Tuesday, 1st October, 2019

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Tuesday, 1st October, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












The Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development (Mr Mwale): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to update the House and the nation on the upgrading and modernisation of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and the construction of the Copperbelt International Airport in Ndola. I would also like to take this opportunity to address the rumours that have been circulating on social media and other media platforms to the effect that the works on the sites have stalled due to non-payment on the part of the Government. The rumours are a total fabrication by those who do not mean well and are enemies of progress. They should, therefore, be dismissed by the people of Zambia.


Sir, the Government of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has gone to great lengths to actualise investment in infrastructure for the benefit of the country and its people. The investment, be it from loans, grants or Zambian taxpayers’ money, is for the people of Zambia, who will continue owning and managing the infrastructure through their Government and the institutions mandated to do so. No amount of lies shall distract the Government from delivering on its promise and mandate to develop this country. The two projects are moving on schedule and registering progress, as I shall highlight in due course.


Sir, the Government of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, remains resolute in its agenda of expanding and modernising the transport infrastructure with the overall objective of transforming the country into a regional transport hub. The development and modernisation of aviation infrastructure is aimed at supporting economic growth through the facilitation of international trade, increased tourist arrivals, increased number of airlines operating out of our airports, and easy movements of our people and goods. Modern aviation infrastructure will contribute to the attainment of a diversified and export-oriented economy, as espoused by the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP).


Mr Speaker, I now wish to present the cumulative progress that has been made under each of the two international airports. I will begin with the KKIA.


Sir, after the Government signed the contract for the upgrading of the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport with China Jiangxi Corporation for International Economic and Technical Co-operation, the works commenced on 21st April, 2015, and are expected to be completed on 20th April, 2021. The new completion date is an extension from the initial date of 20th October, 2019.


Sir, the cost of the project is US$360 million, and the scope of works includes the design and construction of the following:


  1. Presidential Pavilion;
  2. new passenger terminal;
  3. commercial complex;
  4. airport shopping mall;
  5. office park;
  6. new warehousing facilities;
  7. extension of the taxi way; and
  8. rehabilitation and conversion of the existing terminal into a new terminal to cater for domestic flights.


Sir, in line with the Government policy, the main contractor sub-contracted some of the works to the following local contractors:


  1. Lusaka Water and Sewerage Company (LWSC) Limited;
  2. Zulu Development Consultants Limited;
  3. Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Ltd;
  4. Asphalt Roads Zambia Limited;
  5. Zambia Telecommunications (ZAMTEL) Company Limited;
  6. Department of Water Resources Development;
  7. Gauff Ingenieure;
  8. Redland Technologies Limited;
  9. Davis and Shirtliff Limited;
  10. Electrotec Engineering Limited;
  11. China ADB;
  12. Hunan Zhongda Designing Institute Company Limited;
  13. Hangzhou Jinhui Steel Structure Test Project Company Limited;
  14. China Airport Construction Group Corporation; and
  15. Nel Investments Limited.


Mr Speaker, significant deliverables have been registered, with the overall progress currently standing at 85 per cent. The progress under each of the specific facilities is as follows:


Facility                                                                     Percentage of works


Passenger terminal building                                                       92

Presidential Pavilion                                                                  87

Control towel                                                                             95

Fire and rescue station                                                              100

Viaduct                                                                                     100

Taxi-way extension                                                                    92

Warehousing facilities                                                                97

Warehousing facilities apron                                                      97

Hotel                                                                                          90

Shopping mall                                                                            95

Air traffic control tower                                                            85

Office park                                                                                 96

Apron for Presidential Pavilion                                                100

Water tank and pump house                                                     100

Terminal apron                                                                           90


Sir, of the US$360 million project budget, about US$268 million has so far been certified and US$265 million paid to the contractor. The rehabilitation and conversion of the existing terminal to a domestic terminal will only commence once the new facility is completed and operational.


Mr Speaker, allow me to now give an update on the Copperbelt International Airport.


Sir, I remind the House that the contractor for the Copperbelt International Airport is Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) International Holding Corporation, that the contract sum is US$397 million and that the contract period is thirty-six months. The project commenced on 16th October, 2017, and is expected to be completed in October 2020.


Sir, the scope of works includes design and construction of the following:


  1. passenger terminal;
  2. 3.3 km of runway and associated taxi ways;
  3. air traffic control building;
  4. fire and rescue station;
  5. car parks and airport roads;
  6. fuel farm;
  7. cargo terminal;
  8. aircraft hangar;
  9. business complex;
  10. hotel;
  11. power supply facilities;
  12. water supply facilities;
  13. police station; and
  14. viaduct.


Mr Speaker, as of 13th September, 2019, the main contractor had sub-contracted works amounting to about US$15 million to the following sub-contractors:


  1. Chewe Investments Limited;
  2. M and N Industrial Merchants;
  3. Base Building Maintenance Construction Limited;
  4. Codeco Construction Limited;
  5. Africos Construction and Supply Limited;
  6. Davisam Zambia Limited;
  7. D and H Engineering Consultants;
  8. Talo Investments Limited;
  9. Florajack Enterprise Limited; and
  10. M and E Trading and Construction Limited.


Further, landscaping works and construction of the 17 km access road from Maposa Sub-Station on the Kitwe/Ndola Road to the airport and connecting to Ndola through Dag Hammarskjold Memorial Site will be subcontracted to local contractors. The works are worth US$19 million.


Sir, to date, US$191 million has been certified and US$182 million paid. The overall progress of the project is at 49 per cent while progress on the specific components is as follows:


Component                                          Progress (percentage)


Passenger terminal                                          46

3.5 km runway                                                96

Air traffic control building                             48

Business complex                                            49

Fire and rescue station                                    56

Water supply facilities                                    46

Sewerage treatment station                             13

Sewerage discharge shed                                55

Garbage incineration station                           23

Car park and airport roads                                0

Fuel farm                                                          0

Cargo terminal                                                13

Aircraft hangar                                                38

Hotel                                                                 9

Power supply facilities sub-station                 40

Police station                                                   47

Refrigeration station                                       54

Dangerous goods store                                   46

Special garage                                                 58

Quarantine warehouse                                    57

Air and ground lighting                                  46

Viaduct                                                           70


Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I assure the House and the nation at large that the ministry will continue providing updates on the progress of the two and other projects of national significance that it is implementing. This is in line with its obligation to be transparent and accountable.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development.


Mr Muchima (Ikeleng’i): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for the update. Indeed, taxpayers need to know the status of infrastructure in the country.


Sir, I clearly heard the hon. Minister say that, initially, the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport was scheduled to be completed in 2019 and that the completion date has been revised to 2021. However, the hon. Minister has not elaborated –


Mr Mwale conversed with Mr Chitotela.


Mr Muchima: Hon. Minister, pay attention.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, that is not your remit. As a senior hon. Member of the House and a former Minister for that matter, I am sure you know that when you are given the Floor, you address the Speaker or the Chair, not address the hon. Minister. Further, I observe the conduct all around, and I can see what the hon. Minister is doing. If you are closely watching what he is doing, you should be able to see that it is not fair to start governing him. Just focus on our business. Ask your question and the hon. Minister will respond. If he does not, then, I will intervene. Your simple task is to ask the question, not to oversee the proceedings in this House.


You may continue.


Mr Muchima: Mr Speaker, thank you for that counsel.


Sir, the hon. Minister stated that there is a revised schedule for the completion of the project. What is the major reason for rescheduling the completion date from 2019 to 2021?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, that is an important question.


Sir, there are a number of things that have led to the delay. Firstly, we had to agree on some drawings of the project that were not dealt with at the beginning. Secondly, at some point, the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China had stopped sending money for the project because it needed some clarity on whether or not we were capable of paying back the loan. We already know about that issue because the hon. Minister of Finance had said that we would scale down on some projects. However, the Government wants to be transparent, and I must be believed when I say that funding continues to come because when there is a problem, I admit the fact. Thirdly, because of the cyclone that affected Mozambique and Malawi, the cargo that was being transported through the Indian Ocean was delayed for about three months.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr A. C. Mumba (Kantanshi): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for the update.


Sir, as a rider to the question asked by the hon. Member for Ikeleng’i, what are the financial implications of the revision of the extension of the contract by one year? As the hon. Minister knows, before a huge project is carried out, feasibility and financial studies have to be done and, obviously, thirty-six months was the initially agreed period.


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, there will not be any financial implications. The value remains the same, as the contract budget has an inbuilt contingency system that will take care of such things.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, in terms of job creation, what are the numbers associated with the airports in Lusaka and Ndola?


Mr Speaker: I am reluctant to allow the hon. Minister to answer that question because he updated the House and the nation at large specifically on the progress made on the two projects, and this is an opportunity to clarify the statement. He did not address the area of job creation, which I believe is a specific matter that requires research.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister for allaying the rumours.


Sir, I heard the hon. Minister state that the works on the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport to be completed in 2021 include works on the old terminal. When will the new terminal be commissioned so that the old terminal can be renovated and commissioned in 2021?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the terminal might be ready by next year, but we need a minimum of six months to test all the equipment that has been installed. Further, the testing of the equipment is dependent on the completion of the construction of a power sub-station for the airport. So, yes, the terminal will be completed next year, but we will only commission it in 2021 because we will have to implement some test procedures.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated that the main contractor sub-contracted some works. However, I have heard complaints that the sub-contractors do not know the rates because they are not availed with original bidding documents. So, when claiming their payments, some of them are given wrong rates, hence, ending up making loses. What is the ministry doing about that?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, let me admit that generally, many sub-contractors engaged to work on roads, hospitals and schools are suffering due to the refusal by the main contractors to avail them the bill of quantities (BoQs) so that they can know what they are working for. They are given the works but, when it is time to be paid, some end up making losses. Further, they are given materials to work with at a certain price and the money is deducted when they are being paid, leaving them with nothing. So, I am aware of the problem. However, we are dealing with it. Before this Meeting ends, I will present the National Council for Construction Repeal Bill, which is meant to resolve this matter, to this House. The law will explain how sub-contracts ought to be managed so that there is no room for main contractors to cheat, to not give sub-contractors the correct information. In addition, it will ensure that contractors.


Mr Speaker, I withdrew the word ‘‘cheat’’ and replaced it with another expression.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I noted that. It is just that my assistants also noted it in their own way.


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, in my layman’s understanding, the sub-contracting of 20 per cent of works to local companies is meant to empower Zambians. However, among the companies that have been sub-contracted to work at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport are Hunan Zhongda Designing Institute Company Limited and Hangzhou Jinhui Steel Structure Test Project Company Limited. There are three names that sound Chinese. Are those Zambian companies?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, those companies were sub-contracted to provide specific services that indigenous Zambian companies could not provide. Further, the companies that the hon. Member for Chasefu referred to are registered as Zambian companies. They were not sub-contracted straight from China


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kunda (Muchinga): Mr Speaker, accurate information is power and its effective dissemination to our people should be prioritised. Further, the hon. Minister stated that some people are bent on misleading the nation. What is the ministry doing to provide the correct information before rumours take root?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, as a ministry, there is a limit to what we can do. As Minister, I provide information through Parliament and issue press releases to correct any misinformation. However, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has the mandate to deal with misinformation and ensure that the nation is provided with accurate information, and I know that it has a strategy in place for dealing with the flow of information in the country.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Mr Speaker, my question is similar to that of the hon. Member for Muchinga.


Sir, rumour mongering is a serious problem that has the potential to divide this nation and paint a bad picture of it to the outside world. Can the hon. Minister categorically state what the ministry is doing about rumour mongering?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, what are you doing about it?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the ministry is advises people to follow the channels that provide proper news and ignore rumour-mongers. However, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting is capable of informing the nation properly, and we depend on it to do so.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Sir, I commend the hon. Minister for the legislation that he intends to present on the sub-contracting policy. However, will the ministry consider raising the sub-contracting threshold from 20 per cent to somewhere around 49 per cent?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, we have made a provision in the draft Bill for us to be able to prescribe through statutory instruments (SIs) the sub-contracting percentage that will be applied at any particular time. Currently, it is 20 per cent but, when Zambians gain more experience in the art of construction and are capable of delivering on big projects, we may raise it to 40 per cent and keep raising it until local companies are able to handle all sorts of infrastructure projects in this country. That way, we will not have to come here, time and again, to amend the law.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Sir, the hon. Minister indicated that at some point, the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China suspended payments pending confirmation of the ability by the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL) to pay back the loans contracted for the construction of the airports in Ndola and Lusaka. Could the hon. Minister tell the House and the people of Zambia whether the ZACL will pay back the loans, which add up to more than US$700 million?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the two projects are on the books of the Government, and the Treasury is capable of repaying the loans. The hon. Minister of Finance, who is on top of things and knows our debt levels, is putting in place measures to sustain them. The Ministry of Finance will repay the loans because it contracted them but, obviously, the Zambia Airports Corporation Limited (ZACL), which declares dividends all the time, will contribute to the repayment.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last two questions from the hon. Member for Chilanga and the hon. Member for Mongu Central.


Mrs Phiri (Chilanga): Mr Speaker, some of the works at the Copperbelt International Airport stand at 49 per cent, 9 per cent and 0 per cent. Does the hon. Minister think the contractor will meet the completion deadline of October 2020?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the contractor in Ndola is on schedule and I am confident that he will meet the completion deadline. He might even beat the deadline.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Mr Speaker, the volume of traffic at our international airports does not seem to justify the major investments. What is the Government doing to ensure that we have sufficient air traffic to justify the investments?


Mr Mwale: Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Local Government, Dr Charles Banda, told me that when the airport in Lusaka was being constructed in the 1970s or 1960s, some people said that it was too big and that there was no sufficient traffic. Later, time caught up with us and the airport became the smallest in the region, yet it was one of the biggest at the time it was constructed. So, the Government then had to put up massive infrastructure in a hurry. We do not want that situation to repeat itself. Currently, we may not have sufficient traffic, but we are catering for our children and their children.


I thank you, Sir.








24. Mr Imbuwa (Nalolo) asked the Minister of Fisheries and Livestock:


  1. whether the Government has any plans to procure fish cages for fish farmers in Nalolo District; and
  2. if so, when the plans will be implemented.


The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo): Mr Speaker, plans to install cages and pens were initiated in 2017, and the process involved feasibility studies, tendering, mobilising the contractor, delivery to the sites, installation and training of farmers. The following sites were identified:


  1. Nalolo;
  2. Siavonga;
  3. Gwembe;
  4. Bangweulu;
  5. Kasaka Fisheries Training Centre;
  6. Lake Mweru; and
  7. Lusiwasi.


Therefore, yes, the Government has plans to procure fish cages for fish farmers in Nalolo District. So far, fifty-two cages have already been procured and will be installed after the beneficiaries are sensitised and trained in cage fish farming. This programme will be a demonstration project for the farmers in Nalolo District.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, will the cages be procured locally or abroad?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, there has to be international competitive bidding. Therefore, the cages are procured locally and from outside. However, the ministry is working very hard to ensure that the making of fish cages becomes a local industry and that we sign off-take agreements with some local contractors to buy the cages locally because it is keen on local content.


I thank you, Sir.


Dr Malama (Kanchibiya): Mr Speaker, Bangweulu and Kanchibiya are part of the Kabinga, Kopa and Chundaponde chiefdoms. Are some of the cages meant for the chiefdoms mentioned? If so, when is the training of the farmers scheduled to be done? Further, what is the cost of the cages?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I do not know the cost of the cages because I did not anticipate the question.


Sir, I am not sure whether I should align the programme to chiefdoms, but Bangweulu is one of the areas that will benefit.


Sir, when we start training the farmers, the beneficiaries will not only be the people from Kabinga’s chiefdom but also those from Kopa’s chiefdom because both chiefdoms are on the Bangweulu wetlands. As to whether we will consider Kanchibiya, per se, that issue does not arise because the Bangweulu Swamps fall in both the Northern and Luapula provinces, and all will depend on how active the farmers will be. Therefore, I, through this House, encourage the people of Zambia to come forward and participate in the project. I also want to say that alongside this project, we are implementing the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP), an important project in the aquaculture value chain that will dovetail into the programme we are discussing. So, there are many opportunities for Zambians.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Imbuwa: Mr Speaker, how many cages are earmarked for distribution in Nalolo?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, are you able to give an answer?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I anticipated this question. I, therefore, can tell the hon. Member that fifty-two cages have been allocated to Nalolo.


I thank you, Sir.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Mr Speaker, cage fish farming is a very important project in terms of employment generation and poverty reduction in rural areas. Could the hon. Minister give us an indication of the speed at which the ministry is moving in rolling out the pilot project nationwide. Furthermore, what is the projected employment creation target for the youths in rural areas?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, I could not agree more with the hon. Member on the importance of cage fish farming. In fact, I am worried about the amount of digging going on all over the place in respect of fish ponds. So, I would like the two programmes to move together so that we reduce on the digging of fish ponds.


Sir, 50 per cent of all funds allocated to aquaculture will go to women while 30 per cent will go to youths. The more the people benefit from this programme, the merrier. I cannot indicate how many people will benefit but, when hon. Members go back to their constituencies, they should work hard to mobilise the people to form many clubs so that they can participate in this programme because the quantities of resources available are enormous. The ministry wants to create only one legacy, namely that of having create wealth for Zambians. If I can get many young people and women who want to get rich, I will ensure that the project is implemented speedily.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mecha (Chifunabuli): Mr Speaker, were the fish cages sourced locally or internationally?


Prof. Luo: Mr Speaker, maybe, the hon. Member came late. I said that there was international competitive bidding. So, we bought the cages both locally and internationally. However, the ministry has made a decision to ensure that the project has local content and is working very hard to find local people who are prepared to make the cages. The ministry is implementing a programme of value addition to the value chain, which includes making cages, fish feed, hatcheries and nurseries; producing fingerlings and fish, and purchasing fish. So, it will set up aggregation centres where people can set up refrigeration facilities and acquire refrigerated trucks so that they can buy fish in other provinces. We have come like a tonne of bricks because we want to change the landscape of this country.


I thank you, Sir.





25. Mr Chalwe (Bahati) asked the Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development:


  1. when the tarring of the following roads in Bahati Parliamentary Constituency will commence in:


  1. Mansa-Kalaba; and
  2. Mansa-Matanda;


       b. what the total cost of the project is; and


       c.  what the estimated time frame for the completion of the project is.


Mr Mwale: Sir, the ministry has no immediate plans to upgrade to bituminous standard the Mansa/Kalaba and Mansa/Matanda roads in Bahati Constituency due to budgetary constraints.


Sir, the cost of the project will be known only once plans have been put in place.


Mr Speaker, the estimated time frame for completing the project will only be known once it has been planned for and the contractor engaged.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.










The Minister of Fisheries and Livestock (Prof. Luo) (on behalf of the Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya)): Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Speaker, thank you very much for granting me this very rare opportunity to update the House and the nation at large on the importance of the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency Bill No.13 of 2019.


Mr Speaker, the House might wish to note that Medical Stores Limited (MSL) was established in 1976 as a Government parastatal responsible for warehousing and distribution of essential medicines and medical supplies to the public healthcare system. The Government has mandated MSL to provide a supply chain service that aims to increase availability and access to quality, efficacious and affordable essential medicines. In line with the Government’s policy of putting all parastatals under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) framework, the 98 per cent and 2 per cent stakes that the ministries of Finance and Health respectively held in the MSL were transferred to the IDC, which was incorporated under the Companies Act to hold and manage the companies previously held directly by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Zambian Government. The goal of this restructuring was for the IDC to manage MSL on a commercial basis and allow the Ministry of Health to focus on policy formulation, among other high-level functions. At its third sitting held on 19th February, 2019, Cabinet approved in principal the conversion of MSL into a statutory Government institution after recognising that the placement of MSL under the IDC would imply that it is a profit-oriented entity, which contrary to its mandate of providing a supply chain service for essential medicines and medical supplies. Further, MSL is a grant-aided institution whose only income is in form of grants from the Treasury and co-operating partners.


Sir, the conversion of MSL from a limited liability company into a statutory Government agency will promote the provision of an efficient and cost-effective supply chain service for the procurement, warehousing and distribution of medicines and medical supplies in line with the Ministry of Health’s prioritisation of the provision of essential health services to all the people without making the beneficiaries to suffer financial hardships in the process.


Mr Speaker, the proposed Bill aims to provide a legal framework to support the new mandate of the MSL as a statutory agency responsible for the efficient and cost-effective procurement, warehousing and distribution of medicines and medical supplies using systems that will ensure the timely availability of medicines and medical supplies in public health institutions.


Sir, the Bill before this House seeks to establish a Medicines and Medical Supplies Fund to support the procurement of medicines and medical supplies for public health facilities. This will improve the availability of medicines and medical supplies at all levels of our healthcare system. In the recent past, MSL has undergone massive improvement in form of infrastructure and medical technologies. This includes the expansion of the central warehouse and decentralisation of storage capacity through the establishment of regional medical storage hubs meant to hold stock and distribute to the last mile. This initiative requires integrated management of these vital resources from the quantification of commodities to the point of use. In this regard, electronic platforms have been installed and are currently being upgraded to respond to the end-to-end supply chain. With this massive investment in MSL, the Government envisions a management process that will be co-ordinated from the Ministry of Health through MSL, including the regional hubs, and all related monitoring and supervisory healthcare implementation levels.


Mr Speaker, the Bill does not seek to create a new institution but merely convert an existing one from a limited liability company to a statutory body. Therefore, there are minimal cost implications to the Treasury. Further, the proposed agency is expected to provide an efficient and effective supply chain management system that will contribute to a robust and resilient healthcare system that will, in turn, contribute to a healthy and productive population needed to spur socio-economic development in our country.


Mr Speaker, I beg to move.


Dr Kalila (Lukulu East): Mr Speaker, on behalf of my hon. Colleagues, I thank you most sincerely for giving us the opportunity to scrutinise the Bill and present our report this afternoon.


Sir, in line with the terms of reference provided for in the Standing Orders, the Committee was appropriately tasked with the responsibility of scrutinising the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency Bill No.13 of 2019, which you referred to it on 1st August, 2019.


Mr Speaker, the Committee supports this Bill but made a number of observations on its ramifications. In doing so, it sought both written and oral submissions from stakeholders.


Sir, allow me to draw the attention of the House to Clause 5(a) of the Bill, on which the stakeholders expressed the concern that although it provides that the agency will procure, store and distribute medical supplies, the Bill does not make clear the nature of the products, meaning that the agency could deal in any type of medicines and medical supplies, as the choice of products procured, stored and distributed was left to the agency. In this regard, some stakeholders contended that could be an unsafe position for the health sector, should the agency choose to deal in products on the basis of profitability as opposed to solely for the purpose of providing a service. In this regard, the stakeholders recommended that the Bill clearly limits the product range to be managed by the agency to those on the national essential drugs list. In the same vein, the Committee notes that Clause 5(h) provides that the agency can enter into an agreement or establish frameworks with the Government, and local and international institutions for the purpose of manufacturing medicines and medical supplies. In that regard, the Committee recommends that the agency be capitalised enough to enable it to manufacture essential drugs that would otherwise be imported. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the agency be capacitated to operate as a profit-making entity capable of manufacturing and supplying drugs for both local consumers and the export markets, especially in neighbouring countries, as that could result in the agency making some profit and declaring the much-needed dividends to the Government, thereby contributing to the Treasury.


Sir, the Committee is also concerned that under Clause 6(1)(a)(v), the Health Professional Council of Zambia (HPCZ) has representation on the board of the agency because the HPCZ is a body responsible for regulating health practitioners. The council should, therefore, not participate in overseeing the activities of the agency. The Committee, therefore, recommends that the HPCZ be removed from the board of the agency. The agency is regulated by the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority (ZAMRA), and that was the basis on which the members made this recommendation.


Mr Speaker, Clause 6(3) provides for the hon. Minister to appoint the chairperson of the board. However, the Committee observed with concern that the provision might be abused and may promote patronage, as the allegiance of the appointee might be to the appointing authority, not agency. The committee, therefore, recommends that the Clause be amended to allow for the members of the board to elect the chairperson from among themselves.


Sir, on Clause 14(2)(a), which provides for the qualifications of the Director-General, the Committee recommends that the Bill prescribe that the appointee be qualified in supply chain and logistics management and that a qualification in pharmacy be an added advantage. In this regard, the Committee agrees with the stakeholders that the nature of business of the agency centres on medicines and medical supplies. Therefore, the Committee is of the view that the person appointed to serve as Director-General be fully conversant with both supply chain management and pharmaceutical matters. Further, the Committee observes that the intricacies of the pharmaceutical and medical fields require a competent and experienced person. Therefore, it recommends that Clause 14(2)(c) be recast to provide for the Director-General to have, at least, ten years’ experience at the senior management level.


Mr Speaker, regarding Clause 18, which seeks to establish the Medicines and Medical Supplies Fund to support the procurement of medicines and medical supplies for public health facilities that the hon. Minister referred to, the Committee is concerned that the fund will be managed by the Minister of Health. The Committee, in this regard, recommends that the fund be managed by the agency in order to give some level of financial autonomy to the agency.


Sir, I bring to the attention of the House the concerns of the Committee regarding the fact that the Bill does not require the agency to comply with the Medicines and Allied Substances Act No. 3 of 2013. The Committee holds the view that this is a serious omission, since an organisation that procures, stores and distributes medicines and medical products is required to ensure that medicines and medical products it procures conform to the set standards of quality, safety and efficacy, and the Act sets out requirements for that to be achieved. The requirements include obtaining a marketing authorisation permit and an import permit or pharmaceutical licence, as the case might be, from ZAMRA. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the Bill mandates the agency to perform the function of procuring, storing, packaging and distributing medicines and medical products in compliance with the Act.


Sir, as I conclude, I wish, on behalf of the Committee, to express my gratitude to you for granting us the opportunity to scrutinise the Bill. I also thank the Office of the Clerk of the National Assembly for the support rendered to us throughout our deliberations. Finally, I pay tribute to all the stakeholders who made both oral and written submissions to the Committee. Without their input, the Committee’s work would not have been effective.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for according me the opportunity to say a few words regarding the report of the Committee on the Bill that seeks to transform Medical Stores Limited (MSL) into the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supplies Agency. I do not intend to waste much time by delving into debating issues that are unrelated to the Bill. Instead, I will stick to the Bill, especially given that the Bill concerns the health of the people.


Sir, from the outset, I categorically state that MSL is an institution mandated to increase the availability of quality medicines and access to medical supplies. This institution is also supposed to ensure efficacy of  medicines, and affordability of both medicines and medical supplies. In essence, the Government is transforming an institution into another that has a similar mandate. The only change will be the operations of the new institution in terms of its registration and, probably, the way the board will be constituted. Otherwise, MSL already has the mandate to execute the functions that have been prescribed for the proposed institution. In my opinion, the Government is simply changing the name of the institution; the expected results will be almost the same.


Mr Speaker, when I perused the Committee’s report, I realised that the objects of the Bill are to provide for an efficient and cost-effective system for procuring, storing, and distributing medicines and medical supplies and, as I stated earlier, to transform MSL into the Zambia Medicines and Medical Supply Agency and provides its functions, among others. I wish to comment on the first object.


Sir, since the formation of the MSL around 1976, it has been known that the area of medicines and medical supplies is sacred. It is surprising and shocking, and I really shudder and, sometimes, fear for all of us, that the institution we are now trying to transform is not as sacred under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government as it used to be. I will qualify my point.


Mr Speaker, the handling of the medicines responsible for our wellbeing requires professionalism, diligence and honest dealing. However, I will cite a few events in this country that should be of concern. As much as I support the Committee’s report and the Bill, the Executive should take note that the citizens of this country and, in particular, the people of Zambezi East, are sounding an important warning on the need to improve the health system, going forward.


Mr Speaker, medicines have been withdrawn from the shelves of our pharmacies, including from public health facilities. If I remember well, gentamicin was dispensed and the hon. Minister only issued instructions for the seemingly fake drug to be withdrawn after some patients reacted to it, and tests proved that the patients were reacting to the medicine. When medicines and medical supplies used to be sacred, such incidents did not occur, and I thank the powerful men and women who were in the Cabinet of the past regime, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), for handling that area diligently. Systems used to operate efficiently and people were professional enough to ensure –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat.


I have been following your debate very closely and patiently waiting for you to make a link between what you are saying and the business before us, which is the approval of this Bill. You seem to be wandering around operations and events that, so far, do not seem to be connected in any way with the report and the Bill. Would you like to come back on track?


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, yes, and thank you for that guidance. I will qualify my wandering. With your indulgence and permission, I have twenty minutes to debate the report –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat.


The twenty minutes is also qualified, and one of the qualifications of it is relevance. So, the fact that you have twenty minutes does not mean that you have the liberty to be at sea. You still have to be relevant. So, do not hang on the twenty minutes because there is a need for relevance.


You may continue.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, the relevance of my debate is that it is meant to ensure that the Bill we are passing protects the citizens of this nation. The Bill refers to the effectiveness of procurement, efficiency and medical supplies that will be taken by the citizens. So, the relevance of its objects is to ensure that the Executive pays particular attention to the events that I have recounted so that, in the future, we do not have situations in which procurement is left to people who are not professionals in the field or to those who are professional but do not stick to the ethics required when dealing with medicines or medical supplies.


Mr Speaker, moving away from the importance of ensuring that the procurement processes are professionally handled, I will talk about the functions of the agency that have been outlined in the Bill. Indeed, the agency is responsible for the procurement, storage and distribution of medicines and medical supplies, and is supposed to ensure that they are available on the shelves. When there are shortages of medicines, for example, at Zambezi District Hospital or at a clinic in Nyakuleng’a, which is in my constituency, we must be concerned. Therefore, I must warn the hon. Members on the right that as much as they are creating this institution, which is very important, they must ensure that supplies are available in our health institutions by following the procurement processes and employing professionals to handle the processes that will be prescribed in the Act. Implementation is very important, and we need to debate these issues so that they know them from the word go.


Mr Speaker, the important question I have is: What will change with the change of name? Will the shortages stop? Will the distribution system be improved?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member, resume your seat.


You are debating operations, but what has been set out for our business at this juncture is to consider the report that your hon. Colleagues have presented, and you may have noticed that it is very specific. It is based on the Bill. You are trying to make a tenuous connection, but I can see you are struggling. However, you have eight minutes.


You may continue.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, at the risk of arguing with the Chair, I will say that the questions I have asked relate to what is contained in the report, and I wanted to sound a warning to my colleagues from my perspective as a representative of the people of Zambezi East.


Mr Speaker, as regards the board, Dr Kalila, the able hon. Member for Lukulu East Constituency and the Chairperson of the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services, raised concerns on how it will be appointed. These are the issues over which we want to sound a warning. Indeed, the board must be professional. I am not saying that the hon. Minister of Health is corrupt but, in case there is a Minister of Health who does not care about the issues I have talked about, he might appoint somebody he prefers to chair that board. So, in essence, we are agreeing to a situation in which the Minister will be the one procuring the drugs, and that is what we want to avoid.


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


The Minister of Health (Dr Chilufya): Sir, thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to respond to some of the concerns raised by the hon. Members on the Bill.


Sir, the transformation of Medical Stores Limited (MSL) is fundamental to all Zambians having access to safe and efficacious drugs. So, this Bill needs the support of the House.


Sir, I have noted the issues that the hon. Members have brought up on the qualifications of the Director-General, including the proposal for the appointee to have ten years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry. This matter was extensively debated, and I want to assure the House that MSL does not only deal in pharmaceuticals but also the broader supply chain.


Mr Speaker, it is important to note that there are health professionals whose basic qualification is public health and whose specialisation is in supply chain and logistics management. Some even study pharmacology and, later, study supply chain and logistics management. Therefore, the catchment is broader when the fundamental qualification is in public health and the secondary qualification is in supply chain and logistics management. So, I am of the view that we are speaking the same language.


Sir, as regards the Minister appointing the Board Chairperson, it is standard practice for Ministers to appoint boards and their chairpersons while the members elect the vice-chairperson. So, there is no room for abuse. The Minister appoints all the members of the board guided by the Act and the members elect the vice-chairperson.


Mr Speaker, regarding the range of medical products that the agency will be dealing in, the ministry will act on the recommendation as it makes amendments to the Bill. The agency will be required to procure all essential medicines and drugs needed in the country and it will not be supported by the Government only but also by our co-operating partners. Furthermore, the Medicines and Medical Supplies Fund will not only attract resources from one source but from the National Health Insurance Authority; the Treasury, that is, in terms of monies appropriated for drugs in a particular year; and co-operating partners. So, the ministry’s role will be to co-ordinate various institutions that will contribute to the fund. The ministry’s broad healthcare financing strategy involves the raising resources from various sources, some of which will pour into the fund. The ministry will ensure that it can enter into framework contracts with various institutions or contractors and that there is no disruption in the supply chain by ensuring that the fund is frontloaded at the beginning of the year.


Mr Speaker, I thank the Committee for the work it did in scrutinising the Bill, and the hon. Members for unanimously supporting it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Question put and agreed to and the Bill read a second time.


Committed to a committee of the Whole House.


Committee on Tuesday, 8th October, 2019.




Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, I beg to move that the Bill be now read a second time.


Mr Speaker, allow me to thank the Committee on Health, Community Development and Social Services for its comprehensive and well-noted report, and for its contribution to the development of this Bill.


Sir, it is important to emphasise that the Ministry of Health has been undertaking significant legislative reforms and that, as a result, a number of pieces of legislation in the health sector are being reviewed. One such key piece of legislation is the Nurses and Midwives Act No. 31 of 1997, which has been in force for twenty-two years now without any amendment despite the trends in nursing and midwifery education, training and practice changing all the time. It is, therefore, evident that the current nursing and midwifery regulatory framework needs to be updated so that it can deal with the complexities associated with the public and private provision of nursing and midwifery education. Therefore, the repeal and replacement of the Nurses and Midwives Act of 1997 is a fundamental strategic action that will enable the health sector to fully contribute to efforts aimed at implementing the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) –




Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister of Health, you may want to consult the hon. Minister of Justice.


Dr Chilufya resumed his seat and consulted Mr Lubinda.


Dr Chilufya: Mr Speaker, with the leave of the House, I seek to defer the Bill.


I thank you, Sir.


Question that the Bill be deferred put and agreed to and leave granted.


The Bill, by leave, accordingly deferred.








(Debate resumed)


Mr Mukosa (Chinsali): Mr Speaker, I thank you profoundly for according me this opportunity to support the Motion of Supply ably moved by the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya K. E Ng’andu, on Friday, 27th September, 2019.


Sir, allow me to congratulate the hon. Minister on presenting a well-articulated and visionary policy statement that highlighted how the Government intends to utilise national financial resources during the fiscal year 2020. With such a policy direction, we are assured that we will continue on our positive development trajectory.


Mr Speaker, before I proceed, allow me to join the Chibesa family, my people in Chinsali Constituency and the Catholic Church in mourning the death of Rev. Fr. Sefelino Chibesa, who was the Parish Priest at St. John’s Parish in Chinsali. Fr. Sefelino Chibesa, whose body was brought back to Zambia on Saturday, last week, died in Vienna, where he had gone to study last month, and was buried today. I could have gone to mourn with everyone in Chilonga where the burial took place but, unfortunately, I could not due to competing national duties.


Mr Speaker, the theme for the 2020 National Budget is “Focusing national priorities towards stimulating the domestic economy”. This means that emphasis will be placed on addressing the bottlenecks that impede the growth of local businesses and the private sector at large. It is also gratifying to note that the Budget has been aligned with the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP) and the Economic Stabilisation and Growth Programme.


Sir, allow me, now, to comment briefly on some issues the hon. Minister of Finance raised during the 2020 Budget Address.


Sir, the agricultural sector has massive potential to create many jobs, alleviate poverty and foster economic growth. In addition, growing the sector is an effective way of diversifying the economy, which is dominated by minerals, particularly copper. It is, therefore, gratifying to note that the Government has continued investing in this sector and promoting its growth.


Sir, we acknowledge the challenges that affected agricultural output during the 2018/2019 Farming Season, the main one being the effects of climate change. It is, therefore, pleasing to note that the Government has taken measures to mitigate the effects of climate change on agricultural production by building the capacity of the Zambia Meteorological Department (ZMD). This is an excellent move, as more accurate weather information will be disseminated to farmers to inform their planning.


Mr Speaker, it is pleasing to further note that the Government, working with co-operating partners, has continued investing in irrigation infrastructure in order to reduce our reliance on rain-fed agriculture. I want to put on record my commendation of the Government for the success being scored in the construction of dams and irrigation schemes. As the House might be aware, the dam at Mwomboshi in Chisamba District has been completed while the irrigation scheme is scheduled to be completed in 2020. In Chirundu District, the construction of the Lusitu Irrigation Scheme is at 85 per cent. Other successes include the recently commissioned Chiansi Irrigation Scheme, which is expected to benefit over 1,000 households, as well as the Musakashi South Irrigation Scheme, which is at 50 per cent. With these irrigation schemes, it is envisioned that farmers will grow crops all year round.


Sir, apart from the measures it has taken to improve crop production, the Government is also working hard to improve the sub-sectors like livestock and aquaculture. In the livestock sub-sector, I commend the Government’s commitment to addressing disease outbreaks through measures like enhanced farmer sensitisation, vaccination, movement restrictions and enforcement of bio-security measures on farms. In addition, the Government has constructed and rehabilitated eighty and 153 dip tanks, respectively. Further, I note with gratification the Government’s commitment to improving the quality of livestock herds through the rehabilitation of fifteen livestock centres across the country. The centres will offer artificial insemination and other breeding services, which will increase the production of quality meat and meat products to meet the local demand and leave a surplus for export for us to earn the much-needed foreign exchange. Further, increased production entails the creation of more jobs for our people.


Sir, it is estimated that Zambia has a fish deficit of 30,000 metric tonnes. In Sub-Saharan Africa, fish production and consumption trends suggest that by 2050, almost 50 per cent of the fish consumed will be sourced from outside the region. That entails a huge market potential for fish in the country and the region. It is, therefore, gratifying to note that this visionary Government recognises the potential in the sub-sector and has taken measures to capitalise on it. To this end, the Zambia Aquaculture Enterprise Development Project (ZAEDP) is committed to continuing building capacity through the training of fish farmers, with 270 farmers have been trained so far and over 1,000 fish farmers targeted to be trained by 2022. I further welcome the hon. Minister of Finance’s pledge to provide appropriate incentives to stimulate growth in the sub-sector, as that will inevitably attract more investment in the sub-sector and create the much-needed jobs.


Sir, the Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is committed to growing the domestic economy, and it is against that background that the hon. Minister of Finance increased the allocation towards the dismantling of arrears by over 400 per cent, from K437 million to K2,278,733,732. This is an effective strategy for stimulating growth in the domestic economy by improving liquidity or the amount of money available in the economy, which has an impact on interest rates, investment and consumer spending. When the money in circulation increases, the lending rates are expected to go down, essentially lowering the cost of borrowing and, when the cost of borrowing is low, businesses have incentives to borrow for investment and, subsequently, grow. With regard to consumer spending, when the economy has high liquidity, people have more money to spend on goods and services. The ultimate results of increased business investment and consumer spending will be improved domestic economic growth and job creation.


Sir, it is a fact that this country has been transformed for the better under the Patriotic Front (PF) Government through massive infrastructure investments, such as road construction. It is pleasing to note that the Government will continue expanding the National Road Tolling Programme in order to ensure that road infrastructure is well maintained. It is also gratifying that as of August 2019, K765 million had been raised, compared with K549 million raised over the same period in 2018. Further, it is pleasing to note that the Government will, in the spirit of doing more with less, re-scope existing projects, seek alternative financing to debt contraction and increase the use of local contractors in implementing projects.


Sir, in addition to the road projects, the Government has prioritised improving infrastructure to ensure increased access to information and communication technologies by the people, especially in unserved and underserved areas. This has been made possible by the construction of communication towers. I am happy to note that, so far, 667 out of 1,009 towers have been constructed, with more than 500 towers being operational. The result of such investment is increased network coverage, which will benefit the people, as they will communicate with their families and friends. Further, increased network coverage will increase access to the financial system through mobile money services, especially in rural areas.


Mr Speaker, the energy sector is very important to the economy due to its multiplier effect on other sectors, such as mining, education, health and business. This means that any disruptions in the generation and supply of energy will affect the operations of other sectors. In light of the effects of climate change that have adversely affected energy generation, it is comforting to note that the Government intends to step up diversification efforts in the sector in order to build resilience. This is in addition to the Bangweulu and Ngonye solar plants whose combined power output is 90 MW.


Sir, it is gratifying to note that in addition to the existing hydropower plants, the PF Government commenced the construction of the 750 MW Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station and the upgrading of the Lusiwasi Upper Hydropower Station to 15 MW. These projects are expected to be completed in 2020. Further, in 2020, the Government will upgrade the Chishimba Falls Power Station from 6 MW to 15 MW. Further, in line with the 7NDP objective of reducing development inequalities, I support the hon. Minister’s allocation of K166,339,781 to the Rural Electrification Authority (REA) for increasing access to electricity in rural areas.


Mr Speaker, there is a well-known relationship between economic growth and health. As the health of citizens in the country improves, so does the economy, because healthy populations live longer and are more productive. In view of the above, I support the Government’s commitment to continue strengthening health systems and providing essential medical supplies to improve the health of the people. It is pleasing to note that the Government will continue constructing health posts and hospitals in order to increase access to health services. Further, the construction of the specialised hospital in Lusaka is at 75 per cent while Chinsali General Hospital in Chinsali Constituency is at 90 per cent. Once the latter hospital is completed, my constituents will be relieved, as they walk long distances to access medical services. Other health facilities under construction or upgrading include Petauke General, Maina Soko Military Hospital and Levy Mwanawasa Medical University. The construction of 650 health posts is also on course, with 342 having been completed. The Government will continue the project in 2020.


Mr Speaker, I am happy to note that the Government completed the construction of an ultra-modern central warehouse in Lusaka in order to strengthen the medical supply chain. In addition, the Government is committed to continuing the improvement of the health personnel to population ratio by deploying nurses and doctors to new facilities. With all these measures, it is envisioned that there will be increased access to better health services in our country.


Sir, the mining industry is the engine of the Zambian economy, as it contributes over 65 per cent to the total export value, making it the country’s main foreign exchange earner. The sector is also a significant source of Government revenue through taxation and mineral royalties. Further, it is one of the largest creators of formal employment, both directly and indirectly. However, most of the copper produced is exported raw or semi-processed, which reduces the value that the country earns from it. The Government is committed to promoting value addition to the copper, as outlined in the 7NDP. In this regard, I support the hon. Minister of Finance’s decision to zero-rate all copper cathodes sold within the country, as that will inevitably promote value addition, industrialisation and job creation in the mining industry.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude, allow me to state that regardless of our party affiliations, we are all required to support the measures proposed in the 2020 Budget Address. In this regard, I urge all the hon. Members of this august House to rise above party politics and support the measures proposed by the hon. Minister of Finance, as they are progressive.


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


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Ms Subulwa (Sioma): Mr Speaker, I thank you for according me this opportunity to support the Motion of Supply moved by the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, on 27th September, 2019.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance presented a well-thought-out and visionary policy statement that showed us how the Government will utilise our national financial resources to stimulate growth. The hon. Member for Chinsali, Mr Mukosa, has highlighted key areas of the Budget Speech, and I will not dwell much on the issues he has ably addressed. Instead, I will talk about the issues raised in the Budget Speech that affect rural constituencies.


Mr Speaker, the House might wish to note that I am passionate about rural development. His Excellency the President of Zambia, elected by the people and chosen by God, set the tone for us, and I am happy that the hon. Minister of Finance picked it up very well. The Budget that was presented is progressive and its theme is timely. Importantly, the Government has focused on issues that matter and which will stimulate economic growth.


Sir, it is important to note that in order to deliver on the commitments, the hon. Minister of Finance placed a premium on fiscal discipline, determination and dedication.  The commitments that the hon. Minister of Finance stated are to:


(a)        achieve a real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of, at least, 3 per cent;


(b)        reduce the fiscal deficit to 5.5 per cent of GDP;


(c)        achieve and maintain inflation between 6 per cent and 8 per cent; and


(d)        increase the international reserves to, at least, 2.5 months of import cover.


The attainment of these commitments will require the three ingredients that the hon. Minister of Finance placed his premium on, namely fiscal discipline, determination and dedication and, above all, team work.


Sir, it is commendable to note that the 2020 Budget of K106 billion has increased by 22 per cent, compared with the 2019 Budget of K87 billion. As I debate, I will go sector by sector, beginning with the health sector.


Mr Speaker, the health sector has been allocated K9,366,591,584, with 55 per cent of the amount going to primary health care. The House might wish to note that the majority of people in rural constituencies like where I come from have access to primary health care. The allocation of 8.8 per cent of the Budget to health shows that the hon. Minister is moving towards meeting the Abuja Declaration of allocating 15 per cent of the Budget to the health sector. Hon. Members may recall that this House enacted the National Health Bill in 2018 and that the hon. Minister of Health signed Statutory Instrument (SI) No. 63 to bring into effect the National Health Scheme. If that programme is properly implemented, it will create fiscal space in the health sector.


Sir, while the budget of the health sector has recorded an increment of 1.3 per cent, I am concerned that the allocation to drugs and medical supplies is the same as that of 2019. New health facilities are being constructed and this entails that the drugs and medical supplies to be procured will not be adequate. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to revisit this area. We must remember that a healthy nation is a wealthy nation.


Mr Speaker, I am also concerned about the allocation to the education sector, which has been reduced by 2 per cent, from K13,274,546,421 to K13,121,648,466. Therefore, as the hon. Minister of Finance responds to some of the issues that have been raised, he should explain how this will affect the education sector negatively.


Sir, in the President’s Address, climate change came out strongly. However, I am concerned to see a reduction in the allocation to environmental protection, yet we are talking about mitigating the negative effects of climate change. How will the Government address the negative effects of climate change when it has reduced the budget that matters the most? So, the hon. Minister of Finance must address that as well.


Mr Speaker, my hon. Colleague ably addressed the issue of agriculture, but let me mention that there is a need to allocate more resources to key areas of the sector. As you may know, agriculture does not only contribute to employment creation but is also a source of livelihood for the people, especially in rural areas. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to consider allocating more resources to key areas like extension services. My colleague talked about irrigation, but there is a need to also allocate resources for research and development (R&D).


Sir, on social protection, I applaud the hon. Minister of Finance for increasing the allocation from K2,187,059,905 to K2,580,984,987 in the 2020 Budget. It is clear that His Excellency the President of Zambia cares for the vulnerable communities. However, I urge the hon. Minister of Finance to consider allocating more funds to the sector so that more interventions, such as the creation of a universal pension for old people, can be made. The aged are our heroes, as we would not be here were it not for the care they took of us. So, I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance will consider allocating more resources to social protection and introducing a universal pension for the old in the next Budget.


Mr Speaker, the Sales Tax and the Value Added Tax (VAT) dominated public debates on the 2019 Budget. Submissions were made on the Floor of this House and to the Committee suggesting that we maintain VAT and address the challenges in its administration. I am glad that this listening Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, listened to the people. As an Independent Member, this gives me confidence that when I present the concerns of the people of Sioma, I will be heard, and this is a trait of a good Government.


Sir, let me talk about Pillar III of the Seventh National Development Plan (7NDP), which relates to developmental inequalities. The hon. Minister of Finance is on record saying that the Government will complete all health, education, and water and sanitation projects in rural areas. When I heard that, as someone who represents a rural area, I was gratified. The hon. Minister of Finance also stated that the Government will rehabilitate about 3,375 km of roads in rural areas to open up rural markets. That is important, and I hope the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development will consider constructing a road from Nangweshi via Mutomena to Dihehe for the people of Sioma so that they can access markets in rural areas and other places, and significantly contribute to the country’s GDP.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance emphasised the need to dismantle the domestic debt throughout his speech. However, before I talk about that, the external debt of this country is about US$10.23 billion while the domestic debt has increased to K60.7 billion, and this is an issue of national concern. So, I was happy to hear the hon. Minister talk about dismantling the domestic debt. I looked around the House from the left to the right and saw the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central shake hands with a renowned politician.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Sioma, do not drag your colleagues into your debate in that fashion. Just focus on your debate.


Ms Subulwa: Mr Speaker, I thank you for your guidance. What I meant is that I saw hon. Members agree with the hon. Minister regarding the dismantling of domestic debt by allocating about K2.3 billion, compared with K0.4 billion in 2019. This simply means that the much-needed liquidity necessary for growth will be injected into the economy.


Sir, in conclusion, a budget is simply a plan, and anyone can draw a plan. However, its implementation makes it a good plan. So, I urge the hon. Minister of Finance to implement the policy pronouncements he made on the Floor of this House. I also appeal to the Frontbenchers, Backbenchers, the public and spending agencies to support the hon. Minister of Finance. However, we can only do that if he releases funds accordingly.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nkombo (Mazabuka Central): Mr Speaker, I thank you –


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I rise on a very serious procedural point of order pertaining to the discussion on the Floor of this House vis-a-vis the Budget.

Mr Speaker, we are all aware that before we even debate the Budget, the Ministry of Finance is supposed to release the Yellow Book to enable hon. Members of Parliament to debate issues prudently.


Sir, we are all aware that before we even debate the Budget, the Ministry of Finance is supposed to release the Yellow Book to enable hon. Members to debate issues prudently.




Mr Speaker: Order!


Continue, hon. Member.


Mr Speaker, I am hearing the running commentaries, but the issue which I am raising is cardinal. It is not just about the Yellow Book. We are supposed to have the Economic Report on the activities of the Government for the previous year to enable us to debate. This has been the precedent in this House. If the ministry has released the Yellow Book, that is still not enough because it has not released the Economic Report.


Is the ministry in order, Mr Speaker, to not give us the tools we need to debate the Budget prudently?


Mr Speaker: My ruling will be in two parts. The first part relates to the Yellow Book which as I am reliably informed by the Office of the Clerk, has actually been distributed.


An hon. Member raised a copy of the Yellow Book.


Mr Speaker: In fact, somebody is raising a copy. So, if you check your pigeonhole, you will find your copy. As regards the economic report, I would like to give a more measured ruling.


May the hon. Member for Mazabuka Central continue.


Mr Nkombo: Mr Speaker, I take this opportunity to thank the hon. Minister of Finance for presenting the 2020 Budget to this House last week on Friday. I congratulate him on being patriotic and taking up the mantle of being the Chancellor of the Exchequer at a time when Government systems have literally broken down. I commend him for that and wish him success because his success is our success. Brave is he who takes the mantle in the midst of the destruction occasioned by the Patriotic Front (PF) Government on the economy.


Mr Speaker, most of the economic hazards we are experiencing in this country are manmade. Let me draw the hon. Minister’s attention to his Budget Speech. When he winds up debate, it will be good if he connects his speech to that of his immediate predecessors, Hon. Margaret Mwanakatwe, whose theme was ‘Delivering fiscal consolidation for sustainable and inclusive growth’, and Hon. Mutati’s Budget Address for 2017, when our hon. Colleagues came up with the ‘Zambia Plus’ strategy, which I think they have abandoned because there is no mention of it anymore in this Budget Speech.


Mr Speaker, the Budget Address’ theme is ‘Focusing national priorities towards stimulating the domestic economy’, and the fancy word I picked is ‘stimulation’. When one is stimulated, one gets excited. It is like a washing machine when it is agitating. As far as I am concerned, in view of the figures the hon. Minister presented before this House, I do not see stimulation coming into the economy because only 10 per cent of the figures will be directed to the most important sectors of our economy, and the PF Government has neglected the social sector again.


Mr Speaker, I have read that the Government will source K27 billion externally to fund the least important projects to some of us, which include the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka, a facility that will be enjoyed by less than 0.0001 per cent of our population. The current traffic levels into the airport KKIA do not justify any expansion of the infrastructure. Instead, we should look at the most important things that affect the people.


Sir, considering the figures presented by the hon. Minister, I feel sorry for him because he now joins the list of people who will be judged by posterity as having squandered our opportunities by placing money where their mouths were not. Last year, I talked about the bloated budget for public order and, on 2nd August, 2019, the hon. Minister of Finance presented a Supplementary Budget of K9.8 billion, the bulk of which went to public order. I ask the same question I asked last year: Are we a country at war? Why should we allocate more money to public order and safety than to the latest problem of climate change? Why should we allocate K4 billion to the police and K611,777,853 to environmental protection, yet the Head of State said that the biggest problem we have is climate change? Our colleagues need to solve the jigsaw puzzle because they can fool some people sometimes, but they cannot fool all the people all the time. A fortnight ago, the Head of State came here and continuously stated in his speech that we are confronted by climate change. They should explain to me – and I am not taking anything away from the hon. Minister of Defence – why they should allocate K6 billion to defence and neglect the challenge of climate change we are currently facing.


Mr Speaker, why can our colleagues not build dams so we can harvest water and deal with the very essence of the people’s requirements, namely food? We know very well that prices of food commodities, especially the staple food, have reached the ultimate high. Maize meal has not cost so much before, yet the Government wants to hibernate its inefficiencies and incapability in climate change, and it has been caught napping. I expected the Government to allocate, at least, K5 billion for the construction of a canal connecting Chembe River and Kafue River, which I talked about when debating the President’s Speech, so that it can cater for the whole area and we can stop fighting about water on the drying Kafue and Zambezi Rivers. We said all these things. So, when the hon. Minister of Finance winds up debate, he should come out straight on this matter. Why has he not put money where the Government says the problem is? Why should the construction of roads, at K10 billion, exceed the allocation to the health sector? Someone tell me. Why should we prioritise roads in Lusaka as if Lusaka is Zambia and Zambia Lusaka? Somebody must answer that. I know for a fact that the allocation to roads comes from external financing because we do not have the money.


Mr Speaker, we are operating on a Budget of K106 billion. Let us not hide behind our fingers. As far as I am concerned, 40 per cent of the Budget will repay debts and 20 per cent will pay us who work for the Government. With such a small Budget, how can we call ours a country worth its salt? How can our hon. Colleagues share poverty, and stand on a pedestal and say that they are governing? How can they project economic growth of 2 per cent and still be happy and extend felicitations to one another? We need to revisit the way we think. We also need to hold hands and explain to one another that we can fool some people sometimes, but we cannot fool all the people all the time. Our colleagues can run, but they cannot hide.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance is a headstrong human being, and I congratulate him on that. What I am about to say now is on taxation, which is one of the picking points for money. Before the hon. Minister of Finance came to this House, our hon. Colleagues eulogised the Sales Tax at every opportunity and were filibustering. They kept moving from 1st January to April and glossing over policy just to wait for one individual, whom I salute for making the bold decision to admit that the Government is taking the country in the wrong direction. That notwithstanding, I view the hon. Minister of Finance as a loss adjuster in an insurance industry who will make an assessment of the loss on an extensively damaged vehicle called a salvage. This is salvage effort. In view of the manner the PF is running the economy of this country, the salvager is the hon. Minister of Finance. He has come to find some salvage value for the remnants of the glorious past, the PF. Those who were so dear to everyone are, today, –


Dr Kalila: Mwaume sana!


Mr Nkombo: Mwaume sana, yes. He is a man.


Sir, as they live in the remnants of the glorious past by always trying to impress the people, our colleagues should remove the gloss on their faces so that we can see their natural skin.


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Nkombo: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that our colleagues should remove the gloss and powder from their faces so that Zambians can know the real PF. The time for pretence has now come to an end. Some of us view the PF as a fig tree. If you have lived in the village before, you know that a fig tree produces good fruit, but the fruit cannot be eaten in the night because it might have insects or worms inside it. We should now stop pretending and come face head-on the harsh reality of life that the PF is a failed project.


Madam Speaker, when I came to this Parliament, some areas stood alone in the Budget. An example is agriculture. Currently, however, agriculture is a sub-heading under “Economic Affairs”, and it is business as usual, with K1,111,840,201 having been allocated to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) and K660 million to the strategic food reserves, bringing the total to K1,771,840,201. Things do not work like that. As regards the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System, we have proved that the PF is now back-tracking and using the manual system in some districts. That is a fact. Things are not working. Food is still expensive and FISP is gobbling a lot of money. Our colleagues need a think-tank that will solve the jigsaw puzzle so that, for once, they can score some success where this is concerned because the stability of any country sits in the belly of human beings. If there is no food in the stomach – a hungry person is an angry person. People are emotionally imbalanced when they are hungry.


Madam Speaker, today, I challenge anyone on the right to tell me that successive the Budgets produced by the PF have transformed the lives of the people in Kalingalinga, Kabobola or Kamuchanga, such as the barber man who cuts people’s hair in the midst of all this unprecedented load-shedding of fourteen hours a day. The Government exports power to Malawi, much to the chagrin of the local welder who makes gates to earn a living for his family. Thereafter, the Government imports power from ESKOM at an astronomical price. Something is not working, but I do not blame the hon. Minister of Finance because he is new in his portfolio. Instead, I commend him for being strong enough to reverse the decision of the entire PF who were singing praises songs about the Goods and Sales Tax. I am very glad. God bless the hon. Minister for reversing that unpopular decision. In replication of his reversal of that unpopular decision, I hope that the Constitution (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 is also withdrawn the way the Nurses and Midwives Bill of 2019 was withdrawn today. It is possible.


Madam Speaker, the remnants of the glorious past in which our colleagues have been living have come crashing down. People now say “kawayawayafeye”, which means a laissez-faire situation, when they see PF members. There is no definitive direction in which the PF is taking us. I challenge anyone here to tell me what usefulness there was in the manner the hon. Minister came here and presented a Supplementary Budget. Less than two months ago, I stood right here and oppose that Supplementary Budget. If my memory serves me right, our hon. Colleagues on the right asked for K2 billion for public order and safety, and about K1 million for elections, and these are expenses that do not add value to our wellbeing. What value do elections caused by a man or woman add to our lives, other than keeping us busy and, sometimes, making some people to lose their lives? Our colleagues have allocated an obscene amount of money to public order and safety. The police have been given unfettered powers. They are like kings, and that is why the bulk of the deaths we have recorded were of police officers shooting civilians. I want to see someone who can argue against this point. The police can shoot at someone at point blank and live to enjoy the fortune of doing that, and I can only attribute that to the fact that we live in a dictatorial regime. This is how dictatorships look. There is no complexion for dictators other than putting the bulk of your resources into the suppression of fellow human beings.


Mr Kambita: Eating snakes.


Mr Nkombo: Madam, I do not mind talking about people eating snakes, but I want to be relevant to this debate by saying that when you put too much money into protecting yourself, it goes without saying that you have become a tin-pot dictator who is paranoid and scared of his/her own shadow. So, I urge my colleagues to spend that money on the needy. Let it go to the Social Cash Transfer Programme and the Food Security Pack instead of buying uniforms, gumboots, bullets, rubber bullets and teargas for suppressing human beings.


Madam Speaker, half the time, the State is embarrassed over the Public Order Act. Yesterday, Mr Sean Tembo, the president of a political party, won a case against the State on the Public Order Act. He came here to protest against wasteful expenditure by the PF, which bought fire tenders for US$42 million, spending US$1 million on each motor vehicle that uses a radiator and petrol or diesel. That is wasteful, and I hope that when the time comes for my colleagues to meet their creator, they will explain such things. When the PF comes out of power, courtesy of the people of Zambia, if we are ushered into power, we will do things differently and promote equity among all citizens. I know this is an itchy subject, but one cannot defy the principles of physics. Whatever goes up must come down, and some of our colleagues will come down head first when the time of reckoning comes.


Madam Speaker, I have heard arguments on tax, and I expected the hon. Minister of Finance to reduce the Value Added Tax (VAT). He did a good thing to reinstate it because his colleagues wanted to abolish it. However, he could have done better by reducing it to even 14 per cent. The Government needs every Zambian to pay tax, but no country has ever developed by taxing its citizens. If the hon. Minister reduced VAT, people would voluntarily become tax compliant because heavily taxed individuals always evade tax. However, this indictment is on those the hon. Minister found in the Government, including the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), which sang praises about the Sales Tax and came here to defend a useless tax regime that we have not heard used anywhere in the world before. When we asked them where it had worked, they mentioned the Central African Republic (CAR). How can we emulate a failed state?


Madam Speaker, with those few words –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw your reference to the Central African Republic (CAR) as a failed state.


Mr Nkombo: I withdraw the phrase “a failed state” and replace it with ‘a highly disorganised state’. That is the route our colleagues wanted us to take.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Belemu (Mbabala): Madam Speaker, thank you very much.


Madam Speaker, sometimes, at the traffic lights at Manda Hill, there are two ladies with babies who say that they have just been discharged from the hospital and need a bit of money for transport and food and, if you do not know them, you will give them the money. Later in the day, if you went there, you would still find them there, and they will change the story and tell you that they need money to go to the hospital. That is what this Budget is like. I do not think it is intended to grow the economy as the hon. Minister purported. It is intended to siphon money from the members of the public, and I will demonstrate that. A budget ought to be coherent, consistent and very serious because it is basically made of figures, and the words must tally with the figures.


Madam, let me talk about the first inconsistence. The hon. Minister said that at the global level, the driving forces of the economy are Brexit and the prolonged negotiations between the United States of America (USA) and China. At the regional level, he mentioned other things. On the situation in Zambia, he said the driving force is climate change. However, economies are systems. So, what affects the global economy will, ultimately, affect the Zambian economy. The USA has had hurricanes, but the driving force of its economy is not climate change. So, how come the Zambian economy is affected by climate change?


Madam Speaker, assuming it is true that climate change is affecting our economy, why is there a reduction in the money allocated to environmental protection from the average of 1.1 per cent to 1.3 per cent in 2008 to 0.6 per cent now? There is no consistency here. If the problem was the environment and other issues, why has the Government not allocated more money to those areas? There is no consistence between what is being said and the figures in the Budget. This Budget is a conduit for siphoning money from the public.


Madam Speaker, on one hand, the hon. Minister of Finance says that taxes have been reduced and, on another, he says he will increase non-tax revenues in paragraph 143 of the speech. That is like hiring a person to install a Digital Satellite Television (DSTV) dish at your house during the day and that person steals the dish at night. The hon. Minister is basically talking about increasing fees and other charges. Tomorrow, when we wake up, we will be told that toll fees, charges for getting National Registration Card (NRC) or a passport, fines for over-speeding and fees for change of ownership of vehicles have been increased. Those are the non-tax revenues. That will remove money out of the pockets of the people of Zambia. The hon. Minister should have been open enough to specify the non-tax revenues he proposes to adjust to raise the intended amount, which is huge.


Madam Speaker, the Government has told us that the pressure in the economy has been caused by the change in the price of oil on the international market. However, a few years ago, some leaders in the Patriotic Front (PF), including the President, went to Saudi Arabia and, when they came back, to justify that trip, they told Zambians that the landed cost for oil would be K5 per litre. A few years later, that fuel has not come. We who understand how commodity markets work had told them that was not possible. Oil is not bought on the international market by going to Saudi Arabia and saying, “I am the President of Zambia”, as if one is buying katata or gankata, which are local drinks. Oil prices are regulated by commodity markets, and we know what those prices are. Even now, one can search the price of fuel on Google. So, we did not understand how the whole Government could go to Saudi Arabia and say, “We are from Zambia and we need cheap oil”. Our colleagues are siphoning money from the public and making us believe that the Budget will change something, but it will not.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance should have talked about the measures the Government is taking to stabilise the supply of oil and, possibly, the prices. One of the things the United Party for National Development (UPND) would do to stabilise the prices is to deal with the financing for the procurement of oil. We will not be going to expensive sources like the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank to borrow money for procuring petroleum products because our Government will be trustworthy and people will be willing to give it money. Further, we will build a fund for that.


Madam, we should have talked about improving the Tanzania-Zambia Mafuta (TAZAMA) Pipeline Limited, which was constructed a long time ago by the United National Independent Party (UNIP) Government. He should have talked about increasing the storage capacity in the nation and transforming the Indeni Oil Refinery into a proper refinery, not a separator, so we can import proper crude oil and refine it here as opposed to comingling, which we currently do. Those are the issues he should have talked about.


Madam Speaker, our colleagues are saying they have been implementing the industrialisation strategy. However, we have been hearing this story since 2001. Further, we have been told that there have been achievements in cement, detergent and honey production. The PF has been in the Government for eight years, yet it is still relying on bees producing honey for it to collect. Even here, things do not add up. If the Government wants to be collecting honey, who told it that the bees want to be giving it the honey free of charge? The Government has invested money in aquaculture, not in anything related to bee-keeping. It is saying that it will procure fish cages and invest in aquaculture, and has reduced taxes on aquaculture equipment, yet it intends to collect honey from bees in the bush. Where is the money it will use to promote bee-keeping so that it can drive industrialisation? In any case, once we start moving from mining and manufacturing to bee-keeping, it means that our industrialisation strategy has failed. Our colleagues cannot manage and they are panicking, and that is why they are talking about things they do not have control over, such as the bees in the bush. If human beings are failing to produce food for themselves because of climate change, who says the bees are interested in producing honey for the PF to export under the same conditions? There are serious problems in this economy, and I expected extraordinary measures from the hon. Minister of Finance.


Madam Speaker, the President said that for this economy to make sense, it should be growing at around 7 per cent every year, yet the hon. Minister says he expects growth of about 3 per cent. Since 2011, the Government has been talking about achieving growth of about 3 per cent and that is blamed on climate change. Principally, the growing of one crop, maize, has failed as a result of drought. So, the Government is saying that maize alone has moved our GDP from 6.8 per cent to around 2 per cent. If the Government is saying the growth rate of this economy must be around 7 per cent for it to make sense, what is 2 per cent? Is it not an indication of strategies that are failing? Further, when an economy is highly reliant on raw materials and everything change in a season sends it into disarray, does that not tell the Government that its industrialisation strategy has been a flop since 2011, which was about eight years? There is no consistency in what our hon. Colleagues are telling us.


Madam Speaker, this Budget is only meant as a means of collecting money from the public as opposed to achieving anything meaningful. Although the hon. Minister concluded by saying it should not be business as usual, what is happening is even worse than business as usual, which would have kept us at around 5 per cent GDP growth. This is in the negatives. So, there are huge problems here. In my view, we need to address a few things more seriously than they are being addressed.


Madam, on tourism, the hon. Minister talked about roads and infrastructure in the northern circuit. However, I want to assure the Government that there will be no investment there even if we grade the roads. In an economy as troubled as ours, which requires diversification, it takes more than opening constructing a road or two for people to flock in and build things so that the Government can make money. There should have been a connection between what the Government wants to achieve strategically and the infrastructure it is putting up there.


Madam Speaker, in paragraph 55 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister states that:


“The Government will accelerate reforms that will ensure that the energy sector attains cost reflective tariffs to attract investments in various sources of power generation in addition to hydro power. The diversification of the energy mix is in response to the challenges of climate change.”


Madam Speaker, the country has been waiting for the cost of production study in the energy sector, but there is no indication that it will be conducted anytime soon, especially under this Budget. However, the hon. Minister says that the Government will adjust the tariffs meanwhile we have been waiting for the study. The Government is making adjustments on tariffs it has not yet studied, and the industry has not agreed with it. So, what is the essence of the study if it will adjust the tariffs to attract investment in the sector? All these are inconsistencies. On one hand, the Government is waiting for a study and, on the other, it is saying that it will adjust the tariffs. That is a problem.


Madam Speaker, in paragraph 65 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister referred to dams that have been worked, on and he stated that:


“To safeguard water resources in the midst of devastating climate change effects, the Government will intensify programmes aimed at preventing environmental degradation.”


Madam Speaker, we have been talking about small dams for our communities to harvest water. When the hon. Minister of Finance talks about dams, he talks about Mwomboshi Dam, and we have heard about this dam for the last three years. We should have been hearing about smaller earth dams that cost about only K300,000 to K500,000. How can a Government talk about one dam for five years? Some individuals have constructed three or four dams at their farms during the period the Government has only constructed one. That is inconsistency.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister referred to the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), and I hope he was told that we have not yet received the CDF for this year. Since 2011, the Government in which he serves has only distributed the CDF, maybe, in three years, and in some years, it disbursed half of the CDF. Therefore, he cannot emphasise something in the Budget as if it is real when it is not. This Budget will not change anything. We expected a different Budget capable of changing this country, which is in distress. The policy pronouncements and what is obtaining in the country are totally apart.


Madam Speaker, I represent a rural constituency and, according to village wisdom, one should not be seen to be helping somebody who is busy bewitching one’s children. It does not make sense at all for me to support the Budget, and the hon. Minister must categorically state why we do not receive the CDF on time. Money for the 2019 CDF was allocated in the 2019 Budget, but we have not received it yet, and we are now talking about the 2020 Budget. The CDF is part of the little money that goes seen going down to the people. You are busy bewitching my children, but you want me to support the Budget.


Ms Kapata: Bewitching who?


Mr Belemu: People are dying. By today, Kaseko Clinic should have been completed.


Ms Kapata: Who is a witch? There are no witches here.


Mr Belemu: I know how witches look.




Mr Belemu: Madam Speaker, the Budget should have brought in extraordinary measures. While citizens and the public sector are being told to reduce costs and expenditure, there is no difference in certain expenditure lines as far as I am concerned. For example, on trips, I know that some Heads of State in Africa did not go to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) because they wanted to cut costs. Others said it did not make sense to be given twelve minutes to speak to empty chairs. So, they sent Foreign Ministers.  That was far cheaper, especially since this is a year in which we are supposed to repaying the debt.


Sir, the hon. Minister should have told us about the preparations for repaying the Eurobonds, since we are close to 2022 and 2024 when the repayments are due. We should have been talking about that today. Things will be harder in 2022 than they are today because the Eurobond will be due. So many other things in the economy that look like they are covered will begin to go wrong. Some people have been spending money that is mainly borrowed, and the results of that will begin to show. The Budget should have been a platform for the hon. Minister of Finance to tell us how prepared the country is to pay the huge loans that the Government contracted despite being advised against it. In fact, the hon. Minister should ask for a refund from his colleagues in Cabinet who went to Saudi Arabia believing they would get oil. Merely wearing Islamic attire does not produce oil, a product sold on the commodities market.


Hon. Member: Now eating snakes.




Mr Belemu: I do not want to talk about eating snakes because I have relatives who eat tortoises. Nonetheless, snakes are worse than tortoises.


Madam Speaker, I have a problem with the Budget because the hon. Minister has not said anything that we have never heard before in this House. We have heard everything, yet nothing has ever happened, and we are not likely to achieve anything. The best that we can do, as a country, is to agree on four or five items on which to spend money instead of attempting to have a Budget with so many budget lines but end up achieving nothing.


Madam, the hon. Minister should explain why there has been no consistency in the disbursement of the CDF, why there are inconsistencies in the Budget and why there is no direct injection of funds into the local economy via the local authorities. We have been talking about financial decentralisation, but it has not being implemented to date. Therefore, I have a problem with this document.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Prof. Lungwangwa (Nalikwanda): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to contribute to the debate on next year’s Budget. However, before I go into the details, let me congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on presenting the Budget last week on Friday and on withstanding the long time that he took to present it.


Madam Speaker, a Minister of Finance is a primus inter pares, meaning he/she is the first among equals. Clearly, the hon. Minister of Finance has the very important task of steering our economy and advising the President on how the economy should be managed.


Madam, the hon. Minister stated that the 2020 Budget would take into account the challenges the President raised on 13th September, 2019. So, it is important for all of us to listen to state-of-the-nation addresses on the continent of Africa. This year, I took time to carefully listen to the state-of-the-nation addresses for South Africa, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana, and what came out clearly are the similarities in the issues that the Heads of State in those countries addressed. One of those issues is the critical problem of climate change on the continent. The Namibian President and other Presidents described the problem as being extremely serious. So, climate change has come out very strongly in Africa. The other common problems that came out clearly are in food security, inequality, water and sanitation, and energy. It was as if all the Presidents had sat down to agree on the problems affecting Africa. One of the most profound statements was made by the President of Ghana who said, “Yes, my country has challenges, but it is healthy.” The many dimensions of the health aspect include peace, natural resources, an energetic and young population, hope among the people, and knowledge and skills. President Addo also said that the challenges were not insurmountable and could easily be overcome as long as the people worked together, and the theme of working together cuts across almost all the state-of-the-nation addresses I listened to. So, it is important for us to listen to what others say and the issues being raised so that we do not underrate our problems.


Madam Speaker, let me now comment on the Budget presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. Reading through the Budget Speech, the general comment one can make is that we have not seen the targets and milestones for 2020. For example, what do we expect in 2020 in terms of the number of teachers and health workers to be recruited, dams to be constructed and boreholes to be drilled? The Budget is silent on those milestones or targets. Yes, we are probably going to see those targets and milestones in individual ministries’ statements and budgets. We hope we will see them but, if we do not, we will continue asking why they have been left out. I hope the Executive will clarify to us what the targets and milestones for 2020 are because that is what we expect to see in the National Budget.


Madam, this country has a number of areas that are water-logged, such as in Luapula and the Western provinces. However, the Budget for 2020 is silent on allocations for the dredging and development of canals, yet canals are very important in the lives of the people who live in water-logged areas. Yes, there is reference to water resources management, but there is no mention of canals, and this is a very important area on which we need the position of the Government. Those are some of the general comments I think are important. Beyond them, I would like to make some specific comments.


Madam Speaker, the Government has anchored the Budget on certain critical areas, namely climate change and digital technology. The Government wants to see an economy and empowerment programmes driven by digital technology. As far as climate change is concerned, we have seen in the Budget attention paid to different areas in which climate change is pertinent or critical, such as the agriculture, where the Government wants to see smart technologies employed. The Government also wants to pay attention to water management and energy, especially renewable energy. However, one of the problems that will affect the various programmes on climate change is time or speed. How much time will it take, for example, for us to see the results of smart agriculture? In the areas that have been affected drastically by climate change, I think speed is of utmost importance. In addition, as far as agriculture is concerned, there is a critical need to educate the general public who are affected by climate change. For example, they should be taught that nshima cannot only be made using maize meal, as it can also made using millet, sorghum, cassava and other starches. The question is: How much are we going to do to educate our people that the nshima that looks dark, which is prepared using millet or sorghum meal, is as good as that prepared using maize meal? That education is important. So, speed and education are very important in address or squarely head-on the challenge of climate change. In terms of speed, we would like to see a time frame in which the country can be food secure. South Africa has set itself the target of being food secure and ensuring that nobody will be hungry within the next ten years. I think we should equally challenge ourselves by coming up with a time frame in which we should become food secure.


Madam, the hon. Minister anchored the 2020 Budget in the context of digital technology and he has talked about the importance of the national financial switch platform, the Government Service Bus and the need to ensure that there is no attachment to cash on the part of civil servants. I think that is a development milestone, and it is very important because in the past, it was difficult to know in absolute terms how much money the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) and various other institutions that collect revenue or resources on behalf of the Government made.


Madam Speaker, since we are now in the fourth industrial revolution and digital age, there is no reason we cannot manage revenue collection using a digital technology system. We can do it, and that is why the Smart Zambia Institute is in place. We look forward to seeing how much money has been allocated to Smart Zambia Institute and whether that will assist the institution to connect Government departments like it connected 120 departments this year. Next year, it proposes to connect fifty, but I think it can do more. We also want to see how much it will do next year in being accountable and transparent in the collection of revenue. That is very important.


Madam Speaker, empowerment of the local people is very important to our economic growth and sustainable development. The challenge we have, as a country, is that 90 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is contributed by foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) while only 10 per cent is contributed by local companies, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Definitely, that is a challenge to the sustainability of our economic growth and development, and it has to be addressed. I think the challenge is how we can promote economic nationalism and encourage our people to contribute effectively to the growth and development of the economy. We can have industrial yards, as proposed, but we need to do more in terms of ensuring that our people are actually in control of the economy and participate in it more effectively. We should find a way of helping our people to get into the 90 per cent contribution of foreign companies so that we raise their contribution to the GDP a little higher. That has to be done.


Madam, the economic war between China and the United States of America (USA) is born of economic nationalism and a desire by both countries to protect their trade interests and ensure that there is fair trade. Many countries are doing that while we have, in a way, let our economy loose. Somebody can come into Zambia with almost nothing, participate in the timber industry and, at the end of a year or two, be a dollar millionaire after destroying our environment. We cannot allow that. We should take steps to protect the country and ensure that our resources are exploited mainly by Zambians. Such measures can be put in place.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.




Mr Mbangweta (Nkeyema): Madam Speaker, why am I being instructed on how to debate?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Nkeyema, you have the Floor.


Mr Mbangweta: Madam, I would like to make some reflections on the Budget Speech presented last week. Firstly, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on the good speech and on prevailing over his colleagues, who were had initially been very inflexible, to maintain the Value Added Tax (VAT). In fact, on Friday, I followed the way he explained to his professional colleagues at Deloitte and Touche Zambia Limited and Grant Thornton Zambia how he arrived at that decision. I commend him, as that is the way to go. Truly, you must make the civil servants and the bureaucrats in your ministry to sit up because –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, debate through the Chair. If you wish to give him advice, you can do that outside the House. For now, you are debating the Budget Address through the Chair.


Mr Mbangweta: Madam Speaker, I thank you for the guidance. I will get to the issues.


Madam, despite the speech being very good, it is spoiled on the last page in paragraph 148, where the hon. Minister says that:


“Sir, corruption is against our core national values and will not be condoned. Let me reaffirm the Patriotic Front Government’s resolve to protect public resources. To this end, the Government shall enforce all the provisions of the Public Finance Management Act No. 1 of 2018.”


That is unnecessary when forty-nine houses were built but cannot be ascribed to anybody, and there are forty-eight other houses in the same situation. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) reports to the Ministry of Finance. So, the bureaucrats cannot include such a statement in the speech when they have failed to find out about things that belong to the people of Zambia. That is what I mean. The statement is unnecessary and it does not add value to the speech.


Madam, on page 1 of the speech, the hon. Minister talked about enforcing the policy of sub-contracting 20 per cent of projects to Zambian contractors, and we expected the bureaucrats to say why they have not been implementing that measure. Merely telling us what people have been complaining about does not add value to our work. The politicians have already told them that they want Zambians to participate in projects through the 20 per cent sub-contracting policy. However, the people of Zambia are not participating. So, who is stopping them? It is the bureaucrats. So, what value are they adding by telling us what they are telling us?


Madam Speaker, in paragraph 8 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister states that:


“For this Budget to achieve its objectives, it will require us to deliver on our commitments with discipline, determination and dedication.”


So, has there been indiscipline all this time? What is the problem? Words like these do not add value.


Madam Speaker, let me now talk about the substantive issues. A Budget is a plan of income and expenditure for the coming year.


Ms Siliya: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Ms Siliya: Madam Speaker, I apologise for disturbing the flow of debate of the hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor.


Madam Speaker, I am a bit lost and want to understand the reasoning. Is the hon. Member for Nkeyema insinuating that the hon. Minister of Finance should not have referred to corruption because there are incidences of corruption in the country? In the same vein, is he insinuating that hon. Members should not ask for police posts to be built or police officers recruited because there is crime in the country? I am lost.


I seek your ruling, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Nkeyema will take the point of order into account as he continues to debate.


Mr Mbangweta: Madam Speaker, let me explain what I meant. We have been told that no one knows the owner of the ninety-seven houses. The FIC reports to the Ministry of Finance, nominally. So, the bureaucrats who should have assisted the process cannot come here and tell us that the Patriotic Front (PF) will do this and that when they have failed to provide information. That is an irrelevant issue because it just shows failure. I am also saying that the Government told the people of Zambia that Zambian contractors would be allocated 20 per cent of projects awarded to foreign contractors. However, that is not happening and, today, our colleagues are telling us that they will enforce that policy. Why have they not been enforcing it all this time? Who stopped them from enforcing it? Is that not incompetence?


Madam, I said earlier that the Budget is a plan of revenue and expenditure for the year. In this case, we are told that the non-discretionary component of the Budget is 90.9 per cent, which means that for the next two weeks, we will sit here and discuss the 9.1 per cent for discretionary expenditure. Is that the way we should use our time in this Parliament? I do not think so. This means that the Budget has difficulties in that regard because there is no room to manoeuvre. In other words, out of K106 billion, we will talk about K10 billion in the next two weeks, and I do not think that that is the way to add value to our activities.


Madam Speaker, in the President’s Speech, we were told that to come out of poverty, our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate should be at a minimum of 7 per cent. When the PF Government took over from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), the GDP growth rate was at 7 per cent. In countries like Rwanda and Ethiopia, the rate is over 8 per cent while here in Zambia, under the PF, our ambition is to grow the economy at the rate of 3 per cent. How have we been developing after 2010? We are now talking about a 3 per cent GDP growth rate. What development is that? There is no value there. In effect, there is no sync at all between what the hon. Minister said and what the President said, and that just shows failure because we needed to have some basis for getting inspired. If Ethiopia, Rwanda and other countries can aspire for better, and the GDP growth rate under the MMD was 7 per cent, why should this Government that pontificates about being a hardworking Government take us to 2 per cent or 3 per cent?


Madam Speaker, let me talk about climate change. It is unfortunate that climate change appears to have taken the centre stage of the President’s Speech because we all remember that at one time, this country sent many people to go and talk about climate change abroad, and there was an uproar about the size of the delegation. However, when I look at the allocation to environmental issues as a percentage of the Budget, it is clear that the Government appreciated climate change better then because it allocated 1.3 per cent of the Budget to climate change. In the 2019 Budget, it allocated 1.0 per cent and in the 2020 Budget, 0.5 per cent. Does that reflect the President’s Speech or the urgency in the overall scheme of things? The answer is definitely ‘No’. Otherwise, all our resources must be spent on the problem once it has been identified.


Madam Speaker, in the social sectors, where development for Zambians should be reflected, the Government has fallen short. In 2018, 9.5 per cent of the Budget was allocated to health while in 2019, the allocation was 9.3 per cent. Now, the Government has allocated 8.8 per cent to health, and our hon. Colleagues say that they are spending money on health. In what sense are they doing that when the amounts being spent on health are decreasing? On education, which is supposed to be an equaliser for all of us, in 2018, 16.1 per cent of the Budget was allocated to the sector while 15.3 per cent was allocated in 2019. However, in the 2020 Budget, only 12.4 per cent has been allocated. With everything going in reverse like this, we can never get to a 7 per cent GDP growth rate. At the rate we are going, at some point, we may get to 0 per cent. Further, on social protection, in this Budget Speech and previous ones, there have been concerns about retirees who have worked diligently for this country for many years but, at the end of the day, have not been paid their dues. In the Budget for 2018, the allocation to this line was 3.2 per cent while in 2019, it was 2.5 per cent. In the 2020 Budget, however, it is 2.4 per cent, yet the hon. Minister says that he wants to assist the retirees. How will he assist them when the number of retirees is becoming bigger while the money allocated to that function is reducing?


Madam Speaker, regarding public order and the police, we have been saying that there is no need to spend so much money on the police because this country is not in a war situation. The money the police uses and even misuses to subdue citizens comes from the taxes we pay. So, in theory and practice, the police should respect the people who pay their salaries and buy them equipment instead of trying to subduing them. That is what their bosses should be telling them. Our colleagues are spending less on education and more on the police. In 2018, we allocated 3.9 per cent of the Budget to public order and safety, in 2019, we allocated 3.3 per cent and, in the 2020 Budget, we allocated 3.8 per cent. What is the justification? Crime is increasing, but the police only know how to subdue political competitors who pay their salaries. The police and their bosses ought to be educated that things do not work that way. They must respect us who pay them. This House should also not allow the spending of money that should go to hospitals and schools on the police, who do wrong things. There is no reason for that.


Madam Speaker, based on what I have said, the Budget does not give hope to the Zambian worker. What would the people of Zambia look for in this Budget? For instance, there is nothing a worker will get out of this Budget apart from more expenses and less disposable income in the pocket because all the costs, including electricity tariffs. are going up. I hope that is clear.


Madam Speaker, on the last page of the speech, the hon. Minister of Finance says:


“Mr Speaker, I propose to revise upwards to cost reflective levels various fees and fines charged by Government departments.”


We know that the fees and fines are road licences, toll fees, levies and other charges, and that is where the little disposable income that people have will go. That is how the Government is going to get money through the back door and reduce the little money people will have. So, what is in the Budget for the people? Nothing!


Madam Speaker, what is in the Budget for the farmer in Nkeyema? We have seen a reduction in the allocation to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). This year, it was K1.4 billion, but the allocation has been reduced to K1.1 billion for next year despite our still having issues with the programme. People have no access to their monies and farming inputs. So, what is in it for them? Naturally, they will have the same problems they have been having. In fact, I have an issue with the statement that the Social Cash Transfer Scheme will now be implemented electronically. Again, that is one of the bland statements that do not mean anything because in Nkeyema, where connectivity is virtually non-existent, how will a project implemented electronically work? The technocrats should have told the hon. Minister, and in fact the hon. Minister knows, that the people who are supposed to be paid the Social Cash Transfer funds are not paid. That is the issue, not what is being propagated here. So, let us treat citizens with respect. The hon. Minister said that he will move away from making Budgets and statements that do not mean anything, and I think that is what he has been talking about with the professionals. I sincerely agree with him on that.


Madam Speaker, I request that in future, statements that do not add value are not included in speeches because we know that on the ground, things are different. For example, in my area, the people are worried because the Ministry of Agriculture announced that today would be the last day for paying for FISP, yet the exercise started last week. You can imagine the disconnect when we are being told about FISP this and that here while on the ground, people are worried about the date that was set and want it to be extended.


Madam Speaker, World Vision constructed a referral hospital in Nkeyema and I think there is a similar facility in Pemba. However, we cannot benefit fully from that facility because the Government has failed to raise less than K200,000 to install power in that area. So, I request the hon. Minister to favourably look at this issue because our failure to use that facility does not set a good example to the donors who gave it to us. That is the service the people in the village expect, not these fancy words here.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Musokotwane (Liuwa): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the 2020 Budget presented to this House last Friday by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, when business was suspended, I had just started debating.


Madam, the first thing I want to do this afternoon is congratulate my long time friend, the hon. Minister of Finance, on making his maiden speech and wish him well. In his private capacity, he used to enjoy debating Budgets at the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ), and I hope that he will enjoy listening to me debate his Budget today. I also to thank the former hon. Minister of Finance, who is also a long time colleague, for her efforts in managing the economy and finances of this country during the period she had the responsibility of doing that.


Madam Speaker, the Budget the hon. Minister presented last Friday is the ninth to be presented under the Patriotic Front (PF) Administration and it was presented by the fourth Minister of Finance, there having been three Ministers of Finance in the last four years. Clearly, when you see a change of cadres, corps or personnel, you know that there is a problem because finger-pointing starts. With the good will I have extended to him, I hope the current hon. Minister of Finance will succeed and, therefore, last in the position.


Madam Speaker, one way of looking at the Budget is to look at the single year, 2020, while noting the fact that this is the eighth year of the PF in office. Perhaps, it is more useful to look at the Budget in the context of the eight years the PF has been in office because in two years’ time, there is a high chance that it will get out of office. Therefore, this is the time to start looking at its legacy and what it has done to our economy.


Madam, I will step back a bit and point out to the hon. Minister that the PF inherited a very strong economy from the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), and that this was acknowledged on the Floor of this House by the first PF hon. Minister of Finance. However, since then, the PF has worked very efficiently to destroy the economy. Let me give indicators of that failure. At the time I am talking about, the economy of this country was growing at about –




Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, could you, please, protect me.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Chilanga, help the House to be orderly.


The hon. Member for Liuwa may continue.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, the economy of this country at the time the PF took over power, as many other people have stated, was strong and its growth rate ranged between 6 per cent and 7 per cent per annum. We are now struggling to get to 2 per cent growth per annum. Further, at the time the PF took over power, foreign debt was less than US$2 billion. Today, it is more than US$10 billion, and I am not including the domestic debt in that. In the 2020 Budget, the hon. Minister is proposing to borrow an extra US$2 billion, which means that the total stock of external debt by next year will be more than US$12 billion. If we add domestic debt and other things, we are talking about debt exceeding US$17 billion. Additionally, at the time the PF took over power, the foreign reserves of this country were more than US$2.6 billion. Actually, during the first few years of the PF in office, the foreign reserves went beyond US$3 billion because of the Eurobond. Today, the reserves have fallen to US$1.4 billion. At one time, they were only US$1.3 billion, making the possibility of an exchange rate crisis very high.


Madam, let me talk about debt servicing or money going out of the Budget to service external debt. In 2011, this country only spent US$87 million to service external debt. In next year’s Budget, the hon. Minister is proposing to spend US$1.6 billion. Further, previously, the exchange rate was at about K5 per US$1. Today, it is at about K13 per US$1. Those microeconomic indicators or vital signs, as they are sometimes called, have a real bearing on the lives of human beings. Let me give examples. At the time the PF took over power, a 25 kg bag of mealie meal was at K35. Today, in Kalabo, it is at K150. Further, Zambians have fond memories of the time a litre of petrol was at K7. Today, it is at almost K16. Zambians also remember the time it was easy to do business and young people jumped on aeroplanes to go to Dubai, South Africa or Tanzania to order stuff for sale. They also fabricated materials in markets, be they metal or wood. Today, those business opportunities have evaporated, as it is difficult to sell anything. When one goes to some shopping malls, one can tell by the shop owners’ looks that they pray for one to walk into their stores and buy something. Business and life have become difficult after eight years of the PF, which promised a very easy life for the people of Zambia but has given them the total opposite of what it promised.


Madam Speaker, with all the numerous problems we have faced over the last eight years, I think it is appropriate to ask how the 2020 Budget hopes to improve the lives of Zambians. Is there anything in this Budget that can turn things around from the trajectory of getting worse to that of improving? Unfortunately, my answer is ‘No’, and I will give reasons. In the Budget, the hon. Minister wants to spend K105 billion, of which K27.5 billion will be borrowed from outside for capital projects in the country, such as the construction of airports. That money is for specific projects and, if one’s constituency happens to be a beneficiary of that, one is lucky. The hon. Members with constituencies in Ndola and Lusaka are lucky because of the airport projects. However, for the majority of us seated in this House, the problems are incomplete high schools, blown off roofs and poor feeder roads. The money that comes from outside the country only benefits a few people. If you ask the voters what benefit they will get from K27.5 billion, they answer will be ‘Nothing’.


Mr Sikazwe: The Mongu/Kalabo Road.


Dr Musokotwane: It was not your project. Do not pretend to know the origin of that road.


Madam Speaker, talking about international roads, the Mongu/Kalabo Road was not supposed to end in Kalabo because that does not make economic sense. It was supposed to go all the way to Angola so that the imports that Angola gets from Brazil, which are worth billions of dollars, can be supplied by Zambia. Last week, the contractor working on the portion of the road from Kalabo to Angola demobilised because the Government failed to give him the counterpart funding for the project.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order on my right!


We still have time for hon. Members who wish to debate, including the hon. Minister for Presidential Affairs.


May the hon. Member for Liuwa continue.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, if we take out the K27.5 billion that the hon. Minister intends to borrow or if we focus on the money we will collect from our taxes, we are talking about K71,927,020,280, according to the Budget. Out of that amount, Public Service workers’ salaries and debt servicing take about K66 billion, and what remains out of this Budget of K105 billion is only about K6 billion or K7 billion. In other words, out of every kwacha of tax we collect, only 6n is left to spend on Zambians. So, this Budget’s main priority is to pay salaries and taxes. That is all. The rest of the allocations the hon. Minister talked about, such as to agriculture, tourism and water development, will be small amounts of money that will not make a difference because the rest of the money will service debts. So, those of you who were applauding on Friday, just know that the incomplete classroom blocks in your constituencies –




Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Madam Speaker.


I cannot hear what the hon. Member is saying because of the noise on the right side.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seat, hon. Member for Liuwa.


Dr Musokotwane: I am losing time. I have lost about one minute already.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seat, hon. Member for Liuwa.


Hon. Members on the right, especially the hon. Cabinet Members, the information being presented is important for you to use in rebuttal or in correcting the record. So, I expect you to listen. However, just in case some of you are not interested, I am very sure the hon. Minister of Finance is interested in the information being presented in this House.  Allow the hon. Member to continue uninterrupted.


Continue, hon. Member for Liuwa continue.


Dr Musokotwane: Madam Speaker, I have lost about half a minute.


Madam Speaker, the consequence of the Budget presented is that the feeder roads projects that are on a standstill will continue to stall. Equally, there is a 95 per cent chance that the schools that Hon. Mabumba is always talking about, such as Libonda High School, which are on standstill, will remain unfinished. Furthermore, there is a high possibility that many other infrastructure projects will remain unfinished because the money will go to debt repayments rather than to the Zambian public. That is what is in the Budget.


Madam Speaker, apart from the possibility of many ongoing projects stalling, business will continue being difficult in this country, as businessmen and women will continue finding it difficult to sell things because money will go outside the country to service debts. Already, Government departments and Parliament are not funded properly and, when institutions are not funded, how can they support local businesses? Where will the money come from?


Madam, the core of the economic problem we are going through is the debt crisis. I know my hon. Colleagues on the right do not want to accept that there is a debt crisis in this country but, surely, if out of every kwacha, we can only spend less than 10n, that is a debt crisis. Therefore, what we expected to hear from the hon. Minister of Finance are specific measures that he is taking to alleviate the debt crisis. I know the hon. Minister indicated in the speech that he will limit the debt-to-GDP ratio to 5 per cent. However, we have heard this story before. All his predecessors have talked of how they would limit debt but, in the end, they did the opposite. That is why at one point, I said that the Treasury seems to be under capture of some forces. Why is it that hon. Ministers make proclamations, but the results are always contrary to the proclamations? What is the problem? It means that there is a force that has captured the Treasury. So, if the hon. Minister takes the issue of consolidating finances lightly, he might end up being one of the statistics of those who have failed to consolidate, and I am saying this as a friend.


Madam Speaker, with what has happened, the possibility of having an International Monitory Fund (IMF) programme this year is non-existent. Why?


Mr Lusambo interjected.


Dr Musokotwane: Yes, I know, of course. You do not know.


The reason is that each time the IMF team comes here, they always declare a readiness to put the country on a programme provided the Government can demonstrate that it is finally taking a grip on the debt situation, and that it is serious. However, with the extra US$2 billion debt that the Government has budgeted for this year, when it goes to Washington, the IMF will laugh and ask it to go back when it is serious. Therefore, we will not have a programme this year.


Madam Speaker, let us not get tempted to tax ourselves out of the debt crisis. I am very happy, and I congratulate the hon. Minister on standing against the Sales Tax. Kudos to him because that was going to kill the economy. Let us not get tempted into thinking that we can end this crisis by taxing ourselves like the PF has done. There is tax on boreholes and driving licences, but that will not work. The only solution is for the Government to find ways of growing the economy.


Madam Speaker, let me say this in conclusion: Zambians, do not despair because we are coming to fix the economy so that Zambia becomes like Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. So, hold on, Zambians, we are coming.


Thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Sampa (Kasama Central): Madam Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to add a wonderful voice to this debate on behalf of the wonderful people of Kasama.


Madam Speaker, from the outset, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on a well-presented Budget Speech that has given hope not only to the people of Zambia but also to would-be investors. I also take this opportunity to state that the hon. Minister of Finance categorically stated the world economic problems faced by other nations, not only Zambia. So, I get amazed and amused when intelligent people in this country want to take the debate in a different direction from what the world is facing and blame the Government. South Africa, which was referred to by some intelligent leaders in this august House, is even more affected than Zambia.


Madam, what the hon. Minister of Finance has done for this country is something for which we should truly commend and thank the Government for listening. Maintaining the Value Added Tax (VAT) is truly a plus for this Government because its possible abolition had caused uncertainty among both local and international business houses. So, this move has given much hope to both local and international investors. What surprises me is that even when our brothers on the other side know that this is a good response from the Government, they still want to find a way to oppose it. I know that being in the Opposition is hard. No wonder they always want to oppose even the good things that the Government wants to do. However, that is unfortunate for our great country, Zambia. People must give solutions instead of always opposing for the sake of being known to be people who can speak. Even when one is intelligent, one will come out as being dull, which is very unfortunate.


Madam Speaker, the Government of His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is not going anywhere; it is here to stay, and I commend the hon. Minister of Finance for adding value to the youths living with disabilities. That is a great plus for this country because most of the time, we tend to forget about the existence of that minority group. However, the Government has been very responsible and responsive to that age group.


Madam Speaker, the commitment to dismantling the local debt could not come at a better time than now. We know that local contractors have been hit badly. However, since the Patriotic Front (PF) is a listening Government, it wants to ensure that money circulates within the country, hence its prioritisation of the dismantling of the debt owed to local contractors, which is a plus. I, therefore, commend the hon. Minister for that move, which includes the payment of retirees. Many Governments have come and gone, but none of them ever prioritised the dismantling of debt owed to retirees. Now, that has been done, and that is why I say the PF is not going anywhere. I know that our people have been hit badly but, since we believe in being a pro-poor Government, we are trying to reach them.


Madam Speaker, climate change has taken such a centre stage that our colleagues want to use its effects to accuse the Government of corruption, which is very unfortunate. Climate change is a natural calamity, and no government or person can control a natural calamity. Why would somebody want to relate our problems to corruption when we have a serious power generation deficit and power is the engine on which the economic stability of this country depends? Some want to take advantage of this problem but, fortunately, the people of Zambia are well informed. No matter how many times one tries to connect corruption to power generation, it will not work because the people know what is going on and the effects of climate change.


Madam Speaker, climate change cuts across tribes and religions. Further, we are all responsible and cannot run away from it. So, we need to work hand in hand and educate the masses on what is going on and how we can overcome climate change. This is not a problem that should be left to the Government alone. We all know what the problems are. Great nations like Brazil and the Amazon have been affected, and we all know that 70 per cent of the oxygen of the world is produced in the Amazon. So, much as many people and great leaders who represent constituencies want to politicise it, climate change is real.


Madam Speaker, the northern part of Zambia has been very blessed because there was a heavy downfall of rain yesterday. In that regard, we need to start focusing on the Northern Circuit for power generation. I am also glad that the hon. Minister of Finance stated that the Government will concentrate on developing the northern region to enhance the tourism sector, which is a plus.


Madam, with those few words, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for his well-presented speech.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Lubezhi (Namwala): Madam Speaker, from the outset, I acknowledge the hon. Minister of Finance’s courage for accepting to be Minister of Finance at a time all the economic indicators of the country are going down. I really envy his tenacity.


Madam Speaker, if I were asked to define the Budget in one word, I would say ‘scary’. This Budget is very scary in the sense that it does not speak to the ordinary Zambian or about creating jobs. As Hon. Dr Musokotwane stated, the Government plans to borrow US$2 billion in 2020 amidst the debt stress this country is already going through, and that is why I say that this Budget is scary.


Madam Speaker, before we had the ‘outbreak’ of the infrastructure pandemic in this country, the economy was growing steadily. The economy started going down in 2011 when our hon. Colleagues came into office and started borrowing recklessly. When the hon. Minister of Finance comes to respond to the issues raised, I ask him to help me understand what motivates them to borrow. I would appreciate an understanding of their appetite for borrowing despite the debt stress this country is currently going through.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister is confident that in 2020, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) will surpass its tax revenue collection target, but that is wishful thinking going by the Budget we have at hand. In any case, if at all there are people who are congratulating the hon. Minister on his Budget, I do not think they mean well to him and his job. I say so because were I Minister of Finance, I would not be proud to present a Budget 90 per cent of whose money I cannot touch because it is already spent, as 40 per cent of the Budget is for debt servicing and 50 per cent is for wages. Only 9 per cent is left. So, how must I be a proud Minister of Finance? We can do better than that.


Madam Speaker, I do not blame the hon. Minister of Finance, but his fellow hon. Ministers in the Patriotic Front (PF) for our problems because they do not take their work seriously. I will give the example of what happened last week. When an hon. Minister was responding to a question, instead of stating what his ministry has for the people of Zambia, he talked about sjamboking animals and how they cry, “Moo, moo, moo”. To date, I am at sea. That is why I would rather become a cow, go to Namwala and graze freely in the Namwala plains than be mocked by this Budget.


Madam Speaker, as regards the ZRA surpassing its target, let us be practical. We all know that it can never collect revenues from a vacuum, and I say so because of what the country is currently going through. Going by the Budget, there is no job creation. We do not expect any jobs or investor confidence from this Budget. However, the hon. Minister talks about revenue collection. Collecting it from whom? Revenue cannot be collected from a vacuum. In case our hon. Colleagues do not know, because of load-shedding in the country, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which are the hub of any economy, are winding up, and that means job losses. So, from whom and where does the hon. Minister of Finance expect to collect revenue when the SMEs, the hub of the economy, are winding up?


Madam Speaker, today, there are no queues in banks because there is no money in the country.

Whether our hon. Colleagues like it or not, the country is in a liquidity crisis. That is a fact, and I am glad the hon. Minister is a former banker. The proof of deposit (POD) figures have been going down every month, day and second, and one can get those figures from the Central Bank. At the end of each day, banks send POD figures to the Bank of Zambia (BoZ), and the figures have been going down. That tells us that we are in a liquidity crisis. That is why I said that this Budget is really scary. I do not know how the ordinary Zambians will survive. As if that were not bad enough, from the time the former Minister of Finance, Mr Chikwanda, introduced the Sinking Fund to help us pay off the Eurobond debt when it matures, this is the second time I am seeing an amount has been allocated towards the redemption of the Eurobond, and it is to the tune of K636 million. When the hon. Minister comes to respond to the issues raised, I will be grateful if he tells the House how much has been sunk in that Sinking Fund so far. The first instalment towards the repayment of the Eurobond is US$750 million, and it is due in 2022, yet we are reserving K636 million? This is a mockery, and it is one of the reasons I am saying that this Budget is scary. I do not know why these people have decided to plunge this nation into such an awkward position.


Madam, this Budget, under economic affairs, has allocated K10.5 billion to road infrastructure development, which is just under a department in a ministry. From my simple arithmetic, and I stand to be corrected, that amount translates into 48 per cent of domestic revenue. Now, if 48 per cent of domestic revenue goes to one item, what does that tell you? That is why I am saying that I will really be grateful if the hon. Minister of Finance addresses my concerns when he responds to the issues raised. I want to understand the appetite for infrastructure development. Could it be that this is where they practice their corruption by inflating tenders or getting kickbacks? I would really appreciate if the hon. Minister of Finance explained this.


Madam, in Zambia, we have a situation in which 60 per cent of the monies that were borrowed have gone into road infrastructure and 48 per cent of our domestic revenue will go into that yet, if you asked me about the state of our road infrastructure ‒ it was only last week that the hon. Member for Chipili was on the Floor of this House lamenting the state of the roads in the northern part of the country. There is nothing there. Further, the Monze/Niko Road Project has stalled since 2012. So, which roads and infrastructure are our colleagues working on? The building that used to be the filter clinic at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH), on your left as you drive in, is still incomplete, while the construction of the Lusaka/Ndola Dual Carriageway has only gone up to Mandevu. I am always on that road and I know that from Mandevu to Ndola, there is no construction activity on it. So, when our colleagues talk about infrastructure, could it be that this is the money that has mushroomed in form of the forty-eight houses? What infrastructure are they talking about when all the old buildings in this country, including the UTH, are dilapidated?


Madam Speaker, instead allocating more money to ministries like the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, which can help create the 1 million jobs it always sings about but which we have never seen, the Government has given them paltry allocations while allocating K10 billion to one department under the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development.  That amount even beats the allocation to the Ministry of Health, which got between K9.3 billion and K9.8 billion. What is that? Does the Government want sick and hungry people to drive on good roads? Would it not make sense for healthy people to walk or drive on average-standard roads? The question is: Are those roads even economic? The answer is ‘No’.


Madam Speaker, when our hon. Colleagues introduced the Sales Tax, around this time last year, we told them there was no way they could introduce a consumption tax in this volatile economy, but they argued with us. I am glad the hon. Minister, who is the wiser among his colleagues, has heeded our advice. The former Minister of Finance wasted money going round the country sensitising the public about the Sales Tax, as we were told. However, when withdrawing the Sales Tax Bill last week, we were told that the Government is consulting on the issue. So, which is which? We gave them the free advice that the Sales Tax is a consumption tax that could not hold in our economy and that it would just cause job losses. I am glad the hon. Minister of Finance, probably the only wise man among his colleagues, has acknowledged that.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order in the House!


Ms Lubezhi: Madam Speaker, Zambia benefitted from the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) debt relief initiative in 2005. How I wish we had continued on that path. I wonder how the Government feels about inheriting a healthy Treasury and depleting it.




Ms Lubezhi: Madam Speaker, I need your protection from high-level hecklers.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: You have my protection. So, continue with your debate.


Ms Lubezhi: Madam Speaker, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government left a healthy Treasury that the PF has depleted. They call themselves patriotic, but I doubt they are. In fact, they are very unpatriotic. Every patriotic person is concerned about the livelihoods of the people he/she leads, but the PF are so unpatriotic that they do not care about the people they lead. If they cared about the people they lead, honestly speaking, would they allocate K1.1 billion to the Farmer Support Input Programme (FISP) amidst climate change and hunger in the country, which they know about very well and, then, allocate K10 billion to infrastructure? Come on, this is a joke! Our colleagues can do better than that. The people they are subjecting to harsh economic challenges are the ones who unfortunately voted for them, and the day of reckoning will come in 2021.


Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for heeding our advice to maintain VAT because I was worried about the unnecessary headaches our colleagues would have given us had they implemented the Sales Tax.


Mr Mweetwa: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to rise on what I consider to be a very important point of order in respect of the decorum of this House.


Madam Speaker, I am gravely concerned about the behaviour of this Patriotic Front (PF). It has always been a practice of this House that when the Executive moves a Motion as important as this one on the Budget, the hon. Members of the right are readily available to support it. However, I have noted that today, other than the mover of the Motion, the PF are not willing to support their Motion. So far, only we, the United Party for National Development (UPND) hon. Members, have been debating the Motion.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order on my right!


Let him finish his point of order.


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Speaker, I am concerned because for a very long time, the practice has been that the Executive is at the forefront of supporting this Motion. Are our colleagues now suggesting that they are not happy with the appointment of the new hon. Minister of Finance or that they do not agree with the Budget he presented to this House?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order, hon. Member for Choma Central?


Mr Mweetwa: Madam Speaker, my point of order is: Are our colleagues in order to come to this House and remain mute, leaving it to us to debate, when they must be the ones to justify the contents of the Budget?


Madam Speaker, I need your serious ruling.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The serious ruling is that the Budget was just presented last week on Friday. So, the hon. Members of the Cabinet are in order to listen to the issues being raised by the hon. Members on the left so that they can respond to them later. In that regard, they are in order.


May the hon. Member for Namwala continue.


Ms Lubezhi: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for lightening our burden in 2021 because I was worried that had the Government implemented the Sales Tax, it would have given us –


Mr Mbulakulima: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mbulakulima: Madam Speaker, as you know, I rarely raise points of order and only do so when there is a very serious matter.


Madam, is the hon. Member debating in order to not acknowledge that for the first time, after the presentation of the Budget, the full Cabinet is here listening attentively, as you can see? The hon. Members of the Executive are seated on the Frontbench, seriously listening to the debate, and this is unprecedented.


Madam Speaker, I need your serious ruling.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that she is in order, especially given that the Cabinet or the hon. Members of the Executive are doing what is expected of them, which is to be in the House.


The hon. Member for Namwala may continue.


Ms Lubezhi: Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance because he has lightened our burden when we come into power in 2021, as the United Party for National Development (UPND). Had the Government implemented the Sales Tax, we would have had difficulties polishing up the tax regime in our country.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance also talked about corruption. I beg the PF Government to stop corruption and let the little that is there, the 9.1 per cent discretionary expenditure of the Budget, trickle down to the vulnerable. Please, stop corruption.


Madam Speaker, lastly, the appetite for corruption in these our colleagues on the right –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: withdraw that, Hon. Member for Namwala.


Ms Lubezhi: I withdraw, Madam Speaker.


Madam Speaker, the appetite for corruption in this country, under the PF Government, has exposed our sovereignty to danger. We all know that because nothing trickles down to the vulnerable. The Budget is not faithful to an ordinary Zambian, and that is why I said that it is very scary.


I thank you, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!




The Chief Whip and Acting Leader of Government Business in the House (Mr Mundubile): Madam Speaker, I beg to move that the House do now adjourn.


Question put and agreed to.




The House adjourned at 1929 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 2nd October, 2019.