Tuesday, 30th March, 2021

Printer Friendly and PDF

Tuesday, 30th March, 2021


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]










The Vice-President (Mrs Wina): Mr Speaker, before I give the House some idea of the business it will consider this week, allow me to welcome all hon. Members to the third and last, Meeting of the Fifth Session. This is also the last Meeting of the Twelfth National Assembly which commenced in 2016. Soon, Parliament will be dissolved to pave way for the general elections scheduled for 12th August, 2021.


Sir, let me now turn to the business the House is expected to consider this week. As indicated on the Order Paper for today, Tuesday, 30th March, 2021, the Business of the House will begin with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by presentation of Government Bills.


Mr Speaker, tomorrow, Wednesday, 31st March, 2021, the Business of the House will start with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by presentation of Government Bills, if there will be any. The House will then debate the Motions to adopt the following reports:


  1. Report of the Committee on Youth, Sport and Child Matters on Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights of Children and Young People in Zambia; and
  2. Report of the Committee on Agriculture, Lands and Natural Resources on the Fishing Industry in Zambia: Opportunities and Challenges.


Sir, on Thursday, 1st April, 2021, the Business of the House will commence with Questions for Oral Answer. That will be followed by 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 Government Assurances; and
  2. Report of the Budget Committee on the Impact of the Trade and other Partnership Agreements on the National Budget.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.








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


(a)        how many solar milling plants were installed countrywide, as of July, 2020;


(b)        how many were operational, as of the same date;


(c)        in how many constituencies the milling plants were operational;


(d)       what the major cause of the non-operational milling plants is;                     


(e)        whether the objective of the solar milling plants project has been achieved; and


            (f)         if the objective has not been achieved, why.


The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, as of September, 2019, the number of mills installed countrywide was 1,558.


Sir, as of September, 2019, the number of mills that were operational was 1,307 out of 1,558.


Mr Speaker, the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, through the Zambia Co-operative Federation (ZCF), captures information based on districts, not on constituencies.


Sir, the major causes of the non-operation of some milling plants are as follows:


  1. theft of solar panels;
  2. inadequate stocking of spares in stores. The supplier has ordered the spares, but there has been a delay in shipment due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak;
  3. lack of grain due to co-operatives operating the mills on toll milling as opposed to commercial milling, which requires co-operatives to source for grain. More sensitisation of members of the co-operatives running the solar mills is needed; and
  4. the maintenance and repair engineers, who went to China on holiday, were blocked from returning to Zambia due to COVID-19.


Mr Speaker, the objectives of reducing the cost of mealie meal, stabilising mealie meal prices, making mealie meal more affordable in rural areas and promoting employment creation under the Rural Industrialisation Programme are being achieved. For example, in September, 2019, in Muchinga Province, the price of a 25 kg bag of mealie meal from the solar hammer mills was K120 in Nakonde and Mpika, and K100 in Chinsali, while the same bag of mealie meal the cost between K145 and K150 in shops. In the Northern Province, the solar milling plants in Kasama sold mealie meal at K105 to Kasama Girls Secondary School, St. Theresa Girls Secondary School and Kasama College of Education, while the retail price was K110. Meanwhile, the regular mealie meal bought from shops cost between K130 and K145. Finally, on the Copperbelt Province, a 25 kg bag of breakfast meal sold at K105 at the ZCF Service and Training Centre in Kalulushi, while conventional mills sold there mealie meal at K115 and K125. At Chawama-Twashuka Co-operative in Luanshya, mealie meal was sold at K100, while the conventional mills sold it at K121.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Daka (Msanzala): Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to ask the hon. Minister this very important question.


Sir, other than the milling of mealie meal, do we envisage the solar panels for the hammer mills also being used for lighting in houses around the solar mills?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, indeed, the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) has entered into some agreement with the ZCF to ensure that excess power from the hammer mills is tapped for rural electrification, and that is now being done.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): … (Inaudible) … us to increase the number from 1,307 or, rather, the 1,558 –


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kanchibiya!


Could you start with your question again.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, noting that the set objectives are being met, does the Government have intentions of increasing the solar milling plants for the benefit of our communities?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, indeed, the Government has continued the procurement of milling plants to increase the number from 1,558 so as to accommodate other areas where we see a need for the programme. The shipment of the procured plants has been delayed because of COVID-19, but we are still waiting for them so that we continue with the project.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Fungulwe (Lufwanyama): Mr Speaker, are there some co-operatives that have failed to operate the solar milling plants? If there are, what measures have been put in place to make sure that the milling plants concerned are operationalised?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, yes, there are some co-operatives that have failed to run the milling plants effectively as businesses. So, programmes have been put in place for the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) to assist such co-operatives through training and sensitisation on how to competently run the milling plants as businesses and make some profits out of this programme.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kundoti (Luena): Mr Speaker, my question is on the issue of security, since the hon. Minister mentioned that most of the plants have lost solar panels to theft. What measures have been put in place to ensure that the thefts are brought to a halt?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, prior to receiving the milling plants, one of the things we do is train the co-operatives on all aspects, including security. The people employed at the site are one operator and two watchmen who guard the facility during the day and at night. We feel that if these people are trained well enough, they should be in a position to provide the needed security of the assets from vandalism or theft. Therefore, we have continued sensitising the communities around that it is their responsibility to jealously guard those assets so that nobody can vandalise them. Anybody can, in his or her own capacity, act as watchman in securing the good state of those assets.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three questions from the hon. Members for Mpongwe, Dundumwezi and, lastly, Chilanga.


Mr Bulaya (Mpongwe): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister said that the repairmen are stuck in China due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). I presume they are Chinese. Is he, therefore, telling the nation that no Zambians were trained to repair the solar mills?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, from the outset of the installation of the mills, there was an obligation on the part of the suppliers to service and maintain the equipment for a period of time. At the same time, however, they were training Zambians to be ready to maintain the assets in the future. As things stand now, it is provided for in the contract that the suppliers will provide the maintenance until the contract period lapses. However, those people are stuck in China. When they left to go to China in 2019, COVID-19 was not yet the serious global pandemic that it is now, and it had not even broken out yet in Africa. However, by the time they were finishing observing the Chinese New Year, the disease had exploded into a serious pandemic, and they were made to remain in China.


My Speaker, for your information, if you went to China, today, it would take you twenty-eight days to access the place you want to visit. From here, you would be asked to be in quarantine for fourteen days in a hotel at your expense. After that, the authorities would check your health and, if found to be all right, you would move to your destination where you would, again, be quarantined for seven days in a hotel of your choice and at your expense. Only after that would you be allowed to move around. So, it is very difficult to travel. China is not allowing Chinese citizens to go out of the country until the authorities are satisfied that those who want to travel are free of COVID-19. 


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Sing’ombe (Dundumwezi): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that some of the solar hammer mills are not working because of theft of solar panels. Could he tell me which province has the highest number of vandalism and theft cases?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, this problem is spread across the country. However, there are more operational plants in the Southern and North-Western provinces. The milling plants in the two provinces are working better than in the other provinces.


I thank you, Sir.


Mrs M. L. Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, the cry of most of the co-operatives that are running the solar hammer mills is the lack of extra batteries to conserve power and enable the hammer mills to operate at night and on days when there is not enough sunlight. What is the ministry doing to supply extra batteries to the hammer mills?


Mr Yaluma: Mr Speaker, this has been a very serious concern to the owners of the milling plants as well as to the ministry because cloudy or hazy skies do impede the perfect operation of the hammer mills. To avoid stoppages and enable the mills to operate fully, we introduced inverters and batteries. The inverters and batteries are very expensive, but the Government asked the supplier of the mills to come and retrofit them. This activity is ongoing and will spread across the country. 


I thank you, Sir. 




146. Mr Kabanda (Serenje) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development whether the Government had any plans to engage the Builders Brigade from the Defence Forces to complete construction works on roads and buildings countrywide that had stalled due to austerity measures.


The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, the Government has no immediate plans to engage the Builders Brigade from the Defence Forces to complete the construction works on roads and buildings that have stalled countrywide because:


  1. the undertaking would require the termination of existing contracts on the stalled projects;
  2. the undertaking would cause the Government to incur costs arising from termination of the contracts;
  3. the number of projects is too big for the Builders Brigade to complete them all in view of its limited human resource capacity; and
  4. possible litigation by the affected contractors could further delay the completion of the projects.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the answers that the hon. Minister has given. However, he will agree with me that as a result of the heavy rainfall received throughout the country, many roads, even those that were under contract, have been washed away. What immediate measures is the ministry putting in place to ensure that most rural roads that have been affected by heavy rainfall are motorable, taking into account the challenges that the ministry has?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Government is fully aware that the country was blessed with a lot of rainfall this year. The adverse effect of that is that many roads, bridges and other infrastructure have been damaged. I am aware that schools and hospitals have had roofs blown off. In this regard, an inventory of what has happened is being made by the Road Development Agency (RDA), and I know that the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU) is doing the same. In some cases, we have already responded by providing some money, and works have begun. In other cases, we are waiting for resources to be provided by the Ministry of Finance.


Mr Speaker, had we had the finances, I still do not think we would have relied on the Builders Brigade because we have enough contractors on sites. Further, institutions such as the RDA are undertaking works through the Force Account. So, regarding the question asked by Hon. Mwiimbu, the answer is that it is a question of resources rather than whether or not we should consider using the Builders Brigade. Contractors are available. The question is whether or not we have enough resources to implement the works, and the Ministry of Finance is the one looking into that issue.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda: Mr Speaker, I have taken note of the responses by the hon. Minister. However, with due respect, does the hon. Minister not think that it would be cheaper to carry out some of those works in-house? Some projects have since been terminated, and I have in mind the Township Roads Rehabilitation Project in Serenje, which has been terminated and is awaiting re-tendering when resources become available. 


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, indeed, it is cheaper to carry out works using the in-house arrangement. However, there is a question of capacity. For example, the Zambia National Service (ZNS) is involved in many projects at the moment; it is working on roads in parts of the country and was engaged to construct markets in some areas by the Ministry of Local Government. I remember that at some point we intended to engage it on another project, but it seemed it did not have enough manpower because it was already handling many in-house projects. There is also the RDA, with its complement of engineers, doing in-house work by way of a Force Account. Therefore, there is very limited in-house capacity, even though it is a cheaper way of doing things. Anything that will save this Government resources is welcome, and we would adopt it because we want to live by the austerity measures we have put in place. However, when we lack the capacity, we will still have to outsource works to contractors.


Mr Speaker, remember that I made a commitment to this Parliament that even secondary schools will be completed by Government engineers throughout the country. We will have to terminate all the contracts we have with contractors and re-tender the works at much cheaper prices. We will provide money to headteachers or District Education Board Secretaries’ (DEBS’s) offices for them to use local labour and materials to complete projects. We have experimented with this mode, but that is as far as we can go. We cannot implement all Government projects using this mode because they are too many. Remember that this Patriotic Front (PF) Government embarked on a massive infrastructure development programme. So, we cannot do all the works or complete the projects in-house.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr A. C. Mumba was inaudible.


Dr Malama:  Mr Speaker, the question that has been asked is very important for the people of Kanchibiya and most people in rural areas, if not for the whole nation.


Sir, the Builder’s Brigade, as it was with the Roads Department, will be able to operate at the district level, unlike the Road Development Agency (RDA), which operates mainly at the provincial level. Would the Government not save resources on allowances and related expenses by decentralising road maintenance to the districts so that the people involved can attend to the many calls requiring their service, particularly, from the rural areas, unlike what happens today?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, as regards roads, that approach is under serious consideration. Within the Government, we have discussed and seen that where we have put money into the existing structures at provincial level, in the Provincial Road Engineer’s office under the RDA, a significant impact has been made. In comparison, contractors require a certain amount of money before they can mobilise and move equipment from Lusaka to Mongu or Kaputa, for example. It costs a contractor a lot of money just to move that equipment. On the other hand, using the offices we already have in the provinces and their equipment cuts down on the cost. So, we are considering using our regional offices for certain works. We think that the engineers and equipment in the local authorities and the RDA, with support from the ZNS, are capable of doing some works.


Sir, about three weeks ago, I inspected the Mpika/Kasama Road. We had given K2 million to the RDA, and the agency has done a lot with the money. In comparison, the contractor we had paid about K5 million to start at the other end of the road had not even started because the money was not enough to put equipment together. We saw where the potholes had been patched using the K2 million that had been given to the RDA. Therefore, that approach is what we are considering for when we come back after August.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, in response to Hon. Mwiimbu’s question, the hon. Minister talked about some roads that were badly damaged and mentioned that some emergency funding was allocated to them. What criteria were used to allocate the emergency funds to those roads? I ask because the Lundazi/Chama Road is now impassable. What criteria were used to determine the severity of the roads that were given funding?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I think we have veered off too much from the principal question, which was on whether we should use the Builder’s Brigade or not. Hon. Zimba can find out what criteria we used to disburse the K12 million and which areas were considered more critical than others by coming to my office so that I discuss that with him.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Lufuma (Kabompo): Mr Speaker, I would like to follow-up on Hon. Jack Mwiimbu’s question.


Sir, in his answer, the hon. Minister stated that the real issue was not whether or not the Government could use the Builder’s Brigade, but rather the lack of money in Government coffers. However, we have seen hon. Ministers in his Government dishing out money under the term ‘empowerment’.


Mr Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Kabompo!


What is your question?


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, my question is: Would it not be prudent for this Government to use the money it has been dishing out on improving the roads in order for this economy to start ticking, instead of what it is doing?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, I am not privy to the information on hon. Ministers dishing out money, who they are or what is happening. I do not understand what case he is referring to. However, I suspect that if hon. Ministers are dishing out money in their individual capacities, they are doing so using the money they earn, that is if there is such a case. So, I would not want us to mix personal issues with Government business. The Government’s not having allocated money for working on bridges is a Government matter that does not have anything to do with personal issues. That is my take on the question.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two questions from the hon. Members for Namwala followed by the hon. Member for Kalabo Central.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Mr Speaker, it feels good to be back.


Sir, the hon. Minister – (inaudible).


Mr Speaker: We did not get your question, hon. Member for Namwala. Repeat your question.


Ms Lubezhi was inaudible.  


Mr Speaker: We have lost her.


Mr Miyutu (Kalabo Central): Mr Speaker, I would like the hon. Minister to comment on the phasing out of the Rural Roads Unit (RRU), which was present in all the ten provinces and used to grade roads, renovate bridges and undertake other works connected to roads. The Government decided to phase out that unit and engage the Zambia National Service (ZNS) to do those works.  My question is: Which level is supposed to instruct the ZNS centres in the provinces to get involved in road construction and maintenance of roads, which are very dilapidated? Is it the Provincial Administration or the Ministry of Defence?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we can involve the ZNS in the construction of roads, bridges and other things through the Ministry of Defence Headquarters or directly from wherever they are. If the hon. Member wants to use the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) on roads, for example, he can ask the ZNS in Kalabo to prepare a quotation for him and the payment can be done by the local authority. The ZNS can only undertake works if it is provided with resources by the Ministry of Finance through the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development. If it is not provided with the resources or it is not contracted, it cannot do anything because it does not have money on standby to use for the construction of roads and bridges.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.                        




147. Ms Subulwa (Sioma) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. what the total amount of the Local Government Equalisation Fund disbursed to local authorities countrywide was in 2019;
  2. whether the money was disbursed in full as appropriated in the National Budget;
  3. if not, what the deficit was;
  4. what the challenges in disbursing the funds were;
  5. whether the Government had any plans to disburse the Equalisation Fund to all councils every month; and
  6. if so, when the plans would be implemented.


The Minister of Local Government (Dr Banda): Mr Speaker, the total amount of the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) disbursed in 2019 was K953,175,474.66.


Sir, the amount disbursed was equivalent to ten months’ allocations to all the local authorities.


Mr Speaker, the deficit amounted to K211,392,137.34.


Sir, the ministry did not face any challenges in disbursing the fund.


Mr Speaker, the Government currently releases K97,047,301 monthly as LGEF for disbursement to all the local authorities. The Government will continue disbursing the fund as funds subject to the availability of funds.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, what challenges is the ministry facing in ensuring that 20 per cent of the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF) goes to projects, as stipulated? What we have realised is that most councils do not utilise 20 per cent of their allocations on projects in the constituencies and the surrounding areas.


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, we are not facing any challenges, per se. Maybe, what could be lacking is proper supervision, because the law states that when any local authority receives the money, 20 per cent should go to capital projects. So, our colleagues, the hon. Members of Parliament and councillors, should be on the ground to monitor the councils and ensure that the money allocated to projects is used for the intended purpose. After all, that is why we, the hon. Members of Parliament, are members of the councils. So, if there are challenges that the hon. Member has noticed, they could only emanate from a lack of supervision. Otherwise, the law that requires 20 per cent to be used on projects and 80 per cent  on operations is cast in concrete.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has informed this House and the nation that there is a lack of supervision on the ministry’s part because it is the one that is supposed to supervise the local authorities. Taking into account the fact that Members of Parliament are not part of the local authorities and that they cannot supervise an institution they are not responsible for, what difficulties does the ministry have in supervising the local authorities?


Mr Lubinda: You rejected the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019.


Mr Mwiimbu: Are you still crying?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, I was very clear in my answer in stating that councillors supervise councils, and that is where the supervision emanates from. As hon. Members of Parliament, we cannot run away from the fact that we are part of the people who are supposed to supervise developmental projects in our constituencies, and our constituencies are domiciled in local authorities. So, if we want to see money used prudently, we are supposed to take interest, together with our friends, the councillors. It is not the ministry that has to go round the country all the time to supervise. The law is very clear, and there is division of labour. The councillors are on the ground, and they should be assisted by their hon. Members of Parliament.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, we seem to have some difficulties in terms of disbursing funds, with most councils being behind. To ease the pressure it is in in disbursing the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF), what practical steps is the ministry taking to wean councils like the Lusaka City Council (LCC) and Ndola City Council (NCC), which have the capacity to generate their own income, from the Central Government coffers?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Chasefu, I am afraid, that is a new question.


Ms Subulwa: Mr Speaker, in his response, the hon. Minister indicated that the ministry did not face any challenges at all in disbursing the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF), yet he also told the House that there was a deficit in the payments, meaning there was a challenge. Could that challenge be the reason certain councils like Kasenengwa, Chipata and Mongu have had challenges paying their workers?


Mr Speaker: I think you are introducing a new subject. The focus of your question is now on the payment of salaries; you are trying to find the cause for failure by councils to pay salaries, which is not an issue from your principal question. I cannot classify that as a supplementary question.


Dr Malama: Sir, I commend the hon. Minister and the ministry for ensuring that councils are in abide by the expected norms. From time to time, we have seen the hon. Minister issue instructions and act to ensure that councils follow the laid-down procedures. However, there are certain political parties, and there is particularly one, that we have seen discipline elected council office-bearers who wanted to work closely with the Government of the day and the Head of State in implementing programmes using the Local Government Equalisation Fund (LGEF). What is the ministry doing to educate, particularly the United Party for National Development (UPND), to support the Government’s call to take public services abroad even through elected officials, in view of what we saw happen when a mayor was suspended in Kafue?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, I am noting a growing trend of moving away from the principal question. Maybe, it is time to move on. I will try the other hon. Members. Maybe, they may get back to the question.


Mr Fungulwe: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister stated that there was a deficit in the funding, and that the ministry paid the councils countrywide for only ten months, meaning there is a balance. Will that balance be paid or not?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, I think we all understand that grants are paid according to the availability of resources, and that a budget is a road map; it does not mean that whatever has been budgeted for will be available at any given point. There are times when the budget for the year lapses without meeting the target and, in that case, the distribution of the fund lapses with the expiry of the fiscal year. When the budget expires in that manner, whatever deficit there is also expires with the fiscal year. There is nowhere in the Yellow Book where grants from the previous year are carried forward. 


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Mr Speaker, in what sense does the ministry monitor the use pf the equalisation fund to ensure that it is used for the intended purpose, even over a period of two years or after, maybe, five years, and to ensure that hon. Members of Parliament are involved in the arrangement?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, monitoring is done on a regular basis through the Provincial Local Government Officers, who work together with the local authorities and councillors in the local authorities. The provincial Local Government Officers have the responsibility to ensure that the councils perform to expectations and use resources prudently.


I thank you, Mr Speaker. 


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Mr Speaker, the equalisation fund is critical for the small and poor councils like Kalabo District Council, with 20 per cent of the fund being used on infrastructure like local roads and offices. However, the funding provided has been inadequate, partly because the Government has no money; it is broke because of huge amounts of debts it owes. Can the hon. Minister, therefore, blame anyone, including the councils, for not allocating 20 per cent of their funding to infrastructure when he knows very well that they are not funded adequately due to the problem of excessive borrowing by the Government, meaning that there is little money for anything else?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, funding is approved by Parliament; we do not just dream up the figures at the Ministry of Local Government. further, the equalisation fund is part of the amounts we approve in this House, and it has nothing to do with the debts the hon. Member has mentioned. So, if there is any improvement to be made, they have to be made by this House.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, this question, to me, centres around the capacity of councils, vis-à-vis, as the hon. Minister clearly explained, the fact that budgeting is just a plan that, sometimes, cannot be executed, hence the lack of capacity in the councils to meet their obligations. Could the hon. Minister confirm or deny the fact that his Government has allowed political cadres to collect revenue at bus stops and markets in violation of the Markets and Bus Stations Act instead of letting that revenue go to the councils to meet some of their most pressing needs.


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Member for that question, but I also want to remind him that bus station levies are not part of the equalisation fund.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the answers he has so far provided, and my question emanates his answer in response to a question on supervision asked by one of the hon. Members on the Floor. According to the hon. Minister, the supervision of the utilisation of the equalisation fund is done by the councillors. Further, he says that there is a lack of proper supervision in that regard. That being the case, what immediate remedial measures is the ministry putting in place to ensure that the use of the fund is properly supervised?


Dr C. Banda: Mr Speaker, maybe, what we need is sensitisation of councillors on their responsibilities immediately after they are elected. That way, they will know that whatever goes on in their local authorities is their responsibility.

 I thank you, Mr Speaker.




149. Dr Musokotwane asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


(a)        whether the Government had any plans to construct bridges across the following streams in Liuwa Parliamentary Constituency to enable motorists to access Liuwa easily, especially in the rainy season:


  1. Luamutu; 
  2. Munde; 
  3. Lumei; and
  4. Luola;


(b)        if so, when the plans would be implemented; and


(c)        if there were no such plans, why.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Government has plans to construct bridges across the Luamutu, Munde, Lumei and Luola streams. However, the construction of the bridges is subject to the availability of funds.


 Sir, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, on several occasions, the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development has been submitting work plans for the rehabilitation of bridges in various constituencies in the country, and we were assured that before the hon. Minister’s term expires, the brides would be worked on. Now that there is only a month before his term of office expires, when does he think his ministry will be able to work on those brides?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the construction of bridge and culverts is a continuous process. Many bridges and culverts have been submitted for construction and many of the requests have been attended to. However, the principal question is in relation to the four important bridges in Liuwa Constituency.


Sir, I must say that to construct the bridges, we have to cross the Luanginga River, across which we also plan to construct a bridge. Designs for that bridge have already been drawn and some processes have been seen through. However, we need special funding for the bridges in question. Suffice it for me to say that when we look back, we see many culverts and bridges we have constructed across the country. I do not know how the hon. Member of Parliament is measuring our performance to the end of this term because many bridge works have been requested and many have been undertaken.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the answers.


Sir, the hon. Minister said that the problem faced in the construction of the four bridges on the streams I have mentioned, although there are many others in that area, is funding. However, each time we drive from Lusaka to Mongu, we see a heap of pre-fabricated bridges just outside Lusaka, some of which appear to be on the verge of being eaten up by rust. Why can the ministry not take only four of those to Liuwa and get the job done? By the way, there is not even one registered road in the constituency.


 Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, Hon. Dr Musokotwane has rightly observed that our warehouse on the road to the Western Province is full of pre-fabricated bridges. The bridges he sees, which are very visible from road, are called Acrow Bridges, and were manufactured for specific points. Specific points were measured and, according to the measurements, we had the bridges pre-fabricated in the United States of America (USA) and shipped to this country. Further, in the agreement we signed with the funders, Export and Import (EXIM) Bank, USA, we are not allowed to take any bridge to crossing points other than the one it was manufactured for. There are very stick rules regarding the pre-fabricated bridges. So, we are not able to move them. Were we allowed to do that, perhaps, we would have done so. In any case, the bridges are destined for their intended points. The bidding and procurement processes for the contractors to mount them are either complete or ongoing. So, soon, the hon. Member will not see them anymore in that yard because they will all disappear to their destinations.


Sir, we still have to find a solution to the bridges in Hon. Dr Musokotwane’s area. Once the hon. Minister of Finance releases some funds, we will go to Liuwa, a place I visited last week and where I saw the need for bridges at some crossing points.


 I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I join the people of Liuwa in appreciating the Government’s efforts and, particularly, for the Mongu/Kalabo Road. Following the Government’s construction of such a great road; one of the best in Africa and one that we cannot compare with the four bridges in question, not even a bit, the people of Kanchibiya, just like the people of Liuwa, look forward to the construction of bridges in their areas. Has the hon. Minister put a cost to the four bridges the hon. Member for Liuwa has mentioned? If he has, would he assure the House that, come 12th August, 2021, it will be the priority of the Patriotic Front (PF) Government to ensure that the people of Liuwa get the bridges, just like the people of Kanchibiya, who are also looking forward to having similar brides constructed in their area, since they have similar terrains.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we were only made aware of the bridges when the question was asked, and the regional office has been tasked to cost them and make a report on what is required for the ministry to attend to them so that the works are not held up by us, but by the non-availability of finances. Given the above, it is difficult for me to give an assurance that the bridges will be worked on by 12th August, 2021, in the absence of the finances. However, it is our desire to see them worked on. Like I said, the hon. Minister of Finance has to make some funds available to the ministry for us to be able to work on the bridges.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Mr Speaker, some Bailey bridges were bought for the Mongu/Kalabo Road. Where are those bridges? Further, why (inaudible) –


Mr Speaker: Sorry, you are not very clear, hon. Member for Sikongo. I am not getting some of your words, and I want to be sure of what you are saying. Could you start again.


Mr Ndalamei: Sir, I am saying that some Bailey bridges were bought for the Kalabo/Sikongo Road, but not used. Why can the hon. Minister not use them to fix the crossing points in Liuwa?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the Bailey bridges that were in Mongu should have been used to construct the Mongu/Kalabo Road, but we changed the technology and the bridges were discarded from that project. Some of them were taken to different parts of the country, although more than half of them are still in the Western Province. Some are here, in Lusaka, in case there are extreme emergencies in which they could be used. For example, last time, some culverts on the Great East Road were washed away. That being such a very important road that used for trade between us and Mozambique, especially through the port of Beira, we could not bring in fuel from there and many trucks were marooned on the road. So, we realised that we needed some bridges on standby that we could quickly transport to any place that required them in an emergency, and that is why we brought some of the bridges here, in Lusaka.  


Mr Speaker, I think Bailey bridges may not be appropriate for use in the case of the streams in question because they were meant for much more complicated and difficult terrain. However, that is an idea we can consider. We will assess the possibility of the bridges that are still in the Western Province to help us at the crossing points. However, I figure some of the crossing points may require culverts rather than bridges.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, first of all, allow me to correct the hon. Member for Kanchibiya by saying that I did not appreciate the Patriotic Front (PF) Government for the Mongu/Kalabo Road because even the hon. Minister responsible knows that the road was a project of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government.


Sir, coming to my question, Liuwa National Park, is located within Liuwa Constituency, which the hon. Minister visited, …


Mr Mwale indicated assent.


Dr Musokotwane: … and the park is one of the most important natural resources that, ideally, should be providing us with many opportunities for tourism-related employment creation and business. However, that is not possible because, as the hon. Minister saw, the park is not accessible. The bridges we are talking about now would be very important in creating access to that park, the only resource that could create viable jobs in Liuwa. So, in the absence of the bridges and given that lions are eating our cattle, including two of my own, what is the Government’s plan with regard to the value of that important natural resource? Since the Government is not creating infrastructure to entice investment and job creation, and lions are eating our animals, what is the Government’s plan for that park?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Liuwa, there has been a shift in your line of questioning. If I followed your question well, you want the hon. Minister to say how the Government, generally, values the park, yet your substantive question is very specific; you wanted to find out when bridges would be constructed at the specific points, and the hon. Minister has responded. However, you have now introduced a new subject that, unfortunately, the hon. Minister has no mandate over. It falls under another hon. Minister.


Mr Lufuma: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the elaborate answers he is giving vis-à-vis the question that has been asked on the Floor of this august House.


Sir, as the hon. Member of Parliament for Liuwa has said, tourism is one of the five pillars of development in this country, and access to such a natural resource is vital if we are to ensure that there is development and money coming into this country. We know we lack money, as the hon. Minister has said, and it will take a long time for us to have the money because of certain factors that he knows very well. That being the case, what short-term measures has the Government put in place to ensure access to the natural resource that the hon. Member referred to which, in turn, should beef up our foreign exchange earnings? What are the immediate and short-term remedial measures?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, what are the short-term measures in relation to the specific bridges, if any?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, it is very difficult to have short-term measures on such small projects. These projects do not require a lot of money like bigger projects for us to think about fixing them partially and then looking for more money to fix them permanently. We want to find the money now and fix them permanently.


Sir, following this question and the subsequent engagement, we should be intensifying our engagement with the Ministry of Finance so that we find the money and, when the money is made available, work on those projects. Meanwhile, our office in Mongu has been tasked to make an assessment of how much or what is required as we engage the Ministry of Finance to get the funds.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last three questions from the hon. Members for Msanzala and Kalabo Central, and end with the hon. Member for Chama South.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me another opportunity to ask the hon. Minister a very pertinent question concerning the issue of the four bridges.


Sir, the money challenges aside, does the ministry have the appropriate technology for dealing with issues like the change in weather patterns and the rainfall we are experiencing now all over the country? Other than those four bridges, the phenomenon is all over the country. So, I need the hon. Minister’s answer.


Mr Speaker: What is your question?


Mr Daka: Sir, my question is: Does the hon. Minister have the appropriate technology to deal with the damaged bridges at this moment, looking at what is happening in those areas? There is a need to look at the rainfall pattern and the weather we are experiencing now rather than to wait for the weather to change.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, our engineers in the country, on a daily basis or regularly, think about climate-resilient ways of building infrastructure in the country, not just for bridges, but also other infrastructure like roads, hospitals and schools. Further, there is sharing of best practices in the whole world, given the current temperatures and force of winds, which are not the same as they used to be in the past. So, indeed, there are appropriate technologies our engineers in the country are looking at that should help us, going forward. However, we also have to do our part to mitigate the effects of climate change by continuing with planting trees and taking responsibility or playing our part in taking things back to how they used to be in the past. So, in short, yes, we are revising our technologies.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Miyutu: Mr Speaker, if I remember correctly, this could be the second time the hon. Minister has answered the question of bridges in Liuwa, and what has been prominent in the hon. Minister’s answers are the phrases “plans” and “availability of resources.” Has there been any time when a plan to construct bridges or culverts in Liuwa ever materialised? If there has been one, could the hon. Minister help me by mentioning it so that I can believe that the plans he has mentioned will come to fruition.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, that is a rather difficult question to answer at this point because was more focused on the four that crossing points mentioned in the question. However, I can go back to the records and check how many of our plans were implemented and, if we failed to implement them, why we failed. I can provide that information, but not at the moment.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mung’andu (Chama South): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for having made attempts to reach Chama a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, he could not reach the constituency.


Sir, in response to the question on the bridges needed in Liuwa, the hon. Minister indicated that there are many Acrow bridges on Mumbwa Road that were prefabricated after design. Is possible for engineers to check the crossing points in Liuwa and renegotiate the terms of the contracts that were signed? Like the people of Liuwa, the people of Chama South, where there are Lunzi River, Kampemba River and many crossing points, face challenges with crossing points and can benefit from the bridges.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we would complicate matters if we did that. Specific crossing points were measured throughout the country and, if we were made any variations and move one bridge that was manufactured specifically for one point to another point, we would have to adjust the bridges to meet the standards, sizes, dimensions and other specifications for the new place. The company that manufactured the bridges is weary of that because it does not want to get a bad reputation from our making adjustments here in case an accident occurred. Such an incident would have a bearing on the reputation of the company, as people would think the bridges, which are meant to last for more than 100 years if fitted exactly where they are meant to be fitted, are not appropriate or good. So, firstly, it would be very difficult for the company that manufactured them to accept this suggestion and, secondly, we would have to think about taking the bridges back to the factory for them to be readjusted.


Sir, you may be aware that in the emergency that resulted from the culvert at Katolola being washed away, we used one of the Acrow bridges so that we could transport fuel from Beira to Lusaka after we almost had a shortage of the commodity. However, that decision raised a serious query from the American Government, which said that we had used that bridge on a point for which it was not meant and that we would be responsible for any accident that might occur. That was despite the decision having been made in order for us to fix a much bigger problem because we could not transport drugs and food to the Eastern Province and bring fuel to Lusaka. We used the bridge for only one week and on a temporary basis, but that became such a big issue that we had to apologise to the American Government. Therefore, I do not see the company that manufactured the Baily bridges accepting the suggestion that we adjust and/or take bridges meant for certain places to other places. We would not even want to get into that because we would have to adjust the sizes of the bridges. We would rather find other means of fixing the crossing points in Chama, Liuwa and other parts. In any case, some of the crossing points do not require big or complicated bridges; they just require culverts, and we will continue engaging the Ministry of Finance to get financing for the project.


I thank you, Sir.




150. Mr Zimba asked the Minister of General Education:


  1. how many community schools were converted to Government schools in Chasefu District from January, 2016, to March, 2020;
  2. when additional teachers would be deployed to the schools at (a);
  3. whether the Government had any plans to construct infrastructure at the schools at (a)
  4. if so, when the plans would be implemented; and
  5. what infrastructure would be constructed.


The Minister of General Education (Dr Wanchinga): Mr Speaker, fifteen community schools were converted to Government primary schools in the said period, that is, between 2016 and 2020. The schools are Susa, Kamwa, Kanjiba, Mchenga, Kanonono, Chandeke, Champheta-Magodi, Zobvulume, Kailasisi, Langwani, Kauyo, Kachizutu, Champhero, Munthengu and Kamwala-Magodi.


Sir, the Government is working on the establishment of the schools; we need to give them establishments and have them gazetted. We are working with the Ministry of Finance to get Treasury authority to operationalise the positions through teacher recruitment.


Mr Speaker, yes, the Ministry of General Education has plans to build additional infrastructure at the mentioned schools in order to improve standards and increase access. However, it is currently focusing on completing infrastructure projects that are at 80 per cent and above.


Sir, the plans to construct additional infrastructure at the mentioned schools will be implemented when resources are available. The intention is to construct 1x3 and 1x2 classroom blocks, at least, one staff house, two ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines and one borehole.


Mr Speaker, let me return to the second part of the question, in which the hon. Member wanted to know when additional teachers will be deployed to the schools. I mentioned that we have been seeking Treasury authority to recruit teachers in terms of the establishments we seek for those schools. However, let me also add that in the interim, there is authority for us to recruit 1,200 teachers countrywide, and we hope that we can send a few teachers to those schools through this window. Let me also mention that we are auditing the teacher populations at various schools, and we are noticing that a number of schools are overstaffed. So, we plan to redistribute some teachers to schools like the ones in Chasefu District that I have mentioned.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, the community schools were an initiative of the local communities to complement Government efforts because of the challenges that the communities faced. Unfortunately, most of them are in a very deplorable state and normally have volunteer teachers. From 2016 to date, the ministry has recruited teachers, but we have not received any in Chasefu. What is the hon. Minister doing, in the interim, so that the children in those schools get the education that they desire? Some qualified teachers who have not been deployed volunteer to teach in the schools, but when there are recruitments, they are not recruited. What can the hon. Minister do, in the interim, about the children’s education, which is compromised?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member has asked a composite question that includes a number of issues that impact on the quality of education, which is a concern for all of us.


Sir, the problem regarding the status of community schools is historical. The schools, like the hon. Member said, were built by local communities using local resources and, in most cases, they were not properly constructed. It is for this reason that the Government considered it wise to take over most of them and to integrate them into the regular education system so that their infrastructure can be improved. That is why I have just explained, in response to the question the hon. Member has asked, that we intend to improve the infrastructure, quality of education and living conditions of the teachers in those schools. As regards why teachers are not being employed and sent to the schools, this is a national problem. We know, for instance, that there are around 60,000 trained teachers who are waiting to be deployed. Having done an audit, we know that our education system has a shortage of 47,000 teachers. However, the limiting factor is the fiscal space necessary for us to be able to recruit teachers and send them to the schools. That is why the exercise to find teachers in overpopulated schools and send them to such schools will help us to improve the conditions in the former community schools.


Sir, let me end by saying that the issue of improving community schools is one of the areas in which hon. Members of Parliament should take keen interest. Arising from my experience in my constituency, I know that, using the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), it is possible to continuously improve the conditions in the community schools by building 1x3 classroom blocks and, perhaps, sponsoring some local children to teacher’s colleges so that they are able to stay in the communities once they are employed, since they are used to the communities. Further, area hon. Members of Parliament can mobilise communities. Certainly, the Government is doing its best to improve the conditions in community schools, but I call upon hon. Members of Parliament to also play a role in improving those conditions.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Daka: Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to ask the hon. Minister, who is also an educationist, a question.


Sir, other than the Government adopting them, what has transformed the schools into Government schools, seeing as nothing has happened in terms of the establishment and infrastructure development? Further, is the hon. Minister considering assimilating the interns are around Chasefu during the recruitment of 1,200 teachers?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, that is a two-part question. The first part is on what transformations have occurred since the Government decided to take over the schools. In that regard, I say that a lot has changed. For example, the secondment of properly-trained teachers to the community schools has changed the work environment in those schools, as the children there receive a better quality of education than they did before.


Sir, as regards the issue of interns, yes, the ministry is seriously considering the programme. I do remember that at one point, in answering one question on the Floor of this House, I mentioned that we were working with some Co-operating Partners to secure funding for interns. I also remember announcing that under those discussions we were having with some Co-operating Partners, we were targeting sending 10,000 to 15,000 interns to schools like the ones in question to improve the learning environment in those schools as we awaited the substantive net recruitment in the ministry.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Malama: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the responses given.


Sir, the hon. Minister has mentioned that there is the possibility of recruitment of 1,200 teachers and that was in line with the question asked by Hon. Daka. Given the fact that there are some trained teachers who are volunteering in Chasefu, Kanchibiya and other rural communities, is there any possibility of the employment of those volunteer teachers to fill vacancies in Chasefu and, indeed, in Kanchibiya being prioritised so that our children are taught by trained teachers?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, we have been given Treasury authority to recruit 1,200 staff in the ministry, and we want to use most of that authority for teacher recruitment. We have upgraded over 2,600 schools since 2017, and all of them require teachers. Some of the schools have Treasury authority and establishments. So, in the discussion that I have been having with my technocrats, we want to use fiscal space on schools that have establishments and move teachers from overstaffed schools to the newly-upgraded schools. That will give create some space for the employment of teachers out of the 1,200 positions. I must say that 1,200 is a very small number, but my colleagues and I will try our best to ensure that the few teachers we will get are shared equitably so that schools in Kanchibiya and Chasefu also receive a share. Really, our hope is to have the opportunity to recruit significant numbers of teachers and interns to deploy to the schools in question.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will allow the hon. Member for Lufwanyama to ask a question.


Mr Fungulwe: Mr Speaker, I am aware that there are many teachers who are waiting to be deployed, possibly more than 70,000, but the hon. Minister has just stated that he has negotiated with the hon. Minister of Finance for Treasury authority to recruit 1,200 teachers. Does the hon. Minister not think that this number is just a drop in the ocean, especially given that we are going towards elections? Does he think that the teachers who have been suffering for five to ten years without being employed are going to give him a vote? What measures has the ministry put in place to increase the number of teachers to be recruited?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, just answer the last part relating to measures to increase the number. Ignore the part on whether you will get a vote or not.


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the concerns of the hon. Member are concerns for all of us, too. We would like to see many of our teachers employed. However, the hon. Minister of Finance announced on the Floor of this House that he had fiscal space for only 4,000 public workers to be employed in the Budget. That 4,000 is for all the ministries in the country, and 1,200 staff is the share we have been given out of that 4,000. The 1,200 is, indeed, a drop in the ocean, and the first measure we plan to take is to continue lobbying with the Ministry of Finance for additional space to recruit more teachers whether within or outside the Budget. Secondly, earlier, we discussed the concept of internship. That is another measure we plan to take to offload some teachers from the general labour market into our system, which will, at least, give them hope and an opportunity to earn some money. So, currently, two of the measures we are using are lobbying the Ministry of Finance and working with Co-operating Partners to employ interns.


Mr Speaker, let me end by saying that the ministry has a master plan for teacher deployment in which it planned to recruit, at least, 5,500 teachers annually for ten years. It is just the fiscal space that we do not have. The plans and strategies are in place, but the resources are constraining their implementation.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will get the last question from the hon. Member for Liuwa. No indication after this one will be recognised. You are at liberty to indicate, of course, but you will not be recognised.


Dr Musokotwane: Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the answers he has given so far.


Sir, on the infrastructure for schools, just like on teachers, the hon. Minister’s cry is that he is not getting sufficient support from the Treasury to work on the infrastructure and hire teachers. Since he is short of money, is it permitted for the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) to be applied on some of the outstanding projects, such as Libonda High School, so that we can, for example, complete the teacher’s houses that are under construction? If that is possible, we can apply to use the CDF to complete those teacher’s houses so that learning can continue. Would he allow the CDF to be used for that purpose?


Dr Wanchinga: Mr Speaker, the two issues highlighted by the hon. Member for Liuwa, namely infrastructure and teachers, are, indeed, critical. However, on infrastructure, let me mention that the pressure on the ministry is slightly less than the pressure the ministry has concerning teacher recruitment. As the House may be aware, under school infrastructure, we have been constructing 115 secondary schools countrywide, and more than half of the schools have been completed and are useable. Further, with the help of the World Bank, we have been building eighty-two secondary schools throughout the country using the community mode. This tells us that we need to revisit the mode for the construction of schools. In relation to the schools that have not been completed, such as the ones referred to by the hon. Member, we have decided to cancel the current contracts with the various contractors, consolidate the debt and put the construction process under the regular processes of the Ministry of General Education.


Mr Speaker, once we hive off the contractors and the construction processes, it will be possible for us to use the mode that the hon. Member has suggested. Once the projects become ordinary construction processes in the ministry, the CDF can be used on them. For now, I cannot confirm that as the way we should go because it will require revising the rules that govern the CDF. If these rules were revised, and the hon. Minister of Local Government is listening here, that could be a useful step because we could use part of the CDF money to complete some of our school infrastructure, such as houses and classrooms and allow teachers to move into the houses.


Mr Speaker, let me mention that I have given guidance to the contractors, or should I say that we have given ourselves the guidance that we should identify very critical infrastructure in the uncompleted schools, which may be two, three or four houses. Instead of waiting to complete all twenty-four houses, for example, we can, maybe, complete six to twelve houses, two or three classrooms, the toilets and a few other infrastructure so that teachers and pupils can start moving in. We have been able to do that in a number of schools. The other infrastructures can be completed while the institution is already running, and that is another mode we are using to ensure that we do not allow infrastructure to lie uncompleted for a long time and start dilapidating.


I thank you, Sir.




151. Mrs M. L. Phiri asked the Minister of Energy:


  1. how many smart energy solutions were developed by ZESCO Limited from January, 2017, to July, 2020;
  2. whether there were any private companies investing in smart energy solutions;
  3. if so, what the names of the companies were; and
  4. in which provinces the companies were operating.


The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Mr Speaker, the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited has so far developed four smart energy solutions, namely:


  1. retrofitting of non-efficient lighting with efficient lighting compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs in 2017 and 2018. The company distributed 3.2 million bulbs across the country;
  2. retrofitting of non-efficient lighting with efficient lighting light emitting diode (LED) bulbs, with 448,064 bulbs having been distributed as of the end of November, 2019;
  3. power factor improvement for all maximum demand customers from the capacities of 100KVA and above; and
  4. Automatic Metering Infrastructure (AMI) pilot projects in smart metering, in which 500 meters installed on maximum demand, commercial customers and back supply points.


Mr Speaker, 102 private companies are investing in smart energy solutions across the country. Below are the names of the key recognised private players who have invested in smart energy solutions in Zambia. Since the list is too long, I will mention only five, namely:


  1. Davis and Shirtliff Zambia Limited;
  2. Designers Limited;
  3. Dockland Construction Limited;
  4. Electrical Instrumentation Services; and
  5. Greenfields Energy Corporation Limited.


Sir, if the hon. Member is interested, we can give her a copy of the list of companies. Alternatively, she can get a copy from the Clerk of the National Assembly of Zambia, as I will submit it to her.


Sir, the private companies investing in smart energy solutions provide their services across the country, though their physical establishments are predominantly on the line of rail.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




153. Ms Tambatamba (Kasempa) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. when the construction of township roads in Kasempa District would be completed;
  2. what had caused the delay in completing the project;
  3. how much money had been spent on the project as of July, 2020;
  4. what the outstanding amount on the contract sum was; and
  5. when the contractor would return to the site.


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, the project to construct township roads in Kasempa District has been terminated due to non-availability of funds and the Government’s policy to prioritise projects that are at 80 per cent or above.


Sir, what has caused the delay in completing the project is inadequate funding.


Mr Speaker, as of March, 2018, K18,345,615.81 had been spent on the project.


Sir, the outstanding balance on the contract sum is K94,024,505.58.


Mr Speaker, the contract for the project has not been renewed and will be revisited one the funds for its completion are made available.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Tambatamba: Mr Speaker, more than seven years ago, K18 million or more was allocated to the people of Kasempa so they could have a 9 km road of bituminous standard for the first time since 1902. Apart from funding the contractor, what value have those public funds brought to the people of Kasempa, who are still wallowing in the dust, and to the people of Zambia at large?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, in fact, gist of the matter is that currently, the Government is concentrating on projects that are at 80 per cent or above. After those are completed, we are going to revisit all the other programmes that are currently stalled. So, the value will be seen when we go back to the site to complete the project.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, is there a comprehensive national plan on the construction of township roads? If so, could the hon. Minister share the plan with the House?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, yes, there is such a plan and, if my memory serves me right, we shared it at one point. If the hon. Member of Parliament is interested in it, I invite him to the office so that we can give him an extra copy.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Tambatamba: Mr Speaker, in 2015, the Head of State went on record promising to upgrade to bituminous standard 9 km of the road in question in ninety days, but it is now seven years since that promise was made. What new promise has been placed on record to replace the ‘ninety days’ promise that the Head of State, President Lungu, made to the people of Kasempa? What is the new promise to those people on the tarrying of their roads within this term?


Dr Banda: Mr Speaker, I said that we are currently working on all the roads that are at 80 per cent or above. When those projects are completed, we will go back to all the other projects.


I thank you, Sir.




154. Mr Miyutu asked the Minister of Agriculture:


  1. how many agriculture extension officers there were countrywide as of July, 2020;
  2. what the ratio of agriculture extension officers to farmer was countrywide as of the same date;
  3. what the recommended ratio was;
  4. what measures were being taken to attain the recommended ratio; and
  5. what measures were being taken to enhance extension services in rural areas countrywide.


The Minister of Agriculture (Mr Katambo): Mr Speaker, there were 2,166 agriculture extension officers throughout the country as of 31st July, 2020, broken down as follows:


Province                      Block Officers                        Camp Officers            Total

Central                        39                                                    167                       206


Copperbelt                  44                                                    156                       200


Eastern                        41                                                    222                       263


Luapula                       40                                                    178                       218


Lusaka                         20                                                     96                       116


Muchinga                    25                                                    139                       164


Northern                      34                                                    148                       182


North-Western            42                                                    212                       254


Southern                      43                                                    220                       263


Western                       49                                                    251                       300


National Totals         377                                                  1,789                    2,166


Sir, as of July, 2020, the agriculture extension officer to farmer ratio was one extension worker to 1,136 farmers countrywide.


Mr Speaker, the recommended agriculture extension officer to farmer ratio, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), is one extension officer to 400 farmers.


Sir, to attain the recommended ratio, the ministry is taking the following measures:


  1. continuous employment of extension staff. For example, in 2018, the ministry employed over 600 extension staff;


  1. working with various Co-operating Partners, the ministry has been providing extension workers with transport in order to enhance access to extension services. For instance, in 2020, 214 motorcycles were procured for extension staff; and
  2. collaborating with private sector players who are active in the delivery of extension and advisory services. Players in the seed, cotton, sugarcane and tobacco sub-sectors are active in providing extension and advisory services to farmers.


Mr Speaker, in order to enhance the delivery of extension services in rural areas, the ministry is doing the following:


  1. establishing a farmer register and database on the Zambia Integrated Agriculture Management Information System (ZIAMIS), a web-based application that hosts a number of applications through which various services are provided to farmers and stakeholders in the agricultural sector. Examples of such services include early warning, electronic extension (e-Extension), the FISP Application, animal identification, and crop and animal production advice;
  2. working with Co-operating Partners, the ministry has procured motorcycles for use by extension staff in order to improve agriculture extension outreach;
  3. recruitment of agriculture extension workers;
  4. updating knowledge and technical skills of agriculture extension workers through regular in-service training;
  5. continuous collaboration with private extension providers; and
  6. the ministry is working with some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that are active in the delivery of agriculture extension services. The NGOs have their own full-time extension staff serving project target areas with specific interventions.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.










The Minister of Justice (Mr Lubinda) (on behalf of the Minister of Health (Dr Chanda)): Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Health Professions (Amendment) Bill, 2021.


Mr Speaker, the object of this Bill is to amend the Health Professions Act of 2009 so as to revise the provisions relating to training and bring them in tandem with the amended Higher Education Act.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services. The Committee is required to submit to the House its report on the Bill by Friday, 16th April, 2021.


Hon. Members who wish to make submissions on the Bill are free to do so within the programme work of the Committee.




Mr Lubinda: Mr Speaker, I beg to present a Bill entitled the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education (Amendment) Bill, 2021.


Sir, the object of this Bill is to amend the Zambia Institute of Advanced Legal Education Act so as to revise the functions of the institute.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: The Bill stands referred to the Committee on Legal Affairs, Human Rights, National Guidance, Gender Matters and Governance. The Committee is required to submit to the House its report on the Bill by Friday, 16th April, 2021.


Hon. Members who wish to make submissions on the Bill are free to do so within the programme of work of the Committee.








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 1644 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 31st March, 2021.
























148. Dr Chibanda (Mufulira) asked the Minister of Local Government:


  1. when the process of transferring some functions of the Lusaka City Council from the Civic Centre to mini civic centres in the constituencies began;


  1. how many mini civic centres were under construction in Lusaka  as of June, 2020;


  1. how many centres were completed as of December, 2020;


  1. what were the challenges in expediting the work, if any;


  1. when the centres would become functional; and


  1. what services would be offered at the centres.


The Minister of Local Government (Dr Banda): Mr Speaker, the transfer of some functions of the Lusaka City Council (LCC) to mini civic centres will be undertaken when construction works are completed.


Mr Speaker, six mini civic centres were under construction by June, 2020. The centres are Matero, Lusaka Central, Kabwata, Munali, Mandevu and Kanyama. Another centre, Chawama, was yet to be constructed.


Mr Speaker, none of the mini civic centres was completed as of December, 2020.


Sir, the main challenge in the construction of the centres was the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic outbreak, which resulted in contractors demobilising from the sites. The contractors have since remobilised and construction works have resumed. The other challenge were delays in securing of land for construction, as was the case in Mandevu and Chawama. The site for construction of the Mandevu mini civic centre has been secured and construction has commenced while the one for Chawama is yet to be secured.


Mr Speaker, the six centres under construction are expected to be functional by August, 2021.


Sir, the mini civic centres will have delegated authority to provide services that include, but will not be limited to, roads and drainage maintenance, street lighting, parks and gardens, solid waste management, pest control, and community services.


I thank you, Sir.




152. Mr Kasonso (Solwezi West)  asked the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry:


  1. whether the Government had any plans to formulate policies aimed at protecting and promoting the growth of small-scale enterprises;


  1. if so, when the plans would be implemented; and


  1. if there were no such plans, why.


The Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry (Mr Yaluma): Mr Speaker, the Government developed the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Policy in 2009. The policy was developed as a framework for all activities and development efforts related to MSMEs, and its objective is to promote and protect MSMEs and enable them to compete successfully, thereby ensuring their sustainable growth.


Sir, the MSME Development Policy has an implementation period of ten years, from 2009 to 2019. Considering the period is drawing to a close, the Government has initiated the process of reviewing the policy and developing the next one. The next policy will be designed to bridge some gaps identified during the implementation of the 2009-2019 policy and take into consideration the emerging issues at the national, regional and global levels.


I thank you, Sir.