kanchibiya has faced this challenge, like many other areas in the country have. Is there no budget line that can attend to these disasters that happen as quickly as they attend to them during by-elections? During by-elections in Ikeleng’i, there were many iron sheets, many bags of mealie meal and a lot of money. The hon. Minister mentioned in her answer that she wants to consult and ask the community for donations. Where does she normally get the iron sheets that she takes to areas during elections?


Mrs Mwansa: Mr Speaker, I said that the community can do something to ensure that pupils continue going to school as we await the bill of quantities. Immediately we receive the bill of quantities, we will go ahead and rehabilitate the school in Kanchibiya.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, to begin with, I really want to remember the founder of the United Party for National Development (UPND), the man whom many Zambians enjoyed to see. Yesterday, the UPND leadership passed through Lavushimanda –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Kanchibiya –




Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I am asking my question. Many of my people in Lavushimanda were injured yesterday by the leadership of the UPND.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Kanchibiya, resume your seat. Do you have a question in relation to your question on the Order Paper?


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I have. It is just that when something is so fresh –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Resume your seat.


However fresh it may be, we have to find suitable platforms. This is neither the platform nor the occasion. I follow these events, but this is not the place. I would like you to pose a follow-up question because I believe you have a concern ...


Dr Malama: Very much so.


Mr Speaker: ...  which is independent of what happened elsewhere.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I would also like to thank her Honour the Vice-President for the response that she has given. Last year, we had a similar situation where two schools were damaged by winds and the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), which the UPND is trying to criticise here, moved in with speed and repaired Muwele Primary School and Kaunda Primary School. We are grateful for that.


Sir, I know Her Honour the Vice-President has given a very good response. However, what is required may not even be above K120,000. When will this hard-working Government move in so that Mulonga Primary School and the rural health centre in Chiunda Ponde are worked on, just like it did last year?


Mrs Mwansa: Mr Speaker, we will be in Kanchibiya as soon as we receive the bill of quantities.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last question from the hon. Member for Sioma.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) was in Sioma sometime last year or the other year and a bill of quantities was provided for a school called Matelele. However, nothing has been done about that.


Sir, I watched the hon. Minister on television when she was in Chipangali where she provided help for 300 houses that had their roofs blown off. We now have this situation for Mulonga. What criterion is used to address such issues? I have heard the hon. Minister emphasise the need for a bill of quantities.


Mrs Mwansa: Mr Speaker, we have not yet received that bill of quantities. I will follow this issue up and get back to the hon. Member as soon as I get the details. Whenever we receive a bill of quantities, we make sure that we do the works for any damage done due to disasters.


I thank you, Sir.







The following Bill was read the third time and passed:


The Food Reserve Bill, 2020









VOTE 01 – (State House – K77,288,357).


(Consideration resumed)


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for according me this opportunity to continue with my debate, pertaining to State House.


Madam Chairperson, this coming Sunday, we will have national prayers that we are told will be for repentance and reconciliation. The President of the Republic of Zambia, I am made to understand, according to the pronouncement, will be the one to lead the prayers at Mulungushi International Conference Centre. He will be one of those who will pray from there. As the President prays with other people, I would like him to reflect and find ways of healing this nation.


Madam Chairperson, you may recall that when the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) came into power in 1991, there was a lot of retribution against those who were in the Government during the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days. The MMD Government ended up arresting President Kaunda. It made sure that his Zambian citizenship was revoked.


Sir, when President Mwanawasa assumed office, there was what other people call retribution. President Chiluba was also arrested just like President Kaunda. When President Banda came into office, a number of people, including some hon. Ministers who are here, were said to have been persecuted during that period. As if that is not enough, when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into power in 2011, a number of sitting hon. Ministers were arrested by the PF. Mr Rupiah Banda’s immunity was lifted and he was arrested. This trend should not continue in this country because what will be happening is that, whatever you do to your colleagues, it will be done to you. We have set a very dangerous precedent in this country.




Mr Mwiimbu: It is not a threat but a fact. What I am stating is a fact because what happens is that when you are in power, you persecute and humiliate your colleagues and when your colleagues come into power, they also seek vengeance, rightly or wrongly. What I am saying is that as they kneel down to pray at Mulungushi International Conference Centre (MICC) on that day, they should, please, reflect and find a way of healing the nation.


Mr Chama: On a point of order, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Mwiimbu: The President is the Chief Executive Officer of Zambia.


The Chairperson: Order!


Resume your seat, hon. Leader of the Opposition. Hon. Minister of Defence, do you want to rise on a point of order?


Mr Chama: Yes, Madam Chairperson:


The Chairperson: A point of order is raised.


Mr Chama: Madam Chairperson, whatever we say in this House and during debate must be factual. The debate by the hon. Leader of the Opposition has indicated that when the Patriotic Front (PF) came into Government in 2011, the immunity of the former President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda, was lifted and he was arrested. That is factually incorrect. Is he in order to state or insinuate that when the PF party came into Government, it arrested the former President, Mr Rupiah Bwezani Banda?


I need your serious ruling on this, Madam Chairperson.


The Chairperson: The hon. Member on the Floor will take that point of order into account and clarify his earlier assertion.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I am surprised that actually, my friend is ignorant pertaining to the issues that happened on the Floor of this House. There was a Motion moved by the Patriotic Front (PF) to remove the immunity of President Banda and he was charged for offences.




The Chairperson: Order! Please, proceed.


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


The Chairperson: I will not allow another point of order on this one. Continue, hon. Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, I have noted that ignorance has grown horns.


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


The Chairperson: Order! Hon. Deputy Chief Whip, resume your seat and the hon. Leader of the Opposition will withdraw the word, ‘ignorance’.


Let us proceed. You have ten seconds to go.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Chairperson, independence of knowledge has grown horns on the Floor of this House. The immunity of Hon. Rupiah Banda was removed on this Floor and he was eventually charged and arrested. He even appeared in court under the PF Government.


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


The Chairperson: I am informed that the hon. Member for Mwansabombwe is in the House and he is ready to render his maiden speech.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampampi (Mwansabombwe): Madam Chairperson, I thank you so much for giving me this opportunity to present my maiden speech to this House. Madam Chairperson, on the 17th of September, 2020, the people from all corners of Mwansabombwe turned up at different polling stations and waited for hours because they wanted their voice to be heard.


On that day, the people of Mwansabombwe said “yes” to the unprecedented infrastructure development of the mighty Patriotic Front (PF) under the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. They said “yes” to the empowerment funds for our productive youths who are working to change the face of our constituency. To all these people, I say, “thank you”.


Madam Chairperson, to the few who did not vote for me, my words to them are that I am still their hon. Member of Parliament. I will work for them too with every bit of energy within me. Let them feel free to engage me, as mine will be an open door policy to everyone. Come 2021, I am confident that I will get their vote too because the work we shall do together in the short period of time remaining, will cement the PF as the party of choice in the area.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampampi: Madam Chairperson, allow me to pay tribute to my predecessor the late Hon. Rodgers Mwewa for the hard work and commitment to the constituency. Hon. Mwewa was dedicated to bringing development to the people of Mwansabombwe, Luapula and Zambia as a whole. I will ensure that the works commenced by Hon. Rodgers Mwewa continues. May his soul rest in peace.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kampampi: Madam Chairperson, I am the second hon. Member of Parliament for Mwansabombwe Constituency since its introduction in 2012, when it was separated from Kawambwa by our beloved late President Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. He was a man who believed in the creation of new districts as the best way to forester development in the rural parts of the country.


Madam Chairperson, I stand in this House as a son of Mwansabombwe, the constituency which is my home. Growing up in Mwansabombwe, I learnt that with unity, we can achieve everything. It is this unity amongst the traditional leaders, religious leaders, Government leaders, and members of the community which will make me work easily as an hon. Member of Parliament.


Madam Chairperson, Mwansabombwe is a diverse constituency and it is an epic centre of trade, culture and fishing. Mwansabombwe is locally referred to as the largest village in central Africa and it is still known as Kazembe on certain maps. The constituency has earned itself the nickname “Little London” because of its modernity and is an envy amongst the rest of the constituencies in the province.


Madam Chairperson, the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has not spared the people of Mwansabombwe and their social economic activities of the constituency. As an hon. Member of Parliament, I will work tirelessly under the able leadership of our Republican President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, not only to bring development to the area but also, caution the people against the impact of COVID-19.


Madam, during my campaign, I noted the tourism potential of Mwansabombwe District, which is home to the mighty Ntumbachushi Falls and majestic Umutomboko Ceremony of the Lunda people under the Chiefdom of Mwata Kazembe. It is the desire of the people of Mwansabombwe to see the infrastructure being built in this area boost the tourism industry and thus attract both local and foreign investment to the district. 


Madam Chairperson, Mwansabombwe, which boasts of the Luapula River and several lagoons, is endowed with vast virgin rich land. The area is stable for fish farming and crop production. The people of Mwansabombwe need a reliable transport system to distribute their produce across the country. Personally, I look forward to seeing foodstuffs from Mwansabombwe on the shelves of supermarkets in urban areas.


Madam Chairperson, during my campaign trial in Mwansabombwe, I heard many people cry for access to clean water, amongst other basic needs such as electricity. I will work closely with the Government of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu to meet these needs. I am happy to note that plans are already under way to improve water supply with a number of boreholes embarked to be sunk in different villages.


Madam Chairperson, as I conclude, allow me to pledge my support to the Government’s effort in ending early marriages and defilement incidences in the district. There are a number of unreported cases in many parts of the country and this is also a rising concern in Mwansabombwe. Laws must be tightened to punish the perpetrators and protect the victims. I urge all hon. Members to take personal responsibility to protect the victims of sexual violence in their constituency.


Madam Chairperson, we have many mountains to climb and plenty of rivers to cross to reach our development goals in Mwansabombwe. With the year 2021 approaching, I emphasise that the mission is only possible with the help of authorities across all ministries. It takes teamwork to make the dream come true. In saying that, I sincerely thank my family, friends, supporters, and the campaign team for their motivation and support.


Madam Chairperson, may I further extend my thanks to the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, Her Honour Vice-President, Mrs Inonge Wina, the party Secretary-General, Mr Davis Mwila, the Deputy Secretary-General, Mrs Mumbi Phiri, the Patriotic Front (PF) Chairperson for Luapula Province, who happens to be my chairperson, Hon. Nickson Chilangwa, the Provincial Chairperson for the Central Province, Hon. Chanda Mutale, Hon. Ronald Chitotela, Member of Parliament for Pambashe Constituency, Hon. Davis Chisopa, MP, and the campaign manager and elections Chairperson for PF, Hon. Yamfwa Mukanga, his Deputies, Hon. Anthony Malama, the Member of Parliament for Nchelenge Constituency and Hon. Anthony Kasandwe, the Member of Parliament for Bangweulu Constituency.


Madam Chairperson, I will stay true to my promise of putting my people first in everything I do. As I conclude, I am humbled to accept the role of Member of Parliament for the people of Mwansabombwe Constituency, but most importantly, to be their servant.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Nakacinda (Nominated): Madam Chairperson, I am very grateful for the opportunity to add my voice on the Vote on the Floor of the House concerning State House.


Let me congratulate the hon. Member for Mwansabombwe for his well-delivered maiden speech. I would like to inform him that my knees are still aching after that vigorous effort. I hope we can compare notes over a cup of tea and see how best we can deal with the issue.


Madam Chairperson, I think Her Honour the Vice-President did express herself very well concerning the allocations, the budget allocated to State House and the importance of the office of the presidency. I will contribute by responding to some of the misinformation that has been shared on the Floor of the House. Yesterday, we heard from the Leader of the Opposition through his debate which he continued today, trying to suggest that State House, as it provides oversight and gives direction on the developments of this country, has failed particularly in areas like Monze. I got concerned because I happened to come from Monze and I can attest before this House that unprecedented development has been witnessed in Monze.


Madam, Monze was born out of Mazabuka, but today, if you look at the road network and the township roads that have been tarred, it is really unprecedented because it has never happened in Monze since time immemorial or even from Independence. If you get to Monze today, even Mazabuka which is older than Monze is beginning to envy the beauty that we have witnessed in Monze.


Madam Chairperson, for the first time, we have one of the biggest secondary schools in the province called Kaunda Secondary School, which is brand new. In addition to the only secondary school that has been in existence, is the Government-owned Monze Secondary School. The rest of the schools, as we know, are all mission schools. A few months ago, the President was in Monze commissioning houses for police officers and workers in the Zambia Correctional Services.


Madam Chairperson, one of the reasons I suspect that the Leader of the Opposition does not appreciate the development is because, instead of participating in advancing development in those areas, they were busy politicking to a point where they tried to send their party cadres to go and attempt to boo the President who was delivering development in those areas.


Madam, I also noticed a comment about privatisation. The debate on privatisation must not be trivialised. The programme was well-intended for us to restructure our economy as we were moving towards liberalisation. The question that the Zambian people have been raising is whether those who were charged with that responsibility did a good job. The comments raised by the Leader of the Opposition yesterday validate the need for us to probe the privatisation process and those who were involved, particularly those we hear were involved, if at all they did anything. We have heard people say that there were double agents in this process, and that people who are now calling themselves the rich citizens of this country emerged from it. These people are not able to explain the source of their wealth. We need the privatisation process to be probed effectively so that we can get to the bottom of what happened because I do not think the economy of this country would be where it is today, if that exercise had been undertaken properly.


Madam Chairperson, there are people who call themselves farmers, but they participated in the process. Owing to time, I will leave my thoughts here, but let me just say that we need the privatisation process to be probed so that we can get to the bottom of everything.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me an opportunity to contribute to the Vote for State House. State House is an important institution. It is not only important to the Ruling Party but to all citizens of the country.


Madam, this Vote enables the President to go round the country to inspect projects, among other programmes, but what we see is the President launching projects which do not take off, especially in the North-Western Province. One sad issue is that during by-elections, we have seen cadres with new vehicles and a lot of money, posing to be from State House. It is my sincere hope that this money is not from such a Vote because the Constitution stipulates exactly who is supposed to use State House funds.


The President and the Vice-President are entitled, but not any other person. It was unprecedented that during the by-elections in Ikeleng’i, specifically in Mwinilamba, there was a gentleman, a party cadre, driving a brand new vehicle, claiming that he was a Personal Assistant to the President based at State House. One asks the question: Are those funds for the party because party functions are supposed to be separated from State House functions?


This gentleman is a former candidate for Solwezi West Constituency and he even addressed meetings, causing fear in everyone who was from State House. To me, that is abuse. During party functions, cadres should not use the Office of the President – State House. Such people should be arrested for impersonation.


Madam Chairperson, this time around, we need to be careful on what we spend our money. We should not just be proactive and spend money on by-elections, yet schools, bridges and roads are not being attended to. It is the President’s duty to ensure that development takes place in every corner of the country whether the people voted for him or not because these are tenets of democracy. I note that Jimbe Road was launched years back by the President and he promised that it would be completed within three years. The President came to my constituency and I even received him. He made some pledges but, to date, nothing is being done about the pledges.


Madam Chairperson, if there are some hon. Members of Parliament who have experienced a lot of development in their areas, I congratulate them. It is not the same for us in the North-Western Province. We have terrible roads. From Solwezi, we used to take two to three hours to reach Mwinilunga. Today, it takes us seven to eight hours. One cannot even talk about the road from Mwinilunga to Jimbe, yet when we talk about the gold mine and the minerals in the North-Western Province, the Government sends police officers to guard the mineral resources.


Madam Chairperson, the President should take care of all of us in the whole country and ensure that development reaches everywhere. How will the people of Ikeleng’i vote for him if he is not delivering development? President Mwanawasa, SC., delivered development even in areas where the people did not vote for him. That is why he became very popular. So, I urge the President and the Office of the President – State House to concentrate on delivering development equally as it is done in developed countries. Our President is a lawyer and a learned person and so let him interpret the law accordingly.


Madam Chairperson, in this country, we should move towards positive trends, but not what we have witnessed with this PF Government, which segregates the people of Zambia. God is for all of us.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the Vote for the Office of the President.


Madam Chairperson, as my colleague said, this office is very important and it has a mandate to fulfil. That mandate is basically as described in the Budget and it reads as follows:


“Overall governance of Zambia and sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nation are upheld for the sole purpose of protecting and safeguarding the interests of the country, its citizens and residents, in accordance with Articles 33 and 34 of the Constitution of Zambia, Act No. 18 of 1996.”


That is the mandate that is given to the President of the Republic of Zambia. Aside from that, how then does he or whoever is the holder of that Office, intend to carry out that mandate? As far as I know, the President should give leadership that is effective to the extent where the mandate is delivered. In the Budget, this Office is put into a cluster which means that the Government has to create a conducive Government environment, which is friendly to the diversification of the economy in terms of reaching the growth that we desire. Ultimately, it gives an output called improved service delivery. That is what we expect the Office of the President to do.


Madam Chairperson, there are key words that have been used in the description of the President’s mandate. One such description is governance, which is a very important keyword. What do we expect from governance that is provided by the President? In governance, the interest of the citizens is that we should have good governance, not changa changa governance, which basically means shooting in the dark. We want governance that is anchored on democratic tenets and the Constitution of Zambia.


Madam Chairperson, in that regard, our interest is freedom of expression. We should be free to express our thoughts and feelings, and to associate and assemble. The media, which is the fourth estate, should also be free to interact with the citizens. In other words, we want a situation where there is respect for the rule of law, and have the police officers who are professional, not brutal. We want a situation where this country is not run like an animal farm. This country should be one where all animals are equal, but not to the contrary where others are more equal. All this is on the head of the President.


Madam Chairperson, we are currently experiencing a situation where there is no leadership as regards the freedoms and liberties of the citizens of this country. Leadership must be seen in the President and he should see to it that all Zambians have equal rights and are free to participate in the economic dispensation of this country. Unless leadership is provided by the President, we shall continue to be divided and to have frictions which in the end, will lead to what the hon. Leader of the Opposition said, where each President who comes in starts –


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Madam Chairperson, to start with, allow me register that the people of Chimwemwe agree with the proposals for State House. Let me talk about the amounts allocated, especially to the economic advisory services.


Madam Chairperson, this Budget is asking us to approve an allocation of K41,000 per week to the economic advisory services. I fully understand, and rightly so, that State House is the apex of State administration. However, how effective is the Presidential Economic Advisory Team going to be with a budget allocation of K41,000 per week? It is my firm belief that the economic advisory team at State House is supposed to traverse our country and in some cases, travel outside the country to collect data, analyse it and feed it to the Presidency. This team will be expected to travel the country and collect data. For example, it will be expected to travel the country in order to show how much Zambia is losing by not commencing the medical cannabis project. If implemented now, this is one project that would see the price of cancer drugs go down. It would also see billions of dollars going into our State coffers.


Madam Chairperson, the economic advisory team for State House will not be expected to be in the office day in, day out from 0800 hours to 1700 hours. No. For example, it would be expected to travel to the Copperbelt, Chambishi, in particular, to collect data, analyse it and feed it to the Presidency. It would show the negative impact of the continued closure of Chambishi Metals Plc on the price of cement in our country, for example. This is happening for one simple reason that Chambishi Metals Plc, which is currently under care and maintenance, produces gypsum, a key ingredient in cement production. We should expect this economic advisory team to travel, not to be stationed at State House. However, how can it achieve anything with the K41,000 per week allocation?


Madam Chairperson, let me give another example. We should expect the economic advisory team to travel the country and collect data on how most Zambians, especially on the Copperbelt, Kitwe in particular, are complaining silently over the continued enforcement of Statutory Instrument No. 76 of 2016, which banned night travel or limits travel up to 2100 hours. The people of Zambia have been asking the Government to relax this rule and push the time to 2400 hours, especially now that the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) restrictions are being lifted. People want to travel. They want to go to Nakonde to buy things and come back. However, the road between Chinsali, Isoka and Nakonde is bad, so buses cannot move at a fast speed. So, why do we not relax that rule so that people can make a living by being able to travel around the country for business?


Madam Chairperson, this State House economic advisory team will be expected to move around and collect data on how much Zambia is losing by not commencing the uranium enrichment project for the generation of electricity. There are many examples of countries that are benefitting from uranium enrichment projects. Currently, electricity charges in China are next to nil because of uranium enrichment plants. We have abundant uranium in Zambia. Why are we taking too long to make use of this high grade resource available in our country and turn around the electricity equation in our country?


In a nutshell, what I am trying to say is that I would like to see a substantial Supplementary Budget mid next year because definitely, these figures are not enough. I am asking the ministry to revise these figures upwards. It should assign appropriate figures to State House.


The Chairperson: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


The Chairperson: Hon. Members of the Frontbench, you will bear with me. We started this Vote yesterday and we have to conclude it. I will, therefore, only allow the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting to debate in support of this Vote.


The Minister of Information and Broadcasting (Ms Siliya): Madam Chairperson, I thank you very much for this opportunity to debate this very important Vote.


Madam, let me begin by saying that there is no absence of leadership in this country, especially in the Office of the President, as one of the earlier debaters tried to state. State House is an institution that is, indeed, a symbol of our desire to be managed in a particular way in this country. We have chosen the presidential system because that is the national desire.


Madam Chairperson, the Presidency is a reflection of our national values and I believe that it is very important to ensure that we do not continue to politicise institutions of governance in this country. There must be a time when we go for elections and a time when elections are put aside and we begin to focus on development. This is because when the citizens of Zambia go for elections, they think about who their best shot is with regard to service delivery.


Madam Chairperson, in terms of debating this Vote, all that our hon. Colleagues on the left have done is to continue with the same song of lamenting and claiming that there is no development even when the Government has actually delivered development. However, the people of Zambia know that there is only one plan on the table and this is the Budget which has been presented, that includes the Vote that we are talking about today. Through the leadership of the Presidency, this plan has provided an extra K1,000 in the pockets of the people of Zambia. That is the plan on the table. The people of Zambia know that their best shot in respect to State House and the Presidency is one that has assured them of a prioritised food security.


Madam Chairperson, in a crisis, you do not do things the same way. The current leadership has said that we should hold the hands of the people of Zambia because we are going through a crisis. Everybody accepts that we have challenges, but singing that song over and over is not going to help.


Madam Chairperson, what those of us on your right hand side have done is to, at least, put a plan on the table and that plan, through the Presidency, includes holding the hands of the people of Zambia. We have made sure that there is social protection through the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare. The Presidency understands that we have to support those who are most vulnerable in our society. We understand that we have to ensure that farming inputs are delivered on time. All this is as a result of good leadership. That is why there is no absence of leadership.


Madam Chairperson, while we accept that there are challenges, I think lamenting and singing the same song is not going to help us. What we would have expected from our hon. Colleagues is an alternative plan. However, since there is no alternative plan and there is only one plan by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, we believe that the people of Zambia understand that their best shot continues to be with the PF.


Madam, coming to the issue of debt, I would like to say that no debt was sourced in secret or in darkness. It was sourced clearly for the development agenda of this country. I think earlier on, the hon. Minister of Finance spent time to explain the situation as far as debt is concerned.


Madam Chairperson, I do not believe that politicising this matter and creating a perception of a nation being irresponsible is the solution. I think the solution continues to be that the people of Zambia have confidence in the institution of the Presidency in this country. They have confidence in the leadership in that Office and as a result, they know that these difficult times will come to an end.


Madam, we are not burying our heads in the sand. We know that there are challenges, but the people of Zambia also know that these challenges are not unique to this country. Every institution of the Presidency around the world is at this point facing challenges because of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). For Zambia, the challenges are even worse because of the drought last year and power deficits all the way from 2015 as well as collapsed commodity prices on the international market.


Madam Chairperson, as I said, we are not burying our heads in the sand. We are just saying that we are providing leadership. We are providing a plan and His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has been very clear that in this crisis, we must know what to prioritise. We are prioritising the vulnerable and young people. We are also prioritising food security. Most of all, we will ensure that the economy grows because we are investing in the most critical areas, so that there is a positive response. We know that without the economy growing, we will not be able to share our national wealth. Our people need to live day by day and this Presidency is holding their hand.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Madam Chairperson, the hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting has adequately covered most of the issues that relate to the governance of this country and the leadership that is provided by His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. However, allow me to respond to some comments, especially the comment made on the State House budget by the hon. Leader of the Opposition on the President’s participation in the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation.


Madam Speaker, indeed, the National Day of Prayer, Fasting, Repentance and Reconciliation is based on reconciliation and forgiveness. I would like to inform the House that seeking vengeance is not the Patriotic Front (PF) Government’s priority.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: The security institutions of the Government only follow those who break the law and those who believe that they should not be prosecuted when they commit a crime because they are above the law.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Vice-President: Madam Chairperson, I equally would like to inform the House that the utilisation of the State House budget is guided by financial regulations and the Vote is audited like any other allocated to Government ministries and spending agencies. Therefore, there is no way the State House budget can be used in by-elections for party functionaries.


Madam Chairperson, I thank all the debaters on the budget for State House.


I thank you, Madam Chairperson.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


The Chairperson: Hon. Members, in view of the changed rules, you will note that we will not call out programmes or departments, but go straight to the Head total of each Vote that we debate. If any one of you has a question, you can indicate. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the time constraint that we are currently facing, we cannot have enough time to deal with the Budget as we have done in the past.


Vote 01 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


Vote 03 ordered to stand part of the Estimates.


VOTE 04 – (Ministry of Gender – K54,065,382).


The Minister of Gender (Mrs Phiri): Madam Chairperson, I thank you for the opportunity you have given me to present the Estimates of Expenditure for the Ministry of Gender for the year 2021.


Madam Chairperson, from the outset, I wish to inform this august House that this is the second year that the Ministry of Gender is implementing the Output Based Budget (OBB). The 2021 Budget has equally taken into account the cluster approach and focused on the implementation of various economic recoveries to ensure that the lives of vulnerable women, men, girls and boys are economically stimulated amidst the negative impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).


The Chairperson: Order!


(Debate adjourned)






[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


(Progress reported)




The House adjourned at 1657 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 16th October, 2020.