Thursday, 10th October, 2019

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Thursday, 10th October, 2019


The House met at 1430 hours











Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members, I wish to acquaint the House with the presence, in the Speaker’s Gallery, of the following hon. Members and staff of the National Council Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy from the Parliament of Namibia:


Hon. Cornelius Kanguatjivi, MP;


Hon. Lonia Kaishungu, MP;


Mr August Mathupi – Senior Legal Officer; and


Mr Nobert  A. Uuyuni – Parliamentary Clerk .


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I wish, on behalf of the National Assembly of Zambia, to receive our distinguished guests and warmly welcome them into our midst.


I thank you. 








The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources (Ms Kapata):  Madam Speaker, I wish to thank you for according me this opportunity to deliver a ministerial statement to this august House and the nation at large on the clearance of trucks laden with mukula logs in transit from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Madam, the Government of the Republic of Zambia issued Statutory Instrument No. 96 of 2018, amended by Statutory Instrument No. 8 of 2019. Further, it was amended by Statutory Instrument No. 58 of 2019 ‘The Control of Goods (Import and Export) (Forest Produce). The SI authorised the Government of the DRC to transit through Zambia 3,400 “40 foot” containers laden with mukula logs for a period of six months with effect from 28th December, 2018.


Madam Speaker, the transiting of the mukula logs only took effect in April, 2019 and is currently ongoing. The sub-committee of the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJCO) on mukula has been facilitating the inspection and escort of the consignments. Further, the sub-committee has, so far, facilitated the inspection and escort of 455 trucks laden with mukula logs in transit through Zambia from the DRC. This exercise was undertaken between April and August, 2019. The exercise was administratively extended beyond the 28th June, 2019 to allow for the transiting of all the trucks, whose payments were already made to the Zambian Government before 28th June, 2019.


Madam Speaker, I must be quick to mention that out of the 455 trucks that have been paid for, 361 trucks have transited through Zambia. However, three trucks did not exit the country due to various reasons such as breakdowns and servicing of the trucks while ninety-one trucks are still on the DRC side awaiting clearance.


Madam, I wish to inform this august House that the Government of the Republic of Zambia is collecting revenue through the inspection and escort fees at rate of K2,400 and K2,000 per container respectively. A total amount of K1,187,400 has so far been collected from the 455 trucks inspected. The Government of the DRC has also paid K915,200 to meet the cost of escorting the 455 trucks. This brings the total amount collected so far for the 455 trucks to K2,102,600.


Madam Speaker, I therefore, wish to let this august House know that out of the 3,400 containers laden with mukula logs from the DRC meant to transit through Zambia, a total of 361 trucks have exited the country.


Madam Speaker, there are challenges being encountered during the implementation of this exercise. I must mention that the Government of the DRC has not been able to implement the exercise as projected by the Zambian Government. The agreed plan was to have a minimum of sixty trucks transiting per day. However, at the beginning of the exercise, the average numbers that were transiting was twenty trucks per consignment. The number only increased to forty trucks per consignment upon inclusion of Nakonde Boarder as a port of exit to places like Chirundu, Kazungula and Katima Mulilo.


Madam, some notable challenges are as follows:


  1. tedious processes in obtaining export permits in the DRC;
  2. time required to complete the process of clearing the consignment from the time the trucks reach the border;
  3. procedural delays between the clearing agents, Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) officials and the private company managing the Kasumbalesa One Stop Border;
  4. lack of experience by some of the customs clearing agents for handling such huge consignment, hence delaying the clearing process; and
  5. insufficient reliable trucks transiting through Chirundu, Kazungula and Katima Mulilo Borders, as most of those trucks available in the DRC were Tanzanian trucks.


Madam Speaker, following the challenges that the technical committee and escort teams from the provinces encountered, the Zambian Government will review the terms and conditions agreed with the Government of the DRC.


Madam Speaker, my ministry is considering the following:


  1. the inspection and escort teams should move only when a minimum of sixty trucks are at Kasumbalesa; and
  2. the Government of the DRC will be encouraged to follow the recommended axle load by the Road Development Agency (RDA) to avoid overloading and, thereby causing delays in the estimated time of escorts from the point of entry to the point of exit.


Madam Speaker, as I conclude, I wish to state that the operations have not been implemented as agreed with the Government of the DRC. Therefore, a delegation from the DRC has been invited to come and agree on the revised terms and conditions of implementing this operation.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Members are now free to ask questions on points of clarification on the ministerial statement given by the hon. Minister of Lands and Natural Resources.


Mr Kamondo (Mufumbwe): Madam Speaker, is the amount of money that has been mentioned in terms of revenue inclusive of tollgate fees?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, the amount that I mentioned does not include the tollgate fees. The trucks have to pay at the tollgates.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Madam Speaker, we have a lot of mukula logs lying around and wasting away in the country. There are quite a number of these logs in Senga Hill Constituency. These logs are in places where they would easily burn if the bush was set alight. The hon. Minister spoke so much about the mukula logs from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What plans does the Government have concerning the mukula logs that are already cut down in Zambia?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I know that the question is not related to the statement, but I will allow the hon. Minister to answer.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, indeed, it is worrying because we have a lot of mukula logs lying around in the countryside. The good news is that we have the CJOC on the ground and it is mopping up the mukula logs in all the provinces. This is to make sure that the mukula logs lying around in the countryside are collected and piled up in the ZNS camps for safety and future sale by the Government.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Speaker, I will be failing in my duty if I do not congratulate the Patriotic Front (PF) candidate for winning the Kaoma Council chairmanship. The candidate for the PF was very candid and clear in pronouncing the slogan of the United Party for National Development (UPND), which is “Zambia forward” in Kaoma.




Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Leader of the Opposition, just ask your question.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, having congratulated that candidate, I would like to find out what measures have been put in place to ensure that unscrupulous businessmen dealing in mukula do not take advantage of this movement of the mukula logs through Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, measures have been put in place to ensure that unscrupulous businessmen dealing in mukula do not take advantage of the movement of the logs through Zambia. Each time the consignment leaves the border, there is an escort.  The CJOC escorts the trucks up to the exit point. So, there is no chance of anyone joining the bandwagon. The consignments are safely guarded by the CJOC from the entry point up to the exit point.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Mr Miyanda (Mapatizya): Madam Speaker, are any of the 361 trucks which have already existed the country Zambian?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I am not sure if there are any Zambian trucks that are carrying these consignments. What I know is that three quarters of the trucks that are carrying these logs are from Tanzania. That is because there are a lot of things which get into the DRC from Tanzania. So as they are going back, they then carry the mukula logs.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Musonda (Kamfinsa): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister indicated that there were some challenges that were being faced and one of the challenges mentioned was the tedious procedure of acquiring export documents within the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). What challenges would be acquiring export documents in DRC are in Zambia?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, I have just received an answer from the technocrats regarding Hon. Miyanda’s question. There are a number of Zambian trucks which are also being used in the transportation of mukula logs.


Madam Speaker, coming to the question asked by the hon. Member for Kamfinsa, there are requirements that the DRC has put in place for the transporters to follow. Perhaps they are unable to be on time because the process takes long. I do not know what processes the DRC has, but I know that it has processes that exporters should follow. Exporters should produce documents or provide information that is needed. I do not know what happens on the DRC side, I am more conversant with what is happening on our side in Zambia.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Dr Chibanda (Mufulira): Madam Speaker, is the hon. Minister able to tell us whether this trade in mukula is a transaction for the DRC Government or it is by a business consortium? When she says there are logistical challenges in the DRC, are those challenges being faced by individuals or they are the DRC Government challenges?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, it is businessmen from the DRC who are dealing in mukula, and not the Government. The Government just facilitates the trade.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Mutale (Chitambo): Madam Speaker, I recall that the last time the hon. Minister presented a ministerial statement, I asked the hon. her what the Government was doing to learn from the DRC regarding securing a market for mukula and what it is earning from the sale of mukula. Since the hon. Minister has been interacting with the DRC Government, has she learned anything on how best we can sell our mukula to whichever market the Government is selling the mukula to?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, the Government has looked at how best Zambia’s mukula can be dealt with. At the moment, we have an ad hoc committee that is comprised of officials from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Ministry of Finance to advise the Government on how to go about this. The resolutions from this committee will go to Cabinet for approval and then maybe come to Parliament for approval as well. Indeed, the Government would like to take charge of mukula and see what it can get out of it.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Madam Speaker, I heard the hon. Minister say that the trucks carrying mukula are being secured by the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC). My understanding is that the CJOC is a combination of officers from the Zambia Army, the Zambia Police, the Zambia National Service (ZNS), the Zambia State Intelligence System and others. Why has the ministry decided to offer that kind of security to mukula logs instead of just using the Zambia Police? I am aware that the cash in transit from the Bank of Zambia (BoZ) here in Lusaka does not receive security from the CJOC when being transferred from here to BoZ in Ndola.


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, the ministry decided to use the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC) because it is a bigger group composed of officers from the Zambia Army, the Zambia Department of Immigration, the Zambia National Service (ZNS), the Zambia Air Force (ZAF) and all other security wings. The CJOC was formulated for transparency’s sake so that we know what is going on as opposed to just involving police officers alone.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister mentioned that the agreed consignment was supposed to be sixty trucks, but the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is only able to move twenty trucks. Other than the challenge of documentation, are there any other challenges that the DRC is facing and preventing it from moving the agreed consignment of sixty trucks?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, one of the challenges would be that the trucks might not be enough. This is why we, as Government, have said that we are only going to allow sixty and not twenty trucks to be moved. We have also extended the period of the contract for a year up to June 2020. If the DRC does not finish moving the 3,400 containers by June 2020, there will be no renewal and we will just close that border.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Madam Speaker, do we have a record of all the mukula dotted in various places? I saw some mukula in Livingstone. Further, how much time will be taken to bring this mukula in one place to ensure maximum security because it is possible that these trucks transporting the mukula can load more of our mukula which is dotted around the country? Do we have that kind of record?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, we have the data, we know where most of the mukula is lying in the countryside. We have done an “alter call” through chiefs and notified them that the CJOC is going round checking the quantity of mukula that we have in the countryside.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Chabi (Chipili): Madam Speaker, involving the Central Joint Operations Committee (CJOC) demands a lot of allowances as it is a combination of security wings. The hon. Minister mentioned that only about K2,000 is paid per truck and that that Government has raised about K1 million after successfully escorting more than 400 trucks. Who pays for other logistics like fuel, allowances for the officers and transport? Are these things paid for from the same K2,000 charged for the security provided?


Ms Kapata: Madam Speaker, the K2,000 covers everything. When you multiply K2,000 by twenty trucks you get K40,000. Now, we are increasing the number of trucks to sixty. Not even a coin of the cost is on the Zambia Government. The cost is on the Congolese Government whose trucks are transiting through Zambia.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.








31. Dr Chibanda (Mufulira) asked the Minister of Finance:


  1. how much money, in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds, was owed to the following, as of June 2019:


  1. Mopani Copper Mine;


  1. Konkola Copper Mine;


  1. Kansanshi Mine;


  1. Lumwana Mine;


  1. Kalumbila Mine;


  1. manufacturing companies;


  1. other business entities; and


  1. individuals


    b. what the total debt for the Government was, as of the same date; and


     c.   whether the amount owed in VAT refunds at (a), was part of the Government’s internal debt.


The Minister of Finance (Dr Ng’andu): Madam Speaker, the Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds that were owed as at 30th June, 2019 are as follows:


Sector                                                  Total Unpaid VAT (ZMW)


Named Mining Companies                 K2,834,554,106


Manufacturing Companies                  K236,601,429


Other Business Entities                       K1,719,250,213


Diplomats                                            K1,202,543


The grand total                                    K4,791,608,292


Madam Speaker, mentioning the liabilities of specific mining companies as required by the question would result in a breach of confidentiality clauses as outlined in the following pieces of legislation:


  1. Section 21 of the Zambia Revenue Authority Act;
  2. Section 8 of the Income Tax Act; and
  3. Section 32 of the Value Added Tax Act.



Madam Speaker, the total internal Government debt as at 30th June, 2019, is broken down as follows:


  1. Treasury Bills                K20.1 billion
  2. Government Bonds      K40.2 billion
  3. VAT Arrears                 K4.8 billion; and
  4. Domestic Arrears          K20.2 billion


Madam Speaker, further, this august House may wish to note that the amounts owed in VAT refunds as at 30th June, 2019 were part of the Government’s internal debt.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, it is quite alarming to know what the Government owes in VAT refunds. I want the hon. Minister to state, candidly, how this debt will be repaid. What I had on the back of my mind when I asked this question was the fact that the tax regime was migrating from VAT to the Sales Tax. Now that the hon. Minister of Finance has opted to have further consultations on the migration to the Sales Tax, it clearly means that the Government will keep accruing VAT refunds. I want to know how the hon. Minister plans to boldly confront this debt and pay it. In my debate on Tuesday, I mentioned that part of the VAT refunds owed to small business entities is meant to recapitalise their businesses. How quick does the hon. Minister think this debt will be paid in order to rejuvenate small scale businessmen?


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, it is appropriate that I give a bit of background to why the arrears reached the current levels. In 2012, there was an amendment to the Zambia Revenue Authority Rule No. 18 of the Value Added Tax Rules of 1997. This amendment put in place, more stringent measures that required businesses to produce documents to verify whether a claim is true or not. As a result of that, a number of documents which previously were not required were now asked for. Consequently, the process of verifying which payments were valid and which ones were not took a long time. During that period, arrears accumulated to the levels that they have reached. Rule No. 18 was later amended back to what it was before. Consequently, after 2015, the documents that are required are less stringent. They include certificate of shipment and transit documents that can be verified as having been issued by the country through which the goods transited during export. To that extent, the Government is not accumulating arrears in the same way it did when the stringent version of Rule No. 18 was being applied. 


Madam Speaker, in terms of what the Government is doing to deal with these arrears; a number of things are being applied. Firstly, the Government is engaging each entity involved in the refunds, particularly those with large outstanding amounts, so that we can come to some agreement regarding the schedule of repayment. Once we have agreed, we will formalise that and start paying in accordance with the agreements with various entities.


Madam, I also mentioned in my Budget Address that going forward, with respect to mining companies, they will no longer be required to collect VAT refunds on machinery and equipment that has been imported because we have now zero-rated this. A larger component of what gives rise to the VAT refunds will not apply anymore. With that, we hope that the future rate at which VAT refunds will accumulate will reduce substantially. With those measures, we should be able to deal with the problem a lot more effectively than we have done in the past.


I thank you, Madam.


Dr Chibanda: Madam Speaker, in his answer, the hon. Minister did not categorically state how the Government plans to dismantle the VAT refunds for small scale businesses. My question has a component of small businesses. If the small businesses are going to be lumped together with big businesses like the mines, does the hon. Minister not think that small businesses will be incapacitated by not getting their refunds on time? What measures will the ministry put in place to avoid this situation? The Government is still garnishing this VAT, yet there is a backlog of VAT refunds to dismantle. Now that the Government has not stopped the garnishing of VAT, how then does it intend to address this, especially for the small and medium entrepreneurs of this country?


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, the amount that is owed to the small entities that the hon. Member is referring to stands at K K1,719,250,213. That is the debt the Government has scheduled to deal with in the same way as the big amounts. As I explained earlier, the only difference is that with the bigger amounts, the Government will enter into agreements, but with the smaller amounts, the Government will schedule the payments and pay them when resources are available. We will work on dismantling the mountain of that currently stands. The commitment is to reduce this mountain of arrears because it should not continue to exist, and we will work out what is necessary in terms of a schedule that we can get rid of in as quick a time as possible.


I thank you, Madam.


Mr Chaatila (Moomba): Madam Speaker, the response by the hon. Minister is confusing to most Zambians. I say so because in July, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) gave a statement that the institution owed the mines close to K20 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds. The hon. Minister has now told us that the Government only owes about K4.7 billion in total. Who should we believe between the hon. Minister of Finance and the ZRA?


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, I have absolutely no understanding of what gave rise to that conflict, because the numbers I have given to this House are generated from ZRA because it is the authority. These numbers were not created by the Ministry of Finance but by the very source that the hon. Member has referred to. I would like to cross-check that information. If what has been presented by the hon. Member is correct, we will have to deal with that discrepancy.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Madam Speaker, I thank you for the opportunity to ask a follow up question. The K4.7 billion which is owed in Value Added Tax (VAT) is quite a lower amount as compared to the amount that is in bonds and treasury bills. According to the hon. Minister’s response, the domestic debt is around K40 billion in terms of government bonds and around K20 billion in terms of treasury bills. Now, my worry is on those two very huge figures. I am aware that for the Government to operate, it had to borrow to reach that far. In terms of debt sustainability, where does the hon. Minister see this country at the end of the year?  How will the picture look like as regards those two variables, which are government bonds and treasury bills?


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, firstly, let me explain that treasury bills and bonds are guided by specific limits that exist. There is an upper limit on treasury bills, which is currently at K30 billion. There is a limit of K50 billion on the government bonds. So, the operations of these two forms of debt are within the scope of the allowed limits as stipulated by law. It is also important to understand that the treasury bills and government bonds, when they are issued, are done partly to meet the requirement of servicing the arrears when they fall due. So, part of that process, apart from raising money for the Government to carrying out its functions, we also use these bonds to be able to meet outstanding obligations. So, these monies that are here will be partly funded by what we raise going forward from the subscription to government bonds and treasury bills.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Livune (Katombola): Madam Speaker, looking at the date this debt was obtained, it may even have increased now as regards the quantum. Knowing that this is part of the operating capital of this company, I want to find out how much pressure the company is exerting on the ministry because they would want this Value Added Tax (VAT) refund as soon as possible for their operations. It takes me to the question that has been asked by Hon. Chibanda regarding what plan the Government has put in place on how to liquidate the same, bearing in mind that the VAT refunds that they pay are also their working capital here at home.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, I think it is important to make the point clear that VAT should not be used as part of the Government’s working capital because it is not. It is not part of the Government’s working capital. It is refundable once we work out the difference, the input VAT as opposed to the output VAT. So, if at all it is used as working capital, it is a by the way. That is not the object or purpose of it. I think that aspect is important.


Going forward, as we work out the modalities of extinguishing all the loans, we are looking at the VAT refund, treasury bills, bonds and the arrears as part of this quantum of debt, which needs a comprehensive approach to it. So, we will look at all the debts and comprehensively try to deal with them.


Madam Speaker, I understand that, yes, it is barely a large quantum you are talking about when you put it together, but the strategy is to deal with the debt, not as small components, but as a comprehensive approach so that at the end of it, we have dealt with the problem more comprehensively and to the satisfaction of the subscribers, especially subscribers to the bonds and treasury bills.


Madam, as I said before, you have to meet the maturities as they fall due. As you know, if the Government does not meet the maturities or if it does not respond when they fall due, then that constitutes a default. The Government does not want to default because if it does, then you create a problem of trust in those instruments because there are issued on the basis that the Government is a sovereign and a sovereign it will always stay. It will not run away. So, it is important to understand that the sovereign will not default, and that is a primary consideration at each and every point when we are dealing with these instruments.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Are those old Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds exerting pressure on the ministry?


Dr Ng’andu: I would be lying if I said they were not because –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


The word ‘lying’ is unparliamentary.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, I would be misleading the House if I said they are not. It is to the extent that they are competing with other areas of expenditure. I have to, in some instances, put money in servicing these arrears as opposed to putting it to serve in a hospital. So, there is that level of competition. It is to that extent and for that reason that we will try as much as we can to ensure that these arrears are paid off, so that that level of competition that currently exists is taken care of.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Nanjuwa (Mumbwa): Madam Speaker, on 28th May, 2019, it was reported that the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) had accumulated K19.6 billion in Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds due to unresolved payment issues regarding Rule No. 18 of VAT. I want to find out if those unresolved payment issues have since been resolved.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, hon. Members will remember that regarding the outcome of the clarification exercise, I spoke about the need to verify the authenticity of the claims that the mining companies were making and revealed that K2,834,554,106 has been approved and verified as correct. There is an amount that is still outstanding, which has not been verified, but which the mining companies have indicated as a claim of up to K4,955,114,328. In short, that is just a little under K5 billion. So, there are claims for which documents have not been provided to show that the claims are authentic. So, there is K5 billion still outstanding. If there is no evidence to establish or prove that the claims are valid, then they will not be paid.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Mr Kabanda (Serenje): Madam Speaker, the issue of the Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds, as a historical liability, has been problematic in the country for some time now. How will these liabilities be unbundled in the face of these increasing imaginary claims? This figure has no timeline and it will continue going up because of those imaginary figures which have continued to come and sit on the books. How will this be resolved in the long term?


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, one of the things that I did stress in my address to this House when I presented the Budget was the need for us to improve our administration of the entire tax system because if you do not effectively enforce procedures, rules and regulations regarding tax, there will be leakages. Almost invariably leakages will occur. So, the stress now is on improving the administrative capacity and capability of the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) so that if there is a leakage, it is noticed and plugged as quickly as possible. In short, we are working on improving the efficiency and effective delivery of service by the ZRA.


Madam Speaker, I mentioned before that tax compliance in the country has been estimated around 58 per cent. This means 42 per cent of our population is non-compliant. This is huge. It is high. The focus, therefore, is on improving the capacity and capability within the authority so that we are able to get on top of the challenges as quickly as possible. If we do this, you will find that we will be able to detect if a VAT invoice has been duplicated and determine whether there is a fake or false claim and deal with it accordingly. Along with it, we will be able to punish those that perpetuate these acts.


I thank you, Madam Speaker.


Evg. Shabula (Itezhi-tezhi): Madam Speaker, I would like to find out from the hon. Minister the timeframe he has given himself to liquidate the Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds.


Dr Ng’andu: Madam Speaker, as I said before, dealing with the VAT refunds is part of the comprehensive debt management strategy we are working on. The process is not yet complete, but as and when the process is complete and we have worked out the schedules, I will be able to inform this House when I should be able to reduce the VAT refund claims by whatever quantum and percentage.


Madam Speaker, clearly, we are not going to get rid of the problem overnight, but what is important is that we begin the process of reducing the quantum. To do this, we need to have a schedule that progressively pays off over time where you pay something every month or every other month. This adds up and, eventually, the problem will be dealt with.


So, the only commitment I can make to the hon. Member is that I am looking at it with a view to have a comprehensive solution to the problem. However, on exactly how it will work and when I will complete this exercise, I am not in a position to inform this House at this point in time.


I thank you, Madam.








(Debate resumed)


Mr Simbao (Senga Hill): Madam Speaker, it appears that I used a lot of technical language in my debate yesterday. I, therefore, want to reverting to using the normal language today.


Madam Speaker, it is always very surprising that whenever speeches are presented, especially by the President or the hon. Minister of Finance to this House, they tend to be ridiculed in most cases. I would like to correct this situation, especially for the people out there, who tend to believe what they hear, which is that the President’s Speech or the hon. Minister of Finance’s speech carries no hope for them.


Madam Speaker, firstly, I want to say that it is not easy to be the President. There are 17 million Zambians, and only one can be the President at a time. At the time of this person becoming President, I believe even heaven comes down to witness because this is a person on whom everything has been imposed to rule the country. So, when he comes and gives a precursor, his first speech of how he feels the country will move forward, is one we must all contribute to positively, rather than criticise even what can go forward.


Madam, for the President, who comes with so much pomp, to come and sit where you are, it means that he has brought hope to the whole nation for the coming year. Therefore, it requires us all to look into the positives. Of course, there will always be the other side like with anything else. However, if you choose to look on the other side and not on the presenter’s side, then, of course, you are being destructive. So, it is important that whenever we have these speeches presented here by people such as the President, every one of us must see how we best we can build on the speech and not how we subtract from it.


Madam Speaker, I am aware of a lot of people who have tried to be presidents –


Hon. Members: Time!


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Mr Mwiimbu (Monze Central): Madam Speaker, I thank you for giving me this opportunity to debate the Motion that was moved by the hon. Minister of Finance pertaining to the Budget.


Madam Speaker, as I interrogate this Budget that has been presented to this House, I would like to sincerely thank the hon. Minister for the Eastern Province, Mr Makebi Zulu, the hon. Member for Kabwe Central, Mr Tutwa Ngulube and the hon. Member for Bwana Mkubwa, Dr Chanda for adhering to the pleas that were made by the president of the United Party for National Development (UPND), Mr Hakainde Hichilema, that please ensure that the alternative budget of the UPND is discussed on the Floor of the House.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I would like to thank them most sincerely.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, I will discuss this alternative budget later. I have taken note of the sentiments that have been expressed by my hon. Colleagues on your right praising the Budget that was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance and congratulating him for having done so. Unfortunately, however, I am not going to congratulate him, but sympathise with him pertaining to this particular Budget he has presented on the Floor of this House. In my sympathies, I would like to borrow the words of Prof. Saasa, who said that he is an hon. Minister of Finance without finance.


Madam Speaker, when the President came to this House, he sounded an alarm pertaining to the finances that are available for this country. I would, therefore, like to quote what he said:


“Mr Speaker, our discretionary expenditure which comprises personnel emoluments and debt stands at 50.1 per cent and 40 per cent respectively, giving a total of 90.1 per cent.”


Madam Speaker, it, therefore follows that the hon. Minister of Finance has only 9.9 per cent of the Budget to use at his discretion to spend on the affairs of this country. I have no doubt in my mind, and I do not fear any contradiction over this issue, that this country is facing dire financial constraints. It will be naïve of me to say that the hon. Minister of Finance has enough resources to manage the affairs of this country. He has no money. Even the 9.9 per cent will not be available.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: I know how we collect finances in this country. Many times, hon. Ministers of Finance have told us that they have not achieved their targets. They have told us that they are unable to fund ministries and spending agencies because they have had no money. That is the truth.


Madam Speaker, if we as the House got a report pertaining to the expenditure of ministries and other spending agencies of the Government, that report would be very gloomy. I am aware that most of the ministries and spending agencies have not had their budgets funded exceeding 50 per cent, and that shows that there is a problem. Even if we pass the Budget, our anxieties will not be addressed because there is no money. I can even give you one simple example, which all my colleagues in the House are aware of. All of us have been expecting that the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) will be released. However, the CDF has not been released because there is no money. I stand to be contradicted by the hon. Minister of Finance when he comes to respond. He should tell us that there is money in this country and that all our objectives and anticipations will be fulfilled. There is no money.


Madam Speaker, I am aware that our hospitals are not being funded adequately because there is no medicine in hospitals. Most of the essential medicines in hospitals are not available because there is no money. Schools are also operating below 30 per cent of their requirements. I am aware of a school in Kanchibiya Constituency where pupils are eating samp in the morning, at lunch and in the evening because the Government does not have money to fund the school. That is the situation which we are facing.


I, therefore, expected the hon. Minister of Finance to be categorical and plead with us and the nation to bear with him because there is no money. He presented the Budget as if money is available. That is not the issue. There is no money. The situation in 2020 will be worse than it is in 2019; I have no doubt about that. Even the debt repayments will increase in 2020, and that is a fact. However, where are we going to get the money? The financial envelop is empty. I expected the hon. Minister of Finance to address that issue very clearly.


Madam Speaker, the other issue the hon. Minister of Finance did not address, but which I expect him to address when he comes to respond relates to the hunger situation in this country. I raised a question to Her Honour the Vice-President pertaining to the financing of the requisite foodstuffs for our starving people. In her response, Her Honour the Vice-President said that apart from the K28 million that has been allocated to the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unit (DMMU), there is another K100 million in the contingency funds. In the contingency fund, there is only a K100 million. That K100 million is not only for the hunger situation, it is money that the Government is supposed to use for other contingencies such as importing electricity. If the entire K100 million goes to buying food, where is the Government going to get the money to import electricity? There will be a crisis in this country.


Madam Speaker, furthermore, if we, as a country, are going to feed 2.3 million households in this country that have been afflicted by hunger, we require K230 million every month, but that money is nowhere in the Budget. Where is the Government going to get the money? It just shows that we are just pretending that all is well when in actual fact, we have a crisis which we should be addressing collectively. However, our colleagues on your right are pretending as if all is well in this country. We have a problem. If I was not patriotic, as my colleagues in Government always sing, I would not have raised these issues which they must address. They must tell us where they are going to get the money.


Madam Speaker, whenever they are distributing resources in this country, there must be equity. However, from the debates of my colleagues on your right, it is as if we are not living in the same country. In the areas where they come from, as deduced from their debates, even footpaths are being tarred, while nothing is happening in the areas where some of us come from. If what they say is true, we have one Zambia, one side.


Madam, that is what is happening. Our colleagues from the Western Province have been complaining about particular roads, yet nothing has been done for them. I am aware of one hon. Minister who made a pronouncement in Mwandi and promised the chief there that the Government was going to construct a road within six months after the particular ceremony he attended, but to date, not even a grader is there. That hon. Minister is in this House. I expect him to respond.


Madam Speaker, we have been told in this House that the road from Tatayoyo up to Mongu would be rehabilitated. I have just come from there; I can confirm that has not happened. I know some of my colleagues use helicopters, and that is why they do not know what happens on the ground.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: The road is impassable. I do not know how people will be moving from that point to Mongu during the rainy season because the road is dilapidated. We, on the left have been talking about the Katunda/Lukulu Road, but to date, nothing has happened. We have been talking about King Lewanika University. Partridges are laying eggs on the site that was supposed to be for King Lewanika University. However, when the hon. Members on your right come to the Floor of this House, they tell us that there is heaven on earth. I know one particular hon. Member of Parliament who used to be on the right side of the House and used to talk like there is heaven on earth in the country. He lost the election in his constituency, and now there is an Independent hon. Member of Parliament in his place.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: The people are listening to what we are saying here. If we have problems, we come and tell the the Government the problems the people are facing.


Madam Speaker, coming to the alternative budget, …


Mr Ngulube: Question!


Mr Mwiimbu: … I am aware that the one who is saying “question!” said we as the United Party for National Development (UPND) did not provide anything in the alternative budget. Let me tell you what we have provided. We have realised that the people of Zambia have been strained in terms of taxation. Therefore, we have recommended that the Value Added Tax (VAT) be reduced from 16 per cent to 14 per cent so that the people of Zambia can have a sigh a relief. They have been suffocated through paying taxes. As if that is not enough, we, as the UPND, were challenged as to the contents of the alternative budget speech by one President of the UPND, Hakainde Hichilema. He has made some proposals pertaining to income tax. I will lay this document on the Table for I believe what the people on the right read was not genuine.




Mr Ngulube: Mwaliya lembulula? Volume 2.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam, under the proposed tax income bands, anyone who gets less than K4,000 will not be taxed. Anyone getting paid between K4,000 and K5,000 per month will be taxed at 10 per cent. Those who get paid K5,000 to K7,000 per month will be taxed at 15 per cent, K7,000 to K10,000 will be taxed at 20 per cent while those earning K10,000 and above will be taxed at 22.5 per cent, …


Hon. UPND Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: … down from 35 per cent. This is because we believe that when Zambians and other people have disposable income, they will be able to invest that income and create jobs. Under the current situation, most of the money which Zambians make goes towards taxes.

Madam Speaker, Zambians are over-taxed, and because we will be a caring Government, we are proposing tax relief for our people, and we are asking the Government of the day to consider this progressive recommendation favourably.


Hon UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, further, we are going to reduce the expenditure on emoluments. I remember, clearly, that Hon. Ngulube said that we are targeting civil servants on this.


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


Mr Mwiimbu: This is a response to what you said (looking at Hon. Ngulube).


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


A point of order is raised.


Mr Ngulube: Madam Speaker, thank you.


Madam, is the hon. Member for Monze Central, who is the Leader of the Opposition, in order be mentioning my name when we are not allowed to debate ourselves? Is he also in order to mislead the listeners that the alternative budget by the UPND is proposing tax relief when in actual fact, it is proposing to start taxing small businesses? The UPND is trying to kill people in the business of washing cars, for example. Is he in order to drag me in his debate?


Madam First Deputy Speaker: What is your point of order, hon. Deputy Whip?


Mr Ngulube: Firstly, is he in order to debate me when we are not allowed to debate ourselves? Secondly, is the hon. Member in order to mislead the house and the nation at large that the UPND is proposing tax relief, when in actual fact, the alternative budget –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: You have stated your point of order.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Hon. Deputy Whip, the hon. Leader of the Opposition is not debating you as an individual. He is responding to the issues you raised as you debated this same Motion on the Floor of the House. Therefore, he is in order.


You may continue, Leader of the Opposition.


Mr Mwiimbu: Madam Speaker, thank you for your guidance.


Madam, our thrust of reducing emolument expenditure has nothing to do with civil servants. We are proposing to reduce the size of Government from thirty Cabinet Ministers to eighteen. That way, we will reduce expenditure. That is what we are proposing in the budget. Further, we are saying that each ministry should have only one Permanent Secretary (PS) in order to reduce expenditure. The Ministry of Finance will have two PSs and that is because of the nature of its work. That way, we will reduce expenditure. This has nothing to with civil servants.


Madam Speaker, we are proposing to increase tax targeting the informal sector by formalising its operations so that the people in this sector can be assisted by the Government and financial institutions to enhance their businesses and create more jobs. We are not talking about increasing taxes. This document is very clear, and I will lay it on the Table.


Madam, we are also saying that the debt mountain must be managed. The way we are going to manage the debt crisis in this country as outlined by the hon. Finance Minister is not going to resolve the problem. The hon. Minister is proposing to borrow more money. Instead of having Mount Kilimanjaro, we are going to have the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal. That is not how we should resolve the problem of debt. We have a crisis. As of yesterday, the World Bank said that the debt Zambia has incurred is US$19 billion, which is contrary to what we have been told by the Government. When the hon. Minister of Finance responds, I would like him to respond to this issue.


Madam Speaker, finally, I have noted with concern that Zambia and Africans in general, do not deal with issues that affect the people. Instead, we deal with petty issues that will not lay food on the table. Yesterday, for example, we were talking about sexual orientation and this and that, when that is not the most important issue to be talking about now. That matter is already criminalised. We are not saying, and we have never said that we are going to change the way the hon. Members on your right indulge in the other activity –


Mr Ngulube: Mwavomela?


Mr Mwiimbu: We will never say that.


Mr Ngulube: Mwasumina?


Mr Mwiimbu: We will not do that. Your sexual orientation and how you do it is your own your problem, we will not be involved.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


The hon. Member’s time expired.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I will allow the hon. Member for Kapiri Mposhi to debate.


Mr Kakubo (Kapiri Mposhi): Madam Speaker, thank you so much for your kind discretion to allow me to quickly speak on the Budget that was delivered on behalf of the President by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Madam Speaker, before I delve into the main issues, please allow me to pass my sincere condolences to the Banda Family. This week has been a very sad week for me personally because Lawrence Banda was shot. He was a leader in my party, the United Party for National Development (UPND). Our people will never be free as long as they are not allowed to freely criticise leaders.


Madam Speaker, from 2011, the time when the Patriotic Front (PF) took over office, our people have endured many hardships. They have endured these hardships while the PF has denied to acknowledge their suffering.

Madam Speaker, the nation’s economy has taken a serious tumble resulting into our currency nose-diving. Our nation has moved from having an economy which was growing at the rate of 7.4 per cent a few years ago to only 2 per cent now. The nation’s reserves have suddenly begun to hemorrhage. Our reserves are declining and our (Foreign Exchange)  FX position as a nation is bad. This means that our Government is not saving. What is more difficult is that our hon. Colleagues on your right have spent the savings which they did not even create. They inherited the savings when they took over office in 2011.


Madam, I have had a look at the Budget and from the outset, I have some serious concerns because it appears that the hon. Minister of Finance has no intention, whatsoever, to correct the mistakes of his predecessors. He has fitted into the shoes and, unfortunately, he has tied the laces, and that is a big problem.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Madam, this country was founded on many principles. One of the principles of our people is that we must endure hardships. However, our people did not have to go through the current economic hardship because it has been absolutely unnecessary. One of the reasons which has been established by the PF is, for lack of a better word, I would say they are shambolic.


Madam, like everybody else, I know the seriousness of climate change. Climate change affects all nations, not just Zambia. A few weeks ago, I made a private trip to Accra in Ghana. That country is also affected by the effects of climate change. However, what is interesting, and I hope the hon. Minister of Finance will listen to this, is that the Ghanaian economy is growing at an amazing rate of 8 per cent. This is happening right here in Africa. Ghana is also owing and it has Eurobonds. So, why is the PF Government convincing the people that as long as the weather conditions are not favourable, they are condemned to suffering?


Madam, while our currency has been made to depreciate by the PF Government from the K4 to US$1 which it was trading at when the PF took over power to K13.50 today, the Ghanaian currency here in Africa is trading at five units of the Ghanaian Cedi to US$1. The PF Government has for a long time been, more or less, wasting the country’s time by not concluding the deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Instead, the PF has been flirting with the idea. Our Ghanaian counterparts signed up with the IMF a long time ago, and they are building on their reserves. However, the PF Government will not do that. Why is it like that? Anyway, this is typical of the PF.


Madam, sometimes when they speak, it is like there is a parent who finds the children crying because of hunger, but instead of providing for the children, the parent also starts crying. What kind of leadership is that? The challenges our country is currently going through have not been responded to in this Budget.


This is not the first time that I am debating the Budget. Last time, I drilled down to the figures of the PF. However, I will not bother so much this time around because doing that is pointless. The Government is budgeting, yet it does not release the funds. So, what are we doing? For instance, for the past three years, the PF Government has refused to acknowledge that our country is highly indebted. A few years ago, the predecessor to the hon. Minister of Finance came to this House and created what the Government called the Sinking Fund. The fund provided hope, and we were thinking that maybe we could hedge the country against the default in future, especially for the Eurobonds.


Madam, the former hon. Minister of Finance came to this House and unveiled a Budget of K100 million towards the Sinking Fund. Initially, the Government never allocated any money to the Sinking Fund. The following year, the PF Government brought another Budget, but again, the budget for the Sinking Fund was K100 million. Again, the Government did not allocate any money to it, but here is the interesting part. The current hon. Minister of Finance has also done the same thing, except he has added an interesting twist to it. He has upped the allocation to K600 million, yet his own Government has not been able to put any money in there. So, on what basis is he increasing the allocation? Let me share a second example with the House. The PF has no interest in emancipating young people. It has never released funds for youth empowerment programmes. Zero, and that worries me. I do not expect the PF to release anything in 2020. Therefore, this Budget cannot be relied upon because its authors have told untruths in this House before. This has not only happened once or twice, but several times, and that is my major concern.


Madam, the women in our country have sacrificed a lot for our motherland. However, the PF has betrayed the country and the people of Zambia. It has never released any money for women empowerment. The same Government has made life extremely difficult for the farmers in my constituency. In fact, the Government has defaulted in paying the farmers back their money across the country.


Madam Speaker, in the short time I have been in this Parliament, the PF is on record of saying that the country’s debt is sustainable and that people should not worry because it has not defaulted on anything. This is completely untrue. The PF Government has been defaulting repeatedly on the monies it owes. It has been failing to make statutory payments to several statutory bodies in our country.


Madam Speaker, civil servants borrow money from financial institutions in our country. The PF has had the audacity to make deductions on people’s pay slips without remitting to the financial institutions. Is that not a default?


The PF has been defaulting. There is not much to say on this Budget. What we need is to establish whether the PF is willing to stop politicking on issues of the economy. In this country, we have seen that it is possible to rig an election. However, I want to warn that it is impossible to rig the economy.


Hon. Opposition Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kakubo: Madam, when the figures are not adding up like now, our people are suffering. There is a need to put politics aside. Let us establish a way forward since there is a new hon. Minister of Finance. There is a glimmer of hope in this country depending on what he chooses to do. However, with regards to this Budget, there is absolutely no strategy, whatsoever.


Madam, there is a need for the PF Government to be completely honest about the challenges the country is going through. What happens in other countries is that when there is a situation that challenges the stability of the nation, the law compels His Excellency the President and leader of the nation to retreat to what is referred to in different countries as a war room. Sometimes it is called a crisis room. Occasionally, it is referred to as the situation room. However, this Budget does not look like a one which was prepared in a situation room. It has been casually done.


Madam Speaker, in his opening remarks, the hon. Minister mentioned that he has been sent here by the Republican President who made an oath to the Zambian people to exercise first grade patriotism. However, this Government has betrayed the people of Zambia. Sometimes, we hear hon. PF Members of Parliament praising the performance of their own Government in this House. At times, I wonder whether we are dealing with a Government which has no idea of what it ought to do. This is like the pain of a father who is failing to put food on the table for his children.    


 Madam Speaker, I am on record of having spoken for the people of Kapiri Mposhi Constituency, specifically the Tanzania Zambia Railway Authority (TAZARA) workers. The Government went and delivered small packs of mealie meal. However, it is not doing that anymore. That was my fear even at that time. There is need for serious leadership. I commend the Zambian people for their strength and endurance during this difficult process. The PF Government has failed to harness that strength; instead, it has decided to punish our people. I am hoping that the Zambian people can learn that there is a certain type of leadership style which is a danger to their own livelihood.


Madam Speaker, the situation is going to become even harder. We have just established ourselves as a middle income country. However, my worry is that by 2021, the status of a middle income country will be lost. We will officially be downgraded to a poor nation status again. All our gains which we established over a decade of prudent budgeting will be lost. Unlike what we are seeing today where the PF has failed to make prudent decisions on how to manage our economy on behalf of the people. When we started telling them about the warning signs, they called us naysayers. They thought we were lying. They referred to the houses which are being constructed in Chalala. The economy ought to be balanced –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, withdraw the word ‘lying’.


Mr Kakubo: Madam Speaker, I withdraw that word. Let me pose a question to my hon. Colleagues on your right. Which one of the hon. Ministers is totally convinced that the Kwacha will regain its past strength once they finish constructing all those expensive roads? Once the Pf Government is done with all the construction works, how will it feed into the Kwacha gaining its value? Please, tell me. It should tell me why the youths of this country, especially students, must support it even when it does not believe in meal allowances.


Madam Speaker, the time has come for the Zambian people to soon pick leaders based on what they believe in. We need leaders who are able to lead us out of this crisis. The PF lacks commitment and honesty. We are in trouble, and I do sympathise with the people. However, I want to promise them one thing, which is that when the time comes, they will get back the money which has been looted from them. We will do that.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: I am informed that there are some hon. Members of the Expanded Budget Committee in this House who must debate and go back. Otherwise, the quorum in the Expanded Budget Committee will collapse. I can only see Hon. Syakalima, but if there are others on both sides of the House, please indicate so that I can give you preference to debate. You can indicate and send a note to the Clerks at the Table.


Mr Syakalima (Chirundu): Madam Speaker, I thank you and I welcome the hon. Minister of Finance. He is now the fourth hon. Minister of Finance in the Patriotic Front (PF) Government in seven years. With the current President, he is the third hon. Minister of Finance in four years. The levels of attrition in his ministry are alarming. I, therefore, wish him good luck.


Madam Speaker, regarding the Budget that the hon. Minister of Finance presented, I want to sympathise with the hon. Minister of Finance, like my hon. Colleague said. I am sure he found that the making of this Budget was already in process and probably he did not have enough time. So, what he could have done was to ask for some more time so that he scrutinises it. The Budget is so contradictory. In one breath it is saying one thing and in another breath, it is saying something else. For example, the hon. Minister is saying the Government is going to stop borrowing, but on some pages, he is again talking about borrowing. Consistency is very important in a Budget.


Madam Speaker, what is so disheartening is the allocations to the real issues. When the President came here, he continuously talked about climate change from page one up to the last page. However, the hon. Minister has only allocated 0.6 per cent in the Budget for something that deals with climate change and the environment. What is the reasoning behind that? The Government admits that climate change affects everybody, yet it allocates money for Public Order and Safety to buy tear gas and guns to come and kill us instead of putting money where it is required. Where is the balancing? The President’s Speech and Budget Speech are not in-sync. This why I was wondering whether we would get a normal Budget after listening to the President. True to my prediction, we have a totally abnormal Budget which does not respond to the sufferings of the people.


Madam Speaker, how do you account for land mass of 752 000 km2 and 42 per cent of that land mass is arable, but only 0.6 per cent is cropped? Out of all the water bodies that we have, 40 per cent are in this country and yet we are a hungry country.


Madam Speaker, can you be a happy person? That land mass of 752 km2 and 42 per cent is arable land yet we are a hungry country. About 90 billion cubic litres of underground water remains unutilised in this country, while 60 billion cubic litres of rain water goes to waste every year and we are a hungry country. We have to be ashamed of ourselves.


Madam Speaker, those in here who can manage to take off their jackets and go into a compound, will see hunger staring in their faces. When people come here and say please there is hunger in this country, some are laughing and saying there is no hunger, we have food. Go and check and you will see that it is not only in rural areas.  We know of the hunger in rural areas, especially where we are coming from, because there was drought. However, there is also hunger in urban areas, and a bag of mealie meal now costs K150.


Madam Speaker, how does the Government account for all this? The agricultural sector is in tatters. The allocation to the environmental sector is paltry. Fuel and electricity prices have gone up. Everything is going up, including corruption. The PF Government is popping up on the league table for everything. Even tribalism has increased.


Madam Speaker, sometimes I wonder why some people are not serious even in serious matters. If we are not going to have introspection, this nation will be ruined forever.


  I do not know how he fits in, but I beg the hon. Minister of Finance to take the report of the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) seriously for the money in the Budget to be safe. He should not brush the report aside as mere speculation. That is where the problem actually is. Out of about K6 billion, K4 billion was feared to be lost to corruption.


Mr Lusambo: Even privatisation!


Mr Syakalima: Go and read the FIC report. Hon. Government Members shout “privatisation” when the FIC report is mentioned, but it does not say anything about that. It means that they do not read. The culture of reading must be institutionalised. The hon. Minister of Finance should help his colleagues to read and understand certain things so that we take the country where it is supposed to be.


Madam, I have checked the Budget. The allocation towards education is reducing, yet the Government wants to spend money on teargas and guns. If you look at the allocation for health, you will find that the government has proposed to buy drugs worth K900,622,880, but the debt within the Ministry of Health is K1.9 billion. The Government has put aside K2,278,733,732 to dismantle arrears. It has proposed to spend this amount when the total amount debt is 20 billion. What does the word “dismantle” mean? What is the Government dismantling? This simply means that inadvertently, the allocation for drugs has been swallowed by the K1.9 billion debt owed by the Ministry of Health.


Madam, instead of taking money from the Ministry of Home Affairs to hospitals, the Government would rather buy ammunition and teargas. Even those who use teargas get sick and die. So, why do we not want to preserve them so that they use a little teargas while they are alive? It makes sense. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to think that way. It is just simple logic.


Madam Speaker, the Government has allocated about K10 billion to roads construction. Some of that money could have been taken to the Ministry of Health so that when people are involved in road accidents, they can find medicines in hospitals. Is that not logic? We were taught logic in school. We were taught to think of the words “if, then, that” when using logic. It is as simple as that. I do not know where all these things come from.


Madam, the only thing I can thank the hon. Minister of Finance for is maintaining the Value Added Tax (VAT) instead of introducing the Sales Tax. Hon. Government Members had their ribs and lungs out arguing about the Sales Tax. People were not investing in the country because they were unsure about what would happen regarding the Sales Tax. We have wasted one year of investment because of the Government. I hope officials in the Ministry of Finance can calculate what we have lost during this period when we were playing ping pong. We have lost a lot. When we, on the left tell the hon. Government Members certain things, they should not argue.


Madam, when the hon. Minister of Finance said the Government  would maintain the VAT, the hon. Government Members started saying that this is an understanding Government. However, for nine months, these people in Government could not listen to us on this issue. What type of people are they? It is only after the hon. Minister announced that we would maintain VAT that hon. Government Members began to say that this is a listening Government. Which listening? Just one man made them see. Which lenses did the hon. Minister of Finance give them if they were not seeing for nine months? Hon. Minister of Finance, I can tell you that they will dilute you because they are very bad people.


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


I do not think that you should be referring to the Members of the Cabinet, or indeed hon. Members on my right, as “bad people.” You should refrain from doing that, and withdraw the term “bad.”


You may continue with your debate.


Mr Syakalima: Madam Speaker, I withdraw the word bad. However, I do not know what they are, so I will leave them to judge for themselves. What I know is that they were refusing what we were telling them.




Mr Syakalima: Madam, we were telling them that this debt is going to kill the country, but they were refusing. We spoke several times about how this debt would choke us, but they said they were building infrastructure. So, where are we today?


Madam, all the money that the Government is mopping up is going towards debt repayments, and it is priding itself on not defaulting on the debt. However, it has defaulted on education, health and all social sectors. The Government is painting the picture that it is managing the debt to the international community. Meanwhile, there is hunger inside the country and education standards are low.


Mr Mubukwanu: Question! Alternative budget!


Mr Syakalima: While the hon. Minister of Finance is listening attentively, some people are making noise for him so that he does not succeed.




Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Ngulube: “Making noise” is unparliamentary.


Mr Syakalima: I know them.


Madam Speaker, the Government contracted debt, and we now know that this is where the money for corruption came from. In a short space of time, we started reading about it in the FIC report. Where did the money in the FIC report come from? It is from the same debt the Government contracted. If the Government had used the debt prudently, today, we, as a country could have been repaying the debt from what we could have reaped. The Government cannot just collect people’s money and dump it somewhere else. Zambians now are resolved. No amount of eating snakes or lucifers will help the people on the right.




Hon. Government Members: Question!


Mr Syakalima: Madam Speaker, they are on their way out and they should go well. There is one more thing I need to say before I take this seat which was graciously bestowed upon me by the people of Chirundu. If the hon. Minister of Finance has been an honest person, he should be prepared to become a little dishonest where he is. I want him to follow up on this issue so that it remains behind us. That money which I am telling him to go and collect should go towards finishing the hostels at the University of Zambia (UNZA).


Madam, in 2016, the Constitutional Court pronounced that former hon. Ministers were in office illegally and they were told to pay back the money but they refused. The hon. Ministers who stayed in office illegally went back to court and they were told the same thing. Some of them are still resisting the court’s judgment. Even saying that former hon. Ministers “stayed in office illegally” is incorrect. What they did was criminal.


Madam, if one does an illegal thing, he/she has committed a criminal act. Former hon. Ministers must be called by what they are, they are criminals. These former hon. Ministers must not be hovering around the streets of Lusaka, Ndola or any place, their place is supposed to be prison. As the hon. Minister of Finance collects that money, the former hon. Ministers should be taken to court to be prosecuted for obtaining money by false pretences. When that money is recovered, it should be put to good use. We must not forget to send the former hon. Ministers to prison for five years with hard labour so that they learn a lesson. I need that money from the former hon. Ministers who qualify to be criminals.


Mr Ngulube: Alternative budget!


Mr Syakalima: My brother has already spoken on the alternative budget. I must tell the hon. Members on the right where they are wrong. 


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!




Mr Ngulube: What about homosexuality?


Mr Syakalima: I ask my God to allow the hon. Members on the right live to see the alternative Government.


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



Mr Syakalima: I thank you, Madam.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


The Minister for Southern Province (Dr Hamukale): Madam Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to add the voice of the people of the Southern Province to the debate this progressive Budget.


Madam, allow me to first of all thank His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia, and Her Honour the Vice-President for guiding the budgeting process that culminated into this wonderful and reliable document which we are debating today.


Madam Speaker, I am a great admirer of the Head of State. I have heard some sections of people condemn his use of the helicopter on local trips, and I am here to say that he is simply doing his noble duty.


Madam, the Head of State has a constituency called Zambia, and so, he is very much in order to travel around the country to see how the people who voted for him are getting on with life. Her Honour the Vice-President does the same, she travels everywhere, and that should be a challenge to some hon. Members who never go back to their constituencies even when the House is on recess.


Madam Speaker, if the Head of State can go round the country, who are we as hon. Members to sit in our offices, or specialise in remaining at the Members’ Motel until the next sitting? There is work for all of us out there.


Madam Speaker, we all know that there are three major factors of production, though nowadays, another school of thought includes the entrepreneurial component, which is equally about humans, but the basic factors of production are land, capital and labour. One of these factors of production is under threat because it is generated by conjugal activities.




Dr Hamukale: We must be watchful of gay theories because we are limiting the production of human capital for the future.


Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


Mr Ngulube: Human capital!


Dr Hamukale: Promotion of gay rights is a gradual means of leading the human population to extinction, especially here in Africa where we are more prone to such behaviours promoted by bigger powers and bigger economies. What are we doing? If we want a vibrant Zambia and young people who will, in future, take up positions that we occupy today, we must have babies to replace the current workforce. If we do not have them, there will be no Zambia, and I stand here wholeheartedly condemning gays and all those movements that are targeting countries like ours to promote such unnatural practices. To manage a Budget like this one, or to keep our economy running, we need the human factor, which is labour. That labor cannot come from anywhere else but by producing babies. Therefore, let us allow all the men to go out there and do their rightful job.


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Is the hon. Minister suggesting that men must go on rampage to produce babies?


Hon. PF Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Hamukale: Madam Speaker, 752,000 sqm² of our land against 15 million habitants is nowhere near a high population density, so men should go ahead.


Madam Speaker, the world economy suffered a recession and saw growth of 0.4 per cent. Zambia is part of the global economy and suffered similar consequences. With the projected growth of 2 per cent, Zambia is still in the upper quartile of countries and economies that are doing fine in the world. The country is perfectly in order, we are way above average and the Government has hope that in future, we can do better as a country.


Madam, the Patriotic Front (PF) Government, under the leadership of His Excellency, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, has perhaps been one of the most practical regimes if not the only regime. The PF regime has been the most practical because it is the one that had the courage to remove all consumptive taxes on fuel, maize subsidies and several others because those subsidies were benefiting only a small percentage of our population. That move was meant to liberate resources to benefit persons including those at the bottom of the income pyramid. The PF regime is the only regime that had the courage to remove street vendors from the streets and give them decent places for trading so that they can begin to contribute to the national economy. So, we are on track to begin to tap revenue from the informal sector.


Madam, I wish to seek understanding from the people of the Southern Province. This message comes because President Lungu loves the people of that land. Some projects may not receive resources this year because our resources have to be diverted towards water supply, food and other immediate needs under the Disaster Management and Mitigation Unity (DMMU). All the people of the Southern Province will see that the resources that the Government has have been reprioritised to look after primary needs according to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. The Government is not neglecting people; it is simply saying that what people need now is water and food. Other projects may be needed, but the President is for the people, and he therefore, places emphasis on keeping people alive.


Madam Speaker, this Budget is full of hope. The hon. Minister of Finance has set very decent and achievable projects that includes the narrowing of the current account deficit to 1.7 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019. This is excellent. Through his projection, the stock of Government securities are expected to increase by about 4.1 per cent. In the same year, the rating of the banking sector was rated as satisfactory. I just mentioned that the global economy had a recession and is projected to have growth of 3.2 per cent. The hon. Minister of Finance is targeting a slightly below average target of 3 per cent growth. This is really being realistic; we are not overstating our ambitions.


Madam, under this able hon. Minister of Finance, with our support, the inflation rate could easily drop to a single digit of 6 per cent to 8 per cent. I am also confident that the hon. Minister will be able to accumulate international reserves to cover 2.5 months of import cover or perhaps more and reduce the fiscal deficit to around 6 per cent of GDP. He also projected domestic revenue of around 22 per cent to 25 per cent, which is achievable.


Madam Speaker, the Southern Province is largely an agricultural province. In this vein, the hon. Minister of Finance gave us hope because he has brought up climate resilient interventions and technologies that will help us survive and even prepare to manage ourselves better in the coming years. These include schemes such as irrigation. I heard someone talking about water going to waste. That is not true. There are dams under construction and getting deepened. We have boreholes which are being sunk. So, underground and surface water, including rain water, is being considered in future. The Farmer Input Support Programme (FISP) will continue. Animal diseases have been factored in, so that they are controlled through the construction of dip tanks, vaccinations and movements of animals.


Madam Speaker, yesterday, the hon. Minister of Fisheries and Livestock told us about a number of ambitious projects, including aquaculture, and several other interventions that will help improve the livelihood of our people. She also mentioned several other interventions that will help us manage this country more effectively, especially on the revenue side.


Madam Speaker, the Southern Province is home to a number of unique minerals such as nickel, coal and amethyst, which are not found anywhere else in this country. So, we will invest in these minerals and ensure that we begin to add value to them domestically in the Southern Province.


Madam Speaker, the Ministry of Health has built a number of hospitals in the Southern Province. The major ones include Kalomo General Hospital, Namwala District Hospital, Munyumbwe District Hospital and several others which are in the pipeline, including ninety-eight health posts. This Budget will concentrate on such sectors that will influence the economy directly.


Madam Speaker, the hon. Minister of Finance said that we will also continue with the Social Cash Transfer Scheme. He will continue supporting this country by ensuring that the underprivileged, the aged, female-headed households and child-headed households are given support so that they can also become productive citizens.


Madam Speaker, we are a proud province because we will be a proud host of the one-stop border facility in the name of Kazungula Bridge involving three countries, namely; Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. We are building a modern market in Livingstone which will be completed soon. We also have a modern bus stop which, by far, will be the biggest in this country. There are a number of roads being constructed in the Southern Province and the one that is completed is the Itezhi-tezhi/Namwala/Dundumwezi/Kalomo Road. We will soon be inviting His Excellency the President to launch that all weather or climate resilient road.


Madam Speaker, those people who are saying that roads to do not add value or are a sunk cost do not really understand how roads function. I can say this because every time hon. Members of Parliament, mayors and councillors from the Southern Province come to my office, they ask for roads to be constructed in their areas. So, to come here and say that roads are not important when they influence industrial development, accessibility and inclusion of the rural economy to the main economy, is perfectly not in order.


Madam, Speaker, other than facilities such as access to electricity and education, roads are major drivers of economic change. So, roads are not a waste of money. To argue that we have only allocated 9 per cent of our Budget towards projects is not right. We should look at the whole picture as well. All the money that is pumped into the construction of roads, clinics and hospitals, is money which was allocated to those projects. So, that is not 9 per cent. When I sat this morning to calculate, I was actually getting 43 per cent. So, it is not 9 per cent that has been committed towards projects. So, roads are a major determinant of economic growth.


Madam Speaker, the Southern Province recently hosted the Tourism and Investment Exposition, at which US$2 billion in pledges and projects was raised, and that will add to the size of the national economy soon. When that happens, even my hon. Colleagues on your left will be extremely happy. Those who voted for them will be happy, but, fortunately, they will no longer vote for them, but for us.


Hon. Government Member: Hear, hear!


Dr Hamukale: Madam Speaker, this is an exciting Budget, which I support fully because it benefits citizens at the bottom of the income pyramid and that includes the youth and women. It is a Budget that lays the foundation for the future. I can admit to the House that, indeed, we have some economic challenges, but perhaps this is the worst we can get. We are on our journey up. Watch the space. Come 2020, a lot of companies will begin to enjoy the economies of scale. A lot of companies will start calling back some of the employees that have been laid off because there will just be too much business. Zambia is opening up to the rest of the world. It is now becoming an extroverted economy, looking outward more and less inward. 


Madam Speaker, much more importantly, Zambia needs quality manpower to drive this economy. That quality manpower can only come if we say no to homosexuality. Quality manpower can come if we procreate as humans. When we procreate, those children have a chance to be taught by ourselves and become useful citizens such as managers, hon. Members of Parliament like ourselves, police officers and army commanders. It takes a human to replace another, but with a concept that is coming at play, there will be no more humans. We have demographics that are not attractive in Europe and other places where we have increasingly seen an aging population and reduction of the middle class, partly because of such arguments that are being brought to the Floor. We are a Christian nation that should uphold values. We are a Christian nation led by a Christian who prays more than average.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Dr Hamukale: So, every well-meaning Zambian should support President Lungu and all the projects that he is bringing to the country so that our citizens’ welfare can improve. Count me in that battle. I am in, and I will make sure that in the Southern Province, with the support of my team, we make sure that the President is successful. With the support of the people, the President is winning again in 2021.


Madam Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere (Livingstone): Madam Speaker, this is what I call doing things in the same way and manner, but expecting different results. I would like to thank you for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the 2020 Budget debate. I would like to, first of all, congratulate Dr Bwalya Ng’andu for his appointment as the hon. Minister of Finance. In a special way, I would like to thank him for stopping this bad Government from taking us back to 1995, twenty-four years ago, when we migrated from Sales Tax to the Value Added Tax (VAT).


Madam Speaker, during his address to this august House, I could see the hon. Minister’s demeanor of the passion to improve the living standards of our people. Unfortunately, he is coming at a time when the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). All the PF Government requires from him is to hold on to the lifesaving machine up to 2021 when the people of Zambia will say enough is enough.


Madam Speaker, that can be demonstrated by the fact that the Zambian people –


Madam First Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1640 hours until 1700 hours. 




Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was about to demonstrate how the people of Zambia have lost confidence in the PF Government. The PF Government set up a commission of inquiry into whether Zambia should leave the International Criminal Court (ICC) or not. It wasted public resources because the people of Zambia rejected this idea. They wondered why this Government had wanted to leave the ICC.


Mr Speaker, further, despite being told the advantages of VAT in this House, this Government still went ahead and wasted public resources by setting up another commission of inquiry, for lack of a better term, where they conducted sittings in provincial headquarters to find out from the people of Zambia whether to go the VAT or Sales Tax way. The people of Zambia rejected the idea of the Sales Tax.


Mr Speaker, recently, there was a call to the people of Zambia to make submissions to the National Dialogue Forum (NDF). They made submissions, most of which were negative.  I have no doubt, whatsoever, that the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill No. 10 of 2019 shall never see the light of day.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, both the President’s Address and the Budget Speech by the hon. Minister to the nation highlighted the challenges that the country is facing as a result of climate change. When the President came to address the nation through this august House, people expected that he would announce measures to mitigate the effects of climate change. This is in view of the fact that some causes of climate change are human activities which in turn cause global warming. During the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, leaders were challenged to lead by example.


Mr Speaker, in the United Kingdom (UK), Britons demonstrated when the royal couple, Prince Harry and his wife, flew using a private jet to go and address a conference. They described the act of flying in a private jet as hypocrisy because the private jet, according to them, produced more than seven times of carbon dioxide, which leads to global warming.


Mr Speaker, back home, if it was in litigation, I could have said that the President did not have the locus standi to come and talk about climate change when he has traversed this earth so many times since he was first elected on 25th January, 2015.


Mr Speaker, the first trip the President undertook was to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the last one was to the UN General Assembly. Indeed, questions have been asked on the economic value that these trips have. The other question is why the President has to fly in a private jet to attend inaugural ceremonies when we have ambassadors assigned in these foreign countries. The hon. Members of Parliament in this august House have asked the questions to the Executive as to what economic value there is in attending annual ceremonies in Swaziland. All these activities are there to waste public resources.


Mr Speaker, let us get examples from a neighbouring country. The President of Tanzania, Mr Magufuli, did not travel to the UN General Assembly, but was represented by his hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and told the nation that he saved 90 per cent of what he could have used to travel with a huge delegation to the UN General Assembly to address empty chairs.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, the seriousness of mitigating the effects of climate change could have been seen in the Budget. However, it is shocking that in 2019, there was an allocation of 1 per cent of the total Budget towards mitigating the effects of climate change. For 2020, it has been reduced to 0.6 per cent, meaning that the PF Government does not mean what it says. It just pays lip service.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, the Budget allocation to the social sector has reduced, although in monetary terms, it may seem as if it has been increased, but figures do not lie. In 2018, the PF Government allocated 16.1 per cent of the Budget to the education sector. In 2019, it has allocated 15.3 per cent and in 2020, the allocation has gone down to 12.4 per cent against the Dakar Declaration, which Zambia assented to. The Dakar Declaration requires all member states to allocate 20 per cent of the Budget towards the education sector.


Mr Speaker, in terms of the health sector, in 2018, 9.5 per cent of the Budget was allocated to the health sector. In 2019, 9.3 per cent was allocated to health and in the 2020 Budget, the allocation has been reduced further when the population is growing. More people are struggling to access healthcare. This reduced allocation is also against the Abuja Declaration which Zambia is party to. The Abuja Declaration states that member countries should allocate 15 per cent of their Budgets to the health sector.


Mr Speaker, I think the PF Government needs to apologise to the beneficiaries of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme because they have not been paid to date. The money from this programme helps our people to put food on the table, buy medication and take orphans to school. In the health posts that the Government has built, there are no health personnel or medicines. When the donors pulled out of the Social Cash Transfer Scheme, the common man suffered. The presence of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in any country gives investor confidence. There are no indications that donors will come back to Zambia because of the PF Government’s appetite to abuse public funds.


Mr Speaker, on energy, it is high time we talked about diversification in the energy sector. On several occasions, we on the left have urged the Government to diversify instead of concentrating on investing in the production of hydropower. Even in this Budget, there are five hydropower generation projects that will be undertaken. The lack of adequate water has also affected the tourism industry. At the Victoria Falls in Livingstone, there are just stones on the Zambian side. If a person wants to feel the showers at the falls, he has to get a visa and cross into Zimbabwe where people know how to manage natural resources in a prudent and efficient manner.


Mr Speaker, further, the high taxes that the tourism industry is made to pay has made it difficult for tour operators to operate and compete with the neighbouring countries, bearing in mind that Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia are competing for the same tourists.


Sir, as Zambians, we have not benefited from our natural resource, one of the wonders of the world, the Victoria Falls, on account that even if taxes like the tourism levy are introduced, the money raised goes to Control 99 instead of going to its intended purpose, which was purely for advertising the tourism industry in Zambia. There are calls to move to the northern circuit in terms of tourism investment. How can we, as a country, do what when we have not done well in the southern part of this country in terms of tourism? When the Government goes to invest in the northern circuit, it will give that as an excuse for not having built roads in our national parks. Tourism should not only be for a few months during the dry season, it must be there during the rainy season. The Government must make the roads passable so that tourist sites can be reachable throughout the year. Currently, most of the roads and bridges to tourist sites have been washed away, making the sites unreachable.


Mr Speaker, the Planning and Budgeting Bill has been talked about here time and again. We have said that people need to participate in the budgeting process to ensure transparency and accountability. Since the PF does not want to be accountable to the people of Zambia, it has elected not to bring this Bill to the House. Further, the Loans and Guarantees (Authorisation) Act needs to be revised so that this Parliament should begin to scrutinise requests for loans and allow the PF to justify the reasons before it borrows. The hon. Minister of Finance stated here that the Government would not borrow, but he is still going to borrow money for the Budget. It will take years for us to repay all these loans that we are contracting. We are putting ourselves and the future generations in danger.


Mr Speaker, on the issue of mining, we need to invest money for us to make money. The hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development talked about explorations. Do we have the capacity to know the quantity and the quality of minerals we have as a country so that we can benefit from these natural resources that God gave us? We do not have that capacity. Instead, we rely on information which investors who want to make profits give. They tell us how long the minerals will last and their quality. We still lack certain skills in the Ministry of Mines and Minerals Development. I expected that by now, people would have been trained in certain skills so that expatriates can go back to their countries of origin and leave jobs for the Zambian people. The United Party for National Development (UPND) will do that when it comes into power in 2021.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Jere: Mr Speaker, it is not questionable. Time has come for the PF to pack and go.


Mr Speaker, with these few words, I thank you, and I urge the Zambian people to begin preparing to send the PF Government back to where it came from.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Livune (Katombola): Mr Speaker, it is gratifying for the people of Katombola Constituency to have a say on the 2020 Budget Address by the hon. Minister of Finance on 27th September, 2019.


Mr Mecha: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mecha: Mr Speaker, thank you for granting me an opportunity to rise on a point of order. It is unusual for me to rise on a point of order.


Mr Speaker, the point of order I am about to raise is very compelling. You may be aware that the there is oversupply of cement in Zambia. We consume about 2.2 million tonnes of cement but we have a production of about 5 million tonnes of cement. Naturally, when you have an oversupply of cement, you expect the price to be low because of high competition among producers.


Sir, you will recall that the President was here on 13th September, 2019, during the ceremonial Official Opening of this Fourth Session of the Twelfth National Assembly. One of the things he emphasised was building national resilience to climate change. I know that one of the inputs that go into building resilience and contributing to infrastructure development is cement. I am afraid we may compromise infrastructure development if the price of cement keeps rising. Is the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry in order to remain quiet and not inform the nation through this House on what is happening to the price of cement?


Mr Speaker, I seek your serious ruling.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: That kind of point of order is supposed to be raised as a question ...




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: ... so that the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry can come to the House well-prepared to answer it. I advise the hon. Member to ask a question, and it will be attended to adequately by the hon. Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry.


The hon. Member may continue.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, the Budget is a framework or a plan that those who are privileged to be in charge of the country promulgate to the whole country. It tells us how they intend to govern us. It is a very important tool that people need to pay attention to.


Sir, before I go in-depth in my debate, allow me to make a few comments. Remember that the theme of this budget is “Focusing National Priorities Towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy.” This is a very good theme, but we can go further than this. The intention of the hon. Minister was to tell the nation that we as country need to move forward. This is the reason I have put a theme to my debate, which is “In the Midst of Austerity Measures, Zambia Must Move Forward.” Zambia moving forward will be my guiding principle in my discourse this afternoon.


Hon. PF Members: Question!


Mr Livune: We need to move forward, whatever the situation. Moving forward is very important because that is the only way we will develop. We cannot be reversing, we should always go forward. Regardless of the situation, Zambia must move forward.


Mr Speaker, governance is a continuous process. There were others before the people in this Government and there will be others after them tomorrow.


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


Mr Livune: What is important is to move forward.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Give me a minute, hon. Member on the Floor.


Hon. Minister, I have received communication that you will be travelling tomorrow to accompany the family of His Royal Highness, the late Chief Kabanda. Therefore, you will debate just after the person debating. Is your point of order on the hon. Member on the Floor?


Mr Sichone: Mr Speaker, my point of order is quite compelling.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Sichone: Mr Speaker, thank you for granting me this opportunity to raise a point of order on the hon. Member who is traversing, trying to create a point instead of just debating. Is the hon. Member in order to project a party symbol when he is debating here using his right hand? In addition, he is in order to use the slogan “Zambia forward,” which is a political slogan of his political party. Is that allowed?


Sir, I seek your serious ruling.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: The latter part may not be very important for your point of order because “going forward” is a phrase made of just two English words. However, flashing a party symbol in the House is not allowed. I will observe the hon. Member, maybe he speaks with his hands in the air. So, let us observe him again.


You may continue with your debate, hon. Member.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, it is because of some people that we fail to move forward. I am moving forward.


Sir, I would like to respond to a statement that was made on the Floor of this House by hon. Government Members that the former hon. Minister of Finance in the previous Government failed to pay retirees at that time. The PF took over power in 2011, and it must understand that that governance is continuous. There is no way it can accuse a former hon. Minister of Finance who left a strong economy of failing to pay retirees. It is the PF which failed to clear the retirees. How could somebody who left office pay retirees, when he handed over office? It does not work like that. Some retirees from 2007 to 2009 protested because the PF Government never paid them. I saw this on television. Governance is a continuous process. The PF took over the liabilities when it came to power. There is no way it can accuse the people who left a strong economy.


Mr Speaker, there was an insinuation from our colleagues on your right that we, in the United Party for National Development (UPND) just talk, and that we do not appreciate certain things. I think it is only right to remind the hon. Minister for the Southern Province that we in the UPND are geared to move forward. In moving forward, we need progressive ideas. We can move forward together, we can do it. Why should we escort others to Parliament? Some people are getting development in their areas, while we are not. We will not accept that. 


Sir, the hon. Minister for the Southern Province told us to hold on when it comes to certain projects in the province because the country has no money. Meanwhile, his friends in Government are constructing roads in their provinces. In Lusaka, roads are being tarred even up to people’s yards. On the Copperbelt, roads are being tarred as well. However, he is telling us, the people from the Southern Province to be patient. He only wants to deal with hunger and water. Are we responsible for those things? No. They are natural. Therefore, the hon. Minister is not fair, we must share the national cake fairly.


Ms Kapata: On a point of order, Mr Speaker.


Mr Livune: We will not accept to wait for the Government to deal with the food and water situation, we also want roads.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Ms Kapata: Mr Speaker, thank you for according me this opportunity to stand on a very serious point of order on the hon. Member debating on the Floor. Is the hon. Member in order to indicate that some people have tarred roads leading to their houses? Is there anyone who lives alone on a street without other people? Is he in order to tell this nation that people have constructed roads leading to their houses?


Sir, I need your serious ruling.


 Mr Second Deputy Speaker: My ruling is that the hon. Minister has not spoken. Friday and Tuesday will be given to the Frontbench. For now, the hon. Frontbenchers are busy taking notes so that they can respond to what the hon. Members on the left are saying.


You may continue, hon. Member for Katombola.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for your protection. Those who do not know what is happening in Lusaka should take a walk and see what is happening in Libala and Kabwata. In the meantime, those of us who live in the rural areas or outskirts have nothing, not even a single tarred road in our constituencies. However, in Lusaka and the Copperbelt, things are happening. The hon. Minister is telling us to be patient because there is no money and that, at the moment, the Government will only be dealing with hunger. No! We will not accept that from the hon. Minister. Let us share the national cake nicely and fairly. I know that it cannot be equal, but we need equitable sharing. This Government is tarring roads which are already tarred. That is not fair. The Government is removing the tarmac and putting tar on the same road and the Government expects us to be smiling at it. No! We will not allow that.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister knows very well that the farmers in the Southern Province and many other areas have not been given their share of fertilisers for the 2018/2019 Farming Season, yet he was praising the Government in his debate. The Government is putting pressure and inflicting pain on the people. Unfortunately, he did not mention anything in that regard. I want to tell the hon. Minister that people want their fertiliser. They paid their share of money, but the Government could not do its part, and people were left to live with that painful situation. The hon. Minister of Finance should know that our people in the Southern Province have not yet been given farming inputs. Instead, the Government owes the people for the upfront payment they made. To date, the Government has not done the needful.


Madam, we need to be sincere just as the dictates of this House demand. The hon. Minister knows that the old men and women in that province have not been getting the money under the Social Cash Transfer Scheme for almost a year now. How does he expect those old men who have contributed so much to this nation to survive? Meanwhile, our hon. Colleagues on your right are able to live with that kind of situation, assuming all is well. Things are not right.


Sir, the money for the Social Cash Transfer Scheme is required in our constituencies, but it is not there. The Government owes the people money. This Government must be ashamed of itself for owing old men and women. Remember, some writings condemn debts, no matter how little the debt may be. Woe to the one who owes.  This Government owes old women and men who brought us on earth. In the meantime, it has the pleasure to owe such kinds of money, yet it wants to pretend like all is well and it is business as usual. No! We have situations.


Mr Speaker, we are going to tell the hon. Minister of Finance what is happening out there because we believe that one can only scratch where it is itching. The team on your right will not tell him, instead, it will be praising him. Even if he says that he has changed his mind and wants to get back to the Sales Tax now, the hon. Members on your right will still praise him. They will not tell him the truth. Even when we were going through the Value Added Tax (VAT) situation, all of them were full of praises. It is like they are escorting the hon. Minister to a ditch so that he can go in and disappear. They are not fair. So, we, the hon. Members on your left are his true partners who will tell him the truth because we are here to speak the truth.


Madam, we have had a lot of discussions, and so, it is a pity that some of them are not here. Just by looking into their eyes, you can tell that they know what transpired and how they were glorifying the situation although they are busy praising him because of a situation that has come on board. Of course, that is the position of the nation and people advanced reasons why we should not go the Sales Tax way. There were various reasons we did not take that route. One very important reason is the issue of the cascading effect as opposed to VAT because VAT has a self regulatory mechanism. With it, you can predict what will happen unlike Sales Tax which promotes inflation and all those issues. Otherwise, there was going to be so much pressure on him, yet they were busy praising him. At the end of the day, they would have been laughing at him. We, the Members on this side of the House will not do that. However, we will tell him what it is.


Mr Speaker, let me now come to the Budget Speech which was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. I want to mention to him that my constituency in Kazungula District has been a serious contributor to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country. For the information of the hon. Minister, the Kazungula pontoon is the only pontoon which has been servicing people. The rest of the country’s pontoons are non-profit making. Actually, they are liabilities. It was money from Kazungula that was going to the whole countryside to help all the other pontoons.


Sir, I am certain that even when a bridge replaces that pontoon, money will be realised. However, the hon. Minister should bear in mind that very little money realised from Kazungula goes to Control 99. This situation will remain the same because the money will still go to Control 99. At the end of the day, the people of Kazungula want to appreciate what is happening. We can just acknowledge because we know that much more can be done. It is important to be sincere because there is a record in this House.


Mr Speaker, as the bridge is being constructed, the people of Kazungula will only appreciate when certain things are done. Kazungula is another country, big as it is. There are people in Kazungula who have never been to Kazungula Border and they will never go there …


Mr Mung’andu: Why?


Mr Livune: … but it is their right to be in Kazungula because that is where they were born.

Sir, as I speak here, there are certain things like roads which must be constructed in Kazungula because people will appreciate them. Control 99 will take all the income from the bridge, but the rest will need roads to go to Kazungula. As I mentioned earlier, there is not a single tarred road in Kazungula. Basically, people just make their own roads as if the Government does not collect taxes from us.


Mr Speaker, we also need roads starting from Kasaya into Mulobezi going to Moomba. We need roads from Simukombo going to Sepute Palace passing through Koma. We need roads that should run from Koma going into Mandiya. We need roads from Simonga, Makunka, Ngweze to Kananga, Sinde going into Sihumbwa. We need roads in Senkobo, Musokotwane, Sihumbwa going into Makunka. It is a huge district. I am talking about the Zimba/Nyawa Road and Kabuyu Road going into Simango, Senkobo, Katapazi and the Mukuni/Katapazi Road. We also need roads in Kalomo going into Nyawa. All these roads need to be constructed. The current Government is not paying attention to this. In the meantime, the hon. Minister is telling us that some roads have been constructed. Which roads have been constructed because there is nothing happening in Kazungula?


Mr Speaker, I would like to suggest some of the areas the hon. Minister should look at and see how best he can save a bit of money. However, before I do that, I need to mention that to a large extent, the Government is to blame for the current economic situation. We have refused to use climate change as a reason for the situation we have found ourselves in and this is on record. Whilst we acknowledge that climate change is real and it has serious effects, most of the problems the country is going through are because of poor leadership and bad leaders, and the PF is not helping much.


Sir, when did we construct the Kariba Dam? Are the engineers not there or they are just ignored? There are engineers in this country. We know that the Kariba Dam also needs a reservoir of some kind to help reserve water there.


Mr Speaker, Hon. Nkombo mentioned to this House that we can construct a canal between Lake Bangweulu and the Kafue River to pump water in the dam and boost our electricity generation. These issues have been there since time immemorial. So, when we attribute the country’s economic problems to poor planning or bad leadership, it is because of such kinds of situations. We want the hon. Minister to see to it that something is done, no matter how small. Otherwise, this team has failed us. They are bad people and bad leaders.


Sir, it will also help the hon. Minister to look at the cost structure of the current Government. For his own information, this is a Government which has been so vengeful. It has been retiring people in national interest. When people are retired in national interest, they must be paid, which is also creating pressure on the Treasury.


Mr Speaker, this Government has been recalling people for the foreign service because they belong to a bad sect. When these people are recalled back to the country, they need to be paid as well, which is creating pressure on the Treasury.


 Mr Speaker, this Government created the Local Government Service Commission (LGSC). Today, if the hon. Members on your right are sincere, they will tell you that there are so many people in most of these councils, and that they are not needed. For example, there are people in fire fighting and all that duplication of structures. Unlike what is currently prevailing, performing councils only had positions of revenue collectors, deputy treasurer and treasurer. Today, if you go to these councils, you will find that there are revenue collectors, deputy treasurer, treasurer, accountant, senior accountants and district accountant. How do you expect to come out of these problems that we have? However, when the Government sends the Local Government Equalisation Fund to the councils, 20 per cent of which is supposed to go to capital projects, that money does not go to the intended works because it pays the people that LGSC has sent to them. Therefore, I want to urge the hon. Minister to look at that issue as well because it may help in future.


Sir, there are people who are doing nothing at Cabinet Office. Others have been transferred from where they were and taken to Cabinet Office. When they report, they are told to wait, but they draw salaries every month. We are being unfair to the country. So, let us be patriotic, not just in words, but in our deeds as well. While we are not part of our hon. Colleagues, could they discuss issues. The challenge we have sometimes is the behaviour of our Colleagues on the Floor, and so, we question what they discuss in Cabinet. Their behaviour brings out what they disguise. We hear people talking about irreverent things that are not even there, and we are just left wondering. An example is a Motion we heard yesterday and what some hon. Minister was trying to refer to this afternoon. I have a very beautiful wife, and so, in the United Party for National Development (UPND), we do not have those things that particular hon. Member was talking about. Do you understand? I wonder which man among us here can go for a fellow man. Who can do that? There may be no chemical reaction because it cannot happen.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, address the Speaker and debate the Budget.


Mr Livune: Sir, we need to waste time on things that affect our people. Right now, there is poverty and issues of climate change. Let us dedicate our efforts to these issues, unlike these frivolous Motions you bring to this House –


Mr Mutale: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order, Hon. Livune!


I have just guided the hon. Member on the Floor. So, I will not give you, Hon. Mutale, an opportunity to raise a point of order. 


The hon. Member on the Floor may continue with his debate.


Mr Livune: Mr Speaker, Zambia must move forward. In moving Zambia forward, I expected the hon. Minister of Finance to also emphasise the need for pension reforms. We have been lamenting here about the Local Authorities Superannuation Fund (LASF), the National Pension Scheme Authority (NAPSA) and the Public Service Pension Fund (PSPF). Can we harmonise these. I hope the ministry responsible for finance deals with the PSPF, while the other two are with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security. It is my hope that this issue will come in the Supplementary Budget. It is important to harmonise these matters.


Mr Speaker, instead of destroying this, let us get back to the basics. Zambians already agreed that they were going to go with one pension scheme, followed by occupational pension schemes then go into individual investment. Why are we still in the wilderness? For all the years we have been here together, we have been lamenting the same thing. Let us get to the point and resolve the problem once and for all. Some of the contribution rates are too high. They are at 23 per cent, when NAPSA only needs about 10 per cent. So, we can work around figures and take away the other 10 per cent and live them with 13 per cent.


Mr Speaker, these are simple matters which the UPND will be drinking a cup of tea when working on them the day they will come into office. It is important that in the midst of the austerity measures, Zambia must move forward. Even as you do whatever you are doing, it is Zambia forward. Hon. Members, as we debate, let us make sure that this country moves forward. This country is for all of us. Our hon. Colleagues are saying that we must unite on these issues, but then they want to be so independent and exclusive in dealing with certain matters. We must all agree. I am putting it to you, and you must agree with me that Zambia must move forward. It is our country, you understand. So, it must be forward, forward, forward, in whatever the Government does. Even under austerity measures, Zambia must move forward.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.




Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


The Minister for Muchinga Province (Mr Sichone): Mr Speaker, thank you for giving me this chance to contribute to debate on the Budget Speech by the hon. Minister of Finance. Let me preface my debate by thanking the hon. Minister of Finance for his maiden Budget Speech to this House and for delivering a message on behalf of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, effectively.


Mr Speaker, the Budget Speech that we are debating has given hope to a lot of Zambians. There is so much hope in the country arising from so many areas. I am not going to touch all the areas. However, before all that, allow me to define a statement as political impotence.


Mr Speaker, there is so much political impotence in this country. If it was a medical condition, I would have said we bring in doctors to help us. What is political impotence? It is the inability to assimilate the possible outcomes of the current Budget we are debating, for example, even when you know that great things have been embedded in this document. It is also another way of failing to preconceive success in politics. For example, if you continue to fail to win elections, that is political impotence. It is also the inability to see projects in your area that are being implemented and you continue crying politically.


Mr Speaker, apart from political impotence, there is also another statement I would want to define. This is the protracted ego to rule. We know very well that when the Zambians are choosing leaders to succeed a particular Government, they normally scrutinise carefully. In 1991, people chose to change the Government of that time and brought in the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD). In 2011, the people decided to remove the MMD from power and replaced it with the Patriotic Front (PF).


Mr Speaker, amidst all these changes that have been taking place, we have had as a country an opposition party which we may call a major opposition party. However, because of political impotence, we have had situations whereby each time the hon. Minister of Finance comes to the House to present the Budget, people from this politically impotent institution, the opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), have never seen a great thing that comes with any particular Budget. For eight years that we have been in here, we have witnessed several Budgets and none of these Budgets has been deemed to be a success or a Budget that gives hope.


Mr Speaker, however, we have continued to experience massive developmental changes in this country. We wish for transformation in our economy. I know why political impotence clips and anchors in institutions. It is because of the ego to rush to rule a country.          


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Sichone: Mr Speaker, you will agree with me that, for example, this Budget has projected growth or productivity areas such as the livestock and fisheries sector. Everybody knows that once this Budget is implemented, the fisheries sector in this country will definitely grow. The growth arising from the livestock and fisheries sectors will begin to transform the lives of our people, jobs will be created and many other sectors will be excited.


Sir, even when this Budget has shown that we are going to liquidate domestic debt, prioritise payments to local contractors and pay off pensioners, our hon. Colleagues on your left cannot see those things. Political leadership is about giving hope to people and helping them to move, grow and transform. When you see the Kazungula Bridge, for example, but still tell your followers that there is nothing the Government is doing, that is political impotence.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: You cannot change anything. You cannot change the minds of the people because you are not telling them the truth or giving them hope.


Mr Livune: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Hon. Member, give the hon. Minister a chance to debate freely.


Mr Ngulube: Hon. Livune, he is speaking to you.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: If he said something to provoke any hon. Member of Parliament to rise on a point of order, surely, I was going to grant you the point of order. I am also following the debate very well.


Mr Sichone: Mr Speaker, I thank you for protecting me.


Sir, the people of Muchinga have sent me with a message, which is that I should tell the politically impotent that President Edgar Chagwa Lungu is winning again in 2021.


Hon. Opposition Members: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: Mr Speaker, the people of Muchinga have spoken. They have told me to tell the politically impotent about all the changes and infrastructural transformation that they are experiencing, and all the positive trends they are seeing in their lives. In Muchinga, households are using solar power, even those in the villages. They are watching television in villages. As I speak, they have seen that the politically impotent still want to deny them the truth.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: Sir, this brings me to the issue of debt. The hon. Minister of Finance was quite categorical on this. He said that we shall manage the debt, that is our job. The President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, knows very well that we are at the stage where we need to begin to manage our debt.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: There is no country which develops without debt. The United States of America (USA) has trillions of dollars of debt.


Mr Sichone: The United Kingdom (UK), the country which colonised this country, has trillions of dollars of debt. In fact, US$10 billion debt is a mere nut in the reality of development. This country is wealthy and endowed with a lot of resources.


Sir, just the cattle that we have in this country can pay off the debt that we have. This country is wealthy. It is absurd for anybody to stand on the Floor of the House and tell the nation that there is nothing we are doing as the PF Government. It is absurd for anybody to stand on the Floor of the House and insinuate that this debt is going to kill us.


Mr Speaker, allow me to bring out a few more issues that are still in line with debt. No amount of Value Added Tax (VAT) collection or savings can quickly build a bridge like the Kazungula Bridge. If people in this country, especially my Colleagues from the Opposition, were realistic, they would be saying “thank you” to President Edgar Lungu for his candidness.


Sir, in Kazungula, the traditional leaders recently said they have hope that they are not going to die of hunger because they have Edgar Chagwa Lungu as President of this country. We have an Opposition which cannot agree that there is climate change and that its effects are real. It still wants to say that the lack of water in the Kariba dam is due to poor leadership. Is the hon. Opposition Members sure that people will follow them? Are they sure the enlightened citizens of this country are going to agree to follow people who are saying the Kariba Dam is dry because of the leadership of President Edgar Chagwa Lungu?


Hon. Government Members: No!


Mr Sichone: That leaves me shocked. That is why the people of Muchinga are saying that Edgar Chagwa Lungu is winning in 2021. Nobody can join and follow the Opposition. We are lucky to have a very strong Opposition party in this country, which is qualified to be an Opposition party, and it will remain an Opposition party. The party which will take over from the PF many years from now will not be the United Party for National Development (UPND). It will be a new party. The hon. Members in the UPND are a blessing to this country because it needs them as Opposition leaders.


Sir, you must have heard from the Budget Speech that over 3,375 km of feeder roads will be constructed. What that tells me is that the farmers in rural areas will begin to transform their areas and grow because they will be able to transport their produce to access markets. That entails that growth will be realised. Construction of feeder roads is a capital infrastructure project, and if the hon. Minister of Finance, in one way or another, is going to choose to borrow to construct them, that is a great idea.


Mr Speaker, let me come to the much talked about issue of mealie meal prices. You would be surprised that although people are shouting that the prices are too high, although admittedly the prices are high, the farmers where I come from are happy. The farmers who survived the effects of climate change are happy because a bag of maize on the market is going at almost K180 today, and that entails that the farmers are making money. Maize, which is a key input in mealie meal production, is expensive. What do you expect when the inputs are expensive? I spoke to our people and asked them whether or not we needed to reintroduce subsidies. The people of Zambia said we should never reintroduce consumptive subsidies. President Edgar Chagwa Lungu knows that whereas on one side the effect is a rise in prices of mealie meal, on the other side, farmers in this country are growing because of the higher price of maize.


Mr Livune: Question!


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: The weather forecast has indicated that most parts of the country will experience normal to above normal rainfall. This is telling us that there will higher productivity in the country and more jobs in the agricultural sector.


Mr Speaker, I pray to God that as we go into prayers this month, my Colleagues from the United Party for National Development (UPND) will join us in prayer.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Sichone: The hon. Members in UPND need prayers more than anyone else. Unless they do not want to believe that the God who brought rains to Muchinga is the God who also bestows power upon people then they can stay away. If the UPND hon. Members cannot join in prayers but choose to join the Africa Liberal Network, the challenges that their strongholds are experiencing will continue, and they will be crying using the same voice.


Mr Speaker, as I conclude my debate, I want to mention that it is only God who selects leaders, and Zambia is a Christian nation. Since they have been selected by God, hon. Members on the right are saying that this Budget is coming from a chosen leader, and it is giving hope to Zambians. Through this Budget, new jobs will be created. In this Budget, the Minister of Finance and His Excellency, the President of the Republic of Zambia, have chosen not to increase taxes because we are a Government that stands for lower taxes. I challenge anybody on that. Apart from the little tax on the mines where the Government wants to get a little more from precious minerals, there is no tax that has been increased in this Budget. We are literally going by our principles as PF.


Sir, I know you love football.  Our Colleagues from the Opposition love football too. If you are a football team coach, at half time, you get to analyse the game. If you realise that the players you are featuring are probably impotent in scoring goals, you make substitutions. It is absurd for any institution to keep the same players for twenty years and continue losing.



Mr Speaker, for this country to experience fertile, potent, good leaders from the Opposition, the UPND will require a complete overhaul. That way, the hon. UPND Members can start seeing the beauty and growth in the Budget which has been presented.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Zimba (Chasefu): Mr Speaker, I will start my debate by talking about what most of my fellow hon. Members have talked about, which is the debt the country owes.


Sir, Rome was not built in a day. If you look at the Order Paper, you will notice that most questions are on infrastructure. Every hon. Member cries for a road, a school or a hospital in his constituency. That tells you that we have a big challenge of infrastructure. The Patriotic Front (PF) Government has realised the need to develop this country and it has heard the cries of the people.


Mr Speaker, just an hour ago, the hon. Member for Monze Central said that roads and hospitals have not been constructed in his constituency. The hon. Member for Katombola also spoke of the same. This means that there is a need for infrastructure development. The PF has realised this and it has heeded the call of the people.


Mr Mwiimbu: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: A point of order is raised.


Mr Mwiimbu: Mr Speaker, is the hon. Member on the Floor in order to suggest that a hospital has been built in my constituency when the Government has never built any hospital since independence? There is no Government hospital in Monze Central Parliamentary Constituency; we rely on the good Catholic Church to provide us with hospitals. Is the hon. Member in order to suggest that I have praised the Government for building a hospital, when in fact, it has done nothing, and that is why I win every time?


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Well, I followed the hon. Member for Chasefu. He did not mention anything about a hospital being built in Monze. I listened to the hon. Member very well. He only talked about the roads and mentioned the name of the hon. Member for Monze. Therefore, the hon. Member on the Floor is in order.


The hon. Member on the Floor may continue debating.


Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, the need for infrastructure development cannot be overemphasised. In my household, if I present a K20,000 cash budget to my wife, but she comes to me with a budget of K40,000, it simply means that I have to find a way of bridging that gap to meet the extra funds needed. There is no country that has no debt. We have had to borrow. The PF Government is the only one that embarked on massive infrastructure development. It is a pity that hon. Members of Parliament stand here and say that nothing is being done in their areas. I will give three examples of the PF Government constructing infrastructure. The PF Government has built 197 schools in a space of seven years, the biggest number so far in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region. This is because the PF Government has realised the need for Zambians to be educated. The Government has also built countless hospitals and roads such as the Kafue/Mazabuka Road, Kafue township roads, the Mongu/Kalabo Road, and bridges such as the Kazungula Bridge. It has also built the Mwinilunga/Jimbe Road, the Chingola/Solwezi Road, Chirundu District infrastructure, Petauke/Kalindawalo General Hospital, the Great East Road, the Lusaka Decongestion Project –


Mr Jere: What about the Lundazi/Chama Road?


Mr Zimba: I want the Lundazi/Chama Road to be rehabilitated, but first, we have to cry to the hon. Minister of Finance to find money for that road, and he will. We as a country have to borrow to achieve these things. The only way Zambia is going to open up is to build infrastructure. How can a country develop? The debt that Zambia has accrued is justifiable, the Government has invested it and is yet to receive the proceeds. We are all crying about infrastructure in our areas. The PF Government is responding to those cries. Rome was never built in a day, let us appreciate and say yes to development.


Sir, the country has challenges such as climate change. Climate change is real and let us not politic about it. The people of Zambia are expecting hon. Members of Parliament to find solutions to the challenges out there, not to politic in this House.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Members on your left should not debate in Parliament just because they want to get into power, no. Elections will come and they will have to prove themselves out there. Let us find solutions to the challenges that we have. Climate change is a natural phenomenon. It is a pity that we politic here in Parliament when Zambians out there are expecting us to sort out their needs. We cannot have people who, year in year out, say that the Budget is bad. Since the days of the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD), it has been the same copy and paste debates, they have been saying the Budgets are bad. The PF Government is doing justice to the people who voted it into power. They voted for it to find solutions and not to politic on the Floor of the House. I, therefore, urge hon. Members of Parliament to be magnanimous enough to meet and find solutions to the challenges that this country is going through.


Mr Speaker, let me now come to a topic which even the people on your left will be happy to listen to.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Business was suspended from 1610 hours until 1830 hours.




Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, before business was suspended, I was saying that the PF Government is a pro-poor Government. Since it is a pro-poor Government, it has come up with pro-poor policies which make business sense. This is why the Government will construct the Mongu/Kalabo Road, the most expensive road, just to provide that service to the people of that area. This why, right now, as the hon. Member of Parliament for Chasefu, I can call my grandmother who is in Chasefu, which is 900 km from here on a cell phone because this Government has built communication towers. That is what a pro-poor Government can do. It is not easy, but it is an investment that reaches out to the people.


Mr Speaker, the Government of His Excellency the President, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a listening Government. I know certain people wanted to trivialise the reversal from Sales Tax to the Value Added Tax (VAT), but that is because the Government listened to the concerns of the people like it always does. This is why the President was magnanimous enough to pass that Constitution that we want to amend now. That is why the hon. Minister of Finance, seated right there, is taking notes on whatever is being debated. I am, therefore, urging every hon. Member of Parliament here to stop being partisan and instead contribute positively and effectively to this Budget. That way, the hon. Minister of Finance can take down notes and see what he can do about our contributions. This is not time to politick.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita: Mwakamba, kwasila!


Mr Zimba: Nifuna mumvesese.




Mr Zimba: Mr Speaker, this is the time that we should stand up as hon. Members of Parliament and make meaningful contributions. On a lighter note, I now want to zero-in on Chasefu as a constituency and dwell on the Constituency Development Fund (CDF). CDF is the only weapon that people in our rural constituencies depend on. Hon. Members of Parliament have cried to the hon. Minister of Finance and asked that he looks at the possibility of increasing the CDF threshold from K1.6 million to K5 million so that most of our needs are met. We, the people of the rural constituencies, feel a bit left out. There is so much concentration on the urban constituencies.


Mr Speaker, I therefore urge the hon. Minister of finance to find a way in our tight fiscal space to increase that threshold to K5 million. Again, I want to see how the hon. Minister could balance this arrangement because I do not see Lusaka as a constituency that can get the same amount of money as Chasefu, which is a rural area. I would like the hon. Minister to look at those variations. Let us look at geographical locations and the needs of the people in a particular area and then come up with a balanced method of disbursing the CDF.


Mr Speaker , with these few words, , I support the Budget.


I thank you, Sir.


Ms Kasanda (Chisamba): Mr Speaker, I would like to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance on his new appointment and also welcome him. I would like to begin by saying that I hope that the hon. Minister of Finance will bring light to this ministry and live by his word, as opposed to what we have seen in the past.


Mr Speaker, we have always come to this House to debate the Budgets which we also have passed, yet we have seen the same things going on over and over again. This has been a song that has lost its tune, meaning and it is out of touch with the people of Zambia. Much as we may come here to debate and pass Budgets, we are not seeing anything tangible coming out of these Budgets.


Mr Speaker, on page 2, paragraph 8, of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance requested all of us Zambians to focus our priorities towards building the Zambia we want. The problem I have is that the Patriotic Front (PF) Government is not inclusive. What our hon. Colleagues in the PF Government say and the action that is taken by them are totally different. I am saying so because it is completely the opposite.


I want to give a very good example of the time president Hakainde Hichilema (HH) went into Chawama to donate a generator. He did it in good faith and because by doing that, we all would all have the Zambia we want to see. So, when the hon. Minister of Finance says that every Zambian should see the Zambia that they want to see, that includes HH as well. That is the Zambia he wants to see. That is why he wanted to donate that generator. Instead, what did we see? We saw truck loads and small vehicles of police officers coming to Chawama just for one person. That is wastage of money.


Mr Speaker, the other thing that we, the people on your left, or as the Opposition, is for the Government to start looking at other energy sources as opposed to attributing everything to climate change, when that should not be the case. Currently, all the challenges we have in this country are blamed on climate change and nothing else. When the President came here to address us, he was very categorical when he said that climate change has been in existence for decades, and I totally agree with him. So, if that is the case, what has the PF Government done about it? It has done nothing. Since this Government already knew about climate change, it should have prepared itself for the effects.


Mr Speaker, all we are seeing of late is living in darkness. We are just seeing long hours of load shedding. Yesterday, there was a misfortune that befell the United Party for National Development (UPND). The UPND lost one of its members by the name of Lawrence Banda. Yesterday, he was taken to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) mortuary. When people took the body into the mortuary, power went off while they were still inside. People were stuck in the mortuary for almost two hours because they could not come out. That is typical of the PF Government. It is very worrisome to see that this Government can allow such a thing to happen. How can this Government allow people who are still breathing to go and get stuck in the mortuary due to load shedding? The only reason they give is climate change even when they are busy exporting our electricity.


   Mr Speaker, on Page 1, Paragraph 6, of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister says that he wants to pay particular attention to the dismantling of arrears related to the suppliers of goods and services to the Government. I also have a problem with this one. Why do I have a problem? It is because we have seen suppliers to the Government not being paid for as long as two to four years after supplying the Government with goods and services. How are they expected to sustain their businesses and pay wages?


Mr Speaker, in addition, we have never seen corruption like we are seeing it now. We have situations where somebody is not paid for two or four years, and when he/she goes to a ministry to get their money, he/she is asked for kickbacks. If one does not give kickbacks, he/she is put at the end of the list of people to be paid their money. So, just because you have not given them some money from the little which you have not received in so many years, you are put at the end of the list. What kind of life are we going to lead? This is unprofessional. If somebody has supplied something to the Government, let them be paid their money in full as opposed to leaving half of it behind for people to share. I think that this is very unfortunate.


Mr Speaker, other debaters have already spoken about corruption in the country. I also want to talk about the forty-eight houses. We have those forty-eight houses that do not seem to belong to anybody. How is the owner paying for electricity, rates and water charges? Who is he/she paying to? Are we sure that we are not able to find out who those people are? If there is nobody claiming those houses, I am here to claim and collect them. They should give them to me because nobody is claiming them.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Ms Kasanda: Mr Speaker, we are ready to share those houses because people do not want to come out in the open and claim them. This is utmost corruption and it is very worrying.


Mr Speaker, on pillar 3 and page 10, the hon. Minister talked about reducing developmental inequalities between rural and urban areas. I have another problem here. I am sure you can all see that I am very light in complexion, but my knees are the darkest parts of my body. That is because I have been kneeling down to ask for development such as roads, which have not come forth. If you go into Chisamba today, the only tarred road that you will find is 22 km long from Chisamba Turnoff to Chisamba Boma. That road was constructed by the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD) Government. I have received nothing from the Patriotic Front (PF), yet all we see roads being constructed in Lusaka.


Mr Speaker, Keembe and Chisamba constituencies host the Katuba tollgate, yet both constituencies receive nothing from it. Whatever revenue is made from there is brought back to Lusaka and it is used to make the roads that we are seeing. Our constituencies are suffering, and this concern is serious.


Mr Speaker, speaking about developmental inequalities, even today, we have pupils still sitting on the dusty floors. They are still learning under grass-thatched classrooms, yet we are saying that we want equality. Where is the equality? We are not seeing any equality.


Mr Speaker, I am also worried about livestock. In Chisamba in particular, we have had foot and mouth disease, which has affected my people negatively. It has reduced production. The problem that we have is that much as the Budget is talking about sensitising people, what is it worth to do this without any dip tanks or vaccines? When you call the office of the District Veterinary Officer, you are told that they do not have transport or vaccines. So, is it worth including sensitisation programmes in the Budget?  Over what do you want to sensitise the people? That is a waste of time and energy, and I think that as a people, we can do better than that.


Mr Speaker, let me talk about dams. We have heard that this Government is rehabilitating dams. Which ones? We have a dam in my constituency in Lifwambula and the spillway has been eroded for a very long time. If we have good rains, it will be washed away, yet we hear that the Government is rehabilitating dams. I want to know exactly where the Government is rehabilitating dams.




Ms Kasanda: Mr Speaker, this is the same PF Government that says that it wants to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in establishing industrial yards around the country. According to the Budget, these industrial yards will be in Lusaka, Mansa, Kitwe, Ndola, Kasama and Chipata. Is this countrywide? Is this Zambia?  Where is Chisamba and Keembe there? Where is Monze, Kapiri, Zambezi East and West? Where is Kazungula? This is total segregation.


Sir, I believe that health, education, water and energy are the key sectors that will improve the wellbeing of our people. Personally, I feel that in this Budget, it is important that we put more money to these sectors so that we see better living for our people, as opposed to what we are seeing.


Mr Speaker, it is very worrying that we are seeing money being diverted into buying tear gas that will choke all of us in this House. It is very worrying. As you can see, I am dressed in black today. I am a very colourful person, but I am dressed in black. Why am I dressed in black? It is because I am mourning with the people of Zambia. Why am I mourning with them? It is because of the pain and the betrayal that the PF has brought on the people of Zambia.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mukosa: Question!




Ms Kasanda: Mr Speaker, in conclusion, I want to say that the PF Government says that it is committed to reducing poverty, but what are we seeing?  We are seeing high mealie meal prices. They say that if you want to upset somebody or see their anger, touch their staple food, and the PF has touched the staple food of Zambians. This is very annoying.


Mr Speaker, the long hours of load shedding have affected business. Currently, production is low, and this is all because of the PF’s lack of proper planning. Had it planned for this well in advance, like the President’s Address, we would not have been going through these challenges. There are countries that are deserts such as Dubai. How do they manage? Zambia is not a desert. So, how does Dubai manage? It is because they plan and this is what we are failing to do as Zambians, especially the people on your right.


Mr Speaker, those of us who drive during the day, see the hungry faces of the people of Zambia. People in our constituencies are hungry. Yesterday, when I was in my constituency, I observed how three young boys had picked up a chicken that a snake had bitten and they wanted to eat it. Imagine those boys eating that chicken, which is obviously poisonous. It is poisonous, but because there is hunger, they would rather take that risk, and yet the people on your right are still denying that there is hunger. We are actually seeing the hunger. I am surprised because most of our hon. Colleagues come from rural constituencies too and see the hunger, and yet they are denying its existence.


Mr Speaker, I urge my hon. Colleagues on your right to admit that there is hunger in the country and declare it a national disaster. If they do not declare the hunger situation a national disaster, we on your left will declare them a national disaster.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Prof. Luo: Muli poverty kuti mwalafwala bwino ifyo nefisote? Ba Jack Mwiimbu ebachilemba.


Mr Kabanda: Balabalembela.


Mr Mwila (Chimwemwe): Mr Speaker, on behalf of the people of Chimwemwe Constituency, I would like to put it to the hon. Minister of Finance that the people of Chimwemwe Constituency did not find anything wrong with the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure that he presented to this House, of course, on behalf of His Excellency, the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu.


Sir, in my contribution this afternoon, I will try to focus on the additional measures that the people of Chimwemwe think you may consider as you aspire to uplift the lives of our people in the country.


Sir, on the 20 per cent subcontracting policy regarding road contracts, the hon. Minister said he would seek to enforce the implementation of this policy. The people of Chimwemwe are saying that the best way for the hon. Minister to enforce this policy is for his counterparts to bring legislation to this House to make this policy a law. When that happens, we will leave it to enforcers to enforce the law. Without a law backing this policy, we will keep talking about it but nothing will come out of it.


Mr Speaker, on additional revenue measures, the people of Chimwemwe agree with the hon. Minister of Finance that there is a serious need to improve our country’s liquidity. I think that on his list of priorities, the hon. Minister should have the objective to sort out the external debt payments. I am aware that members of staff at the National Assembly of Zambia constituency offices have not been paid for three months. I am also aware that as a country, we need to import power. The hon. Minister needs to find money to do that. He also needs to raise the import cover from 1.7 months to three months. This proposal to raise the import cover is good and well-intended. I am also aware that we have less than 50 per cent of essential drugs in our clinics and hospital. Further, we, as a country, also have food insecurity.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister needs to make some tough decisions. I was in the constituency from Saturday until Monday. A good number of youths in the constituency came to my office. The youths assigned me to ask the Government why it cannot involve the Zambia National Service (ZNS) in stabilising the price of mealie meal which is our staple food. Why can we not get back to those old days of state farming? In fact, they proposed that I should ask the hon. Minister of Finance to get permission from the President, for him to tour the border towns of Kasumbalesa, Mukambo and Kipushi so that he can see for himself the Dollars that are waiting to get into Zambia by exporting maize.


Mr Speaker, in the last farming season, half of the country received normal to above normal rainfall. The same has been projected for this rainy season. So, why can half of the country not produce enough to feed the other half which may not have good rainfall? Why can the other half not produce enough for export? This is coming from the youths of Chimwemwe Constituency. By involving ZNS in farming, the Government will achieve the objective of creating 100,000 decent jobs per year. That undertaking was made on the Floor of this House by Hon. Mutati. It is possible to achieve that. To implement this idea, we can employ university and college graduates, including school leavers in ZNS. Money is waiting to be made at the border with Congo and Zimbabwe. Maize exports will help us get foreign exchange to stabilise the operations of this country. Further, the price of mealie meal will stabilise.


Mr Speaker, the hon. Minister of Agriculture assured us on the Floor of this House that the price of mealie meal will be reducing. In fact, he said it has started reducing. However, today, in Chimwemwe Constituency, the price of mealie meal produced by Nkana Milling is still at K140 per 25 kg bag while that of Mpongwe Milling is at K143 per bag. So, the price of mealie meal is not reducing, it is actually increasing. This is the problem that we have.


Sir, the hon. Minister of Finance is a new entrant into this House or into politics. The problem we have had in this country is policy implementation. We have no problem with policy making but implementation. President Edgar Lungu may issue a statement on something here, but what is found on the ground later is something else.


Mr Speaker, just last week, the Head of State was in Kitwe for prayers. I think there was a Christian Mission in Many Lands (CMML) church seminar or programme. The prayers were held in Wusakile, which is the constituency for Hon. Pavyuma Kalobo. The President was presented with a petition by the youths on the Copperbelt. They said that the 20 per cent sub-contracting policy in the road sector is not helping them. I think that point was reiterated by the hon. Government Spokesperson and Minister of Information and Broadcasting in a television programme called Sunday Interview. The President was very upset that this policy is being sabotaged in that only people who have political inclinations and technocrats are getting contracts under this 20 per cent policy, and that it is wrong.


Sir, the people of Chimwemwe are expecting the hon. Minister of Finance to say something about the revision of the Zambia Public Procurement Authority (ZPPA) Act as it relates to value for money procurement and audits. We need to improve the liquidity position of our country. Therefore, the Budget should address the improvement of liquidity and how are we going to achieve it. There have been three Budgets in the last three years and the hon. Ministers of Finance all said they would undertake to improve this Act but that has not come to fruition. I want to see a change this time around. When the hon. Minister of Finance presents the Bill on the 20 per cent subcontracting policy, the ZPPA Act should also be brought to this House so that we improve the liquidity in our nation.


Mr Speaker, the youths of Chimwemwe Constituency also asked me to inform the hon. Minister of Finance on the additional revenue measures he could undertake to help the country. As I said earlier, the people of Chimwemwe did not find anything wrong with all the revenue measures that the hon. Minister presented. It is not the hon. Minister of Finance who should improve the economy, but all of us. At the moment, the Government of the Republic of Uganda is earning US$163 million of the US$5 billion world market for medical cannabis. How much is that in Zambian Kwacha? It is about K2.2 billion, which is about 2 per cent of our National Budget which was presented by the hon. Minister of Finance. Now, assuming that the US$163 million, which Uganda is getting is given to the hon. Minister of Finance here today, what effect would it have on our operations as a country?


Sir, the money would be enough to employ 15,000 teachers and pay them one year in advance. Uganda has signed a US$163 million annual deal for cannabis with Canada, Israel and Russia, and that figure will keep increasing. If we were to take that route, the Ministry of Finance could give Treasury authority to the hon. Minister of General Education, who is seated here, to employ 15,000 teachers and pay them for 120 months upfront. He could also give Treasury authority to the hon. Minister of Home Affairs to recruit 7,500 police recruits and pay them upfront as well. He would also give the hon. Minister of Defence authority to recruit 7,500 regular officers for the country. That is what K2 trillion unrebased could do.


Mr Speaker, why should we be starving in the midst of plenty? The hon. Minister of Information and Broadcasting asked the same question on the Sunday Interview Programme. I know some people will say that if we started cultivating medical cannabis for export, we would  be legalising the smoking of dagga, but that is not the case. We can allow ZNS to grow cannabis strictly for export. For those who do not know, the main ingredient for the treatment for cancer patients at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is medical cannabis or marijuana. In Bemba, it called icamba. Some people will say they do not want cannabis to be grown in the country, but if their relative got cancer and was bedridden at UTH, they would see the value of medical cannabis at that point. We just need to educate our people on this. Why should we suffer in the midst of plenty?


Mr Speaker, yesterday, the hon. Minister of Mines and Minerals Development was telling us that there is abundant and high quality gold in Petauke, Vubwi, Lundazi, Luano and now Mwinilunga.


Mrs Jere: Even Lumezi.


Mr Mwila:  Even in Lumezi and Ikeleng’i.  In these constituencies where there is gold, many youths do not have jobs. Our youths there want jobs. How many years has it taken us to establish mining operations in these areas? It has taken long because of bureaucratic procedures from different ministries and agencies such as the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA). It is easier for us to charter a plane for the hon. Minister of Finance to go and borrow Dollars oversees than develop the mining industry in these areas. Instead of going oversees to borrow Dollars, the hon. Minister could get the Dollars from Vubwi and Lumezi for example. That could help the Budget to perform.


 Mr Speaker, let me now talk about the fuel pump price. I read somewhere that the landed wholesale price for petrol is about K9, but the pump price is about K16.50 now. When I tried to inquire what has caused that pump price, I was informed that there are seven tax components applied to the wholesale price. Those components lead to the pump price being K16 per litre. There are what are called terminal fees and marking fees. I do not know what is marked when a truck loads fuel. Maybe a mark is put on a truck when it loads fuel. Then there is Excise Duty, strategic reserve fund tax, fees for the Energy Regulations Board (ERB) and transport fees for Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and mark-ups. When all these fees including Value Added Tax (VAT) are added, the pump price comes to K16 per litre. So, these are the issues we need to look at.


Mr Speaker, in the midst of climate change and load shedding, why have we allowed seven taxes to be imposed on the pump price for fuel? Let us revise these things. How much is ERB charging in terms of fees? Our people are subjected to paying these fees. How much allowances are the people at ERB getting? Is ERB charging high fees so that it can pay allowances to its staff? Is it charging these fees so that its employees can drive expensive vehicles in the midst of climatic change? Let us revise these things. Let us drop them. Instead of advising the hon. Minister to invest in nuclear technology so that the country can produce clean nuclear energy because hydropower is not sustainable, the officials from ERB just sit and revise rates and tariffs upwards. Let us forget about them and forego the fees that ERB charges. That is why the people of Chimwemwe do not support these commissions because they are just an expense on our people. This is not coming from me as Mwila Mutale, it is coming from the people of Chimwemwe Constituency.


Mr Speaker, I am running out of time so, let me now come to my last point. I expect the hon. Minister of Finance to be firm. The problem we have in Zambia is policy implementation, and not policy making. We have many policy makers at all levels, such as the local authority and this House. I expect the hon. Minister of Finance and the Head of State to learn some tactics from the President of Rwanda, Mr Kagame. Let the people in authority carry a whip, and crack it, if necessary. Maybe that will translate into salvaging our economy. Let them dismiss people who are failing to perform and appreciate people who are performing and are ready to uplift the lives of the people.


Mr Speaker, I expect the hon. Minister of Finance to fund the ministry of Home Affairs. This ministry does not have vehicles. The police officers in Chimwemwe Constituency do not have cars. The only car they use is at Mindolo Police. Mindolo Police is not even in Chimwemwe Constituency, it is in Nkana. The cars at Mindolo Police were bought in 2010 by the partners of the Patriotic Front (PF) now, the Movement for Multi-party Democracy (MMD).




Mr Mwila: Sir, let the Government buy vehicles for this ministry. The Ministry of Finance should find money to give the Ministry of Home Affairs so that it can buy vehicles for police officers who are operating under difficult circumstances. The First Lady, Mrs Easter Lungu, was in Kitwe over the weekend. Those who watch television and other media heard her bemoan the high levels of crime in Kitwe. People are being murdered almost on a daily basis. That can only change if we fund the police adequately. When people bring documents to the hon. Minister of Finance, he should question what benefit those documents bring to the nation. He should not just sign anything. I know that many people will hate him for doing this. Others will say that he is a difficult man, but that is what we need. He should carry a whip and fire those who need to be fired so that we salvage the economy.


I thank you, Sir.


Hon. Members: Hear, hear!

Mrs Jere (Lumezi): Mr Speaker, I would like to thank you for giving me this opportunity to add the voice of the people of Lumezi Parliamentary Constituency to this very important Motion.


Sir, first and foremost, I would like to sincerely thank the hon. Minister of Finance for coming up with a Budget which is people-centered. In short, I am trying to say that the people of Lumezi have not seen anything absurd or bad about this Budget. Of course, it may have some shortcomings, but that is what builds the people. You cannot be 100 per cent perfect.


Mr Speaker, before I debate the Motion, I would like to ask the hon. Minister of Finance to convey the people of Lumezi’s gratitude to His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu for being a pro-poor President.


Mr Speaker, I have listened to the debates in this House, especially those from the other side of the House, where people do not believe the issues and challenges of climate change. Climate change is a global phenomenon and challenge. Those of us who watch world news have seen people picketing and demonstrating all over the world on issues and effects of climate change. So, it is not only here in Zambia where these effects are being felt. The issue of climate change is global. We have seen people in India suffering with floods. Further, people in the United States of America (USA), and California in particular, where some of us in this House once lived, are experiencing natural wild fires. Nobody goes there to torch those forests, but there are natural fires. All that is a result of climate change.


Sir, back home, we have also experienced the effects of climate change, with Lumezi being one of the affected places. Since Lumezi is in the valley, we experience a lot of floods. For us in Lumezi, we experienced floods whereas in the Southern Province and others, it was drought. Please people, learn to believe. When you see, you should believe. If it is happening or it already happened in your constituency, you should believe that it is climate change. It is absurd for any person to politicise climate change. Why politicise something that is so obvious and is happening everywhere? This is why people lose confidence in us as hon. Members of Parliament. It is because we are not truthful. We must learn to be truthful.


Mr Speaker, let me now come to load shedding. This issue has been politicised and people are saying all sorts of things, yet load shedding is a result of climate change. We are all affected by load shedding, although we want to politicise it. There is no need for us to do that. Mwana wamuzako akacita, wacita.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Meaning?


Mrs Jere: Mr Speaker, that is what we say in Chichewa and it means that if your friend’s child has done something, he/she has done it.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mrs Jere: So, in this particular case, I am talking about this Government which has taken an initiative to ensure that it imports power from other countries. All that is done in good faith to make sure that it alleviates the challenges people are facing as a result of climate change.


Sir, climate change is not the making of an individual. There is no way I can talk to God and say, “God please, do not give us rain in Lumezi.” It is not possible. It does not happen that way. However, people still want to politicise issues such as climate change, and when they do, we know that they are not being truthful. If you know it, just be open and come up with suggestions and propose a better way to deal with such a challenge, rather than politicising it. Therefore, in this respect, I would still want to congratulate the hon. Minister of Finance, His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, and everyone else seated on both sides of the House who understand that what we are going through in the country in terms of hunger is a result of climate change.


Mr Speaker, we have a caring Government under the able leadership of His Excellency the President, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who has committed himself to ensuring that no one in this country will be left to die of hunger, let us learn to appreciate. The people of Lumezi, those in the valley and I are seeing is the this Government mitigating the effects of climate change. It is doing that by giving us relief food which is being distributed to the people in the valley and in Lumezi in particular. So, let us learn to appreciate. I have never seen a government which has gone to an extent of even providing maize bran for animals. Where in the world has this ever happened?  Let us learn to be grateful. If it is politics, let us focus on other issues which can be politicised and not on climate change because it is something we can see.


Sir, maybe, what we can simply do is for us to make suggestions. For instance, we have many waterfalls in the northern circuit of this country.




The Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member for Lumezi, please, resume your seat for just a minute.


Hon. Members, usually, I do not like to interject or disturb an hon. Member debating, but when you continue heckling, you disturb your hon. Colleague on the Floor. Sometimes, it is better to listen in silence and you will lose nothing if you do that. Further, we all get opportunities to stand and debate. So, let the hon. Member speak her mind and just listen, just like she listened when some of you hon. Members stood to debate.


You may continue, hon. Member for Lumezi, and please, let us listen.


Ms Jere: Mr Speaker, thank you for protecting me. I was saying when people are making an effort to take care of those who are suffering as a result of climate change, we need to make suggestions on how best their situations can be improved. When we do so, those proposals, will be taken on board. It is a take it or leave it situation.


So, I am saying if we are going to do anything to improve the situation, we need to make suggestions. We have many perennial rivers in the northern circuit which we can make use of and come up with a lot of hydro-power stations in order to mitigate the current situation we are going through as well as for future use. So, that is that about climate change. People, let us learn to be truthful and candid so that we are not seen to be grotesque.


Sir, on the issue of dismantling of the local debt, I want to say that the people of Lumezi and I are very happy that for once, the hon. Minister has thought of taking care of our own people within our nation. Once these people are paid, the funds they will be given will go a long way in boosting the economy of our country.


Mr Speaker, I was in the office of Provincial Education Officer (PEO) and I used to feel very bad whenever a retiree walked into my office. The retiree would come and shout at the PEO as if she is the one who is supposed to get the money and give him/her. They would shout and say, “Okay, naluta neo mulye ndalama zamene izo mukalye nimweo because I am going to die and leave that money.” This means that ‘I am going and I will not come back to talk about the same money. So, you should get the money and spend it because I am not coming back. I am going to die without getting this money’.


Sir, the money which is supposed to be given to retirees as retirement packages or gratuity. So, that always made me feel bad and sorry for these people. However, I could not even answer back because I realised that he people were speaking from deep down their hearts because it takes them too long to get their money and when they spoke, they did it from deep down their money. Therefore, the people of Lumezi and I as an individual, and a number of people out there, are very happy that this Budget by the hon. Minister is responding to challenges such as the one I have talked about because the retirees and other categories that the Government owes will be taken care of.


Mr Speaker, as regards the Sales Tax, I wish to state that this Government is headed by leaders who listen to people’s grievances. You cannot run a government if you believe in issues that are not true or if you do not have facts. In this case, the Ministry of Finance thought of going round to consult after the uproar regarding Sales Tax.


Sir, when the hon. Minister presented his Budget, he confirmed that instead of the Sales Tax, we are going to go for the Value Added Tax (VAT). I heard hon. Members ululating and saw them jumping up and down because they were happy that they had achieved their goal. That is not true. The idea of consulting on the Sales Tax did not come from this House. No pressure came from here, but from the people outside. The hon. Minister of Finance made an effort to go round and consult on the Sales Tax. When enough empirical data was collected, it was revisited and the Government resolved that instead of the Sales Tax, it would go for VAT. It did that because it is a listening Government.


Mr Speaker, this is exactly what happened when we dealt with the issue of Zambia remaining on the International Criminal Court (ICC). The Government went round consulting people. So, this Government is a consulting Government and it does not just do things from the blues, no. For that action, we would like to commend the hon. Minister of Finance and the people of Lumezi are in total support of this Budget.


Mr Speaker, I thank you.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kalobo (Wusakile): Mr Speaker, thank you for allowing me to add the voice of the good people of Wusakile to this Budget Speech. The theme for the 2020 Budget is “Focusing National Priorities Towards Stimulating the Domestic Economy”.


Sir, I have been critically following the debates in this House, and I have noted that hon. Members from both the Opposition and Ruling Party are all congratulating the hon. Minister of Finance. Even the radio programmes that are being conducted are all congratulating him. Now, before the good people of Wusakile congratulate or decide to do other things, let us walk together in this Budget and see why people are congratulating the hon. Minister.


Mr Speaker, the contribution from the good people of Wusakile shall be neutral and brief. In short, the good people of Wusakile will, in their submission, call a spade a spade and not a big spoon. The seats in this House are green. Even if I go out and say they are white, my words cannot change their colour.


Sir, the 3 per cent economic growth forecast for 2020 should be of concern to all of us. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), we can only fight poverty if we grow our economy by over 7 per cent annually. From this Budget Speech, we are able to see that our economy is not diversified enough to withstand the external shocks affecting our copper trade. The low grade copper and the low demand for it saw the export earnings decline by 22 per cent, from US$3.5 billion to US$2.8 billion. If our economy was diversified enough, the decline was going to be recovered from non-traditional exports.


Mr Speaker, it is also interesting to note that US$1.1 billion of these export earnings was realised from non-traditional exports. Such a performance of non-traditional exports should spur the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) to be aggressive in its mandate to diversify the economy, industrialise and create the much needed jobs.


Sir, I have noticed that in his Budget Speech, the hon. Minister of Finance has zero-rated copper cathodes sold locally. This will allow the expansion of companies like Neelkanth Cables Limited and the Metal Fabricators of Zambia (ZAMEFA) which are adding value to our copper through the production of quality cables. I want to see more companies add value to raw materials by processing minerals, agro products and timber and tap into the export markets.


Mr Speaker, the discovery of gold in some parts of this country should not be a curse but a catalyst to develop our economy and lift millions of our people out of poverty. This discovery of gold is a fortune that should not be left to greedy multinationals. On page 8, paragraph 52 of the Budget Speech, the hon. Minister said:


“To diversify the mining sector, the Government is promoting the exploration of non-traditional minerals such as gold and manganese. In this regard, I will, in this Budget, allocate additional resources for the generation of geological information on the extent of these deposits in order to attract investment”.


Sir, this is a move in the right direction. The Government should not end at just funding geological explorations, but it should find money to help small scale miners to explore because exploration is the major setback. Once small scale miners are able to explore minerals, they will be able to quantify what is in a mine and determine its value. This will make it easier for them to access funds from banks.


Mr Speaker, this comment was about economic diversification in general. Let me now comment on the Value Added Tax (VAT).


Sir, the promise of privatisation was to attract private investment, technology and expertise in our economy. These three things I have mentioned have been largely achieved. However, what privatisation has failed to achieve is the creation of quality jobs and fair tax contribution to the Treasury. One would ask why, and the answer is very simple: the private sector has become too smart in mechanisation, automation, tax evasion, transfer pricing and tax avoidance. This answers the question why twenty years after privatisation, we are still trying to explore smarter ways of taxing productive sectors of our economy. This is very sad, and it should not be allowed. Multinational companies should not be allowed to invest in the newly discovered gold sites.


Sir, in debating the previous Budget, I am on record as having said “no” to the Sales Tax. Naturally, compared to Value Added Tax (VAT), Sales Tax is narrow. VAT can be collected by agents, and its coverage is broad. It covers many people, while the Sales Tax does not cover most suppliers of goods and services. I questioned the former hon. Minister of Finance on how she was going to manage the Sales Tax because it is a narrow tax that does not allow Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to grow. I support the hon. Minister of Finance for reverting to VAT because it will help many Zambians. The hon. Minister of Finance should also provide support to the SMEs when it comes to the implementation of VAT. I know that he is still consulting, according to what he said. This time, the Government is garnishing VAT at the point of payment, but in the past, SMEs used to deduct VAT and provide receipts to the Government. That is what the people are expecting because this is a listening Government.


Mr Livune: Question!


Mr Kalobo: Indeed, you can question when you are not objective.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


 Mr Kalobo: Sir, we are the representatives of the people. The seats in this House are green. If I said they are white, they are not going to change their colour.  The Government has listened to the people on this issue and every Zambian has seen that. So, the comments coming from the hon. Members on your left are in vain.


Mr Speaker, let me also comment on unlocking liquidity into the economy. Big economies like the United States of America (USA) measure their economic growth by the level of consumer spending and how many jobs are created. During the 2008 economic crisis, the USA managed to stimulate the economy through infrastructure development, and this is what this Budget seeks to achieve. This Budget has prioritised the awarding of contracts to local contractors and paying retirees. Once we unlock liquidity into the economy, there will be growth. Prioritising the payment of retirees is a welcome move, and the hon. Minister should not end at making a policy pronouncement, he should support the pronouncement through a law. Retirees offered a legitimate service to the nation and they have a legitimate expectation of getting their pension benefits. Once retirees are paid promptly, they will participate in the economy through investments that will create jobs, and they will have dignity. In Zambia, we do not have universal pension for senior citizens. Therefore, living as a retiree is difficult. Once a person loses a salary through retirement, the only way he/she can live with dignity is through a pension benefit.


Mr Speaker, I promised to be very brief and on infrastructure development, there is not much to talk about because everyone is able to see.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kalobo: Mr Speaker, what I will just say is that the Government should embrace other means of financing such as the Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model. This will stop the Government from contracting further debts. If the Government partners with private financiers, the financiers can maintain new roads and also recoup their investment within an agreed timeframe.


Mr Speaker, let me now talk about climate change. I will be brief because there is no need to even go into detail. I have heard a lot of controversy on the issue of climate change in this country. What is climate change? Climate change is a global phenomenon caused by global warming. We all know that human activities are responsible for global warming. In African, we are just paying the price. The industrialised countries are responsible for global warning in Africa. I am saying so because the carbon dioxide that certain activities in these industrialised countries emit affects the ozone layer.


So, I am wondering why most of the hon. Members in this House want more funds to be allocated to climate change. What do they want to change? Those funds that have been allocated are enough to do sensitisation.  When people say they want more money, where do they want to take the money?




Mr Kalobo: Mr Speaker, let me also talk about public procurement. There has been a lot of controversy over the issue of public procurement. On the perceived inflated prices for public procurement, I want to commend the Government for introducing price referencing. This is a right move.  


Mr Speaker, if you are a coach and your team is not scoring, you can make a substitution. Now, if you make that strategic substitution and the team scores, who has scored? Who is responsible for that success? It is the coach, team captain and the entire team of players through co-ordinated effort. In line with that example, allow me to thank His Excellency the President of this Republic, Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, for a job well done.


Mr Speaker, I also join many others who have congratulated the able hon. Minister of Finance on his appointment. Allow me to go further and congratulate the entire team at the Ministry of Finance for a good score with regards to the Budget. This concludes the submission from the good people of Wusakile.


I thank you, Mr Speaker.


Hon. Government Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Kambita (Zambezi East): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for this opportunity to add the voice of the people of Zambezi East to the debate on the Budget Speech which was delivered by the hon. Minister of Finance.


Mr Speaker, before I proceed with my debate, and with your indulgence, I wish to convey my condolences to the family of one Lawrence Banda who was murdered by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres in Kaoma. I was present in Kaoma at the time that –


Mr Malanji: On a point of order, Sir.


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


Hon. Member, the introduction of your debate has immediately attracted a point of order. You do not have proof to stand tall in this House and state that the person who died was killed by Patriotic Front (PF) cadres. That is too direct. You will withdraw your statement and proceed with your debate.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, in the interest of time, and for the sake of peace and the need to proceed with important matters, I withdraw the statement. Instead, I replace it as follows: I wish to pass my condolences to the family of Lawrence Banda who was murdered.


Mr Ngulube: Ale ipaya abantu. That is why he was called Gaddafi.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, from the outset, I wish to proceed with my debate in this fashion. I would like to comment generally on how we, the people of Zambezi East, view the Budget Speech and the summary Budget contained therein. I will also delve into explaining how this Budget affects the people of Zambezi East, either positively or negatively.


Mr Speaker, when I went through the Budget Speech, I picked out a number of priorities that the hon. Minister of Finance has set. Firstly, he has stated that he wants to prioritise the creation of fiscal space. Secondly, he wishes to ensure debt sustainability. Thirdly, he wishes to dismantle domestic arrears. He further goes on to break that down into paying pensioners and suppliers of goods and services to the Government. He declared the aims that these measures were targeted at. He flowerily explained that this was aimed at alleviating hardships on old people, preserving businesses and saving jobs. He further elaborated that he wished for increased liquidity in the economy. However, I have a very big question about this Budget.


Sir, what I see coming, year in and year out, are these flowery and nice words in the Budget. I could see so many hon. Members on your right celebrating these flowery words. However, the devil is in the detail. The big question which needs serious and honest answers from the men and women on your right is: How will all these objectives and measures be achieved with that meagre economic growth target of 3 per cent?


For those who understood, the hon. Member who was debating mentioned that in a functioning economy, you need to have the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing at 7 per cent and above in order for it to be meaningful. We are celebrating a target of 3 per cent economic growth. Lamentably, this year, we were targeting 3 per cent growth, but we will actually have a paltry 2 per cent growth by the end of the year.


Mr Kambita: Mr Speaker, I will quickly run through the Budget in as far as the allocations are concerned. I have heard statements about the climate challenges we are facing. However, the allocation towards addressing climate issues is not commensurate with the pronouncements on this issue. The entire Republican President came to this House to deliver a speech that was predominantly around climate change, yet this Budget does not correlate with that the President’s Speech. Just a small allocation has been made towards environmental protect. If fact, environmental protection has received a paltry 0.6 per cent of the Budget and nothing is has been explained on what will actually be done under environmental protection. I am interested in knowing the details of that 0.6 per cent allocation. With this allocation, are we, as a country serious about climate change issues?


Sir, As if that is not enough, the allocation for relief food is also small, but the Government has claimed that one effect of climate change is drought, which necessitates allocations for relief food. On page 17, the Budget Speech shows that only K122,162,992 has been allocated to the Food Security Pack and Public Welfare Assistance Scheme for the whole year. This is less than the annual salary of a junior civil servant. How will this amount mitigate the issues and challenges of climate change? Are we, as a country, really serious about supporting the people who are hungry by providing relief food? That is why I said people have been celebrating this Budget, but the devil is in the detail. The details are showing exactly whether this Budget is going to achieve something or not.


Sir, I will not delve much into detail because I think what I have mentioned is enough. However, I wish to state one more fact, especially on the allocations that have been made. Each time we have made these allocations, we have not been serious about disbursing the funds. We in this House cannot keep coming to this House to approve Budgets as a formality. We expect disbursements according to the approved expenditure. For now, I support this Budget on the condition that the hon. Minister will promise to disburse these funds.


Mr Speaker, with those few words from the people of Zambezi East, I thank you.


Hon. UPND Members: Hear, hear!


Mr Mubika (Shang’ombo): Mr Speaker, thank you very much for according me this opportunity to add my voice to the Motion that was ably presented to the House by the hon. Minister of Finance, Dr Bwalya Ng’andu.


Mr Speaker, let me also take this opportunity to congratulate him on his appointment. The hon. Minister of Finance has a huge task ahead of him. Following his appeal to all of us hon. Members of Parliament from the Opposition to support him. I will do my level best to support him so that he can implement what said to this House.


Mr Speaker, the new hon. Minister of Finance has come with the slogan “the game changer” –


Mr Second Deputy Speaker: Order!


(Debate adjourned)




The House adjourned at 1955 hours until 0900 hours on Friday, 11th October, 2019.