Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020

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Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon Members, I wish to acquaint the House with the presence, in the Speaker’s Gallery, of the following senior members of staff from the Parliament of Namibia:


Mr Tousy Namiseb               -           Secretary to the National Council


Ms Pamela Mate                  -           Senior Information Officer – National Council


Ms Hilia Amakili                  -           Deputy Director – General Services, National Assembly


Mr Willem Isaak                  -           Chief Parliamentary Clerk


I wish, on behalf of the National Assembly of Zambia, to receive our distinguished guests and warmly welcome them in our midst.


I thank you.







Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, the House will recall that on Friday, 13th December, 2019, when the House was debating the ministerial statement issued by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs, Mr S. Kampyongo, MP, on the Integrated National Registration Information Systems (INRIS) and Hon. J. J. Mwiimbu, MP, Leader of the Opposition and Member of Parliament for Monze Central was asking a follow up question, the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts, Mr R. Chitotela, MP, raised the following point of order:


“Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to raise a very serious point of order and I apologise to the hon. Member of Parliament for Monze Central for disturbing his flow of his debate.


Madam Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order, bearing in mind that propaganda in Zambia is growing. As you ruled last time on the issue of Hon. Remember Mutale, as hon. Members of Parliament, we need to bring verifiable information to this Chamber and ensure that we endeavour to speak and debate the truth. As Her Honour the Vice-President stated, if we give false information, we risk misleading and dividing the country.


Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order on the Member of Parliament for Kabompo, Hon. Lufuma, who in his debate yesterday, while debating the Vote for the North-Western Province said and I quote:

Mr Lufuma: … but when you go to the North-Western Province, like we heard from what Hon. Lihefu and Hon. Tambatamba said, there is nothing despite the contribution from the mines in the province which contributed US$80 million towards the construction of the Chingola/Solwezi Road, which we were crying for, for many years. Is this how we should live in this country?’


Madam Speaker, when I heard that point, I was so surprised. We should not allow this level of misinformation and propaganda by hon. Members of Parliament. I went to the Road Development Agency (RDA) and the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA), which signed the contract for the Chingola/Solwezi Road.  Lot 1 was signed on 22nd May, 2015, between China Geo Engineering Corporation Southern African Limited and the RDA. Lot 2 was signed on 12th May, 2015, between Buildcon Investments Limited and the RDA. Lot 3 was also signed on 22nd May, 2015, between the RDA and China Geo Engineering Corporation Southern African Limited, bringing the total kilometres to 190 km of the Chingola/Solwezi Road.


Madam Speaker, I also have a payment schedule from the NRFA, and I want to put the record straight. For Lot 1, the total amount funded by the Treasury, through the Ministry of Finance, was K151,601,188 and K621,630,877 from the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA). For Lot 2, the Treasury funded K111,943,719 ... I will lay the documents on the Table to assist the Chair to make an informed decision.


Madam Speaker, is the Member of Parliament for Kabompo, Hon. Lufuma, in order to deliberately mislead this House, and the nation at large?  I need your serious ruling.”


Hon. Members, in her immediate response, the Hon. Madam First Deputy Speaker reserved her ruling to enable her peruse the documents that had been laid on the Table of the House. I have studied the matter and I now render my ruling.


Hon. Members, I had recourse to the verbatim record of the proceedings of Thursday, 12th December, 2019, in order to ascertain exactly what Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP. said on the Floor of the House. Below is an excerpt of the relevant debate:


“Mr Chairperson, let us go to the roads, in particular, the Link Zambia 8,000 Km Road Project. When you go to the northern part of the country, where I have been, courtesy of Mr Speaker, you will find that most of the roads are nicely done, but when you go to the North-Western Province, like we heard from what Hon. Lihefu and Hon. Tambatamba said, there is nothing. The mines in the province contributed US$80 million towards the construction of the Chingola/Solwezi Road, which we were crying for, for many years. Is this how we should live in this country…?”


From the extract, it is self-evident that Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP, alleged that the mines had contributed US$80 million towards the construction of the Chingola/Solwezi Road.


Hon. Members, in line with Parliamentary Practice and Procedure and in accordance with the rules of natural justice, the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly wrote to Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP, requesting him to state his side of the story. This was his response:

“Dear Madam,




Reference is made to your letter reference No. NAS/7/10 Conf. dated 18th December, 2019, in which you asked me to state my side of the story following a point of order raised by Hon. R. K. Chitotela, MP, that I misled the House by stating that the mines contributed US$80 million towards the construction of the Chingola/Solwezi Road during my debate on the Vote for North-Western Province, when in fact the construction of the said road was completely funded by the Government.


I wish to submit that the information that I received on the financing of the Chingola/Solwezi road as pertains to the contribution of US$80 million was oral from my informant, which information has thus far not been verified. I, therefore, in accordance with the rules and regulations governing debate on the Floor of the House hereby state that the said information cannot be substantiated as at now and therefore and accordingly do withdraw the same and apologise accordingly to the House.


I submit.


Hon. Ambrose L. Lufuma, MP



Hon. Members, the point of order raises the issue of an hon. Member’s duty to ensure that the information he or she provides to the House, when debating, is factual and verifiable.


Hon. Members, I have rendered several rulings on this matter and will not belabour the point suffice to remind the House of Standing Order 53 (1), which is in the following terms:


“53. (1) A member shall, in debating any matter, ensure that the information he or she provides to the House is factual and verifiable.”


In addition, Chapter 3 of the National Assembly Members Handbook 2006 states as follows at page 13:


“Members must not allege specific matters of fact as being true, unless they are able to substantiate them.”


Hon. Members, in the present matter, it is evident from the response tendered by Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP, that the information he brought before the House was not factual, because it was based on hearsay evidence, which, at any rate, the hon. Member, by his own admission, failed to both verify and substantiate.  In view of the foregoing, I find that Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP, was out of order, because he made a statement on the Floor of the House that breached the rules of the House.


As regards the sanction to be meted out, I wish to inform the House that I have since formally warned Mr A. L. Lufuma, MP, for his misconduct. I have exercised leniency because the hon. Member readily acknowledged and admitted the breach and rendered an apology to the House.


In conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to remind hon. Members of their duty to ensure that the information they provide to the House is not only factual, but also verifiable and substantiated. I have, however, noted with concern that, of late, hon. Members tend to make unverified and unsubstantiated statements. This is unfortunate, granted that the debates in the House are followed not only countrywide, but also worldwide, through the radio, television and on the internet. It is, therefore, cardinal that hon. Members should verify information submitted to the House, in order to avoid misleading the House and the public at large.


I thank you.




Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I have permitted the hon. Minister of National Development and Planning to render a ministerial statement.


The Minister of National Development and Planning (Mr Chiteme): Mr Speaker, the statement is supposed to come tomorrow.




Mr Speaker: Order, order!


Whatever the cause, we shall establish the facts.








211.  Mr Chiyalika (Lufubu) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to lift the ban on night travel by public service vehicles;
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented;
  3. if there are no such plans, why; and
  4. whether the Government is aware that the ban on night travel has adversely affected the businesses of small scale entrepreneurs.


The Minister of Transport and Communication (Mr Kafwaya): Mr Speaker, the Government has put in place safety measures, which if complied with, exempt public service vehicles from the ban. However, this does not include passenger public service vehicles.


Sir, the Government, through the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA), is undertaking a programme to install Global Positioning System (GPS) devices on public service vehicles for 500 selected operators. Once the programme is successfully implemented, operators will be exempted from the ban on night travel.


Mr Speaker, the Government is aware that small scale entrepreneurs have been affected by the night travel ban of public service vehicles. However, the Government prioritises the safety of people, and the economy is subordinate to the safety of people.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, this ban was introduced at the time when the Government thought that most accidents were happening at night. However, of late, we have witnessed a number of public service vehicles involved in road accidents during the day. Considering that the reasoning was based on the accidents, is the hon. Minister going to consider banning public service vehicles from travelling during the day because accidents are happening during the day?


Hon. Government Members: Ah!


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I am taken aback by the question by the hon. Leader of the Opposition. When we say that most of the accidents happen during the night, we are not saying that all accidents happen during the night. As a matter of fact, there is evidence of the reduction in the number of accidents because of this ban. Statistics at RTSA show clearly that the number of accidents of passenger public service vehicles has declined. We are now recording fewer fatalities as a result of that ban.


Sir, we will not consider banning driving public service vehicles during the day. Zambians will continue to drive during the day. However, we are considering heightening safety measures so that we offer even more exemptions for other public service transporters to be able to drive at night.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, I notice that the Statutory Instrument that ushered in the ban took into consideration the time when public service vehicles, especially passenger vehicles, should stop operating. I am alive to the fact that public service vehicles that carry passengers are supposed to park around 2100. Does the hon. Minister not think that the period between 1930 hours up to 2100 hours is dark enough for accidents to happen? What rationale was used to include those dark hours of the day?

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, several considerations are taken into account when a policy of such significance is being undertaken. It is dark from 1800 hours to about 2000 hours, but let us consider a driver who has been driving from morning. At 2100 hours, it will not only be dark but the driver will also be tired. The visibility will be impaired, and the chances of accidents are higher when this happens. There are more considerations than just visibility.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, what is the Government doing through the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) to ensure that governors are put on public transport service vehicles to stop the carnage going on our roads like the recent Mumbwa Road traffic accident? What is RTSA doing to increase road patrols to deter reckless driving and re-examine drivers or put them off the road when they are involved in an accident?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the Government of the Republic of Zambia, through RTSA, is doing a lot to improve road safety. There are many conversations around road safety, and many road safety programmes are being put in place to make sure that the people tap into that knowledge, thereby reduce behaviours which culminate into road traffic accidents.


Mr Speaker, RTSA is doing many enforcement activities. The Statutory Instruments and other laws are all in place and are followed with enforcement activities which help to reduce accidents. In fact, as a result of these efforts by the Government, a big reduction in fatalities has been seen.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, the ban on driving at night is being abused by the police.


Mr Kampyongo: Question!


Mr Lihefu: Sir, in rural areas, even the council police have joined and are stopping vehicles and asking motorists not to move at night. What measure has the Ministry of Transport and Communication put in place with the Ministry of Home Affairs to ensure that the men and women in uniform do not abuse the ban on night driving?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the ban on night driving is very clear; it starts at 2100 hours to 0500 hours. If you are driving a public service vehicle which is not exempted from the ban on night driving, you cannot drive after 2100 hours. Therefore, if a police officer stops you, they are not abusing the ban on driving at night. If an enforcement officer from RTSA stops you, they are not abusing the ban on driving at night. If you are advised by any other law abiding citizen not to drive beyond the stipulated time, the citizen is not abusing the ban on driving at night.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr S. Banda (Kasenengwa): Mr Speaker, it is gratifying to note that the Government has put interventions to enhance road safety, among them is the targeting of 500 operators to have Global Positioning System (GPS) devices installed in their vehicles. At the backdrop of this, most Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have been adversely affected by the ban on travelling at night. When is the project to install GPS starting? Is there a time frame for it?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the Government is already piloting the installation of GPS devices on various equipment belonging to public service transport providers.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister outlined that there has been a reduction in the occurrence of accidents from the time the Statutory Instrument to ban public service vehicles travelling at night was signed. Is the hon. Minister able to come with a statement to the House so that we know what the reduction is in terms of accidents since the ban was imposed.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I am able to supply the statistics to confirm my assertions.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, is it true that the ban on the movement of public transport buses at night has slowed down the wheels of commerce? If so, how possible could that be when buses leave Lusaka Intercity Bus Terminus at 0300 hours in the morning?


Mr Speaker: I did not get part of your question. What did you say has slowed down?


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, the wheels of commerce.


Mr Speaker: Okay.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, all actions that are taken affect the economy, there is no question about it. However, the bigger question to ask is: To what extent does each particular action impact the economy? That is a subject of economic computation. Yes, it is true. When the decision to ban driving at night was taken, obviously, the economy was affected, but to what extent? I think that is a bigger question which can only be determined by clever economists.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, the House is aware that the ban on night travel by public service vehicles has a huge economic impact on our economy. That goes without saying. There should be something that can be done to ensure that the ban on public service vehicle night travelling does not negatively impact the livelihoods of the people of Zambia. Otherwise, it does not make sense at all. It is agreed that life is more precious, and rightly so that the ban was effected. As a result of the economic impact of the ban, I am wondering whether the ban could be restricted to certain busy roads like the Lusaka/Ndola Road, the Kitwe/Ndola Road and other very busy roads. Then other roads such as the road going to the Western Province and the one going to the Eastern Province, the Chingola/Solwezi Road, which are not as busy, can be exempted. I do not think those roads would cause accidents that we are trying to prevent. Would the hon. Minister consider doing that? 

Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I want to thank my senior hon. Colleague there for a question well put. The question is about isolating roads, but it begun by an assertion that it has a huge impact. Let me put it clearly. There is an impact on the decision we took as the Government, but as to whether this impact is huge or small, it is unclear unless there are computations. I do not want to confirm that the impact is either huge or small because there are no calculations. These are economic matters and they follow numbers. If we want to be factual, as Mr Speaker has just ruled, we need to establish numbers to support our thinking.


Sir, the suggestion the hon. Colleague puts across is a very good one, in my mind, and I do think that this is something that we can consider. Obviously, segmenting and isolating accident prone roads is good because then we are driving towards making our country safer. For me, the big issue is safety. I know that the economy is also a big issue, but while we promote the economy, we must do it in a safe environment. So, clearly, that is a suggestion we can be able to take.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, the law provides for owners of public service vehicles to apply for exemptions. Could the hon. Minister give us an example where he would entertain such an exemption so that we can know when to apply for it.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, one example of where the hon. Member can entertain an exemption is if he installs a fleet management system which has been recommended and is onnected not only to the company concerned, but also to the RTSA and has GPSs installed to monitor the conduct of drivers and the speed at which they are driving, so that when he applies, we will be able to say, for this fleet, we will be able to monitor properly. That is an example of what can be done in order for an exemption to be achieved.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for informing the House that his ministry is now installing Global Position Systems (GPSs) on about 500 buses or so. My question is that there are some public service vehicles that neither have the fleet management system nor the GPSs installed on them. Due to the night ban, it appears that there is panic driving to beat time. What interventions has the hon. Minister put in place to monitor such vehicles?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, allow me to thank my hon. Colleague for that intervention. The ideal situation for us as a nation is to have all these people who are transporting cargo as well as passengers to be able to adhere to the recommendations of RTSA as regards road safety. However, it is true that there are a number of buses and trucks which are not yet installed with the GPSs and fleet management interventions.


Sir, what should happen now is that people should still observe the road signs. They should observe all the existing safety signals that exist, so that we reduce the possibility of accidents. For the fact that you are not installed with these mechanisms does not mean that you should drive at speeds which are not allowed on the stretch you are driving. Personally, I do not see why people should engage in panic driving because if they start off in good time, they should be able to reach in good time. So, management of time and behaviour on the road should be issues that are natural to consider under the circumstances.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four questions from the hon. Members for Chifubu Constituency, Liuwa Constituency, Namwala Constituency, Luangeni Constituency and then lastly from the hon. Member for Nangoma Constituency.


Mr Ng’ambi (Chifubu): Mr Speaker, the eight hour night drive ban on public service vehicles has an effect on the general performance of the economy. It also translates down to our level of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Is the hon. Minister able to quantify the amount of adverse impact this ban will have on the nation’s GDP as well as the effect on the small-scale industries? In monetary terms, does the hon. Minister have such information?

Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, what is happening now is that you are presenting new questions. The subject we are considering is just a ban, but you are even asking for statistics. Just in the unlikely event that the hon. Minister came with those statistics, he may respond.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the quantification of economic trends sits with the Ministry of National Development and Planning. I can only quantify the positive trends of the reduction of fatalities on the roads.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the bus operators do not like this ban because they are losing money. Passengers do not like it because it is inconveniencing them. The hon. Minister has not done any quantification to justify the action that he took as per his immediate answer to Hon. Ng’ambi’s question. In view of the fact that measures of this type are always a balancing act between the interests of the economy and the safety of the people for which the hon. Minister has not done any analysis at all, would the hon. Minister mind reversing the whole idea until he has done the proper analysis, so that he can come back with the actual information and analysis? Would he consider removing this measure so that the bus operators and the passengers are happy?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, there are many things that as people, we do not like, and yet they are beneficial to us. To say that we have done no analysis is misleading the House and the nation because as I have been able to establish here, the ministry considered that there were more fatalities during the night than during the day. So, that is total consideration. I am able to say I can establish the numbers of reduction of accidents in the night causing our trend right now to demonstrate a positive trajectory. So, clearly, there is analysis. 


Mr Speaker, economic analysis is not my mandate. Economic analysis is sitting with my hon. Colleague in the Ministry of National Development and Planning as well as the Ministry of Finance. So, clearly, where we are sitting in terms of safety, we have done our analysis and we think that given the state of our national safety interventions, it is safer now to maintain the status quo until we improve our records and that is when we can consider reversing the whole programme.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, I appreciate the hon. Minister’s concern on safety. However, if we are really talking about safety here in this House, especially for the public service vehicles, for example, you would find most of the buses for the long distances are in good condition compared to the trucks which ferry charcoal. Sometimes these trucks have no reflectors. These charcoal trucks are more of a near miss than these public service vehicles. Honestly, if it is truly safety that we are concerned about, what criteria did the hon. Minister use to lift the ban on the trucks?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I thank my senior hon. Colleague for that intervention. We have not exempted trucks. We have allowed for truck owners to install systems on their trucks which we can then consider to offer exemptions. These truck owners are making applications to RTSA, which we are reviewing.


So, it is not a blanket exemption. It is just a few who have been able to apply. When we assess the applications and are satisfied that they are in compliance with our requirements, then we can exempt them. In fact, we encourage many more to apply and install these management measures which I have highlighted. We want more, but safety should come first. This is what we are talking about.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr C. M. Zulu (Luangeni): Mr Speaker, as a country, we are surrounded –


Mr Michelo: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.

Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, thank you very much for allowing me to raise a very serious, innocent and decent point of order.


Sir, if you recall, in recent years the Patriotic Front (PF) Government announced the ban on movement of livestock in places like the Southern Province, Central Province, Lusaka Province, Copperbelt Province and the Eastern Provinces just to try and curb the foot and mouth disease. However, the PF Government tried and they have failed to control the disease. To-date, the foot and mouth disease is still affecting animals in the country which are still dying. You do recall that in Choma, a certain poor farmer lost more than twenty to thirty animals. In Mazabuka, some farmers also lost their chickens and goats.


Mr Speaker, my serious point of order this afternoon is on the Vice-President. Is Her Honour the Vice-President in order to remain comfortably quiet and not to come on the Floor of this House to announce the ban on the Chinese nationals and the flights which are going and coming from China because of the coronavirus? The deadly coronavirus has claimed so many lives in China, but the PF Government had the audacity to ban the movement of livestock because of the simple foot and mouth disease. If this coronavirus is not contained in this country, then the entire country will be wiped out. Is Her Honour the Vice-President in order to remain silent and not to affect a ban on Chinese nationals coming to Zambia and also ban flights coming from China?


Mr Kambita: Hear, hear!


Mr Michelo: Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling.




Mr Speaker: Order! Let us have some order, please!


The point of order clearly is misplaced and also the overtones are unfortunate. We expect some degree of etiquette in the manner in which we broach such issues, especially when they deal with other human beings and other national states, for that matter. I expect a little more tact in the manner in which we raise these issues.


We know and the world knows very well that there is a challenge at hand. However, I think there is a better way of approaching this. As much as your question may be relevant to the extent of determining what measures should be put in place to manage this scourge, so to speak, I think as an hon. Member, you could do better than you did. I have said before anyway, that if you want to put a question to the Executive, it is very simple. You should pick a pen and a piece of paper and the question will be put. I believe that the Executive will happily respond to your question about how they are managing the situation.


  In fact, not so long ago, the hon. Minister of Health came and explained the measures that the Government has put in place and not long ago, there was a response to a question again about the measures that have been put in place in screening those who are coming and going. However, if that was insufficient explanation, you are still at liberty to pursue this matter further. That is my ruling.


Mr C. M. Zulu: Mr Speaker, Zambia is surrounded by eight countries. Is the hon. Minister able to inform the House of many countries have this ban in place and how those countries who do not have this ban in place have reacted to this ban in Zambia? What are we doing to harmonise this ban in the region?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I do not have the information to both his questions. This is because I do not know how neighbouring countries have implemented that ban. I have not received any evidence of any form of reactions, whether they are protesting or otherwise. So, I am unable to offer that response.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Hamusonde (Nangoma): Mr Speaker, some police officers at the roadblocks allow truck drivers to drive after 2400 hours just because they are paid something or a commission. What punishment or measure has the hon. Minister put in place to control such malpractices?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, there is an enforcement side of this regulation and we have placed RTSA officers on the road to enforce the regulation.


 I thank you, Sir.




212. Ms Kucheka (Zambezi West) asked the Minister of Gender:


  1. whether there are any women empowerment programmes being implemented in Zambezi West Parliamentary Constituency;
  2. if so, what type of programmes are being implemented;
  3. how many women clubs benefited from the programmes in 2017 and 2018; and
  4. what the total cost of the programmes was.

The Minister of Gender (Mrs Phiri): Mr Speaker, there are women empowerment programmes being implemented in Zambezi West Parliamentary Constituency.


Sir, the ministry is implementing empowerment programmes under the Agricultural Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) Project targeting co-operatives with representation of 70 per cent women and 30 per cent men. It is also implementing the Girls Education, Women Empowerment and Livelihood (GEWEL) Project.


Mr Speaker, in 2017 and 2018, three co-operatives benefited from ADVANCE project under Senior Chief Ndungu, namely Mize Skills Training Co-operative, Kachavalo Co-operative and Kasemu Co-operative, while a total of twenty-two Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) under the ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare benefitted from livelihood training under GEWEL project being implemented by the ministry.


Sir, the total cost under the ADVANCE project was K694,080.32 while under the GEWEL project, K976,000 was used for empowering women in livelihood skills.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, thank you very much …


Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing the people of Choma Central Constituency to raise this rare but, I believe, very important point of order.


Sir, as we gather here in this House, I can comfortably state that I am one of the senior Members of this House.


Mr Mweetwa: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order bordering on the decorum, decency and respectability of this august House. The point of order is on the following hon. Members of this House who I will name, in line with what Hon. Tutwa Ngulube did by naming those who attended National Dialogue Forum (NDF) here, to preclude the perception that we cannot debate ourselves. Therefore, my point of order is on Hon. Joyce Nonde, Hon. Mulenga Kampamba, …


Ms Mulenga: Iye! Ninshi nomba?


Mr Mweetwa: … Hon. Tutwa Ngulube and Hon. Lusambo, for purposes of this point of order, but not exclusive to them.


Sir, you will agree with me that before the 2016 General Elections that culminated in the current House, this House was a House of decency. When an hon. Member stood to debate, other hon. Members would listen and go into a discourse of the contestation of ideas. However, ever since the 2016 Elections, you will agree with me that it is very hard for anybody to project a decent debate because hon. Members, especially those on your right, led by the aforesaid, would be running defamatory, demeaning, derogatory and unpalatable statements as if to turn this House into a political play ground, to such an extent that sometimes hon. Members are unable to freely deliver what they are here for.


Mr Speaker, if you conducted a random perusal of the Hansard, you will find out that you have provided more guidance in the last three years than you did between 2011 and 2016, trying to calm the Patriotic Front (PF) Members to be responsible.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: What is your point of order?


Mr Mweetwa: They have given you too much headache, Sir; and me too. I am concerned as a Member of this House that the decorum of this House is deteriorating.


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




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, can you withdraw the word ‘children’.


Mr Mweetwa: I withdraw the word ‘children’ and replace it with behaving like ‘young people’ at a school playground or in a drama club and yet we are in this important House. Are they in order to demean the decorum of this House to the levels where now when you go out there, members of the public look at this House with low esteem, all because of their misconduct? (pointing at the hon. Government Ministers).




Mr Mweetwa: Are they in order, Mr Speaker? I need your serious ruling since the decorum of this House is what keeps it going.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: I am perturbed by this point of order.




Mr Chabi: Ema bombastic words aya!


Mr Speaker: Firstly, I think it is unfair and inappropriate to single out those three or four hon. Members of Parliament.


Ms Mulenga:  Eya!




Mr Speaker: The problem of running commentaries is a perennial one.


Ms Mulenga: Eh!


Mr Mweetwa: Look! She is doing just that.

Mr Speaker: Order!


Ideally, the Whips should be in the forefront in checking this particular problem.


Mr Chabi: Ebali kuntanshi!


Mr Speaker: Secondly, the hon. Member has raised a point about decorum and dignity. Just as recent as Friday, there was some disorder admittedly and I tried to manage that disorder.




Ms Mulenga: By him!


Mr Speaker: For your benefit, hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central, and for avoidance of doubt, I requested you to sit down and you practically refused. By the time I restored order, you had walked out. I do not know what dignity you added to the House. I do not know what decorum you added.




Ms Mulenga: And yet, ulelanda pabanobe!


Mr Speaker: So, hon. Member of Parliament for Choma Central, you should be the last person to complain.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear! Shame!


Mr Speaker: For the information of the House, there was a point of order raised in connection with Hon. Mweetwa’s conduct. I reserved my ruling and this is my ruling now.



Mr Speaker: The matter has been referred to the Committee on Privileges, Absences, and Support Services.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: Who was on the Floor?


Hon. Member for Zambezi East, continue with your intervention.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, I get the spirit in which the hon. Member for Zambezi West asked this question. The situation is the same in many constituencies. We, hon. Members of Parliament, are in the dark over Government women empowerment programmes in our constituencies. Would the hon. Minister have the courtesy of coming back to the House to inform each one of us what is in stock for our constituencies regarding women empowerment programmes to lessen the questions on this subject?


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, at one time, you compelled me to bring a list of programmes for each constituency. I remember bringing the list of activities to be done in most constituencies. Most of the areas that are indicated are areas which hon. Members complained about. I always ask my hon. Colleagues to visit Government offices because we have technocrats who are running many programmes and give guidance. I want to thank some of the hon. Members of Parliament who visited my office to get information on the programmes and guidance.


Mr Speaker, when you requested me to bring the list of programmes, I did so and the lists were put in the hon. Members’ pigeonholes. If my hon. colleague did not have time to go through the list of programmes, it is very unfortunate. However, I am requesting him to come to my office, and over a cup of tea, he can learn what the Ministry of Gender has for all the hon. Members in the House.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kucheka: Mr Speaker, empowering a woman is empowering the nation. As you know, in Zambia, men are broke...




Ms Kucheka ... and the women –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Zambezi West, substitute the word ‘broke’.


Ms Kucheka: Mr Speaker, men have no money. Women who are married to men are struggling. They have a lot of stress. The unmarried ones are also stressed. Apart from the programmes that the hon. Minister talked about in Zambezi West, are there any other programmes in place to help women deal with this stress?


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, this is the reason I am inviting my hon. Colleagues to come and see the other programmes we have. It is very difficult for me to bring technocrats to this House to come and show the hon. Members what the Ministry of Gender has. As to what we can do for those wives whose men are broke –


Mr Speaker: I just discouraged the questioner from using that word ‘broke’.


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I am sorry, I mean those who have no money.


Mr Speaker, we have a number of programmes which I cannot manage to bring out on this forum. I have always said that if an hon. Member wants to do something for their constituency which concerns the Ministry of Gender, it is important that they come to the office and sit with the director in charge of the relevant department in the ministry. There are so many things that take place in the ministry, and that is why I said that we need to know the project proposals from the community members. If we do not know what they want, we may just empower them with unnecessary materials. In some constituencies, we gave out tractors and tillers and they became white elephants because that is not what the people requested. It is the constituencies or the co-operatives themselves that can make a programme for us. When we look at the project proposals, we try and give direction. It is very difficult for me to mention all the programmes that the Ministry of Gender has at the moment. Therefore, I invite the hon. Member to come to my office and meet my technocrats to help her understand the programmes and the projects we are running.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three interventions as follows: Hon. Members for Mumbwa Constituency, Zambezi West Constituency and Lukulu East Constituency.


Mr Nanjuwa: Mr Speaker, in her response, the hon. Minister mentioned that about 600 to 900 projects were implemented in Zambezi West. However, the hon. Member of Parliament for that constituency did not see any money for the projects. What measures has the ministry put in place to make hon. Members aware of the programmes being implemented in their constituencies other than calling hon. Members to the hon. Minister’s office?


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, the ministry has introduced a system of writing to hon. Members of particular constituencies to inform them about our empowerment programmes for women in their constituencies so that they can be in attendance. Hon. Kasanda can attest to the fact that I wrote to her prior to going to her constituency. I have written to other hon. Members as well informing them that officers from my ministry will be visiting their constituencies. When I went to Kalulushi, I wrote to the hon. Member of Parliament. I did the same for the hon. Members for Chisamba Constituency and Mkushi Constituency. As a ministry, we have found it important for hon. Members of Parliament of particular constituencies to attend our programmes. However, some of my colleagues are in the habit of shunning the programmes, and there is nothing we can do about that.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kucheka: Mr Speaker, in the first place, I never received a letter from the hon. Minister and that is why –

Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, what is your question?


Ms Kucheka: Mr Speaker, I would like to know the total amount of money that was spent in the constituency. As you know, Zambezi District has two constituencies. Is the hon. Minister sure that this amount was only for Zambezi West?


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, maybe let me tell the hon. Member the farm equipment which was taken to Zambezi West. Under the advance project, there was an empowerment of K694,000. This includes a sixty horse power tractor, three disc ploughs, a disc harrow, 600 boom sprayers, 5 tonne desk trailer and two tillers. The machines were delivered through the chiefs. Therefore, the Government believes that the chief is a co-operating partner of the Government. Since chiefs have subjects, the co-operatives were written to when the machines were being handed over because they are not distributed in the absence of the co-operatives. So, the co-operatives were invited when the tractors were delivered.


Sir, the other thing is that when the co-operatives have not given the Government any documentation of the current co-operatives, especially those that the Government has not yet reached, it is very difficult for the Government to know whom they are going to deal with in a particular constituency.


Mr Speaker, I have been requesting my hon. Colleagues to bring the names of the registered co-operatives to the ministry so that we can partner with the co-operatives and empower them to continue with their activities. However, none of the hon. Members in this august House, especially those who are complaining, has given me any document pertaining to co-operatives in their constituencies. So, how can I reach them? Even if we want to work with them, whom I am going to give in Zambezi, for instance, if I do not know anybody?


 Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Phiri: So, it is up to any particular hon. Member of Parliament to identify whom they want the Government to work with. If they do not bring the names of the co-operatives, it is very difficult for the Ministry of Gender to dream who to given in Zambezi West. Apart from that, it is also very far and very difficult to know anybody in Zambezi.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Speaker: I indicated that the last intervention will come from the hon. Member for Lukulu East.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, the empowerment funds have been disbursed to our women for a long time now. Further, the hon. Minister has made a few general statements with regards to several other constituencies as having received tractors and other empowerment materials, some of which have since become white elephants. I would like to find out from the hon. Minister whether her ministry has carried out any review to ascertain whether the programme is cost effective and, indeed, it is empowering our women or it has been a drain to the national coffers.


Ms Phiri: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform the hon. Member that the ministry is going around withdrawing the equipment from the co-operatives which have been identified to have misplaced the empowerment equipment and giving it to other co-operatives within the constituency, if any, but if not, then we will take the machines out of such constituencies.  I have done this before. For example, there was a tractor which was given to a co-operative in Roan Constituency, but when I discovered that it was just being misused, I withdrew it and took it to the chiefdom within the district. This time around, it is doing fairly well.


Mr Speaker, I am appealing to all hon. Members to help supervise the beneficiaries in the constituencies. However, I want to promise that I will be withdrawing the tractors and giving them to the people who are ready to utilise them. If anything, the chiefs are not the owners of the tractors, but the co-operatives. We distribute them through the chiefs because we feel that they are the owners of the subjects, the people in general and the land because in the first place the chief has to provide land for the co-operatives. So, when the chiefs receive the empowerment, we believe that they can supervise the usage of the machines very well. However, if the machines are not being utilised, my ministry will withdraw the tractors and all farming implements and give them to the right co-operatives who are ready to utilise them.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




213. Mr Kabanda (Serenje) asked the Minister of Heath:


  1. what plans the Government has for the infrastructure at the former Serenje District Hospital site; and
  2. when the plans will be implemented.


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, this question has been overtaken by events and I, therefore, do not wish to proceed with it.


 I thank you, Sir.


 Mr Speaker: Very well.


Question put and agreed to. Leave granted.


Question, by leave, accordingly withdrawn.




214. Mr Lihefu (Manyinga) asked the Minister of Transport and Communication:


  1. when the Government will facilitate the construction of communication towers in the following areas in Manyinga Parliamentary Constituency;


  1. Dyambombola; and
  2. Ndunga; and


      b. when the newly constructed tower at Kachikenge Primary School will become operational.


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, I wish to inform this august House that the Government has not planned to construct towers in Dyambombola and Ndunga. However, the ministry will endevour to undertaken detailed surveys to ascertain coverage requirements and provide for installation of towers in future projects.


Sir, the tower at Kachikenge Primary School is expected to be operational by the end of the fourth quarter of 2020.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Lihefu: Mr Speaker, I think the technocrats gave wrong information to the hon. Minister because the tower at Kachikenge is already in operation and the people of Manyinga are thankful for that.


However, Dyambombola and Ndunga are highly populated areas and have a clinic. Those who have been living in Manyinga are aware that there is a distance of 60 km from the town centre to that place. Further, Loloma Mission Hospital, which is acting like a district hospital, needs communication for the ambulance to service that area. I would like to know the criteria the ministry was using in selecting areas which are suitable for erecting towers.


 Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, it is good to observe that the tower has already become operational before the fourth quarter. So, it is within the period.


Sir, the universal access project had a limited number of towers which was 1,009. Further, the other resources were also limited, which means that we could not cover the whole country. Therefore, what we did was to survey the country, map it and brought the schedule of the areas which were going to receive towers to Parliament and every hon. Member of Parliament was given that information.

However, the plan did not include the two areas in question. Therefore, only the future plans will be able to help to connect the areas. We are unable to do that in the second phase and hence, I am saying the plans do not exist. In future, however, and after we have accessed, there also emergency towers and these could be considered. This can only be amalgamated with several other areas which may be assessed as critical in the same manner.


 I thank you, Sir.          


 Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, when is the Government going to survey these two places? When is the Government undertaking the assessments?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, the survey will be done after the completion of the phase 2 which we are still undertaking.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lihefu: Mr Speaker, Manyinga Constituency is a highly populated area. Therefore, is the Government not considering constructing the towers in the second phase?


Mr Kafwaya: Mr Speaker, we are not considering constructing the towers in the second phase because it was already established and communicated. Therefore, that is the plan we are implementing now.


I thank you, Sir.




215. Mr Simbao (Senga Hill) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the grading of the Senga Hill/Chinakila Road will commence;
  2. why the road has not been maintained for the past three years;
  3. whether the Government has any plans to tar the road; and
  4. if so, when the plans will be implemented.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, before I proceed with the answer, allow me to pay my condolences to the hon. Minister of Eastern Province for the death of the eleven people that died at the Lundazi Bridge. I would also like to extend a message of condolences to Hon. Chitotela for the death of the two rhinos that were named after two hon. Ministers, Given Lubinda and Charles Banda, in Livingstone.




Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, in response to the question, the grading of the Senga Hill/Chinakila Road will commence when the Government mobilises funds to undertake the works. No major maintenance works have been undertaken on the road for the past three years because of funding challenges. However, the routine maintenance works have continued to keep the road motorable.


The Government has no immediate plans to upgrade the road to bituminous standard because of funding challenges. The road will only be considered for upgrading once funds for such undertakings are mobilised by the Government.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Simbao: Mr Speaker, when did the ministry last check the status of this road because there are so many areas which are now almost cut-off? When can the ministry quickly go through and mend the sections which are now almost impassable on the road?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we have a contractor undertaking periodic maintenance works and perhaps they are not working on this road because we have not given them money. They have a construct sum of K2.3 million and they have not been paid that money. However, with that information that the road is almost cut-off, the ministry will immediately ask the regional engineer to inspect and mark out the areas that need immediate attention. Then we can deal with those immediate problems as we mobilise money for the whole road.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, previously, we used to get infrastructure master plans distributed to hon. Members. Is the hon. Minster intending to distribute the copies or it is just me who missed one?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Road Development Agency (RDA) has come up with a schedule of roads that should be worked on throughout the country. Therefore, the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development can work together with the Ministry of Local Government to get an input from there and produce a master plan for the whole country. So, we could do that, but I cannot promise that it will be undertaken soon because we have to put everything together and consolidate before we have it released.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that the Government owes the routine maintenance contractor K2.3 million. In December last year, the ministry was allocated K350 million to clear all small contractors, which included routine road maintenance contractors. Considering the amount of money involved, why has the ministry failed to pay that contractor?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the debt that we owe the contractors is in billions. We owe several contractors a lot of money in billions of Kwacha. Therefore, K350 million is a drop in the ocean. So, not every contractor was able to access funding from that amount. However, the Ministry of Finance has been releasing money on a monthly basis once revenue is collected from tollgates. The ministry has been sending that money to the National Road Fund Agency (NRFA) for payment. My ministry works together with the NRFA to see which areas to receive funding. So, besides the K350 million that was allocated to the ministry, we still have got some money which we could now consider, because this is an emergency with the road getting cut-off.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, the Government procured a lot of equipment for the Zambian National Service (ZNS) in this country. You have just said that the Government owes a lot of money to contractors. Why is the Government not empowering ZNS, so that it could work on these simple roads, like the one we are talking about which is gravel? This could be a relief on the Government, instead of waiting for contractors whom it is failing to pay.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I will repeat what I said last week. Even the Zambian National Service (ZNS) needs money to operate, so it should be treated like any other contractor. We will not be abusing this institution by asking it to do some works for free. It will not be able to afford fuel and pay for maintenance of the equipment it has. So, even ZNS requires us to find money and pay it. We are giving ZNS a lot of work just like other contractors. In fact, it could be overwhelmed because it needs a lot of engineers and equipment and the work is too much that it has to deal with.


 I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, will the infrastructure master plan that the Road Development Agency (RDA) and Ministry of Local Government are working on include feeder roads in the rural areas? What is the extent of inclusion?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, it includes all sorts of road works and bridges. So everything that has to be worked on by way of maintaining roads in the country or connectivity will be in the master plan.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.  




216. Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge) asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to rehabilitate Sokontwe Primary School in Milenge District;
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented; and
  3. if there are no such plans, why.


The Minister of General Education (Mr Mabumba): Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to rehabilitate Sokontwe Primary School in Milenge District. The hon. Member is aware that I visited that school in the last quarter of last year. The plans will only be implemented when funds are available. Due to the answer given, part (c) of the question falls off.


I thank you, Sir.








Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the House do adopt the Report the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Social Cash Transfer in Zambia for the Period 2014 to 2017 for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, Laid on Table of the House on Thursday, 27th February, 2020.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr L. N. Tembo (Kaumbwe): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, pursuant to its terms of reference as set out under Standing Order No. 157(2), the Committee considered the report of the Auditor-General on the performance of the Social Cash Transfer Programme for the period 2014 to 2017.


Sir, the Committee, in considering the audit report, invited various stakeholders to present both oral and written submissions. I would like to believe that the hon. Members have had an opportunity to read the report. I will, therefore, only highlight a few of the salient issues contained in the report.


Sir, as regards rolling out the Social Cash Transfer Programme, the Committee was informed that the ministry’s intention was to roll out the programme to all the 104 districts from the initial fifty districts by 2016. This meant escalating the beneficiary caseload from 180,261 to 590,000. Although the 104 districts target was achieved, there was a delay in registering twenty-four districts as eligible recipients. As of December 2017, these districts had not started receiving the transfer amounts despite being on the scheme.


Mr Speaker, in its submission before the Committee, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare stated that the programme could not be expanded to the targeted 104 districts by 2016 due to financial constraints. However, by 2017, the ministry had expanded the programme to all the 104 districts across the country as originally envisaged, although the target of 590,000 beneficiary households was not reached. The Committee was informed that by the end of 2017, the ministry had managed to enroll 574,663 households out of the 590,000 targeted threshold, representing 97.4 per cent coverage.

Mr Speaker, the failure to meet the target was attributed mainly to delayed commencement of the scale-up which was affected by the non-release or delayed release of the funds from the Treasury and the co-operation partners. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the Government should own and take responsibility for this programme instead of relying completely on donor funding to ensure sustainability. The Committee further urges the Ministry of Finance to ensure that funds appropriated by Parliament for the Social Cash Transfer Programme should be released on time.


Mr Speaker, the other critical finding in the report of the Auditor-General is the payment of the social cash transfer to ineligible beneficiaries. The Committee is extremely concerned that the social cash transfer payments totaling K2,053,800 were made to 2,284 ineligible beneficiaries for the period ranging from two to 14 months. This deprived deserving beneficiaries of the opportunity to access the funds, thereby making the programme ineffective. The ministry attributed this error to the use of Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACS) and school leavers in the selection of beneficiaries, which resulted in compromised data quality. This practice has since been discontinued.


Mr Speaker, the Committee was further informed that attempts by the ministry to recover funds paid to ineligible beneficiaries had proved futile as these beneficiaries were also poor except that they did not fall in the category of households considered eligible for inclusion on the Social Cash Transfer Programme.

Mr Speaker, the Committee notes with great concern that the Social Cash Transfer Programme covered many ineligible persons at the expense of the vulnerable and eligible persons. The Committee is also concerned over the failure by the ministry to make recoveries on account that the households concerned are also vulnerable.


Mr Speaker, the other matter is the lack of supporting documents confirming the disability status of beneficiaries. The Committee was informed that out of a total of 8,558 beneficiaries purported to be disabled, only seventy-six beneficiaries had verifiable credentials from the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disability (ZAPD), while the rest had neither a ZAPD certification nor a medical certificate from a certified medical practitioner to confirm their disability. Stakeholders submitted that the lack of supporting documents to qualify the disability status among the beneficiaries was as a result of poor co-ordination between the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare and the ZAPD. The situation was exacerbated by the centralisation of the system of disability certification since ZAPD was only present in thirteen districts countrywide.


Sir, in this regard, the Committee recommends that the collaboration between ZAPD and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare should be enhanced to develop a more rigorous framework for identification, verification and certification of the disabled beneficiaries so that only eligible persons benefit from the programme. Further, clinical officers and nurses who may be more readily available than medical doctors should be empowered to certify the disability. There is an urgent need, therefore, to put necessary measures in place to ensure smooth collaboration between the ministry and ZAPD.


Mr Speaker, the Committee further observed that it is not possible for ZAPD to be found in all 104 districts due to financial constraints. The Committee noted that although ZAPD is a statutory body, it does not have its own budget line and has to depend on donor funded grants. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the Government take urgent steps to ensure that ZAPD has its own budget line. In the same vein, funds appropriated to the agency must be released in a timely manner. With such support from the Government, ZAPD will be able to decentralise its operations.

Sir, last but not least, the Committee noted that contrary to its standard harmonised manual, which required that administrative costs be maintained at 15 per cent of the total transfer amount, a total of K63,539,888 was paid to districts above the required 15 per cent threshold. Furthermore, the ministry spent administrative costs of K317,748,992 or 42 per cent of the transfer value of K760,516,736 between 2014 and 2017 as the administrative cost, which is contrary to the grant agreement which was required to be kept at 20 per cent of the transfer value. The Committee finds the incurring of administrative costs above the 15 per cent threshold unacceptable because this is money which could have ordinarily been directed towards poverty reduction. The Committee, therefore, strongly recommends that the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare should strictly adhere to the 15 per cent threshold. Further, the Committee recommends that the ministry should adopt modern technology such as mobile money services as a way of reducing these administrative costs.


Mr Speaker, the Committee noted that whereas the Social Cash Transfer Programme is well-intended, it is marred with operational challenges such as the late release of funds and sometimes non-release at all when they have been appropriated by Parliament in the National Budget. It is the earnest desire of the Committee that the Treasury releases the funds timely and consistently in order for the Social Cash Transfer Programme to proceed smoothly. The Committee also noted that the Government should take responsibility for this programme and reduce the dependence on co-operating partners in order to ensure sustainability.


Sir, lastly, the Committee is grateful to you for having accorded it an opportunity to scrutinise this audit report. It is also grateful to the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and support rendered to it during the consideration of the Report of the Auditor-General on the Performance of the Social Cash Transfer for the period 2014 to 2017. The Committee is also indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it for their co-operation in providing the necessary memoranda and also the briefs.


Mr Speaker, with these few words, I urge all hon. Members to support this very important report.


I thank you, Sir.


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


Mr L. N. Tembo: Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I stand to second the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Social Cash Transfer Programme in Zambia for the period 2014 to 2017 for the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly.


Mr Speaker, on the total number of beneficiary households reached by the Social Cash Transfer Programme, the stakeholders submitted that 2,000 beneficiaries were ineligible. This was caused by poor mechanisms put in place by the ministry in charge of the programme. It was also noted that during the same period, people with disabilities were not identified in good faith, which means there was no collaboration between the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare and the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD). Therefore, the stakeholders urged the Committee, the ministry and the Government at large to harmonise the identification of the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Programme.


Sir, the stakeholders noted that in 2010, the Government set a target that the ministry should reduce the delays of transfer from 6 months to one week. In 2016, it was noted that this target was not met and the number of days increased to eighty. The stakeholders also submitted that there was a delay in the release of the funds from the Treasury, which made it difficult for the implementing ministry to disburse the funds or implement the social protection programme. Hence, the Committee and the stakeholders urge the Government and the Ministry of Finance to speed up the release of funds towards this social protection programme because many people were being denied the benefits of the social protection programme that they were enrolled in.


Mr Speaker, the stakeholders also submitted that the ministry had a provision to review the transfer amount for this programme annually. They expressed disappointment that K70 has been given to beneficiaries from the time the programme started, and that the ministry did not consider inflation. For example, a bag of mealie-meal today costs about K130.


Hon. Opposition Members: Where?


Mr L. N. Tembo: The stakeholders submitted that the K70 that the beneficiaries receive would not enable them to buy a bag of mealie meal.


Mr Speaker, the Committee also noted concerns from stakeholders that there was a high administrative cost from the ministry. A high administrative cost also contributed to the programme from not being rolled out in good faith. It was noted that the ministry did not follow the 15 per cent threshold, hence, a lot of money was used in administrative costs, instead of increasing the number of beneficiaries on the social programme. Therefore, the Committee is urging the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare to adapt the use of modern technologies like the mobile money transfer service, so that beneficiaries can be receiving money through such services, hence reducing on administrative costs. 


Mr Speaker, with these few remarks, I beg to second the Motion.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for an opportunity to add my voice to the Motion on this report. This is a very straight forward report and all hon. Members appear to be agreeable to its contents.


Sir, allow me to add very quickly that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme would be a very good programme if only properly managed. I have a suggestion that probably as the House talks about the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, we must be moving towards creating a policy or legislation of some sort which will compel huge businesses like supermarkets that are all over the compounds to take up  corporate social responsibilities. A way must be found of urging them to begin to take up some of these corporate social responsibilities. Right now, conglomerates come to this country to get their profits and leave as if nothing happened. I think once a policy is created, it would be very easy for big companies to remember that apart from just trading in compounds and high density areas, they also have a responsibility of uplifting the people from poverty.


Mr Speaker, I have looked at page 14 of this report, which is the conclusion, and it states as follows:

“With regard to the concerns raised by the cooperating partners concerning the management of the Social Cash Transfer Programme, the Committee implores the Government to quickly resolve the issues in order to foster confidence from the donor community.’’


Sir, I understand that such a good programme cannot be left to donors alone, but it should be for everyone. For example, hon. Members of Parliament should also have a component where at the end of the month they are also seen to engage in some social corporate responsibilities. Leaving such a huge burden to the Government alone might take many years to achieve the programme. So, if partners can be identified in sectors such as education, agriculture and others, I believe such a programme would be very easy to achieve.


Mr Speaker, as I wind up my debate, allow me to state that most observations by stakeholders in this report clearly show that the systems were not enough to prevent abuse of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. In some instances, the report indicates that in some districts, someone has to carry cash and distribute to beneficiaries. In some cases, people have claimed that allowances for particular months were paid, and yet beneficiaries did not see the money.


So, I think working with communication companies such as Airtel Zambia Limited, Zambia Telecommunications Limited (ZAMTEL) and others, it would be very easy so that money is channelled through phone numbers, if beneficiaries do have phone numbers, or there should be a way of making sure that beneficiaries receive whatever is due to them at the right time.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, allow me to thank you and the House for this opportunity.

Mr Ng’onga (Kaputa): Mr Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to add my voice to this important Motion on the Report of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Social Cash Transfer in Zambia for the period 2014 to 2017.


Sir, I went through the report and what caught my eye was the objective of the audit, on page 3, which reads as follows:


“The objective of the audit was to assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Social Cash Transfer Programme towards the reduction of extreme poverty among the beneficiary households.”


Mr Speaker, you may be aware or I could bring it to your attention that Kaputa has been one of the districts which have benefited from the Social Cash Transfer Scheme since its inception in 2008 or 2009, there about. So, as the people of Kaputa District, we have quite immense experience on how this Social Cash Transfer Scheme has benefitted the people of Zambia. I do take recognition of the fact that the Report of the Auditor-General on the Social Cash Transfer in Zambia for the period 2014 to 2017 has revealed challenges and problems that people face in areas where the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is received.


Sir, I think it was a good intention for the Government to roll out the Social Cash Transfer Scheme to all districts because the benefits derived from it cut across the country, especially for the rural households in extreme poverty. However, as the Auditor-General’s report has indicated, scaling up just for the sake of numbers has not been very beneficial to the people. Yes, a target to reach 575,000 or 590,000 beneficiaries can be made, but if the people being targeted are not benefiting, then it will not help. One would even suggest that it would be better to probably measure the amount of money available with a limited number of beneficiaries. I say so because the K70 targeted to be paid to each beneficiary cannot even buy any bag of mealie meal, especially at a time like this when mealie meal prices are high.


Mr Speaker, however, this is a programme that was meant to do many wonders. Even when beneficiaries were getting K140 bi-monthly, households led by old people or by the differently abled paid for their children’s school fees. They were also able to manage certain programmes that otherwise they would not manage. Immediately I am seen in my constituency, people would ask about what was happening and wondering if the Government was going to continue with the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. Therefore, I urge the hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare to take note that people are in need of this particular programme, especially the people of Kaputa because many benefitted from it.


Sir, for the period when there were no regular payments to this programme, some beneficiaries are in debt because they borrowed knowing that they would receive their K150 to settle various obligations. So, beneficiaries long for this money. Therefore, I would urge the Government to ensure that it honours its obligation for this particular programme.


Mr Speaker, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is not a programme which can entirely be left to the donor community. The impact was felt immediately the donors withdrew their support in almost all areas where the programme was being implemented Therefore, this programme must be a Government owned programme, with the Ministry of Finance releasing every penny budgeted for and approved by this House. It is very important that all hon. Members of Parliament, including the hon. Minister of Finance, support this programme because it basically goes to help those people that otherwise we would not be able to help in any way possible. It is only better to share the little that is available.


Sir, there were areas in the report that I would like to bring to the attention of the Government in terms of the way the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is executed. There are some areas such as identifying the differently abled. In urban centres, it is very easy –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours to 1700 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Ng’onga: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was explaining one of the conditions that has been put up in the report of your Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services on the identification of persons with disability. On page 7, paragraph 2, item (iii), it says:


“Persons with disability, who did not have the ZAPD disability card, were required to present a medical certification form to the enumerators. The Department of Social Welfare in each district engaged medical personnel to undertake the disability certification.”


Sir, this sometimes poses a big challenge because if you come to a district such as Kaputa, you will find that there is only one doctor to man the entire district and you will find that this particular doctor does quite a lot of things. He may not even have the time to be taken by the community officers to areas where they may find persons with disability. I think the hon. Minister and the entire department must be able to conform to our requirements within the country. Physically, persons with disability who may have a card or may have registered through an institution in the country are there and can be identified, but it is very difficult to find them. 


Mr Speaker, for our officers in the district to say they will follow them to their houses is almost impossible. We, therefore, urge the hon. Minister to ensure that he encourages the officers within the Ministry of Community and Social Welfare at district level to engage and make use of other officers in different institutions. He can also use our offices as hon. Members of Parliament, including our parliamentary assistants, because we are in touch with the people and we know which people deserve to be assisted by a programme such as this.


Sir, it is very disheartening to find that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is benefiting people who may not necessarily be eligible, but basically because either they are related to the village headman or they are in the programme where this programme is being initiated. You will find that the deserving old and disabled people are not part of the programme. Therefore, these are issues that the report has brought about.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to support your report and urge the hon. Minister to ensure that this programme continues. We hope this programme takes off soon because people are waiting for it.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I would like to commend your Committee for coming up with a report which is short and user-friendly. Your Committee has really done a good job. I have appreciated the report because it has confirmed what we have been talking about with regards to the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, in terms of its incapacity and incompetence in carrying out programmes.


Hon. Government Members: Question!


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, this is a typical report which the hon. PF Members need to take to their offices and I am going to explain what I mean.


Sir, this programme has a simple objective, which is poverty reduction. It also has a period from 2014 to 2017. It also has a target to cover 104 districts and 590,000 people. It also says that the administrative costs should be 15 per cent of the funding arrangement. The amount of money to be given to the beneficiaries is also given at K70. There is also the transfer time which has been given. The report says that it should be reduced from the original six months to one week. The legibility criterion is also given here and it is referring to extremely poor households. It is very easy to understand.


Mr. Speaker, on all these measures, this ministry has failed to meet any of those criteria. What is even worse for a government which is failing to pay people working for it, is that the Government has gone ahead to pay people money in excess of K2 million, which it has not made a simple effort to recover. This Government is even saying that it has civil servants who report to hon. Ministers in the offices whom we pay. What are we paying them for?


Mr Lusambo: Question!


Mr Mbangweta: Is it so difficult to understand what I am saying? You cannot follow?




Mr Mbangweta: Then what are you questioning?




Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat. There is no need for the hon. Member for Nkeyema or indeed anybody else to try and take charge of the discipline of the House. There is no need. In fact, it is simply not tenable. If you continue in that direction, then I will just curtail your debate instead, for having the inability to restrain yourself. You are talking about incapacities and incompetence.




Mr Speaker: So, you need to manage yourself also. Continue, hon. Member.


Mr Mbangweta: Mr Speaker, I was saying that this programme has failed in all criteria it was given. How can a Government which has no money let K2 million go in the drain and not recover it? What does that mean? This Government spent K203 million which it should not have spent on this programme. If you look at the way this money was spent, you will find that it was spent on people who were administering the programme, not the targeted people. This is not the way resources should be managed, especially when resources are scarce. That is what I mean by ‘incompetence’.


Sir, the Government targeted to reduce the delivery time by one week, but after four years, it is still between eighty-eight days and 332 days. So, what is it doing? The Government says this programme is a poverty reduction measure. In what sense is it reducing poverty in this manner?


Sir, at the end of the day, the Government has tended to use the Social Cash Transfer payments in by-elections. If there is a by-election, all of a sudden, the money for the Social Cash Transfer Programme which has not been there for so many months appears. That is not fair or correct. The Government should be worried. It should be encouraged to make sure that the objectives of this programme are achieved.


Mr Speaker, the other important point which is clear is the fact that the Ministry of Finance is not able to fund this programme to the required standard due to constraints on debts. Again, that goes back to the same issue of expenditure. Globally, there is always a relationship between a decision made in one area and things happening in another area. If debt servicing is affecting the programme, I expect the Executive to agree and generate proper strategies to reduce the debt in order to address other concerns. It should not keep insisting that it has good workers, that they are delivering and are pro-poor. This does not reflect the pro-poor aspect. As a matter of fact, until this programme is funded properly, systems are put in place and people are held accountable, it will not achieve the desired results. As a matter of fact, it will be one way of siphoning money from the Treasury. It does not add any value.


Sir, I have spoken about the K70 paid to each beneficiary in relation to the current price of a bag of mealie meal. The K70 cannot suffice but it would make sense if the Social Cash Transfer Programme payments came on a regular basis and on time to the targeted people. The ministry should be well-advised to put systems in place which will ensure that the targeting is properly done. Further, the K2 million which has disappeared should be recovered. It would be better if we were told that the police investigated this matter and were not in a position to find what happened. At least, they can recover the money from the people who disbursed it.

I thank you, Sir. 


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you. I would like to agree with the Committee when it concluded by saying that:


“... whereas the Social Cash Transfer Programme is well-intended, it is marred with operational challenges, such as late release of funds or even non-release at all ...”


Mr Speaker, in its conclusion, the Committee continued to say that:


“... concerns raised by cooperation partners concerning the management of the Social Cash Transfer Programme, the committee implores the Government to quickly resolve the issues in order to foster confidence from the donor community.”


Sir, in a country where poverty levels are extremely high, where climate change effects continue to negatively  affect agriculture, it is important that the Social Cash Transfer Programme is well-managed in order to provide a safety net for the vulnerable.


Mr Speaker, there are a few points I would like to bring to the attention of this House that perhaps should be considered as we look at the administration of the Social Cash Transfer Programme. First, is the high cost of administering this programme. The 40 per cent of the total amount going to administration is far too high. That is almost saying that the programme is benefiting the administrators. The cost of administrating the Social Cash Transfer Programme must not exceed 20 per cent to 25 per cent.


Sir, secondly, the way we target the beneficiaries is very important. It is very important because the objective of this programme is to reduce poverty and improve nutrition among the vulnerable groups. So, the way we target beneficiaries is very important. The aged, the disabled and those considered destitute must be high on the list. Since we are dealing with the vulnerable, the issue of delays speaks volumes. You cannot delay help to the vulnerable. If you do, then it will not be help at all. Sometimes, the help may come too late.

Mr Speaker, the issue of the amount we give has also come into question. The K70 per month is negligible and it cannot help reduce poverty and improve malnutrition. So, as we support this programme, it is important that the issue of targeting people who do not deserve to receive this support or ineligible beneficiaries must be considered. Again, this has to do with targeting.


Sir, I support this report by the Committee. The report brought out important issues, and we will do well to pay attention to the advice of the Committee. Indeed, this report should be supported by all of us.


I thank you, Sir. 


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, this report has brought out many undesirable elements. I want to just get the rationale of the Committee for having such a lukewarm attitude to an audit report. The report is very clear. An audit serves an investigation of prudence, misapplication of funds or things, such as theft. As indicated by my colleagues, the objectives of the Social Cash Transfer Programme are very clear. The headline among them is the poverty reduction aspect. We have to interrogate the situation and find out whether or not we are meeting any milestones in terms of the objectives of this programme. The Social Cash Transfer Programme is meant to reduce destitution and juvenile delinquency.


Sir, I think the manner in which this programme is run is delinquent itself. It is not fair for the Committee to give us a business as usual approach. For instance, as an example, on page 5, we are told that the Auditor-General’s findings were that K2,053,800 was paid to 2,200 people who were ordinarily not supposed to be in the net. They were not beneficiaries. That is what the report says. Why is the Committee taking a lukewarm approach on a matter such as this one? It should have posed a few questions to make sure that this comes to a complete stop because we just had one scandal from this same programme and now we have another one where 2,258 individuals, living warm bodies, who were not supposed to be beneficiaries have received the K70 payments. The report goes on to say that they did not only receive the K70 for one month but for between four and 140 months. This is the reason the figure is colossal. K2 million is a lot of money by any standard to just be filtered through people or characters who ordinarily should not have been paid by the Social Cash Transfer Programme.


Mr Speaker, we are told by the report that the reason there was this leakage is because there was a migration. Initially, when the Social Cash Transfer Programme began many years ago, it was teachers who were involved in the administration of the programme. Now we are told it is Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) and school leavers administering it. In the midst of this poverty, you give school leavers authority to enumerate or register people who are supposed to qualify to be beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Programme. According to the report, the main eligibility criterion is anybody above the age of sixty-five who is destitute and secondly, one who has a severe disability and has been certified and monitored for six months nonstop. Now, we should ask ourselves the question: How did a school leaver make a determination to recruit these beneficiaries for six months? Who did the work in those six months to monitor the people who were severely disabled? I take it that there was no one. So, this programme was left to run on auto pilot. You just call a youngster who has finished Grade 12 and ask them to write their name and go into communities and register those they find to be destitute. What are the measures of destitution? This report does not tell us anything about that.


Mr Speaker, for people who are forthright, we should not even call it the ‘inefficiencies of this programme’, we must call it ‘a fraud’. It is another fraud. As far as I am concerned, for one whole year, incompetent Grade 12 youngsters were asked to be involved in a programme managing a colossal sums of money which is supposed to benefit the very aged and the severely disabled. The objective of this programme was to lift these people out of poverty. How can you do it like this? You simply cannot.


Mr Speaker, we need to stop and think. I am encouraging Committees such as this Committee not to treat these matters with kid gloves. This was another theft; K2 million was given to 2,000 people. It can never be an accident for 2,258 people to be wrongly recruited. As far as I am concerned, this is a scandal. People just agreed to register their own relatives. That is my imagination.


Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Mr Nkombo: The Office of the Auditor-General is one of the institutions we have in this country that is still doing a commendable job to bring out some of the flaws that are continuously making Zambia’s poverty situation to be on the rise. This programme which should never be a failure, it should never fail by any standard.


Mr Speaker, this Government moved the administration of this programme from teachers to the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST). Everyone knows what happened at ZAMPOST; the organisation basically embezzled the money. They decided to buy motor vehicles and luxury things. That is what this PF is well-known for, luxury. Now, they have moved from one extreme end to the other. I know that ZAMPOST is represented in almost all districts. It was a good network to use for this programme. They now took the programme to school leavers whose parents are poverty stricken. How in the world do you expect programmes like this to be successful? The school leavers will first look at their tummies. I will not go into the details of the quantum of the K70 which the Committee spent time deliberating on and said is not enough. Yes, it is not enough, but it makes a whole lot of a difference if it is administered correctly and the correct beneficiaries collect this money. It makes a huge difference.


Mr Speaker, I think this programme should be understood by everyone, young and old. An old, noble man, Hon. Request Muntanga, may his soul rest in peace, piloted this project using his own resources at his constituency office. He proved that it can work, and then the Government adopted the programme. They went and did a pilot. They tried to spread their wings countrywide. What we have is a disaster. Why has the report not been conclusive on what the audit report said? Who registered the wrong people? Have these people been brought to book to understand that they misguided themselves? Was it for pecuniary benefit? Was it just a genuine error? Was it business as usual? I take it that it is business as usual because there have been no punitive measures. We are told that the Government does not even have the mechanism to go and claim back the money from those who benefited in an undue manner. That is what the report has said. The report has said that any attempt the Government made to try and recover that money proved to be an exercise in futility. Why? It is because it was a scheme.

Sir, I also read in the report ...




Mr Speaker: Order, on my right.


Mr Nkombo: ...  that the desire of the Committee is to make sure that this programme is funded by the Government. The Committee said that this is because there is sustainability if we continue to get funding from donors. I put it to the Committee that this is a wrong approach. The donors will always find money as long as there is prudent application of the money. If the money is not embezzled, the donors are going to continue to support us. If the money does not make corners in corridors in the dark, donors will continue to support this country, but if money is taken away in the manner that it is being taken away, they will not do it. The Committee recommended that the Government should be the one to finance this whole project. The Government has no money. It is not a secret that the PF is broke.


Mr Ng’onga: Question!


Mr Nkombo: It has pulled this country down to its knees. There is no money. Let us not even beat about the bush. There is no money for the Social Cash Transfer Programme. I debated here last time, that the hon. Minister there, my niece, cannot even afford to smile and laugh. I am reminding her that the Treasury has not given the ministry any money. 


Today they must say that the Government must fund this money. How, when only 10 per cent of the entire Budget is for social programmes? There is no magic of abracadabra here, no. In the National Budget, 50 per cent is going to debt servicing, 40 per cent going to pay recurrent expenditure such as emoluments or vice versa and 10 per cent is what is left. You cannot do it. It is like a bad dream.


Sir, we need a serious Government and serious sector of people who can come and make sure that this programme becomes correct. The current Government is far too short of the ability to do it because our hon. Colleagues have got their mouths in wrong places. They put money in importing armoured cars. We saw them lining up, for whom or to impress whom? However, it was a good idea to buy water bowsers because it is a civilised way of doing crowed control, but come on, why buy armoured cars for a small country that has never been to war? Tell me, which war has Zambia fought for you to continue buying all those expensive things, at the expense of programmes such as this one? Can somebody answer me? It is reckless, insensitive and there is no other definition. The Government is completely insensitive to go and start buying these vehicles, whether they are second hand, from Russia or wherever they were procured from.


Mr Speaker, when we come into Government, which we desire to do, we are going to sale those things because we do not need them...


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Nkombo: ... in order to fund such programmes. We have to fund programmes that are going to lift the people’s living standards and not buy armoured cars and teargas. We have debated our lungs out about the issue of missed priorities by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government. It is not necessary and all it does is bring consternations and fear in people. Why buy – we have lived for so long without all these armoured vehicles that they have procured. Where did the money come from? It is a clear case of misapplication of resources by the Government on your right hand side.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: There is no other definition and no one can even stand up and challenge me that it was necessary to buy the armoured cars at a colossal amount of money. It was like a joke. We were complaining about the fire tenders which were bought at K2 million each, but they went ahead because we are docile. We are failing to make the PF see sense in buying things that are valuable to us as a people. I blame myself because I have talked about buying ambulances for exorbitant amounts of money, when there are programmes such as this one. Do you want to go to the tail end of it? When these lame people are sick, that is when you need an ambulance. First try and cushion them, so that they live a next to decent life, by getting them in a manner of giving them nutrition. This is what this programme is serving to do. Instead, here we are retired to the fact that the PF is in the Government and, therefore, they can do whatever they want.


Sir, the act of application of money for the country into things such as what I have described is unnecessary. No wonder these programmes cannot succeed. There is no other definition and no one can say anything from the top right up to the bottom. Even a small child in Grade 5 can do a Strength, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat (SWOT) analysis to see where our strengths, weaknesses and opportunities are. It is simple. I blame myself so much because I do not remember approving this budget of importing the expensive armoured vehicles and presidential jet and the lavish living. We cannot afford that. That is why we need a serious Government.


Mr Speaker, this Government has a year to re-bundle itself into another group of serious people. It is easy to do it. Let us engage as leaders of this country and argue. At times, I even pinch myself and ask if at all I have before seen this budget line of cars that have been imported. Was it a donation or what? I have been arguing within myself and I am not at peace. At the end of it all, someone will raise and say it is Parliament that appropriated the money to buy these things. Personally, I apologise to the Zambian people for being in this Parliament that approved money, if we ever did, for things that do not add value to our people – the downtrodden.


Sir, the hon. Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Welfare should take note that this report makes me sad. This is a report where you should have reminded the Government that the Committee system is the heart and soul of any Parliament. This is where the correct recommendations must come from to look at the entire picture and an audit report is easy to read and see the flaws. This makes me extremely sad. I do not know what language we can now begin to use for our friends on your right hand to, for once, try to understand the things that matter to us.


Mr Speaker, when the seconder was talking, I was listening. I even asked myself if I was in the same country. He said a bag of mealie meal is K130 when it is not. Here in Lusaka where there are industries and milling companies, it is at K175 and it is in short supply. However, the seconder of the Motion was saying the K70 given to the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is not even enough to buy a bag of mealie meal, which is now going at K130. In far-flung areas, it is about K200. That is the truth of the matter. I heard the Deputy Chief Whip arguing that these people who have come to do business in compounds –


Mr Ngulube entered the Assembly Chamber.


Mr Nkombo: There he comes. He was saying, including ourselves, various entities should practice social corporate responsibility to contribute to the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. What kind of thinking is that? As for me, every second call I get from my constituency and elsewhere, people are saying, “Ba MP, nilibe unga. So, I must now –


Mr Speaker: Meaning what?


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, that means people have no mealie meal. That is a normal story in this country today. If you go to my Airtel money account, you will find that I am in debt. Old women who qualify for this programme call to say, “Mwanangu, kuno tulona nzala”, meaning, ‘We sleep hungry’, and yet they are buying armoured vehicles. Come on, do a reality check and see that you are taking this country to a wrong place. We do not need those things. All we need is to harmonise ourselves. There are no enemies here. We just turned ourselves into enemies. God was not short-sighted to put us all together. We are one country.


Mr Speaker, there is no reason to buy all those vehicles, filya mwashitile, meaning those things you bought. There is no justification anywhere. Those are the things that are going to eat you up and bring you down as the Ruling Party because we are going to use those things effectively to society, so that people do not vote for you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Nkombo: This is where the buck stops. We are going to use all these reckless activities that you have been doing such as the unnecessary by-elections that are induced, spending and gobbling a lot of money. All those monies that you are using in by-elections could have been used for programmes such as the Social Cash Transfer Scheme to help the very aged and the people who die every day, not only because of lack of food, but luck of nutrition, hope and everything. Zambians have lost hope and they do not know if they will see the light the next day because it is like a fight to survive.


Mr Speaker, I would like to thank the Committee, however, for bringing out all these matters in a lukewarm manner. Next time, please call a spade a spade and not a big spoon. Call it a spade so that we can all be reminded what our responsibilities are.


Sir, I thank you.


Mrs Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, I would like to express my gratitude for giving me this opportunity to speak on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme.


Sir, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is a very good programme and well intended for the people of Zambia, especially the most vulnerable people in our communities such as the aged, single parents, child-headed homes, the disabled and many others who are on the programme.


Mr Speaker, I am aware that 85 per cent of the money in the Social Cash Transfer Scheme comes from the Government while 15 per cent is from the co-operating partners, who are the donors. Therefore, I would like to urge the hon. Minister of Finance to release the money given to the vulnerable people on time, so that the beneficiaries can, of course, benefit from the money. Late release of the money is one of the greatest challenges the programme is facing.


Sir, I would also like to urge the people responsible for the programme that this exercise should not be stagnant. Sometimes, the same people have been on the programme from the time they first registered when they are supposed to graduate. For example, some of the names of the people on the list are those who have gone to be with the Lord and the ones who have graduated, but they have not stopped receiving the money. Further, the people who have become vulnerable should also be included on the programme.

 Mr Speaker, I would also like to advise the Government that the amount of money which is released to our people is inadequate. It would be nice if they can increase the money so that the money can be used for so many other things. When people are waiting for the money and looking forward to receiving it, most of the time, the money is disbursed very late and is inadequate when it is required so much because people would want to use it for buying food and also take their vulnerable children to school.


Mr Speaker, I would also want to urge the Government to improve the programme so that many people can benefit from it.


Sir, with these few words, I would like to thank you.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Siwale (Mafinga): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to also add a word on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme implemented by our Government.


Sir, I just have a few minutes to talk about this progressive report from your office. I have a few points to talk about. The first one is that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is well intended for the benefit of our people and the society at large, especially the poor people mostly in the rural set up.


Mr Speaker, I would like to disagree with my hon. Colleagues who suggested that the Government did not put in place measures to arrest the situation of criminality which occurred sometime back. I would like to mention that when the report was presented that there were people who had abused the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, the Government moved in to arrest the situation. I am sure our hon. Colleagues are aware that some measures were put in place to arrest the situation.


However, what is amazing up to now is that when the measures were being put in place and the situation was corrected, our hon. Colleagues went out there condemning the Government that it had not done enough. Now, I wonder what they wanted the Government to do to correct the situation because things were put in place and the outcome is known by everyone.


Hon. UPND Members: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Siwale: Sir, the 2 million beneficiaries who were on the scheme, but abused the money is quite alarming. However, the issue at hand does to mean the Government failed to arrest the situation because there could even be some people from the other end who benefited from the same programme.


Hon. Opposition Member: Question!


Mr Siwale: Mr Speaker, when we talk about the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, it should be inclusive and all political parties should always come together and arrest the situation, unlike just talking without offering any solution.


Sir, I am also very shocked to find that some hon. Members of Parliament could stand and say that the programme is not going to work out because they are trying to bring in the youth to implement the programme. I would like to know whom they want to implement the programme if we cannot empower our own youths because the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has a programme of empowering its youths. To the contrary, some hon. Member stood up and said that the youths are going to abuse the resources. As far as I know, the Zambian youths are very progressive. Maybe the youths in our hon. Colleagues’ constituencies are not well managed because of their upbringing and, therefore, they think that they can abuse the resources. However, the PF youths are up to the task to execute whatever duties they have been mandated to do.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Siwale: Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to ask the hon. Minister to see to it that she should not be distracted. She should bring the youths on board and let them implement the programme, so that our Zambian people can benefit from this progressive programme. No one is going to assist her to implement this programme if she does not involve our young people. Nevertheless, I know that she is very much up to the task of empowering all the Zambians to enable them benefit from this noble cause.


Sir, let me now come to the implementation aspect.  Like our hon. Colleagues were lamenting from the other side that –


Hon. UPND Members: Which side?


Mr Siwale: Of course, on your left, Mr Speaker. The people who always make noise are on your left …




Mr Siwale: … because they do not know what –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, do not go there.




Mr Siwale: Mr Speaker, under one minute, I just wish to thank you for according me this opportunity. Based on the commendations coming from our hon. Colleagues bordering on forming Government in 2021, I would like to ask you, Sir, that maybe you can to let us do away with tea break because there is too much dreaming that people want to form Government.



Mr Siwale: Maybe, we are eating too much. So, maybe, we can do away with tea break so that they stop dreaming.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Did you say that we do away with tea break?


Mr Siwale indicated assent.                


The Northern Province Minister (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, the Committee did a commendable job and they have done very good work in terms of bringing out to light certain issues.


Mr Speaker, in a country like Zambia, where there is good governance, it is expected that institutions of governance must be able to perform and provide the needed oversight. They must also be able to bring out issues on the performance of the Executive. This is what this country has provided, good governance.


Mr Speaker, the institution of the Auditor-General, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and the Public Protector are mandated to bring out issues of this nature. Therefore, the fact that we are able to learn about the K2 million that may not have been used properly sends a signal that this Government pays a lot of attention to institutions of governance and allows them to perform. We want to ensure that transparency and accountability are enhanced and that everything we do is within the law. We are providing for the Zambian people.


Mr Speaker, on page 7 of the report, the issue of school leavers has been highlighted. The submission by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare was very clear. When the ministry saw that the use of the Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) and school leavers was not working, it took a step and removed them and brought in public officers. This shows that the Government is able to identify that there is a disjoint or that something is wrong and it quickly needs to remedy the situation. This is what the Government did, read page 7.  In fact, the use of Grade 7 pupils or school leavers was done away with long before the Government decided to use the post office. It is important for the Government to put things in the correct perspective. After the Government noticed and realised that the usage of these people was not correct, it did something about it. This is what is depicted on page 7 of the report.


Mr Speaker, it is very critical to prioritise issues. It is very clear that the world we live in today may not be as safe as some people may think. Therefore, the issue of defence cannot be trivialised in the manner that I heard one hon. Member of Parliament speak. There is terror in this country. We are grappling with the issue of gassing. Therefore, we need to prepare the security wings and the defence forces. Even though we put money into the social safety nets, we must also be able to ensure that our security wings are well catered for. The Government needs to prepare the security wings and the defence forces for times of terror such as the gassing issue.


Mr Speaker, the Opposition insinuated and proposed that it will sell the armoured vehicles when it comes to power. That is misplaced. This is the third time I have heard them say that. They also said they will sell the presidential plane. Now they want to sell military equipment. What else are they going to sell? The country may be sold. It should not be like that, and you do not ascend to leadership...


Ms Mulenga: Bakabwalala aba.




Mr Bwalya: ... by threatening individuals and the leadership that when you come to power, you will sell this and that. The Zambian people are not for sale. This country must be protected. When I listened to the debate, I felt very sad that we are headed somewhere very dangerous. We should not allow such political parties to come into power with such plans of selling the entire country with its wealth and its people.


Mr Speaker, this report has talked about the utilisation and the implementation of the Social Cash Transfer Programme which is meant to assist the vulnerable. As a country, we must accept that from the time the Patriotic Front (PF) Government took over in 2011, it was like that was when Zambia got independent. That is when serious development started flowing into the country, and the Opposition experienced it as well. The Zambian people are listening to all of us. The PF Government has done what it needed to do.


Mr Speaker, look at the extended family whose fibre has broken down in this country. These are the issues that we need to look at and ask ourselves how best we can address this vice. In the olden days, looking after the aged, the disabled and those whose parents had died was the responsibility of the family and not of the Government. In the olden days, when you went at a home where the aged, the disabled and the orphans were kept, you would not be able to tell that a particular child’s parents died a long time ago. All of them would be treated equally. However, because of the passage of time, and the economy which has changed, things have become different.


Mr Speaker, at independence, in 1964, history has it that the country only had 2.4 million people. In 1972/1973, the population rose to about 5 million. In the 1980s, the population hit about 8 million. In the 1990s, the population swelled, so most of the things that the Government provided for free could no longer be provided for free. These are the things we need to address in the social safety net that we are debating.


Mr Speaker, in 1990/1992, we chose the multi-party democracy but we also chose a liberalised economy. In that liberalised economy, we sold all the mines. Before the selling of the mines and privatisation, all the copper was being handled by Zambia. It was never in private hands, meaning that all the money that was raised from copper sales stayed in the country and the country made decisions on how to use that money. After privatisation in 1991/1992, copper mines went into private hands. Do we expect the Government to feed the entire population of 10 million or projected 18 million? The answer is no.


Mr Speaker, as we look at the Social Cash Transfer Programme, we need to look at the extended family fibre. As a Government and as a people, we need to go back to the dawning board and reconsider the need to look after the aged and that, in turn, will help the Government. The Government is supplementing the donor community, and I can assure you that the donor community has been very helpful on this issue. The Government is very sure that it will address this issue and correct the situation. First things first, the mindset of the Zambian people about getting everything for free must be changed. We should relate things to how the economy is performing.


Mr Speaker, we should not be talking about building the flyover roads now, they should have been built at the time when the copper industry was doing very well. The money being realised today could have been going to other things. So, let us not sell the country because we want to ascend to power by way of selling things that are not supposed to be sold. The assets of this country are not for sale by any political party and that should be clear in our minds.


Mr Speaker, the stakeholders lamented about the delays in the disbursement and the amount being paid to the people under this very good programme. I agree that we can do better than that. As we move on and work together as a team and as a country, we should quickly change the mindset of the people and then we will be able to increase this figure and do better than we are doing.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I would like to say that the Committee did a good job. The institutions of governance must be commended for bringing to the fore all these issues happening. In fact, I should also commend the House for providing the oversight role and this role must be done responsibly. We should bring out the issues that the Zambian people can appreciate.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mutelo (Mitete): Mr Speaker, I will restrict myself to the report.


Mr Speaker: That is what I expect.




Mr Mutelo: Sir, I thank the Committee for having done a good job on the Auditor-General’s report concerning the Social Cash Transfer Programme. Allow me to lay the foundation by referring to page 13. It states:


“Stakeholders generally submitted that the social cash transfers, just like any other social safety net measures, were vital in Zambia considering the prevalent social conditions where the majority of citizens, especially those in the rural areas, were living in extreme poverty. However, some stakeholders submitted that the Social Cash Transfer Programme in its current state was insufficient to lift the beneficiaries out of poverty.”


Sir, this is from the report regarding the programme in the years 2014 to 2017. On page 4, the report states:


“Stakeholders who appeared before the Committee stated that the findings by the Office of the Auditor-General reflected serious weaknesses in the criteria that were used to identify and select beneficiaries to the Social Cash Transfer Programme.”


Sir, the serious weaknesses include the fact that in its current state, the programme cannot afford to support the beneficiaries. The system or the way things are being done is very bad, according to the stakeholders. That is the simple conclusion that I draw out of this report.


Mr Speaker, when you look at how the Social Cash Transfer Programme started and look at how it was managed between 2014 and 2017, you will see that it is very bad. I went beyond the report. If between 2014 and 2017, things were very bad, what about 2018 and 2019? If that report will come, it will be very bad.

Sir, ask any beneficiary of the Social Cash Transfer Programme if they received anything in 2019, they will say no. In 2018, the Social Cash Transfer Programme payments would resurface where there was a by-election, but in 2019, even when there was a by-election, there was nothing. Where has the money gone? This means that this Patriotic Front (PF) Government is broke.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo: It has failed to manage the programme. It is broke. Abana mali, ba chile, which means “It has no money because it has been misapplied somewhere and somehow.”


Mr Speaker, I heard them talk about copper and the other resources that the country has. The resources and the mines are still there. If we work well, we will have the money, but it is about how they use the money. That is the problem with the PF. How much money did they find that was left by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD)? How much money was in the reserves and how much do they have now? As they depart in 2021, how much will they leave?


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo: They found a system that was working well and they have failed to manage it, as the report has stated.


Sir, we used to ask Her Honour the Vice-President where the money for the Social Cash Transfer Programme was and she used to say that the money was in some bank. She said they found the money in some account in some bank, but where have they taken it because the beneficiaries are not receiving the money up to now? Which constituency is receiving the Social Cash Transfer Programme payments today? There are none.




Mr Mutelo: Sir, in 2014, beneficiaries were receiving K70 each. A bag 25 kg of mealie meal in Mitete is now K200. What will happen to the price when we have floods? Someone used to receive K70, but now, that K70 is not even there. It used to come after two months, then it came after six months and then one year. Now it has been two years without payments from the Social Cash Transfer Programme, just like the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). The CDF and the Social Cash Transfer Programme in Zambia are the same. There is no money for them.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo: The ministry has said that the hon. Minister of Finance is not releasing money to the programme, but where is he going to find the money to release? Whatever he is collecting is first used to pay the debt that we used to complain about and then he also pays the civil servants. We are struggling. Some civil servants have possibly not been paid up to today. So where is he going to get the money for the Social Cash Transfer Programme? Some staff in the constituencies have not been paid for four months. This is supposed to be a social safety net, but where will the PF get the money? Someone said they are a bad Government and it is true. They are a bad Government with bad governance.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo: Sir, the problem is bad governance. The Social Cash Transfer Programme itself is good. However, this Government has embezzled money which the donors gave. Whatever they are collecting from toll gates and mukula money – (claps hands).




Mr Mutelo: It is not a lack of resources but how they are being managed. The problem in Zambia is not money but those who are in the driving seat now.


Mr Mwamba: Question!


Mr Mutelo: You may question, but if the problems are there, your questioning is irrelevant.



Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mutelo: If you are saying “question”, then solve the problems. Pay the workers and give the money to the Social Cash Transfer Programme.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Mitete, you have no right to engage the audience. Are you through?


Ms Mulenga: He is through!


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, as a good hon. Member of yours, I have listened to your guidance, but I am not through.




Mr Speaker: You may continue.


Mr Mutelo: Sir, the Social Cash Transfer Programme is a good programme. The hon. Minister has come on board, but if the money is not given to her ministry, what is she going to do?


Ms Mulenga: It is given!


Mr Mutelo: Great, then give the beneficiaries.




Mr Mutelo: If the money is released to the ministry, the ministry should not hold on to it. Let the money reach the end users who are the beneficiaries.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]


Mr Mutelo: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to conclude. I heard someone mention that maybe the money for the Social Cash Transfer Scheme has been taken to the road projects because road works are all over, like the flyover bridge on the Alick Nkhata Road, where the hon. Minister says the bridge is perfect, but his Permanent Secretary (PS) says it is not.




Mr Mutelo: Those are works of the PF. There is no one to believe between the hon. Minister and the PS, but the road and the flyover bridge will be commissioned anyway. If that is the case, what about the construction of the Tateyoyo/Katunda Road and Katunda/Lukulu Road? If the Government is saying that the money has gone into road projects, where then is the Katunda Road? What I am saying –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Mitete, the Katunda Road is not what is under discussion. You see, I am very slow to curtail you, but I can, as a matter of fact. You mentioned that you are going to restrict yourself to the report, but now you are raising other issues about roads which have nothing to do with the report under consideration.


Ms Mulenga: Ayi, do we make roads?


Mr Speaker: Be earnest. Did you say you were concluding?


Mr Mutelo: Yes, Sir. It is the hon. Minister for the Northern Province who talked about the roads, otherwise, I am sorry.

Mr Speaker, what I mean is that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme just has to be conducted in a right way. The report has mentioned that information and communication technology (ICT) has to come in and I am just wondering how an old lady in Shangombo would receive such money using ICT.


Mr Speaker, before even coming to how the money is received, the issue is about where the money comes from and how it is handled. To some extent, the money is going into the famous ubomba mwibala alya mwibala. That is where the money is going. That means ‘he who works in the field, eats from that same field’. That is the problem in Zambia.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare (Ms Mulenga): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to speak on the report by the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Sir, let me start by thanking the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for its elaborate and well detailed report on the findings and recommendations by the Office of the Auditor-General on the performance audit of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme from 2014 to 2017. Let me also take this opportunity to thank hon. Members for their valuable contributions, recommendations and concerns in the report by the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services.


Mr Speaker, I would like to assure the House that my ministry appreciates all the contributions that have been put forward and will ensure that everything possible is done. The findings and recommendations by the Committee have been well noted.


Sir, let me state that the period 2014 to 2017 was unique in the implementation of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme and that the programme coverage was increased to more districts and more beneficiary households.


Mr Speaker, the rolling out of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme from fifty districts in 2014 to 104 districts in 2016, as well as increasing the number of beneficiaries from 180,261 in 2014 to 590,000, was not an easy task to achieve. I totally agree with the report that the ministry had managed to reach 574,633 households out of the targeted 590,000 households, representing a coverage of 97.4 per cent and the ministry had selected beneficiaries in the remaining twenty four districts, yet transfer payments had not started.


Sir, for clarity’s sake, let me speak on some of the concerns that have been raised by hon. Members of Parliament. When the Social Cash Transfer Scheme begun under the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, beneficiaries were only receiving K35. However, when the Patriotic Front (PF) assumed power, the amount increased to K70 and now, the able bodied receive K180 and K360 for the differently abled.


Mr Speaker, this has been a milestone under President Lungu. If there has been a Government that has been very concerned about the social protection programme, it is the PF Government with both the late President Sata and President Lungu. A rapid increase in terms of paying the Social Cash Transfer Scheme payments has been seen. What hon. Members may wish to note is that, currently, my ministry is now implementing what is called the Cash Plus. Beneficiaries of the scheme do not only receive the K180 or K360, but they are also on the Food Security Pack Programme. There are beneficiaries on the Cash Plus and the ministry is now going on a programme where beneficiaries are being graduated, so that it is sustainable for them. So, this Government really has a concern for beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme.


Sir, I wish to also put it on record that there has never been a time that co-operating partners have abandoned the Government under the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare through the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. I wish to report to this House that just this month, we as the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare will be signing the additional financing under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. This means that our co-operating partners still have a lot of confidence in the PF Government.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!

Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, I wish to put it on record that there has not been any money under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme that has been missing.




Ms Mulenga: This is mere speculation. If at all the money was missing, I do not think our co-operating partners would again agree to sign for the additional financing. This is propaganda and it is in bad faith. This programme is not political.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, it was only on Friday when I walked to the other side of the House to ask hon. Members of Parliament to partner with us in identifying some of the beneficiaries who were on the system, but did not have the proper records.


Sir, let me also comment on the issue of the misapplication of the K2 million that has been mentioned in the report. It is not because the money went missing, but it is purely because we have not received a lot of help from the hon. Members of Parliament on your left side of the House. You will find that half the time, hon. Members are not in their constituencies. Half the time, they are at Parliament Motel. If you ask them if the beneficiaries in their constituencies received their money, they will tell you that they are not sure. If they were in their constituencies half the time, they would know that their beneficiaries have been receiving money.




Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, our Government is not broke. It is only last week when we received K22 million which we will be paying out to our beneficiaries and that is the clarity I want to give to the hon. Members of Parliament. So, to accuse our Government that it is broke and that it does not have the money to fund the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is false and that is pure propaganda.


Mr Speaker, 85 per cent of the programme comes from the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ), from the Treasury of which the President is in charge. The other 15 per cent is coming from our co-operating partners and that is the record I want to correct.


Sir, I also want to correct the notion that the administration costs have been very high. President Lungu has made it very clear that he wants a transparent and corrupt free Government. This is his song every day.


Mr Kapalasa: Question!


Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, what have we done in the ministry? This Government, through my ministry, has not sat idle. It has developed systems. This report is from 2014 to 2017 and a lot of things happened during that period. This Government, therefore, has put in corrections which I wish to outline.


Sir, President Lungu’s Government, which is a listening Government, has made very remarkable strides in addressing some of these issues.


Hon. Government Members: Hammer! Hammer!


Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, the ministry has migrated from the manual identification of beneficiaries to an electronic system using mobile phones for enumeration of beneficiaries. The use of mobile registration has improved the Social Cash Transfer Scheme data quality. That is why we are signing for additional financing.


Sir, we have moved a step further. In the spirit of transparency, we are now using a proxy means test to assess the capacity of potential beneficiaries of asset ownership and living conditions of a household. This proxy means test is a rigorous process of screening those who are well-off from the worse-off households and uses weights to determine their eligibility. This Government is working.


Sir, we have moved a step further in the recruitment of the provincial accountants in all the ten provincial centres. This is to enhance accountability and that is what this Government is doing. We have also moved further to develop the Zambia Integrated Social Protection Information System in collaboration with the Smart Zambia Institute in order to enhance financial management systems in tracking Social Cash Transfer Scheme payments. This means that for this system which we are launching next week in almost all our seventeen piloted districts, the money is readily available. This will entail any hon. Member of Parliament or any civilian can go to the district or provincial office or even my office to actually see who these beneficiaries are and if they are not happy, they will be able to query. All this is in line with the spirit of transparency and a non-corrupt system.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Mulenga: Mr Speaker, we have taken a step further as the Government through my ministry to introduce the grievance mechanism where clients and stakeholders can actually lodge complaints. So, I wish to urge the hon. Members of Parliament not to just speak on the Floor of the House. We should take a step further and engage the Government on these issues.


We have launched the grievance committee where hon. Members can actually lodge in their complaints. If for any particular time, they feel the beneficiaries in their constituencies, for example Kalulushi, are not the intended beneficiaries, they can lodge in complaints. The co-operating partners are there. This is how deep or concerned the President is to actually attain a corrupt free system, so that there is no propaganda that money has gone missing. There is no money that has gone missing and there will never be any money that will go missing under President Lungu’s watch.


Mr Speaker, we have taken a step further over the issues that were raised concerning the 2,000 plus beneficiaries and the K2 million that went missing. Most of the beneficiaries could not be identified because they did not have any forms from the Zambia Agency for Persons with Disabilities (ZAPD) to tell whether they were really disabled.


Sir, we have developed a disability medical assessment tool with the Ministry of Health as well. So, anybody who is under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme receiving the K360 and he or she is disabled, will not only be assessed by us, but by the Ministry of Health as well for accountability purposes.


Mr Speaker, we have also put up an engagement of medical personnel under the Ministry of Health to undertake their disability certification. We have taken further steps to incorporate the Navision software in financial management. Capacity building in our offices has also been done through various training. We have also done the review of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme guidelines.


Sir, may I take this opportunity to state that since this is a caring Government, we have also included other beneficiaries today. It is only this Government that has actually identified headmen. Some of the most vulnerable headmen will now be on the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. It is President Lungu’s Government that has done all this.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Mulenga: Sir, the Ministry of Community Development and Social Welfare has learnt a lot from the findings and recommendations of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services and will, therefore, ensure that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is implemented in an efficient and effective manner.


Mr Speaker, the ministry will also continue to work hand-in-hand with other Government line ministries and stakeholders such as Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to strengthen the co-ordination and collaboration of efforts.


Mr Speaker, I sincerely thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Kalila: Mr Speaker, the Committee, in line with its mandate, did scrutinise an audit report which cannot be said to be propaganda. However, I would like to thank all the hon. Members of Parliament who have debated the gaps that were highlighted which were produced by the competent Office of the Auditor-General. We only hope that some of these gaps will be addressed via the action-taken report. On that basis, I will not be engaging in some of the shenanigans with the ministerial statement which appear to have come from the hon. Minister.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Question put and agreed to.




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 1850 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 4th March, 2020.