Thursday, 1st April, 2021

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Thursday, 1st April, 2021


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]










The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, let me acquaint the House with the business it will consider next week.


Sir, on Tuesday, 6th April, 2021, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will debate the Motions to adopt the following reports:


  1. Report of the Committee on Education, Science and Technology on Skills and Career Development in Primary and Secondary Schools; and
  2. Report of the Committee on National Security and Foreign Affairs on the Ratification of International Treaties in Zambia: Challenges and Opportunities.


Mr Speaker, on Wednesday, 7th April, 2021, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Then the House will debate the Motions to adopt the following reports:


  1. Report of the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance on the Review of Operations of the Lands Tribunal; and
  2. Report of the Committee on Cabinet Affairs on the Review of the Operations of the Teaching Service Commission on the Welfare of Teachers in Zambia.


Sir, on Thursday, 8th April, 2021, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. Thereafter, the House will debate the Motions to adopt the following reports:


  1. Report of the Committee on Delegated Legislation on Statutory Instruments for 2020; and
  2. Report of the Committee on Local Governance, Housing and Chiefs Affairs on the Role of Traditional Leaders in the Local Governance System in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, on Friday, 9th April, 2021, the Business of the House will commence with the Vice-President’s Question Time. Thereafter, the House will consider Questions for Oral Answer, and that will be followed by the presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then debate the Motion to adopt the Report of the Parliamentary Reforms and Modernisation Committee.


I thank you, Sir.








157.  Mr Mbulakulima (Milenge) asked the Minister of Home Affairs:


  1. when the construction of a police station at the Milenge District Headquarters would be completed;
  2. what the cause of the delay in completing the project was; and
  3. when the construction of police posts at the following locations would commence:


  1. Kafwanka; and
  2. Lungo Mukuta.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, the Government has prioritised infrastructure projects that are at 80 per cent and above. Only after the completion of those on-going projects will the Government consider completing projects that are below 80 per cent. Therefore, the construction of a police station in Milenge District will be completed when the projects that are 80 per cent and above are completed.


Sir, the delay in completing the construction of the police station in Milenge District is due to inadequate resources to fund all the construction projects countrywide at once, hence the prioritisation of the projects.


Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to commence the construction of police posts at Kafwanka and Lungo Mukuta. Those projects will only be considered after the completion of the on-going projects, which are at 80 per cent and above, and when resources are made available. The House might wish to note that the two areas are currently serviced by Chembe Police Post.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, –


Mr Kambita: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, I rise on a serious point of order because we are handling proceedings of the House without having access to the Chamber. We are not able to see you, as Chair, and what is going on in the Chamber, but we are debating issues. I would like that to be addressed.


Mr Speaker, could you make a ruling on that.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Zambezi East, is the sound coming through? Are you able to hear us?


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, the sound is coming through, yes. We are able to hear you, but we are unable to see the Chamber.


Mr Speaker: Very well. You will see the Chamber in due course. There is a technical challenge, but it is being attended to.


That is my ruling.


May the hon. Member for Milenge continue with his question.


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, it is not my intention to bring the Chair into this matter by making reference to you, but I recall that when Mrs Alfreda Mwamba was Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, I complained to your office because of the answers I was being given. Today, the hon. Minister is saying that Lungo Mukuta is serviced by Chembe Police Post. However, that is a different place and it is far away. So, I would rather get a different and nobler answer from the hon. Minister.


Sir, I know that these answers come from the provincial headquarters. However, as I said, I complained to you that this kind of answers do not help, yet, about six years down the line, I have found myself in the same situation. Chembe Police Post does not service Lungo Mukuta. It is a totally different place.


Mr Speaker: What is your question, hon. Member for Milenge?


Mr Mbulakulima: Mr Speaker, thank you for being tolerant.


Sir, the hon. Minister mentioned that these projects will not be worked on until after the completion of on-going projects that are at 80 per cent and above. However, while not completing projects below 80 per cent could be all right in places like the Copperbelt and Lusaka, where other facilities could be used, in impoverished places like Milenge, a police station could have made a difference even though it is below 80 per cent. Is there any way that the hon. Minister can help such places?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I take note of the geographic challenge that the hon. Member for Milenge has brought to our attention, and we will certainly deal with that challenge.


Sir, Milenge is a newly-created district, and I assure the hon. Member and the people of Milenge that we are committed to ensuring that that project is completed. Shiwang’andu is equally a newly-created district that has a project for a police station almost at the same stage as the one in Milenge. So, we are working to have the projects completed. The essence of creating new districts is to take infrastructure and services closer to the people. 


Mr Speaker, my assurance to the hon. Member is that once the fiscal space at the Ministry of Finance improves, we will certainly complete the projects. Everyone knows the challenges that we have faced. Right now, the hon. Minister of Finance has to find money for all the people of Zambia to have some vaccine of some sort using the same resource basket from which we expect to get money to complete this project. Some of these challenges were not planned for, but we shall strive to ensure that the structures in Milenge and Shiwang’andu are completed. The hon. Member should assure our people in Milenge that the spirit that the Government has to take infrastructure everywhere else is the one we shall have in ensuring that the infrastructure in question is completed for our peoples’ use. The geographical issue raised regarding how that area is serviced is one we are going to address with the Police Command.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Kucheka (Zambezi West): Mr Speaker, there are many similar projects in many areas, including in Zambezi West, where a project to construct a police post was started eight years ago but, to date, nothing has been done, just like Hon. Mbulakulima has said. Is there a time frame in which money can be found in order for these projects to be completed or worked on?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I am happy that, today, Hon. Kucheka is concerned about the uncompleted infrastructure in her constituency. However, I remind her that when we were considering the figures appropriated to the Ministry of Homes Affairs and I was struggling to explain that the allocated resources were not enough to undertake the projects and other things that need to be done under the ministry, she was the one who said that we were putting money into teargas. She should understand the responsibilities of the ministry. When we are here trying to agree on how to apportion resources, we must understand the portfolio functions assigned to the ministry and avoid reducing debates to isolated political issues.

Sir, to answer her question, once we mobilise resources and get past some of the challenges that we have been facing, we shall revisit the project. However, it is very difficult for me to give the time frame in which we shall complete the projects.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, the budgetary allocation to which the hon. Minister is referring was not cut. Further, there are infrastructure projects in Milenge, just like in Ikeleng’i, that are at almost above 80 per cent, and there was an assurance by the Government that all such projects would be completed this year. Can the hon. Minister assure us that this year, come December, the police station infrastructure, including the ones in Milenge, will be completed?


Mr Speaker: Come December, hon. Minister?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, I just explained that we depend on one revenue basket and that, right now, the hon. Minister of Finance is trying to find a vaccine to vaccinate Hon. Muchima and others so that they can be alive and compete in the elections. Therefore, the money that was supposed to complete those projects is being mopped by the hon. Minister of Finance to buy the vaccine that will be given to the citizens of this country, including Hon. Muchima, so that he can be safe to compete with Mr Fisher and look forward to bouncing back. 




Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, we have to wait for the project to be completed later. Right now, there is an emergency to deal with the pandemic just like any other country in this world is doing, and many activities have halted across the globe. We are not an exception. So, if we say that the project is, indeed, needed by our people but, for now, we cannot go ahead with it because we have this emergency, we need to be understood. We need to attend to this emergency for us to be safe so that we get back to completing the projects. Therefore, it will be very unrealistic of me to give an assurance that the projects will be done by December. We just have to be patient and deal with the immediate challenges. Thereafter, we can get back to the projects.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two questions from the hon. Members for Liuwa and Kanchibiya.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, –


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


Mr Speaker:  A point of order is raised.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Minister of Home Affairs in order to draw me into his debate and raise the issue of my bouncing back instead of talking about the completion of infrastructure for police stations? Is he also in order to bring into the issue of completing police stations the Government started constructing some eight years ago Mr Peter Fisher, a traditional ruler they are soliciting to contest on their ticket, when he does not even qualify to stand as a Member of Parliament?


Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: Obviously, it was not necessary for the hon. Minister to refer to events that will follow 12th August, 2021, and whoever else will contend for your constituency.


That is my ruling.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I also thank the hon. Minister for the answers he is providing.


Mr Ngulube: Hear, hear!


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, the security requirements in the rural areas like Milenge, Kalabo and Liuwa are very basic. I am taking about basic infrastructure, as has been asked by Hon. Mbulakulima, the Member for Milenge. In answering the question asked by Hon. Kucheka, the hon. Minister said that the ministry has not done more because people complained about the budgetary allocation to the Ministry of Home Affairs. He said that the United Party for National Development (UPND) hon. Members of Parliament opposed the budgetary allocations for the ministry. Yes, we did oppose, but what we said was that our should not have used so much money on importing tear gas, tanks and water cannons that did not meet the basic health requirements of the people of Milenge, Shiwang’andu and Liuwa.


Mr Speaker, does the hon. Minister now appreciate why UPND hon. Members of Parliament were opposed to this Government spending so much money on expensive equipment that did not address the security requirements of ordinary people, such as those in Milenge?


Mr Kampyongo: Mr Speaker, first of all, I wish to state that I appreciate your counsel regarding Hon. Muchima’s point of order. All I was trying to talk about was the health of all of us. The other things I talked about were in jest, and they should be taken as such. My reference to the hon. Members’ safety is like referring to anyone’s safety from the pandemic. I was saying that the resources that are required for the Ministry of Health to vaccinate members of the public are the same ones we could have been using for some of these projects. That is a very important fact we must all understand.


Mr Speaker, I remind the hon. Member for Liuwa that the safety of the people is paramount to us at the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Service. The reason I said I was happy that Hon. Kucheka understood why it is important to allocate reasonable resources to the Ministry of Home Affairs when approving the budget lines is because of sentiments she expressed during that time.


Sir, equipping the police with the necessary tools is an investment we cannot avoid. The hon. Member remembers how there were complaints about the police using live ammunition to deal with certain situations, some of which have resulted in regrettable loss of lives. So, by improving the equipment of the police, the Government is being responsible. The equipment we are getting for the police is meant to enable the service to respond to any challenge with the appropriate tools, and the equipment the hon. Member referred to is what is preferable for crowd control. If the police does not have those and it has is live ammunition, what is expected? I want the hon. Member of Parliament to understand investing in infrastructure, equipment and capacity building through in-service training is a must.


Mr Speaker, I have just come from Chongwe where I was handing over some houses to our officers. That is in a district that was established many years ago, but police officers there have had to live in the communities they police, which is not desirable. Had our colleagues started doing something about the problem at the time they had the opportunity to be on this side, today, we would have been talking about a different story.


Mr Ngulube: They were just drinking coffee.


Mr Kampyongo: Today, Milenge would have had a police station, and Nalolo and Liuwa would have had proper infrastructure. All we could have been doing is adding to what would have been there. Unfortunately, we had to start from the scratch.


Mr Speaker, I am grateful to some hon. Members who have come on board to supplement the efforts of the ministry. In this regard, I congratulate the hon. Member for Kabwata Constituency on leaving when people are still applauding him because when you go to Kabwata Constituency, all the areas have infrastructure built by the efforts of the hon. Member using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). I have been encouraging hon. Members to take a leaf from other hon. Members who have done well in their constituencies. When His Excellency the President was Member of Parliament for Chawama, he did the same for his constituency, and we are all doing the same thing.


Sir, saying that we must forget about equipping the police means that we do not know what needs to be done. If we, as the Patriotic Front (PF), did not form Government, you can only wonder what was going to happen to the Zambia Police Service because the idea that the tools for the police will drop from somewhere for it to use is unacceptable. We have a responsibility, and the peace we enjoy in this country cannot come by accident. We have to invest to keep it. That is why we commend His Excellency the President and Commander-in-Chief for being bold and making the decisions to, for the first time, equip The Zambia Police Service, the Zambia Correctional Service and all the security institutions as they are supposed to be equipped.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for that response, though I am concerned about the many police posts, such as Kafwanka and Sioma, in particular, where officers operate in tuck shops. Is the Government considering revisiting its decision to concentrate on completing projects that are at 80 per cent or above so as to consider prioritising completing police posts in areas like Sioma and Kafwanka that depend on neighbouring districts for police services?


Mr Speaker: The problem with this question is that it is new; it is addresses the same policy issue in a new context. Further, on the geographical location, it moves us away from Milenge. Now, you want the hon. Member to respond to the challenges in Sioma. This is a totally new question. So, it will pass.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, I would like to appreciate the hardworking hon. Member for Milenge and indeed the hon. Minister of Home Affairs for the responses given, and indeed the great job that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government continues to do on infrastructure development, including law enforcement.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Home Affairs mentioned what is being done and gave the example of the good job President Edgar Chagwa Lungu did in Chawama. He also congratulated Hon. Lubinda. The people of Kanchibiya are concerned that the hon. Minister is not mentioning Kanchibiya where, using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), we are putting up police posts in Kopa, Michembe, Mpepo, Kabinga and Chundaponde. Will the hon. Minister include this very good example being set in Kanchibiya in his future responses?


Mr Speaker: On a light note, and answering on behalf of the hon. Minister, he will take note of that.








Mr Simfukwe (Mbala): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this house do adopt the Report of the Budget Committee for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the table of the House on Friday, 26th March, 2021.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, pursuant to its programme of work for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, the Committee conducted a study on the topic, “The Impact of Trade and Other Partnerships Agreements on The National Budget”.


Mr Speaker, according to the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), regional and international markets provide Zambia with an opportunity to not only diversify the production and export base, but also have access to a wider market. The country has access to 390 million people under the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), 277 million people under the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and 600 million people under the tripartite community comprising COMESA, the Eastern African Community (EAC) and SADC. Zambia also relies on overseas markets to earn a substantial proportion of its export revenue, mainly accessed through preferential trading arrangements, such as Everything but Arms, African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and Japanese, Chinese, Indian and Canadian initiatives. Despite this, regional trade under these trade partnerships is still low for our country.


Mr Speaker, despite the country having ratified thirty-one trade agreements, stakeholders have expressed concern that it has not substantially utilised these opportunities, especially given the recently limited fiscal space and continued narrowing of our tax revenue, thereby exerting pressure on the Treasury.


Mr Speaker, since the hon. Members are privy to the contents of the report, I will just highlight a few salient points.


Mr Speaker, whereas the policy and legal framework governing trade and other partnership agreements is adequate, the majority of the agreements have not been fully implemented. This might explain why the thirty-one agreements have made a limited contribution to revenue collection. Some stakeholders described the country as a theoretical giant, but implementation dwarf. In this regard, the Committee urges the Executive to ensure that all the legal and policy provisions on trade partnerships are fully implemented without any further delay. In addition, specific time frames should be set in which the different legal and policy documents will be implemented. Further, the country should undertake a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the various trade agreements to determine those of them that are relevant and beneficial to the country and those that are detrimental to our economy.


Mr Speaker, the poor competitiveness of the manufacturing sector is another matter of concern to the Committee. The country’s manufacturing sector is exposed to cheaper products produced by bigger and more efficient competitive economies among the member States and, if no immediate interventions are made, the loss of market for Zambian products might lead to further loss of employment and reduced revenue collection from trade agreements. In this vein, the Committee strongly urges the Executive to robustly implement the safeguard measures stipulated in the various trade agreements in key sectors where the country has a competitive advantage, such as in the leather and textile sub-sectors, the plastic and plastic packaging sector and fertiliser manufacturing.


Sir, let me now address export maximisation and value addition.


Sir, the Committee observes that most Zambian exports are characterised by unprocessed commodities or raw materials, with the processes of value addition mainly taking place outside the country. This has largely contributed to returns and Zambian trade being predominantly low. Further, the Committee finds it unacceptable that the country has remained a mono-economy for a long time, with over 70 per cent of its exports being copper and less than 30 per cent being the non-traditional exports. In order to fully benefit from the trade agreements, the Committee recommends that the Executive, as a matter of extreme urgency, expands the industrial base and accelerates the diversification agenda.


Mr Speaker, illicit trade and counterfeiting have been identified as factors that are impeding the collection of full maximum revenue by the Treasury and causing low contribution of trade to the National Budget. Therefore, the Committee strongly recommends that the Executive expeditiously puts up measures to address the high volume of illicit trade and counterfeiting.


Sir, in conclusion, trade and other partnership agreements present many opportunities to Zambia by way of enhancing market access, such as access to cheaper imports, improvement of productivity, enhancement of foreign direct investment inflows, access to improved technologies and participation in global or regional value chains. However, the country’s membership of various trade agreements also presents a strain on the National Budget in many respects. For example, it has been established that trade agreements directly impact the National Budget vis-a-vis revenues forgone, subscription, operational costs and fiscal deficits. Going forward, it is imperative for Zambia to strengthen its industrial capabilities in order to maximise benefits from the COMESA, SADC and other trade agreements and justify these initiatives. This is the task at the doorstep of key economic ministries like the ministries of Commerce, Trade and Industry; Mines and Mineral Development; and Finance.


 Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Mr Chaatila: Now, Mr Speaker.


Sir, I wish to second the Motion ably moved by the chairperson of the Budget Committee. In doing so, I will only comment on three points that were raised during the deliberations on our topical issue.


Mr Speaker, the first issue has to do with weak monitoring and evaluation (M&E). The Committee is disturbed that there are no deliberate monitoring mechanisms on the impact of the trade agreements signed by the Executive. This explains not only why the country has not benefited much despite having ratified thirty-one of them, but also the poor revenue contribution to the National Budget from the trade agreements. In this regard, the Committee strongly recommends that the Executive, as a matter of urgency, steps in to ensure that a well-structured M&E framework is put in place to periodically assess the impact of the trade agreements on the economy, in general, and on the National Budget, in particular. The M&E framework should be benchmarked against the best practices with global competitiveness frameworks that have been developed over the past decade, such as the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).


Mr Speaker, the second issue is engagement with the private sector by key economic ministries.  The Committee is concerned about the poor co-ordination between the key economic ministries and the private sector. The limited sensitisation of the private sector on the existence of export markets in various economic blocks of which Zambia is a member in order for them to adopt regional international standards of goods and services has contributed to the limited penetration of regional and international markets by locals and the private sector. In this regard, the Committee urges the Executive to foster interactions between the key economic ministries and private sector players, who are the enablers of commerce, trade and industry, by institutionalising a consultative process between the two. Further, a Cabinet Ministerial committee on trade should be established to deal with the various trade issues that arise at policy formulation and implementation.


Mr Speaker, the last issue is that of a lack of incentives for local manufacturers and a way of predicting transparent trade policies. Local investors and manufacturers are disadvantaged by inadequate incentives, as in the case of other member-States. It is worrying that most of the incentives that were introduced through the introduction of Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) have been withdrawn as, in the absence of the incentives, there is limited capacity to increase production and fully benefit from the regional market. However, the Committee is cognisance of the fact that the Government, in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, is in the process of reviewing the entire incentive structure in order to make MFEZs more attractive. In this regard, the Committee strongly recommends that the Government, as a matter of extreme urgency, reinstates MFEZ incentives and fosters predictable and transparent trade policies without any further delay. Further, the Zambia Development Act No. 11 of 2006 should be revised without any further delay.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I second the Motion.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, I thank your Committee for a job well done as usual.


Sir, listening to what is contained in the report, one wonders what this Government is all about in terms of the things our colleagues say and what they do. To begin with, how can they sign so many agreements on whose negotiations they spend a lot of money over a long period and at the end of it all, not get the intended benefit because they did not put monitoring mechanisms in place to get? Who is losing out? It is all of us, the taxpayers, who pay for the allowances of the people who go to negotiate. At the end of the day, even people who want to be empowered by setting up businesses are not getting any benefit out of something they have paid for. The Committee has given the example of fertiliser. The United National Independence Party (UNIP) Government set up the Nitrogen Chemicals of Zambia (NCZ) factory, which was one of the best in Africa. Unfortunately, this Government, which then goes around in the streets throwing money from the people who should know better, has failed to support the factory and then signed an agreement where there is no benefit for any of us. This is why we are saying that there is no capacity, and anybody who listened to that statement of what is written in the report or what has been elucidated over the last ten years can see that. Then, our colleagues say this is a high-performing Government? What does it do?


Sir, the agreements do not only concern the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry. Some agreements also concern the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where protocols take too long to implement. We have taken too much time and spent money on negotiating, traveling and other activities but, at the end of the day, we have nothing to show for it. How can the local investors not be given information relating to opportunities available in other countries for which they pay taxes, yet the Government has ministries and there are politicians? What do they do when they go to their offices? This is what we should be asking. This is a real issue and, quite clearly, it shows incapacity irrespective of what our hon. Colleagues say. This is what we should be looking at every day. If we were to cost this incompetence, the losses are drastic.


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank your Committee for the wonderful report laid on the Table.


Mr Speaker, we ought to understand that we are talking about international or multilateral trade protocols; trade protocols that involve two or more countries, in short, and the Patriotic Front (PF) Government has demonstrated care. This is the reason, perhaps, it is not in a hurry to sign a number of trade protocols before putting in place certain measures. In contrast to what the previous debater has said, trade affects the country’s economy in that if you export less than you import, you will not have sustainable jobs. You first have to create a base on which you can produce and, thereafter, export to other countries and earn the much-needed foreign exchange. For this to be done, we need to put certain measures in place.


Mr Speaker, the Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has just started to lay the foundation for international trade engagement, and I will give an example of the many industrial yards that are under construction right now. As people travel to the Copperbelt and reach somewhere around Chibombo, on the right, they can see industrial yards being erected. When you go to the Eastern Province, the situation is similar. I am also aware that the industrial yard in the Western Province is coming up there. Without first growing the base for production, it will be pointless for this country to rush into signing trade protocols. We first need to create a base on which we will produce almost everything. Talking of agricultural value addition, it is being done by His Excellency the President. No wonder, I want to reiterate that 12th August, 2021, is the easiest election the PF Government will ever win in the history of this country.


Mr Speaker, the people of Zambia have heard how those on the left are debating. They want this country to quickly sign trade protocols. However, the PF Government’s manifesto says that we need to create sustainable jobs, and we can do that by industrialising the country so that when we sign the protocols, we do not favour other countries. We should create an environment in which the trade protocols lead to a win-win situation for our country. Otherwise, we can sign the protocols and make our country a dumping ground.


Sir, a caring Government like the one that His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is leading cannot do that. That is the reason we have taken our current stance, and our hon. Colleagues on the left should understand that proper governance and patriotism to the country are embedded in the PF and its leadership. Otherwise, I am in support of the report.


Mr Speaker, with those few remarks, I thank you.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the Committee for exposing the truth about the international trade protocols.


Sir, Zambia has gone to sleep. Although landlocked, the country has a lot of potential, with plenty of water and raw materials like timber. However, the international trade protocols or agreements we are signing are in favour of people outside this country or other countries. We do not normally benefit from them.


Sir, I heard the other person who was debating before me say that those on the left are just supporting the agreements. Agreements are meant to create markets, but which markets are we creating? It is our colleagues in other countries who are creating a market here. The buildings we see everywhere are markets for international traders. We are supposed to enhance exports ourselves. I can tell you that the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) depends mainly on food imports from Zambia. A part of Angola is also supposed to depend on Zambian imports. However, what have we done with regard to road infrastructure and border facilities? Even the Nakonde Border, which brings in a lot of revenue, when you look at it, you will see that it is a joke. So, it is high time we looked at how to create markets by making our borders attractive even when we are drafting the National Budget.


Sir, look at Sesheke in Zambia and then look at Katimamulilo on the Namibian side, and you will find Zambians trekking to Namibia while the Zambian side is like the deserted home of a dead person. We need to be serious. Even the World Trade Organisation (WTO) favours other countries over us. I was in Namibia one time and saw that we are supposed to be exporting fresh vegetables there. However, that country imports its vegetables from South Africa only because of the agreements between those two countries that are not there between Namibia and Zambia. Zambia is supposed to enhance exports because it is through exports that we can improve our country.


Mr Speaker, we should be benefiting from the trade agreements. The agreements are there, but who is benefiting from them?


Sir, benefiting from trade agreements also depends on good governance or policies of the Government, but the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is not serious. It is only busy campaigning instead of sitting down to look at what can benefit the country. If a politician in the Opposition wants to export something, the Government will bring in politics and stop him. Only those who are members of the PF or PF cadres are allowed, and this is bringing the country down. We need politics that can enhance our economic activities.


Mr Speaker, we produce copper and timber, but we have allowed our timber to go to China and then that country exports the end products to us. There are supposed to be industries in this country and we are supposed to come up with policies that can stop these exports. Look at mukula. Why are people exporting it? We are supposed to make finished goods from raw materials here. We are also supposed to have finished copper products. For example, we are supposed to have Metal Fabricators of Zambia (ZAMEFA) produce more products, and we should be tough on these agreements.


Mr Speaker, some people are saying that the PF has done well, but it has not. Look at prices, which too high for the common person because we depend on imports. The PF has done very poorly, and it should sit down and revisit this issue.


Sir, I thank the Committee for coming up with this report because we need to wake up.


Mr Speaker, I thank you the opportunity you gave me to contribute to the Motion.


Mr Speaker: We will proceed as follows: immediately, we will have the hon. Deputy Government Chief Whip, who will be followed by the hon. Member for Liuwa. Thereafter, we will have the hon. Minister of Finance. Then, the hon. Member for Mbala will wind up debate.


Mr Ngulube (Kabwe Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the report of the Budget Committee.


Mr Speaker, listening to the debate by Hon. Muchima makes me wonder whether he lives in Zambia –


Mr Mung’andu:  On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mung’andu: Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to raise this very important point of order.


Sir, is the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i in order to mislead the House and the nation at large? In the debate he has just concluded, he indicated that an opposition person or leader wants to export something, he or she is stopped by this Government. However, we know that this Government is encouraging production and exports.


Mr Speaker, the people listening to us believe what we, the leaders, say on the Floor of this august House. Further, one of the Standing Orders requires that whatever we say on the Floor of this august House be factual. So, is the hon. Member in order to insinuate or allege that the Government stopped an opposition leader or person from exporting?


Mr Speaker, I need your serious ruling. 


Mr Speaker: Points of order, generally speaking, and I emphasise, ‘generally speaking’, are not suitable for the kind of situation you are inviting me to intervene in. Indeed, one of our rules of procedure does state categorically that we must be factual in our debates. However, I have also lamented the fact that quite often, in situations of this sort, it is very difficult for a Presiding Officer to determine the veracity or otherwise of what is in contest. Unless we go into an inquisition, which I am not inclined to do, we cannot determine the veracity or otherwise of what has been claimed by the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i.


That is my ruling.


Hon. Member for Kabwe Central and Deputy Chief Whip, you may continue.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I was saying that listening to the debate of Hon. Muchima, one would wonder whether he lives in Zambia or not. I do not know. Maybe, it is because he has overstayed in Parliament, but I want to show him that his debate –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Deputy Government Chief Whip!


The focus of your debate should not be on the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i. Do not make him the subject of your debate. You may want to debate what he has said as opposed to him as a person.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, thank you.


Sir, as I begin my debate, allow me to welcome Hon. Charles Kakoma, the former United Party for National Development (UPND) spokesperson to the Patriotic Front, the mighty PF.


Mr Speaker, there is no one in Zambia today who can wake up and say that the PF has done nothing in terms of encouraging manufacturers. As we speak, Zambia is exporting porcelain and other forms of tiles. There are also companies that make finished products from copper and cotton, making copper cathodes, copper cables and almost everything that we used to import. Companies also make fertiliser in Zambia. So, Hon. Muchima’s debate must reflect what the manufacturing sector of this country is. Right now, the Government is busy creating Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) in all the provinces and working to create favourable conditions for people in the manufacturing sector.


Mr Speaker, speaking about imports, Zambia is not an island. So, most of the trade agreements that Zambia signs are meant to create bilateral trade relations with other countries. Zambia, being a market, should be able to sell to and buy from others.


Mr Speaker, we are aware that the so-called economic managers in the Opposition UPND have portrayed the picture that they are about to form Government, but we have not heard proposals from them on how they will do things differently. So far, the PF Government has demonstrated that we are capable of manufacturing goods, and Zambia no longer imports roofing sheets, copper cables, tiles, chickens and almost everything else that we used to import. It is because of the good policies of the PF that we have seen all these things come to fruition.


Mr Speaker, I am aware, that some of the people who want to paint the PF black were Ministers in the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government. What is it that they did not do in the MMD that they want to do when they form Government using the UPND? Rhetoric cannot develop a country. All the people trying to paint the country black must come out in the open and see for themselves. Let them go into the markets and around Lusaka and see how huge manufacturing companies are making paint. We no longer import paint, as we are now able to manufacture different kinds of paint, which used to come from Europe, China and elsewhere.


Sir, talking about the manufacturing industry for equipment, we are able to assemble huge equipment in the country. We can no longer continue to ignore the fact that Zambia is slowly becoming industrialised, all because of the good policies that the PF Government has put in place.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, I implore all senior hon. Members of Parliament who have served four or five terms to give way. Hon. Lubinda has shown the way. This is time for fresh blood. Let the young people come to the Parliament of Zambia with new ideas on the way we manage the affairs of this country.


Sir, with those few remarks, I expect the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa to announce if he is going to stand or not.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Does that question include Kabwe Central?




Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, I can proudly say that I am going to stand again and win. Unlike Hon. Tutwa who has been rejected by his constituency, I am adored by mine.


Sir, coming back to the topic, I thank the Committee for the report that it has laid on the Table, which lays out the critical issues about the trade agreements that Zambia has signed and how we have failed to take advantage of them.


Mr Speaker, I tend to agree with Hon. Mbangweta, who was seated behind me but has since left, that we have not clearly taken advantage of the opportunities under this Government. It is also true that other countries that have signed trade agreements have made very good use of the opportunities while Zambia has failed to do so. Today, many people are losing jobs and there are shortages in foreign currency because we are failing to export to those markets. As we speak, if you want to order an item, the bank will tell you that there is a queue, like it used to be in the United National Independence Party (UNIP) days. You must stand in queue for about four or five weeks before the foreign currency can be allocated to you. This shortage of foreign exchange (forex) is there because Zambia does not export enough, and we need to do something about that.


Sir, I will now, perhaps, focus on the issues that have arisen and made us fail to take advantage of the trade agreements. Why do we not export much to the neighbouring countries, such as The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Angola, Tanzania, and Malawi? The first point is that when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government came into power, it found the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs) that had been created by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). There was the Lusaka South MFEZ, the Lusaka East MFEZ near the airport and the Chambeshi MFEZ. However, just as the MFEZs were about to take off, the PF Government made a very serious mistake by removing the incentives that had been provided under those facilities. Therefore, all the manufacturing firms that had intended to come into the MFEZs withdrew. If you go to the MFEZs today, you will see that their occupancy is at, maybe, 20 per cent. Nothing has happened over ten years. Secondly, one of the biggest markets in this region is Angola because it imports everything from Brazil, Portugal and South Africa, and many of the products that country buys could be imported from Zambia, but we need infrastructure to be able to access the Angolan market. The so-called Mongu/Kalabo Road, which the PF found but now claims, was not supposed to end in Angola, not Kalabo.


Mr Speaker, the money for the Kalabo/Angola Border road was all there in 2011.


Mr Ngulube: On a point of order, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: I know this because I signed the financing agreements. However, when this Government came into power, we wonder where it took the money for the road from Kalabo to the Angolan border, which would have opened up the market on the Angolan side. Where did the money go?


Mr Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity.


Sir, let me start by commending the Budget Committee for its elaborate presentation of the report before the House.


Sir, the report has identified several important issues pertaining to economic growth in the country. I will respond to a number of specific recommendations arising from the report but, before I do that, I just want to go back in history to remind people that history is continuous.


Mr Speaker, all the agreements relating to economic integration that Zambia is party to were mostly negotiated in the 1980s. In the 1990s, most of the key protocols that govern how regional integration is done in this country were signed by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, and some prominent hon. Members in this House were party to that process. Therefore, if you look at any weaknesses inherent in our regional integration agreements, the blame goes to the people who were there at the time. We are unfortunate inheritors of a defective system, but we have learnt how to live with it.


Sir, I also need to mention that one of the challenges we have with benefiting from regional integration is the fact that the industrial base that had developed in the 1970s and 1980s was dismantled by the MMD Government. Therefore, our task has been to start from the beginning and rebuild that capacity, and that is what we are doing.


Mr Speaker, another aspect of regional integration is infrastructure. If you do not have proper infrastructure, you cannot succeed in regional integration and, for that reason, this Government has been busy working on that. I thought I should clarify that historical aspect for those who do not read history or choose to be selective about which facts of the past they remember. I hope I have refreshed their memories.


Sir, I note that the Committee’s observations and recommendations have been made under the themes that follow. One is that there is poor competitiveness in the manufacturing sector. The Committee specifically urges the Government to spur competitiveness of the manufacturing sector for Zambian products to retain market share. In this regard, the Government will continue to nurture the manufacturing sector because it is the engine for job creation and diversification of the economy. Our Economic Recovery Programme, under Pillar 3, squarely focuses on this issue. Improving our industrial base and competitiveness is the only way we can revive our economy, create jobs and generate domestic revenue. Therefore, strong partnerships that promote domestic diversification through research and development (R&D) will be promoted in order to stimulate and encourage value addition and enhance competitiveness.


Mr Speaker, the Committee recommends that the Executive, as a matter of extreme urgency, expands the industrial base and accelerates the diversification agenda, as espoused in the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP). The House might wish to note that among other interventions to promote non-traditional exports, the tax rate for earnings from exports has been reduced to 15 per cent instead of the standard 25 per cent. In addition, to enhance growth in the agriculture sector, several measures are being taken, including the following:


  1.  promotion of domestic and international markets so as to increase agricultural exports and participation on commodity exchange platforms;
  2. increased agricultural productivity through enhanced extension service delivery;
  3. diversification to promote the production and export of, among other crops, industrial hemp and medicinal cannabis, which is currently being worked on; and
  4. Government-private sector joint action to enhance private sector participation.


Mr Speaker, the Committee also expresses concern over the withdrawal of most of the incentives that were introduced through the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZs). The House might wish to note that following the rationalisation of some of the incentives for MFEZs over the years since the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) was established, there are still tax incentives in place that qualifying investors continue to enjoy. The Government also continues to be in consultation with several stakeholders, and is in the process of reviewing the incentives structure in order to make MFEZs more attractive. This includes enhancing the multi-sectoral monitoring of companies that have been granted incentives. The incentives include accelerated depreciation, at 100 per cent, on capital expenditure and waiver of customs duty on equipment and machinery. It is important to note that incentives, in themselves, are not the reason people invest. Further, incentives can be misused, leading to leakage of revenue. Therefore, when we give them, it must be through a calculated and well-managed process.


Mr Speaker, the House might wish to note that the Zambian economy cannot enjoy the full benefits of trade agreements without a strong industrial base to manufacture goods for export. This is why, earlier, I referred to the fact that the industrial base of this country had been dismantled before this Government got anywhere near power. In the absence of a strong industrial base, Zambia will simply be supporting industries in foreign countries that export goods to Zambia. In this regard, it is important that Zambia’s industrialisation agenda is accelerated alongside the trade agenda. This is what we are working on, as embedded in the Economic Recovery Programme that was launched by His Excellency the President.


Mr Speaker, accelerating the industrialisation agenda will support local manufacturing, local gainful job creation and increased domestic tax revenue in line with the premise on which trade agreements were signed. It is comforting to note that some companies, such as Trade Kings Limited, are already involved in local manufacturing at a large scale and export to the region. We want to see more companies in this country do that, and this Government will be sensitive to the needs of those companies and respond to them.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, the House might wish to note that the Ministry of Finance is supportive of the trade agreements because they offer an opportunity for Zambian industries to access external markets. However, it is important that we keep working on developing a new industrial base that will sustain Zambia’s capacity to produce and, therefore, export.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Simfukwe: Mr Speaker, firstly, I thank the seconder of the Motion, Hon. Chaatila, the Member for Moomba, for his very eloquent commentary on my statement. Secondly, I thank the following for debating our report: the hon. Member for Nkeyema, the hon. Member for Chama South, the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central, who is also the Deputy Chief Government Whip, the hon. Member for Liuwa and, finally, the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.




Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Friday, 26th March, 2021.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Mr W. Banda (Milanzi): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion.


Mr Kamondo: Mr Speaker, in performing its duties, the Committee was guided by its terms of reference, as set out in the Standing Orders. During this session, the Committee considered twenty-three new assurances and 180 outstanding assurances. 


Sir, allow me to start by stating that the Committee is disappointed by the Executive’s growing trend of making assurances on the Floor of the House without securing the requisite finance. This can be evidenced by the accumulation of outstanding assurances from 165 in 2020 to 180 in 2021, due to limited fiscal space. Allow me to highlight a few of the assurances as a sample of the bigger picture of the assurances made on the Floor of this House.


Mr Speaker, in 2015, the hon. Deputy Minister of Mines, Energy and Water Development assured the House that the Executive had put aside funds for construction of a filling station in Kalabo. In an update in the Action-Taken Report, the Committee learnt that the ministry was yet to procure a consultant to design, construct and supervise the construction works. The Committee also learnt that the ministry was yet to procure a private consultant. The Committee is concerned that seven years after the assurance was made on the Floor of the House and the requisite funds put aside, nothing has been done on the project. The Committee, therefore, urges the Executive to stop taking assurances as a means of appeasing hon. Members and the general public. 


Sir, the assurance was also made that additional teachers would be deployed to Kafwimbi Primary School in Chifunabuli District during the 2019 teacher recruitment exercise.  However, to date, no teacher has been deployed to the school. Even more worrying is the fact that from the nine teachers at Kafwimbi Primary School who were on the payroll … (inaudible) … by January, 2019, a – (inaudible). The Committee finds the continued non-deployment of teachers to the school unacceptable and, therefore, strongly urges the Government to urgently find a solution to the shortage of teachers, especially in rural areas. 


Mr Speaker, the Committee is further concerned about the Executive’s failure to implement assurances and doubts the likelihood that the outstanding assurances will be implemented any time soon, considering that the requisite funds are simply not available. Some of the assurances have been outstanding for a long time. For example, some of them have been outstanding for eight years now. In this regard, the Committee finds the Executive’s lack of seriousness towards the implementation of assurances made on the Floor of the House undesirable. This lack of seriousness is misleading, and dampens the expectations and desires of the people of Zambia, who are desirous and deserving of the services promised, especially once an assurance is made on the Floor of the House. The Committee, therefore, upholds the rule that the Executive should only make an assurance to the House when it has the capacity to fully implement the project within the promised time frame.


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I pay tribute to all the witnesses who made both oral and written submissions to the Committee during this Session. I further thank you and the Clerk of the National Assembly for the guidance and services rendered to the Committee during its deliberations.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Mr W. Banda: Now, Sir.


Mr Speaker, I rise to second the Motion moved by our chairperson, Hon. Elliot Kamondo. As I second the Motion, allow me to echo the Committee’s disappointment with regards to the Executive’s growing tendency to make assurances on the Floor of the House when funds are not available to actualise the same. Let me point out some of the assurances that were made on the Floor of the House that have taken almost forever to be actualised.


Mr Speaker, on 7th October, 2014, the hon. Deputy Minister of Transport, Works, Supply and Communications assured the House that the construction of Lunsemfwa River Bridge in Rufunsa Constituency would commence in the second quarter of 2015. The Committee notes that the contract was signed in 2013 but, to date, works have not commenced due to financial limitations. Further, on 6th March, 2013, the hon. Minister of Tourism and Arts assured the House that the Lusaka and Nsumbu national parks would be restocked. However, to date, eight years after the assurance was made, the two national parks have not been restocked. A feasibility study for the construction of the fence and other infrastructure in Nsumbu National Park was only conducted in 2020. On restocking of Lusaka National Park, the ministry is only now finalising the water reticulation system and vegetation control, and restocking is dependent on the completion of the mentioned processes.


Mr Speaker, the Committee also notes that some contractors who are being awarded contracts do not do a very good job. In this regard, it recommends that the contractors who do shoddy works that do not please the owners of the contracts should not be given another chance.


Sir, in conclusion, I thank you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the services rendered to the Committee.


Mr Speaker, I beg to second.


Mr Lihefu (Manyinga): Mr Speaker, in supporting the report, I have a few words to say.


Sir, the tendency of the Government of the Republic of Zambia to assure the people in various areas that projects will be implemented when it has no money in the Treasury is sometimes an insult to the areas promised.


Mr Speaker, on the Floor of this House, the then Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development, Hon. Chitotela, assured the people of the North-Western Province that the Manyinga/Mwinilunga Road would be constructed or upgraded to bituminous standard, but that assurance has not been honoured.


Mr Speaker, many things, such as the Mwinilunga/Solwezi Road, have been promised to the North-Western Province. The Government has promised the construction of that road time and again, but nothing has happened. Now, the people are losing interest and confidence in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, and they are saying that come 12th August, 2021, it has to go out office because the assurances it has been giving the people of this country have not been fulfilled.


Mr Speaker, I advise our colleagues in the Executive that when they give assurances, they should make sure that the assurances are fulfilled.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate on the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances.


Sir, it is a serious issue for the Government to make promises or assurances that cannot be fulfilled. In developed countries, such leaders can even resign to preserve their integrity. However, in Zambia, it is business as usual, and they want to take people for granted.


Mr Speaker, Government assurances are not only those made in Parliament, but also those made by the Head of State. When the Head of State promises and assures the country, it has to be –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Ikeleng’i!


We are dealing with Government Assurances as made on the Floor of the House. That is the mandate we are discharging.


 Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, thank you for the guidance.


Sir, the assurances made on the Floor of the House and the country at large have not been fulfilled, and they are so many that we cannot even count them. When the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) was in power, it honoured whatever assurances it made to the people, and kept quiet on things it could not do. Some of the works we see today, which the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is trying to complete were MMD ideas.


Sir, we need to preserve integrity. When we stand on the Floor of the House, we need to say things that can be achieved instead of saying things just for political expedience. Hon. Ministers have stood on the Floor of the House and assured the people of Ikeleng’i that they would work on the Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road within three years. That was assured even by the then hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development. However, as I speak, even Land Cruisers get stuck on the road; nothing has been done. Who can trust such a Government? our colleagues need to be honourable in whatever they say.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is right in saying that the Government is lacking seriousness and taking the people for granted. Our colleagues have talked about taking development to all parts of the country. Which development can we talk about when there is none in Ikeleng’i, apart from the buildings that remain unattended to? They are busy using the money elsewhere and have made the Government broke. So, they should retract whatever assurances they made and apologise to the people of this country.


Sir, bridges have been washed away, and our colleagues have stood on the Floor of the House and promised that they would be repaired. To date, however, nothing has been done, and this simply shows that this Government is never serious and not capable enough to attend to national issues. The Government has no capacity to assure anybody and, thereby, guarantee its continued stay in office after the elections on 12th August 2021, because the people have lost respect and trust in it. Our colleagues need to be serious. There have been assurances that they would finish constructing schools, provide desks and other things. However, to date, our children, the pupils of Zambia; our future, still sit on the floor because there are no desks and other school requisites. The Executive has also made many promises to employ teachers and nurses, but only a few have been employed. All these assurances are supposed to be fulfilled.


Mr Speaker, I promise you that when the United Party for National Development (UPND) comes into power, it will fulfil all its promises and the promises the PF has failed to honour. The PF Government is not a Government to trust because it cannot say anything that the people can believe in.


Sir, we need to be serious and uphold integrity in this country. We have now become a laughing stock because whatever we say is not implemented. Who are we trying to appease? We are supposed to fulfil what we say for the people to trust and respect us. That is how integrity is earned.


 Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to debate on this Motion, and I commend the Committee for this good report.


 I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The debate will proceed as follows: immediately, we will have the hon. Deputy Government Chief Whip, followed by the hon. Minister of Home Affairs. Thereafter, the hon. Minister of Finance will debate. Then, I will have the hon. Minister for the Northern Province, the Vice-President and then the hon. Member for Mufumbwe will wind up the debate.


 Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add a few lines to the debate on the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances, as laid on the Floor of the House.


Sir, it is very clear from the people who have debated that some of the assurances that were made were not fulfilled. However, we are mindful of the fact that between 2015 and now, the PF Government passed through several challenges that included load-shedding, which made it necessary for the Government to start importing power at a huge cost. We are aware that the PF Government also faced serious flooding and several other disasters, such as locust invasions and droughts, and many plans could not be materialised as a result of the difficulties. I am also aware that even in Ikeleng’i, where Mr Fisher appears to be gaining ground in the race to Parliament this year –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kabwe Central and Deputy Government Chief Whip!


Let us not draw in strangers here, whatever we think about them; in praise or otherwise. Our traditions do not allow us to do that.


 Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I withdraw ‘Mr Fisher’ from Ikeleng’i.


Sir, with the coming of the new leadership in Ikeleng’i Constituency, we believe the people will realise that even the army worms that ravaged the constituency and other areas seriously delayed Government programmes and projects.


Sir, I am also aware that some of the assurances Hon. Muchima referred to were made when he was a Deputy Minister. So, I wonder why he did not fulfil some of those assurances. Even in his capacity as a Member of Parliament, I am sure he makes several assurances that he does not fulfil. So, I assure him that’s the UPND is not forming Government any time soon. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has predicted that that mighty PF is retaining power in August, and that is why all those who believed that they would be charge of Government have now turned their backs on somebody –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member!


You have stopped debating the report and the subject. You have gone somewhere else.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance.


Sir, as I return to the report, allow me to thank the people who have worked with the Government. Hon. Members of Parliament who have supported the Government’s agenda have seen most of their Government Assurances fulfilled in their constituencies. In the event that hon. Members of Parliament are not allowed to interact with the Government, not even with the Republican President or fellow hon. Members of Parliament from the Ruling Party, it is impossible for some of the challenges to be resolved, and it becomes really difficult to achieve some developmental aspects.


Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa for reminding us that he signed a contract in 2011 relating to one of the most expensive road projects and that the road was never delivered. At least, the people of Zambia are now aware of what happened at that time and how the contractors ran away with the Government’s money. We thank him for this vital information.


Mr Speaker, I also want to state that some of the assurances that were made in the MMD Government were made by Ministers, one of them being the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa when he was the Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kabwe Central!


Debate the report. You now want to debate your hon. Colleagues.


Mr Ngulube: Mr Speaker, as I wind up, allow me to withdraw my reference to the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa.


Sir, some former Ministers of Finance failed to deliver on many of their promises. I want to also state that under the PF Government, most of the government assurances have been met, are being met or will be met in due course.


Sir, I must commend His Excellency the President because despite the several challenges that the country faced under his leadership, the country is back on track, and the people are saying they cannot change the Government at this time because the President is delivering. Lusaka is changing and looking like Dubai, the owners of the forty-eight houses are withdrawing the cases and everything is being addressed.


Mr Speaker, with those few words, I thank you.


The Minister of Home Affairs (Mr Kampyongo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for allowing me to make comments on the report on the Floor.


Sir, I will start by stating that Government assurances are premised on the commitments made in this august House through budgetary allocations. This august House appropriates funds for the Government’s expenditure and, based on that, we who are in the Executive make assurances on certain undertakings. We implement those undertakings using Government resources.


Mr Speaker, some of the assurances the report has highlighted go as far back as 2014, for example. Now, as much as we make projections in a fiscal year, there are also eventualities that could be beyond the control of the Executive. Take for example the period 2014 and 2015, when we lost the President, His Excellency Mr Michael Chilufya Sata. Losing a Head of State for any government is a very serious setback. First of all, it just changes everything, including all the projections, and there is the very high cost that goes with managing the loss. Moreover, there was a Presidential by-election that followed Mr Sata’s death, and that cost a lot of money. So, if there were programmes projected to be implemented in that period, certainly, some of them were negatively affected, and that is how come some of the assurances the Committee has highlighted were not honoured.


Mr Speaker, we also had to hold a general election in 2016, just a short period after the 2015 Presidential By-election, and that was a mammoth undertaking. Beyond that, there was a period in which there were droughts that affected crop yields and the energy sector, as mentioned by the hon. Deputy Chief Whip. So, we had to channel some resources from the budgeted activities to keeping production going by importing power. Yes, the Committee can easily be disappointed, and it is easy to be disappointed. However, let us be realistic and look at the factors that affect the implementation of the assurances the Government makes.


Sir, you will remember that some hon. Members said that there were people dying in the southern and western parts of the country during the droughts. Her Honour the Vice-President’s Office, through the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), had to feed people, and we had people coming here and asking us to declare a nation disaster, including the hon. Member seated opposite me, ...


Dr Musokotwane indicated assent.


Mr Kampyongo: … who came here and said that the children in his constituency were sharing breast milk with their fathers. We assured the nation that we were going to feed the people and ensure that no one died of hunger during that difficult time. What that meant is that we had to move resources from certain budget lines in order to save the people, and we are happy that we did not lose lives to hunger as our hon. Colleagues on your left suggested would happen. So, we understand this report, but our hon. Colleagues also need to be realistic because we were all here when public resources were being apportioned.


Sir, right now, we are faced with the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic for which we did not plan or sit here to budget for. So, where does the money come from? The hon. Member of Parliament for Mwinilunga is even contradicting himself by saying that when he was in the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, they fulfilled the assurances they made. How come today he is saying the Jimbe/Mwinilunga Road has not been worked on? Who is to blame?


Mr Speaker, yes, we understand that there are challenges sometimes. I was just making assurances here on some projects we have not completed. So, yes, it is easy for people to say they are disappointed, but let us be realistic about the factors that affect the implementation of Government assurances, which are made with sincerity. We have, at least, shown the people of Zambia that we are able to perform to their expectations and, where we fail, we shall tell them why we could not fulfil those assurances. That is why we are coming back in August, 2021; we have to complete some of the assurances we have made to our people.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Ng’andu: Mr Speaker, thank you very much, once again, for giving me the opportunity to comment on the Report of the Committee on Government Assurances. I also thank the members of the Committee for this very elaborate report that they have presented to us.


Mr Speaker, I want to start by making one point clear: when hon. Members of the Executive come to this House and make assurances, they do not do it in a casual way; they mean what they say, but changing conditions and circumstances sometimes require the postponement of the implementation of some assurances made.


Sir, my hon. Colleagues who have spoken before me have given examples of some challenges that we have faced, such as floods, which have resulted in walls being washed away and bridges being damaged. When you are faced with such a situation, you are forced to realign your resources. Expenditure is realigned because when some bridges are washed away, it cuts off some people, who cannot travel, and children cannot go to school. In such times, addressing that challenge becomes the most urgent issue.


Mr Speaker, when there is a drought and no food, as a result, building a road becomes less important because you cannot sit back and allow people to starve. These are the realities we are faced with, and I am saying this because I am the person responsible for allocating resources. Many times, I have no other choice but to realign expenditure. That does not mean the Government is being careless and casual about the assurances it makes to this House; it simply means that the reality of the moment requires the Government to rethink its implementation strategy.


Sir, to give an example, the Committee made the recommendation that the Zambia Credit Guarantee Scheme (ZCGS) Limited be abolished for the reason that it has become moribund and that it does not perform its functions. However, what was required was that we respond, albeit in a delayed manner, by giving it resources. Today, I can say with pride that the institution has successfully issued a partial credit guarantee amounting to K1,728,000, through the Zambia Industrial Commercial Bank (ZICB), to seven micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the wholesale and retail sector. The seven MSMEs are under the bank I have just mentioned. One could argue that the Government has failed to deliver because of the ZCGS’s delay in performing its functions, and I agree that there has been a delay. However, as I have said before, sometimes, expenditure alignment pressures make that inevitable.


Mr Speaker, I also want to refer to one recommendation made by the Committee; that the Executive ensures that offer letters are issued in all thirty-three demarcation areas in Lusaka, and that Medici Land Governance, which is the company engaged to implement the project, undertakes the demarcation and creation of titles for the rest of the country on a privately-financed free base contract. As the Treasury, we are very keen to see the full implementation of the Land Titling Programme because it is one of the identified revenue enhancing measures, and we will engage our colleagues in the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure that is done. 


Mr Speaker, I noted that the report has highlighted several projects and programmes that are behind schedule and which need to be expedited. My ministry acknowledges the importance of all the projects to the revival of our economy. We will be available to be engaged so that we see more timely completion of projects and programmes.


Mr Speaker, I the report on Government assurances and thank the Committee for the work that it has done. Let me end by stressing that when we, the Executive, make assurances, we mean what we say and try our best to deliver on the assurances we make.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister for Northern Province (Mr Bwalya): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to debate the report on the Floor of the House.


Mr Speaker, first and foremost, I commend the Committee for a job well done, but I also take the debate of the hon. Ministers of Finance, and Home Affairs as mine.


Mr Speaker, a Bemba saying goes, “Ichifufya imilimo tachifuma mung’anda yobe’, meaning that the circumstances that may disrupt or delay your plans may not emanate from your house. You may liken the economy of a country to that of a family or household, and you will agree with me that there are certain plans that we make as individuals but, when we wake up the following morning, we find that circumstances have changed and we are not able to go ahead with the plan. That is the meaning of the Bemba saying.


Mr Speaker, it is true that while the Government of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, makes assurances, it makes them on the premise that all things being equal, it will be implement them. The people of Zambia are fully aware that we do not delay projects out of malice, neither do we do so deliberately. Projects are delayed because we are faced with certain situations, most of which have been mentioned by previous speakers. However, I want to add to what the previous speakers said.


Mr Speaker, do you know what could have happened to the mines if this country did not take the bold step of importing power around 2014 and 2015? Many jobs would have been lost and many families would have lost their spending power at that time. So, the PF Government took the bold step of importing power, expensive as it was, for the people of Zambia. That is how a responsible Government behaves even amidst assurances it may have made.


Mr Speaker, if my memory serves me right, the hon. Minister of Finance had to come to Parliament to present a Supplementary Budget because we are trying to fulfil certain assurances while living within what is appropriated by Parliament. This is a Government of laws, and we need to deliver to the people of Zambia each time we make pronouncements.


Mr Speaker, look at the amount of infrastructure we have built. For trade to thrive, we need roads, energy and food in the country, and the hon. Minister of Agriculture has to be saved from climate change, army worms and other challenges. All these issues were not planned for, but they all needed money, and we had to look at the Budget and divert some funds.


Mr Speaker, most projects have stalled not because we want them to, but because we needed to save lives. The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic could have ravaged this country had certain measures not been put in place by look at various allocations in the Budget and getting some amounts from there in order to provide for the requirements in the health sector.


Mr Speaker, we agree that we have made assurances, but it must be noted that the people of Zambia are also observing what is happening in the country. Therefore, there is no way they can vote out a Government that is doing so much under the difficult circumstances of COVID-19, climate change and the foreign exchange rate. That puts this Government in a far better position to be trusted by the people of Zambia. Come 12th August, 2021, we should return so that we can do what the people of Zambia expect us to do.


Mr Speaker, once again, I support the Motion and the report. We should go forward and implement it together.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, in supporting the Motion, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice to the debate on the report on Government assurances.


Sir, I wish to start by thanking the members of the Committee on Government Assurances for their thorough examination of the issues at hand in the preparation of this report. I also wish to thank all the hon. Members of the august House who took time to carefully scrutinise and debate the various issues raised in the report. These issues are very important to the developmental agenda of our country.


Mr Speaker, hon. Members should know that every assurance the Government makes on the Floor of the House is made in good faith and that the Government is committed, resources permitting, to fulfilling the promises it makes for the benefit of the people of Zambia. To that end, hon. Members will agree with me that over the past nine years and a few months that the Patriotic Front (PF) Party has been in Government, it has made significant strides in various key aspects of the national development agenda, such as infrastructure development, particularly in the transport, education, energy, fisheries and health sectors, where it has undertaken and successfully achieved unprecedented advancements.


Sir, the Government’s commitment to increasing access to social services for the most vulnerable in our communities means that our people in all parts of the country now have easier access to better health facilities through the construction of hospitals and health posts. Further, more of our children, particularly the girls, are enrolled in schools and able to attend schools without travelling long and dangerous distances. In addition, our men and women in uniform are now better equipped and housed in suitable accommodation in various parts of the country. These few examples show that the Government means business.


Sir, as I conclude, I reassure the people of Zambia, through this august House, that despite the currently strained fiscal space, the PF Government will continue with the development agenda and ensure that the living standards of our people are improved. I have no doubt in my mind that with the massive development projects initiated and delivered in all sectors by the PF Government, the people of Zambia will, come 12thAugust, 2021, certainly give the PF another mandate to continue developing Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kamondo: Mr Speaker, I thank Hon. W. Banda for ably seconding the Motion. I also thank your Committee on Government Assurances for its commitment in providing checks and balances. Further, I thank Hon. Lihefu and Hon. Muchima for highlighting the disappointments expressed by the Committee in the report. I equally appreciate the hon. Minister of Home Affairs for agreeing with us. Further, I appreciate the comments made by the hon. Minister of Finance in agreeing with the report and the comfort he is giving to the people of Zambia. Most importantly, I thank Her Honour the Vice-President for agreeing with and supporting the report together with the comments we have made on it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to.




Mr Syakalima (Chirundu): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that this House do adopt the Report on the Committee on Transport, Works and Supply for the Fifth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly, laid on the Table of the House on Wednesday, 26th of March, 2021.


Mr Speaker: Is the Motion seconded?


Hon. Member for Chisamba, are you seconding the Motion?


Ms Kasanda was not available.


Mr Speaker: Is there any other member of the Committee on Transport, Works and Supply to second the Motion?


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I second the Motion.


Mr Syakalima: Mr Speaker, during the period under review, the Committee considered one topical issue, namely “The Participation of Local Contractors in the Zambian Construction Industry”. Since I am aware that hon. Members have had time to read the full contents of the report, I will endeavour to only highlight a few of the issues raised by the Committee.


Mr Speaker, construction is a very important industry to the Zambian economy, and it has contributed significantly to the economy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). For example, the percentage share of construction value added to GDP averaged 10 per cent between 2011 and 2019, while the percentage growth rate averaged 4.1 per cent over the period.


Sir, the Zambian construction industry presents immense opportunities for all contractors to benefit. For example, the industry has benefitted a lot from the expansionary stance taken by the Government, with the implementation of road construction programmes presenting opportunities for contractors to access more works and grow. For instance, close to K47 billion was allocated to road infrastructure alone between 2015 and 2020, an amount equivalent to the entire National Budget for 2015. However, the local contractors’ benefit was very minimal, and they have not benefited much from the industry despite being the majority, accounting for 91.4 per cent, while foreign contractors account for only 4.4 per cent with the remaining 4.2 per cent being jointly owned firms. The House may also wish to note that a handful of mainly foreign-owned firms enjoy the lion’s share of 71.3 per cent of the total industry revenue while the rest of the firms share the remaining 28.7 per cent. The uneven distribution of revenues in the industry is mostly due to huge resourcing disparities between large foreign-owned firms and their small Zambian counterparts.


Mr Speaker, despite the Government’s policies on empowering its citizens being articulated in several policy instruments, local contractors have stagnated in terms of growth and participation in the industry. The underdevelopment of local contractors is reflected in the challenges they face in their operations, the most significant of which is a lack of access to affordable financing and equipment. Additionally, access to some bidding and contractual prerequisites is a serious challenge due to the difficult conditions of collateral demanded by financial institutions. Given the foregoing, the Committee is of the view that the Government should create an enabling environment for local contractors to access affordable financing and equipment. In the long run, the Committee urges the Government to establish a national infrastructure development bank from which local contractors would be able to obtain loans at subsidised rates to level the playing field, increase local contractors’ participation in the industry and, consequently, reduce capital flight.


Mr Speaker, the Committee is saddened to note that low quality works are pervasive in the domestic construction industry, especially in the building and housing category, where walls have been brought down several times due to lack of adherence to standards. The poor quality of works by local contractors is one reason foreign contractors find it easy to enter the Zambian construction industry and give undue competition to locals. Thus, the Committee is of the view that the Government, through the regulator, the National Council for Construction (NCC), working together with other stakeholders, such as the Road Development Agency (RDA), the Engineering Institution of Zambia (EIZ) and local authorities, should ensure that quality assurance inspections and training programmes are well implemented so that local contractors are able to deliver standard works.


Sir, in conclusion, the Committee is indebted to all the witnesses who appeared before it. It also expresses its gratitude to you and the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the valuable guidance and services rendered throughout its deliberations.


 Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


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


Mr Zimba: Now, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker, I thank you for allowing me to second this Motion. I also thank the mover of the Motion for ably highlighting the salient issues in the Committee’s report.


Sir, as I second the Motion, I will only point out one critical issue regarding the participation of local contractors in the Zambian construction industry.


Mr Speaker, while the Committee appreciates the Government’s efforts to empower local contractors, it is concerned that the policy on sub-contracting, which provides for mandatory sub-contracting of 20 per cent of all major contracts to local contractors, is not backed by law. The Committee also notes the following obstacle to the full implementation of the policy:


  1.  sub-contractors do not participate early in the procurement process; they are introduced after a contract is awarded to the main contractor;
  2. there are no clear guidelines on the implementation of the policy and the sub-contractors do not take part in the determination of works; and
  3. it is difficult to grow the capacity of local contractors using the 20 per cent sub-contracting policy because the main contactors do not show interest in developing and building local contractors’ capacity due to a lack of incentives.


Mr Speaker, in order to enhance the participation of locals, the Committee recommends that:


  1. the Government involves sub-contractors and that the scope of works and rates be identified at the tendering stage and made part of the evaluation criteria;
  2. the sub-contracting policy be strengthened by enacting it into law to ensure strict adherence by the main contractors;
  3. the contract sum offered to sub-contractors includes preliminary and general items to enable them to mobilise to site without difficulties;
  4. the Government ensures that contracts with foreign firms are on condition that the contractors demonstrate willingness and ability to –


Mr Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1656 hours until 1430 hours on Tuesday, 6th April, 2021.