Tuesday, 8th October, 2019

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Tuesday, 8th October, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours


[MR SPEAKER in the Chair]












Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you will recall that last week, the hon. Minister of Finance issued a Notice of Motion that sought to increase the amounts outstanding at any one time on domestic and external loans. The Motion was supplement to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 3rd October, 2019. On the same day, the hon. Minister of Finance withdrew the said Motion through a Notice of Withdrawal of Notice of Motion, which was also supplement to the Votes and Proceedings of Thursday, 3rd October, 2019. Regrettably, the Notice of Motion was inadvertently included in the business that the House is expected to consider this week, as announced by Her Honour the Vice-President on Friday, 4th October, 2019. The item should not have been included in the statement by Her Honour the Vice-President.


I thank you.








Mr Speaker: Hon. Members, you will recall that on Tuesday, 24th September, 2019, while the House was considering the Motion on His Excellency the President’s Address and Hon. C. M. Miyutu, Member of Parliament for Kalabo Central Constituency, was on the Floor, Hon. D. Livune, Member of Parliament for Katombola Constituency, raised the following point of order:


“Sir, I rise on a point of order on the Managing Editor of the Daily Nation newspaper.


“As the custodian of our privileges and rights, we seek your protection because on page 8 of the Daily Nation newspaper dated Saturday, 21st September, 2019, there is an article to do with climate change. It is telling the world that the United Party for National Development (UPND) hon. Members of Parliament do not care about climate change and are saying that climate change is not an issue. I will lay the paper on the Table after I am done with my task.


“Mr Speaker, this team of UPND hon. Members of Parliament foresaw the issue of climate change as far back as 2016. This is the reason we brought a Motion on this important subject on the Floor of this House.


“Mr Speaker, the subject of the matter is that, as UPND hon. Members of Parliament – and it is on record in the Hansard – none of us has underplayed the importance of climate change. However, all we have refused is for hon. Members of Parliament on the right to mislead the nation and hide their inefficiencies in climate change issues. Long before 2016, we told them of the effects of climate change and they refused and even defeated our Motion on the Floor of this House.


“Sir, is the Daily Nation newspaper in order to start interfering with our abilities of providing checks and balances on the Government, which fails to plan and take care of issues that come as a result of climate change? Is buying a fire tender for US$1 million climate change or is it the Government’s ineptness and failure to provide leadership?


“Sir, I seek your serious ruling as regards the protection of our rights to provide checks and balances on the Government’s failure to properly plan for the nation. Is the Daily Nation newspaper in order to mislead the world and cast aspersions and put us in bad light to the nation?


“Mr Speaker, I will lay the paper on the Table so that you protect our interests and rights.


“I seek your ruling, Mr Speaker.”


In my immediate response, I reserved my ruling to enable me to study the material referred to and render a measured ruling. I have since studied the matter and now render my ruling.


Hon. Members, the point of order raised by Hon. D. Livune raises the issue of contempt of the House with regard to a person publishing false or scandalous libel on hon. Members of Parliament. In this regard, I remind the House that the freedom of speech and debate of Members of Parliament is guaranteed under Article 76 of the Constitution, which is expressed in the following terms:


“(1)      A Member of Parliament has freedom of speech and debate in the National Assembly and that freedom shall not be ousted or questioned in a court or tribunal.


  “(2)    A Member of Parliament shall have the powers, privileges and immunities, as prescribed.”


The powers, privileges and immunities of Members of Parliament are prescribed under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, Chapter 12 of the Laws of Zambia. Section 25(b) the Act provides as follows:


“Any person who publishes any false or scandalous libel on the Assembly or any report which wilfully misrepresents in any way the proceedings of the Assembly or any committee shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding five thousand penalty units or to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding twelve months or to both.”


Further, prominent authors on parliamentary procedures and practice, S. L. Shakdher and M. N. Kaul, in their book entitled Practice and Procedure of Parliament, Sixth Edition (New Delhi, Lok Sabha, 2009), state as follows at page 293:


“It is a breach of privilege and contempt of the House to make speeches or to print and publish libels reflecting on the character or proceedings of the House or its Committees, or any Member of the House for or relating to his character or conduct as a Member of Parliament ‒


“Speeches and writings reflecting on the House or its Committees or its Members are punished by the House as contempt on the principle that such acts tend to obstruct the House in the performance of its functions by diminishing the respect due to it.”


Hon. Members, from the foregoing authorities, it is clear that it is a breach of parliamentary privilege and contempt of the House for a person to publish a false or scandalous libel on the House or its Members. Under the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act, such a breach is an offence and the perpetrator is liable to prosecution.


Hon. Members, I would also like to point out that the Constitution recognises the right of citizens to comment on the deliberations, statements or decisions of the National Assembly. To this effect, Article 88 provides as follows:


“(2) A citizen may comment on a deliberation, statement or decision of the National Assembly.”


Hon. Members, Article 88(2) reinforces freedom of expression, which is an essential cog of any democratic order or dispensation like ours. This position is aptly stated in the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) publication entitled “Freedom of Expression for Parliaments and Their Members: Importance and Scope of Protection”, in the Handbook for Parliamentarians, No. 28 (Paris, Inter-Parliamentary Union, 2018). The following is stated on page 18:


“It is elemental that freedom of expression lies at the heart of democracy which, if it means anything, means being able to know about, debate and assess the positions of competing parties and candidates, as well as to hold them accountable (again based on transparency and open debate about what they do while in power). Beyond this, democratic participation at all levels is possible only where citizens can access both information about policies, programmes and plans, and discuss openly their respective strengths and weaknesses. Authoritative international bodies have repeatedly stressed that freedom of expression is essential for democracy.”


The balance to be struck, therefore, hon. Members, is this: While members of the public or citizens exercise their right to comment on deliberations, statements or decisions of the House or, more generically, their freedom of expression in relation to matters involving the House, it is imperative that they do so in a manner that does not infringe upon the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and debate of Members of Parliament or indeed undermine the powers, privileges and immunities prescribed in the National Assembly (Powers and Privileges) Act. Therefore, in light of the authorities cited above, the issue that falls to be determined is whether the Daily Nation’s publication of a cartoon suggesting that UPND hon. Members of Parliament do not consider climate change an important issue amounts to a breach of parliamentary privilege and contempt of the House.


Hon. Members, as already stated above, the subject of the point of order is a cartoon published on page 8 of Vol. 5, Issue No. 2400 of the Daily Nation newspaper dated Saturday, 21st September, 2019. The said cartoon depicts persons in other countries making the following exhortation: “Let us all fight climate change”, “Climate change is killing the earth” and “Climate change is real”. In contrast, UPND hon. Members of Parliament are depicted in Parliament stating, “Climate change is not an issue.”


Hon. Members, climate change is and has been a topical issue throughout the world, including in Zambia. Thus, it has been a subject of constant comments, discussions and opinions by members of the public on social, print and electronic media. Therefore, in publishing a cartoon expressing an opinion about UPND hon. Members of Parliament’s disposition towards climate change, the Daily Nation newspaper was, in my considered view, exercising its constitutional right to comment on a topical issue that is the subject of constant debate in this House. I further find that the manner of expression was not in breach of the privileges of the House. Lastly, the expression of opinion in question did not in any way interfere with the exercise of checks and balances on the Executive by UPND hon. Members in Parliament. In other words, the Daily Nation newspaper was not out of order in expressing its opinion in the fashion it did.


I thank you.








The Minister of Energy (Mr Nkhuwa): Mr Speaker, I thank you most sincerely for giving me this opportunity to update the nation, through this august House, on the implementation of the President’s directive that health institutions and water installations be exempted from the countrywide electricity load management. This statement arises from a point of order raised by Hon. Jack Mwiimbu, the Leader of the Opposition in the House.


Mr Speaker, as the House might recall, in September 2019, I issued a statement on the Floor of this House regarding the electricity situation in the country and the work that the ministry had done following the onset of the power deficit. Further, when opening the Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly on 13th September, 2019, His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, issued a directive that all health institutions and water installations be exempted from the load-shedding programme currently being implemented by the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO). The Patriotic Front (PF) is a pro-poor Government that will not take pleasure in losing lives due to load management.


Mr Speaker, ZESCO commenced load management on Saturday, 1st June, 2019, with customers experiencing an outage of about four hours daily. The duration of the outages has been revised to a minimum of eight hours to help mitigate the effects of the low water levels in the major dams and prolong the operations of our main generation stations. The power deficit has been increasing and currently stands at an average of 690 MW, but reaches 700 MW during peak periods. An estimated average power deficit of about 600 MW is anticipated from 1st September to 31st December, 2019.


Sir, immediately after the President’s directive was issued, ZESCO complied with it by exempting a number of health institutions across the country from load-shedding. The House might wish to note that officials from my ministry and the Ministry of Health agreed on measures for the smooth implementation of the President’s directive because the nature of the distribution system is such that it places operational limitations on exemption of some health institutions from load management due to the fact that such institutions are not on dedicated lines; power is supplied to them through common networks shared with other customers targeted for load management. So, it should be noted that the directive cannot be enforced immediately for all health institutions because of the nature of the grid system. Going forward, we need to invest in smart grid solutions as a long-term measure. In view of the above, the ministry adopted a phased approach to the implementation of the directive and, in the first phase, started with 133 secondary and tertiary health institutions across the country comprising teaching hospitals, central hospitals, general hospitals, specialist hospitals, district hospitals and level-one hospitals. So far, sixty-one hospitals that consume about 101 MW of energy have been exempted from load-shedding countrywide. The ministry is in the process of finding ways of exempting the remaining seventy-two institutions, which requires capital and time. We have noted that forty-three of the seventy-two remaining hospitals already have diesel generators that can be used as standby supply while thirty do not. So, there could be a need for funding to purchase new generators for hospitals that do not have them. We also encourage the use of alternative sources of energy like solar systems that come with storage facilities.


Sir, in a meeting of Ministry of Health, Ministry of Energy and ZESCO officials, it was resolved that the Ministry of Health should request funding and purchase alternative sources of energy to power hospitals that are not on dedicated supply lines and do not have generators. It was also resolved that ZESCO should provide technical expertise in maintenance of the generators while the Ministry of Health should provide the service parts and other requisites.


Mr Speaker, in the second phase, the ministry is currently analysing 2,300 primary health care facilities that include rural and urban health centres, and health posts across the country. The analysis involves the assessment of the various energy requirements for health centres prior to completion of the implementation strategy. During the implementation of this phase, the approach used in Phase I will be used.


Sir, by design, water utilities are either on dedicated lines or in ring circuits, which enables ZESCO to provide alternative supply during maintenance or load management.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


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


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, from the statement issued by the hon. Minister of Energy, it appears that the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) cannot implement the President’s directive due to various factors. The question that begs an answer is: Who advised the President that ZESCO was in a position to carry out his instruction without any difficulties? The nation has been expectant over this issue.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I do not think that question is directed to the right office. It should be redirected to the right office because I –


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, let me guide.


The hon. Leader of the Opposition is trying to find out from you whether you are aware of the person who advised His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia to give that instruction.


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, thank you for that guidance.


I am not aware.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Mr Speaker, there are low water levels in the Kariba Dam, but our neighbouring countries have managed to adequately mitigate the effects of climate change and are exporting excess power. What best practices have we learned from other countries so that Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) can provide adequate power to hospitals and other institutions as directed by His Excellency the President?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, there are power deficits in our neighbouring countries like Zimbabwe, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique, Angola and Botswana. All the countries around us have a shortage of electricity because of climate change. However, we have learned lessons, and the Government is implementing projects to generate solar, wind and thermal energy. The Bangweulu and Ngonye power projects produce 90 MW of solar power, Maamba Collieries Limited produces 300 MW of power from coal while Ndola Energy Company Limited produces 105 MW of power, just to mention a few. Other projects like the Geothermal Power Project are being implemented in Bweengwa in the Southern Province while the Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Project is at 80 per cent. So, we are working towards addressing this situation and, going forward, things will improve.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Siwanzi (Nakonde): Mr Speaker, what monitoring mechanism has the ministry put in place to ensure that Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Limited supplies power to the selected health facilities that are supposed to have power twenty-four hours a day?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, there is a power distribution system that can be availed to the people who need it. Further, the ministry is availed reports on the institutions ZESCO supplies power to. So, it monitors ZESCO.


Sir, last week on Sunday, the Committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism visited the Kariba Dam to check on the water levels and saw that the water levels have gone down from 13.5 m to 2.5 m, of which 2 m is the dead level, meaning that we cannot produce electricity when the water levels drop to that mark. So, there is only 0.5 m of water for us to work with and the situation is worsening.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has said that some hospitals and water utilities will be put on dedicated lines in a phased manner. Seeing as we have had load management before, will the institutions that the ministry will put on dedicated lines be moved back to the common networks when the supply situation normalises?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, when the situation normalises, there will be no need to move the institutions because there will be a lot of electricity and every institution will have power.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister has stated that sixty-one health institutions have been exempted from load-shedding and seventy-two are remaining. Of the sixty-one institutions exempted, how many are in rural areas and districts like Mumbwa?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the list of the sixty-one institutions is quite long but, when I finish responding to questions, I will lay it on the Table so hon. Members can go through it.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, are you not able to skim the list for the answer even with the assistance of your neighbour so that you can come back to this question later?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the list includes Batoka Hospital in the Southern Province, Yeta Hospital in the Western Province, Chipata General Hospital in the Eastern Province, Shangombo General Hospital in the Western Province, Mporokoso General Hospital in the Northern Province, Chilubula Mission Hospital in Luapula Province, Kasama General Hospital in the Northern Province and Mansa General Hospital in Luapula Province. However, like I said, I will lay the document on the Table.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Sir, I am happy that the hon. Minister is obeying the President’s instruction as evidenced by the meeting held by Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Health and Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) officials. Further, the hon. Minister stated that sixty-one health institutions are currently not being load-shed, seventy-two are yet to be exempted and that thirty do not have generators or solar power. Since it was resolved in the meeting that the Ministry of Health should procure generators or solar equipment for the thirty institutions, what was the agreed procurement time frame, seeing as this is an emergency?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, it is difficult to state the time frame, but I will definitely find out whether the resources are available. The ministry is compiling a list of the different sizes of generators required. Once that is done, the list will be submitted to the Ministry of Health and, thereafter, to the Ministry of Finance for possible financing using the emergency funds.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I will take the last four questions from the hon. Member for Mapatizya, the hon. Member for Choma Central, the hon. Member for Senga Hill and the hon. Member for Chimwemwe.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that some hospitals that are not yet exempted from load-shedding use diesel generators. In view of what the country is going through economically, how are they managing to run the generation sets (gensets)?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, we make sure that the generation sets (gensets) at the hospitals like those in Chingola and at the University Teaching Hospitals (UTHs) are well serviced and have enough diesel to serve their purpose. The gensets are automatic. So, when there is a power outage, the gensets produce power for the institutions after only 15 to 30 seconds.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Mweetwa (Choma Central): Mr Speaker, with your greatest indulgence, I would like to take advantage of this statement and ask the hon. Minister of Energy for a bonus answer.


Sir, people are now load-shed for twelve hours per day, translating into fifteen days without power in a month. So, Zambians live without power for fifteen days, yet they continue incurring costs. For instance, those who subscribe to MultiChoice pay K850 for thirty days. Is the ministry considering coming up with measures for mitigating that and ensuring that service providers stop plundering the resources of poor citizens?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Choma Central, your question is important and topical, but the rules would be violated if we insisted that your question be responded to. I do not know why you have not elected to file in a question that would be processed in the usual manner.


Is the hon. Minister inclined to respond to the question?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, the hon. Member for Choma Central’s suggestion can be looked into, but I am not too sure what sort of results the ministry would get. However, the ministry will consider the suggestion.


I thank you Sir.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Mr Speaker, I commend the hon. Minister for his statement, which has made clear to the nation the power supply situation in the country. That said, recently, I received pictures of a Victoria Falls but could not believe what I saw because there was not a single drop of water at the falls. Going by the hon. Minister’s statement that the water levels in the Kariba Dam are at 2.5 m, of which 2 m cannot be used for generation. Will the load-shedding currently being experienced in the country worsen?


Mr Nkhuwa: Sir, like I stated earlier, if things remain as they are, load-shedding will continue until 31st December, 2019, when some water should be flowing into the Kariba Dam. The Government hopes things will start improving after 31st December, 2019.


Sir, the low water levels is a real crisis that is as a result of climate change, and everybody knows that. Like I said, the Committee on Energy, Water Development and Tourism saw the low water levels in the Kariba Dam. This is, probably, the worst drought that has hit Zambia since Independence.


I thank you, Sir.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, the hon. Member for Senga Hill’s question is: Assuming the current situation worsens, are we likely to see an increase in load-shedding before things get better?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, I said that if we control the consumption of power by load-shedding our customers, sometimes, up to twelve hours, we will survive until 31st December, 2019, without a major increase in load-shedding. We cannot rule out water levels receding beyond our estimates, but we expect the situation to improve when we start importing power from South Africa.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, of the 700 MW deficit, how many megawatts has the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) managed to secure so far? Further, when will the Government start importing power?


Mr Nkhuwa: Mr Speaker, so far, the Electricity Supply Commission (ESKOM) of South Africa has promised to provide us with 300 MW.


I thank you, Sir.








29. Ms Chisangano (Gwembe) asked the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection:


  1. whether the Government is aware of the critical water shortage in Gwembe Parliamentary Constituency due to drought; and
  2. if so, what measures the Government is taking to mitigate the impact of the water shortage.


The Minister of Labour and Social Security (Mrs Simukoko) (on behalf of the Minister of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection (Dr Wanchinga)): Sir, the Government is aware of the critical water shortage caused by drought in Gwembe District.


Sir, to mitigate the water shortage in Gwembe District, in 2018, the Government, with support from its co-operating partners, drilled thirty boreholes and equipped them with hand pumps. In addition, in September 2019, the Southern Water and Sewerage Company (SWASCO) drilled one commercial borehole in Gwembe Township and another in Munyumbwe Township in Gwembe Constituency. The thirty boreholes were sunk in Kalangwa, Simuyalali, Saibwengo, Bukata, Chabaluko, Siambwetimba, Kansumba, Sikwambila, Hamasamu, Hamanjanji, Mubuyu Community School, Siamuluwa B, Chifumpa, Chisika, Sinafala School, Chisumba, Tick Mwinga, Jongola, Chisimba B, Chibuyu, Nsanje A and B, Hacheelo, Madonda East, Nazikuye, Chidinta, Hatembo, Hangoma, Gwembe Market, Chisangano School and Simainde.


Sir, the number of beneficiaries of the thirty boreholes is 7,500.


Sir, the estimated cost of drilling and equipping a commercial borehole and supplying the tool kits was K98,000, out of which one borehole was equipped with solar power while the other is on hydro power.


Sir, all the thirty boreholes are performing well, as they were drilled to climate-resilient specifications.


Sir, lastly, the total number of beneficiaries is 2,668, that is, 2,176 in Gwembe and 492 in Munyumbwe.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister might not be aware that the people of Gwembe District are in a dire situation as a result of the peculiar situation in which they find themselves. Those people were uprooted from the fertile areas where they had access to water to the higher ground and that, as a result of that, the Government created a special vehicle to provide facilities in Gwembe vis-à-vis the Gwembe Special Development Fund. What happened to that fund, which was supposed to provide water, electricity and other necessities for the people of Gwembe?


Mr Speaker: Hon. Leader of the Opposition, you have asked an important question, but I am finding it difficult to relate it to either part (a) or part (b) of the substantive question. Part (a) of the question is on whether the Government is aware of the critical water shortage in Gwembe Constituency due to drought while part (b) is on what measures the Government is taking to mitigate the impact of the water shortage. You, on the other hand, have asked a specific question that relates to a certain fund. In order for you to have a reliable response, this should have been asked as a separate question because questions need to be researched. So, let us confine ourselves to the main question, and ancillary issues. That is my guidance.


Do you want to recast your question?


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, I take note of your guidance.


Sir, what other measures has the Government put in place to ensure that the people of Gwembe District have enough water, taking into account their peculiar difficulties?


Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, the climate specifications in those areas are good. That is why, so far, the boreholes are doing very well.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Minister, I did not get your response.


Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, the climate specifications in that area are good. That is why the boreholes are doing well. The ministry followed the specifications to the letter, and that is why there have not been any complaints from that end.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, my question is similar to the one asked by the hon. Leader of the Opposition. Let me refer the hon. Minister to part (b) of the question, which specifically requires her to tell us the measures that the Government has taken or will take to mitigate the situation. In her response to part (a) of the question, she has stated that the Government is aware of the water shortage. Further, she has told us about interventions that were made in 2018, which was prior to the drought. What measures is the Government putting in place to mitigate the current situation?


Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, my answer was very clear. I stated that the Government drilled thirty boreholes and equipped them with hand pumps. In addition, in September 2019, just last month, SWASCO drilled one commercial borehole in Gwembe Township and another in Munyumbwe Township in Gwembe Constituency to mitigate the crisis.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: The last question will be from the hon. Member for Gwembe.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, I am not satisfied with the response to the second part of the question because I know the situation on the ground. The boreholes were drilled, but most of them are dry and, as I speak, there is no water in most parts of the constituency. There may be tap water in Munyumbwe and Gwembe, but there are dried boreholes in other parts of the constituency. Even at Munyumbwe, there has not been water at the hospital for two to three weeks. What immediate measures will the Government put in place to address this situation? The people of Gwembe would like to know because they are dying of thirst.


Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, the information before me is that two commercial boreholes were sunk this year and that they will supplement the other boreholes. However, the ministry will investigate whether what the hon. Member for Gwembe is saying is actually what is on the ground.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: I indicated that the last question would be from the hon. Member for Gwembe and I was very clear. However, she is entitled to a second question, and that is the last question I will entertain.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, I am surprised that the hon. Minister cannot believe what I am saying when I am the representative of the people of Gwembe Constituency and I was in my constituency yesterday.


Mr Speaker: Hon. Member for Gwembe, resume your seat.


In the hon. Minister’s response, I do not think that there is any fair basis for making that assertion. I think that the hon. Minister has been quite fair. She said that in view of what you have stated, she will conduct an investigation, and that does not suggest that she does not believe you. Would you like to ask another question instead of that lamentation that is not factually supported?


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, the two boreholes that the hon. Minister is talking about are in two townships, namely Gwembe and Munyumbwe. However, Gwembe Constituency is made up of fourteen wards, some of which are far away from Gwembe and Munyumbwe townships. Therefore, what measures will the Government put in place to serve the people who cannot access water from Gwembe or Munyumbwe townships?


Mrs Simukoko: Mr Speaker, I gave a catalogue of the thirty boreholes that have been sunk and equipped with hand pumps in Gwembe. Further, I repeat that two commercial boreholes have been sunk in 2019. However, I have taken note of what the hon. Member for Gwembe  has said. She has provided information that I did not have earlier. So, I will investigate, and I do not think that is a crime.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Speaker: No crime has been committed here. You have to continue dialoguing on these matters until you find solutions.








(Debate resumed)


Ms Chisangano (Gwembe): Sir, before business was suspended on Friday, I was saying that the 9.9 per cent of the Budget left for discretionary spending is not enough to grow the economy of this country. The people of Zambia, especially the common people, expect a meaningful Budget that will add value to their lives and show that their challenges are being sorted out.


Mr Speaker, it seems everything is falling down to two. We here that the water levels in the Kariba Dam are falling down to 2 m while the economic growth rate has fallen to 2 per cent. This fall in the economic growth rate is a subject of discussion for Zambians. The economy is bad and the people are struggling to survive because they face many challenges. The common words we hear these days are that, “Economy ya aLungu yabvuta. Why sibangachoke chabe?” or “Economy yaba Lungu yashupa. Ino chinzi cobataunkili?”, meaning, “This economy is bad. Why can the leadership not just hand it over to people who can correct the situation on the ground?” The people are saying that they are facing many challenges. For example, they can hardly eat three times a day. Mostly, they eat once a day because the staple food –


Dr Hamukale: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Dr Hamukale: Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise this point of order. I apologise to the hon. Member who was debating.


Sir, is the hon. Member for Gwembe in order to insinuate that President Lungu and we, members of the Patriotic Front (PF), who have been put into offices by the people, should leave when we still have the mandate to lead for about two more years? Is that acceptable?


Sir, I seek your serious ruling.


Mr Speaker: The hon. Member for Gwembe used reported speech. However, if you feel that the term of office has to expire, you can address that point in your debate as you respond. This is a debate, and we have said it before that it is not our task, as Presiding Officers, to censor speeches unless they offend the rules, for instance, by being disparaging, denigrating or offensive. When it gets to that, our job is to restrain that kind of communication. It is not our task to censor the expression of opinions. So, engage each other in debate.


May the hon. Member for Gwembe continue.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, the people here, in urban areas, cannot afford to have a meal every day because the staple food is expensive. In fact, in communities like Chawama and Kanyama, when women want to buy a bag of mealie meal, three of them team up and contribute K50 each. The mealie meal bought that way is enough to sustain them for only a week. In rural areas, when people buy mealie meal, they hide it in a big bag so that their neighbours do not see it out of fearing that many people will  ask for the mealie meal. So, life is really hard because people cannot afford to buy mealie meal, which is the staple food.


Mr Speaker, electricity is also very expensive. In fact, its supply is also erratic because of load-shedding and, as a result, businesses like barbershops, salons and restaurants are shutting down. People are struggling to run their businesses. Further, because of the high cost of fuel, everything on the market is expensive and, again, people are struggling as a result. Parents are failing to send their children to school. Also, when the people in Chawama, Matero and other parts of Lusaka want to visit their sick relatives in hospitals, they walk because they cannot afford to get on buses. Even those who work in town walk everyday because they cannot afford to board a bus. The list of factors that can be used to support the people who say that the economy is truly bad and that they are struggling to survive is endless. Therefore, is this Budget addressing the challenges of the common Zambian like a marketeer and a security guard? Is this Budget addressing the challenges I have mentioned and those that I have not mentioned? The answer is a definite ‘No’.


Mr Speaker, let me move on to the specific issues raised in the Budget, starting with the Social Cash Transfer Scheme that is supposed to help the vulnerable people.


Sir, year in and year out, there have been allocations to the Social Cash Transfer Programme, but what are we seeing? When the programme was doing well, the people were told that the programme was the President’s and that he was giving them the money because he loved them. Eventually, there was a big scandal and everything fell to pieces. We had heard that the Zambia Postal Services Corporation (ZAMPOST) had misused the money meant for the programme, but we were told that the money was intact in a Zambia National Commercial Bank (ZANACO) account. Later, we saw some hon. Ministers dishing out the same money during campaigns. So, we were encouraged that the money was there. In fact, the people of Gwembe received some of it up to December 2018. However, K1 billion was allocated to the programme in 2019, but the people of Gwembe have not received a single Ngwee since December 2018. So, are we assured that the people will receive the money? The hon. Minister should tell us whether the K1 billion will reach the vulnerable people.


Mr Speaker, as you know, there is hunger, and the vulnerable people, the poorest, cannot afford meals for two or three days. I do not know whether this Budget will address the current hunger situation, which will continue next year. I have heard and seen that some relief food is being distributed. However, the food being distributed is like a drop in the ocean because when considering nutrition, one looks at the number of times people eat in their homes and the quality of the food they eat. The Government gives only mealie meal, which is a source of energy or carbohydrates, but there are growing children who need proteins and vitamins. So, the quality of food being given is questionable. Further, in Gwembe a 12.5 kg bag of mealie meal is given to be shared among three or four households, with some people ending up getting the mealie meal in cups, yet the mealie meal is supposed to last them a month. So, they only use it to prepare porridge or to one meal a day. What are such people supposed to eat for the rest of the month? The wild fruits and wild vegetables in the fields have finished. So, what will the people survive on? The people have lost their dignity. Therefore, I ask the hon. Minister of Finance to address this matter. We are not merely politicking here. I feel for the people, especially those in Gwembe, because they need food to be healthy. The people on anti-retroviral therapy (ART), tuberculosis (TB) treatment and those suffering from other diseases need food as they take their drugs so that they can get well. However, some of them fear to take anti-retrovirals (ARVs) because they go without food for two or three days. So, there should be a meaningful Budget line to address the hunger situation long after February 2020.


Mr Speaker, on agriculture, the Government has allocated K1 billion to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). We have seen allocations made every year but, now, there is climate change. Let us not look at climate change alone because we have seen a number of mistakes in the agricultural system. Currently, the farmers are paying towards their electronic vouchers (e-Vouchers) and we were told that it will soon start raining. What if it starts raining next week while the farmers are still paying towards their e-Vouchers? When will the inputs be distributed? Everything will be a mess. What is currently being done  –


Mr Speaker: The word “mess” is unparliamentary.


Ms Chisangano: Mr Speaker, sorry. Everything will not work out well.


Sir, the payments towards the e-Vouchers are supposed to be made in May or June. At this point, the farmers should have been getting the inputs, but I do not know when they will get them.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about livestock. The people of Gwembe were assured that they would be provided with fourteen dip tanks in 2014, but only one was constructed, yet we have been talking about combating foot and mouth disease. Where are the fourteen dip tanks? The hon. Minister should allocate money for the dip tanks in the 2020 Budget so that the people of Gwembe can fight foot and mouth disease.


Mr Speaker, we were assured that ten health posts would be constructed in our constituency to help shorten the distances mothers cover to reach the nearest clinic. However, to date, not even one health post has been constructed, and women and sick people walk long distances to reach the nearest clinic. On top of that, there is load-shedding. We heard about how some health facilities will have power on a twenty-four-hour basis. In Gwembe, some health posts in Gwembe do not have hydro or solar power. So, health workers there use candles or cellular phone torches to deliver babies and attend to patients at night. However, we see Budgets every year. When will the people of Gwembe be included so that even the health personnel who do a good job in far-flung areas can be happy members of the society? They are struggling to serve the people of Zambia. So, we would like to see health posts and drugs in health facilities in Gwembe. I talked about Munyumbwe Hospital not having water. There is a need for constant supply of water at that hospital and other health facilities.


Sir, K7 billion has been allocated to primary education and K2.2 billion to secondary education. However, it seems these figures are for urban areas only because the schools in Gwembe and other rural communities are not in good state. There is an allocation for infrastructure, but there is no decent infrastructure for teachers, or even classrooms in rural areas. At Hahuma and Hankobele primary schools, there are only two classrooms that cater for all the pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 7, and there are only two teachers. I do not think we are doing the right thing to the children in rural areas who also need to be in school for six to seven hours. At the two schools, the Grade 7 pupils only learn for two hours in order for them to leave the classrooms for the pupils in other grades. Therefore, the money for infrastructure should be shared equally among all the schools in the country.


Mr Speaker, the recruitment of teachers has encouraged corruption in that only a few of them are recruited, and that does not help our schools much. Why can the Ministry of General Education not act like the Ministry of Health which, at one time, had a massive recruitment and, as a result, there is currently no problem of a shortage of health personnel? The education sector is lagging behind, and there is a big problem there, with schools running without teachers and, sometimes, being run by untrained teachers. What is the end result for the children? The quality of education is compromised. The schools are supposed to be given grants but, sometimes, they only receive the grants once a year. as a result, school authorities cannot even afford to buy chalk or a flag to fly outside, and there are no black boards and desks. Grants to schools are included in the Budget, and the hon. Minister must ensure that schools receive those grants.


Sir, there is a problem of water in Gwembe. There is an allocation for water and sanitation projects and we hear of water and sewerage infrastructure projects in some areas, but what about in other areas where people and animals also need water? In fact, in 2014 and 2016, the Government promised ten dams in Gwembe but, to date, that has remained just on paper. The allocations for dams have been appearing from one Budget to another, but the dams are not constructed, and animals are dying while people are suffering. The Government should ensure that the budget for water projects is meaningful and adds value to the livelihoods of the people of Gwembe.


Mr Speaker, it would not be good for me to forget the women, especially those in urban areas. The marketeers are always pushed around by the council police because they have no trading places. They are moved from one area to another and, in the end, they have nowhere to go. Now, they just move around in fear of the council police. I have seen that K24 million has been allocated to markets and bus stations in this Budget. So, the Government should ensure that women trade freely on the streets because that is their source of livelihoods. If they do not do that, they will die. The Budget should accommodate women, including the traders who run up and down every day, whose merchandise is confiscated. The Budget should be meaningful to them.


Sir, finally, I urge the Government to invest in solar power. We have talked so much about hydro power, yet we have a lot of sunshine. The engineers should consider solar energy because it will add value to our lives. We do not know where climate change is taking us. So, the Government should invest in solar energy. I also urge the Government to increase the allocation for relief food. Some Zambians sleep without food while others are dying because of a lack of food. The Government must take care of them. Our brothers and sisters need food. So, the Budget must accommodate the hungry people in Zambia.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Mr Speaker, I thank you for giving the people of Mufulira Constituency the opportunity to add their voice to the debate on the Budget presented to this august House and the nation at large by Hon. Dr Bwalya ‘Ng’andwe’ ...


Mrs Simukoko: It is Ng’andu!


Dr Chibanda: ... Ng’andu – sorry, I am not Bemba – on 27th September, 2019. I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for presenting this bold Budget to this august House, as it resonates well with the President’s Speech to this House two weeks before it was presented.


Sir, the Government of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, will go down in the history of this country as one that has taken bold and honest decisions in the best interest of the people and the country. That can be seen in some of the things that have been done. For example, the hon. Minister’s speech was anchored on climate change and the hon. Minister was bold enough to call a spade a spade.


Mr Speaker, the people of Mufulira find the Budget exciting because the hon. Minister has decided to dismantle debt. The Government’s commitment to dismantling the debt it owes pensioners and food suppliers has excited the people. The Government owes pensioners and food suppliers money, and it has not paid them for a long time. The hon. Minister’s candid statement that the Government will dismantle the debt has excited the people because jobs will be preserved. This will also save businesses and increase liquidity in the market, and I salute the hon. Minister for that move.


Sir, the theme for the Budget Address is “Focusing National Priorities Towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy”, and this clearly speaks volumes. The leadership running this country made the bold decision to remove subsidies on fuel; maize, or our staple food; and farming inputs. This decision will go a long way in bettering our country, and His Excellency the President has put his Presidency on the line for that.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister talked about enforcing the policy that requires all foreign contractors to subcontract 20 per cent of their projects to Zambian contractors. Last week, it was exciting to hear the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development say something about this, and I urge him to quickly see to it that the policy has legal backing. Currently, its implementation is at the discretion of the foreign contractors. It cannot be ascertained whether the policy is followed because no legal framework backs it.


Sir, the tollgates have performed exceptionally well, and I urge the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development to expedite the commissioning of the tollgates that have been completed but are not yet operational. The earlier they are operationalised the better because the Government is being deprived of income that would offset one or two economic issues the country has.


Mr Speaker, moving to agriculture, the people of Mufulira have bemoaned the reduction in the allocation to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP). They feel the Government made this move at the wrong time because of the severe drought we are experiencing and considering that some crops were washed away by heavy rainfall. The allocation, which has been reduced from 1.6 per cent to 1.1 per cent, may not be enough to stimulate the farmers . So, I request the hon. Minister of Finance to shame the critics of doom. The Government has made bold decisions. So, the people of Mufulira are asking why it cannot give relief food to the farmers in areas that were hit by drought and those where fields were washed away in the northern part of the country. Why is it asking them to contribute K400 to FISP when it knows that they did not harvest anything? I plead with the hon. Minister to engage in introspection and, if possible, find some fiscal space to give the farmers who were affected by adverse weather conditions farming inputs free of charge, and I know he cannot fail them.


Sir, let me say a bit about the Value Added Tax (VAT) reforms. The hon. Minister stated that VAT will be maintained until further consultations are done, and there are diverse views on where we are going in terms of this decision. I read in the Budget Speech that the hon. Minister has put in place safeguard measures pertaining to VAT refunds. However, as the hon. Minister is aware, his predecessors issued a statutory instrument (SI) that garnishes VAT straight from the source. So, the hon. Minister needs to look at the VAT reforms seriously because when the Government decided to give some small-scale companies rebates in terms of refunds, it was meant to rejuvenate them and add more capital to their businesses. However, I am alive to the fact that the Ministry of Finance has not refunded those businesses, and that that has limited their capital injections. As the hon. Minister knows, economies thrive on small-scale enterprises. Therefore, he needs to ensure that the Ministry will pay the businessmen and women. Better still, he could consider reverting to the old arrangement in which contractors withheld the VAT instead of paying it to the State and increasing the public debt. He has done well to curb the abuse from the mines, but he can do better by giving the small scale business men and women their rebates in terms of VAT.


Mr Speaker, moving on to energy, we are at a crossroads, especially given that there is load management, the term with which the hon. Minister of Energy opted to massage the problem of load-shedding. We are at a crossroads in the sense that this is the second time in a short period that we are facing this problem. In this regard, the hon. Minister needs to revisit the contracts with the mines. We are aware that the Government has business contracts with the mines, but the contracts should only be honoured when things are well and business is as usual. Now, business is not as usual. Therefore, the hon. Minister of Energy needs to engage his colleagues the hon. Minister of Finance and the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development, so they can review the contracts and allow the mines to import power using the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) Grid, since we have a deficit. That way, we will benefit because the power supplied to the mines would then be supplied to the people of this country.


Sir, the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mine (ZCCM) had power plants that mitigated power outages. Those departments no longer exist in the mines. Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) had a diesel plant, and I know that Mopani Copper Mine (MCM), which has mine sites in Mufulira and Nkana, also had power plants, but the plants are now white elephants. There are companies in this country like Dangote Zambia Limited that produce their own power, and the Government must encourage most of the corporate big boys to go into that industry because, at some point, they will help to mitigate power deficits by offloading some of their power onto the grid. Fifty-four years after Independence, the giant players in the economy cannot fail to produce their own power. In fact, if they took that route, they would create jobs for the people. They absolutely depend on the national grid but, in view of climate change in the country, the Government should make bold decisions. That is why I anchored my debate on the theme of the Government’s bold decision-making. I know that the hon. Minister of Energy can redirect the power supplied to the mines to the people of Zambia. The mines are in business to make money and cannot fail to import power.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Energy talked about a deficit of 600 MW, and that is approximately the amount of power supplied to the mines. So, he can recoup that power and give it to Zambians who deserve it better instead of massaging the mines. After all, ZESCO has been supplying power to the mines at a subsidised tariff and it uses taxpayers’ money to supply power to MCM and other mining houses. So, it is time the Government made bold decisions for the betterment of the people of this country. Zambia Sugar Company in Mazabuka and Dangote Zambia Limited are self-sustaining in terms of power. Therefore, big players in the economy should be encouraged to invest in the energy sector, as that will create employment for the people and the country will be better. We need to be self-sustaining. I just got back from my constituency where I found that the load management is now twelve hours a day and people’s homes are now stinking because the food in the fridges is rotting. However, the people on the Copperbelt are not supposed to be subjected to load management there are mines dotted across the province. The hon. Minister of Energy needs to encourage the mines to give us power, and I hope he will critically look at that issue for the betterment of the country.


Sir, the Ministry of Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection has done exceptionally well, and I am glad that the Acting hon. Minister answered the question on the shortage of water. However, the ministry must realise that the drought has led to low water levels. In Mufulira, boreholes have to be as deep as 90 m, and that is not a good scenario. The hon. Minister needs to engage the Treasury so the ministry can drill industrial boreholes to serve the people in areas that have been hit severely by the drought. Domestic boreholes are not doing us any good because drilling up to 90 m is a daunting task. So, the ministry should dig industrial boreholes in order. We do not know when it will start raining and how much rainfall we will receive, but people still need water. I think it is a blessing in disguise that there is a need for us to give the people sufficient water.


Mr Speaker, hats off to the Ministry of Health for doing exceptionally well despite its challenges, including for going on record as having employed 3,000 nurses and 309 medical doctors, some of whom are already on the payroll. However, I know they were only paid for one month. So, I appeal to the hon. Minister of Finance to pay them for the remaining months. Nurses and doctors are in noble professions and should be encouraged because they save lives. So, the Ministry of Finance should help the Ministry of Health to ensure that all nurses and doctors are put on the payroll, as that will go a long way in motivating the officers. The people in the health sector need a lot of motivation because they are on demand, and the doctors need to be paid. Therefore, the Ministry of Finance should dismantle the arrears it owes the men and women in white uniforms.


Sir, the people of Mufulira Constituency support the Budget, as it is well intended. However, I urge the hon. Minister of Finance and his counterparts to make bold decisions for the betterment of this country. If we massage the mines, which can help us mitigate the power deficit, then, we are running away from reality. It is time we confronted the situation for the betterment of the country.


Sir, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to support the Motion.


Mr Mawere (Chipata Central): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me an opportunity to present my maiden speech as a Backbencher.


Mr Speaker: There is no provision for that.




Mr Mawere: Mr Speaker, from the outset, I wish to state that, as the representative of the people of Chipata Central Constituency, I support the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the year 1st January to 31st December, 2020, presented to this august House on Friday, 27th September, 2019, under the theme “Focusing National Priorities Towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy.”


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance indicated that he was the bearer of a message from His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lunga, and acknowledged key challenges like the limited fiscal space and the devastating impact of climate change. Thereafter, he asked all of us to work together to achieve economic stability, sustainability, growth and development in the spirit of doing more with less.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister asked us to work with him to prioritise the creation of fiscal space, achieve debt sustainability and dismantle domestic arrears. This message could not have come at a better time than when all of us want to achieve more as a country. To the people of Zambia, especially the people of Chipata Central Constituency, this Government has already shown signs that it can develop this country with little resources, going by what it has done since 2011 when it formed Government. The Government has given the people of Zambia massive infrastructure development. Our desire, as the people of Zambia, is to see development in all sectors and parts of the country, especially in Chipata Central Constituency.


Sir, the 2020 Budget is well-couched, and all well-meaning Zambians need to support it. It cannot be business as usual. Resources are limited, but the people trusted with the responsibility of managing them are not using them prudently. We want to achieve more using the few resources at our disposal.


Mr Speaker, climate change is real, and we need to appreciate its devastating effects and find a solution to it. We should not blame anyone. This is a natural problem. Therefore, we should not point fingers at anyone. The President indicated that it cannot be resolved by one person. So, we need to join hands and find a lasting solution so that we can help the people. As representatives of the people in this august House, we have the mandate to provide solutions to their problems. We just have to do that because that is why we are here.


Sir, I urge our Government, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, to prioritise key sectors of our economy, which include but are not limited to the ones I will mention below. The Government needs to continue providing water to the people because water is life, health facilities for its people to remain healthy and schools because we all need to be educated to be knowledgeable and contribute to our wellbeing and that of the country. It also needs to do more in agriculture because that is the sector in which the majority of Zambians are engaged and one that easily transforms people’s lives from poverty to prosperity. So, I urge the Executive to not lose focus in ensuring that agriculture remains the cornerstone of our development. In this regard, I am happy that the Government has changed the mode of distributing inputs to most districts this year, from the Electronic Voucher (e-Voucher) System to the conventional system. That is a good gesture because the e-Voucher System was ineffective. For example, last season, most farmers redeemed their vouchers but got no inputs, meaning that they received cash from agro dealers, and that resulted in low production. With the conventional system, however, inputs will be available and, whether the farmers use or sell them, at the end of the day, they will still be used to grow crops and ensure there is productivity. I, therefore, commend the Executive for making the bold decision to revert to the conventional means of distributing farming inputs so that the farmers and the agro dealers do not misuse them.


Mr Speaker, aquaculture is another sector that can enhance exports. In this regard, I am happy that the PF Government, under the able leadership of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has embraced it as a lucrative business that we can all engage in. We see trucks loaded with fish from as far as China and Brazil pass through our country going to the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Aquaculture is a business that all of us can easily do in our backyards, and we can supply enough fish to our neighbouring countries. So, the Government’s decision to promote fish farming is a commendable gesture. The Executive should walk with its head held high, knowing that it did the right thing.


Mr Speaker, I am a man of few words, and I do not want to bore this House with lamentations. So, let me just thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia for continuing to mentor all of us and steering this country to prosperity. We are witnessing unprecedented development, which everyone can feel, touch and see.


With those few remarks, as the representative of the people of Chipata Central, I support the 2020 Budget.


I thank you, Sir.


The Minister for Copperbelt Province (Mr Mwakalombe): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this rare opportunity to speak the mind of the people of Chongwe Constituency and Copperbelt Province.


Sir, I am holding in my hands the 2020 Budget presented by our able hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu, which gives hope to the people of Chongwe and Copperbelt Province. This Budget gives hope to the marketeers at Chisokone Market, minibus drivers, miners, teachers, health workers and, indeed, all the citizens of this country because it is well researched and it responds to their needs.


Mr Speaker, I will dwell on climate change like His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, did. His Excellency the President did not come to this House to lament but to update the nation on the challenges facing the country and the solutions we ought to put in place. He talked to hon. Members of Parliament, who are elected by the people, so that they can inform the people about the effects of climate change.


Sir, climate change has brought misery to the people, and the Government bought 131 bridges from the United States of America (USA) in response to it. What is happening in Chongwe as a result of climate change is alarming. I grew up in Mulando Village in Chongwe District and I know that there were two streams in the area and that flowed throughout the year. However, today, the streams have dried up. Further, Lwimba River was big and gave water to Chongwe River but, today, it is dry. You may have seen a Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) Television news item of my colleagues and I inspecting Chongwe River. The reporter said, and I quote:


“This place where we are, do not be amazed. You may think that we are building a road, but this is not a road; it is a river. It is because of the impact of climate change.”


Sir, when the President came to this House, he stated that we must work in synergy as opposed to working in silos, meaning that as we budget at both the ministerial and provincial levels, we must take into consideration the impact of climate change. In some instances, economic bridges leading to hospitals and educational facilities have been washed away, cutting people off from such facilities and forcing the Government to use money that was reserved for other projects to respond with urgency to the disasters and reconnect the roads so that the people can continue using those facilities. Therefore, climate change is a very serious issue that needs the serious attention of all of us. We should be the mouthpiece of the Government and sensitise our people to avoid cutting trees because that sometimes leads to silting of rivers.


Mr Speaker, I want to dwell on the phrase ‘listening government’. The Government recognises the fact that it was elected by the people for the people. Therefore, before it makes decisions, it consults the people. When people say that they do not want a certain thing, the Government should not be ashamed to accept that and take the route they want. For example, for the first time, our hon. Colleagues on the left have said something acceptable, and one can clearly see that, this time around, they listened to the people, not an individual. That is the reason they suggested that we maintain the Value Added Tax (VAT) and this Government, being one that listens to the people, listened to them, as their submission represented the view of the majority of the citizens. As long as our hon. Colleagues take positions informed by research and stand by what the people want, we will agree with them. I say so because since I came to this House, this is the first time they have said what the people wanted as opposed to what an individual wanted.


Mr Speaker, some people are saying that the PF Government found a lot of money in the reserves. However, this Government is not a Government of reserves but one that wants to take services closer to the people. It wants to ensure that the people have access to health and education facilities, and that illiteracy levels go down in this country. Therefore, it could not have sat on a fat account at the expense of providing services to the people, and that is why it has constructed roads. The Government knows that supplying quality water to its people is imperative because healthy people are productive. That is why, today, if you go to the Copperbelt, you will find Kafulafuta Dam being constructed at a cost of K450 million to supply water to the people of Masaiti, Mpongwe, Ndola, Luanshya and Kalulushi. The construction of the dam has also created many job opportunities and put a lot of money in people’s pockets through the 20 per cent subcontracting policy. Apart from the Kafulafuta Dam, there is a water project being implemented in Kitwe at a cost of K200 million and another being implemented in Chingola at a cost of US$159 million, which will cater for Chingola and Chililabombwe. That is what a reasonable government does; it supplies quality water to its people. We have been talking about diversification and industrialisation, but we cannot do that without providing water and creating an enabling environment for the people who intend to invest in the provinces. Further, the Government is providing quality water to the people so that it can reduce on the expenditure on buying drugs to treat diarrhoeal diseases. Our people should not be exposed to those kinds of sicknesses.


Sir, as regards debt, US$1 billion will be spent on township roads on the Copperbelt and a dual carriageway from Ndola to Chingola. All that is meant to create an enabling environment for would-be investors so that the Government can create the 1,000 jobs that the President promised. The President does not just make pronouncements without acting on them, and that is why the Budget Speech resonates with the speech he presented to this House.


Mr Speaker, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on his appointment. I know that most local contractors and traders have suffered for a long time because the Government does not allocate substantial amounts of money towards their payments. We know that when they are paid, the economy is stimulated and there is enough currency in circulation. Therefore, it is good that this caring Government led by Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has increased the amount for dismantling the domestic debt from K437 million to K2.3 billion. That is a very huge increase, and I am aware that had it enough finances, it would have allocated K20 billion towards the clearing of the domestic debt.


Sir, roads are being worked on in Chongwe. For the first time in the history of Chongwe, the Government is tarring township roads in the district, and that is what a government that cares for its people does; it ensures that the people do not spend more by spending on their behalf so that they can lead good and easy lives.


Mr Speaker, on the Copperbelt, we are talking about diversification, and this Budget is encouraging our people to venture in the forestry business because forestry can create many jobs. Therefore, this Budget speaks to the conscience and challenges of all citizens, including those who are not yet born, because it is taking health facilities closer to them and encouraging even people who have not set foot in a classroom to invest in the social sector. On the other hand, the alternative budget does not speak to the poor people and wants to tax those starting businesses. At whose expense can that be done? We know that some people have businesses they want to maintain, and that is why they are saying that we should reduce taxes. At whose expense should we reduce the taxes? We will not support anything that will inflict pain on the people of Zambia, and we are not ready to leave the Government due to following wrong advice. We believe that we are a pro-poor Government. So, we will proceed with this Budget, and we must all accept it.


Sir, with those few remarks, I challenge some of the people who are seated here to go to their constituencies –


Mr Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours.




Mr Mwakalombe: Madam, before business was suspended, I was drawing the attention of my hon. Colleagues on the left to item No. 25 in the alternative budget. The PF Government was elected into office on the basis that it would be pro-poor. That is the reason all the Budgets it has presented to this august House have been pro-poor. However, in the alternative budget, we are being advised to start taxing the marketeers, minibus drivers and taxi drivers. When my hon. Colleagues on the left rise to debate, I want them to refer to the alternative budget because it shows what kind of Government we will have should they come into power. Will it be a pro-poor Government by ensuring that the people in the markets transform into small-scale entrepreneurs and, later on, become corporations? I want my hon. Colleagues to refer to the alternative budget because it takes money away from poor people’s pockets.


Madam Speaker, I advise my hon. Colleagues that climate change has never been a joke. Instead, it is a serious matter, and economies are now shrinking because of its impact. Further, the impact of climate change is felt not only in Zambia, but infrastructure was destroyed in Beira, Mozambique, and people are mourning. Therefore, the President talked about climate change in this House to ensure that we are prepared for the challenge and we put measures in place to overcome it.


Madam Speaker, let me end by saying that we should be factual and contribute positively because the Budget speaks to all of us, and it will take the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), roads and schools to our constituencies. Therefore, we should support it.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Chali (Nchanga): Madam Speaker, I thank you for this opportunity to debate.


Madam, the people of Nchanga would like to shed some light on this Budget. However, before I go into details, I would like to say that climate change is real and that I do not see any reason it should be politicised. It is physical, and we see its effects. Therefore, I do not even know where to place a person who tries to politicise it. I do not know where to place that kind of thinking.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance gave an overview of the current state of the economy, and the Budget was presented in such a way that it took into consideration the effects of climate change, how to remedy them and how to liquidate both external and domestic debt. He also came out candidly and said that the 4 per cent economic growth that we projected to attain in 2019 is not attainable and that, if anything, we can only attain 2 per cent due to the price of copper and minerals in general, which are the major foreign exchange (forex) earners for this country. This is not new, especially given that from the time the mines were privatised, only two companies have been declaring dividends. Others have been claiming that they have been making losses, but they have stuck around, and that clearly shows that their business dealings are not open and straightforward. Honestly, no proper businessman with a sound mind can continue running a business on losses for fifteen years and still hang on to it.


Madam Speaker, there have been lamentations over the 40 per cent allocation to debt servicing. For us in Nchanga, the external debt is not a debt because we have benefited from the infrastructure it has funded through the Copperbelt 400 Kilometre (C400) Road Project. Three years ago, Chingola was referred to as a war zone, but one would be amazed at what has been done in the past two years. So, when we service debts, to us, it is like we have just borrowed because what has come out of the debt is real; we can see the result.


Madam Speaker, let me talk about the decline of the price of copper. Last year, the price of copper was US$6,700 per metric tonne, but it is currently slightly above US$6,000, and this will definitely have a direct effect on the national coffers. However, I am sure the ministries of Finance, and Mines and Minerals Development have experts who can analyse and make price projections up to the end of next year.


Madam Speaker, instead of depending on the mining sector, the hon. Minister of Finance also talked about diversifying into agriculture. With the current climate change, diversification will only be possible with the construction of more dams so people can engage in irrigation farming. In that regard, money has been allocated for the construction of four major dams, and the hon. Minister mentioned their levels of completion, but the Government needs to also build small or satellite dams to assist peasant farmers because the climate change we are witnessing now will be with us for some time and its effects are not predictable.


Madam Speaker, according to the hon. Minister, imports declined to between 22 per cent and 24 per cent. That is expected because if you put in place austerity measures, then, you do not expect imports. So, the decline is good for us because the balance of trade will be in our favour. However, as a country, we still depend on copper over which we have no control, and that is a mammoth challenge for the hon. Minister.


Madam Speaker, the problem we have with the National Budget is the revenue to service the Budget. Spending is not the issue. The hon. Minister came up with austerity measures and measures for polished tax collection to enhance revenue collection, but more needs to be done. Last year, when the Government wanted to move away from the Value Added Tax (VAT) to the Sales Tax, consultations were done, and it is true that only a listening Government can rescind its decision after going round the country to sell the Sales Tax.  I know that it was in the mining industry where there were problems because companies were not declaring dividends on profits. Copper is our major forex earner, but we were not being told the truth about its export and that is why I said earlier that only somebody who is doing things that are not straightforward can stick to a company that is loss-making on paper because he knows that he is somehow benefitting. Now, with the introduction of the 10 per cent duty on capital equipment, people will not inflate the costs of bringing in their equipment because that will work against them because they will pay duty based on the inflated prices. Further, claiming VAT refunds on duty paid on an item where there was transfer pricing would be a waste of time, as duty would have been paid on inflated prices. Therefore, the decision to put a 10 per cent duty on capital equipment is welcome.


Madam, recently, there was a tragedy in Chingola when a vehicle transporting a group of youths who had gone for a church programme in Kitwe hit into a stationary truck, and five of the youths perished on the spot. The loaded truck had broken down and was left on the spot for almost a month until the five youths were killed. I am sure that if I asked now, I would be told that it has been removed. I think that the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) toll trucks ‒ I am not sure if it is a law or a directive but, in South Africa, if a truck breaks down and is on the road for more than forty-eight hours, it is tolled away at a cost to the owner.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Are you still discussing the Budget?


Mr Chali: Yes, Madam Speaker, I am still discussing the Budget. All I am trying to say is that more money should be allocated to the transport sector so that the RTSA can buy more toll trucks to avoid calamities.


Madam Speaker, Hon. Dr Chibanda talked about the good performance of the tollgates. The hon. Minister of Finance should push his counterpart at the Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure Development to commission the tollgates at Kapiri Mposhi and Garneton. Those of us who travel to Chingola every week have noticed that those tollgates are complete. So, I do not know why the Government has not commissioned them because money is being lost. We have been told that K725 million was raised from road tolls. That is good money, and l hope it will be reinvested into the roads.


Madam Speaker, when summarising the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister talked about revenue collection. Like I said earlier, revenue has been the most difficult part of the Budget. In paragraph 131, he said that the Government would zero rate capital equipment and machinery for the mining sector, limit input VAT claims by mining companies on diesel to 70 per cent from 90 per cent and limit VAT claims by mining companies on electricity to 80 per cent from 100 per cent. That is welcome.


Madam Speaker, mining companies negotiated electricity tariffs based on whether they started operations on a green field or as an already operational mine. However, what we have noticed is that from last year, the tariffs have been standardised. As my colleague said earlier, we have to stop subsidising the mines and let the mining companies generate their own energy if they are serious because their dependency on the national grid will keep taking us backwards.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: By special arrangement, I will allow the hon. Member for Mongu Central to debate.


Dr Imakando (Mongu Central): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for giving me this opportunity to debate. I also convey my condolences to the Mundia family. We put to rest and bade farewell to a great man who served this country selflessly. May the Lord bless the family he leaves behind.


Madam Speaker, the economy, the business houses and I are hurting. The opportunity to hear a Budget Speech rejuvenates people and creates hope because we expect the Budget Speech to outline national priorities supported by budgetary allocations. The hon. Minister of Finance emphasised that the Budget would be influenced by national priorities. However, after I read a few documents and analysed what people were saying, I came to a conclusion on what our national priorities are. I will outline them and show whether the hon. Minister of Finance treated them as such and allocated funds to them accordingly.


Madam Speaker, looking at what is happening to our economy today, the first national priority is the national debt. Debt servicing is taking away our resources. In paragraph 25 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister said that the reduction in our foreign reserves was due to debt financing. Further, in paragraph 26, he said that the depreciation of the Kwacha was a result of debt servicing, which is mopping out United States (US) Dollars out of our economy and putting pressure on the Kwacha. So, as far as I am concerned, debt servicing is a national priority, and we ought to treat it as such.


Madam, the high cost of living is a national priority. For example, a 25 kg bag of mealie meal, which the Patriotic Front (PF) Government found it at K35, is now K150. Considering that there is hunger in half the country, 25 per cent of children under the age of three years are stunted because they do not have access to food and about 45 per cent of the people in rural areas are undernourished because they do not eat balanced diets, then, food is a national priority.


Madam Speaker, everything today depends on energy. However, electricity is being rationed and taken away from businesses. Therefore, one would agree with me that electricity is a priority. We ought to find quick solutions, and solar energy can power a house in three months.


Madam Speaker, development depends on human development. We need people with skills in this country if we are to move forward. Further, education makes transactions efficient in a nation. Therefore, education is a priority.


Madam, considering that people are undernourished and do not have jobs, and accessing water is a challenge in many places, health issues are a priority.


Ms Kasune: You are right.


Dr Imakando: Thank you for supporting me.


Madam Speaker, given the political climate in the country, delivering an inclusive Constitution is a major priority. So is bringing the corruption levels to zero, as the hon. Minister stated. The last priority is to provide checks and balances in this country. Parliament oversight on the Executive is a priority. However, considering how the National Assembly is funded, one wonders whether the Executive considers checks and balances as important.


Madam, I keenly followed the debates of the hon. Members on the right, and what seemed to come out of them was support for a failed Budget. I will prove that shortly. Our colleagues refuted the fact that the economy is not doing well and pretended that it is on the right track. Debating along those lines is deviating from what our Republican President said in this House. In paragraph 36 of his speech, the President said that the economic growth rate for 2019 had earlier been projected at 4 per cent but was being revised downwards to about 2 per cent. He admitted that we could not attain a 4 per cent growth rate. The President also told us in this House that we all seriously needed to understand and appreciate this in detail, and stop pointing fingers at one another for failing to grow our economy at 4 per cent. That was a confession from the President and a call for us to accept the 2 per cent growth rate instead of pointing fingers at one another.




Do not argue with me. The President said that while seated there (indicating Madam Speaker’s position).


Madam, as though that were not enough, the President said that since 2015, when we experienced droughts that affected electricity generation, growth had slowed down to an average of 3.5 per cent between 2015 and 2018 and 6.4 per cent between 2011 and 2014, and attributed that largely to climate variability.


Madam Speaker, in paragraph 38, the President said that:


“To have meaningful impact on the high poverty levels in the country, we must grow the economy at a minimum rate of 7 per cent per annum.”


Madam Speaker, to meaningfully reduce poverty, we must grow the economy at 7 per cent. However, we have failed, and are adjusting to 2 per cent. That means that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government will not tackle poverty because its growth rate is around 2 per cent and 3 per cent, well below the 7 per cent that is prerequisite to reducing poverty.


Madam Speaker, since my hon. Colleagues are getting happy, let me talk about Government assurances. In paragraph 41, the President said that:


“Government assurances have clearly not been achieved and fully implemented.”


Let us give credit to the President for being candid with us and telling us the facts, although I am surprised that my hon. Colleagues want to run away from them. Government assurances have clearly not been achieved and fully implemented, and the President attributes that to bad weather effects.


Madam Speaker, here is what shocked me. In paragraph 45 of his speech ‒




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order on my right!


I am sure the hon. Minister of Finance wants to listen to this debate.


The hon. Member for Mongu Central may continue.


Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, what shocked me, and I am still in shock, is that in paragraph 45, the President says:


“Our non-discretionary expenditure, which comprises personal emoluments and debt, stands at 50.1 per cent and 40 per cent, respectively, giving a total of 90.1 per cent of our annual Budget. This leaves the discretionary expenditure amount to stand at 9.9 per cent of our annual budget. This, Mr Speaker, is an alarming ratio.”


We could change the word ‘alarming” to ‘worrying’ or ‘disturbing’. We could actually –


Mr Sichone: On a point of order, Madam.


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


Mr Sichone: Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to raise this point of order.


Madam, I am struggling to follow the hon. Member for Mongu Central’s debate, and I am even getting scared. Is the hon. Member in order to throw punches in the air and make all sorts of gestures that are threatening to us on the right side? Is he in order to behave like that when there is a very serious topic on the Floor of the House? Hon. Sing’ombe has even abandoned his seat to create space for him.


I seek your ruling, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that as that is the hon. Member for Mongu Central’s style of debate, he is in order.


The hon. Member for Mongu Central may continue.


Mr Sing’ombe resumed his seat.




Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, I am grateful for your ruling because it has encouraged me.


Madam, the President gave indications that should have worried the hon. Minister of Finance. After listening to the President’s Speech, one of the things the hon. Minister should have done was to not accrue more debt. However, he wants to borrow another US$2 billion, which is K25 billion, in this Budget. It is said that if one is in a deep hole and wants to come out, the first thing one should do is to stop digging. So, the hon. Minister should have stopped borrowing. The other thing he was supposed to do, going by the theme of his Budget, was to fund the national priorities and put money in the things that will help us. Unfortunately, the funding to the education sector has reduced. In relative terms, the funding to health has also reduced, and the funding to economic sectors that should generate money is reducing.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance and I used to engage widely in the Economics Association of Zambia (EAZ) and were always in agreement. I do not know whether his sitting on the right and my being on the left could be forcing us to –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I have to protect the hon. Minister of Finance. You cannot bring him into your debate in that manner.


You may continue with your debate.


Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, that was on a lighter note.


Madam Speaker, we need to bite the bullet and, since the President said that things are tough, let us make tough decisions. One of the tough decisions we ought to make is to stop borrowing. We do not need to borrow for infrastructure that will not bring money immediately and contribute to the development of this country economically. For example, the Government intends to re-establish Zambia Airways and is building another international airport in Ndola, hoping that in future, we will have the passengers. This kind of reasoning ‒ We need to prioritise and cut down on emoluments. When companies are not efficient in terms of production, they shed off workers. Equally, the Government must not be afraid to shed off some civil servants and reduce the emoluments. In telling civil servants that they have to produce more using less, the Government is shooting itself in the foot.


Madam Speaker, as I begin to wind up, let me get closer to home, and I want the hon. Minister to empathise with me. The construction of King Lewanika University is an unsolicited project of the PF yet, year in and year out, the only money in the Budget is for the FTJ Chiluba University. What criterion does the PF use in allocating resources? We, the people of the Western Province, tend to wonder. Last year, money was allocated to the FTJ Chiluba University while King Lewanika University was not given any allocation. In next year’s Budget, again, money has again been allocated to FTJ Chiluba University, but there is no allocation for King Lewanika University.


Madam Speaker, the Kafue Hook Bridge is a disaster waiting to happen, and I wonder whether the Government will only act when there is a serious accident on the bridge.


Madam Speaker, the Kalabo/Sikongo Road needs to be worked on. The Government boasts about the Mongu/Kalabo Road, whose construction was started by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government, but I will not get into the issue of whose project it is. However, for the road will only make sense if Kalabo and Sikongo were connected because there is a big market in Angola. As long as the Kalabo/Sikongo Road is not completed, the benefits of the Mongu/Kalabo Road will be minimal. Therefore, the Government needs to seriously consider completing the road because there is a market that will stimulate growth.


Dr Hamukale: On a point of order, Madam.


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


Dr Hamukale: Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to rise on a very serious point of order. I apologise to the hon. Member who was on the Floor.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Member for Mongu Central is one of the authors of the alternative budget. Is he, therefore, in order to not refer to it?


I seek your serious ruling, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The serious ruling is that what is under discussion is the Budget Speech presented to this House by the hon. Minister of Finance. Therefore, the hon. Member for Mongu Central is in order.


The hon. Member for Mongu Central may continue.


Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, as I wind up, I urge the hon. Colleagues on your right to not trivialise the Budget because it is the major policy instrument that they have in their hands to influence everything in this country. If they continue trivialising it, then, it will justify the President of this country’s statement that he was alarmed and worried at the ratio and allocations in their Budget. It is high time they took what their President said seriously so that they can make adjustments to this very weak and failing Budget.


I thank you, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Mongu Central, correct your statement on what His Excellency the Republican President said.


Dr Imakando: Madam Speaker, it is high time that the hon. Colleagues on the right took what His Excellency the Republican President said seriously so that they can make the necessary adjustments to their failing and weak Budget.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Ndalamei (Sikongo): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate on behalf of the people of Sikongo Constituency.


Madam Speaker, before I debate the Budget, let me convey my condolences to the family of Mr Lawrence Banda, who was murdered in Kaoma by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. I appeal to the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to be fair. The people who murdered Mr Banda are still walking freely in the streets, and we cannot have a country where rules only apply to some people but not to others.


Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. Minister of Finance for this Budget. He has laid out everything, and I wish he had come in 2011 with these people (Indicating the hon. Government Members) who have destroyed this country.




Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, what has been laid out in the Budget can improve the economy of this country but, unfortunately, it will find that our colleagues have already destroyed this economy. Fifty point one per cent of the Budget will go to the Government wage bill while 40 per cent will go to repayment of loans that our colleagues contracted because they were not thinking. As a result, we will remain with 9.9 per cent that the hon. Minister will struggle to run the Government and implement projects with, and I pity him.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has indicated in the Budget that he wants to complete ongoing projects in rural areas that this Government neglected. Let me take him back to Sikongo where the PF has not completed projects it inherited in 2011. The first project is Sikongo Boarding Secondary School, which only requires K5 million to complete, yet the Ministry of General Education has failed to raise that money in eight years. What type of Government is this? Children walk long distances of up to 400 km to Kalabo to access secondary school education, yet Sikongo Boarding Secondary School is at 95 per cent. Further, the PF Government inherited Libonda High School in Libonda Royal Village at 40 per cent but, eight years later, the school is still at that level. However, every year, we pass a Budget that benefits one side. That is segregation. What explanation will our colleagues give me for failing to complete a boarding school in eight years?


Madam Speaker, on the electrification of Sikongo, in 2011, wiring and everything else was done and the only thing that remained was a sub-station that, according to the quotation from the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO), would cost K17 million. However, this failed Government has failed to put up a sub-station in eight years and the poles are now falling down. Every year, we approve money for rural electrification, but where does it go? What are we benefiting from this Budget?


Madam Speaker, this Government is a disaster. The house it is building at Sikongo Rural Health Centre has been at window level since 2014, yet it claims to be a working Government. Which working Government?


Madam, the hon. Minister said that the Government intends to complete ongoing projects in rural areas, and we shall wait and see. Maybe, with his appointment, things will move. The only project being implemented is the construction of towers, and we praise hon. Ministers who are working. The hon. Minister of Transport and Communication is doing well because we are seeing towers being erected. Unfortunately, the other ministries are just taking things to one side.


Madam Speaker, the PF Government came with a good plan to construct universities in all the ten provinces of Zambia and it started with King Lewanika University, but it got a US$250 million loan from China to build the FTJ Chiluba University. Further, when it realised that the money was more than enough, instead of using part of it to complete the King Lewanika University, it started building a new university in Kasama. What are the people of the Western Province benefiting from this Government? The construction of King Lewanika University has stalled, and I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will release the money needed to  complete it.


Madam Speaker, the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) is Constitutional and, last year, this House approved an allocation to the fund but, to date, we have not received anything. The 2020 Budget has also allocated money to the fund, and I hope to see a difference from the new hon. Minister of Finance, unlike our hon. Colleagues who have just been paying lip service to this matter. In Sikongo, the only projects that have been implemented have been funded by the CDF, and that is the scenario for many rural constituencies. There are many hon. Members from rural constituencies here who can collaborate what I am saying. The only money that we can use to develop our constituencies is the CDF. Thus, when the hon. Minister of Finance winds up debate, I want to hear from him when the 2019 CDF will be released so that we can implement projects to help our people whom the PF Government has neglected for a long time.


Madam Speaker, I listened with sadness to the people who stood up to say that the 40 per cent of the Budget allocated to loan repayment is justified because the loans were used to construct roads. Which roads has the Government constructed in the Western Province? How has the Western Province benefitted from the Link Zambia 8000 Kilometres Road Project? In 2011, the Government stated that it would construct the Kalongola/Kalabo Road. Has it built the road? Even the feasibility studies have not been undertaken. Furthermore, the Katunda/Lukulu, Sioma/Shangombo and Kasempa/Kaoma roads have not been constructed.


Madam Speaker, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government started constructing the Kalabo/Sikongo Road and borrowed money from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The PF Government needed to contribute only part of the project funding, but it has failed and the contractor has since demobilised. Even the camp that was set up in Kalabo has been abandoned because the contractor has not been paid, yet our colleagues say the loans are being used to construct roads. What type of Government is this? Which road has it constructed in the Western Province?


Ms Mulenga interjected.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Minister of Community Development and Social Welfare!


The hon. Member for Sikongo may continue.


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, some money has been raised from tollgates. So, the Government cannot say that it has no money. According to the 2020 Budget Speech, the Government had raised K765 million from tollgates by August 2019. Three tollgates have been erected in the Western Province, namely at Mweke, Luyi and Tapo, and there is one at Mumbwa. However, look at the state of the roads in the province. Why have you not rehabilitated the Nakatindi Road, which connects Livingstone to Sesheke?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, ask that through the Chair.


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, why has the Government not rehabilitated the Nakatindi Road using the money it raised? It cannot say that it does not have money because it raised money from the tollgates. The people of the Western Province also pay road tolls. The road from Tateyoyo to Katunda Turnoff is very bad, but the money is there. Further, there is a tollgate at Tapo, but the road from Tapo to Kalabo has many potholes. Where is the Government, which claims to be a working one, taking the money from the road tolls paid at Tapo Tollgate? Is this a working Government?


Madam Speaker, there is a hunger crisis, but the allocation to the Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) has been reduced. More money is supposed to be allocated to the programme so that more fertiliser is given to the people in the North-Western, Northern and Muchinga provinces where there is good rainfall so that they can produce more food. Even the budget for the strategic food reserves has been reduced.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister has allocated K1.5 billion for energy. I hope the money will be used properly so that load-shedding can stop because the people are suffering. There are power outages from 0500 hours to 1900 hours. What can people do without power? How are small-scale entrepreneurs supposed to survive? We have a crisis and people are starving.


Madam Speaker, the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is a disaster. Since January 2019, people have not been receiving the funds because of corruption or mismanagement of the PF. Old people are starving and cannot buy anything because they have not been paid. So, this is a failed Government that is even failing to pay orphans, yet it says it is a working Government.


Madam Speaker, we, on the left side, told the PF that the hunger situation was serious. There was no rainfall and, therefore, people did not produce rice, maize or anything. People did not even catch the fish they normally catch in Silubu. We told the hon. Members on the right about this, but they said we were politicking. Now, people are dying of hunger while others are eating grass. They dig roots, pound them and make nshima out of the powder. If our hon. Colleagues are refuting this, I can go with them to Simbuwa so they can see the grass people are eating. How can our colleagues call themselves a Government when people are starving? Pupils have been affected and are not going to class.


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


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


Mr Chilangwa: Madam Speaker, I thank you for according me the opportunity to raise this important point of order.


Madam Speaker, is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to claim that people are eating grass without substantiating the claim? Is it he who is eating grass and that is why –


Mr Ndalamei interjected.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Sikongo!


Allow the hon. Minister to raise his point of order.


The hon. Minister for Luapula Province may continue.


Mr Chilangwa: Madam, is he in order to bring the good name of the people of the Western Province, particularly those in Sikongo, into disrepute by saying that they are surviving on grass?


I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that to the extent that he is the hon. Member of Parliament for Sikongo and he is debating issues in his constituency, he is in order.


The hon. Member for Sikongo may continue.


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, maybe, the hon. Minister wants to know the name of the grass the people are eating. It is called zita. I forgot to bring it to the House today, but I will bring it tomorrow. The people are suffering, and this is not politics. Imagine if it were your relatives who were sleeping three to four days –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Debate through the Chair.


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, imagine if the people going for three or four days without eating were relatives of our hon. Colleagues on the right. Our colleagues are saying we are merely politicking, yet people are starving. We told them, but they did not listen. The people of Sikongo only received three truckloads of 12.5 kg bags of mealie meal last Saturday when the Vice-President went to Mongu. This Government is not serious. How can it give a 12.5 kg bag of mealie meal to a family of six to eight people? Is it mocking them? How can they survive the whole month on a 12.5 kg bag of mealie meal? The people have nothing to eat. The Government is using our money, yet it bought 12.5 kg bags of mealie meal. There is money near the hon. Minister of Finance. The hon. Ministers who remained in office when Parliament was dissolved in 2016 owe us money. Can the hon. minister of Finance get that money and buy food for our people. Let them pay the money back.


Madam Speaker, I sent the councillor for Lulang’unyi Ward to check how the hunger situation has affected the attendance of pupils in schools and, from 10th to 13th September, 2019, he visited five schools. He first went to Sikusi Primary School and found out that out of 500 pupils from Grades 1 to 9, only eighty-seven attended classes. On 13th September, 2019, he visited Mabuwa Primary School and found that only thirty-two pupils attended classes from Grades 1 to 7. At Sibuwo Primary School, only twenty-one pupils from Grades attended classes from Grades 1 to 7. At Lumbamba Primary School, only twenty-one pupils attended classes from Grades 1 to 6. No pupil was in the Grade 7 class. The poorest attendance was at Lulang’unyi Primary School where he found five pupils from Grades 1 to 7 and, of the five pupils, three came from teachers’ homes while only two came from the villages. That situation is due to hunger, yet some people are saying that we are just politicking. How do we expect the pupils to learn when they have nothing to eat? We even lost a fourteen-year-old boy, and the hon. Minister of Home Affairs can attest to that. The boy went to collect wild fruits with some people in the forest but criminals caught him and ritually murdered him. They removed his heart and private parts. We are losing lives because of this Government’s failure to feed the affected people in the fifty-two districts. What a shame!


Madam Speaker, this Government will be remembered only for by-elections. Our colleagues are experts in inducing by-elections. I did some simple research and discovered that since they came to power, from 2012 to 2019, there have been thirty-three parliamentary by-elections, as MMD Members of Parliament were resigning to join the PF, and the PF thought it was increasing its numbers when it was merely destroying the economy of this country. Further, there have been twenty-three mayoral and council chairperson by-elections and 270 by-elections for councillors. What do our colleagues benefit from buying councillors?


Hon. Member: Wasting resources.


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


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


Mr Mukosa: Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to rise on a very serious point of order.


Madam, 1s the hon. Member of Parliament on the Floor in order to suggest that the Government has been buying councillors when he is not in a position to substantiate his claim?


I seek your serious ruling, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: My serious ruling is that the Chair is concerned about the idea of councillors being bought because she is not aware of a market where councillors are sold. To that extent, the hon. Member for Sikongo is out of order and he will stop referring to human beings as commodities that can be bought and sold.


The hon. Member for Sikongo may continue.


Mr Ndalamei: Madam, let me remind the PF Government what it promised the people of the Western Province. Our colleagues promised to build the Mongu Stadium, but where is it? Why is it not there? Equally, King Lewanika University has not been built while the Kalabo/Sikongo, Kalongola/Kalabo, Katunda/Lukulu, Luampa/Simungoma, Sioma/Shangombo and Kaoma/Kasempa roads have not been worked on. This Government has even failed to deliver the Barotseland Agreement it promised; it has failed to do a simple thing that does not need money. During election campaigns in 2011 and 2016, it promised the people of the Western Province that if they voted for it, it would honour the Barotseland Agreement. Now, it is going out of power without honouring its promises.


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


Hon. Member: Two points of order on the same debate?


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, I appeal to the people of Zambia to not give power to people who have no idea of how to move this country forward.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Sikongo!


I will allow the point of order by the hon. Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Development.


Mr Ndalamei: The one who has failed to construct roads.


Mr Mwale: Madam Speaker, I rise on a very serious point of order.


Madam Speaker, in this House, I know very well that rulings have been made by you and previous Speakers to the effect that there is no place in this country called ‘Barotseland’ and that the word is an unparliamentary.




Madam Speaker, is the hon. Member for Sikongo in order to say that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government promised Barotseland the Barotseland Agreement when he knows very well that a ruling has been made in this House that in this country, what there is only the Western Province, not Barotseland?


I need your serous ruling.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Minister has referred to rulings that have been made by Presiding Officers in the past and, because of that reference, I reserve my ruling to enable me to research the matter and come up with a meaningful ruling on the point of order.


In the meantime, the hon. Member for Sikongo will continue.


Mr Ndalamei: In conclusion, Madam Speaker –


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


Madam First Deputy Speaker: The hon. Member for Sikongo has not even made a statement. Do you want to rise on a point of order after a point of order?


Hon. Member: He was talking.


Hon. Member: (Addressing Mr Ndalamei) Yema, yema!


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


Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, in concluding my debate –


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


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, are the hon. Members on the right in order to have been discussing issues pertaining to chieftainship in the Western Province on the Floor of this House, during which discussions the hon. Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs has been referring to the Barotseland Royal Establishment (BRE)? Are our colleagues on the right now telling us that even the BRE is unparliamentary and should not be mentioned on the Floor of this House?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seat, hon. Leader of the Opposition.


Your point of order is unprocedural.


As a senior hon. Member of the House, you are aware that you cannot raise a point of order on a ruling of the Chair. I reserved my ruling, and that is the position on that matter.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1810 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Ndalamei: Madam Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to say that the PF Government is a disaster, a missed call and a failed project because it does not know how to move this country forward. Therefore, we need a party that can move this country forward.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Ms Kasune (Keembe): Madam Speaker, thank you for giving me this opportunity to add my voice, the voice of the people of Keembe as well as that of the nation that we all represent as lawmakers, to the debate on the Budget Speech that was presented to this House.


Madam Speaker, I will start by quoting the President’s Speech, which I did not have the opportunity to debate. In paragraph 157, the President said:


“For this reason, I will not relent on the fight against corruption. I will not stand and see greedy citizens destroy the good fibre of our nation.”


Madam Speaker, to my dismay, the President of this country chose to only talk about corruption in a sentence, yet we know that if corruption is not dealt with in this country, we will not get anywhere with this Budget. We, in this House, all know that Zambians have mourned their country’s buying of ambulances at US$250,000 each. In a country where there are not many ambulances in places like Keembe, instead of buying basic ambulances, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government justified the buying of an ambulance at US$250,000. This same Government justified the buying of fire tenders at US$1 million, yet the President talked about corruption in one sentence when he was almost concluding his speech.


Madam, there are so many resources in this country, but the beautiful people of Zambia are being taken for granted. Forty-eight houses have been built but not been accounted for. Where in the world would one see such a lack of accountability condoned? Meanwhile, the President said that he would not see a few greedy people take this country down.


Hon. members: Shame!


Mr Ngulube: Same story!


Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, it is the same story because corruption has continued, and we need to talk about it. This Budget is meant to help Zambians. Alas! Those in the Ruling Party are not being serious about serving the people of Zambia. Even when we talk about issues that concern the citizenry, they heckle because they are not serious about the wellbeing of Zambians.


Madam Speaker, the Budget is supposed to create a roadmap for the country. It is only in Zambia where a Budget is approved, but the allocations are not disbursed. Even when the disbursements are made, there is no monitoring and evaluation of the activities to which the allocations were made.


Madam, the theme of the hon. Minister’s Budget Speech is “Focusing National Priorities Towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy”, but I wish he had talked about ‘re-focusing’ because we are out of focus as a country. You can only focus if you are on a trajectory that is going forward.


Mr Mukosa: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Keembe, resume your seat.


I will not allow that point of order, and I need the help of the Chief Whip in managing the discussions on the right. We will allow the debate to flow. So, there will not be any points of order.


May the hon. Member for Keembe continue.


Ms Kasune: Madam, the hon. Minister of Finance is being congratulated on the Budget he presented in this House, but I wish the theme of the Budget Speech was about re-focusing priorities in this country. This country has money, but the misappropriation of resources is killing it. Our challenge is not that we do not have resources; it is about where we are taking them.


Madam, the argument has been climate change. Let me inform the House that when Mr Al Gore, who contested for the American Presidency in 2000, went to the United States Congress in 1976, he talked about climate change, and that was before I was even born. The challenge we have as a country is that we have not responded to the dynamics and the climate of our time, but that cannot be used as an excuse to continue failing in our fiscal space. Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize for his argument and call for nations to do what was right about climate change. So, here we are. Only in Zambia does the President talk about difficulties in the fiscal space being a result of climate change. Where have we been? Where has the Executive been? We know that climate change is not a new phenomenon. These are the things I think that, as Zambians –


Mr Mutale: On a point of order, Madam.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Resume your seat, hon. Member for Keembe. Hon. Member for Chitambo, please, resume your seat as well.


I indicated earlier that I would not allow points of order because I wanted the debate to flow. There is still a lot of time for hon. Members who have not debated to do so, but they will not do so while seated.


Hon. Members, your masters who sent you to this House are watching and listening to you, and they expect more and better from you than what you are doing. Because of that, we will try to conduct our business in an orderly manner.


May the hon. Member for Keembe continue with her debate.


Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, as Backbenchers waiting to form Government in 2021, we are offering solutions, and our hon. Colleagues need to listen to us. The responsibility of Backbenchers is to offer solutions, and these are the solutions I propose to you..


Madam Speaker, the Executive has been using the slogan of value addition in this House. However, what we have seen is contrary to the slogan, and I will give an example. In the early months of 2019, the price of copper fell. In 2018, it had averaged US$6,723 per metric tonne but, in the first eight months of 2019, it fell to US$6,091 per metric tonne, and it will continue to fall because we have continued to export copper in its raw form. We need to ask ourselves why. It is important that when copper is mined in the country, it is made into products that we can use so that we can add value to raw materials. That way, the value of copper will not go down. That is simple arithmetic.


Madam Speaker, we grow cotton in Zambia, particularly in Keembe Constituency but, for many years, we have continued to export it in its raw form. Then, the same cotton that was grown in Mumbwa, Chibombo, Chisamba and other parts of Zambia comes back after it is well cleaned in China and many other countries, and we buy it at four times the price it was sold at. For how long will we keep doing business like this? Our country is endowed with resources, but the problem is the way we manage them. We have not learnt to actualise the potential we have. Hence, we continue to complain about the difficulties in the fiscal space. The argument that climate change is the reason for the difficulties in the economy is flawed because climate change is affecting many other countries, not only Zambia. However, other countries have stayed ahead of climate change, and that is called leadership.


Madam Speaker, in paragraph 157 of his speech, the President further says:


“Indeed, I will not expect Government, under my charge, to fail to provide for the people of Zambia.”


Madam Speaker, may I say that this Government has failed. Ordinary Zambians will tell you that they have less money than they had in previous years, and that is the truth. Even we, who make a better living than many people, are struggling. Now, imagine how much more the ordinary people in rural areas are struggling. That is the challenge. The PF has failed the people. I do not have to be an economist to know this because I get many calls from my constituents. Many people cannot afford to buy mealie meal, and I am not the only Member of Parliament who gets many calls about children who cannot go to school when every human being should enjoy basic human rights, which include education, shelter, food and water. Our colleagues have failed the people of Zambia, and that is the truth. Just yesterday, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflections (JCTR) released a report that shows that the cost of living in Zambia has gone up. However, we do not need a report from the JCTR to know that. At how much do people buy a bag of mealie meal? How much do they pay as school fees?


Madam Speaker, the Government is talking about climate change, yet it intends to hike electricity tariffs. That is where we are missing it. Why are we where we are? We all agree that we are in a difficult place, as many people have already stated. To his credit, the President acknowledged that we are in a difficult space. The reason is our business-as-usual approach. So, we need to change. Zambia could be a better country, but nothing is happening due to lack of leadership, and that is sad.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is strategically positioned. It might be landlocked but, with the right leadership, we can produce maize and export it to our neighbouring countries. However, because of the instability of the policies of the Ruling Party, a ban was effected at the time Zambians should have been allowed to export maize. This Government always does things in reverse. That is the reason we are in this situation. This Budget really has the potential to help this country and, without intending to make him big-headed, I must say that the hon. Minister of Finance did a good job.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Withdraw the word “big-headed”.


Ms Kasune: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the word “big-headed” and replace it with ‘a good job’.


Madam, the Budget is just a plan. What are important are its implementation and disbursement of funds. This is our fourth year in this Parliament, and Budgets have been brought to this House but, in the past years, we have come back here to talk about the non-disbursement of funds. I can plan to build a house and create a budget but, as long as I do not have funds, I will not build the house successfully. That is why I hope that those in the Executive will do what is right for the Zambians, and ensure that all the projects and plans outlined in the Budget are implemented.


Madam Speaker, many people from different countries come to Zambia to benchmark and learn because we have good policies. Unfortunately, there is political paralysis in the implementation of what we put on paper. That is the challenge. So, it is important that whatever has been put in the Budget is implemented and that the resources are allocated are not be wasted but be put to good use.


Madam Speaker, the Landless/Mumbwa Road in Keembe Constituency was supposed to have been completed, but it has stalled for over ten years. Even when the contractor resumes works, he only works on a 4 km stretch of the project. The project is then retendered, meaning that it ends up costing double, if not triple, the original price, and that is the wastage we talk about.


Madam Speaker, not much money has been allocated to agriculture, yet we have heard, over and over, that we need to diversify our economy and that one vehicle through which we can diversify is agriculture. The allocation to the sector is not pleasing. So, how can we diversify if the one area that is critical to our country is not given adequate resources?


Madam Speaker, it is said, “Show me where your money is and I will show you where your heart is”.’ Zambians are tired of by-elections, but that is where the heart of the Government is. The Government is interested in maintaining power, not in the wellbeing of ordinary Zambians. The President said he did not want to fail but, unfortunately, from the look of things, this Government has failed Zambians. I say this because the cost of living has escalated and the wellbeing of the Zambians is not looked into. Why is it that in 2019, we are still talking about a lack of access to water? Also, many years after Independence, we are still struggling to have good hospitals. For example, Chibombo is one of the oldest districts in this country, but it still has no general hospital. If, as hon. Members, we are serious about serving the people of Zambia, we need to re-focus our national priorities.


Madam, in conclusion, I want to say that the children of this country and future generations will hold us accountable. The positions we hold are not for a lifetime; they are seasonal. The hon. Minister of Finance talked about being a steward, and a steward is somebody who does not own something but is left in charge or given a certain responsibility over it. The PF Government is only a steward of the resources of the people of Zambia, not the owner. The people in the different positions today will not be in those positions tomorrow. Therefore, they should do what is right and just for the poor and the least in society. It is greed that is bringing many African nations down. Until we think of ordinary people, Budgets and people will come and go, but nothing will be achieved. What I want is to see a mother in a rural area no longer walking long distances to draw water because water has been taken closer to her. I also want to see a Zambia in which people will not have to wait for the President to tell them that the Government should prioritise the supply of electricity to hospitals and other critical facilities. Before the President made that pronouncement, how many people died? The Government knows too well that hospitals are a priority for power supply because they save lives. We, hon. Members, are failing Zambians, who are crying to us because they are suffering. The people need change, but the change will only come when we realise that we are only caretakers of this nation’s resources and that the people of Zambia own this country, not us.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mrs Fundanga (Chilubi): Madam Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add the voice of the good people of Chilubi to the debate on this Budget.


Madam, from the outset, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on a well-tabulated Budget that has encompassed almost every Zambian and is very inclusive.


Madam Speaker, I will focus on domestic debt and climate change. I know that most of my hon. Colleagues would like to debate. So, I will narrow my debate to those two issues.


Madam, most hon. Members who debated asked why the hon. Minister concentrated on domestic debt. I feel that domestic debt is cardinal for financial inclusiveness in any nation because when domestic debts are settled, that gives liquidity to local markets and enables financial institutions to offer credit at low rates to markets and business people, including small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs). So, to me, the allocation for dismantling the domestic debt is one of the best things in this Budget. The reason people are saying that they do not have money is that the domestic debt has not been paid. Once we solve the issue of the domestic debt, there will be liquidity in the market and money in people’s pockets, and that will have a trickle-down effect. For instance, if I am a Zambian contractor and the Government owes me money, my entire family will suffer. However, the day it pays me, my family and the community will have liquidity. So, I congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on that.


Madam, the Kwacha is weak because there is no liquidity in the market. However, once the domestic debt is paid, the people will have money and there will be a financial revolution. The Government is committed to settling the domestic debt and improving liquidity in the economy so that some of the things we have been apprehensive about can be addressed, and I am sure that will happen. Paying the domestic debt will also create general confidence in the market. People will have confidence in the economy and will do business. They will also have enough confidence in the Government to do business with it. Therefore, the Government will become a reliable partner for local business people, and that is very important.


Madam Speaker, many people talked about what the President said and the economy. I read the Budget like an Arabs; I did not read it from start to finish, but from right to left because I believe in figures. If got to the Budget Speech, the most important part to look at are the figures under “Expenditure by Functions of Government” and “Resource Envelope for the 2020 Budget” because they show the projections of revenue, our expectations and vision. The hon. Minister of Finance made the Budget like a building block because, if you look at the Budget for last year and the one before it, you will realise that each flows into the next. So, we have not deviated. Instead, where we have seen areas of need, we have attended to them; where we have seen areas of recovery, we have submitted; and where we have seen areas of acceleration, we have provided.


Madam Speaker, when His Excellency the President came to this House and accepted that there are areas that need to be improved, it was not because the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is weak. On the contrary, it means that the Government is strong because, how many Presidents can stand in front of the people and accept that there are areas in need? In Africa, there is always protectionism, preventionism and denial. However, our President did not deny that we need to do something in certain areas, and that is a positive thing. That is what makes a good president. Our President has a positive attitude and is not in denial. He acknowledged that the Government had not done some things, but also said that we needed to look at how we could improve those areas. That is strength, not weakness. If anything, accepting one’s weaknesses is a strength. The President is inclusive, and that is why he said that in front of all of us, the Opposition, the Ruling Party and the nation as a whole. He was not ashamed to say what he said and was not in denial. That is strength, and I was proud of him when he said that because few Presidents in Africa can do that.


Madam Speaker, how much money will we spend as a country? This is not the first Budget made in this country, and I want hon. Members to listen to me very carefully. Since 1964, Budgets have been made and adopted. The question is: What happened to the money in the previous Budgets? Our hon. Colleagues should not debate like the PF is the first Government in this country when there was the United National Independence Party (UNIP) and the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Governments before this one. So, why is it that we could not trace what was happening to the allocations in the previous Budgets of this country?


Dr Imakando: Corruption!


Mrs Fundanga: Yes, and that is what I am getting to.


Madam Speaker, some people are saying that our President is spending too much money travelling around. Do you know the people who spend too much money? It is those who are allocated finances for projects but do not monitor them, thereby forcing the President to monitors the projects. For instance, if K200 million is allocated to a road project and the President uses K3 million to go to the Northern Province to check on that project, who is spending more money? Is it the person who just sits in State House without knowing where the money is going? It is the one who does not even know where the money allocated goes. The person who monitors projects is not spending money but working. Not nawikalafye mu State House kwati ni John solye bwali. Fyalipwa filya.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member for Chilubi, use the official language in your debate.


You may continue.


Mrs Fundanga: Madam Speaker, that means, “A ‘John, come and eat nshima’”. However, I appreciate your guidance.


Madam, the point I am trying to make is that some of the criticism of people in leadership is unwarranted. Whether a leader is working or not, people will still criticise him. As a third-world country, we cannot afford the luxury of having a President who just sits in State House. He has to be a captain and move. For instance, how long did it take for the Luwingu/Mansa Road to be completed? For ten years, money was just being poured into the road until our former President, His Excellency Mr Sata, may his soul rest in peace, went there and made noise.


Dr Imakando: He made noise?


Mrs Fundanga: By “making noise”, I mean that he told people that he could not tolerate what was happening. Had he just sat in State House, that road would not have been completed.


Madam Speaker, our hon. Colleagues were saying that the economy was better before because we had more money, but I want to tell them that the inflation, deficits and others issues they talk about happen that –it is written in the Bible that Jesus told a parable about the ten men who were given talents, and one of them, like the MMD, did nothing with his and Jesus called him foolish. So, we are supposed to add value using money and the gifts from God. Keeping money in lockets does not work for the people. That is not the way God created this world. When you have wealth, use it. Wealth is supposed to be multiplied. In the case of this nation, it should be invested in infrastructure development.


Dr Imakando interjected.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order, hon. Member for Mongu Central!


Hon. Member for Chilubi, resume your seat.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order in the House!


Hon. Member for Mongu Central and hon. Member for Lubansenshi, avoid trying to help the hon. Member on the Floor in her debate. I am sure she does not need your help.


The hon. Member for Chilubi may continue.


Mrs Fundanga: Madam Speaker, the point I am trying to make is that money is not supposed to be kept like the man in the story in the Bible did. Money or wealth is supposed to be multiplied. In the case of this nation, it is supposed to be invested in infrastructure development. From 1964 to around the 1980s, the roads in this country were bad. Some of the people in this House are younger than me, but I can share with the House that our roads were in a terrible condition. Those of us who used to drive in Lusaka needed to always buy spare parts for our vehicles. Today, we drive on smooth roads, and that is how it is supposed to be. Some people asked, “What about roads in Sioma?” Tafimena nga meno yamukanwa. Development does not come like teeth in the mouth. We have to start from somewhere and grow gradually. One thing we should know is that ours is a working President and that is why he wants to supervise projects himself so that the country does not lose money.


Madam Speaker, on climate change, I would like to tell you that I am one of the people who were privileged to attend the twenty-first United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference of Parties (UNFCCC-COP 21) in Paris in 2015, and I know that Zambia is a signatory to the agreement that was reached at that conference. Further, we will ensure that the agreement is ratified. One of the learned people at the conference said that the use of fertilisers contributed to climate change, as nitrogen, the biggest component of fertiliser, creates nitrous acid, which is 300 times more potent in attracting heat than carbon dioxide. For instance, the Southern Province was the most agriculturally productive region and it produced most of the food in this country. Unfortunately, the farmers there used a lot of fertiliser. I attribute that to what I quoted because we should consider alternative farming methods so that we do not deplete the fertility of our soils. Otherwise, if we continue using inorganic fertilisers, we will get into trouble. In addition, having excess nitrogen in the atmosphere leads to the occurrence of dead zones in water bodies, and this has been proven true by the depletion of fish in our waters. So, we should be careful.


Madam Speaker, the good thing about today’s lessons is that we can learn them and decide what we want to do as a nation and work together. However, some people are saying that the President is using climate change as an excuse, but this problem is real. When we were in Paris, all the countries were crying about the depletion of their natural. That is exactly what has happened, yet we want to cry foul. We should be more realistic than that because, at the end of the day, our resources will deplete.


Madam Speaker, one hon. Member talked about wild fruits, and I think that it is sad that we can call our exotic fruits ‘wild’ because in other countries, people use infungo – I do not know what it is called in English – to make fruit juice. Impundu is rich in Vitamin A, which is responsible for 99.9 per cent of our immune system. If a child is born malnourished and starts eating porridge made from impundu, it will grow very quickly. Therefore, I do not know why somebody should complain about people eating wild fruits when those are exotic fruits that we should be proud to eat. Our friends in West Africa came up with a way of processing them, and they are more nutritious than the apples and oranges that we eat, which come from South Africa and contain all sorts of things. For God’s sake, let us wake up. We can eat cassava and sweet potatoes, but we just want to depend on maize and rice, which are exotic foods. In Central and West Africa, one will not find an African having bread and tea for breakfast. There, they eat the local foods like boiled and grilled cassava with groundnuts, which they can afford. Here, we have just created this artificial expensive economy by failing to eat our local foods. So, we have to look back and see what is positive and negative. Traditional nutrition is capital unlike the Western nutrition that we cannot afford.


Madam Speaker, we have to change the way we run businesses. For example, instead of using electricity for domestic work, we should use gas or alternative sources of energy. The price of gas is not exorbitant and gas is good for domestic work. So, I urge the hon. Minister of Energy to encourage people to invest start using gas for domestic work. I think it is unsustainable for us to continue using electricity for domestic work.


Madam Speaker, we should also move away from sinking boreholes and start building dams because boreholes create earth movement and may eventually lead to our houses starting sinking. So, it is better to have –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Munkonge (Lukashya): Madam Speaker, before I start debating the 2020 Budget, I will take this opportunity to pass my condolences to the people of Zimbabwe and the Mugabe family on the death of President Robert Gabriel Mugabe. I also pass my condolences to Hon. Charles Zulu and his family on the loss of his wife. May the souls of the departed rest in eternal peace.


Madam Speaker, I commend and congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance and the civil servants who helped him to prepare the 2020 Budget. Further, having congratulated the hon. Minister and the civil servants who worked with him, it is inevitable for me to congratulate the President, the overall supervisor of the Budget. So, I commend all of them for this Budget because it has attempted – and I am using the word ‘attempted’ because only time will tell how successful we are – to meet some of the challenges the people of Zambia are facing in income generation, which are taxes.


Madam Speaker, before I go on, let me make the disclaimer that I am not attempting to teach the economists economics, the lawyers law or the accountants accounts. Instead, I will look at the Budget from the point of view of the ordinary person in Kasama trying to understand what one can do about the economy of Zambia to make it better. My concerns over the economy and the Budget are about what affects it and what is special about it and, in that regard, I would say there is nothing special about our economic situation because the challenges we face are faced everywhere else. For example, currently, the United States (US) Government has a budget deficit of US$984 billion, which is the highest in seven years, the United Kingdom (UK) Government had a budget deficit of €25.5 billion as of March 2019 and, as of 2016, Russia’s deficit was US$21 billion. So, budget deficits are normal and must be planned for. Of course, the deficit must be considered in light of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), but I will not go into those technical issues because that is not what I want to talk about.


Madam Speaker, reports by independent audit companies, Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdele (KPMG) Zambia and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) Zambia, indicate that while the Budget gives hope, its implementation will be the major challenge. So, the two agree that apart from implementation challenges, the direction of the Budget is the right one.


Madam Speaker, the external factors, to me, are those we cannot control because of the current financial status quo of our systems. The New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) controls natural gas prices through the Brent and West Texas Intermediate (WTI), the Commodity Exchange (COMEX) based in the United States of America (USA) controls commodity trade in gold, silver and copper, the London Metal Exchange (LME) controls aluminium, steel and copper trade and the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) incorporated in the USA controls the trade of sugar. Therefore, we have no control over important factors that affect us on an everyday basis.


Madam Speaker, I may be cautioning someone who knows the system better than I do, but there are certain institutions that come to Zambia that I feel should declare interest before they give their advice. They should say that they have come to Zambia not to change the status quo. In other words, such institutions should declare that they cannot allow Zambia to determine the price of copper or any mineral. If that were done, I think the rest of us would know why negotiations with such institutions over the future of Zambia does not lead to any progress.


Madam Speaker, I heard an argument about the cost of living going up and the impact of that. However, if you look at the current world economic scenario, you will see that the cost of living is going up all over the world and that one of the reasons is the fight between two economic giants in the world today. Institutions like the FMI and BW, whose initials I have jumbled, will not come to the rescue of Zambia. So, the solution must come from us, and we have to be very careful. One of the strategies that can help under the context of policy and regulatory reforms is finding ways of directing business opportunities in Zambia to Zambians. That is because when the biggest contributor to your economy happens to be a multinational company, then, the Government will be dealing with a business partner who is secretly supported by his Government. No wonder in Zambia, a bank can be created to cater solely for nationals of a specific country, resulting in their having an unfair advantage when bidding for contracts because they borrow money at 2 per cent interest while commercial banks give Zambians loans at 20 per cent interest. I, therefore, recommend that the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) looks into this unfair practice. How is a Zambian who is not supported by his Government supposed to compete with an individual supported 100 per cent by his government?


Madam Speaker, multinationals are also poor at paying taxes in Zambia because of the support they get from their governments. How can a company declare US$486 million profit on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE) and its shares go up, yet fight for a Value Added Tax (VAT) refund in Zambia? This disparity needs to be looked at. The impact of multinationals, be they mines, construction companies, agricultural companies or shopping malls, on our economy has to be studied and explained to Zambians. For example, could those companies affect the exchange rate? Could a business worth millions of dollars not influence our Budget in ways that the Government would not be able to control? If the answer is yes, then, we have to understand what we have to do. Multinationals often hold our banking system to ransom by getting loans at 2 per cent interest in their countries of origin and demanding 15 per cent or 27 per cent interest from our banks on fixed deposits. How will this situation balance off if we do not take any action?


Madam Speaker, I am grateful that the hon. Minister of Finance attempted to change the name. Shakespeare once asked, “What is in a name?’’ So, I am happy that we did not waste too much time talking about the Sales Tax but, instead, dealt with the issues under VAT that have been affecting the Government’s ability to collect tax. It has been the main source of my appreciation for this Budget that the hon. Minister attempted to look at that discrepancy.  Let me give an example, and I hope I will not offend anyone. If a Bemba man opened a bank in Chipata and decided to only serve Bembas who live in Chipata, Hon. Mwale would not entertain that. It cannot be done. So, we have to address those discrepancies.


Madam, in line with my example of Bembas and my Ngoni brothers, I want to express my displeasure at the attempts to play the tribal card in the House. I find it sad that when we have an opportunity to discuss something, others bring in the Barotseland Agreement. I am one of the people who respected that document and its origins from a historical perspective. However, I have to explain what tribalism is to my sister’s daughter, Namakau Mukelabai, and my brother’s son, Kapampa Munkonge, the grandson of Mainza Chona, because of the card that has been played today. That is sad, and there is no other way I can put it. We, politicians, can play that card because it is within our powers, but posterity will judge us harshly. So, we have to be careful, and that is not a card I would recommend one to play. I made this point to ensure that I am not misunderstood in my next point.


Madam Speaker, we need to direct the limited resources that we have to areas where we will get the greatest and, hopefully, the quickest impact, and that relates to development. To the best of my knowledge, and I stand to be corrected if I am mistaken, no one talks about a copper mine in Livingstone, and that is because either there are no copper deposits in Livingstone or today’s technology cannot allow us to extract the copper that might be there. Again, I stand to be corrected, but there is no elephant in Kasama. So, I do not expect tourism in Kasama to revolve around an elephant, unless the hon. Minister for the Northern Province decides to keep one as a pet. So, we should spread development following the path of least resistance. I believe the path of least resistance is that if there is water in the Northern Province, then, the activities that revolve around water should be undertaken in that province. I know that water is more flexible than copper and that we can entertain the thought of channelling it into the Kafue or Zambezi rivers, but is that the easiest and most economical thing to do? Madam Speaker, I invite my brothers from drought-prone areas to go to Kasama and be my neighbour, and I am confident I will live in peace with them because my nephew is the grandson of Mainza Chona and my niece is Namakau Mukelabai. In Bemba, we say call a niece “umwipwa”. So, umwipwa wandi, which means “my niece”, who is a Mukelabai, will be in charge of my up-keep when I am too old to walk, and I am grateful that her mother allowed her to learn both Lozi and Bemba. So, I have no problem communicating with her.


Madam Speaker, we have to plan for the effects of climate change in the future. I believe no Zambian participated in deciding the location of the Kariba Dam. Therefore, it is not strange that we did not prepare for the possibility that we would have a drought where the dam is. In the 1950s, I do not think there was anybody who could foresee that we would run out of water in Kariba Dam. However, we have the advantage of knowing that possibility and managing our water resources a lot better than the previous Governments did. We have the benefit of hindsight. If we do not do that, we, in the Northern Province, will not be affected because we still have water. However, if the Southern and Western provinces were once green fields, what makes us special? Therefore, we have to plan for that possibility now. The benefits may not be seen in our lifetime, but let us lay the foundation and resolve the issue of climate change.


Madam Speaker, I would like to debate corruption in the same breath as democracy. If we are not careful, the discussion on corruption will delay the decisions we need to make in other sectors. Corruption is a good topic, but I believe the majority Zambians are not corrupt. There are a few corrupt people who, I hope, are evenly scattered across the country, but corruption should not stop us from having other meaningful discussions that can benefit us.


Madam Speaker, on power generation, we should plan for the future. If we are to take water from the Northern or Luapula provinces to the Copperbelt, let us entertain the thought of having water transport. Where I come from, in Lukashya Constituency, if you stood on the shores of Lake Chimalilo, you would see Kanchibiya on the left and Lubansenshi on the right, and could travel from there to Chilubi Island using a canoe. So, let us entertain ideas of developing water transport. Development cannot happen equally because our resources are not distributed equally. So, let us look at that aspect. I am rushing because time is not with me.


Madam Speaker, let us not demonise industries. The milling is a profitable business, but milling companies are closing every day because we are now emphasising on international players who have the muscle to do that business instead of local players. Milling, mining and cotton industries should be encouraged.


Madam Speaker, when the previous speaker mentioned the university in Kasama, I was praying that the Government would not take the money allocated to it to King Lewanika University. I think we should fight for the money for the other university separately.


Madam Speaker, I thank you, once again, for giving me the opportunity to debate. I rushed through my debate but, at least, I managed to put my points across.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Speaker, thank you very much for allowing the people of Serenje Constituency to support the Budget.


Madam Speaker, the Budget is themed, “Focusing National Priorities towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy”. Taking this as my point of departure, I consider it courteous to mention that the Government wants to direct resources where it matters the most or looking at priority areas. So, those suggesting that the Budget is hollow or empty do not mean well because the Budget has embraced the interests of the people of Zambia at large.


Madam Speaker, climate change is a global phenomenon and a global problem that is beyond the reach of even His Excellency the President, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and beyond our reach. So, we should manage it and find solutions to it collectively because it has affected most areas of our economy.


Madam Speaker, on load-shedding, I will cite the example of a teacher who wants to prepare a lesson plan for the next day. When he knocks off at 1700 hours and finds that there is no power at home, what time will he prepare the lesson plan? Even a secretary cannot work when there is no electricity. So, man hours are lost, and industries are not operating at the level they should. The Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation (ZESCO) has given us a picture of how the energy sector is operating and the dangers inherent in the hydro electricity sector. Therefore, load-shedding does not need to be politicised. Instead, we need to put our heads together, reposition ourselves and think of what we should do about this problem.


Madam Speaker, Zambia is not an island. Climate change is not only affecting this country but it is everywhere. Therefore, what should we do? The production of food has reduced. So, we should think of other forms of food to eat. One cannot say one cannot eat other foods because one was brought up eating porridge in the morning and nshima at 1300 hours and in the evening. These are different times that require different approaches. We should inculcate in our people new dietary habits and what they grow? Even in the Farmers Input Support Programme (FISP), fertiliser should be taken to places where people can produce food. There is no need to take fertiliser to areas where there is no rainfall. We need to use our comparative advantage and enjoy it. Copper is mined on the Copperbelt, but its benefits spill to all other parts of the country. So, if there is rainfall on one side, agricultural inputs should be taken there. It is as simple as that. The people in the areas where there is rainfall are supposed to feed those in the areas where there is no rainfall. That is how things work.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order on both sides of the House!


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance talked about stalled projects and how they should be managed. In this regard, the issue of debt contraction also comes into play, and it has some historical liabilities. Debts have been incurred as a result of providing services to Zambians. They were not incurred for fun and or misdirected, and we have seen what has been done with the monies that were borrowed. There is infrastructure development everywhere in the country. There is housing and road infrastructure, to mention just a few examples, scattered all over the country. To complete on-going projects in view of the austerity measures that have been put in place, the hon. Minister of Finance suggested that we redesign the contracts. The contractors must understand that times have changed and that we should start offloading the bills we owe them as a country. So, we should come to the round table and decide whether to buy them materials so that they can finish the stalled projects. We also need to look at how the revenue base can be broadened because it is in such times –




Mr Kabanda: Madam, there are running commentaries and some giggling.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Ignore them and focus on your debate.


Mr Kabanda: Madam Speaker, we should look at how we can broaden the revenue base for the country. For instance, the Rating Act of 2018 should be implemented to the letter. Further, there are many areas that are not being taxed and many people who are avoiding tax. The property owners do not pay as much tax as they should while the people in the informal sector, who should pay taxes, have not been captured by the tax net. Only those in formal employment pay tax. Therefore, the Government should cast its net wide so that everyone pays tax. Even for land, for as long as one has a letter of offer, he must pay tax.


Madam Speaker, we should explore possibilities for taking canals to where there is no water. Instead of conventional pipes, we should explore means of taking water to dry areas. There are water bodies on the northern side from which we can take water to the southern part of the country. That can easily be done because the Kariba Dam requires extensive repairs.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Agriculture has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the export of maize and mealie meal, and that is the way to go. In fact, it is long overdue. The other time I stood on the Floor of this House, I said that if we sold 5,000 metric tonnes of maize to the DRC, we would make US$2.8 million, pay transporters their money and still remain with something for administrative costs. That money could also be used to service our debts. The market in the DRC is quite huge, and we can benefit a lot by selling maize, tomatoes and other crops to that country.


Madam Speaker, the other day, I was disheartened to hear that a number of civil servants had also benefited from FISP. I know that civil servants are Zambians and that they deserve to benefit from that facility, but priority should be given to the people who are not able to sustain themselves. If the civil servants lay their hands on FISP, they will disadvantage the people for whom the programme was introduced. So, civil servants must be deterred from accessing FISP inputs.


Madam Speaker, regarding pensioners, we should all rise to the occasion and ensure that the law is amended. There is a need to create room for us to employ school leavers. The people who leave universities are roaming the streets because the Civil Service has no room for absorbing new entrants because civil servants retire at sixty-five. So, I also think that compulsory retirement at sixty years must be implemented with dispatch so that we can create room for the youth in the Civil Service. What does someone who wants to continue working until he or she is sixty or sixty-five years want to do that he or she did not do in twenty-five years? I think there is a limit to everything, and it is not only in the Civil Service where people can find opportunities, but even in the village too. One does not need to cling to a public office in order to survive. There are other survival skills.


Hon. Member: When are you retiring?


Mr Kabanda: I retired a long time ago. I am now serving my people in a different capacity.


Hon. Member: You are working there.


Hon. Member: Madam, on the cleaning up of the Public Service payroll, the hon. Minister of Finance has come up with a clean broom and it is sweeping very well. This has been the biggest financial haemorrhage for the Public Service in which you can find an office orderly being paid as a director in a ministry, and we have lost a lot of money. So, this measure has come at the right time and it will save us a lot of resources that can be redirected to other needy areas.


Madam, the Government needs to invest in livestock. Lately, the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) has been giving out loans to fish farmers. Unfortunately, the beneficiaries have been individuals, especially in Serenje Constituency. It would have been better if loans benefited groups. So, I feel that should be revisited so that we can empower the youth by giving them the loans as groups.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance made the right decision in revisiting the introduction of Sales Tax, which had created a lot of anxiety in the minds of the stakeholders, as most of them were averse to the move. There is now stability in the industry because of the reversion to the usual tax method.


Madam Speaker, Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects are being financed by the Government but, unfortunately, they are being implemented at a snail’s pace. The officers are not helping us to complete the projects on time. However, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government wants to serve the people of Zambia. So, if officers are frustrating its efforts, I do not think they are in the right positions. We want to deliver on our promises, and a Member of Parliament can only exert pressure on CDF projects.


Mr Kambita: Are you PF?


Mr Kabanda: The CDF is given to all Members of Parliament regardless of their political affiliation. Therefore, I appeal to local authorities execute CDF projects without undue delay.


Madam Speaker, someone said that by-elections are a drain on the national economy. Can anyone have control over the death of a councillor or a Member of Parliament? I do not think it is right to politicise this issue because death is beyond our control. I also do not think it is anybody’s fault or problem when councillors resign from their parties because of poor leadership. On a lighter note, our friends should sensitise their councillors against making such decisions if they do not want by-elections to take place. The Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) cannot do anything if someone resigns from his or her political party because of not seeing light at the end of the tunnel because the party is not anywhere near forming Government.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1956 hours until 1430 hours on Wednesday, 9th October, 2019.