Tuesday, 2nd February, 2021

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Tuesday, 2nd February, 2021


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]











The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Mr Speaker, I wish to thank you for giving me this opportunity to issue a ministerial statement on the petroleum situation in the country.


Sir, as you may be aware, Zambia’s stock of petroleum products is met through imports. These comprise of petroleum feedstock and finished products. The imported feedstock is in the form of spiked crude or commingled oil, which is pumped through the 1,700 km Tazama Pipeline and refined at the Government owned, Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company in Ndola. Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company accounts for 40 per cent of the national petroleum requirements. The finished products which are transported by road meet 60 per cent of our petroleum requirements.


Mr Speaker, the currency in which the importation transactions are conducted is the United States (US) Dollar, which implies that the changes in the international oil prices and the depreciation of the Zambian Kwacha against the US Dollar is bound to affect the cost of petroleum products in the country. Further, the changes in these economic fundamentals also affect the operations of institutions in the Zambian fuel supply chain.


Sir, since the last upward price adjustment on 26th December, 2019, the Kwacha has depreciated by 53.1 per cent from K14 to US$1 in December, 2019 to K21.43 to a US Dollar in January, 2021. Additionally, the price of crude products has been fluctuating. It is suffice to say that the two factors, the international price and the exchange rate fluctuation, have not been favourable from the last fuel adjustment.


Mr Speaker, owing to the foregoing, the losses and shortfalls incurred in the importation of crude feedstock and finished products compromised the further importation and the security of the supply of petroleum products. To recover the full cost of importing crude feedstock and finished products, domestic prices for wholesale and pump prices needed to be adjusted upwards.  However, increasing the fuel price would lead to a multiplier effect that would see the prices of many goods and services increase in the country. This would have been retrogressive especially now with the adverse impact of the Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on the global economy and the Zambian economy in particular.


Sir, to prevent an upward adjustment of petroleum products, my ministry in consultation with several stakeholders including the Ministry of Finance came up with a proposal to realign various cost elements in the petroleum price build up that were affected by the changes in both the local and international economic fundamentals. This necessitated the zero-rating of the Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel. Additionally, excise duty has been removed on diesel while for petrol, it has been reduced from K2.07 to 64n per litre. I wish to state that the benefits of these measures have been passed on to the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), which before the incentives were introduced, were landing the product at a higher price than the approved pump prices thereby making losses. These measures also benefited the citizens who would have spent more on fuel in the event of an upward price adjustment on the commodity.


Mr Speaker, I am aware that there have been some reports of fuel shortages in some parts of the country, but with the support of the Ministry of Finance, I would like to assure the country that an interim measure, which is a waiver has been granted to OMCs to import finished products for a period of six months starting form 1st January, 2021 to 30th June, 2021. This will complement Government contracted suppliers and will improve the security of supply. A total number of eighty-seven OMCs were given the waiver to import fuel. The total quantity of diesel allocated to them is 1.9 billion litres and that for petrol is 934 million litres.


Sir, it should be noted that Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company has been shutdown since 12th December, 2020. I am confident that once the revolving facility using a letter of credit is concluded, Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company will be back on stream in the next few weeks. With these measures, I am confident that the situation will normalise as most OMCs have indicated their willingness to import petroleum products.


Mr Speaker, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government led by His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has heard the cries of the people by cushioning and absorbing the imminent fuel price increase. We are a listening Government and we still stand by the promise we gave the Zambian people of being a pro-poor Government.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I listened very attentively to the statement by the hon. Minister of Energy. It is a welcome statement. However, I tried to listen and I have –


Mr Miyutu was inaudible.


Mr Speaker: Are you still there, hon. Member for Kalabo Central?


Mr Miyutu: Sir, the hon. Minister did not give the reason that led to the shortage of fuel which occurred in isolated areas like the Western Province.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the shortage of fuel was as a result of the OMCs wanting to increase the price of fuel that they were bringing in because they were landing it at a more expensive cost than the price that they were selling it for. Therefore, after removing the excise duty and zero-rating the VAT, the situation was resolved.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Energy has correctly indicated that the reason the price of fuel was threatening to go up was because of the exchange rate of the Kwacha that has depreciated by more than 50 per cent, as he indicated. The hon. Minister’s solution, or that of his Government, is to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on fuel. Is the hon. Minister not doing this just temporarily for the purpose of getting to the elections between May and July, 2021 because we know that the VAT that has been removed on fuel is required by the Treasury or it is necessary money? So, how can the Government sustain the removal of VAT on fuel when in fact the problem is with the exchange rate? Is this not hoodwinking the Zambian people?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, in my statement, I indicated that we are in the times of the COVID-19. The situation on the ground is so bad such that people cannot afford many commodities. As a result of the situation that we are in, we had to take care of the Zambian people by making sure that we do not increase the fuel price. This is because increasing the fuel price would have meant the price of everything else going up. So, we had to give the Zambian people a break.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister claims that this Government is pro-poor. Therefore, I would like him to demonstrate to me how it is pro-poor in the context that inflation is now almost at 22 per cent and the exchange rate is almost at K22 for US$1. This means that the effects of those two factors on a poor person have gone up. So, in what sense is this Government pro-poor?


Mr Speaker: I have difficulty in allowing the hon. Minister to respond to that question.


Just a reminder hon. Members, this is the time for points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out where the hon. Minister’s ministry stands with regards to the negotiated cheap oil from Saudi Arabia announced by his predecessor a few years ago. Would he call this a deal or no deal?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chimwemwe, that is a new issue.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that wonderful statement. I would like to find out if the Government is subsidising the cost of fuel. I have asked this question because people on the streets and in particular those in the Opposition are saying –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chama South, I think you have already posed your question.


Mr Mung’andu: Thank you for the guidance, Mr Speaker. Is the Government helping our people to reduce the cost of fuel and living in general?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, as I said in my statement, the price of fuel could have gone up a long time ago. However, we have not increased the price of fuel for over a year. I can actually say that for fourteen months, we have not increased the price of fuel due to the COVID-19 situation that we are in. We are mindful of that and we know that we are still in this situation. Therefore, we are trying to cushion the people. So, the answer is yes, we have been subsidising the price of fuel.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I welcome you back to the House.


Mr Speaker: Thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister assure the nation that as a result of the waiver on the Value Added Tax (VAT) and sales tax, the price of fuel will not increase and that going forward, measures will be put in place to ensure that it does not increase despite the escalation of the depreciation of the Kwacha?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, as the exchange rate is at K21.50 for US$1 today and the price of crude oil is about US$53 per barrel, the price of fuel will not be adjusted. However, I cannot stand here and say that this price is going to be the same in perpetuity. When certain things happen, adjustments will be made if we have no room to maneuver. However, as for now, there is not going to be a price adjustment.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister told the people of this country to be calm as measures are being put in place by the Government. However, in some parts of the nation, like Manyinga, we have had no fuel shortage for three months now. The people of Manyinga and other parts of this nation want to know how long they should be calm as they are losing hope in the hon. Minister’s statements.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I am hearing this for the first time that there has been no fuel supply in Manyinga for three months. The hon. Minister for Southern Province called me when there were problems there concerning fuel. Hon. Cornelius Mweetwa, as an hon. Member of Parliament, called me to tell me that the situation in Choma was not good. I think that from places where they called us, we pushed the OMCs to make sure they delivered the fuel. So, hon. Member, if you have a situation, please, let us talk to one another so that we can unlock these situations. I am hearing this for the first time and I can promise you that after this sitting I am going to call my office and we will supply Manyinga with fuel because right now, we have a lot of fuel in stock.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, one of the reasons fuel is expensive is because of agents that are involved in its procurement. Why does the Government not remove these agents from the process so that the landing price of fuel would be reasonable to everyone? That would be the permanent solution unlike what it has done now.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I do not think that we have any middlemen or people that are supplying fuel that we do not need. Whatever you do, you will need truckers and people to do certain things to make sure that the fuel arrives at a good price. The reason our fuel is expensive or could be expensive – not right now because I think we  are the second cheapest in the region, otherwise everywhere else, fuel costs US$1 or above. At the moment we are at about 72 cents. So, we are the cheapest in terms of the cost of fuel. The simple reason is that we have to haul this fuel all the way from Dar-es-Salaam, a distance of about 2000 km, by truck bringing it here. So, do not compare us to countries like Tanzania, South Africa, Mozambique, and other places which have ports. So, it is not because of the people that we have in the supply chain. We need those people in the supply chain.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, a few years ago, the Ministry of Energy embarked on the construction of fuel reserve tanks in all provincial headquarters. This was due to the fact that the Government was looking at avoiding fuel shortages like those that transpired a few weeks ago. So, how far has the ministry gone with the construction of these reservoir tanks across the country?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, this programme is ongoing. We have Mansa where we have just completed the construction of reserve tanks. In Lusaka, the reserve tanks are about 50 per cent complete, and in Chipata, the tanks are about 80 per cent complete. We cannot do everything at once. We are going to have reserve tanks in Choma as well, but that plan is still on the drawing board. A soon as funds are available we will make sure that we extend the construction of these reserve tanks to other provinces. So, that programme is ongoing.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for his statement. Given the importance of fuel to the Zambian economy, apart from the tanks the Government is building, are there no other contingency measures that have been put in place to ensure the constant supply of fuel when the suppliers choose to withhold the stock?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, there is a project which the ministry is working on presently. This is to put up a pipeline between Angola and Zambia. That should be able to bring in a lot of fuel into Zambia. This will be a finished product. So, yes, the Government is taking measures to make sure that that there are other avenues of bringing in fuel apart from through trucking it in, Tanzania Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) and Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited (Indeni).


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s statement on the status as regards to the fuel situation in the country. I might have missed what I am asking about, but please try and clarify matters. One of the reasons we have this acute shortage according to what I seem to have gotten is that apart from the depreciation of the Kwacha against the United States Dollar, forcing the marketing companies to not bring in fuel, was that Indeni Petroleum Refinery Company Limited was out of operation and because of that the current situation was exacerbated. Now, hon. Minister, I would like to find out, maybe you mentioned it but I did not get it, when do you expect Indeni, which is very critical in the supply of fuel in the country to be back in operation so as to stabilise the situation.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I would say that Indeni should be up and running within four to six weeks as we are finalising the letter of credit. We are trying to get a letter of credit through one of the banks. This will be a revolving letter of credit to cover the nine remaining cargos that are on the order. So, once that is done, we will not have any unnecessary stoppages at Indeni. It will be running for the next one and half years without many problems.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiinga (Chikankata): Mr Speaker, going by the hon. Minister’s statement, some of the measures are as a result of the Coronavirus Disease - 2019 (COVID-19). What measures has his ministry put in place in as far as long-term measures are concerned?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the long-term measure is the putting in place of a pipeline like the one from Angola where we will be transporting fuel at a much cheaper rate. If you transport fuel from Tanzania to Zambia by truckers, it is much more expensive than transporting it using a pipeline. The Government will be putting up a pipeline from Angola to Zambia. This will be beneficial to the country as it is bound to reduce or maintain the price of fuel.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four interventions as follows: Hon. Members for Nchanga, Mitete, Luena and I will end with Kasempa.


Mr Chali (Nchanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the hon. Minister for the initiative taken on the reduction of the excise duty and the waiver on the customs duty so as to hold the price of fuel. What measures has the hon. Minister put in place to ensure that the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) are not deliberately hoarding fuel to create the current shortage we are having intermittently?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, all the OMCs that operate in this country have to be licensed by the Energy Regulation Board (ERB). If there are any of them that are trying to do things that are out of line with what the Government intends to do, through the ERB, we will be able to sanction them. We will complain to the ERB and it will sanction them. We have a system in place that checks the operations of OMCs. In fact, I accompanied a team of ERB officials to Livingstone on Friday to check on the filling stations and we came back on Saturday. We also accompanied them to check on some of the depots that are in this country to find out how much stock they had, and whether they were hoarding on to stock and so on and so forth.


Mr Speaker, there is a mechanism in place which ensures that if people are not doing the correct thing, they will be sanctioned accordingly.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. Minister for the ministerial statement. One of the reasons stated by the hon. Minister that would have led to the hiking of the price of fuel was the deprecation of Kwacha which is currently at US$1 to K22. Is the hon. Minister aware that despite not hiking the price of fuel, the prices of goods and services are still high for the citizens of Zambia due to the depreciation of the Kwacha?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, can you summarise your question?


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that if the price for fuel had gone up, then the prices for goods and services out there would have increased. Is the hon. Minister not aware that the prices of goods and services out there is already high due to the depreciation of the Zambian Kwacha?


Mr Speaker: I will give the liberty to the hon. Minister to respond to that question.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, had we increased the price of fuel, it would have meant that the price of bread was going to increase to K11 or K12 if it is selling at K10 today. The price was still going to go up. As the Government, we are trying to look out for our people where possible.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the suspension of tax on petroleum products was intended to give the people of Zambia relief due to what they are going through because of the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The hon. Minister feels that if the taxation waiver was not done, then the pump price of oil definitely would have gone up.


Sir, does this mean that as long as COVID-19 is here with us, the tax will continue to be suspended?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the tax has been waved for the rest of the year up to December. When we get to November or December, we have to review the situation and inform the public accordingly. The aim of the Government is not to keep on increasing the prices of goods and commodities, but to try to give relief to our people who are going through very difficult times.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, I would like to find out from the Minister of Energy if at all his ministry has put in place mechanisms for the monitoring of the supply of fuel in various filling stations, instead of us engaging him every time we run out of fuel in Chifunabuli. Does the ministry have mechanisms to help monitor the supply situation in various filling stations in Zambia?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, the hon. Minister just explained a while ago that he was in the company of officials from the Energy Regulation Board (ERB) doing exactly what you are asking him about. Unless, hon. Minister, you want to add something.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the ERB has offices in all the ten provinces and the idea is that we have equipped them with motor vehicles and so on and so forth. The job of the ERB offices is to monitor the fuel situation which they do. Even as I sit here, they do give us information on the fuel that filling stations have and the number of days that the fuel will last. We have a monitoring mechanism, but sometimes it may be difficult for ERB officers to reach out to far-flung places because we only have one office in a province. When a situation like that arises, it will only be helpful for hon. Members to get involved if they have a desperate situation, and we will be able to assist them.


I thank you, Me Speaker.


Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa): Mr Speaker, my question to the hon. Minister relates to the impact of the tax waivers that have been made to ensure that we support the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). Will this not have an impact on the appropriations that have been made against the revenue collection for the Treasury?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, as the Ministry of Energy, we requested the Ministry of Finance to issue us with waivers. The ministry did an assessment of the impact that the waiver will have on the Treasury. If the Ministry of Finance thought that the waiver was going to negatively impact revenue collection very much, it would not have granted it. Instead, it looked at the pros and cons before granting us this waiver.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will allow the hon. Members for Lufwanyama, Keembe and Dundumwezi, as the last three


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, in his statement when answering the question from the hon. Member for Manyinga, the hon. Minister stated that the country has a lot of fuel. I would like to find out from him if he is assuring the nation that the country will not run out of fuel before the Patriotic Front (PF) hands over power, as we are having General Elections in August?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the trouble with our colleagues is that they win before running the race. You cannot win before you run the race. You have to run the race and then win. When you go into a competition, it is just a competition, until you win. There is a saying that it does not matter whether you win or lose until you lose, and the PF is not used to losing. We always win, and we shall win. Therefore, I am assuring the nation that there will be enough fuel supply in the country.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kasune (Keembe) Mr Speaker, it is good to have you back and to see you well and healthy.


Sir, has the Government taken the initiative to use freight, especially the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) because the more we use tankers, the more the fuel is expensive for our country? Before we talk about putting up the pipeline, I am just wondering whether the Government has been deliberate in ensuring that we use our own TAZARA freight.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the answer is yes, we use the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA), but it does not have a lot of capacity. So, we use whatever capacity it has to transport fuel. Truly, it is much more cost effective than transporting by road. So, when TAZARA builds capacity, we will be able to use it more.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that in the long-term, the Government plans to connect a pipeline from Angola into Zambia. I would like to know at what stage those plans are.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, we will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) within this month. Thereafter, the technocrats will start working according to the MoU that we will give them because it will have guidelines to follow. So, very soon or within this month, we will sign the MoU and we will move forward.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, it is good to see you.


Sir, with the depreciation of the Kwacha, do we foresee a situation whereby the Government will probably increase the subsides? If so, has the Government thought about the impact it would have on the Treasury?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I just answered a question on the impact on the Treasury. The Ministry of Finance looked at this issue, and they are the people who issued the Statutory Instrument (SI). Therefore, they were comfortable that they had space in which to operate from.  Increasing the price of fuel is the last thing that we, as the PF Government, would like to do. We would not like to increase the price of fuel or any other commodity at all. We will try and maintain that as much as possible.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.







105. Ms Katuta (Chienge) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. why the Government has extended the fish ban from 1st March, 2021 to 31st May, 2021;
  2. whether the Government is aware of the adverse effect the extension will have on people who depend on fishing as a means of livelihood; and
  3. what immediate measures the Government is taking to alleviate the suffering of people in Chienge District and other fishing areas, countrywide, as a result of the extended fish ban.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina) (on behalf of the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo)): Mr Speaker, as you may be aware, Section 14(1) of the Fisheries Act No.22 of 2011, allows the hon. Minister responsible for fisheries to put in place fisheries management measures through a gazette notice. These measures may include:


  1.  closed seasons for designated areas, species of fish or methods of fishing;
  2. prohibited fishing areas for all or designated species of fish or methods of    fishing; and
  3. any other measures that are necessary for the proper management of the fisheries.


Sir, in line with this provision in the Laws of Zambia, the extension of the fishing ban from 1st March, 2021 to 31st May, 2021 using Gazette Notice No. 1374 is a fisheries management measure meant to ensure that the targeted fishing areas are given an opportunity to repopulate and improve the fish stocks that are under serious threat due to increased fishing pressure and use of poor and destructive methods. However, based on the feedback from stakeholders, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is withdrawing the gazette notice in order to consult all stakeholders and engage in the sensitisation of the fishing communities before such an extension can be actualised. The House may wish to know that the consultations will also extend to countries that we share the water bodies with. The House and the nation should, therefore, note that the current fish ban ends on Sunday, 28th February, 2021.


Mr Speaker, the Government is fully aware of the adverse effect of extending the fishing ban. That is why the ministry has decided to make consultations with all relevant stakeholders.


Sir, as you may be aware, the Government is promoting the diversification agenda within the wider agricultural sector. Currently, the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock is supporting this agenda through the promotion of fish farming and livestock production countrywide. Communities across the country, including Chienge, are being trained in aquaculture as alternative means of producing fish during the fish ban period.


Mr Speaker, the House may wish to know that Chienge District has a total of twelve beneficiaries who are receiving loans from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock, through the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC). The value of these loans is K1,545,453,60. Livestock farming, particularly small livestock such as goats and poultry are other alternatives being promoted during such a period. Chienge District has 122 households who have benefited from the stocking and restocking of the livestock. Our people need to be encouraged to diversify and not limit their livelihood options to fishing only. The aforementioned opportunities are open to all Zambians and should be taken on board.


 I thank you, Sir.  


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank Her Honour the Vice-President for the statement that she has just issued in which she assured the nation that the fish ban which was extended to 31st May, 2021 has been withdrawn and that it will now come to an end at the end of February, 2021.


Sir, is the ministry going to consult the people of Liuwa on this matter because we have a very important message to deliver to the Government that there is extensive flooding in Liuwa Parliamentary Constituency and that most crops such as maize and even rice have been destroyed and, therefore, the only livelihood still available to the people is fishing? So, is the Government going to consult us so that we can tell it plainly to leave fishing alone so that the people can benefit from the activities emanating from it?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the people of Liuwa have received this message. So, the sensitisation was intended to inform the people of Liuwa and in all other fishing areas that the fishing ban was being extended up to May, but now, that directive is not there anymore. So, as the hon. Member of Parliament goes round his constituency in Liuwa, he can inform the people of Liuwa that this good Government has maintained the fish ban from December to the end of February, as outlined in this message.


 I thank you, Sir.


 Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, it is great to have you in the House. Allow me to pass my condolences to the family of the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, Prof. Luo, on their loss.


Sir, on behalf of my people of Kanchibiya, Lavushi Manda and my in-laws in Nalolo, I thank the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for being a listening Government because this issue became a thorn in the flesh. Could Her Honour the Vice-President assure the Zambian people that in future, the Government will ensure that the technocrats consult exhaustively to avoid putting it in positions like the current one?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the announcement regarding the extension of the fish ban up to May did not come through Government channels. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock was still discussing the matter to find out whether the extra time given would help to replenish the fingerlings in the water bodies. How this information was given to the public before the Government could reach a consensus on it is everyone’s guess. I suppose it was part of social media reporting.


 I thank you, Sir. 


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I am taken aback by Her Honour the Vice-President’s statement pertaining to the purported fish ban in which she has indicated that the Government did not effect such a ban and that it was just comments on social media. I would like to find out from Her Honour the Vice-President why she had to come to the House to issue a statement on the Floor of the House stating that the Government has decided to bring back the original period of the fish ban from May, 2021, as announced to February, 2021, if there was no such a ban.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, there was no such a ban. The Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock was still discussing this matter. It had not even been brought to Cabinet. So, there was no official declaration that the fish ban had been extended.


Sir, I just want to encourage our fish farming communities to observe the good methods of catching fish so that we do not deplete our water bodies of this protein-giving resource that we have in our rivers. I believe that all the fishermen in the country will abide by the rules from the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock and that they should be excited about the Government’s decision not to extend the fish ban.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kasandwe (Bangweulu): Mr Speaker, –


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to raise a very serious point of order on the hon. Minister of Health.


Sir, I am aware that your predecessors and yourselves, as Presiding Officers, have indicated on the Floor of this House that whatever is said outside this House is hearsay, and what we rely on is what is said on the Floor of the House.


 Mr Speaker, you may not be aware that, of late, we have been confronted by so many statements pertaining to the scandalous activities at the Ministry of Health. We have heard of the recalls of medicines and condemnations of particular medical requisites that have been provided to Zambians by Honeybee Pharmacy and other companies contracted by the Ministry of Health.


Mr Speaker, you are aware that unlike a motor vehicle which can be recalled and repaired, when medicine is administered in hospitals, it is taken as medication by many Zambians. As a result of the speculations and statements that have arisen, there is a lot of apprehension pertaining to the safety of the medicine that the Ministry of Health is administering to Zambians.


Sir, as if that is not enough, the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) has been making pronouncements that it is in the process of acquiring vaccines in order to protect Zambians from the Coronavirus Disease - 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.


Mr Speaker, with the current lack of confidence in the Ministry of Health, is it not prudent for the hon. Minister of Health to come to this House to address us, and through this House the nation, pertaining to the issues surrounding the health of Zambians? If that is not done, even the vaccine which the Government intends to bring into this country will not be willingly accepted by the Zambian people.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Sir, the point of order is: Is the Government in order to remain mute when there is a very serious issue that affects the lives of Zambians? Of late, we have witnessed many unexplainable deaths which other people are attributing to these fake medicines which are being administered.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, are our hon. Colleagues on your right in order to remain quiet and not address the nation to allay the fear that is in the minds of Zambians currently?


Mr Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister of Health is scheduled to render a ministerial statement tomorrow, 3rd February, 2021 on the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. If you have other concerns outside that subject, as usual you are at liberty to ask questions. We will forward the questions to your hon. Colleagues on the right and they will, I hope, give a measured response to those other specific issues that you may have in mind. In the meantime, I can confirm that I have authorised the hon. Minister of Health to render a ministerial statement on COVID-19 tomorrow afternoon.


The hon. Member for Bangweulu was interrupted by the point of order. May he continue.


Mr Kasandwe: Mr Speaker, the people of Bangweulu are very grateful this afternoon that Her Honour the Vice-President has cleared the air on the misinformation surrounding the fish ban extension. My question is, therefore, as follows: Over the years, the Government has used fishing bans as one of the measures to improve the fish stocks in our water bodies. Are there any immediate plans by the Government to restock the fish, especially in the Bangweulu complex?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government is conducting environmental assessments in many of our water bodies so that the fishermen in those areas do not have to go through expensive assessments on their own. For example, the Government conducted the environmental assessments on behalf of Zambians on Lake Bangweulu, Lake Mweru, Luapula River, Lake Kariba and Lake Tanganyika. This was done to create an enabling environment for Zambians to venture into aquaculture without, as I said, conducting expensive and lengthy environmental assessments on their own.


So, the Government is doing a lot to assess the amounts of fish stocks in some of these water bodies and where the situation is critical and requires the Government’s intervention, the aquaculture sector is encouraged to produce more fingerlings so that they can be planted in these water bodies, including our big lakes. So, the process is continuing and the creation of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock will do a lot to promote aquaculture in this country for the local market as well as for export.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I will take the last four follow up questions from the hon. Members for Luena, Mwandi, Chienge and finally Chembe.

Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, indeed, there is the depletion of fish species in our water bodies here in Zambia. Her Honour the Vice-President has mentioned the importance of fish bans around this season to allow the fish to breed. However, the other concern which is there is that the Department of Fisheries seems to be understaffed, such that the officers in this department fail to conduct sensitisation activities amongst our fishermen. Therefore, does the Government have plans to recruit more staff in the Department of Fisheries?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the agricultural sector, including livestock and fisheries, will be the anchor of the Economic Recovery Programme. The Government definitely has plans to revamp the agricultural sector as well as the livestock and fisheries sub-sectors by increasing the manpower in those sectors. There will be revamping of the offices of the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock through the recruitment of more fisheries officers in the districts, especially in areas where aquaculture has taken prominence. We are doing the same in other agricultural sectors. Camp officers will be employed to ensure that our people in the villages and fishing communities receive expert training and information from our trained officers.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutaba (Mwandi): Mr Speaker, I would like to commend the Government for withdrawing the proposal for extending the fish ban. Your Honour the Vice-President, what is the level of co-ordination, in terms of fish bans, between Zambia and Namibia? I ask this question because right now, as Zambia, we have a fish ban that has been running from 1st December to 28th February each year, but the other side, in Namibia, there is no fish ban such that fishermen are fishing freely yet we are sharing the same water body like the Zambezi River.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, this is exactly the reason the extension of the fish ban was halted. It is simply because Zambia shares water bodies with many countries. We share the boundary with Zimbabwe and Namibia on the western side. Even inside Zambia, we share water bodies with Angola and Namibia on the Kavango River. We share water bodies with the Democratic Republic of Congo on Luapula River and Lake Bangweulu. We share the Lake Tanganyika water body with Tanzania, Burundi and one or two other countries up north. For us to effect any ban successfully, we need to consult our neighbours so that we all agree on the effective way of implementing the ban on both sides.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Katuta: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Government for withdrawing that fish ban extension. It has given me so much joy and would like to say well done. Since Her Honour the Vice-President mentioned that there will be consultations to be done with stakeholders, I want to find out whether these stakeholders will include hon. Members of Parliament because we are the ones who understand what is happening on the ground unlike the technocrats. The 31st May, 2021 date is during the time of winter. By then the fish would have gone under the water −


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, I think you have already asked your question. Will hon. Members of Parliament be consulted? That is the question.


Mrs Katuta: Thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, indeed hon. Members of Parliament are consulted in every area that needs some change. Hon. Members represent the people and are the best ambassadors to disseminate information on Government policies and how they affect the people. So, we believe that after this statement in Parliament, hon. Members of Parliament will use this opportunity to inform their people about what the Government has decided and to just encourage them to use appropriate fishing methods so that we do not deplete our water bodies.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Kopulande (Chembe): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the people of Chembe that gave me the honour to represent them in this august House, I wish to thank this listening Government for having withdrawn the extension of the ban because the people of Chembe depend on fishing for their livelihood, and I am glad to hear that the consultations will cover hon. Members of Parliament. Does the Government have plans to provide technical knowhow and financial support to the current fishing communities so as to wean them off depending on fishing from natural water bodies, but to instead learn how to breed their own fish from which they can still make a very good and profitable living?


The Vice-President: Mr Speaker, the Government has made substantial strides in engaging the people in aquaculture. The Government is promoting aquaculture in every part of this country to specifically reduce the fishing pressure on our natural water bodies. Cage fish farming is being promoted in areas such as Siavonga, Chipepo, Sinazongwe, Samfya, Nchelenge, Sioma, Senanga and Nalolo districts. Other areas include Lusiwasi and Lake Tanganyika. All these are efforts to make sure that our people learn other methods of fishing other than depending on our rivers and lakes.


Sir, in actualising self-sufficiency in fish without depending on capture fisheries from the natural water bodies, the Government is implementing a very ambitious programme, amounting to US$27 million, which is the Aquaculture Seed Fund. A total of 1,208 Zambian projects valued at K203,989,876.87 have been targeted. Both small and large commercial operators have been approved so that they can access funds from this dollar fund. There are 560 Zambians, out of this lot, who are women. So, you can see that the Government is doing a lot to ensure that aquaculture embraces all, including women and youths. In a few years to come, Zambians will depend more on aquaculture perhaps more than fishing from our water bodies.


I thank you, Sir.




106.  Mr Chaatila (Moomba) asked the Minister of Finance:


  1. what the cause of the sharp depreciation of the Kwacha against the United States Dollar and other major convertible currencies from an average of K3 in 2011 to around K15 in March, 2020, was; and
  2. what measures are being taken to avert further depreciation of the Kwacha.


The Minister of Finance (Mr Ng’andu): Mr Speaker, let me start by joining the other hon. Members who have welcomed you back to the House. It is good to see you back, looking and sounding strong.


Mr Speaker: Thank you.


Mr Ng’andu: Sir, I would like to state that Zambia operates a floating exchange rate regime, meaning that the exchange rate of the Kwacha is determined by market forces of supply and demand, which are reflected in the structure of the economy and the macroeconomic position of the country at a particular point in time.


Mr Speaker, it is, therefore, important to point out that the performance of the exchange rate over a long period of time, such as the one cited by the hon. Member, fundamentally reflects the economic structure of this country. Since independence, and perhaps before that, Zambia has remained heavily dependent on the exporting of one commodity for its foreign exchange earnings and that is copper. The implication of relying on a non-diversified economic structure is that adverse shocks to the primary foreign exchange earning sector affects the performance of the exchange rate in the long run.


Sir, I would like to address the situation since 2011. I wish to inform the House that in 2011, the exchange rate of the Kwacha averaged K4.86 to the United States (US) Dollar. This was attributed to an increase in the supply of foreign exchange on the domestic market which exceeded demand. This was further supported by the broad based strengthening of macroeconomic fundamentals and the prevailing favourable assessment of the policy environment by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which saw the release of US$310.3 million by the IMF.


Mr Speaker, on the global front, the market sentiment in 2011 was lifted by signs of economic recovery in the United States of America (USA) and surging commodity demand by China and other consumers of hard metals. In particular, the demand for copper coupled with a fall in inventories pushed up the price of copper by nearly 50 per cent to an all-time high of US$9,687 per metric tonne at the end of December, 2010, from US$6,515 per metric tonne at the end 2010. All this led to the appreciation of the currency in 2011.


Sir, over the years, supply and demand conditions changed, with external and domestic shocks that have influenced the exchange rate market. During the period 2011 to 2020, Zambia has faced shocks from slowdowns in the international economy that led to a drop in commodity prices, including copper, and domestically climate change factors that resulted in droughts that prompted the importation of power and food, which affected the demand for foreign exchange. These have impacted the main sources of foreign exchange earnings, which are copper exports, non-traditional exports, investment flows, and flows from our co-operating partners.


Mr Speaker, foreign exchange earnings versus demand during the period 2015 to 2020 were as follows:


  1. in 2015, the demand for dollars in the market was US$7,793 against US$8.3 million;
  2. in 2016, it was US$6 million against US$6.8 million; and
  3. in 2017, it was US$6.8 million against US$8.9 million.


Sir, as can be seen, the gap between supply and demand is very narrow, therefore, from time to time results in the depreciation of the currency because of the narrow difference between the supply and the demand. If the demand increases and there is a high proportionate to the supply, there is pressure on the currency and if the reverse happens, the currency appreciates.


Mr Speaker, with regards to the current situation, the reason for the depreciation of the exchange rate is twofold:


  1. on the demand side, there has been increased demand for the US Dollar due to the foreign exchange requirements for the importation of agricultural inputs, health related supplies to mitigate the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the procurement of petroleum products, as mentioned by the hon. Minister of Energy,  among others. Higher demand for foreign exchange has also come about due to the Government needing to pay foreign currency denominated debt service obligations; and
  2. on the supply side, there has been the reduced supply of foreign exchange due to reduced foreign exchange sales from the mining sector and reduced economic activity as the economy is projected to contract in 2020.


Sir, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government under the able leadership of our President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has taken note of the exchange rate depreciation and will continue to use all available monetary and foreign exchange intervention options to manage the volatility of the Kwacha whilst allowing it to adjust to the prevailing market conditions.


Mr Speaker, the mitigation measures that are being taken into account to avert the further depreciation of the Kwacha focus on building sufficient foreign exchange reserves which in turn would stabilise the Kwacha. These measures are the following:


  1. the Central Bank has been working with financial service providers and others to increase the availability of foreign exchange liquidity in the market and to better manage demand particularly for import products such as fuel and fertiliser;
  2. the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) revised the interbank foreign exchange market rules aimed at supporting the interbank trading of foreign exchange, market discipline and allowing for a more measured adjustment in the exchange rate in periods of market stress in order to avoid speculations in the market becoming the important factor in the movement of the exchange rate;
  3. mining companies began paying all their statutory tax obligations to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) through the Central Bank, contributing to the foreign exchange reserves accumulation; 
  4. the Government has put up measures that will centralise all gold purchases through the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines - Investments Holdings (ZCCM-IH) by law for onward sale to the BoZ by the mid of 2021, as a way of increasing our gold reserves;
  5. the Government intends to reduce debt obligations and has engaged a financial advisory firm to reprofile our debt in order to reduce debt service payments; and
  6. the Government is also putting up measures to expand our export base, especially regarding value addition to our agricultural products, in order to generate exports and build up foreign exchange reserves.


Sir, the last point needs emphasis. It is important that value addition through further industrialising this country is vigorously pursued so that it can move forward. A strong industrial base particularly with respect to value addition adding sectors such as manufacturing is known to contribute to sustainable growth in exports and foreign exchange. The promotion of industrialisation should, therefore, continue to be given prominence in our economic management strategies. Efforts that this Government has been pursuing with respect to this are clearly the right thing to do in order to achieve a competitive exchange rate. 


Mr Speaker, the BoZ in collaboration with the Government will continue to use all available monetary and foreign exchange intervention options, as appropriate, to address adverse developments in the foreign exchange market and to particularly deal with the short-term fluctuations in the rate.


I thank you, Sir.

Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that this country mainly depends on copper as a means of foreign exchange earnings. With the acquisition of 100 per cent shares in Mopani Copper Mines Plc and the acquisition of Konkola Copper Mines Plc (KCM), to what extent does the hon. Minister think this will in the long and short run cushion the depreciation of our currency?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, at this point in time, it may be speculative to exactly say the impact that the acquisition will have on the exchange rate. However, the thinking is that, with the ZCCM-IH owning the mines, we should see more value coming to this country because as it is right now, most of the foreign exchange that is generated does not come to Zambia. It stays outside the country in the banks of the mining companies. The companies only bring to this country what they need to bring in to meet requirements such as paying for power, salaries and meeting their tax obligations. So, with us owning and controlling the mines, there are very good prospects that if we run these mines profitably, we should be able to see the benefits of foreign exchange coming into this country and will, therefore, help to cushion the value of the Kwacha.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I listened to the hon. Minister very carefully. He talked about the economic crisis, as if there was never one before in the country when the exchange rate was stable. He talked about the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) owning the mines in Zambia, as if the ownership of the mines by the ZCCM has always provided stability.


Sir, as data from the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) shows on the foreign exchange transactions, why can we not just come out clean that the exchange rate that has depreciated from K4.8 in 2010 to more than K20 at the moment has purely been caused by the fact that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has borrowed very carelessly over the years? Money does not stay in the country; it comes in and goes to pay debts. Of course, the proof of that is that ever since the Government stopped servicing the debt, the exchange rate has remained reasonably stable. So, why does the Government not just tell the people of Zambia plainly and clearly that what has caused this problem is overborrowing?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I laboured to explain that the movement in the exchange rate is caused by the effect of the combination of factors on the supply side and on the exchange rate. I also mentioned that debt servicing is one of the factors that has contributed to create the pressure that the Kwacha faces in the market. However, to attribute the entire movement in the exchange rate to the servicing of debt is completely wrong and inappropriate. If we take one factor, which is the price of copper, in 2011/2012, we will notice that it was around US$8,000 per tonne and at some point, it even went as high as US$11,000 per tonne. What that translates into is increased inflow of foreign currency into this country. When the inflow increases through taxation to mining companies based on their turnover, it helps to boost the exchange rate.


Sir, the short answer to the question is that the attribution of the depreciation of the exchange rate to the servicing of debt alone is wrong. It misses out all the other factors, which I belaboured in my presentation to identify as the main causes of the depreciation in the foreign exchange. However, more fundamentally, the questioner will accept that the way our economy is structured is that we import so much and export so little. In the long-term, this can only drive the exchange rate into a weaker position. That is why we are taking all the efforts that we are doing to ensure that we become more productive so that we import less of the things we can produce and begin to be more proactive in the foreign exchange market by exporting more of the products that we produce in this country.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take four more interventions from the hon. Member for Lufwanyama, the hon. Member for Kalomo Central, the hon. Member for Mongu Central and I will end with the hon. Member for Chembe.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, in his statement, the hon. Minister indicated that in 2011, the United States (US) Dollar against the Kwacha was around K4. Further, the hon. Minister highlighted the mitigation measures that the Government has put in place, through the Ministry of Finance. Do the measures that the hon. Minister highlighted give hope to the people of Zambia, especially business houses that the exchange rate of the Kwacha to the US Dollar will get back to the way it was in 2011, when it was K4 to US$1?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the movement in the exchange rate is not a matter of wishful thinking. It is a matter of what you do. As we have indicated in our Economic Recovery Programme, we can become more proactive in terms of making this economy a more productive one than it currently is and we can begin to export more of the things that we probably should be exporting into bigger markets. We have markets around us that are available such as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). We can do more in terms of exporting and that will bring in the foreign exchange that we need and support the strength of our currency. However, just wishful thinking that the Kwacha should become strong will not do. It depends on the actions we take, which includes the things we do and what we do not do.


Sir, in the short-term, it is possible to use the Central Bank interventions to go into the market, including some of the measures that I indicated in my presentation, but those are short-term measures. What we want is the transformation of this economy through our own economic activity so that we are able to produce more and can therefore earn more foreign exchange, which will alter the balance between the supply of foreign exchange into the market as opposed to the demand of foreign exchange in the market.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kamboni (Kalomo Central): Mr Speaker, when the Ministry of Finance exists for wage bill payment and debt servicing only, it means it exists for itself. Is the cause of the Kwacha being unstable, inflation and other things not as a result of bad leadership and corruption?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, for me, that question is a polemical one. It is a question that gets us into the argument as to who is corrupt and who is not, and how much corruption is going on. I do not want to get into that space. I have presented to this honourable House the factors, which I think, are responsible for the pressure that the exchange rate is facing. I have indicated a number of measures that we are currently taking which we think can help. I hope my response to the question is adequate. I would not want to get myself into the problems of corruption and alleged corruption, unless the hon. Member is going to come to the House to indicate to us how exactly corruption is affecting the exchange rate.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): There are those who argue that the foreign exchange rate is a single most important factor in determining the economic performance. Given that we have dropped from about K4.50 to about K21.50 against the United States of America Dollar (US$) now, would the hon. Minister, therefore, agree with those who say that the exchange rate is the most important single factor that indicates the economic performance. Would he, therefore, accept that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has performed poorly economically given the exchange rate? 


 Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, I would not subscribe to that premise. I think it is a –


Mr Speaker, I am sorry. I was trying to find a word which is acceptable to the House. However, I think it is parochial, at best – I think it is important to understand that the economy is a system while the exchange rate is just one part in the system which interacts with other parts. It affects other variables in the economy just as it is affected by other variables such as imports, exports, current account balances, domestic interest rates, physical balances, levels of public and domestic debts, and foreign reserves. All these are factors act together since the system works like a machine. A movement in one area will trigger a movement in the other. If you do not allow that movement to happen in a natural way, something breaks. For example, if you force an exchange rate to be at a rate which is out of alignment with other micro-economic fundamentals, you will begin to experience shortages of commodities. Those of you that have lived long enough experienced this many years ago. You begin to have problems creating even the basics of credit, challenges of industrial production, problems of accumulating reserves, and so on and so forth. Therefore, it is a system. The exchange rate is one important variable, but not the most important variable in an economic system. That is my submission.


 I thank you, Sir.


 Dr Kopulande:  Mr Speaker, I wish I had the opportunity to ask the hon. Minister more than one question, but sadly, I cannot. However, before I ask the only question I have, let me again thank God that our hon. Mr Speaker is back to work.

Sir, we have been independent for fifty-six years now. In response to Hon. Mung’andu, I believe, or the second questioner, the hon. Minister said the returns of the revenue from the copper exports do not come back here, but instead, they stay in foreign bank accounts.


Mr Speaker, for fifty-six years, we have had a mining sector that should be expected to spur activities and stimulate externalities in other sectors of the economy by the nature of the fact that it is the dominant of the economy. However, the sector has failed to do that simply because for fifty-six years, we have failed, as a nation, to get control of our own resources.


Sir, it is only now that we are seeing steps being taken by this Government, under President Lungu, to ensure that Zambians have a say in the mining sector. Could the hon. Minister tell this House and the people out there why the revenue from the copper exports, which account for 80 per cent of foreign exchange earnings, are being banked outside after fifty-six years of independence. This means that this revenue does not contribute to the value of our currency and therefore, is negatively impacting on our exchange rate and as a result, driving our inflation rate in this country. We have the tool to control inflation, but we are not using it. Why is it like that?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, the issue is not where the money is banked. The issue is what happens with the money that the mining companies earn. For the purpose of an argument, let us  assume that we make a law tomorrow that mining companies must bank all their money in our banks. That is to say that when the companies have sales, they must bring their money here. They will probably oblige us, bring the money and put it in their bank here. However, the fact that the money is sitting in a bank does not mean it has an impact on the economic activities until that mining company begins to spend it.


Sir, what do mining companies spend their money on? They spend on electricity, salaries, taxes, and so on and so forth. So, when the mining companies have paid those salaries and taxes, they will probably take the money back. The fundamental problem is that the mining activity in the country is what we refer to as an ‘enclave’. The mining companies live in the community of their own, whereby they have little impact on the rest of the economy. That is the structure of mining companies and that is what is fundamentally wrong. If the mining companies were buying many things from the community, we would see the linkages with the rest of the community, but they do not do that.


Mr Speaker, the other part of the challenge is that we have little to sell to the mining companies. We do not produce equipment and machines on which the mines spend a lot of their money. These are the structural problems we are faced with, but one hopes that as this economy becomes more productive, it will be able to do more in terms of offering opportunities to mining companies to spend more money here. Even if the mining companies brought their money here and put it in the bank, it will absolutely have no impact beyond what it does right now by sitting somewhere in England.


Mr Speaker, my response to the hon. Member for Chembe is that let us make this economy more productive, which is what we are trying to do so that there is more to buy here, but also let us focus on we, Zambians, taking some meaningful and active control of the mining companies so that we can decide where we can spend the money which we earn because it becomes our money.  We will then decide whether we will put it in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and so on and so forth. However, as long as things remain the way they are, this will be a recurrent problem.


I thank you, Sir.


 Mr Speaker: I will allow the last question via zoom from the hon. Member for Keembe.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Mr Speaker, could the hon. Minister speculate how much the Kwacha is going to become (inaudible)


Sir, this is unacceptable and it is having a very bad effect on our development as a country. Is there a speculation from the hon. Minister of Finance in terms of what the exchange rate will be before December, 2021?


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, there is an unwritten rule in the foreign exchange market which is that all those people whose word might impact the behaviour of people do not speculate where the exchange rate will go. This is so because the moment I speculate or say this is where the exchange rate will be, actors in the economy will begin to do things which will in fact drive the exchange rate to exactly that position. So, we do not do that bearing in mind that the exchange movements are also partly affected by the behaviour of people.


Sir, if I told the hon. Member that the exchange rate will be at point x, since I am hon. Minister of Finance, she will believe that I know what I am saying and therefore, she will begin to do things which might in fact worsen the situation or improve the situation of the exchange rate. What it would mean is that my word will become an important variable in driving the exchange rate. So, hon. Member of Parliament for Keembe, I must decline the temptation for me to speculate. I will not.


I thank you, Sir.         




107. Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:


            (a)        how many registered political parties there were as of December, 2019;

          (b)        whether the political parties are compliant with the requirement to conduct intra-party elections in                        accordance with Article 60 of the Republican Constitution; and

          (C)           if not, whether there are any plans to deregister the non-compliant political parties before the   

                          2021 General Elections.

The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, before I respond, let me also join my hon. Colleagues in welcoming you back to the Chair. As a recovered patient myself, it is indeed good to see you in good health and we wish you well going forward.


Mr Speaker indicated assent.


Mr Kampyongo: Sir, by the same token, allow me to convey to the beloved people of Mutambe area of Shiwang’andu Parliamentary Constituency, the Luo family and, indeed, the Chibesakunda family, my deepest condolences, as area Member of Parliament, over the unfortunate demise of His Royal Highness Chief Chibesakunda of the Bisa people in Shiwang’andu.


Sir, my response to the question from the hon. Member is that there were sixty-one registered political parties as at 31st December, 2019. Article 60 (2) (d) of the Republican Constitution indeed states that:


“A political party shall promote and practice democracy through regular, free and fair elections within the party.”


Mr Speaker, so far, the political parties are compliant to the requirement of Article 60 of the Republican Constitution, which requires all registered political parties to conduct intraparty elections. The Zambian Constitution gives no time frame within which the political parties are required to conduct intraparty elections. However, the respective party constitutions prescribe the terms for office bearers.


Sir, currently, there are no plans to deregister any political party on the basis of non-compliance to Article 60 (2) (d) of the Republican Constitution. However, political parties should comply with the provisions of the Societies Act, Cap. 119 of the Laws of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for according me the opportunity to ask the hon. Minister of Home Affairs a follow-up question. I am glad that the hon. Minister has clarified the point that the Ministry of Home Affairs does not have any plans to deregister any party because most of the parties, according to his submission, are compliant to the provisions of the Constitution. However, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister if for sure most of the parties are compliant. How does his ministry really select or evaluate, for the public to know, that this party is compliant? What yardstick is being followed for the ministry to qualify a party for deregistration? I want to know what yardstick is used because I have in mind –


Mr Speaker: Order!


I think you have advanced your question. You want to know the yardstick used, period.


Mr Kambita: Yes, I want to know the yardstick.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the follow-up question from the hon. Member of Parliament for Zambezi East. However, as I respond, I want to make it clear and I would not want the hon. Member to put words in my mouth.


Sir, I was saying that currently there are no plans to deregister any political party on the basis of non-compliance with Article 60 (2) (d) of the Republican Constitution. I went further to say that, however, political parties should comply with the provisions of the Societies Act, Cap. 119 of the Laws of Zambia.


Mr Speaker, as regards the yardstick, first and foremost, the Societies Act, Cap. 119, has provisions which must be followed by the registered societies, including political parties. In addition, political parties do submit their constitutions as they are being registered to form part of the regulations of how they will be conducting their activities. This forms part of the requirements which are used as a yardstick to monitor whether, indeed, these political parties are following what they have prescribed for themselves.


Further, the political parties are required to submit annual returns of their activities. This submission of annual returns and of course paying of statutory fees as prescribed also forms part of the compliance issues. So, if a political party is not complying with the other requirements, then the Registrar of Societies, as provided for in the Act, can act and deregister a political party.


Mr Speaker, it is not just about Article 60. In any case, I must mention that the Government has given approval for the revision of the Societies Act, Cap. 119, which was enacted before we attained independence. We have to amend and align it with other pieces of legislation in order to fully operationalise it. This is because there are elements of Article 60 which need to be operationalised. This can only be done through subsidiary legislation by an Act of Parliament. There was an attempt to come up with a political parties Bill which did not reach consensus. Nonetheless, the Government will proceed with amending the Societies Act, Cap. 119 of the Laws of Zambia to make sure that we fully operationalise some elements of Article 60.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Sir, thank you for the opportunity. Allow me to also very briefly tender my sincere condolences to the Luo family on the demise of a brother and friend, Bob Luo or Chief Chibesakunda. I also want to relay the same condolences to the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock, who hails from that jurisdiction. Further, I want to join my hon. Colleagues who have welcomed you back to your Chair and wish you continued good health, and that also applies to the hon. Minister of Home Affairs.


Sir, I would like to ask the hon. Minister a question based on the experiences that we have had in the recent past regarding the subject matter of intraparty elections in the face of some hindrances namely, the current restrictions by the Ministry of Health based on the Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19), which basically do not permit people to gather anyhow and the overzealousness of the police under the hon. Minister’s ministry to stop political parties who have been desirous to fulfil the constitutional requirement under Article 60. Could the hon. Minister confirm here and now that as long as a political party abides by the Ministry of Health guidelines to fulfil this constitutional requirement, the police will serve the purpose of facilitating for this activity to occur as opposed to using the provisions of the Public Order Act to actually stop this particular process to occur.


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central’s follow up question. In my response, I will start by referring to the engagements I had with him and other leaders of his political party sometime last year when the first wave of the Coronavirus Disease- 2019 (COVID-19) was prevailing. We discussed at length on what needed to be done. I just want to remind him that what is required are consultations or engagements between the Ministry of Health on one hand, and law enforcement agencies on the other hand. Indeed, guidance can be given. We do not want political parties to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to promote dictatorial tendencies that have been seen in many political parties. We, as the Government, are willing to engage on the possibilities of having democratic processes being conducted through intraparty elections. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) has been advising all of us to start thinking of new modalities of engaging the people. So, it is within that context that we should engage and see how we can facilitate these processes.


Sir, I do not think the role of the police is to try and stop people from engaging in democratic processes. However, you should know that the interests that come with elections are well known and can culminate into conflicts. We know that we have some issues to sort out in the Western Province and we are trying to make sure that the situation is calm because the people where the contestations are, are all Zambians. So, we have to make sure that we are available to the political parties and it is important that even Opposition political parties ensure that there is police presence when they are carrying out their activities to avoid what happened in Kanyama where unruly cadres got out of hand and we lost a life, which should not have been the case. So, we are available for engagements in order to make sure that democratic processes are conducted in accordance with the law.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two questions from the hon. Member for Kanchibiya and the hon. Member for Chama South, in that order.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister is fully aware that the Patriotic Front (PF) Party is  in a hurry to see to it that the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development which encourages fifty-fifty gender representation is entrenched in our country, but it may not be so with other political parties. However, part (b) of Article 60 of the Constitution talks about the need for compliance with regards to intraparty elections. What is the ministry doing to ensure that gender representation is entrenched in the structures of political parties, as the PF Government is leading by example?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member for Kanchibiya for that very important follow-up question.


Sir, in my earlier response, I mentioned that our desire is to revisit the Societies Act after we failed to succeed with the proposed Political Parties Bill. Elements such as gender, ethnicity and tribe were well factored in the Political Parties Bill. In Article 60 of the Constitution which needs to be operationalised, there are elements that are not easy to enforce without subsidiary legislation. In fact, we shall go further in the new Act to ensure – Democracy is about avoiding dictatorial tendencies. When we say that a leader should have a five year term, all those who aspire to form political parties should craft their constitutions in line with that so that no leader should be a leader of a political party in perpetuity and only accept to become democratic through the Constitution. So, democracy must be seen to be practiced. You cannot say I am a dictator in a political party, but I will be a democratic person in the Government. That can only be controlled by laws because you cannot depend on the goodwill of human beings. Some people have been political party leaders for more than twenty-five years while others for twenty years, but they want to assure you that they will be democratic when they get into Government. You cannot have it that way. So, you can only control such practices by putting in place effective laws. I am happy that the hon. Minister of Justice, who worked so hard on the Political Parties Bill, is willing to quickly work on the Societies Act so that we can put in place provisions exclusively for political parties, which will prescribe how office bearers and leaders must conform to democratic tendencies.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, allow me to also pass my condolences to the Bisa Royal Establishment, Senior Chief Nkula and the Bemba Royal Establishment on the passing of two chiefs in our province within a period of two weeks, that is Chief Mukwikile and Chief Chibesakunda. On behalf of the Patriotic Front (PF) in Muchinga Province, I would like to pass my sincere condolences.


Sir, what measures has the ministry put in place to ensure that all political parties comply with Article 60 of our Constitution? Further, what measures have been put in place to ensure that political parties do not just call provincial chairmen, then, intimidate everyone else and declare one person as a candidate and that such behaviour is curtailed?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Member’s follow-up question who is also our provincial chairperson. He recently participated in a free and fair election in which he competed with other people to emerge victorious. This was done publicly and everybody participated. That is as it should be done.


Sir, democracy is about people offering themselves up for leadership and allowing people to exercise their freedom to choose their leader. Let me use the hon. Member for Chama South as an example. There are some people who voted for him and those who voted for others, but we had to embrace one another. There was no winner and there was no loser. There is just one victorious leader who should be supported by everybody. Those are the elements of democracy that we want to see.  We do not want to see people hiding in the bush, like the hon. Member said, and only appear to pronounce some people as leaders while others cry and question how one became a leader. Like I said, democracy must be seen to be practiced. You cannot say one thing and do a different thing. It does not work that way.


Mr Speaker, after not succeeding with the Political Parties Bill, the only way we can deal with these matters is to revisit the Societies Act which is now outdated. As the House may recall, the Societies Act Cap. 119 of the laws of Zambia was effected before we attained independence. We have since seen a transition. We started with multi-party politics, then, one party participatory democracy and we then reverted to plural politics, and we are using the same Act. So, we need an Act which should be clear. Like I said, we cannot depend on goodwill. With democracy, you depend on institutions and pieces of legislation that should manage people’s ambitions, especially those who are extremely ambitious.


Sir, we would want to see the spirit of what we saw in Muchinga Province where people from one party competed. We had intraparty elections and still emerged united as opposed to what we are hearing in certain quarters where some people only met under a tree in a district. However, I would like to congratulate the hon. Member sitting opposite me, who I think is a chairperson of a province.




   Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we have a lot of work to do collectively as a people in ensuring that we do not only talk about democracy, but ensure that it is also implemented. So, when the Bill is brought to Parliament, the hon. Member should make sure that he takes an active role of ensuring that there are amendments so we can strengthen our democracy as a democratic nation.


  I thank you, Mr Speaker.




110.  Mr Chabi (Chipili) asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:


  1. whether the Government is aware that Our Civic Duty Association (OCIDA) which was launched on 24th June, 2020, at Kapingila House, in Lusaka, as a civil society organisation (CSO), is registered as a construction company at the Patents and Companies Registration Agency;
  2. if so, whether OCIDA would be permitted to continue operating as a CSO; and
  3. if it will not be permitted, why.


The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, as my hon. Colleagues have done, I would like to extend my sincere condolences to the Luo family on the loss of Chief Chibesakunda. I would also like to welcome you back into the House and I wish you good health.  Thank you very much for continuing being with us and we appreciate that.


Sir, the Government through the agency would like to confirm that Our Civic Duty Association (OCDA) Limited on its electronic register has construction as its main nature of business. However, the form of incorporation of the company in question shows that the main nature of business is “activities of other membership organisations” with “other service activities” as its other business activity. The entry of construction as the main nature of business makes it difficult as it is right now for it to be referred to as a civil society organisation (CSO). The matter has been outstanding for some time now. So, it has been referred to the Registrar of Societies, so that it can be corrected and can continue performing the services of a CSO.


I thank you, Sir.




112. Ms Subulwa (Sioma) asked the Minister of Justice:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to domesticate the following:


  1. the Biological Weapons Convention of 1975; and


  1. the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1540 of 2004;b 


       b. if so, when the plans will be implemented; and


        c. if there are no plans to domesticate the protocols, why.


   The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda): Sir, I praise God for bringing you back to us and restoring your health. Let me join others in rendering my condolences for the demise of the Bisa Chief. Let me also render my condolences to the family of Supreme Court Judge, Elizabeth Muyovwe.


Mr Speaker, the Biological Weapons Convention currently has 183 state parties, and currently ten states have neither signed nor ratified the convention. These are, namely: Chad, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Israel, Kiribati, Micronesia, Namibia, South Sudan, and Tuvalu.


Sir, the convention effectively prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, stockpiling, and use of biological and toxin weapons. Zambia ratified the convention on 15th January, 2008. The Government through the Ministry of Defence has plans to domesticate the convention and it actually did allocate resources for the formulation of the Biological Weapons Convention Act, in the 2020 National Budget. However, due to other pressing matters in the Ministry of Defence, that was not done and may be done, and I would like to underline the words - may be done in the ensuing year.


Mr Speaker, resolution No. 1540 of 2004 is not a convention. It is simply a resolution which was unanimously adopted by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) at its meeting on the 28th April, 2004. Therefore, it does not require domestication.


Sir, the domestication of the Biological Weapons Convention of 1975, may be conducted this year through the Ministry of Defence. To emphasise what I said earlier, the UN resolution No. 1540, will not be domesticated as it is not a convention.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Subulwa: Mr Speaker, my observation is that most times, countries are so much in a hurry to sign these protocols at international level. However, when it comes to domesticating them, it takes a bit of time. Really, the issue of prioritisation in terms of funds is a source of concern to me. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister, why are we talking about 2021 when our Treasury is a bit stressed?


Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I would like to join the hon. Member of Parliament for Sioma in her lamentation that many countries ratify conventions and international protocols, but are very slow to domesticate them. That does not exclude Zambia. However, in this respect, it is the historic Zambia, not the Zambia under President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. I think that in the last few years, this House has witnessed the speed with which we have been domesticating all protocols, some of which were signed even earlier than the ascendance of the Patriotic Front (PF) into Government. As I deliberately indicated, the convention we are talking about was ratified in the year 2008. It should have been domesticated by 2010, but it was not. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, already last year, instructed the Ministry of Defence to come up with the Biological Weapons Convention Act, so as to domesticate this convention. I would like to assure the country that under the leadership of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, all conventions and international protocols that we ratify, shall not only be ratified for the sake of academics, but we will ratify them when we are convinced that we ought to domesticate them, and in each case, we will domesticate them.


Mr Speaker: Order!








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


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1655 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 3rdFebruary, 2021.
























108. Mr Kabanda (Serenje) asked the Minister of Mines and Minerals Development what specific measures the Government is taking to harness the mining of manganese and gold in the country to ensure that the country benefits from the resources.


The Minister of Mines and Minerals Development (Mr Musukwa): Mr Speaker, Zambia is endowed with various minerals including manganese and gold. It is the Government’s desire to ensure that the mineral resources not only benefit the people of Zambia, but also contribute to the development of the country. Therefore, the Government remains resolute to ensuring that mining takes place in a safe and sustainable manner. In this regard, the Government provides an enabling environment that facilitates exploitation of minerals.


Sir, the mining of manganese has in the recent past been marred by illegal mining. The Government has been implementing the following measures to harness the mining of manganese:


  1. geological mapping of Central Province particularly Kapiri Mposhi, Mkushi and Serenje has been undertaken. In addition, most parts of Luapula Province have also been mapped;


  1. increasing monitoring by employing more officers in the two bureaus in Mansa and Mkushi as well as at border points to curb smuggling;


  1. sampling of export consignments in minerals including manganese;


  1. monitoring of production operations at mines to reduce smuggling;


  1. officers being sent to various mines and processing facilities to take samples of what has been produced by each mine;


  1. placing of portable XRF analytical equipment at border points to make sure the value of exports corresponds with the value that appears on the export permit issued by the ministry;


  1. encouraging ownership of manganese licenses by Zambians; and


  1. sensitising of informal miners with a view of formalising them;


  1. the ministry has written to the police in the districts where manganese mining is taking place to help curb illegal mining; and


  1. cancelling of dormant licences to pave way for serious investors.


Mr Speaker, I also wish to inform the House that in May 2020, the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines-Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) Plc through its subsidiary Kabundi Resources Limited commenced trial manganese mining activities in Serenje. To date a total of circa 12,000 tonnes of manganese ore has been mined and the company is ramping up production. This is aimed at positioning Zambia to tap into the emerging market of manufacture of electric cars, which use manganese as a major component and also take advantage of the recent improvement in manganese prices on the international market.  Further, in order to empower local youths and ensure participation of Zambians, ZCCM-IH Plc has allocated part of the license area to a co-operative to undertake manganese mining. With these measures put in place, the Government intends to increase mineral royalty to benefit the country.


Sir, moving to the second part of the question, I wish to state that gold mining has also been going on for a long time with gold occurrences confirmed in twenty-two districts across the North-Western Province, the Eastern Province, Central Province, Lusaka Province and the Northern Province. Owing to its potential to contribute to the economic growth and development of the country, gold was declared as strategic mineral. To actualise this, the Government is implementing measures to ensure the optimisation of the gold mining sub sector through:


  1. cancellation of dormant licenses to pave way for serious investors;


  1. rapid geological surveys and exploration to determine the resource;


  1. provision of equal opportunities for both Zambians and non-Zambians to participate in gold mining through partnerships or joint ventures; 


  1. formalisation through establishment of co-operatives;


  1. empowerment of the co-operatives by providing equipment and technical support;


  1. creation of trading centres to provide ready markets for the gold particularly from the artisanal and small scale miners. ZCCM-IH and Zambia Gold provide a formal take of gold from artisanal and small scale miners and other local traders; and


  1. since being granted a mining license for gold mining and processing in Mwinilunga, in June 2020, ZCCM-IH has managed to recover a total of circa 6kg of gold in Mwinilunga. In addition, exploration activities are currently ongoing to determine the extent of the gold resource. In the latter part of the year, further exploration activities are targeted for Rufunsa.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




109.  Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West) asked the Minister of Energy:


  1. why the electrification of palaces for Senior Chiefs Musele and Mukumbi in Solwezi West Parliamentary Constituency has stalled;


  1. when the works will resume; and


  1. what the time frame for the completion of the projects is.


The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Mr Speaker, the works on the electrification for Senior Chiefs Musele and Mukumbi in Solwezi West have reached an advanced stage. The 33KV lie from Kalumbila Substation to Kisasa and Chief Musele has been completed and the line was energised on 28th August, 2020. Service connection is now pending wiring of houses and inspections. The 33KV line from Kalumbila Mine Junction to Zambia National Service (ZNS) Mumbezhi has been completed and was energised on 28th August, 2020, and service connection has started.


Sir, as alluded, the works to the two chiefs have been completed with only service connections outstanding. ZESCO Limited is now working on the 30km stretch from ZNS Mumbezhi to Chief Mukumbi. Contractors are already on site and with the availability of materials, the works should progress well.


Mr Speaker, a lot of work has already been done at the palace and surrounding communities. As stated, 30km of 33KV line construction is remaining. With the availability of materials, the works should be completed before the end of the year.


I thank you, Sir.




111.  Mr Kabamba (Kafulafuta) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. when the construction of a mourners’ shelter at Kantolomba Cemetery in Bwana Mkubwa Parliamentary Constituency will commence; and


  1. when the tarring of the road to the cemetery will commence.


The Minister of Local Government (Dr Banda): Mr Speaker, the construction of the mourners’ shelter at Kantolomba Cemetery in Bwana Mkubwa Constituency has commenced.


Sir, the time frame for tarring the road to Kantolomba Cemetery has not yet been determined. The Government, through the Ndola City Council, has included the said road on the list of roads to be rehabilitated by the Road Development Agency (RDA), and is awaiting feedback. As a short-term measure, the council plans to undertake grading and gravelling works on the road using its own resources. The works are set to begin after the rainy season.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.